The Best Table Saws for DIYers and Pros
Cut to the chase with our guide to finding the perfect table saw for your skill level, project plans, and budget.
Table saws cut with more accuracy than circular saws, and they can cut large pieces of material—whether wood, plastic, aluminum sheeting or other—better than miter saws. In fact, with the right table saw and the right know-how, you can make rip cuts (lengthwise cuts), cross-cuts, angled cuts, and even create beveled edges. Whether you’re building bookcases or framing your own garage, adding this prized power tool to your arsenal can speed your project along in a major way.
Continue now read our guide to choosing the best table saw for your project needs, skill level, and personal budget—and don’t miss our top picks for both hobbyists and pros.
- BEST FOR DIYers: DEWALT 8-1/4-Inch Table Saw
- BEST FOR PROS: SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw
- HONORABLE MENTION: SKILSAW 10-Inch Table Saw
Types of Table Saws
While all table saws function in a similar manner—a flat, tabletop surface supports the material being cut as you manually feed it into the saw blade—they differ in design, power, and best use.
- Bench Table Saw: Designed to be bolted to a workbench or attached to a stand, a bench table saw is compact and relatively lightweight, averaging 45 to 60 pounds. More affordable than larger table saws, a bench saw is a good option for cutting sheet material, such as plywood and oriented strand board (OSB), or plastic and aluminum paneling. Because they’re on the small side, bench table saws are limited by the width of the material they can cut—usually about 18 to 20 inches (see Rip Capacity below).
- Contractor Table Saw: Also called a jobsite table saw, these models are designed to be portable, and usually come with a rolling stand. Contractor table saws are used by serious DIYers and pros who want cutting power right on site rather than in a workshop. They’re heavier than bench saws (90 to 150 pounds), generally capable of cutting sheet material up to 24 inches in width or wider, and vary in price depending on quality and power.
- Cabinet Table Saw: Packing more power than other table saws (and often requiring a dedicated 220-volt electric circuit, more powerful than an ordinary 110-volt household circuit), cabinet table saws are the priciest option. The motor is fully enclosed in a cabinet below the table, and the table surface is extendable to support large sheets of material. Often found in professional or industrial workshop settings and in trade schools, these heavy saws (often more than 600 pounds) can cut through multiple types of wood, including plywood, hardwood, and even pressure-treated lumber.
- Hybrid Table Saw: The hybrid table saw is a combination of the cabinet and contractor types. It offers at least as much power as a contractor saw, but without requiring a dedicated 220-volt circuit. You can expect to pay a little more for this type of table saw than, say, a contractor version (which makes sense, as it is sometimes described as a “souped-up contractor saw”). Hybrid table saws come with enclosed cabinets, mimicking the look of cabinet saws, but they weigh less, averaging 275 to 325 pounds. They’re usually moved with a hand-truck as they don’t come with rollers.
Key Shopping Considerations
Table saws run the gamut in quality and price, so consider the guidance below when shopping for table saws.
In short, the more horsepower a table saw motor has, the more cutting power it has. Small bench saws that typically feature horsepower in the range of 3/4 HP to 1.5 HP are sufficient for light duty, such as constructing shelving, and for cutting sheet material up to about 5/8-inch thick. Larger bench saws and contractor saws come with 2 HP to 4 HP motors, and cabinet table saws often feature 5 HP or larger motors. The more powerful motors run longer under heavy use without overheating and easily cut through denser types of material, such as ironwood or Brazilian walnut.
Cutting Depth and Blade Size
Table saws are labeled by the size of the circular blade they accommodate; the vast majority take 10-inch blades while a handful of options take 12-inch blades. The blade is adjustable, so you can make a shallow cut just a fraction of an inch deep, as well as deeper cuts. With a 10-inch table saw, you can make a maximum cut up to 3.5-inches deep, and with a 12-inch table saw, you can cut up to 4-inches deep.
The fence on a table saw is the adjustable guide that holds the material in place as you’re cutting. The standard fence that comes with most table saws, called a T-square fence, is suitable for most cuts. Specialty fences include micro-adjust fences that allow the user to fine-tune the measurements of the cut, and some saws come with extendable fences that either fold or slide out to accommodate larger sections of wood. Other table saws feature fences with embedded magnifiers that allow the user to better see the measurements on the saw when adjusting the fence.
Table saws are key to ripping wide sheets of material, but the maximum width of material that will fit between the saw blade and the fence varies, a measurement known as the rip capacity. Rip capacity starts around 18 inches for entry-level bench saws and runs up to 60 inches or more for professional cabinet saws. Depending on the projects you plan to undertake, make sure to choose a table saw with a rip capacity large enough to accommodate the dimension of material you’ll be working with. For example, if you want to build 2-foot-high toy boxes, you’ll want a saw with a rip capacity of at least 24 inches in order to cut sections of plywood wide enough for the sides and back.
Optional Dust Collection
If the table saw is used outdoors dust might not be a problem, but in a closed workshop dust collection will help keep the air dust-free and also collect sawdust chips you’d otherwise have to sweep up later. Many table saws feature dust collection ports designed to connect to a standard shop-type vacuum hose; you’ll need to run your vacuum while operating the saw to catch dust and sawdust.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST FOR DIYers: DEWALT 8-1/2-Inch Table Saw
The DEWALT 8-1/2-Inch Table Saw is a great choice for both woodcraft and jobsite use. Boasting the power of a 15-amp motor, this top-of-the-line table saw also features a telescoping fence that extends to accommodate wider cutting materials. The DEWALT also comes with a dust collection port that attaches to a standard 2.5-inch shop-type vacuum hose.
2. BEST FOR PROS: SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw
Deserving of a central spot in a professional cabinetmaker or countertop fabricator’s shop, the SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw can rip and cut large sheets and panels to a maximum cutting depth of 3 1/8 inches. It boasts a large, 52-inch rip capacity, and a powerful 5 HP motor that makes it easy to cut through both composite woods and hardwoods. It features a precision-glide fence made of high-quality steel, plus two dust collection ports that fasten to an over-arm assembly (not included) for keeping the air in the workshop as dust-free as possible. This workshop workhorse, which weighs in at a hefty 685 pounds and requires the installation of a dedicated 220-volt electrical circuit, is designed for accuracy and heavy-duty use.
3. HONORABLE MENTION: SKILSAW 10-Inch Table Saw
If you’re looking for a table saw for occasional home projects, such as cutting plywood sheets to make a doghouse or cutting clear plastic sheeting for a greenhouse, check out the 2 HP, bench-type SKILSAW 10-Inch Table Saw. It weighs just 49 pounds and can be bolted to a workbench or attached to its included folding stand. It comes with an extendable fence, features a 25-inch rip capacity, and has a maximum cutting depth of 3.5 inches, though it lacks a dust collection port.