Best Contractor Table Saw Reviews for 2017
Are you a woodworker who wants to buy a good table saw for your masterpieces? Or do you simply want to give a table saw for someone who needs it as your gift? If you’re just beginning to do some woodworks and you’re not sure which table saw best fits you and your working area, there are some tips that can guide you when you want to buy this tool.
Buying Your Contractor Table Saw
Contractor table saws are best for people who wants to have a table saw small enough to bring somewhere if needed. Usually, contractor table saws measure 10 inches and have an open stand and outboard motor. For a trivia, this table is called a contractor because it can be transported using a truck for on-site projects. Contractor saws normally have wheels on them so you can move it around.
Even with its portability, it’s still a strong table saw and can do most work that a cabinet saw can do as well. Getting a contractor saw means having a tool that is lightweight but also powerful. That is why they are used by people who are serious about DIY’s and even by those who are working on larger projects. If you want something that is convenient and built for heavy use a contractor saw is perfect for you.
How to Choose A Contractor Saw
If you’re ready to buy a contractor saw for your DIY needs, then here are a few things to remember so you’ll be able to choose the best one.
The Wings and The Table Top
If you want a good quality contractor saw, choose the one with a cast iron table top that has a dimension of 27 inches deep, 20 inches wide. If you include the wings on either side of the saw, it should be 40 inches wide. While having cast iron wings are great, stamped steel wings can still give you a good contractor saw.
Avoiding wings that have small hole designs like honey-comb patterns are not advisable. This kind of wings are prone to getting small parts inside and your fingers can also get stuck in it while using it. You may also encounter saws with T-styled mitre slots. This feature makes it easier to hold the mitre gauge in place when pulling the head off from the front of the saw.
It is also good to choose a saw that has a thick table insert. A thin steel plate for a contractor saw makes it impossible for users like you to construct your own zero-clearance inserts with the use of plywood or plastic composites. It is important to remember that time will come when you’ll need to cut sheet goods that are larger than the normal size and will also be cross-cutting boards that are longer than the others.
So make sure to have an extension table for these instances. Keep in mind to put the extension table on the right side of the saw if you’re right handed and on the left if it makes you more comfortable to work with your left hand.
Since most of the contractor saws you’ll find have open stands, this can make the sawdust to collect in your stand’s edges when they fall. Vacuuming inside your saw’s stand may help a lot. But if you’re going to use a dust collection system for a saw table, your gearing will be cleaner and the motor will run cooler. Making a box for your saw’s base can help. You’ll find how to do this in woodworking books and through the internet. Another alternative can be by using table saw boots. These boots block the saw’s back side and collects sawdust using a bag below the tale.
Your contractor saw’s motor is a big deal when choosing the right one for you. It is best to buy one that is made by a trusted brand. Although it can be more expensive than those that aren’t well-known, but you will be able to avoid getting the wrong motor for you.
The reason why cheaper brands aren’t that recommendable is that, some companies cheat their customers by giving them a wrong horsepower measurement of the motor used by the contractor saw. Some of them will tell you that the motor is very powerful that’s why it has a slightly higher price, when the truth is that it won’t even be able to perform at half of its declared HP.
The Blade Guard
Blade guards are very important specially when you’re using your contractor saw. Do not throw them away as it can lead to dangerous accidents. Your contractor saw’s blade guards will protect your hands from getting in contact with the saw’s blade. It also prevents sawdust from getting to your face and directs it to the table instead.
A component of the blade guard is the splitter. It avoids kickbacks from happening if you position it correctly. Splitter is a metal piece that runs into a saw table directly behind its blade. Knowing how to set up the splitter properly will make it more safe for you to work using your contractor saw. If you want to change your stock blade guard with a different system just like riving knives or metal pins, you must first-hand how each one of them worlds and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of losing the manufacturer’s blade guard.
The Fence System
These days, you’ll be able to find improved and cheaper fence systems in the market. Although you can buy this alone, it can be more convenient if the contractor saw that you want to buy have a fence system in the package. It’s best to get both in one bundle. A user-friendly fence system should be simple. It should have a single rail system that is running smoothly, tightly locks down, cursors that are needle-thin, and scales that are easy to read for everyone.
Right Tilt and Left Tilt
Whether to choose a right tilt or left tilt table is up to you. Choosing a tilt that you are most comfortable with is important you’ll be able to work properly. You may get a right tilt if you are right-handed or a left tilt if you are left-handed. Deciding which one is the best entirely depends on you.
Since a contractor is as dangerous as other table saws when used, it is good to buy the one that has safety features to prevent unwanted accidents to happen while using it. This factor is very important so you’ll have to focus on it before you buy a contractor saw. Here are a few examples of safety features that table saws might have.
– Paddle-style switch
– Blade Guards
– Blade brake
– Anti-Kickback Pawls
– Riving Knife
Your Needs and Wants
After looking at the different features of the contractor saw that you want to buy, it is now time to take into consideration how you want to use it. Evaluate your needs and know if you’ll be using it for large ply woods or thin boards. Assessing how you want to use this equipment will help you decide how much horse power you’ll need your contractor saw to have.
The best things won’t come in cheap prices. If you want a contractor saw that will last for a very long time, has perfectly flat tables, and unbelievable accuracy, then a high-end saw will cost you a lot of money for that. Meanwhile, low-end and cheaper saws will offer you parts with lower quality. However, you can still improve it with proper tuning. Determine your budget and get the best one that suits your needs with a reasonable price.
Other Types of Table Saws
The heaviest, largest and most expensive type of saw is the cabinet table saw. It has a cast iron table that can be very heavy. This iron table is operated to a smooth surface. Cabinet saws literally have cabinets under the saw table. Its gearing and trunnions are heavy duty and very precise. This kind of saw normally have a 3 to 5 horsepower motor. The weight of this heavy duty saw including its wings and fence can amount to 600 pounds.
This kind of saw is a combination of a contractor and cabinet saw. A hybrid saw‘s features depend on its manufacturer on how they will incorporate the unique features of contractor and cabinet saws. But there are hybrids that have heavier trunnions, gears, and legs but keeps the saw at the same height level as a cabinet saw. A hybrid saw’s motor can’t be more than 2 horsepower.
Purchasing a table saw if you are not aware of its specifications and buying guide can end up wasting your money. Choosing contractor saws that has the best quality, safety features, and reasonable price shall be one of your top priorities if you’re planning to buy one. Keep in mind that it is better to buy tools that are a little pricey but are safe and of good quality than buying ones that are cheaper but won’t give you your money’s worth.