Review & Compare the Best Portable Table Saws for 2018
There was a time when only a limited number of options were available for portable table saws but these days the market is full of a variety of models from several different manufacturers. In other words, choosing the best portable table saw can be challenging in case you’re not aware of the factors you need to consider to choose the right one for your requirements. In this brief portable table saw buying guide, you will discover various factors you should consider before clicking that buy button.
Our Best Portable and Light Weight Table Saws for 2018
What To Look For When Buying A Portable Table Saw
It won’t be wrong to say that the first thing most people check is that power rating of the motor when they are looking for a power tool. Most portable saws available in the market these days come with powerful motors. Some of the models are powerful enough to cut 4x materials though with a slightly higher blade height.
Most models come with an amperage rating of 15 amps but this is not the only factor to be considered. There could be two motors with the same amperage but vastly different efficiencies. Therefore, you need to ensure that the motor is efficient and does not a draw more current than listed.
The motor speed is listed by all manufacturers for all the models of portable table saws made by them. Some of the manufacturers also refer to it as the arbour speed. You need to understand that the speed rating mentioned in the description for a portable saw is under no-load conditions which mean you shouldn’t expect the same speed when you are using the saw to make cuts. However, it is a very good metric to compare various models of the portable saws when you are doing your research.
Another important thing you need to check is whether the model you want to buy comes with an electronic circuit to make sure that the blade spins at a constant speed when it is making the cut. Consistent speed ensures smoother cuts. This feature works great unless you are using a table saw to cut something extremely tough. Faster the speed of the blade of the portable table saw, faster it will be able to cut the wood.
Height and Size of Blade
Another important factor you need to look at is the size of the blade. While most of the models of portable table saws can accommodate up to 10 inches’ blade, there are others that also allow dado blade sets. In these models, you may be required to purchase and additional dado insert which comes with an opening for a dado blade.
A good saw usually comes with adjustable blade height and the blade can also tilt up to a 45 degrees’ angle. Depending on your requirements, you may also choose a model that allows you more adjustment in the height as well as the tilt angle.
When you are buying a portable power tool, weight becomes an important consideration as you will take that portable power tool from one place to another quite often. Therefore, you also need to take a close look at the total weight of the model you are planning to buy. However, it does not remain an important factor in case you are setting up the saw only one time a day.
Also, it doesn’t remain an important consideration in case the portable table saw comes with a stand that allows you to move it around the jobsite. However, weight becomes important in case you must move your power tool from jobsite to jobsite on a regular basis. In most cases, the weight listed for the table saw consists of the saw as well as the stand.
Rip Fence and Rip Capacity
There is a lot of variation in the rip fence capacity and this is the major difference between a big portable saw and a small portable saw. The rip fence capacity of smaller portable saws usually ranges from 16 to 24 inches whereas the bigger portable saws have a rip fence capacity ranging from 25 to 30 inches or higher.
The smaller rip fence capacity models are designed to be more portable which means they can be easily carried in one hand. The larger rip fence capacity models usually come with rolling stands with saw mounted on the stand to make the movement easy. Manufacturer’s claims to be able to rip full sheets of plywood on a saw with maximum rip fence capacity of just 24 inches are misleading and you need to take that into account when you are comparing various portable saws.
As far as the type of rip fence is concerned, it also varies with each manufacturer. While rip fences on most of the models available in the market today are sturdy there are also some manufacturers that have a reputation for making saws with finicky rip fences. Most of the models come with table surfaces that are coated to minimize the friction when you are moving materials on the table, some models may not be as smooth as others. Do not forget to check the table surface quality before you click that buy button.
Heavier portable saws come packaged with the stands and these saws are typically mounted on rolling stands. Most of these rolling stands also come with a folding feature that allow the stand to be folded with saw still attached and it allows for vertical storage.
As far as choosing a portable table saw with stand is concerned, you should look for a table saw that allows you to adjust the stand without use of any special tools. Some people make the mistake of not paying attention to this feature and they soon discover that it’s a pain to regularly adjust the table stand with the help of tools.
All the power tools are dangerous and it is important to use safe working practices while using them. Most modern portable table saws come loaded with a variety of safety features and you need to carefully consider these features to ensure that you remain safe while working.
One of the most common safety features is a blade guard. It just sits over the blade and allows materials to be moved safely when you are making the cuts. It prevents the blade from being an open appropriate thereby making it safe. You shouldn’t ignore this feature even though some people believe these guards interfere with their working.
Some models also feature a riving knife. It rides behind the blade and moves along with it during the cut. It protects the backside of the blade when it is being used. Most models available in the market today also come with a push stick. These sticks allow the user to push the wood without getting their hands close to the blade. Some of the more modern saws also come with a technology where the blade is pushed under the table in case it meets human flesh. This is a great feature and keeps you safe while working.
Most of the power tools come with a warranty of at least one year and most of the manufacturers of portable table saws also offer a warranty of at least one year. On the other hand, there are some brands that offer warranty of more than a year and it should be considered when you are making your decision. You should also check the reputation of their customer service to ensure that you’ll be able to take advantage of the warranty in case things go wrong during the warranty period.
As far as the price is concerned, it is recommended to choose a power tool on the bases of features that you need. Even if you must pay a little bit more for more features, you should pay the higher price instead of compromising on features to save a few bucks. Also, pay attention to the brand as well as customer service.
Overall, these are some of the features you need to consider to choose the right portable table saw for your needs. There are several review websites as well as forums dedicated to woodworking where you can get a lot more information on particular models. You should also check the reviews and ratings of particular models in addition to the features before you decide to buy.