Best Table Saw for Beginners

December 8, 2020

The table saw is a bit of a holy grail for woodworkers. It is the tool that everyone wants for their workshop. It elevates you beyond a woodworking wannabe to the real deal! 

The table saw is perhaps the most versatile tool in any woodworking workshop. It can accomplish a range of cuts including dado, rabbet, and square cuts.

One of the best things about table saws is that you can easily switch out the blades to be able to cut a wide range of materials. It means you don’t need to have hundreds of different saws hanging around. 

Table saws are also very quick. They make short work of even the hardest woods. With speed, comes more danger, however. 

Table saws should not be used by complete novices. At least not unsupervised. If you’ve never used a table saw, see if there are any woodworking classes nearby. You can get some practice in before you splurge on a saw. 

Choosing the right table saw can be a bit frustrating. There are lots of different brands and designs available. Mostly, they all do the same thing but there are a number of features that can make a lot of difference depending on your experience. 

To stop your head from spinning, we’ve done all the research on some of the best table saws available on the market. We’ve taken a look at all they have to offer and highlighted the features that we love. 

We’ve also put together a buyer’s guide with all the information you need to choose your next table saw. That way, if none of our offerings tickle your fancy, you can do a little browsing and shopping yourself. 

Buzzing to get started? Here’s our top pick if you are in a hurry: 

DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch

  • Compact and portable. 
  • Rip and pinion fence adjustment. 
  • Excellent cutting capabilities for such a small saw. 
  • Safety guard on switch. 
  • Anti-kick back pawls. 
  • 26.5 inch rip capacity. 
  • Plenty of buying options. 

OUR TOP PICK

DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch (DWE7485)

DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch

EDITORS CHOICE

Rockwell RK7323 BladeRunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw with Steel Rip Fence, Miter Gauge & 7 Accessories

Rockwell BladeRunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw

BEST VALUE

SKILSAW SPT99-11 10 Inch Heavy Duty Worm Drive Table Saw with Stand, Silver

SKILSAW SPT99-11 10" Heavy Duty Worm Drive Table Saw with Stand

OUR TOP PICK

DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch

DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch (DWE7485)

Dewalt is a staple of the tool world. Their name is synonymous with quality and reliability. This table saw absolutely follows the mold in terms of its quality. 

The first thing we think you’ll love is the sheer amount of options you have. You can buy this saw with a stand or without, with a pushing block or without. Heck, you can even buy this saw with a compound saw if you want! 

The rip fence is adjusted with a rip and pinion system that is highly accurate and gives you a rip capacity of 24.5-inches. This is massive for a machine this size, though it doesn’t quite match the frame mounted machines. Even so, it is impressive. 

The start button is nice and big and has a safety catch that prevents you from accidentally turning the machine on. Another safety feature we love is the anti-kickback pawls. They sit on the blade guard and prevent material from flying back at you. These features make this table saw an excellent choice for beginners. 

Included in the package are a miter guide, push stick, riveting knife, blade change wrenches, kickback pawls, and a 10-inch carbide blade. Most of these accessories can be stored in the base of the saw when not in use. 

Pros

  • Compact and portable. 
  • Rip and pinion fence adjustment. 
  • Excellent cutting capabilities for such a small saw. 
  • Safety guard on switch. 
  • Anti-kick back pawls. 
  • 26.5 inch rip capacity. 
  • Plenty of buying options.

Cons 

  • Stand sold separately.
  • Will not accept a dado blade.

EDITORS CHOICE

Rockwell BladeRunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw

Rockwell RK7323 BladeRunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw with Steel Rip Fence, Miter Gauge & 7 Accessories

This is a compact tabletop saw that packs a fair bit of power despite its small size. 

At 17lbs it’s not the lightest saw on this list but it is still definitely portable. The built-in carry handle makes moving it around really manageable. This is ideal for smaller workshops where you’re going to move it on and off workbenches. 

If you do want to set this up as a permanent feature of your worship, you’ll need to purchase a workbench separately. This can be done from the product listing which is really handy.

You can also choose to purchase the saw with 10 additional blades. Personally, we think this is the best option. There’s only a 10 dollars difference which is less than the cost of buying the blades separately. 

If you want the basic package you get 5 different saw blades, a miter gauge, and a rip fence. It’s missing a push stick so you will need to pick one up in addition to the saw. 

Power switch has a safety guard that prevents you from accidentally starting the saw. This is an excellent feature to see on a table saw for beginners.

One thing to note is that you cannot cut thick materials with this thing. It is not a professional table saw and won’t get through a 2x4, for example. If you’re a hobbyist looking for a tool that can help you progress. If you’re a tradesman, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. 

Pros 

  • Portable and fairly lightweight. 
  • Supplied with 5 saws for different materials. 
  • Includes miter guide and rip fence. 
  • Safe for beginners. 
  • Decent quality for such a low price. 
  • Tool free blade change.

Cons 

  • Will struggle with thicker materials. 
  • Limited rip capacity. 

BEST VALUE

SKILSAW SPT99-11 10" Heavy Duty Worm Drive Table Saw with Stand

SKILSAW SPT99-11 10 Inch Heavy Duty Worm Drive Table Saw with Stand, Silver

This is a particularly rugged looking machine. It has a steel frame and 16-inch wheels that will help you move this machine all over the work site. It’s not the lightest thing, weighing in at 93lbs. You will get a bit of a workout moving this thing around. 

The rack and pinion fence adjustment is easy to use and seems to be very accurate. In total you get 30.5 inches of rip capacity. This is pretty level with other similar sized machines. 

Skilsaw are specialists in worm drives which are when the motor sits at the back of this saw. It means that unlike most competitors, this saw has an extra bit of power that translates to being able to rip through tougher materials. 

The motor in this saw is also great because it uses dual copper windings. This dissipates the heat more equally and effectively to allow you to cut continuously through materials. 

Supplied with this saw is a miter guide, an anti-kickback guard system, dust elbow, push stick and wrench, and rip fence. It’s also supplied with one carbide saw blade which seems to be tough enough for most jobs. 

There are a few reviews which suggest that the assembly instructions aren’t very clear when they really should be. It’s not impossible to do but it does seem to require a lot of fussing and fiddling around. 

Pros 

  • Great for professionals and hobbyists.
  • Portable frame included. 
  • Anti-kickback blade guard protects the user. 
  • Fairly low noise operation. 
  • Rack and pinion fence.
  • Dust extraction port. 
  • miter guide included.

Cons

  • Poor set up instructions. 
  • Perfecting and squaring up the tool takes a bit of fiddling.

RUNNER UP

WORX WX572L BladeRunner x2 Portable Tabletop Saw

WORX WX572L BladeRunner x2 Portable Tabletop Saw

This is a compact little table saw. It weighs only 14.7lbs and can sit atop your workbench. If you need to move the saw to get some extra space on your workbench you can do that easily. Also, if you need to lug this thing around the jobsite, that is also easy to do. 

The fencing system is simple but effective. It has a rack and pinion system that can be easily and accurately adjusted. According to customer reviews, the rack and pivot system are accurate and to the correct measurements. 

What’s great about this is the fact that it has a built in miter system. It can deal with miter cuts from 0-60 degrees and from both left and right sides. This is excellent considering the price! 

This also comes with 5 different blades; wood, aluminum, scrolling, ceramic tile, and steel. You can get through pretty much any material with this saw. The 5 different blades make this tool incredibly versatile. It’ll probably see more use than any other tool in your workshop. 

The blades can be switched out easily without any tools. This means you can get on with the job in hand rather than fussing around with screwdrivers and hex drivers.

This saw comes with the 5 blades, a rip fence, a miter gauge, a vacuum adaptor, and a blade grip. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with a push stick. You’ll definitely want to get one before using the saw.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight. 
  • Supplied with 5 blades. 
  • No tools required to switch out the blades. 
  • Comes with a miter cut system. 
  • Rack and pinion fence adjustment. 
  • Dust extraction port.

Cons

  • Pretty small and sort of struggles with larger jobs. 
  • The blade guard is slightly flimsy. 

RUNNER UP

Delta 36-6023 10 Inch Table Saw with 32.5 Inch Rip Capacity

Delta 36-6023 10 Inch Table Saw with 32.5 Inch Rip Capacity

This portable 10-inch table saw is perfect for professionals and hobbyists alike. 

Built into an aluminum frame, this saw has a set of wheels on one side and a handle on the other. You can lift the frame and wheel it along to wherever you need the saw. This makes it ideal for use on building sites as well as home workshops.

You can also collapse the saw and wheel it away for storage when it’s not needed. If you have a cramped workshop, this saw is a great option for you. 

One of the great things about this table saw is the fact that it has rack and pinion fence rails. It means that you can easily make adjustments quickly and accurately. In total, these adjustments give the saw a rip capacity of 32.5-inches. 

We also love the large power button and the large angle adjustment knob. It just makes the whole saw a lot easier to operate and quicker to shut off in an emergency situation. 

This table saw also has a dust collection port that you can connect to a vacuum. This will help to reduce the amount of dust flying around your workshop. 

Another great thing about this product is the 5-year warranty provided by Delta. Unfortunately, the text of the warranty is not freely available online.

You need to request it from customer services. It does make us wonder what kind of things are not covered by this warranty. 

Pros 

  • Portable and collapsible. 
  • Rack and pinion fence adjustment.
  • Dust extraction port. 
  • Easy to operate controls. 
  • Fairly flexible blade provided.
  • Comes with a stand.
  • 5-year warranty.

Cons

  • Difficult to assemble. 
  • Shipping seems to be less than careful. 
  • Warranty information is not freely available. 

Best Table Saw for Beginners Buying Guide

This guide is split into 2 sections. The first will cover the key factors you should consider when looking for a table saw.

The second section will cover some basic safety advice you should follow. 

Key Features of Table Saws

One of the first things you should consider is the style of table saw. Some are ‘portable’ in that they can be moved from table to table. Often these are placed on frames with wheels that can be moved around a job site or workshop. 

Other table saws are built into the table around them. These tables will usually be made of steel and aluminum. Often, they have a set of wheels on one side that allow you to tilt and toll the table if needed. 

You need a fair amount of space around your table. The materials you’ll be cutting are often large and unwieldy. If you don’t have enough space you may end up tipping or knocking your saw which can end terribly. 

Wheels are definitely an advantage on table saws as you’re able to place them in the most appropriate place. 

Another thing to look out for is dust extraction. A dust extraction feature is wonderful because it stops the dust from clogging up your room. It saves you a lot of time on the cleanup and is just much healthier for you overall.

The next thing you want to think about is the kind of cuts you want to be able to make. Some saws have built-in miter cut systems, others have dado cut capabilities. You can sometimes buy aftermarket additions that can help you create different cuts. 

In terms of blades, you’ll be supplied with a standard blade. If you need different blades for different cuts and materials, you’ll need to buy these separately. Often blades are universal but you will need to check that your saw accepts universal blades rather than branded ones. 

Safety

The major safety concern with table saws is the fact that the blade sticks up above the level of the table. If you’re not careful you could lose your fingers. 

When using a table saw you should always use the push stick that is supplied with the saw. This allows you to push the material towards the saw without getting your fingers too close to the saw. 

Before you use your saw, you should check that the area around the saw and the table is clear of anything you can trip over or knock over. 

You should always wear safety glasses and ear defenders when using your saw. These will stop you from getting wood shavings in your eyes or the noise of the saw doing any damage. 

Before you cut, you need to check that there isn’t any metal inside the wood. Think about stray nails or screws. If these hit your saw blade they can shatter the blade or fly out and cause damage. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you really need a table saw?

No, people have made wonderful things with hand tools for hundreds of years. Table saws are, however, much more convenient and quicker than hand saws. 

They allow you to make a wide variety of cuts in lots of different materials without having to sink too much time and energy into the process. One of the great things about table saws is the fact that you can switch out the blade to do many different cuts. 

You’ll find it incredibly difficult to do dado cuts with another tool. The closest you’ll get is with a router. Ripping is another thing that the table saw helps with. Nothing rips wood like a table saw. It’s the reason that they are still used in lumber mills. 

What RPM is good for a table saw?

The RPM of the table saw will depend on the diameter of the blade. The RPM is worked out based on how many times a particular saw tooth passes a point in a minute.

On larger blades, the tooth has a bigger distance to travel around. This, even if it’s spun at the same speed, a larger blade will do fewer RPMs.

Most table saws tend to work at 3450 RPMs but the reality is that the RPMs don’t matter much. As long as it is close to 3450 RPMs you’ll be fine. 

Are circular saws and table saws the same thing?

They are not. Circular saws are handheld tools that are used for cutting a wide range of materials. Table saws are not massively portable. They can be lugged around but they are heavy and unwieldy. 

Circular saws can be pretty accurate but that largely depends on the skill of the user. Table saws meanwhile are much more precise. There is less room for user error. 

Table saws are generally used for woodworking whereas circular saws are more versatile. They can be used to cut through a lot of different materials. With table saws, you need a carbide blade to get through hardwoods and harder materials.

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