A table saw is one of the most versatile and crucial tools you can have in your small woodshop. It comes in handy in fast, precise, and safe wood cutting. The design and safety of a table saw makes it ideal for versatile woodshop works. I believe you’re searching for one to buy. Right?
Well, I can tell you you’re in the right place. While buying a table saw, there quite a several considerations that you have to go through to make sure you buy the right model for your needs. That’s what I’m giving you in this article. I’m hoping at the end of this guide, and you will be confident of finding a model that deserves your investment.
Let’s get started!
Factors to consider while buying the best table saw for a small workshop.
As I mentioned before, you have to be confident you’re buying the right table saw. But how do you do that? It’s quite simple! All you need is a list of factors to consider, check them out, and you’re good to go. These considerations include:
(1) Space Availability
Before anything else, you have to consider the space you have available in your small shop. Measure the space open for the table saw installation before heading to the market. With the availability of many models and types of table saws, you must buy a right-size unit for your space. Also, consider your preference and your needs. If you need a huge machine and you have a small space, you have to compromise or find a bigger space.
(2) Table Saw Types
There are several table saws out there. However, I will be looking at three models that are ideal for a small shop. As a handy tool for DIY projects, a good table saw type would ensure you meet your goals. Here are the top three table saw types you can buy for your small shop.
a) Bench-top saws
The bench-top table saw is an economically categorized model with high-power and lightweight properties. It’s an ideal machine for beginners. Even though it lacks gliding wheels, portability and mobility here is not an issue. Bench-top table saws are mostly suitable for the low-scale tasks at home, in a small shop, or garage. Their exterior is made using composite materials that are quite good when it comes to durability. Due to their small size, their ripping abilities are naturally limited to thin plywood and softwood.
b) Compact Table Saws
Compact table saws are a variant of bench-top models utilizing a direct drive transfer. The motor is designed to transfer the power directly to its blade from the engine. Similar to the standard direct-drive table saws, a compact type doesn’t offer high ripping capacity. They are purposely designed for low-key projects at small shops. Apart from the primary table saw features, the compact models also come with handy accessories like the cast-iron table-top and a stand to facilitate hassle-free action.
c) Hybrid Saws
Lastly, we have the hybrid table saws. It’s a combination of the contractor saw and the full-size professional cabinet saw. They’re available in two basic styles, the full enclosure, and the open-leg stand design. It’s not easy to tell the difference between these two designed until you dig deeper into its features. Then you need a bigger space compared to the above two.
3) Motor Horsepower
An ideal table saw must have adequate horsepower in its motor. The motor horsepower determines its ability to cut various materials with any issue. For that, while considering the table saw to buy, remember to check the motor horsepower. Additionally, think about the motor voltage to understand its power requirement. A smaller table saw for use with light tasks will have strength ranging between 1.5 and 2.0 HP while the heavy-duty models will have between 3.0 and 5.0 HP. Something like DEWALT DW745 Table Saw or Bosch Worksite Table Saw can be a real boost for you.
4) Motors and Drive Configuration
Did you know table saws use one of the two main drive/motor combinations? Yes, here are the primary two that you need to consider while making your selection.
These types of table saws come with a universal motor linked directly to the blade to ensure it transfers all its power to the edge. The saw motors are mostly found on the portable table saws. They are ideal in providing lots of energy in a compact package, but they can be quite loud.
These table saws come with an induction motor and a belt designed to transfer power to the blade. The saw engine can be offset, installed away from all the sawdust, which helps in extending its life. The configuration is quieter and ideal for cutting denser material. Another thing, the belt-drive saws do need extra preventive maintenance compared to direct-drive systems. You have to keep checking the belts for wear and also ensure they have proper tension periodically.
5) Accuracy and Smooth Cutting
The main reason for getting a table saw for many is to get a machine that helps them cut accurately and effortlessly. Right? Well, while making your selection, consider a table saw that can cut through all materials easily. When analyzing the accuracy, do check on its miter gauge to ensure you can make bevel cuts, cross-cuts, and rip cuts with the highest precision.
6) Dust Control
Dust isn’t friendly at all! And table saws have or not different ways to manage the powder produced during the cutting. You can get a model that comes with a port at the back for attaching a vacuum ideal for corralling the dust and collect it underneath the table saw. Another model might have a shroud installed over the blade and which redirects the dust collect over the saw.
Now, the best model is which comes with a combination of both. Yes, you have a small shop, but the work might be producing too much dust, and this combination will help clean your shop. It’s also good if you get a slanting chute to assist with redirecting the dirt to the main collection port.
Table saws aren’t cheap; you have to use some quite amount of your investment. It can be quite painful to invest in a table saw that fails to work after a week or a month. You have to make sure you can rely on the unit for some years. That’s why you have to consider checking out the whole item construction.
Get a model made from heavy-duty, rust-resistant metal. Also, ensure its surface, legs, and other parts are sturdy. Check the durability of each piece to be sure it’s a model worth your investment. Additionally, check for a warranty to be safe.
8) Ease of Use
You don’t need to learn to use a table saw. Yes, even though you need the necessary wood cutting, operating a table saw shouldn’t give you headaches. You need to save on time and work fast. All the adjustments need to be easy for you to achieve accurate cuts quickly. Ensure the casters or wheels and the levers on the table saw work correctly. Also, check the compatibility of your table saw with other essential components and accessories you might need for the job.
As I can remember, you need the best table saw for a small shop. Right? That means you need a table saw that gives you space to move around too. That call for a portable model that you can adjust its position when you need more space. For that, you have to consider a mobile unit with excellent mobility. Look at a collapsible design with functional wheels.
For you to have the best table saw for all your needs, you need to consider some extra features that need to be on the model while buying it. They include:
Blade Guard: Provide ideal protection from various dangerous instances like contact with the blade, kick back, or when getting dust and debris from the edge.
Mobile Stands: This works in providing ideal mobility while also enhancing the stability of your table saw.
Shaft Lock or Arbor: The feature works great in immobilizing the blade and shaft to make it safer and more comfortable to change it.
Extendable rip fences: The feature provides more rip cutting capacity when needed. And you know what, you can quickly spread it or fold it out after its work is done.
Micro-adjust rip fence: it’s designed to provide absolute control and also high quality cuts. It comes in handy when you need the work done faster and easier.
Riving Knife: Designed for cleaner and safer operation, the riving knife/splitter/spreader prevents the stock from pinching against the blade while you cut.
In conclusion, a good table saw will ensure you handle different cuttings better with high-accuracy and precision. A table saw will also fasten your work for better results. Remember, everything I have given you here is geared to finding the right table saw for a small shop. Consider your budget and get a model that you can afford. Good Luck!