- Introduction to the table saw
- Best Budget Table Saw buying guide
- Here is our list of the best budget table saws
- TOP 4 BEST BUDGET PORTABLE TABLE SAWS
- THE TOP THREE BUDGET CONTRACTORS TABLE SAWS
- Top three Best Budget Cabinet Table Saws
- THE TOP THREE HYBRID BUDGET TABLE SAWS
Introduction to the table saw
The table saw is an important tool to have. It allows one to rip, crosscut and join wood or sheet goods more efficiently. For those who are new to the craft. A table saw can serve as the first major power tool in your woodwork shop. Even though the main purpose of this saw was rip cutting (that is, cut wide boards into narrower pieces along their lengths). The tool has found other uses. These include to efficiently and accurately cut wood of almost any size. I am going to give you a brief description of the components of the table saw. Then I will give you a guide to buying the best table saw under 1000. Finally, make a recommendation of the best budget table saw available in the market.
If you are in a hurry, here are our top picks for best budget table saws
- The DEWALT DW745 is your best quality portable table saw, it is the best inexpensive table saw in our list.
- The Grizzly G1023RLW is our pick for the best cheap Cabinet table saw.
- The DEWALT DWE7491RS is the best choice for affordable contractor table saws.
- And the Shop-Fox W1824 is editor choice for the money, for the cheap price, its value is fantastic.
Now, skip to the second part of the article to find reviews of our recommended table saws for your needs.
A brief description of a table saw and its components
For those who are new to woodwork, below is a description of the basic parts of a table saw.
All table saws have standard external features. I am going to describe some of them below with the help of the illustration above.
|Base||The body of the saw. It supports the table. It can be free standing or on a support stand like the illustration above. (In modern portable variations the support stand has wheels and functions like a trolley). The base also contains the internal parts of the table saw. The power switch is also located on the base. Some variations also have dust collection ports on the base.||The base is made of steel. Higher quality saws have thicker gauge steel. Most modern portable variations are made of high-impact plastic. The plastic is used to withstand rough treatment and extreme weather.|
|Table||It is the business end of this powerful tool. The table provides a working surface. A good table should be flat and durable. As a woodwork professional, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a flat surface. A warped table can distort the dimensions of the work item. This can cause problems for high accuracy jobs like furniture making which I specialize in.||Heavy cast iron is the material of choice. The reason being it can maintain “flatness” for long. Aluminum is now being used as well especially for portable versions. Due to Improvements in foundry technology, a table saw can maintain its flatness and durability for years.|
|Throat plate||It is a removable insert located on the throat opening of the table. It’s made long enough to allow a blade and a splitter or riving knife to pass through it at any angle or height. Leveling screws are also put on a throat plate to allow adjustment. For those who want to work with blades that have dado heads. Optional throat plates with wider openings can be purchased. If you are into DIY you can make your own custom throat.||For safety, a throat plate is made of a soft nonferrous material like plastic. The material used should not spark or damage the blade on contact.|
|Rip Fence and Rails||During ripping the rip fence guides wood parallel to the blade as you cut the wood along its length. The fence moves along one or two rails attached to the front and back of the table saw-top. Ripping capacity is determined by the length of the rails. It varies between 24 inches to 52 inches. A measurement scale is also attached to the front rail and used in tandem with a cursor on the fence head. On some versions, the rails can be adjusted. Lastly, there is a clamping lever which locks the fence to the rail||It is made of plastic, aluminum or laminated wood.|
|Miter Gauge and Miter Slots||A miter gauge is used to guide the workpiece during crosscutting operations, usually at 90 degrees. On most saws, it consists of a protractor head attached to a length of ¾ inch wide bar stock. It functions by pivoting on the bar to the left and right for cutting angles from 30 degrees to 90 degrees in either direction. The miter gauge slides in slots that are milled in the tabletop parallel to each other to the left and right of the blade.||The protractor head is traditionally made of soft cast-metal. Aluminum is also used these days.|
The internal components of a table saw
Understanding the inner workings of the table saw is essential for tuning and maintenance purposes.
The illustration above shows what one could call the “engine” of the table saw. Like I did with the external parts I am going to give a brief overview. It is worth noting that the mechanisms vary slightly. For the sake of clarity, I will explain the components of a table saw type called “Contractors saw” (The types will be explained later).
|Arbor assembly||The arbor assembly is a core component of the internal mechanisms. It includes the arbor and sector gear. A sector gear is used for raising and lowering the blade. An arbor is a metal shaft that holds the blade as well its driver pulley(s).|
The blade end of an arbor is threated to fit a nut that sandwiches the blade. The pulley(s) drive the blade by means of a motor and belt(s). By contrast, portable saws are direct drive. This means that the arbor is directly attached to the motor shaft
|Carriage assembly||The carriage assembly is also referred to as the cradle. It consists of the front and rear trunnions or (rails) that connects them. It also serves as the mounting for the arbor assembly and motor. The carriage assembly rides in channels milled into the trunnion brackets.|
|Trunnion brackets||The trunnion brackets are located at the front and rear of the saw. They are for supporting the carriage assembly and allow it to be tilted.||They are mostly made of heavy cast iron for stationery saws. While lighter metals are used for a portable saw.|
|Sector Gears||A saw has two Sector gears for adjusting the blade. The arbor-sector gear is part of the arbor assembly. It provides for raising and lowering the blade. The bevel-sector gear, part of the carriage assembly, allows tilting of the blade for beveling.|
|Adjustment wheels||Changes in blade height and angle are accomplished by means of handwheels that extend through the saw body.|
The height-adjustment handwheel is at the front of the saw body. It used to raise and lower the blade and can be prevented from turning using the knob at its hub.
The blade-tilting handwheel is located either on the right or left side of the saw base on stationary saws. On portable saws, it is located on the front of the saw where it is combined with the height adjustment wheel.
|Power switch||The power switch is located on the front of the saw. They are two basic mechanisms. Manual and magnetic.|
Magnetic switches are the most recommended. This is because they are maintained by current only. In case of a temporary power failure a magnetic switch will remain off until on button is pressed. Whereas a manual switch requires physical pressure to be exerted on it for it to be off.
Best Budget Table Saw buying guide
There are two basic types of table saws: Portable or Stationery. A portable saw is ideal for offsite jobs or when space is confined. A stationery saw is ideal for setting up in a workshop. One key difference is that Stationery table saws are heavier. Which makes them have better accuracy because they vibrate less during use. This makes them the best choice for commercial woodwork and high precision work like furniture work.
Portable saws come in three variations namely benchtop, compact and Jobsite. The standard motor-size is direct drive 15 Amp 120V motors producing a maximum of 2hp. Portable saws are lightweight and cheaper which is their biggest attraction. Their biggest weakness is accuracy, especially for complex jobs. I recommend this type for enthusiasts, novices.
- Benchtop tables are designed to be compact, very light and affordable. They are ideal for the occasional woodworker. They are very easy to be carried around. In order to achieve lightness, they have many plastic and aluminum parts. Benchtop table saws have small tables. As a result, rip capacity is limited. Best budget table saw are usually portable as they are cheap and more suitable for lighter jobs.
The contractor saw is suitable for a home-shop woodworker and professionals alike. Historically it was designed as a scaled-down version of the industrial table saw. The contractor’s saw is suited for a lot of work required in a professional setting. The biggest advantage is their relatively cheaper cost. Contractor table saws can be transported to a temporary jobsite like a building site. They have better ripping capacity than portable saws.
Features and pros
- Contractor table saws has a maximum of 2 HP motor.
- They can weigh up to 300 pounds. The extra weight ensures better accuracy. However, portability becomes compromised as the saw becomes heavier.
- They have a large induction motor driven by a belt.
- It is the lowest maintenance type.
- A great alternative for professionals who can’t afford cabinet saws.
- 2hp motor makes it very hard to cut high-density wood like maple.
- Dust collection is not there
- Not designed to work continually for hours. (You might end up burning the motor).
- Hanging an outfeed table is problematic due to the motor hanging off the back of the saw.
Stationery Table Saw
Cabinet saws are the major type of stationery saw. This is because of their heavyweight. In its primary configuration, the cabinet saw’s footprint doesn’t vary from the other saw types but they weigh 200lbs -600lbs more than the other types. The extra weight is attributed to “beefier” parts.
Features and pros
- Cabinet table saws have a thicker cast iron top, heavier cast iron internal mechanisms, larger motor, thicker enclosed base, larger adjustment wheels, fence and even miter gauge. All this gives the cabinet saw more stability than other types.
- The components of this saw are also machined to closer tolerance. As a result, the saw has more accuracy.
- Cabinet saws are cooled by a 3hp-5hp motor.
- The motor is totally enclosed and fan-cooled. This makes for a longer life inside a dusty workshop.
- In Cabinet saws, the motor drives the arbor using two or three short belts. This eliminates belt slippage and delivers maximum power.
- Shorter belts create less vibrations and noise.
- Lastly, the cabinet, adds heft and muffles some of the noise and contains sawdust
- This type of saw is immobile. This can create issues when space is limited.
- In spite of their accuracy, they have heavier complex parts. This makes them not good for the absolute beginner.
- Price is also hefty. If you are not using the saw for commercial purposes it’s not ideal.
This is a saw ideal for professionals. DIY enthusiasts who want to do large jobs can also find this type of table saw more useful.
These are a recent addition to the industry. Hybrid saws fall between contractor and industrial cabinet saws. They usually have open leg stands, but there are some models that have cabinets.
Features and pros
- Hybrid table saws are designed to compete with high-end industrial cabinet saws.
- They offer reasonable accuracy and very smooth performance.
- Their biggest selling point is they can be connected to a domestic power point. ( No need to alter your home installations)
- Another thing is that they are affordable in comparison with the higher-end versions, for under 1000 dollars, you can find a very good value hybrid table saw.
- They are not portable.
- Not recommended for absolute beginners. (Heavy duty means a higher risk of injury). Injuries aside improper use can result in damaged parts.
Now that I have explained the core types of table saw. I am going to do a review of the top table saws in each category. This list is derived from my vast experience in the industry.
Here is our list of the best budget table saws
TOP 4 BEST BUDGET PORTABLE TABLE SAWS
1. DEWALT DW745 10 Inch Compact Job-Site Table Saw – Top Pick
This is the best portable table saw under 1000 on the market. I personally own one in my shop.
Features that make it number 1
- 20-inch maximum rip capacity. This is very impressive for a portable saw. It allows one to work on many pieces. To achieve this DEWALT has installed a telescoping fence rail. The rail moves up to 20 inches to rip full.
- 120 V this makes it ideal to use on a home plug point. This has been handy for me when I get called to work at people’s homes. For instance, last week when I did antique furniture restoration for one high rolling client. They did not want any of their furniture to be taken off their premises.
- Cut depth 3-1/8 inches at 90 degrees and 2-1/4 inches at 45 degrees.
- Affordable price
- It’s still a lightweight saw. The 2hp motor is still small.
2. SKILSAW SPT70WT-01 10” Portable Worm Drive
This is the second-best budget portable table saw under 1000 in the market. After hearing a lot of good things about this saw I decided to check this out at our local hardware store.
Features that make it number 2.
- The arbor assembly is driven by a brass worm gear. It delivers 5hp. Making it the most powerful portable table saw.
- It has a dual field motor for increased cutting speed and extended motor life.
- Bevel capacity 46.
- The saw has a cheap skill blade.
- I noticed that the blade wobbles during use.
- This is a very good saw. However, it has a few flaws. It scores 9/15.
3. BOSCH 10-inch worksite Table saw
This is the third-best saw at the moment. One of the features I like is that it delivers 4hp which is a lot of power for a portable saw.
- 25-inch rip capacity
- Aluminum table top.
- 15-amp motor delivering 4hp
- Wheeled stand
Features that make it number 3
- It has a wheeled stand. This gives the stand outstanding portability and increased rip capacity.
- I have also noticed that it maintains speed under load. This is achieved because of the response circuitry.
- Rip capacity is 25 inches is impressive for a portable table.
- I have encountered problems with the misaligned miter gauge.
- Customer service has been found wanting at times when you need to service it.
For more information for the best portable tables saws, check out this article.
THE TOP THREE BUDGET CONTRACTORS TABLE SAWS
1.DEWALT DWE7491RS 10-inch – THE best budget contractors saw
- 32-inch rip capacity
- 15-amp motor
- Rolling stand for easy setup and breakdown.
- Onboard storage system
- 2 ½ inch dust collection kit
Features that make it number 1
- The large ripping capacity of this table saw is impressive
2. Makita 2705 10-inch table saw
This is the second-best contractor saw. Makita has been supplying great tools in America for years. For the price of under 1000, the 2705 does not disappoint.
- 25-inch rip capacity it can cut up to 4x material in one go
- Aluminum die-cast precision machined table top
- Guard design allows the operator to view the blade as it contacts material.
- It can work with DADO blades.
Features that make it number 2
- I noticed that the Makita 2705 has very strong components. It is machined to last.
- When using it one gets to see its adequately powered.
- Novices will find it very easy to use.
- Very good value for its price
- It doesn’t work well when dust accumulates.
- The owner’s user manual is not detailed enough.
- The fence is also not accurate. Which is problematic for furniture makers.
3. Rockwell RK7241S Table Saw with Laser
This is the third-best table saw. Honestly what attracted me to this saw was the Laser part. I got a chance to experience this saw on a certain job I did. Ideal for professionals and hobbyist alike.
- Laser guided. It has a laser indicator to adjust blade tilt.
- 30-inch rip capacity
- Easy to transport. Arguably the most mobile contractors table saw.
- Easy set up on the jobsite.
- This table saw makes very accurate cuts. Something essential for me as a furniture maker.
- Reasonable price.
- The table top is cannot stay even for long for the affordable price I think one can learn to deal with this defect though.
- The motor is not replaceable. So, if it spoils one has to get a new table.
For more information for the best contractor tables saws, check out this article.
Top three Best Budget Cabinet Table Saws
1. Grizzly G1023RLW Cabinet Left-Tilting Table – Top Choice
This is the best Table saw in America right now. I recently encountered it during a local woodwork fair. It was presented for a very affordable good price.
- The table top is precision ground heat-treated solid cast iron
- Arbor assembly is cast iron
- Heavy gauge steel cabinet
- 3HP 240 volts single phase motor
- Arbor can accept dado blades
- Serpentine drive belt
Features that make it number 1
- The price is very good for a heavy -duty table saw.
- Heavy cast iron parts minimize vibrations making it very quiet.
- The cast iron top is very flat.
- Easy setup.
- The blade guard is bulky and doesn’t have dust collection on it.
- Rust prevention is not very good
2. SawStop PCS3120-TGP252 – The best overall professional table saw
This is the best professional table saw in the market. All its components are high end. I have owned one for some time. I strongly recommend it for furniture makers.
- Motor 1.75HP and 3HP options.
- 99% Dust collection port diameter 4inch.
- Professional T glide fence.
- Safety system.
- Antikickback riving knife.
- One year limited warranty.
- This is a very powerful saw it makes good cuts.
- I have noticed that its dust collection is really effective.
- It’s the safest saw in the market.
- The price is still a bit steep. I personally think that you should only buy this table saw when you need to make money with it.
3. ShopFox W1837
I recently helped a friend set up this one in her workshop.
- Rip capacity 29-1/2 inches
- Motor 3HP
- Clear polycarbonate guard allows you to see the blade cut the workpiece.
- Antikickback pawls for the workpiece to travel only in one direction
- Precision ground polished cast iron table top.
- Has standard and Dado inserts.
- Magnetic Switch with thermal overload protection.
- Easy to assemble and set up.
- During use, the adjustments are very easy
- Overall this is a good saw. I don’t have much to say. You just need to experience it.
- My biggest misgiving is the fence which is not very stable.
THE TOP THREE HYBRID BUDGET TABLE SAWS
1. Shop-Fox W1824 Hybrid Table Saw – Top Pick
- 2HP motor.
- 30 inches rip capacity.
- 4-inch dust port.
- Precision ground cast iron table.
- It’s very easy to assemble
- Adjustments are easy making it ideal for novices.
- Makes good cuts for a hybrid table saw.
- Overall its performance is satisfactory and one can do as much work as the high-end cabinet saws.
- Great price(under $1000), it is the best budget table saw for hybrid type.
- Blade alignment might be difficult for the first time
2. Powermatic PM100
The second-best hybrid table delivers a lot of good features
- 115 Volts(can work on domestic sockets)
- 75hp or 1hp Motor.
- Conveniently located switch
- Maximized dust collection
- It offers low power consumption. The lowest for a cabinet saw. The motor performs very well despite the size.
- It’s a very compact saw
- Easy to use making it suitable for novices
- Very little vibrations making it very accurate.
- Some have complained about the customer service of Powermatic
- Blade guard mounting bolts makes contact with the blades.
3. Grizzly G0690
The third best hybrid table saw is the Grizzly GO690. Grizzly is known for quality and this one does not disappoint. It is on our list as one of the best cabinet tables saw here.
- 3 HP triple belt moto
- Cast iron table top
- 4-inch dust collection port.
- Quick-release riving knife
- Overall it’s a good quality saw
- Short cable.
- Runs on 240 so it can’t run on domestic power points.
I have given you a comprehensive guide on the best budget table saws. They are quite cheap and affordable for their price are most of them are under $1000. Hopefully, you will make a wise decision when making your decision to buy the best value table saw for your budget. Stay tuned for our next guide for using table saws and a few secrets, tips and tricks.
Updated July 2019: we updated the list with detail information for each type of table saw: contractor, portable and cabinet.