Table saw is a very versatile power tool and it can be really helpful for any professional craftsmen or home DIYers. To get the best out of your table saw, you need to know few basics before you purchase the right table saw for you. Having clear ideas about the overall tool and its mechanism will assure the perfect cut and ultimate precision that you are looking for in a project. Here in this article, we will be talking about the types of table saw that will help you to choose the right table saw for your type of projects.
There are different types of table saw available in the market. Basically, there are two types of table saw based on the portability. They are portable table saw and stationary table saw. And then we will dive deeper about types of portable table saws and types of stationary saws. We emphasized on the portable table saws in our best table saw reviews since they have been most popular choices for most of the craftsmen and DIYers.
— Types of Table Saw —
Portable Table Saws
As the name suggests, portable table saws are those can be carried easily from one place to another. Portability has been a very important feature for most of the users. Portable saws are lighter, smaller and are designed for ultimate portability. How they keep their weight down? Well, they significantly reduce the use of heavy metals in construction. The manufacturers have been researching for years to find lighter and sturdier materials for their products. As expected, they are less powerful than the stationary ones. But wait, they are powerful enough to perform most of the cutting jobs with high precision and perfection. Three main types of portable table saws are Bench Top, Compact, and Jobsite.
- Bench Top Table Saw: This is the lightest and most affordable type of table saw. If you are someone looking for a light and compact designed table saw that can be perfect for a smaller range of cutting, this is the right product for you. Usually, they don’t have any attached stand, but the body is very light so that you can easily move that around. The tables are smaller than all other types of table saw, they have lowest rip capacity. Aluminum, plastic and other lightweight materials are used in construction to keep the weight lighter. They are perfect for cutting plywood, softwoods. But if you have larger workpieces to handle, benchtop table saws may create some problems.
- Compact Table Saw: Compact table saw are also lightweight and direct-drive table saw like the previous one. But it comes with some additional features like the stand. The table surface is larger and sturdier, made of cast iron. The rip capacity is significantly smaller if you are comparing them with the stationary table saws.
- Jobsite Table Saw: This is the most robust type of portable table saw. When a serious and professional contractor or craftsmen need a table saw with portability, this is the right choice for them. This is smaller than the stationary types, but largest of all portable table saws. More power than the other portable models and durability has made it suitable for heavy-duty usages. It has better rip capacity, better fences. The stand of a jobsite table saw features something more than just a stand. In most of the cases, they have transportation wheels. There are onboard storage spaces for accessories like a riving knife, dado blades when not being used.
Stationary Table Saw
Comparing to the portable table saws, stationary table saws are much larger, more powerful and more accurate. They can be moved from one place to another, of course, but they are not easily portable. You need to set them up at some places for quite a long time. They have heavy cast iron table to work on. Also, they have belt drive motor for power. Sometimes there are granite or aluminum table tops. They are designed for more serious and larger projects. The table top can be extended sometimes if needed. Some advanced models also feature outfeed table, extended rails, router tables for more precision and efficiency.
- Contractor Table Saw: Sometimes you will find that the jobsite table saws are referred as contractor table saws in the market. But that is not the actual contractor table saw. A real contractor table saw is much larger and powerful. They used to have large outboard induction motors with belt-drive, but continuous research has brought some changes in the design in the newer models. The overall design has been made for more professional users with fewer hazards. This you can say a smaller version of a cabinet saw, that we will discuss soon. If you are looking for a serious table saw, and you don’t have enough budgets to spend for a cabinet saw, this is the right choice. This is a lot less expensive than the cabinet models but far more powerful than the portable ones. Make sure you have enough space to accommodate this beast before you purchase.
- Hybrid Table Saw: This is the relatively newer version of table saw. Hybrid table saw has the features of old contractor table saws. As we have mentioned earlier, old contractor saws used to have outboard motors. Those old contractor saw with inboard belt drive induction motors are now called hybrid table saws. The concept might not always be very specific and clear. For an easier idea, the hybrid table saw is the middle ground saw, in between the cheaper contractor saws and industrial cabinet table saw. Usually, the hybrid saw has open leg stands. But there are newer models with an enclosed base. That has made it more confusing to identify since the cabinet saw has also enclosed base. So you need to be really careful to find the differences between an enclosed hybrid saw and an industrial cabinet saw.
- Cabinet Table Saw: This the most powerful, heaviest table saw with highest perfection and precision. As long as the look is concerned, this looks similar to the hybrid table saw. But the look is probably the only similarity. A cabinet saw is made to be durable and robust. Each of the components is made for the best performance even with the heaviest project. This table saw is extremely heavy, bulky and offers you services for decades. You will find them in all large workshops, specialized schools, and factory shops of all professional contractors. The motors are more powerful and produce 3 to 5HP. The fences are far more accurate than any other types of table saw. You don’t need to adjust the fences often. There is nearly nothing that a cabinet table saw cannot cut. Hardwood, pressure treated lumbers, large sheets, anything can be handled with the highest accuracy.
— Conclusion —
Well, that was really difficult to find the differences among the types of stationary table saws. And as you see, the market has been using the term “contractor saw” for even some jobsite table saw. The difference between the hybrid saw and the contractor saw is not very clear. But we tried to be as comprehensive as we can and at least you will be clear enough to be able to find out the right types of table saw for your type of projects. Cheers.