A Guide to Table Saw Features and Advantages

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If you want to commit to purchasing a table saw, you should first learn more about this amazing tool! So, take a look at a guide to table saw features and advantages we put together for you.

A table saw with a riving knife and splitter, one of the important table saw features and advantages

The ‘type’ of saw you are looking for

Typically, when looking into table saw features and advantages, you’ll come across three main types of saws:

  • Benchtop table saw
  • Jobsite table saw
  • Cabinet table saw

There are two other, less popular types:  the hybrid table saw and the contractor table saws, but they pale in popularity and functionality compared to the other three. The main difference here is in the power, portability, and reliability of the saws. The benchtop variants are small, portable, and okay for casual DIY projects. You can take them anywhere and set them up relatively quickly and easily. The jobsite saws are large, powerful, and used by professionals on construction sites. They cannot be moved as casually but have some features that make it easier. The final type is the cabinet table saws, used by professional woodworkers; they are tough to move and the most advanced.

The power and RPM of the table saw

Now, one of the most important things to cover when talking about table saw features and advantages is the power and RPM of saws. Power, or motor power of the saw, is pretty much what dictates the RPM, or revolutions per minute, in jobsite and benchtop saws. Cabinet saws, being bigger and better set, have some extra space to play, and the two are separate characteristics. Regardless, if you want a table saw for more casual use, you’ll be fine with a motor of around two horsepower. If you plan to get into professional woodworking, however, you’ll want a motor with around four or five horsepower to properly get use out of your table saw. The RPM is a more complex subject. But even for professional use, you’ll be more than fine with around four to five thousand RPM.

The blade that the table saw uses

Now, the ‘standard’ size of a table saw blade is ten inches. However, it is possible to find table saws, particularly when it comes to more mobile models, that use smaller blades. Typically ones around eight inches. If you plan on cutting large pieces of wood and making deep cuts, this is not a good thing. A table saw blade is not as simple to manage as a hand saw blade. And trying to use a bigger blade in a model built for eight-inch blades would not work. Trying to force the issue would only lead to disastrous results and, at best, a couple of missing fingers. So, if you care about this feature, be selective from the start!

The quality of the arbor and trunnion

When looking into table saw features and advantages as a beginner, the terms’ arbor and trunnion’ sound intimidating. However, that’s just the mechanism that holds your table saw’s blade in place and lets you manipulate it. A quality arbor and trunnion will provide you with a lot more freedom when adjusting your saw blade. And they’ll also last a long time without running into problems that either necessitate repairs or make an accident more likely. What’s important is that they are made solid, even if you have to give up on a bit of blade mobility. In fact, for beginners, a table saw with a less agile blade is likely a good idea anyway.

The quality and size of the table and the rip fence

Your table saw’s table, rip fence size, and quality will depend greatly on the type of saw you opt for. A generalization can be made that cabinet saws are the best, jobsite saws perfectly serviceable, and top bench saws horrible when it comes to these features. Simply put, the size of your table and its rip fence dictate the size of wood pieces your saw can work with. Certain attachments can boost this size, but if you just want to use your basic table saw without getting into those, then you need to make sure to get a sizable saw from the start. Of course, this also makes choosing the storage size for your table saw a bit more complicated, and you’ll have to find the right unit to store it. The ‘quality’ of the two simply depends on the material they’re made of.

Safety features of the saw

Just like there are some safety tools you should always keep in your toolbox, the safety features of your saw are the most important among its table saw features and advantages. Here’s the list of safety features you should absolutely make sure your saw has:

  • The flesh-detecting instant break feature. This detects the exact moment your flesh contacts the saw blade and turns it off before damage can be done.
  • The anti-kickback pawls feature. These claws prevent the wood you’re working on from being launched back at you by the saw.
  • The riving knife and splitter feature. They protect you from dangerous kickbacks when woodworking.
  • The safety power switch feature. You want to be able to shut down your saw quickly and easily at any time.

Additional useful features

The final thing to talk about when discussing table saw features and advantages are additional accessories. And there are two table saw accessories you should consider looking for. First, there’s the miter gauge, which can provide you with better cutting capacity and precision. Second, a feature you definitely want is a dust collector. Wood dust flying everywhere is annoying at best, and cleaning it is a pain and a half.

Looking for table saw features and advantages you are interested in

If the only reason you bothered to look up a guide to table saw features and advantages is a casual DIY project, deciding on the type of saw you want is more important than anything else. However, if you plan to make a living with your saw, looking for a saw with all the features we covered here is essential. Never settle for an inferior tool when a solid table saw can be used for a very long time with the proper maintenance!

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