A table saw plays a key role in any home workshop. It is usually the very first power tool that you crank up to start building any wooden structures or items for your patio or garden. Whether you want to cut plywood sheets, narrow boards, or tackle specialised cuts such as tenons, slots, or grooves, a table saw is essential for sizing wood. This enables you to create useful objects and gadgets for your gardening tasks, thus saving lots of money on purchasing new ones.
Due to its importance in both professional and DIY projects, selecting the right table saw for your need is very important. That’s why I decided to write this comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision.
What You'll Learn Today
- Key considerations to look for when purchasing a table saw in the UK
- Key features of a table saw
- How to use a table saw
- Top 5 best table saw reviews
- Frequently asked questions
Key considerations to look for when purchasing a table saw in the UK
Safety is the most important factor when choosing any power tool with blades. Ideally, go for any model with gate guards which can keep the hands from accessing the blade. Also, they should come with safety stop features to reduce the risk of injuries when the fingers touch the blade. Some products have pusher tools which allow you to keep guiding the board smoothly for a comprehensive cut, while keeping a distance between the blade and your hands.
b) Kinds of table saws
There are basically 4 kinds of table saws.
Portable or worksite saws are often crafted from lightweight materials like aluminium for ease of transport. The motors are also more compact and less powerful. Thus, these models often have less cutting performance, less stability, and higher vibration.
Contractor table saws are a bit heavier than portable models, but they are still portable. Also, these units come with more powerful motors and heavier table tops. The prices are still in the affordable range, making it great for simple cutting tasks and other cabinetry or furniture work.
Cabinet saws are the most popular option for professional woodworkers. They feature powerful motors, often from 3HP to 5HP enclosed in a super durable construction. You can use them for straight, smooth hardwood cuts without excessive vibration.
Hybrid saws are designed with powerful motors and durable construction yet light weights. Despite this great combination of many advanced features, they are still available at affordable price tags.
Key features of a table saw
Here are some main features that you will see in most table saws:
- Fence: A long guide that is parallel to the blade. It is responsible for keeping a constant distance between the work and the blade in a ripping cut.
- Blade: This is obviously the cutting part. Depending on the teeth, grind, and shape, there are 4 basic types of blades, including triple-chip grind, alternate top bevel, flat top grind, and combination.
- Blade insert: An insert filling the hole which helps swap blades.
- Height adjustment wheel: You can use this part to adjust the height of a blade
- Angle adjustment lever: Similarly, this part can change the blade’s angle
How to use a table saw
i) Common types of cuts with a table saw
Basically, you can perform 3 types of cuts with a table saw.
- The ripping cut is a long cut down the board’s length, alongside the grain. You can use it to adjust the widths of the boards.
- The crosscutting cut is made along the board’s grain to adjust the length. For example, you can use it to saw a board into two pieces or trim off several inches.
- Dado cutting is a speciality type which creates a notch, groove, or trench. It is most common for building furniture.
ii) Care for a table saw
To ensure long-lasting use, here are a few useful tips to know:
- Often check for wear on the drive belt of the motor and replace it whenever you see heavy wear.
- Check the blades regularly and change it when too many teeth are missed.
- After each use, make sure to clean up scraps and sawdust. This will keep the table and blade free of dust and debris and make it ready for the next tasks
- Only use your table saw for tasks that it is intended to handle. For example, avoid using a benchtop saw for cutting hardwood, especially thick boards. It might reduce the lifespan of the motor.
iii) Safety rules
Table saws can be dangerous power tools. They would seriously injure your body if you are careless. That’s why it is important to stick to these safety rules.
- Always wear ear and eye protection before working with a table saw. A hardhat equipped with a visor or safety goggles are must-have items when cutting boards. This will keep wood debris or sawdust from flying into your eyes or face. Disposable earplugs can protect your eardrums against loud noises produced by the blade.
- Use a splitter, push stick, or push when cutting a thin, short board. This will guide the wood when it is cut.
- Use a clearance insert to protect the fingers from touching the blade when ripping extremely thin boards. A pushing device can be a good alternative.
- Always set up the blade guard correctly to prevent debris or dust from kicking back and keep a safe distance between the blade and your fingers.
- Avoid cutting bent or warped boards as they tend to kick back with rough cuts.
- Do not wear loose clothing or hanging jewellery when working with a table saw. They would get caught or trapped and cause serious accidents.
Top 5 best table saw reviews
1. Bosch GTS 10 Corded Table Saw 240V
At first glance, there seems to be nothing unique about the GTS table saw by Bosch. However, this is indeed one of the most powerful models in its class. It comes with a 1800W motor that can start softly and protect against overload for quick working progress. The ergonomic knob and wheel allow for convenient depth and bevel adjustment.
Thanks to a compact design and carry handles, you can easily carry it around or store anywhere without taking up too much space. This set features complete on-tool storage, including the wrench, mitre gauge, smart guard, and rip fence. All can be found under the table to meet most of your working requirements. The base is specially designed with enhanced durability and sturdiness.
What I like about it:
- Safe storages of accessories and tools
- Durable base design
- Ergonomic knob and wheel
- Built-in table extension
2. DeWalt DW745 Table Saw Compact Jobsite
The Dewalt DW745 table saw features an optimal footprint and a weight of 22 kg, making it one of the most portable options on the market. However, this doesn’t mean that the ripping sizes are compromised. Thanks to extending fence guides, it is possible to cut up to 20 inches. Power comes from a 15A motor with a 3850 RPM no-load speed. This is sufficient for most light-duty tasks in the construction site or serious DIY work.
There is a roll cage crafted steel to protect it against jobsite impacts and drops. This table saw features a pinion and rack fence system, clear and large scales, and a rear and front fence lock combine to allow for an extremely precise unit. Lastly, adjustments are accurate and easy with a quick bevel lock.
What I like about it:
- Lightweight and heavy-duty
- Roll cage to protect against impacts and drops
- Powerful motor for great performance
- Cast tabletop design for precision
3. VonHaus 1800W Table Saws Circular Mitre Function
Versatile, powerful, and reliable, this well-designed mitre and circular table saw from VonHaus is a perfect option for professional woodworkers or DIY enthusiasts. It features a carbide-tipped cutting blade with a length of 250 mm, which enables you to make accurate angled cuts in different types of woods. The angle and height could be adjusted easily to make mitre cuts.
Its surface is powder coated with side extensions, making it simpler to position pieces. To ensure safety, there is also a quick-clamp rip fence. With the dust-extraction port, you can attach the unit to a vacuum cleaner and collect debris or sawdust efficiently. Also, the durable base frame gives you a stable position and comfortable working height for all surfaces.
What I like about it:
- Accurate angled cuts with the cross top
- Extendable sides for different workpieces
- Durable base frame
- Quick-clamp rip fence for secure cutting
4. Evolution Power Tools Multi-Purpose Table Saw FURY6 210 mm
With patented technology, this multi-functional table saw from Evolution Power Tools is great for many materials, such as plastic, aluminium, wood, and steel. It only uses one blade to allow for precise, clean, and quick cuts. With a powerful 1200W hi-torque gearbox, the saw can minimize motor stresses, thus enhancing durability and performance. When dealing with, it only leaves a workable finish without sparks, burr, or heat.
Switching between different is effortless and quick. The useful on/off switches for table and mitre saw ensures a safe operation. The saw can be mounted to the workbench and comes with rubber suction feet to stay firmly in place on any work surface. Additionally, its aluminium base can resist the most demanding metallic tasks.
What I like about it:
- Simple and quick function switches
- Durable rip fence for precise, fast cuts
- Virtually no heat and sparks
- Ideal for cutting plastic, wood, aluminium, and steel
5. Draper 82570 230V 1800W Extended Table Saw
If you are looking for a versatile tool for your workshop, then look no further with the Draper 82570 table saw. This unit could be both fitted to a stand or bench mounted. With the push stick and 36T blade, you can use it to cut most types of wood. The range features components for most of the DIY tasks, such as multitools, sanders, jigsaws, angle grinders, hammer drills, and screwdrivers.
The package provides concise and clear instructions so that you can learn how to use it quickly. Despite its compact design, the motor is powerful enough to deal with both light-duty and heavy-duty projects.
What I like about it:
- Concise and clear instructions
- Heavy-duty yet lightweight construction
- Versatile 36T blade
- Include dust extraction feature
Frequently asked questions
How to build table saw fence?
- Ensure your table is square, using a T-square and a level, then measure the table.
- Using 2×4, cut a length that is slightly longer than the table.
- Next, cut a length of 2×4 in half widthways, and screw these pieces to the end of the fence.
- Screw on the back piece, then line up the front piece and mark where to place the hole so that you are screwing against the table.
- Drill a hole in the front piece of half 2×4, and screw in a screw-in nut with a hex key.
The size of your table saw fence will depend on the size of your saw, so have a look at a few different plans to work out which one is right for you.
How to align table saw blade?
First, set your blade at 90 degrees and align it parallel with the saw’s mitre. Next, set the blade to 45 degrees and check the alignment again. The 90 degrees check must be done before the 45 degree check, otherwise the alignment won’t work.
How to use a table saw to cut right angles?
- Always wear proper protective equipment – safety goggles and ear defenders, and ensure that you have no loose clothing that could get snagged.
- Make sure the mitre gauge is squared up to the saw blade.
- Ensure the angle you want to cut by marking it out on the board to be cut.
- Set the saw to the correct angle using a mitre gauge.
- Make a couple of test cuts before you make your final cut, so that you can be sure you have everything set at the right angle.
- Always hold the wood you are cutting with your dominant hand, and stand away from the cutting blade to avoid accidents.
- Make the final cut, and enjoy your perfect right angles!