Professional woodworkers and serious hobbyists know all too well that table saws are quite expensive commodities and will take up much more space than expected.
Manufacturers know this all too well, and with feedback from customers, they’ve created a new breed of table saw: the portable saw!
They are lighter, more compact, and less expensive than their bigger counterparts.
Moreover, the best portable table saw for fine woodworking will guarantee to rival any standard cabinet table saw in terms of precision.
Portability is the unique feature that makes portable saws stand out against traditional small saws or table saws.
We’ve taken the initiative to provide you with a list of the five best portable table saws, including their main strengths, weaknesses, and why users are favoring them over others.
Let’s delve into it!
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Portable Table Saws For Fine Woodworking – Reviews
- Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions For Portable Table Saw
- How Much RPM Is Enough?
- What’s A Table Saw Miter Gauge?
- Is A laser Indicator Essential?
- How High Should The Portable Table Saw Table Be?
- How Many Drive Types Are There?
- Is A Table Saw Stand Necessary?
- Is Dado Blade Compatibility Necessary?
- What’s The Best Table Saw For Beginners?
- Are More Expensive Options Better?
- What Are The Safety Features Of Portable Table Saws?
5 Best Portable Table Saws For Fine Woodworking – Reviews
Anyone who has some knowledge about portable table saws knows the name DEWALT. Indeed, it’s one of if not the best brand out there in the field.
Suffice to say, a portable table saw bearing the name DEWALT is already a testament to its quality. But the DEWALT DWE7491RS stands as the best among them.
First of all, let’s talk about the rip capacity of this bad boy. It has a massive, massive rip capacity of 32.5 inches and a 22 inches max rip to the left side of the blade.
With this much extra capacity, you will be able to cut large and hardwood materials easier and more efficiently. Coupled with the 15 amp motor, your rips will get even quicker.
Even with the larger capacity, the DWE7491RS portable table saw remains lightweight – in fact, it is one of the lighter ones in its field.
You can easily move it around or carry it anywhere you want, making it a versatile piece of construction that many woodworkers will like.
The DWE7491RS portable table saw also features an onboard storage system. Therefore you can tuck away fences, wrenches, cord wrap, miter gauge, and more when you’re not using it.
Indeed, one of the more present problems with table saws is that they’re quite imposing, even portable table saws. This feature will help with that.
This portable table saw has a dust collection port that connects to a vacuum for efficient dust extraction, regarding self-maintenance.
After working, sometimes we feel too tired to clean up, and this unique capability will help you keep your workplace clean and fresh effortlessly.
SKILSAW is famous for producing table saws with the strongest motors, and this portable one is no different.
This portable table saw employs SKILSAW’s legendary Worm Drive power in a lighter, mobile design. No application is too tough for SPT99T.
No matter the type of cut you want, this saw will work on your materials seamlessly, delivering a 2-⅝ inches depth of cut with 25 inches of rip capacity for comfortable operation.
This saw also comes with a precision rack and pinion system for easy fence adjustments.
With quick and smooth fence adjustments, you can be sure that the cuts are accurate and satisfy your needs. This excellent maneuverability goes great with how powerful the device is.
It’s a portable table saw, so sometimes it sacrifices durability for functionality and compactness; however, this piece of work isn’t such a case.
Not only is it a powerhouse itself, but it’s also functional with a durable all-metal construction, yet is lightweight enough for easy transportation and application.
DWE7485 is another well-built, tough unit from DEWALT. It has a lesser rip capacity than DWE7491RS at 24.5 inches, but this is still plenty for effective ripping of MDF, 4×8 plywood, or OSB sheets.
It still retains many other signature high-quality features from DEWALT at a very attractive price.
Indeed, this can be the most cost-effective portable table on this list, more bang for your buck .
It’s very powerful for its affordable price tag, with a 5800 RPM motor capable of completing a majority of applications.
Not only is it functional, but it’s also highly strong with a metal roll cage to provide maximum durability.
Like its cousin DWE7491RS, DWE7485 also features onboard storage to provide easy access to various components when not in use.
This adds to the equipment’s compactness, making it easier to transport and store however you like.
DWE7485 also has rack and pinion fence rails to make fence adjustments fast, smooth, and accurate.
Professional woodworkers will like this for making their job become easier.
The Makita 2705 is quite different from others on the list, as it’s not very portable. The piece’s bulky nature makes it extremely durable and stable when operating.
Regardless, Makita makes up for the bulkiness with its smooth and easy design. It has a 15-amp motor capable of delivering 4800 RPM to cut through even the heaviest materials while still remaining stable thanks to its sturdy construction.
There are dual side guards with high adjustability to allow easy measurement between the blade and the rip fence.
This also helps improve the safety and effectiveness of cutting and ripping. It has a cam lock mechanism for easy installation or removal of blade guards when not using.
In terms of adjustments, Makita 2705 can adjust heights easily with a release lever, allowing for three different positions: dado cuts as well as both through and non-through cuts.
There are also two anti-kickback pawls and riving knife or spreader for through cuts.
Bosch is one of the veteran brands in the field. They have provided workers with great tools for generations, and the 4100 table saw from them is a continuation of that.
What makes it stand out is its easy usage and high adjustability, providing great performances to both hobbyists and professionals alike.
First of all, what makes it unique is the adjustable stand. Using Bosch 4100, you don’t have to worry about it fitting your height or not.
It has a gravity-rise design with wheel feet for easy adjustments, setup, and disassembly, while still providing stability.
This unit is powerful. It has a 15-amp with 3650 no-load RPM motos, delivering professional-level rip. Its rip capacity is 25 inches that allows cutting of large areas, almost rivaling the DEWALT DWE7491RS in this regard.
It’s also very safe to use. Bosch 4100 includes safety features such as a smart guard system and soft-start circuitry to manage the intensity of the motor start-up.
This helps minimize the possibility of tripping a circuit breaker. The constant response circuitry aids in maintaining speed under load.
It doesn’t sacrifice durability for its easy usage; on the contrary, it’s very durable, with its heavy-gauge steel construction and a large aluminum cast top. This guarantees to bring you more workspace and material support.
The field of portable table saw has become very competitive. Many brands are racing towards creating the absolute best model to satisfy both professionals and hobbyists.
It’s becoming more difficult to know which portable table saw is better than the other. Lots of portable table saws are even indistinguishable from each other.
This is simply the nature of the competition. Rather than being more innovative, many newer products only follow their predecessors’ paths.
But by being more informed, you can discern which table saws are good for you.
Moreover, as woodworking requires utmost caution at all times, it’s apt that you’re acquainted with the details about the tools you work with.
Thus, regardless of what products you intend to buy, you must thoroughly consider every possible factor. There are several things and factors you should note before purchasing.
It might not be an exaggeration to say that one of the most important things for a woodworker is their workspace.
You can’t operate safely and effectively if you don’t have a comfortable space, allowing easy movement and mobility.
This is something you must take into consideration. Although portable table saws are lighter and more compact than permanent setups, they still require a clear space to live up to their full effectiveness.
You should measure in advance how much space is available and how large is the portable table saw before buying.
Types of Portable Table Saws
There are two main types of portable table saws, which are benchtop and jobsite table saws.
Benchtop ones are more compact and lightweight with more attractive prices. But they can usually only operate on lighter applications and have smaller rip capacities than their jobsite counterparts.
Jobsite table saws are larger than benchtop table saws but still retain their compactness to fit easily in a smaller workspace.
They usually have high mobility and adjustability, great for heavier, tougher applications.
Jobsite table saws also have higher rip capacity and onboard storage that provide more comfortable operations.
Depending on your needs and preferences, you can choose between the two types.
Even among portable table saws, not all are equal in terms of portability. There are indeed heavier and lighter options among them.
But what’s common is that they are all within a range that makes them still great for transportation.
Many woodworkers don’t prefer plastic components in their portable table saws.
But if you plan on using the tools a lot and oftentimes between different places, plastic parts will assist in easier transportation.
If you more or less only use your portable table saw in a fixed place, metal is the better material. It is known for its extra durability.
There are all-metal portable table saws out there that also fit flexible transportations. This is something that you should test before purchasing as everyone’s different.
Power and Speed
These are pretty straightforward factors to consider. Almost all portable table saws operate with 15-amp motors, sufficient for around at least 3650 – 5000 RPM, which is typically the speed for portable table saws.
These are less powerful than motors that come from a stationary contractor table saw or cabinet table saw.
Suppose you require heavier applications. You should consider whether or not a portable table saw is enough.
They make up for their less powerful motors in other areas, but sometimes you might need more power than fit and functions.
Ultimately, depending a lot on the nature of your tasks as well as your personal preferences. The higher power and speeds will help you cut cleaner, faster and smoother.
Rip capacity determines how much space there is between the edge of the blade and the fence. Most portable table saws have at least 20 inches of rip capacity.
Make sure that the rip capacity and your table surface are wide enough so you can operate on your materials. Different types of work will require various capacities.
For example, if you only cut plywood sheets with standard 4×8 dimensions, a rip capacity of about 25 inches might do the job.
That means for smaller wood pieces, portable table saws could easily satisfy.
But again, this depends on the kind of work and the materials of your project. You must measure first to see if the portable table saw’s rip capacity is what you need.
Another thing to consider along with the rip capacity is the rip fence, which is an important part of any table saw.
Its function is to ensure that the materials being cut are lined up according to how you want so that it’s ripped cleanly, more accurate cuts.
The fence should be locked to be parallel to the blade before cutting. Although there are many products with embedded rip fences, there are some options where you have to purchase fences separately.
In that case, you have to check thoroughly the measurements of the fence against your table saws so that they line up well.
How safe table saw is also an important factor to consider as woodworking is still a quite dangerous activity.
Some portable table saws will feature emergency breaks for flesh detection, while others will retain essential features like a riving knife or blade guard.
These features can help prevent kickback or add more sturdiness when using.
In regards to the emergency break, it can stop the blade right away when it accidentally touches our skin.
Budget table saws won’t have these breaks but they are becoming more affordable with time.
Other safety features to note are power cut off switch which automatically turns off when power is accidentally disconnected when in use, and push sticks to help you operate further away from the spinning blades of the table saws.
Ease of Use
The level of convenience or easy usage of a product can be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing a portable table saw.
Most portable table saws have very high maneuverability, allowing for easy transportation from place to place, with some more convenient features and easier setup.
The weight will factor into this, but for the most part, it’s offset by other features such as adjustability.
The Bosch 4100 we listed is one example of a portable table saw that is easy to use and can fulfill both professional woodworkers and hobbyists’ needs.
As portable table saws are smaller and lighter in construction, they have to maximize their effectiveness with other features.
You must consider a few other things before buying a portable table saw, namely its onboard storage, dust collection port, miter gauge, dado blade compatibility, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions For Portable Table Saw
How Much RPM Is Enough?
RPM stands for rotations per minute, an important factor to consider before buying portable table saws.
Generally, anything above 4500 RPM will do, and the rule of thumb is that the higher the RPM, the better.
As high RPM will mean that you can make smooth cuts easier and uneven edges will appear less.
What’s A Table Saw Miter Gauge?
A miter gauge is a piece of equipment used for when you want to make an angled cut such as miter and cross cuts.
Typically, this is done by hand, with you pushing the workpiece against the miter gauge then moving it accordingly across the saw to make the cut.
The locking mechanism of the miter gauge can pivot between 45 and -45 degrees to aid you in any angle.
Is A laser Indicator Essential?
A laser indicator will help you cut more accurately by projecting a laser line to align with the saw blade.
Although this is a great help, especially for newcomers, it’s not essential as a lot of woodworkers prefer to measure manually.
How High Should The Portable Table Saw Table Be?
This will greatly depend on your own height, and there’s no set height. Normally the proper height is 34 inches, while the range can be between 31 and 38 inches.
But as a general rule, your table saw’s height should be even with the distance between your floor and your thumb knuckle.
How Many Drive Types Are There?
The drive type of a portable table saw is important to the operation of the table saw. There are two types: direct drive and belt drive.
A direct drive loses less power as the blade is directly connected to the motor. But belt drive has the advantage of power which is generated via a pulley system, and is more suitable for heavy-duty woodworking tasks.
Is A Table Saw Stand Necessary?
Not if you already have a stable surface to place the table saw on.
But if you use your own work surface, make sure that it has an 11-inch opening underneath. So sawdust accumulations can land on the floor, preventing them from damaging the motor accidentally.
Is Dado Blade Compatibility Necessary?
Not everyone needs a saw that uses a dado blade, but it’s nice to have. This kind of blade provides an easy way to make dado cuts.
If you only make straight cuts and ripping, then a set with dado compatibility might not be necessary.
What’s The Best Table Saw For Beginners?
The best overall portable table saw is DEWALT DWE7491RS. You might need beforehand knowledge about woodworking to work with it effectively.
Are More Expensive Options Better?
Not exactly! With regard to the portable table saws, there’s a wide range of prices quite expensive.
The higher-end portable table saws might be of higher quality and have more features, but they might not exactly suit what you need.
And generally speaking, a cheaper portable table saw can do the job quite well as core features and functions tend to be similar.
What Are The Safety Features Of Portable Table Saws?
There are many safety features that portable table saws have, namely the emergency break and flesh detection system.
These will help stop the saw immediately if it contacts the skin accidentally. When skin contacts the blade, because the body is conductive, there will be signal changes that activate the safety system.
Other safety features are a power cut off switch to which turns off automatically when the power’s accidentally disconnected, blade guard assembly, kickback pawls, and riving knife.
Serious woodworking professionals and enthusiasts know all too well that a good tool does half of the job.
That’s why you need the best portable table saws for fine woodworking, which can do wonders for your work and make the tasks easier and perhaps more enjoyable.
Per our reviews, we listed DEWALT DWE7491RS as the best overall portable table saw, due to its outstanding performance, massive rip capacity, and useful features such as a dust collection port and onboard storage.
What’s more, the product also fulfills in terms of portability; even among portable table saws, it stands at the top of them all in this regard.
Although all options are excellent, it’s clear from the outset that DWE7491RS’ consistency and quality make it the clear highlight.
For the second-best portable table saws, we recommend the SPT99T portable table saw from SKILSAW.
This one has a powerful, unique dual-field motor for smooth and clean operation. It’s a powerhouse of a table saw while still retaining the necessary portability.
Ultimately, everyone needs to choose a portable table saw of their own that suits them best.