Table saws are daunting to use, especially if you are a novice. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 67,000 workers and DIY enthusiasts suffer injuries from table saws (1). That equates to more than 33,000 visits to the emergency room.
So learning how to use a table saw is crucial for your safety. We show you the best table saws for beginners.
How Do I Choose the Best Beginner Table Saw?
There are several factors you should consider when choosing the best starter table saw. The first important factor is:
Ease of Use
This is the most important thing to consider. Like all novices, you want to learn, and there will be a degree of confusion or misunderstanding when you start your table saw journey. But the best beginner table saws should be fairly self-explanatory in the way they operate.
That said, never use a table saw without reading the instruction manual first.
So, it is likely that this first table saw is going to be less complicated, and therefore, cheaper than some semi-professional models. It will most likely be portable and lightweight and better suited to smaller projects.
How It Handles
How your new table saw handles is vital to your gaining an understanding of how to use one safely. The best table saws are easy to use and handle like a dream. If you have a table saw that handles like a bucking horse, you have a lousy table saw.
It’s going to drain your energy and become frustrating every time you use it. You aren’t going to look forward to sawing wood at all, and that will impede your learning.
A bad table saw could be the make or break of you as a woodworker. In contrast, with a reliable table saw that handles well, you are going to learn the craft quicker and progress at a faster rate.
It’s worth remembering that everyone was a novice at some time. So it will take patience as you master your new skills, but you will grow. Soon, you’ll be dishing out advice to novices and remembering when you started out.
Other Things to Consider
- How long is the warranty?
- How much does it cost?
- What accessories does it come with?
- How much does the table saw weigh?
- Does this saw have dado capacity?
- Does it have a dust collection facility?
- How easy is it to clean?
- What is the rip distance on the left and right sides of the table saw blade?
The Best Beginner Table Saws of 2020
With so many table saws to choose from, deciding which deserved a place on our list was challenging. In the end it came down to what each table saw excelled at and the different styles of saw available. These are our choices for the best beginner table saws.
1. DeWALT DCS7485B Flexvolt Table Saw
This DeWalt portable table saw is an ideal tool to learn the basics. It has the power of a corded table saw, but the freedom of battery operation. It has a 24-inch rip capacity, and rack and pinion telescoping fence rails for smooth and accurate adjustments. Plus, there’s a metal roll cage for added durability.
For a beginner table saw this has everything a novice woodworker could need. It also has a power loss reset to prevent the saw starting up after a power outage is restored.
The only downside is that this saw doesn’t come with a battery charger. They are sold separately. That said, this saw is light, compact, and above all, easy to master.
Why We Love It
DeWALT has been clever with the design because they have squeezed a powerful table saw into a lightweight package. Sure, you’re not going to be tackling large projects with this thing, but it will handle most sawing tasks around the home.
Cordless means it can go anywhere. So, taking the saw on the road won’t be a problem, even when there are no immediate power sources.
Easy to Store Away
If you are a budding woodworker, it’s likely you don’t have space just yet for all the tools you will need, so having a compact table saw that’s easy to store away is a lifesaver.
Keep In Mind
This table saw does not come with a charger, which seems bizarre when you think it is the only means of powering this tool. We suspect it is a cynical ploy to get you, the consumer, to shell out more dollars.
We get that this is an ideal table saw to learn on, but once you’ve mastered the skills you will need, this saw is going to limit what you can do. And that spells extra expense further down the line.
2. DeWALT DW745 10-Inch Table Saw
This DeWALT table saw has a 10-inch blade and a maximum RPM of 3,850, created by the powerful 1,850-watt motor. It has a smaller rip capacity compared to the Flexvolt, but the trade-off is that there is no need to buy a separate charger.
This saw is lightweight, weighing just 45 pounds. It is compact, easy to store away, and simple to use — ideal for taking it to the job. And best of all, this saw offers a maximum cut depth of 3-⅛ inches at a 90-degree angle and a 2-¼ inches at 45 degrees, meaning it’s perfect for cutting picture and door frames.
Why We Love It
The 1,850-watt motor generates all the power you will need to make angles and beveled cuts in wood.
Dust Collection Point
The dust collection point means that you don’t need to worry about sawdust and debris clogging the saw mechanism. This dust collection point makes it a breeze.
This saw has a metal roll cage, unlike some models, so that it can withstand the rigors of the woodshop and on-site work. Also, the roll cage adds stability to the saw and makes it feel solid without increasing the weight dramatically.
Keep In Mind
Small Rip Capacity
The rip capacity of this saw isn’t going to set records, so be mindful that for larger sheet material and lumber, you may limit the capacity.
No Dado Cuts
The arbor for this saw restricts its ability to make dado cuts. DeWALT states that this model does not accept dado blades.
3. Skil 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw
If you want a table saw to learn on but have a limited budget, this Skil model is a perfect place to start. It retails at considerably cheaper than all the saws on this list, but it doesn’t suffer any less for the price.
You get 5,000 RPM, a steel folding stand, a self-aligning rip fence, and a rip capacity of 24-¼ inches. For the price, this is a lot of saw and one that lends itself well to the novice woodworker.
Why We Love It
You cannot ignore the fact that this saw is amazing value. It is a lot of saw for the money, and that alone makes it a perfect choice for beginners.
More expensive table saws don’t come with stands, but this does. And when you consider that as an accessory, a saw stand could set you back over $100, it adds to the overall value of this saw.
Keep In Mind
While this saw isn’t a poor quality, it also isn’t the finest either. The old rule of “you get what you pay for” applies here.
When you set the saw up, you might want to consider investing in a new, better quality blade. This one will work, but it isn’t the highest quality.
4. Shop Fox W1837 10-Inch Open Stand Hybrid Table Saw
If you are investing in this Shop Fox hybrid table saw, then you should be sure that woodworking is the hobby for you. This table saw is serious money and three times the cost of the DeWALT models featured here.
It does have everything a woodshop needs. It has a powerful two horsepower motor that generates 3,450 RPM. The rip capacity is 30 inches to the left and 15 inches to the right. However, this table saw stays put, so if you want something maneuverable, this isn’t it.
But the good news is that it has a large table which means it works well with substantial sheet materials.
It also loves ripping through hardwood and cutting dadoes.
Why We Love It
Best of Both Worlds
It’s a hybrid, which means it offers all the stability, capacity, and quality of cabinet table saws, but for a fraction of the price.
A Step Up
Unlike the portable table saws, this Shop Fox is going to last the distance, and as you grow as a woodworker, it keeps on delivering. You will not outgrow this saw, which means that in the long run, you could be making a wise financial decision.
Having a 30-inch rip capacity means that more substantial sheet materials can be catered to, as well as bigger projects. Maybe this is the saw to help you build that decking in the yard?
Keep In Mind
Be sure that this is the right saw because once you have bought it, it has to last for years to make it cost-effective. When you compare this to the compact models, it retails at over three times the price.
Unless you have a dedicated workshop, and the projects can come to you, this saw is not portable in any way. It weighs 243 pounds, so once it has a home, it stays in situ.
5. Hitachi C10RJ 10-Inch JobsiteTable Saw
If you are looking for a table saw with rip capacity, this is a strong contender. It has a rip capacity of 35 inches, which is better than the hybrid saw we featured.
This table saw is portable thanks to the way it folds and the large wheels. It means that you can take it to the job site. It has loads of features, like an electric brake that stops the blade in seconds, an oversized power switch, and telescoping table extenders that give you the ripping capacity.
This table saw is more expensive than the DeWALT models, and sits somewhere in the middle for the price. So while it will cost more, it is a great table saw to own and learn on. At the very least, as you grow in confidence, you won’t outgrow the saw.
Why We Love It
Substantial Ripping Capacity
Anyone who has owned a table saw will know that half of its use is about cross cuts and the other half about ripping wood. Getting the capacity means that cutting extensive sheet material is a breeze.
A table saw with folding legs is invaluable because it means it is free-standing. You don’t have to search for a flat tabletop to place it. This is ideal if you are working on site.
Oversized Power Switch
This table saw has many safety features, but this oversized switch is the ultimate, especially when you need to act quickly. Also, this saw has an electronic braking system that activates in a split second.
Keep In Mind
If you want a beginner’s table saw that lasts the distance, this is a good choice, but you are going to have to dig deep in those pockets. This saw is twice the price of the portable DeWALT models.
If you want a portable table saw, then consider the weight. After all, it’s you that has to carry it. This saw weighs double the DeWALT saws, at 96 pounds.
|Product||Best||Weight||Rip capacity||Blade size||RPM||Warranty|
|DeWALT DCS7485B Flexvolt||Overall||45 lbs||24”||8-¼-inch||5,800||3-year limited|
|DeWALT DW745 Table Saw||Woodworking||45 lbs||20”||10”||3,850||3-year limited|
|Skil 3410-02 Table Saw||Value||67 lbs||24-¼”||10”||5,000||3-year|
|Shop Fox W1837 Open Stand||Hybrid||243 lbs||30”||10”||3,450||2-year|
|Hitachi C10RJ JobsiteTable Saw||Rip Capacity||96 lbs||35”||10”||4,500||5-year limited|
Tips for Using a Table Saw for the First Time
There are some simple things you can do to make your table saw safer for you. They don’t take much, and they improve your skillset.
Adopt the Correct Stance
Make sure you stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with more weight on the lead foot. As you push the stock towards the blade, keep your center of gravity balanced. That way, if something should happen, you would still be able to move away from the saw safely.
Don’t Wear Loose Clothing or Long Sleeves
Loose clothing or long sleeves have the potential to get snagged and cause an injury. The last thing you want is for your shirt sleeve to snag on the blade and pull your arm towards the saw.
Use a Push Stick
If you value your fingers, a push stick is going to be invaluable. It keeps your hands away from the blade but still allows you to guide your stock. If a kickback occurs, your hands are far enough away to be safe.
Set Up an Outfeed Support
You can do this in two easy ways. The first is to clamp two lengths of 2 x 4 wood to your table saw. That way, when you feed extra-long and wide material through, it is supported.
The second way is to set up a support table to the rear of your table saw to take the weight of the oversized stock. The outfeed table needs to be slightly lower than the table saw.
Make a Plywood Straight Edge
Often lumber from the lumber yard is warped and not straight. When you need a perfectly straight edge, finding the solution is simple. Screw a strip of plywood to the lumber and push the plywood hard against the fence. Then run it through the saw for neat and straight cutting.
Fit a Fence to the Miter Gauge
Most miter gauges are narrow and offer little or no support when you are making crosscuts. By fitting a wooden table saw fence to the miter gauge, you are increasing the capacity of the miter, and giving better stability when you cut.
To achieve this, screw a 1 x 3 or 1 x 4 piece of wood to the gauge, making sure that it is tall enough for the blade not to cut through it.
Increase the Length of Your Fence
When you need to rip cut longer workpieces, you can increase the length of your rip fence by bolting a long board to your fence. This increases the capacity of your cuts and makes it easier to keep your wood against it.
If you’ve never experienced a kickback, then when it happens, you are in for a shock. It is one of the most dangerous everyday occurrences with a table saw. Thankfully, you can minimize this by adding a cut-off block.
Attach the block to the rip fence and place the rip fence at a proper distance from your blade. Typically, this is the thickness of your block plus the length of your cut. You’ll need to make sure that the material you are working on doesn’t come into contact with the block.
Put Your Cards on the Table (Saw)
Every woodshop should have a table saw. You cannot function without one. So, when you are starting out and need to learn the ropes, choosing the right table saw will either make or break you.
Our advice is to keep it simple, rather than going super-advanced. Think about the basics first. You can always upgrade later when you become more confident.