Portable Table Saw Reviews
Bosch 4100 DG-09
The table saw is the heart of the workshop. In its most basic form it cuts wood, clean, fast and accurately. Three essential ingredients to any woodworking project. The table saw is more efficient than a hand held circular saw. It has more power and is more versatile. If you need to cut 2X4’s, plywood, treated wood or hardwoods, then the table saw is a must have.
Portable table saws are a popular choice among carpenters, woodworking hobbyist and homeowners because they are portable, do not take up much space in a workshop and provide similar power to contractor, cabinet and hybrid table saws. A typical table saw will have a cabinet that houses the blade and the top is generally cast aluminum and comes with blade guards and fences.
Portable table saws can come with or without a stand. The stand adds weight, but if it has wheels can be easier to move. Table saws with stands are significantly expensive and can be twice the weight.
We considered 22 portable table saws on the market. After comparing quality and price we were able to narrow the field to our top choices. Once portable table saws were tested and information gathered from customers and companies associated with the home improvement industry, the Bosch 4100DG-09 rose to the top as our top pick. It is competitively priced and comes with a patented gravity rise stand allowing one person to move and set up the saw with ease, even though it weighs over 100 pounds. It only takes a minute to set up and offers valuable features that provide clean cuts and a large work area.
Who Should Buy This
A table saw is essential if you are going to do any degree of woodwork. A portable table saw does not require a large work area but enables you to cut plywood and other large sheets of wood cleanly, and accurately. A hand held circular saw is just not accurate enough when it comes to cutting straight lines to replace a table saw. If you are just starting out, this should be one of your first power tool purchases.
What Makes a Good Portable Table Saw?
The portable table saw is designed to be compact, lightweight and easy to move. Although lightweight is relative because the saw is generally between 50 and 150 pounds depending on the motor, housing material and stand. Contractor saws can be several hundred pounds and have fixed tables that are very sturdy but not very mobile.
The portable table saw is affordable and space efficient providing the key features needed for the average homeowner. Those who with a dedicated workshop or do carpentry work on a regular basis might also benefit from a portable saw for job site work.
Every carpenter or handyman will tell you the most important feature in a table saw is a clean cut. When a saw rips the wood cleanly there is less sanding and greater accuracy with the cut. A clean cut is impacted by the blade, the strength of the motor, vibration and the steadiness of the work surface.
- Blade size. The most common blade sizes are 10 inch and 12 inch blades. Various blades are used depending on thy type of material being cut.
- Motor strengthis measured in horsepower for table saws. 1 and 2 horsepower motors are adequate for small jobs and working for short periods of time. If you want to spend all day working on a project you will want to get a 3 to 5 horsepower saw. This stronger motor will be able to work longer periods of time without overheating and will have cleaner cuts for larger pieces of wood.
- Brakes and flesh sensors. When using power tools the ability to stop the blade quickly can prevent injury. These models have sensors that stop the blade in milliseconds if a body part comes close to the saw blade.
- Magnetic switchensures the saw is always off when you stop using it. Sometimes the saw will turn off without turning the switch off. This can result in sudden stops and can cause damage to wood or worse. The magnetic switch automatically turns the switch off anytime the blade stops.
- Dust collection. Table saws create a lot of sawdust. The ability to collect that dust will keep your shop cleaner and reduce the amount of debris that must be cleaned off the saw. While no dust collection system will get all the dust, aiming for about 75% is considered to be a good system.
- Given that a major feature to the table saw is the ability to transport the saw with ease, portability is a feature that should be considered. Is there a stand? Does the stand fold easily and have wheels? If there are wheels is the stand secure when in a working position? If there is no stand is there a carrying handle which enables one person to transport the saw?
- Fence Clamps. These hold the wood in place during use. They should secure tightly to the base.
- Cut adjustments. When using a table saw you will frequently need to make adjustments to the fence, the height of the blade and perhaps the angle of the blade. How easy are these adjustments? Do they need a separate tool are can they be adjusted by hand?
- Blade changes. Different types of material will require different blades. You will but plywood and baseboards with different blades. Changing should be fast and easy.
- Expansion options. The benefit of a portable table saw is its compactness. Yet larger pieces of wood require a larger surface. Extensions enable you to rip larger pieces of wood with a portable unit.
How We Tested
Our research and testing included working with homeowners, home improvement sites, tool companies and home improvement specialists to provide the best information available in the market. We discovered what features were most useful and which were worth a higher price. Then we evaluated the products featured on Amazon to establish which portable table saws were considered to be the best in class with regard to both value and quality.
|Blade Size||10 Inch|
|Stand||Yes: Collapsible stand with pneumatic wheels|
|Rip Capacity||25 inches|
|Bevel Range||-2° – 47°|
|Depth of cut at 45°||2 ½ inches|
|Depth of cut at 90°||3 1/8 inches|
|No Load RPMs||3650|
|Weight Without Stand||63 pounds|
|Weight With Stand||113 Pounds|
|Overall Dimensions||39” X 30” X 21”|
|Table Surface with Extension||21.5” X 29”|
The Bosch 4100 DG-09 is a best in class. The design is durable and sturdy even in rugged conditions. Once the stand is in place it locks into position to prevent movement while the saw is in use. The powerful motor give you 3650 no load RPMs which is enough power to rip both hard wood and treated lumber. The 15 amp motor features torque control ensuring that the power will fit the workload.
The collapsible stand has a single level control enabling one person to move the table saw anywhere you need it. The stand is self-supporting and the machine can be stored upright reducing the space needed for storage. 2 pneumatic wheels will go over any terrain giving you the ultimate flexibility in where the saw may be used.
There is an extension which provides a workspace up to 29 inches and will allow you to cut large pieces of material. The saw can cut up to 3 1/8 inches, giving you the depth needed to rip thicker pieces of lumber. The blade guard system prevents kickbacks and on board storage is a convenient way to store accessories.
One unique feature of the Bosch 4100 DG-09 is the ability to make beveled cuts up to 47° angles. Most table saws only provide straight cuts. It has an arbor lock button and a digital display on the fence which increases the precision for exact cuts and measurements.
This workhorse has blade guards that move independently providing more accurate cuts and greater protection. Adjustments can be made without the use of any tools. You can adjust the fence, blade height and lock everything into place in a matter of seconds. The fence offers clamps on both ends of the table for a secure hold. There is also minimal vibration during operations.
The Bosch 4100 DG-09 offers high precision cuts, an excellent blade guard, a stand that makes it easy to move, and a high quality motor that will give you years of production.
Who Else Likes It
Popular Mechanics said The Bosch 4100 is “Superbly designed and detailed, The Bosch proved to be the test’s most sophisticated saw, complete with a digital readout on the fence and a stable, rolling stand.”
Consumer Research says, “The Bosch 4100-09 is praised for accuracy, convenient scales, easy blade changes, onboard storage and dust control.”
Amazon customers give it a 4.6 out of 5 stars and 341 reviewers. One customers stated, “I am a finish carpenter…Very sturdy and accurate…The gravity rise stand is ingenious…It’s so simple even a kid could work it… The rip fence is dead on and the soft start feature is a nice addition that prevents overload.
The saw is heavy but is easily loaded to the bed of your truck/van by placing the handles on the bed and sliding it back…this saw is the best portable saw that I have used in years.”
The Step Up
The Makita 2705X1 has a 10 inch blade and a stand with wheels that makes the unit easy to move. The powerful motor boasts 4800 RPMs with greater ripping capacity than other saws in its class. It comes with a toothless blade guard system and an anti-kickback feature that makes large jobs easy to tackle.
The key advantages to this step up is the higher power, more cutting capacity and larger table surface.
Top Portable Table Saw Comparison
|Position||Visual||Tool||RPM||Rip Capacity (inches)||Warranty (Years)
Care, Use and Maintenance
Safety should be a top priority when using a table saw. A few rules that should always be followed are:
- Wear safety glasses
- Use the push stick and never reach over a moving blade
- Never be in line with the blade
- When changing blades, unplug the saw
Following basic usage rules will allow you to get the exact cut you need every time. These include ensuring that the fence is locked in place so material does not slide off mark. Holding the material firmly on the table and pushing the piece against the fence for the most precise cuts. Allow the saw to dictate how fast the material feeds through the saw.
Maintaining your saw and keeping it cleaned will extend the life of the saw and maintain the warranty. The saw should be cleaned after every use. The saw needs to be oiled and greased in regular intervals.
Wrapping It Up
Owning a table saw will increase your ability to make accurate cuts and prepare material faster than using a hand tool. As an essential for carpentry and handyman work, finding the right saw for the job will be an investment that will last for many years. Lower end saws have a poor reputation for making accurate cuts and having motors that will only last a year to two. This makes investing in a top quality table saw a better deal over the long run than continually having to replace lower quality models.