If you work in the construction industry, a contractors table saw is something that you really should have in your tool shop. Most people who do contracting tend to use portable table saws and take them from the shop to the job on a regular basis. Not only is it easier to haul one of the smaller saws, they are also less expensive which is a plus whenever you have them on the job site around a lot of other people that are working. If you need such things as a larger table, tighter cutting tolerance and a little more power then choosing one of the contractors table saws available for your shop is a must.
There are several things to consider when you’re looking at contractor table saws. These would include motor size, tabletop size, ease of setup and operation and other available options. Even though contractor table saws are going to sit in your shop without being moved, it is still a good idea to have one that is portable if necessary. If you are going to be working on a large job and need to have the saw present in order to cut things to a tight tolerance, a smaller carried table saw will not do.
Motor size is a large consideration for many people who are looking at contractor table saw. The horse power will range anywhere from 1 to 2 hp or more and you should choose according to the type of work that you do. If you will be cutting things to a tight tolerance but are working with a softer wood than it would be fine to go with a lower horsepower saw. Many people go with the higher horsepower simply because they do not like their work the bog down at all while they were cutting.
Most contractors table saws will sit in the same position in your shop for as long as you use them. You should still look for one that has the ability to break down and be moved if necessary. If you get a large job that would make it necessary for you to have your table saw on-site, breaking it down and moving it could be a real pain if you don’t get one that is easily disassembled. So look at all of your different options so you can aim a little higher than you need and you will be happy for the life of the tool.
As some of us still remember, contractor saws were once manufactured with long belts and large and heavy outboard induction motors. Dust all around you, increased noise, it is a wonder how much work was being done with such work tool. However, because of the lower motor power they were much less heavy than today’s saws. For this reason they were more portable, and this would be their only advantage.
The most important factor when deciding on a contractor saw is the power of the engine and the space you have on disposal. As opposed to the portable saws, the professional options are much bulkier and come with larger tables. Even though they are a professional alternative, there are such options available for smaller contractors which are just as powerful but with much smaller dimensions.
Things to consider when buying a contractor table saw
There are various factors to be considered when buying a professional table saw. However, the most important factors are your requirements. Before starting to look for reviews and look through choices you need to know the standards and performance you are requiring. With that said, this article will help you make the suitable choice!
Power of the engine
Before choosing the horsepower of the saw you need to know the materials you would be working with. Harder materials such as cherry wood and cedar wood require more horsepower in order to get the job done smoothly. More horsepower also means more electric energy used, so keep in mind this fact, especially if you are running a small business. However if you only need the saw for smaller contracts like frames or cabinets from “soft” wood, you should go for less powerful engine variant. The powerful engines usually have power rating of around 5 Hp. It is up to you to optimize your machine power according to your preferences.
Safety should always come first when working with powerful tools. Although every person believes in his skills and safety precautions he takes, going an extra mile for doing so might be very helpful. Unfortunately, there are many reported accidents involving a saw. Thanks to the advanced technology, we nowadays have flesh sensors included in the saws. This safety measure will of course increase the price, but it is better to pay from your pocket than by losing a finger. Flesh sensors are able to stop the blade in a fraction of a second when the blade comes in touch with a flesh. This technology is based on the fact that softer materials, like flesh for instance, provide lower resistance than harder materials, like wood.
The magnetic switch is partly safety measure and partly economic measure. It makes sure that the saw stays off, once it unexpectedly goes off. The reasons could be different, for instance, a power outage, a malfunction… Regardless the reason, it will stay of, so when the power is restored, it won’t start cutting right away.
A dusty environment is the biggest risk to your wellbeing. Dust collection systems should be classified as safety measures. Everyone who has ever worked with wood for longer periods of time is aware of this fact. A dust collection system should have a large capacity and a large dust collection bag. Even though it is recommended for the dust to be thrown away daily, in professional workshops, a great amount of dust could be produced in a day.
When a saw machine has a riving knife, many mishaps could be avoided. Even though a riving knife is a standard saw equipment in Europe, not every US saw contractor saw comes with one. They are usually placed right next to the blade, made in a shape that matches, but doesn’t touch the blade. Riving knives are very important for the safety of the contractor. As opposed to splitters, a riving knife provides kickback prevention. The difference between them is that the riving knife moves up and down with the blade. However, if you need to perform some cuts for which a riving knife is not required, there is a possibility of removing it from the saw on some machines. Although most saw machines don’t have this option.
Extra features you should consider
Even though it is nice for a saw to have extra features, for a professional contractor these are almost always useless. However, there are some extra accessories which would satisfy your preferences level.
When extension wings are included in extra features, they are usually low quality plastic wings. However if you manage to find quality ones, they would be a nice addition.
The warranty is an essential extra feature. There are various saw options on the market which offer limited warranty. Make sure you read the “limited” part, since it is different for every company. A good quality contractor saw should have a warranty for at least couple of years. In the warranty should be included a technical support that will address any issues which might come up.
A reliable fence is a nice extra feature which is included in some saw options. It should be straight and easy to lock down when put into position. The adjustment should also be easy.
It is good that a saw is equipped with a kick switch which you would be able to operate with your foot, knee or hip. It will provide you more safety, since there are situations where a third hand is required to switch the machine off.
We believe we have assisted you in narrowing down your search as much as possible. Other than our features suggestions, the brand is also important when it comes to any kind of machine. If the budget allows you, make sure you choose a reliable saw manufacturer which has been producing such products for decades. Brands with such experience are Dewalt, Makita or Bosh.
Hopefully, now that you have read thoroughly our recommendations, you have a more specific idea of what you are looking for in a saw. If you have any questions or like to add something, feel free to leave us a comment in the comment section bellow. We would be glad for you to join our community!