Some time back, cutting wood required a big saw, and the work would take almost double the time. Such inconveniences have been eliminated, thanks to portable table saws. They are compact, efficient and available at an affordable price to fulfill various cutting and splitting demands. Portable table saws come in handy, in two main situations. First, when you don’t have sufficient space for work and secondly when you are working outside your workshop. Portable table saws require just small space in the workshop. Due to their portability, they are easy to move from one site to the other. They are preferred by professionals like carpenters, construction workers, and interior decorators.
How Does A Portable Table Saw Differ From Other Table Saws
There are four types of table saws, which can be used for various wood and plastic projects. These are portable table saws, contractor table saws, cabinet saws and hybrid saws. Each saw has its best applications and use.
– Portable table saws: These ones can handle the same projects like the bigger models, but on a smaller scale. Instead of the heavy induction motor, they use a lightweight universal motor, making them loud and less powerful. However, with recent improvements, they have become much safer and more powerful.
– Contractor table saws: These were originally supposed to be used as portable saws. They come with an open leg design and they are quite affordable. They have less vibration and more stability. Although they are much larger than portable ones, they are perfect and economical for home shop owners and basic carpentry work.
– Cabinet saws: They are perfect for professional woodworkers, since they are the heaviest, sturdiest, and most accurate. Just like their name suggests, they are contained inside a cabinet. They have some of the best safety and dust control features. They are suitable for heavy construction woodwork projects.
– Hybrid table saws: These are ideal for someone looking for a saw that is between an economical contractor saw and professional-type cabinet saws. They operate on standard domestic power supply. These are lighter when compared to cabinet saws, and they are believed to be the future saw for home shops. Their construction is solid.
Features to Consider
– Safety Features
Despite being safer than the other types, table saws can also be dangerous. Some of the safety features to consider when buying a portable table saw include, the riving knife, anti-kickback pawls, blade brake and brake guards. The riving knife is a metallic part, which prevents kickback as well as consequent injuries. A good riving knife should automatically rise and lower with the blade. Blade guards prevent accidental contact of the body with the blade while the blade brake stops the blade from inflicting serious injury, when it meets a body part. Anti-kickback pawls also prevent kickback.
– The Fence and the Miter Gauge
The fence is one of the most distinct features on a table saw, after the motor and the blade. It needs to be accurate, resting parallel to the blade. It should also be adjustable. If it flexes or slides, the work piece can bind with the blade, causing kickbacks. On the other hand, a miter gauge is more of a preference. However, it is a handy feature to have. Its work is to escort wood through the unit as you work. Due to that, it should be strong and should come with adjustable blades that should remain stiff once the lock is tightened. Additionally, the miter gauge needs to slide smoothly into the miter slots.
Normally, the blade of a table saw tilts to the right, using a bevel adjustment mechanism. However, a few models tilt to the left. Some may prefer this feature while others may not, depending on their preferences. Regardless of the alignment, tilting is necessary for precise and exact cutting. Most carpenters prefer table saws tilting to the right since it makes it much easier to cut accurate angles. Right-tilt model can also accommodate more accessories. On the contrary, a left tilt is considered much safer.
– Motor Power
During performance, it is important to determine the quantity of generated horsepower (HP). There is a wide range of choices available. The selected unit mainly depends on the usage purpose. If you will be operating a workshop or cutting hardwoods that are 3-inches thick and beyond, then you should look for a portable saw within a range of 3-5 HP. However, most portable models are not designed for that. Therefore, go for one with a horsepower of around 0.75-2.00. Such a unit will generate less kickback and won’t consume too much energy. When choosing the motor power, you should also consider the available electrical power. Most portable saws run on 120-volt power, making them ideal for job sites and home shops.
– Dust Collection
Similar to other table saws, the portable varieties also generate a significant quantity of sawdust. Keeping a garage or a workshop clean and sawdust free is a nice feature. Therefore, it is important to select unit with a good dust collection system. A good dust collection mechanism cleans the gearing and keeps the motor cooler. Some few models are designed with an enclosed motor compartment, with a dust bag attached underneath the unit for collecting sawdust. Other types contain a shroud flanking the blade together with a port at the rear, which can be used to attach a bag or a vacuum cleaner.
To ensure full portability, the chosen model should contain a fully compact structure and should take care of transportation. Some portable models can be hung on a wall while others have saws on mobile bases. Others contain a powerful design and a small body that you can fold up. However, those fitted with rolling stands may not be easy to fold compactly. Such compact options are designed to boost portability. In short, you need to make sure that your table saw does not take up too much space in your workshop, whether it is folded up or not. When it comes to transportability, look for models with a detachable trolley stand as well as big wheels.
Buying a saw with the right features for your job is the most important thing, whether you are new to the industry, or a seasoned woodworker. Safety plays a very crucial role, when it comes to portable table saws. When combined with the rest of the features, you will find the perfect unit for your work settings and demands.