The Best Cabinet Table Saws in 2019
Your table saw is a fixture of the shop. Your workhorse. The saw that anyone who’s serious about woodworking would never go without. Cabinet saws are a fixture in most workshops, but if you’re just getting started then you may not know where to look to find the best cabinet table saw.
Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. Let’s get your shop up and running with the vital backbone to any woodworking venture.
In This Article:
Why a Cabinet Table Saw?
If you’re only cutting things at home or in a fixed location then a cabinet table saw is always going to be your best bet. They’re more powerful and convenient to use than contractor table saws. Indeed, they’re an across-the-board upgrade except for when it comes to portability.
For that reason, they’re often preferred by home DIYers. You set it up in the garage or shop, use it when you need it, and you have a robust machine that’s likely to last for decades with regular maintenance.
On top of that, they often have some storage capacity for extra blades and accessories which you might need.
If you’re looking for a job site saw then a cabinet table saw isn’t what you’re going for, instead, you need a contractor or hybrid saw.
How We Selected
Our first stop was to call a few contractors who do framing and cabinet work and see just what they recommended. It was a pretty easy call from there, we just asked what saws they had in their own workshops.
Table saws are a relatively simple tool compared to many more “advanced” saws, although the versatility they offer is pretty much unbeatable. That meant we could focus on the big stuff and worry about the little touches after we assessed their basic capabilities.
We assessed the saws which we reviewed on all of the following:
You see, a lower amperage saw with a slightly higher free-spinning RPM may not perform as well in material as one with higher amperage. There are also smart circuits to keep the speed constant on higher-end models, but for the most part, you’ll experience some slowdown when you hit the workpiece.
The power of a table saw matters less than you’d think, however, unless you’re planning on regularly cutting exotic woods which rank high on the hardness scale. For most people being able to easily rip pine, oak, and MDF will be plenty of power to get them through any projects that might come across the workbench.
The extra two inches on a 12” table saw allows you to cut wider material but the blades are more expensive and they’ll run at a slightly slower RPM which makes them less ideal for regularly working with harder woods if you can still make it through the workpiece.
10” saws tend to be cheaper but lack the same cutting capacity as their larger counterparts.
A good fence is invaluable for ripping boards, making precise cuts, and generally makes your saw a safer, more accurate tool. A bad one can range from irritating to outright dangerous before the day is through.
The material, ease of movement, and sturdiness of the fence are all important. Of those we tested, none had a truly subpar fence.
As long as everything is solidly held together most fences are built about equally, it’s just down to user preference for the small stuff.
Accessories and Capabilities
In some cases, simpler saws will have some limited capabilities compared to their more advanced counterparts. Many times it boils down to the brand which produces the saw, while DeWalt might make a ton of accessories which are compatible with some table saws, they’re certain to be entirely compatible with their own.
These include dust collection, storage, extra adjustments for the blade, and basically any little modification you can think of to make your life easier.
The little bit of dedicated versatility is important, especially since the simplicity of table saws lends them to some serious modifications in their basic functioning. From there the sky’s the limit and these accessories are one of the reasons why we recommend some sort of table saw as your first serious buy.
Oddly, this is one place where table saws shine. A lot of R&D has gone into making them safer, especially since a huge amount of injuries in the carpentry industry come from these powerful tools.
Some of the systems are quite ingenious although they’re usually proprietary. The brand SawStop, for instance, has a conductivity tester attached to the blade. Since skin is conductive any contact with the blade will cause a brake system to engage and help prevent injury.
That means a warranty is key. Limited warranties will protect you from any defects in manufacturing but a full warranty will protect you even if something breaks during normal use.
If you’re planning on using your saw regularly and heavily then make sure you’re getting something which is protected fully. You probably won’t need the warranty in the end but it’s something you shouldn’t overlook.
This is one area where we recommend you go for quality even if you’re on a tight budget, however. Table saws are one of the main saws you’ll be using for any kind of woodworking bigger than chip carving.
That means a solid, dependable model is both a prerequisite for any serious carpentry and it’s going to cost you a bit.
Try to avoid super budget models, if you really can’t afford to purchase something which is proven to be great brand new then trawling Craigslist or Facebook for a used model isn’t a bad idea.
Top 6 Cabinet Table Saws
We’ll start off by telling you that all of these saws are great. We really had to tighten up and focus down to find the differences which meant giving them a little bit more testing than we usually go through.
Each is perfect for a different person, however, so without further ado let’s dive right into our favorite cabinet table saws going into this year.
Best Overall Cabinet Table Saw
That said, this 1.75 horsepower 12” table saw was our favorite by a wide margin. The fence was amazingly smooth despite being 36” wide, dust collection was a breeze, and it never seemed to slow even when pushed to what we thought would be the limit.
On top of that, it’s highly maneuverable for a cabinet table saw. It has 360-degree casters on its base to allow you to turn it however you’d like without lifting it and a mechanical lift to get it to just the right height.
The only real drawback we could see was that it may be a bit too large for a small workshop.
Best for Large Workpieces
JET 708675PK XACTASAW
While it’s another expensive option, the Jet 708675PK is an excellent way to go for those who regularly find themselves ripping larger pieces of wood. It suffers from the same primary shortcomings as our favorite but comes with the addition of a 50” rip fence that really makes it stand out.
The rip fence makes it too large for a confined workshop but for those who are regularly in need of a way to rip large boards it excels. Unfortunately, it’s only a 10” blade so it actually isn’t the saw you’re looking for if you want to be ripping through exceptionally thick materials.
Taken together this is a high-end workshop table saw, perhaps a bit much for the home DIYer but the perfect companion for a cabinet maker or serious carpenter. If your hobby usage doesn’t require you to cut through exceptionally long pieces you may be better served with the StopSaw however.
It’s expensive and enormous but it’s also smooth and has a ton of power. Indeed, the 3 horsepower motor also makes it a great choice for those who specialize in exotic hardwoods.
Runner Up for Best Cabinet Table Saw
While we really liked the PCS31230-TGP252 we aren’t sure the huge jump in price over our favorite is worth it. While at first glance this 10” table saw appears to have a significant advantage with a 3 horsepower motor it’s also prohibitively expensive for the majority of people.
If you can afford it then it’s the only saw we found which actually seemed to perform better than our favorite. It’s ideal for precision work with woods like ebony and maple which are much harder than the usual fare found in our homes.
The upgrades over the first one in our list are pretty minor. A 52” rip fence, the ability to add overhead dust catching, and some other minor features. Like all of the SawStop brand saws, the big money is in the safety features.
Whether or not it justifies the cost is up to you. It is a better saw overall for anything but ripping exceptionally thick material it’s just a matter of whether or not you think it’s worth it to you.
Best 10 Inch Table Saw
Powermatic PM1000 1791001K
While the SawStop directly above may be a better saw, we feel that the PM1000 is perfect for home hobbyists. It’s middling in price range but has enough power to tear through just about anything you put in front of it.
While it’s not as advanced as some of the other saws on our list it makes up for it readily. The build-quality goes above and beyond for the price point and the 1.75 horsepower motor often seems to have more power than you’d expect.
It forgoes some of the more delicate modern control systems to bring you robust controls that wouldn’t look out of place on an antiquated saw. That’s not a bad thing, many saws of the design which this one seems to be based on are still functioning perfectly decades later.
That said, we’ve heard that customer service can be a bit problematic when you’re dealing with powermatic and this saw is pretty barebones overall.
Best Budget Cabinet Table Saw
Any good cabinet table saw is going to end up costing at least four figures, unfortunately, so “budget’ is a relative term here. If you need to go any cheaper then you’re probably looking at contractor or countertop models which are outside the purview of this article.
Grizzly is one of the well-known brands in the industrial tool space. They’re compatible with Shop Fox accessories and make hardy tools which should last for a long time to come. This particular model is even set up to turn into a router table which makes it dual-use.
For those who need to save space, it’s a bonus. It performs admirably in both sections, although obviously not as well as the SawStop and other top dollar brands. It’s more than enough for home usage for the most part.
The table which comes with it is fairly small, so expect to spend some money on an extension if you’re regularly ripping through large boards and it requires access to 220V which is uncommon is residences in the US.
Runner Up for Best Budget Cabinet Table Saw
Shop Fox W1819
It costs a little bit more than our other budget pick, but the Shop Fox W1819 gives a lot of extra value for a couple hundred dollars. It also seemed to be just as stable as the high-end saws we checked out, probably owing to the way the cabinet is constructed.
It has a powerful 3 horsepower motor which drives the 10” blade through just about anything. Like our favorite budget pick above it also has old-school controls which help to lower the cost and increase the durability of the machine.
On the other hand, you really can’t compare it to a StopSaw brand saw so there is that. The only place it seems inadequate is in comparison to saws which cost quite a bit more.
A Word About Table Saw Safety
Someone screws up with a table saw about every nine minutes in the US. A lot of these result in amputation of digits or irreversible damage to the hands and arms of those who are unfortunate enough to make a mistake.
Even the best carpenter can do it. Table saws are extremely unforgiving when it comes to safety.
The biggest culprit is inattention. If you’re not paying full attention to the saw then a single misstep can cost you dearly. Keep in mind that even a minor injury from a table saw can put you out of work for a long time to come. With the exception of a properly functioning brake like on a StopSaw you’re looking at stitches in a best-case scenario.
It’s not just cuts you need to be aware of, however. If you’re not using your fence properly or misalign a piece of wood it can kick back at you.
We think most people who’ve used a table saw have a near miss or two with a kickback when learning. It seems relatively benign if you don’t think about how hard the wood is being propelled backwards, where it can break ribs or a jaw or leave internal bruising on organs.
Always use safety goggles when using any power tool. Wood can chip and a chip can take an eye out.
Lastly, make sure you know where the emergency shutoff is and keep a hand as close as possible to it while you’re putting a piece through the blade. It can save you a lot of trouble down the road.
The most important safety rule when using a table saw is just to always be aware of what’s going on and follow the safety procedures outlined in your manual.
A Word About Blade Selection
A blade can make all the difference for a wood saw. You probably won’t be using specialized blades for things like ceramic or concrete in one, if that’s your need then a wet tile saw is what you’re looking for, but there’s still some difference.
The TPI, or tooth per inch, of the blade will allow you to get a good gauge of how fine it will cut. Higher TPI blades will cut a bit slower but make a better finish on the sawn-off section of the workpiece while lower ones are great for quickly cutting rough material.
Most people will be well enough served with just a fine and a rough blade in a size appropriate for their saw. If you’re regularly cutting plastic molding then look for an ultra-fine blade to get the plastic as smooth as possible since it tends to tear more during the cutting process.
Cabinet Table Saw FAQ
It’s that time again. We’ll try to head off any questions we haven’t answered earlier in the article. Remember to drop us a line below if you’ve got a question and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Q: Do I need a cabinet table saw?
A: We feel that a cabinet saw is the best way to go if you don’t need to take your table saw out to job sites. They’re more powerful, more stable, and often have better features than contractor saws or hybrids. That said, if you need to take your saw to different job sites then you’ll want to give these a pass.
Q: How do I level my table saw?
A: Some saws won’t even fire up if they’re not level. Some cabinet table saws will have adjustments, but for the most part, you’ll just have to shim things if the floor is too uneven for your saw. Place a 24-36” level along the table and use cardboard or thin wood to make the whole surface stay completely level.
Q: How much do cabinet table saws weigh?
A: You’re looking at 300-800lbs when you’re using a cabinet table saw. Most of them seem to fall around the 500lb mark, which is why they’re not recommended for those who need to take their saw anywhere. Most cabinet saws will end up in one spot for the majority of their life once assembled.
Q: How deep can a 10” blade cut? What about a 12”?
A: You’re not going to be able to cut with the entire blade, for obvious reasons. For the most part, a 10” blade will cut a bit more than three inches deep while a 12” blade will cut a little bit more than four. If you’re ripping posts then you’ll need to make sure you go with a 12” saw. Some saws will cut less since they don’t allow for much adjustment of the blade height.
Q: Other than power what does a cabinet table saw offer me?
A: Due to the high weight of these saws and the generally solid construction put into both the frame and the housing the saw will vibrate less than lighter saws meant for use on the go. That results in more accuracy and less kickback, which is exactly what’s lacking in smaller models.
Q: Are there alternatives to cabinet table saws?
A: If you can’t afford a cabinet table saw then you may be interested in looking into a hybrid model. These are made with a lighter stand but often have around the same capacity with a lengthened rip gate included. Benchtop models are the cheapest but weakest and least accurate, while job site models make for a good intermediate between hybrids and the little guys.
Q: Can I make cross cuts with a table saw?
A: Yes, you absolutely can. However, you’ll probably want to make sure you have a cross-cutting sled to hold the piece tightly during the cut. Be careful, kick back can be unpredictable when you’re cutting in two planes at the same time.
Q: Can I alter-
A: No. Seriously, leave all of your safety features in place. The riving knife, the plastic over the blade, all of it. If you’re worried it might get in your way then go with a bigger saw then you think you’ll need as a workaround.
Q: What does the riving knife do?
A: The bent piece of steel behind the blade is called a riving knife. It helps the wood to separate and prevent binding during the cutting process. They’re extremely important and almost all modern table saws incorporate them. They’re not 100% effective, but no safety measure is.
Q: Is StopSaw’s safety features worth the increase in price?
A: A trip to the hospital, the potential for work lost, and the permanent damage you’ll incur if you contact the moving blade of a table saw will all cost a lot more than you’ll spend on the saw. Their patented safety is a finger saver, just make sure everything is in place each time you use the saw.
Q: Are there disadvantages to StopSaw’s safeties?
A: Unfortunately, since the safety device works on connectivity, it can generate false positives which expends the brake cartridge. Since you don’t want to be replacing these all the time you’ll want to check with any new material. You can do so by turning the saw on but not activating the blade and touching the material to the blade. A light will turn on indicating the safety if the material has too much conductivity to be cut and you won’t have to replace the brake.
So? Get Ripping!
If you go with one of our picks you’re sure to end up with the best cabinet table saw for your needs and budget. They’re a perennial favorite of woodworkers everywhere for good reason: there’s no more efficient way to chop down big pieces of lumber.
Your workshop can’t even really be considered ready for wood without a table saw of some sort gracing the workbench. It’s time to step things up, take a close look at our picks and see which one will make all the difference in your woodworking.