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Features Of The Best Table Saws

Features of the Best Table Saws

When looking for a new table saw, one of the best ways to know that you are buying the right one is to pay attention to the features that it has. Let’s get right into it and talk about the features of the best table saws, features which will decide how good the table saw as a whole is.

Feather Boards & Hold Downs

​A feather board is a device that can fit into most miter slots or even holds onto your table saw top magnetically it puts pressure onto the piece of wood you are cutting (when cutting lengthwise) and holds the wood firmly against the fence. This ensures that the wood you are cutting is always firmly pressed against the fence to ensure a very straight and accurate cut.

Features of the Best Table Saws

Using a feather board is a really great alternative to using your fingers to apply pressure to the wood, something that puts your fingers in a lot of danger by getting them near a blade spinning at multiple thousand rounds per minute.

Another version of the feather board is known as a hold down, which in essence does the same thing, but instead of applying pressure from the side, it applies pressure from the top of the wood.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

Push Sticks

An item that you should use in combination with any good table saw, is a push stick. A push stick is usually a simple block of wood equipped with a nifty handle. The purpose of a push stick is to give you some space between your fingers and that spinning saw blade.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

These push sticks can be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches in length, and they are used to push your workpiece through the blade from behind in order, so you don’t have to hold the wood down and feed it through the blade with your actual fingers. This is a great safety feature that you should always take advantage of.

POWERTEC 71029 Magnetic Push Stick

The POWERTEC 71029 Magnetic Push Stick is a great choice to go with. It has an ergonomically designed handle that is comfortable to hold, it features a V-groove at the end to hook onto wood. It has magnets on it so you can attach it to your table saw when not in use.

POWERTEC 71009 Safety Push Block and Stick Package, 5-Piece

This set of push sticks is another good option to go with. This set features one long push block, 2 short push blocks, one safe V-stick push stick, and one normal push stick. Each of these is ideal for their own purposes, and all of them will help keep your fingers safe. These push sticks are made out of tough plastic for longevity and also have solid rubber handles to give you a solid grip.

GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock for Table Saws, Router Tables, Band Saws, and Jointers by MICROJIG

This push block is a very advanced model that lets you apply three directional pressure on the workpiece for the ultimate in safety and accuracy. It can be adjusted in various ways to hold the wood firmly in place as you feed it through the blade. This thing virtually eliminates kickback and lets you work on very small pieces with ease.

Sawdust Collection

The best table saws should always come with is a sawdust collection system. A sawdust collection system is pretty much a specialized vacuum that sucks up sawdust and debris to keep your workspace as free from dust as possible.

It consists of a motor with an air suction device and a hose connected to the underside or the side of your table saw, where it sucks up as much sawdust as you make. Now, some table saws, especially the smaller and more compact table saws, will not come with their own dust collection system, but they usually always come with a specialized port where you can connect your own purchased sawdust collection system.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

It is highly recommended that if your table saw does not come with its own dust collection system, that you should get your own and connect it.

Having a sawdust collector is vital to success and for the longevity of your saw. Sawdust and wood debris can clog up all sorts of moving parts, cause your table saw to come to a premature death.

Therefore getting rid of sawdust right when it is made is a great way to increase the lifespan of your table saw by removing the stuff that can clog or break it.

Downdraft Tables

A downdraft table is a feature that a good table saw may come with. A downdraft table makes for a nice compliment to your normal sawdust collection system. A downdraft table is one that has a grid of several small holes in it, and it usually sits to the side or behind the table saw blade, sometimes both.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

The point of a downdraft table with a grid network of holes is to let the sawdust fall down into it as it is created. Sawdust can be dangerous to your machinery, and an excess of it can get in your line of sight, compromise precision, and be quite dangerous to your fingers as well.

Sawdust can obstruct the view of the blade, which is definitely something that you do not want happening.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

A downdraft table usually has an area in the bottom of it where sawdust is collected for further disposal. Sometimes this collection area is even connected to a vacuum for quick sawdust removal.

JET 708678PK 3HP 50-Inch Deluxe Xacta Saw with Downdraft Table

This is a great downdraft table choice to go with. Keep in mind that this is not just a downdraft table, but actually comes with the saw itself, the fence, miter, and everything else you need to make your project dreams come to life.

It has a patented design that draws sawdust away from the blade to give you an unobstructed view and a safe cutting environment. It also has a shrouded blade to increase dust collection efficiency, plus it helps reduce kickback as well.

Grizzly T10115 18-1/2-Inch by 26-Inch Benchtop Downdraft Table

Another good choice is the Grizzly. This thing has a 22 by 18 – ½ inch work surface, it has adjustable side curtains, a 2 – ½ inch dust port, and side handles for mobility. There is an internal ramp as well as air flow to direct sawdust to the collection site.

JET 708400 JET Downdraft Table For Proshop and XactaTable saws w/ Legs

This thing helps to draw sawdust away from the user and the blade to provide an unobstructed view of the workspace. It has a dust collection port that connects to your existing sawdust collector. It has a large work surface and also has rubber grommets to keep your workpiece stable and in place.

Automatic Braking System

The best table saws will have an automatic braking system. This is a feature that has not been around for too long, and that is because it is quite an advanced piece of technology. An automatic braking system is the number one safety guard that you can have to save your fingers from removal when using a table saw.

Thousands of people lose fingers every year from table saw accidents, accidents which usually could be prevented with something like an automatic braking system. These systems work through the wonder of conductive electricity.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

When a table saw is equipped with an emergency braking feature, the blade carries a very small electrical signal. This signal lets the table saw know that there is a non-conductive material being cut, materials such as wood.

When your skin touches the blade, the signal is disrupted, and the blade stops spinning in just a fraction of a second, thus saving your fingers from a terrible fate.

While not all that many saws have this feature yet, it is quickly catching on, probably because it has been shown to reduce or even eliminate the occurrence of fingers being removed due to slip or clumsiness.

This is a feature that will end up costing you a little extra, but your fingers will cost a lot more to reattach than the money you spend for a table saw with an automatic braking feature. On a side note, if you are cutting metal, a conductive material, you will have to disengage the automatic braking feature or else the blade will not turn.

In Feed & Out Feed Tables

A great table saw will also come with decent sized in feed and outfeed tables. These things are necessary to facilitate safe precision cuts. Keep in mind that most stationary table saws will come with fairly long in feed andoutfeed tables, yet they are also much less portable.

Portable table saws usually don’t come with much in feed or out feed space to preserve space, but you can always buy either of them separately to increase the space you have to work with.

Features of the Best Table Saws

In feed and outfeed tables help to bring support and stability to your cutting projects because it gives longer pieces of wood a place to rest on so they aren’t floating in the air, either before or after the wood has passed through the blade.

outfeed tables are especially important because they keep the wood that has not yet passed through the blade from tipping upwards due to the weight of the wood that has already been cut leaning down off the table.

Features of the Best Table Saws

This eliminates the need for you to use your hands and your weight to hold down the uncut part of the wood firmly down to the table, giving you more room to focus on the forward movement of the wood.

On that same note, an in feed table eliminates the need for you to hold the wood up before it gets to the blade, something that also increased accuracy and reduces kick back. The bottom line is that both of these features are vital when working on long pieces of wood.

Rousseau 2721 Outfeed Table Support Kit for Bosch 4000/4100 Table Saws

This table saw outfeed table is built to fit Bosch 4000 and Bosch 4100 table saws. This out feed is very easy to install and attaches directly to the table saws. The kit includes leg extenders so you can match the height of the outfeed table to your table saw.

It folds down for portability and has a very smooth table top for a great cutting experience. It provides you with an extra 45 inches of out feed space.

Rousseau 2720 PortaMax 18-Inch by 48-Inch Folding Outfeed Table

This is a great outfeed table that provides you with 48 extra inches of out feed space. It has extending legs so you can match the height of the table to your saw, plus it also folds down for easy storage and portability.

This outfeed table has a powder coated steel construction, features a very smooth table top, and is compatible with Rousseau 2790, 2780, 2745, 2775, and 2700-XL table saw stands.

Bosch TS1016 Outfeed Support Assembly

Yet another good choice to extend your out feed length is the Bosch TS1016 Outfeed. This is a good option because it provides you with an extra 18 inches of out feed room for your Bosch 4000, 4100, and GTS1041A table saws. Even better is that it is very compact and retracts to store flush against the table when it is not in use.

Rockler Ball Bearing Stand

This is also a good choice for a room extension. It features ball bearings that can move in any direction, which means that this item can be used as an in feed and out feed support, as well as awing extension too. It is made of very solid materials, plus it can be placed at any distance from the table to give you as much room as you need.

Wing Extensions

A wing extension is just like an in feed or outfeed table, but instead of making your saw long from front to back, it makes it wider from left to right.

A wing extension can be to the right of the blade, which is great for letting you work on extra wide pieces such as plywood sheets because it gives you much more room to work with, plus it provides the workpiece with the support from underneath that you need to get accurate and safe cuts.

Features of the Best Table Saws

An extension can also be to the left of the blade, which is something that is great for making good cross cuts. Either way, a wing, just like an in feed or outfeed table, offers stability and support to your work piece so you don’t have to spend nearly as much time focusing on keeping it horizontal, straight, and to make sure that it stays flat on the table.

Features of the Best Table Saws

Just like in feed and outfeed tables, wing extensions can come in a variety of types and forms. Figuring out which one is best for you is up to you to decide based on your needs. Once again, large stationary table saws usually have ample wing room and may come with their own extending wings.

However smaller table saws will usually not have this feature and may require you to buys some attachable extending wings.

A Rip Fence

The rip fence, otherwise simply known as the fence. This is a feature that virtually every single table saw in existence comes with. There are very few which don’t come with a fence, in which case you can always purchase a fence system, but you are probably better off just buying a table saw that has a fence already included.

The fence is the wooden or metal bar that rests to the right of the saw blade and usually extends from the front of the table saw top to the end. The fence is meant to help keep your wood straight on path and help feed it through the blade without the wood losing its position.

The fence will usually sit exactly parallel to the blade, thus allowing you to cut the length of a board completely straight.

Features of the Best Table Saws

For example, if you are cutting the length of a board, and want the width to be three inches, the fence will sit exactly three inches from the blade. A fence can also be adjusted so that it is not perfectly parallel to the blade, which is often used to make angular length cuts, something that takes quite a bit of skill.

A fence, through the use of clamps, knobs, or levers, can be adjusted for position and securely locked into place for whatever your needs may be. A fence can also be telescopic in nature, which means that it can extend outwards to the right very far, kind of like a wing extension.

A telescoping fence is great if you are looking to rip or work on wider pieces of wood because it adds extra support while still keeping the work piece straight.

Craftsman 089110120706 Table Saw RIP Fence Assembly

This is a great fence system to go with, it is made out solid metal to provide you with the utmost in durability. This fence can be easily installed with just a few bolts, plus it can be easily adjusted, and using the clamp it secures down to the table with ease. This fence is also more than long enough for any smaller Craftsman table saw because it comes in at around 18 inches long.

Delta Power Tools 78-919BT2 Biesemeyer Fence, Black

The Delta Power Tools Fence is another good option to go with. This item has a simple and accurate 3 point locking system, so it holds down firmly when in use. Moreover, this item is fairly simple to install and also easy to adjust thanks to the high degree of versatility this fence have.

The high-level adjustability is fantastic for making precision cuts every single time. This particular fence is more than 40 inches long and is compatible with many of Delta’s table saw models.

Vega PRO 50 Table Saw Fence System: 42-Inch Fence Bar, 50-Inch to Right

This is a fantastic option to go with if you have a Delta Unisaw, Contractor, Powermatic 66, or Sears 10 inch saw model. The fence is very secure thanks to being mounted by guide rails, something which is also beneficial because it can slide back and forth in a wide range.

This particular fence can go 50 inches to the right and 10 inches to the left of the blade. The wide path capabilities of this fence allow you to work on both very small and very large pieces with ease. The fence itself is also highly adjustable and will make sure that your wood or other materials are cuts perfectly straight every time.

Miter Gauge

A miter guage sits below and to the left of the blade, and it sits on a slot known as the miter slot, which lets the miter guageslide back and forth past the blade. The purpose of the miter guage is to help you make cross cuts with ease.

Features of the Best Table Saws

A board sits across the miter guage lengthwise, which is then pushed through the blade to make cross cuts. A miter guage can also be angled, usually anywhere from 90 to 45 degrees to make angled cross cuts. This feature is absolutely necessary for getting any kind of accuracy when making a cross cut.

Kreg KMS7102 Table Saw Precision Miter Gauge System

This miter gauge is CNC machine manufactured and is perfectly square to the bar and table. This thing is factory calibrated right out of the box to .003 inches at 6 inches. The Kreg miter guage System has a Vernier scale which allows you to make fast adjustments to within 1/10 of a degree angle.

There is also a micro adjustment option that lets you adjust the angle to within 1/100 of a degree. This thing also features positive stops at 0, 10, 22 – 1/2 , 30, and 45 degrees. This is a superior miter guage made out of some very best materials around, it is easy to adjust, very accurate, and secures to your table firmly.

Incra MITERV27 Miter V27 Miter Gauge

This is another good miter guage option to go with. It is extremely easy to adjust and also features a universal side mounting bracket that supports any user made fence. This miter gauge has four expansion points, has 27 preset angle stops for precise control, plus it has a very compact and space-saving design too.

POWERTEC 71005 Deluxe Table Saw Miter Gauge

This is a professionally designed and oriented miter guage that fits all 3/8 by ¾ inch slots. The POWERTEC Miter Gauge has an easy to hold grip for both comfort and strength, it has a tip-resistant dryer to keep it from tipping when extended, plus it is very easy to install as well. There is also the fact that this miter gauge has stops at all of the common positive angles.

Incra MITER1000SE Miter Gauge Special Edition With Telescoping Fence and Dual Flip Shop Stop

This model features laser cut V-stops for the ultimate in accuracy at 41 individual angles. It features a stainless steel primary scale for even more accuracy. This thing also has a patented GlideLOCK miter bar with 6 expansion points.

The Incra also has an 18 to 31 inch telescoping incremental miter fence so you can cut a variety of wood widths, not to mention that it has a flip shop stop fence positioner for as much accuracy as you can handle.

Inserts

inserts are a great feature that any good table saw should have. An insert rests around the blade and helps to cover the hole in which the blade sits. An insert can be a wooden or metallic plate that has a slit in it just big enough for the blade to fit through.

An insert can come precut for specific sizes of blades, or they can come whole, in which case you pass the blade through it once to form the opening. The purpose of an insert is to reduce or eliminate tear out or the excessive ripping away of wood by the saw.

Features of the Best Table Saws

The purpose of an insert is also to stop pieces of wood from jamming in the blade, thus stopping spinning or even breaking the blade. These inserts may also help prevent kickback. Not all table saws come with this feature, but you can always buy inserts separately.

Ridgid R4512 Table Saw Replacement Dado Insert

The Ridgid Dado insert is a good insert to go with. It attaches to your table top with standard holes and the slot is perfectly cut for dado blade sets. This item will definitely help with making the most accurate dado cuts you have ever seen.

Delta Uni-Saw/Contractor/Large Grizzly Phenolic Zero Clearance Insert for Table Saws

This is another good option to go with because this insert is universal in nature and can fit virtually any table saw. It does not come precut, which means you have to pass your blade through it once to make the opening, which is actually ideal because it gives you a custom fit every time.

Dado Blade Set Or Stacked Dado

The table saw you get should also be able to accommodate a dado blade set, which is a double set of blades that sit close to each other. The point of a dado blade set is to cut away grooves or dados into the bottom of a workpiece, something that is used in wood jointing (dados are a type of wood joint).

Features of the Best Table Saws

The table saw you get should ideally come with a dado blade set, but you can always purchase it separately. A dado blade set is sometimes known as a stacked dado because there are two blades stacked beside each other. This is a feature that anyone who does something like cabinet making will definitely need.

Irwin 8" Carbide Stacked Dado Set

This is a decent 8 inch stacked dado set to go with. It features 2 different 12 tooth outside utters, a 5/8 inch arbor, 4 times 1/8 inch chippers, and 1 1/6 inch chipper and shims. This is a professional grade dado set that comes to you at a fraction of the price.

Riving Knife or Splitter

A riving knife is also known as a splitter and it is a little insert that rests just behind the blade. Not all table saws have these, but they definitely make for awesome additions. A splitter ensures that the wood is completely separated from each other once the piece has been cut in two.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

As well, a riving knife helps to stop the rotation of your wood as it passes through the blade, thus increasing your overall accuracy and keeping the wood piece as straight as can be when passing through the blade. A splitter is also a great feature for any saw to have because they help to prevent kickback, something that can end up being fairly dangerous.

MJ SPLITTER SteelPro 1/8" Kerf by MICROJIG

This is a decent option to go with because they install directly into wood or plastic zero clearance inserts, plus they have a stainless steel core for durability. This splitter set employs micro feather board technology helps keep the workpiece against the fence.

There is also the fact that the kerf keeper prevents reactive wood from binding to the blade. These things are very easy to install and they work wonders to help ensure a successful result.

DELTA 34-868 Bracket and Splitter Assembly

The DELTA Bracket and Splitter Assembly is another good option to go with. This model is very easy to attach to your table top and is perfect for a variety of cutting jobs. This thing features several different lengths of splitters for different purposes, not to mention that it has special anti-kickback fingers too.

If you do don’t need the splitter for a certain job at hand, it can easily disappear under the table. If you need a good splitter, you should definitely give this one a look.

MJ SPLITTER Table Saw Safety Splitter and Riving Knife Alternative for Zero Clearance Insert

These are some very popular aftermarket table saw splitters that you can purchase. These things are great for preventing kickback and for preventing rotation too. The MJ Splitters install directly into wood and plastic inserts, plus they employ mini feather board technology as well.

If you need a simple splitter set that is easy to install, doesn’t cost too much, and works wonders for all your sawing endeavors, this is a prime choice no doubt.

A Strong Motor

We aren’t going to go too much into detail here because it is quite obvious. A great table saw will come equipped with a strong motor. A strong motor is necessary because it is the deciding factor in between cutting through that hardwood or your blade getting stuck in the wood.

The more powerful the motor is the faster the blade spins, which is a good thing regarding getting through tough workpieces.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

Generally speaking, a motor of at least 15 amps that can provide anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 blade rotations per minute is ideal. You probably should not get a table saw that produces less than 3,500 blade rotations per minute, especially when working on tough objects.

A Good Blade

Needless to say, a good table saw needs a good blade, because after all, the blade is what does the cutting. The table saw you get should have a blade made of good materials. Something like carbide is a great way to go because it is tough and durable. These blades can have anywhere from 20 to 50 teeth, and the amount of teeth will make a difference regarding the cut you get.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

A Decent Blade Guard

The best table saws will always come equipped with a good blade guard, which is the piece of plastic that rests in top of and around the blade. The purpose of the guard is to keep blade exposure to a minimum and to keep as much of the blade covered, both when it is in use and when not.

Not only does a blade guard keep your fingers away from the blade, but it will also help deflect pieces of wood from flying up in your face.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

Blade Beveling & Elevation

Another great feature that every table saw absolutely needs to have is the ability to change the blade’s elevation and angle. Being able to change the angle of the blade is necessary for making any kind of angled cuts, and a saw that can’t bevel the blade angle is virtually useless for any serious contractor or handyman.

A blade should be able to bevel anywhere from a vertical 90 degrees to 45 degrees to the left or right.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

Moreover, the blade needs to be able to be adjusted regarding elevation to suit various purposes. Most important is how high the blade can be elevated to cut through fairly thick pieces, which is known as the cutting capacity.

The best table saws will have a 90 degree cutting capacity of anywhere between 3 to 4 inches. The more cutting capacity the table saw blade has the better off you are.

The Table Top

The next important feature of any good table saw is the table top. In simplest terms, the table top needs to be as flat and smooth as can be. This is important because any irregularities in straightness and level of the table will obstruct your ability to make smooth and accurate cuts.

You want the wood to rest flat on the table surface and you want it to be able to glide along the table top to facilitate smooth and even cuts. Ideally a table saw top should be made out of solid metal.

Features Of The Best Table Saws

Features Of The Best Table Saws – Conclusion

As you can see, there are so many different features that all work towards making a good table saw. Most of these features are absolutely vital to table saw success, and those that aren’t absolutely necessary still serve their own purpose and definitely add value to any table saw.

When you buy a new table saw, try to make sure that as many of these features are included as possible, and if they aren’t already included, you can always buy them as add-ons. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the aspects we talked about, simply let us know and we will get back to you at the first available opportunity.

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