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I'm thinking about getting my first table saw. I'm a hobbyist but I still want to get something good.

I'm looking for a list of desirable features (safety, accuracy, usability, etc) as well as things to look out for and how to assert the tool's quality once I get it so it won't take me a lot of time to realize something is wrong with it.

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    "I'm thinking about getting my first table saw" I'm glad you began with this as I wanted to mention something I usually do when this comes up. I don't feel up to adding a competing Answer to flesh this out but before getting submerged in the choice of which TS to get be sure to fully assess whether you really want/need one. Many hobby woodworkers, and the occasional pro, do not own table saws. It's not because they can't afford one or its footprint (although both can be considerations) it tends to be because they've realised other tools are a better fit for what they actually need [contd]
    – Graphus
    Mar 4, 2022 at 15:54
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    .....(a bandsaw for example is far more versatile so could easily be prioritised), and/or due to the knowledge of how dangerous tables saws can be, well before flesh-sensing technology at least.
    – Graphus
    Mar 4, 2022 at 15:56
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    Very welcome. A circular saw is one of the ancillary tools that can help take the place of what some use their TSs for. In fairness you simply can't take the place of all TS cuts (especially if used to its full potential) but you can do a heck of a lot of needed tasks using various other tools to pick up the slack. Obviously the type of work you intend to do is a factor, but circ saw + router can genuinely take its place in many workshops, and the addition of a benchtop bandsaw can add tons of useful functionality. Not to ignore the possible place of hand-tool work as well naturally.
    – Graphus
    Mar 4, 2022 at 17:38
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    Re. the circular saw and accuracy, we have a couple of recent Qs that might be able to help with some of that vis a vis cutting guides and so forth. And I happened to watch this video from Frank's Workbench at lunchtime today that has a little bit early on when he's cutting down the 2x6s.
    – Graphus
    Mar 4, 2022 at 17:44
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    "I've got a router too, I'll look into using it for fine-tuning edges as well. I know it's done but haven't really looked into it." We have a recent Q on that too :-) It's still on the first page so you just need to scroll down to find it.
    – Graphus
    Mar 4, 2022 at 23:39

2 Answers 2

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Many existing guides to purchasing first table saw.

How to Buy Your First Table Saw and Get Started Using It

  • Intro says "the primary considerations you should have are your budget and your needs".

Choosing A Table Saw – 13 Things To Consider Before Buying!

  • Base Type
  • Table Space
  • Extension Tables
  • Rip Capacity
  • Electrical
  • Saw Blade Size
  • Cut Depth
  • Dust Collection
  • Dado Blade Option
    [Not available in many countries outside of America, considered too dangerous by lawmakers]
  • Fence Options
    [Stock fences on saws ($$-$$$) sometimes poor, many better 3rd party fences available. DIY fence for older saws can be huge upgrade.]
  • Blade guard
  • Riving Knife
  • Saw Stop
    "As mentioned before, table saws are the most dangerous machines in a woodworker’s shop based on ER visits."

Not mentioned but I think very important is miter gauge. Stock miter gauge often weakest part, even on good brands can be junk. Many upgrade miter gauges now available, can be expensive. Some from China are of very high build quality but not overpriced, China tools Ep.18 Does the best Miter Gauge come from China?

Why you should own a Table Saw
Choosing Your First Table Saw
How to Choose the Best Table Saw (updated only 5 days ago!)
The Right Table Saw for Your Shop
Your first table saw: A step-by-step guide to making your first cuts.

Added points possibly not covered in links

  • Most important to research table saw safe practice BEFORE FIRST USE. You cannot trust many YouTubers to teach you table saw safety as many ignore basic safety protocols.
  • Stock blades often poor. Starting budget should allow for purchase of 1-3 quality blades from reliable manufacturer.
  • TURN OFF POWER TO SAW WHEN CHANGING BLADE.
  • After you purchase you need to research crosscut sleds and zero clearance inserts. 1st important for safety during crosscuts, 2nd for quality of cut.
  • Older saws can be upgraded with knee switch for huge safety upgrade.
  • Dust collection, dust collection, dust collection if you will work inside.
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  • The Dewalt 60v has a miter gauge that's gear driven on both sides. It's pretty sweet. "Rip Capacity" - is pretty much everything. That's basically the equivalent of Will it Blend?
    – Mazura
    Mar 4, 2022 at 19:00
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    @Mazura Perhaps you're confusing "miter gauge" and "rip fence"?
    – Caleb
    Mar 4, 2022 at 21:42
  • I am; never used that thing before. That's what chop saws are for and do it much safer.
    – Mazura
    Mar 4, 2022 at 21:44
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    @Mazura, no single-operator workshop with a table saw needs a chop saw. It's easily argued that they are superfluous in anything other than a commercial operation where multiple tools may need to be in use simultaneously.
    – Graphus
    Mar 4, 2022 at 23:36
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When buying a table saw, there are several key factors to consider.

First, safety should be a top priority. Look for features such as blade guards and a riving knife that help prevent accidents. Make sure the saw has a reliable and easy-to-use safety switch.

Accuracy is another important aspect. Check for a stable and sturdy fence that locks securely in place, as well as a miter gauge that slides smoothly and is easy to read. Look for a table saw with good dust collection capabilities to help keep your workspace clean.

Usability is also a crucial consideration. Look for a table saw that is user-friendly and has intuitive controls. Consider the size and weight of the saw, especially if you have limited space in your workshop or need to transport it frequently.

When assessing the quality of the tool, pay attention to the build materials and construction. Look for a well-built and durable table saw that will withstand heavy use. Read reviews from other users to get an idea of the tool's performance and reliability.

Overall, take the time to research and compare different table saw models, considering your specific needs and budget. It's a significant investment, so it's important to choose a table saw that meets your requirements and will serve you well for years to come.

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    This feels like it was machine generated, not written by a human. Can you confirm that you wrote this yourself please? After all, posting ChatGPT-based answers is banned across all SE sites.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 4, 2023 at 19:15

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