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  • Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

    I know this has been asked before and I was going to search, but the previous info might not be up to date anyways.

    So I've got some garage space and a benefactor who is willing to pay some of or all of the bill for a table saw so I can build more stuff. The budget as always is tight. How tight? I don't know but I doubt I could rationalize anything over $400-$500. If your answer is "there's nothing good in that price range so buy this" then save your breath on the second part and just say "don't buy anything". Nothing anyone says is going to make cash appear in my bank account. ;)

    So what am I looking for? Something that won't kill me, cutting straight is a major bonus. My understanding about cheaper saws is getting one that's going to be nice and square and sturdy and will accept upgraded fences and whatnot in the future is the best you can hope for. I guess some of the cheapest models have proprietary tops that won't accept upgraded hardware in the long term which relegates them to purely throw away status?

    So school me guys, what can I get for the least amount of money that will work make an acceptably straight/square cut and maybe later on when I've got the money can be upgraded?

    "Check craigslist" is of course an option but I'll know even less about what I'm really looking at there. I don't have a ton of patience for tedium and BS and won't want to deal with lots of calling and going and looking, etc, to procure the best deal on the best saw. Between that and buying something less great but serviceable within my budget the latter is the more attractive option.

  • #2
    Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

    Lots of reviews out there but my choice would be
    http://www.cpooutlets.com/factory-re...d&prefv1=Bosch

    then the Dewalt
    John H

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    • #3
      Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

      I got an older Porter Cable sliding compound miter saw on CL for cheap. Nice old guy. No BS, just a little research, one phone call, one trip. Saw is tight, accurate, a real deal. The only new tools I would buy are battery powered.

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      • #4
        Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

        I agree with watching CL for a bargain.

        For example, here's a Rigid cast iron TS with mobile base for $320 near me...

        http://columbus.craigslist.org/tls/4743166934.html

        Things like this are listed on the Woodnet forum fairly regularly, and alerts to CL buys are posted too.
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        • #5
          Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

          As a professional (contractor/carpenter) you aint gonna beat the DeWalt for the money, 349$ @ home cheepo. Easily portable,
          lightweight, rugged and accurate. I've abused mine on jobsites and at home going on 9 years now.
          John
          God created man,
          Sam Colt made 'em equal

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          • #6
            Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

            I use a Sears 21829, which I'm reasonably pleased with. Once you get the hang of the alignment procedure, it cuts straight. You didn't mention this as a requirement, but this model is on a portable base and folds up for out of the way storage. Also includes a table attachment that doubles as a routing table. This is basically a Ryobi BT3100 which developed a bit of a cult following. Supposedly, Jon Marsh, a rather prolific practitioner of this hobby, uses one of these, too. MSRP is out of your range, but these go on sale somewhat often.

            I'm not aware of much for aftermarket accessories (fences, miter sleds, etc.) for this saw, but much was developed for the BT3100 and there's an excellent chance that those will fit this saw, too. Currently, my experience and craftsmanship limit what I can accomplish, not the saw.

            Regards,

            Rob

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            • #7
              Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

              Originally posted by evilskillit View Post
              I know this has been asked before and I was going to search, but the previous info might not be up to date anyways.

              So I've got some garage space and a benefactor who is willing to pay some of or all of the bill for a table saw so I can build more stuff. The budget as always is tight. How tight? I don't know but I doubt I could rationalize anything over $400-$500. If your answer is "there's nothing good in that price range so buy this" then save your breath on the second part and just say "don't buy anything". Nothing anyone says is going to make cash appear in my bank account. ;)

              So what am I looking for? Something that won't kill me, cutting straight is a major bonus. My understanding about cheaper saws is getting one that's going to be nice and square and sturdy and will accept upgraded fences and whatnot in the future is the best you can hope for. I guess some of the cheapest models have proprietary tops that won't accept upgraded hardware in the long term which relegates them to purely throw away status?

              So school me guys, what can I get for the least amount of money that will work make an acceptably straight/square cut and maybe later on when I've got the money can be upgraded?

              "Check craigslist" is of course an option but I'll know even less about what I'm really looking at there. I don't have a ton of patience for tedium and BS and won't want to deal with lots of calling and going and looking, etc, to procure the best deal on the best saw. Between that and buying something less great but serviceable within my budget the latter is the more attractive option.
              Look for an induction motor rather than universal motor. Hand held power tools and cheap stationary tools use the latter.

              If you are going to connect this to a 15 amp 120 VAC circuit... Look for something that draws no more than that under full load after start (can draw a little more briefly unloaded during start) to operate on a 15 amp circuit. If you are going to connect this to 240 VAC then you can go larger.

              Look for a cast iron top with the same full size miter slots used on cabinet saw.

              Look for a T-square fence such as a Beisemeyer or a copy of same.

              Anything less is not a good compromise. I would not trade away core features listed avove to gain something more flashy but less useful. There are other worthwhile features available on better saws, such as left tilt, riving knives, etc.

              Cost will depend on your choice of new or used and the effort you put into the hunt. Your comment implies that you are looking for a low effort solution, so expect to pay signicantly more for that convenience, unless random chance throws a good deal at you.
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              • #8
                Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                I have to agree with JRT on the induction motor. I've owned a couple non-induction motor, gear driven saws, and they don't even compare to the power and smoothness of an induction motor with a belt drive. I also agree with the cast iron top. If portability is not an issue, then the more mass the saw has, the smoother it should run and bigger pieces you can run through it without having to worry about the saw tipping over on you. This doesn't have to equate to a high dollar saw. That should be easily attainable with a Ridgid or Craftsman on sale or slightly used for your budget, and they will both have standard miter slots and the ability to upgrade fences at a later date if you desire. I picked up my older Craftsman saw used for $75, put a little elbow grease into cleaning the rust off the top, a few bucks into a new spindle and bearings and some new pulleys and a belt, and for <$200, had a saw that operates like a brand-new $500 saw.

                JRT also made a comment about riving knives, which brings a good point... No bargain on a used saw is worth it if the thing is unsafe. A riving knife or splitter is a must, as is a reasonably sturdy fence that locks into place and doesn't move.

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                • #9
                  Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                  I see used Craftsman saws on Craigslist pretty regularly from several years ago, ones with big cast iron tops and belt driven motors, usually at reasonable prices. I assumed these were probably good buys, but I wasn't completely sure. Often times on CL all you get is a picture and the words "Table Saw" and nothing more. I guess I could contact the sellers and see if they'll give me the model number so I can run some Google searches.

                  I'll post some CL finds in here after payday (this Friday) and see what people think.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                    Originally posted by evilskillit View Post
                    I'll post some CL finds in here after payday (this Friday) and see what people think.
                    I agree with the comment on the riving knife. The riving knife keeps the material from getting caught on the back of the blade, which is the cause of "kickback". Most people don't use that blade guard with the splitter, so if the saw doesn't have a riving knife it's potentially dangerous. Most of the older saws don't have that feature, and for that reason I would avoid buying from CL. According to Wikipedia, riving knifes were going to be required for table saws built after 2009 for UL approval. I don't know when everyone actually started using them, but nowadays even the cheap saws have them.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                      I really miss being able to use dad's old craftsman tablesaw, even if it was a wobbly death machine with no riving knife or blade cover, and had a set of locking pliers holding the motor onto it's mount, but the fence was only a little crooked and the blade was sort of sharp

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                      • #12
                        Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                        I agree about watching CL. I got my General 350 with a good blade and a biesemeyer type fence for $280 but had to swap the motor to single phase for another $180 . Unisaw's can be found in the $500 range or less if your lucky. One piece of advise I'd give you regarding any table saw is, it's all about the fence. Table saw's with crappy fences are a pain to use and can be downright dangerous. I agree that riving knives are great, but a good fence, sharp blades, good setup, pushstick's and featherboards when needed and of course: common sense are what make saw's w/o riving knives safe. I've been using cabinet saw's since I was 17 and work in an old wooden boat shop, we don't have one on our unisaw and everyone has all their fingers
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                        • #13
                          Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                          IMO, Rigid's portable saw is phenomenal. I've had my Rigid for about 10 years now and I love it. I was a contractor so I used it all the time, used it to build at least 3 custom kitchens and countless other projects. The rack and pinion fence on the Dewalt is also awesome, those are great saws as well. But the Rigid has a bit more meat on it's bones IMHO. I've used the Rigid, Dewalt, Craftsman, Bosch, and a Ryobi portables. That's about the order I would rank them too. Craftsman and Bosch were about even, I wasn't a huge fan of their fences.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                            Definitely concur with JRT's post in general.

                            Also I recommend you investigate creating a crosscut sled.

                            I came across the notion several weeks ago after investigating how to increase precision. Such a sled will be a giganticthis cross cut sled video by wood whisperer is an oustanding reference.

                            The two links I've posted provide outstanding reference to go from nothing to a working sled.

                            I'm in the process of creating one for my ancient portable saw. I'll make another sled after I purchase a decent hybrid. Speaking of that, check on those. They're the "middle" between portable and professional cabinet saws. There may be one at the top of your price range (the bottom of hybrid range) I'm not sure atm.
                            Feel free to rip my assumptions apart when wrong, or fix if close.

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                            For woofer(s) with large Xmax vs Sd, all PR(s) with Xmax at-least double all woofer(s) Xmax will work.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Best Cheap Table Saw 2015 Edition

                              I also have to second the Rigid portable. I had to downsize my shop so I sold my Delta cabinet saw and replaced it with the Rigid. Easy to use, a pretty good fence, the tools store on board, and it folds up into a compact package. While it's not comparable to my previous Delta saw, it's not as much of a sacrifice as I thought it would be.

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