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Contractor & 110V Table Saws (Table Saw Reviews)
10" Cabinet Table Saws 220V, 1 & 3 Phase Models (Table Saw Reviews)
12", 14" & 16" Cabinet Table Saws 220V Only, 1 & 3 Phase Motors (Table Saw Reviews)
Speciality Table & Straight Line Rip Saws (Table Saw Reviews)
Choosing a Tablesaw - Cabinet or Contractor ?
Table saws have occupied the central position in most woodworking shops since the development of modern designs after World War II. No other tool does so many things with such clean results in so little time. A table saw purchase should be made carefully to avoid getting either a machine that doesn't meet shop needs, or one that leaves too little money for other important tools. The basic choice is between a contractor saw and a cabinet saw.
A few initial notes are in order. If buying a contractor saw, I would consider Delta and Jet offerings by that same name. If my work and budget called for a cabinet saw, I would consider the Jet Xacta, Powermatic 66, and Delta Unisaw. Test-drive candidate saws; a few cuts mean more than a month of junk mail. Durability and fence quality are generally not factors. Either saw type will last outlast its owner with reasonable care, and either can be bought with a high quality fence. I would not consider anything less than the contractor saws mentioned above. Cheaper saws make rough cuts, wear out quickly, don't hold their adjustments, and are more prone to dangerous kickbacks. The good taste of money saved turns bitter when your projects take longer and turn out poorly. My intent is to state differences in a non-biased manner, but an attempt has been made to order the items by probable importance.
Contractor Saw Advantages
Cabinet Saw Advantages
Contractor saws have plenty of advantages, and are used in many professional cabinet shops. Don't let your credit card limit make the choice for you. Put the advantage lists side by side. Think carefully and realistically about your work and other shop needs. Cross out advantages that won't make a difference in your projects. You may also want to cross out items that will only moderately affect your work. Highlight and contemplate the advantages that will be significant in your most common cutting situations. Visit local shops and woodworking friends to check out both saw types in action. When you are comfortable with the differences and their importance to your work, put the notes away and buy what feels right.