The four basic types of table saws

Table saw, also known as a saw bench, is made of a circular saw blade attached to an arbor and with the power from the electric motor you can make precise cuts.

But just as other power tools, table saws come in many different variations. So, what are the four basic types of table saws?

The benchtop table saw is a portable table saw for the typical homeowner. The other extreme is the cabinet, which is stationary and made for the toughest demands. As a professional woodworker, you may want to go for the contractor, or a hybrid, which is a combination of a contractor and cabinet table saw.

They are all table saws, but as you will see they are not so similar. In addition, here are my top picks for each type of table saws.

Top picks:

Overview of the four basic types of table saws

Whether you are a professional woodworker, or just a typical hobbyist, having a table saw is a must. Since there are several different types, which one should you get?

RelatedWhat do you use a table saw for?

In this section, you will find a brief explanation for each of the 4 basic types of table saws and that should be enough to find your answer.

Benchtop table saw

Also known as a job-site saw, is a lightweight table saw that can be moved by lifting, and you can lift it without anyone’s help. This tool is the first attempt to create a table saw from a circular saw, and the biggest proof for that is the fact that you will need to put it on a table or other flat surface in order to use it.

Since it is portable, this isn’t the best table saw pick, as there are other types that will make cuts with more accuracy. However, as a homeowner you won’t need something more than this, so a benchtop in your garage is definitively a smart move.

The benchtop table saw is the least expensive, but also the least capable type of table saw.

Contractor table saw

This type of table saw is much heavier and come with a stand. This is a stationary type, however, most of the models have wheels so you can easily move them.

It is a durable table saw, and it is often the first pick for bigger projects, because of its size. Contractor saws are very powerful and easy to use, which is why hobbyists often pick them before other types.

Plus, they are much cheaper than the cabinet table saws, which make them a great alternative for professional woodworkers as well.

A contractor saw is heavier compared to a benchtop saw and the dust collection is its biggest downside.

Related: best table saws under $200 to under $1000

Cabinet table saw

Cabinet saws are made of steel and thanks to that you will get no vibration and increased precision. However, that makes the tool very heavy and generally, it can weigh up to 10 times more than a benchtop table saw.

The main characteristic of this type of table saw is the body that is enclosed in a cabinet. They are designed for professionals and factories that have high demands.

A cabinet table saw is the peak of the upgrades on the table saws – it is easy to use, and it can cut the thickest and hardest materials.

Cabinet saws are sturdy tools that can cut hard and thick materials for decades – they will outlive owner, maybe even next generations.

Hybrid table saw

This type of a table saw is basically a combination of a contractor and cabinet saws. If you can’t decide between those two tools, maybe a hybrid is what you need.

Using the pros from both tools, hybrid saws are a great pick for both professional woodworkers and homeowners.

They have more functionalities and are much more powerful compared to contractor saws. Combine that with upgrades from a cabinet saw, and the result is a great table saw.

I guess the hybrid saw is new to you, so here is a video to understand what this type of table saw really looks like.

A contractor saw, upgraded with several features from a cabinet table saw – can be found for a price equal to a contractor saw.

Portability vs functionality

To make a rough distinction between the basic types of table saws, take a look at the portability. The benchtop table saw is considered a portable, and all of the others are stationary power tools.

Portability directly affects the functionality.

How?

Let’s take a look at the extremes – the benchtop and the cabinet table saw. Only one person is needed to lift the benchtop and easily move it. However, you cannot cut thick wood and the cuts you will make won’t be extremely accurate.

On the other hand, try to move a cabinet table saw. That task will require many people, a bunch of tools, just to move the tool across the room, not to talk about bigger destinations.

But that means only one thing – the sturdy and robust tool will make cuts through different materials, with different thickness with an exceptional precision.

Anyway, these were just the extremes and you can choose something in between as well. For example, contractor table saws are more precise than a benchtop, and they come with wheels as well.

Many factors define which table saw you need to buy, however, you will need to remember that portability and functionality are inversely proportional – better portability will result in less functionality.

Top picks

In this section, you will find the best recommendation for each type of table saw.

DEWALT DW745

DEWALT DW745 - Rating
92%

It is a small table saw, but big enough to handle every task that a homeowner would ask for. With 53 pounds or about 22 kilograms, this benchtop is easy to lift and carry.

It has a 15 Amps motor and 20 inches rip capacity, as well as fence system that is easy to use and allows you to make repeated cuts.

For more information about this benchtop, check the full review of the DEWALT DW745, or you can proceed directly and buy the DEWALT DW745 here on Amazon.

DEWALT DWE7491RS

DEWALT DWE7491RS - Rating
92%

This contractor table saw is a great combination of portability and functionality. It has a great rip capacity of 32.5 inches and rolling stand.

Thanks to the rack&pinion fence system you can make fast and smooth adjustments and this model features a dust collection system that is very efficient. It is a great pick for cabinet installers, as it can rip filler boards, but also floorboards, deck boards, and lumber.

This contractor table saw has a very powerful motor of 15 Amps that rips through the wood with ease.

You can buy the DEWALT DWE7491RS here on Amazon.

SawStop PCS175-TGP236

SawStop PCS175-TGP236 - Rating
98%

It is common sense that cabinet saw is the most expensive type of table saw, but once you look at what you get for that price, you won’t regret a single penny.

This model has a 3 HP motor and an amazing 52 inches rip capacity. You can cut both softwood and hardwood with different thickness. It is easy to use and even with no experience in woodworking, you can easily get used to this machine.

If you are serious about woodworking, you definitively need to consider this model. For more info, read the full review of the SawStop PCS175-TGP236 here. Or you can just buy it here on Amazon.

Jet Proshop 708494K JPS-10TS

Jet Proshop 708494K JPS-10TS - Rating
76%

If you need a contractor saw, with features from a cabinet saw, then your pick should be the hybrid table saw.

It has a rip capacity of 30 inches, which can be upgraded to 50 inches. This model is made from iron, so it has no vibration and great accuracy and 3 key safety features.

Smaller and cheaper than a cabinet saw this hybrid model is the perfect pick for you. Read the full review of the Jet Proshop 708494K JPS-10TS here, or proceed and buy it here on Amazon.

 

Conclusion

To conclude, each one of the 4 basic types of table saws have pros and cons. A table saw is a power tool that a DIYer or woodworker must have, no matter if you are a hobbyist or a professional.

Once you define your budget, ask yourself this question – portability or functionality, what matters the most to you? The answer, together with the info in this article, will guide you to the type of the table saw you need.

So, which type do you prefer? Feel free to post a comment and don’t forget to share this article.

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