Contractors have specific requirements for a competent jobsite table saw. A contractor table saw needs to be portable, yet still provide the stability and power to get the job done. For these reviews, we’ve looked for the best contractor table saws, offering everything you need in terms of quality, performance, and price. We’ve also compiled a contractor table saw buying guide, to help you make the right choice.
When researching the best table saws for contractors, we started out by looking at your needs. A full-size cabinet table saw is obviously the best machine, with larger tables, greater stability, and more power. Though this is obviously not a practical solution for a jobsite. There will be some measure of compromise, when it comes to volume of work, size of the boards you can cut with ease, and perhaps cutting depth. Nonetheless, for your needs as a contractor, there is the perfect table saw out there. We’re here to help you find it and provide some useful tips on what to look for.
Contractor Saws Featured ǀ Quick overview
To save your time, I’ll start with a brief description of each of the contractor table saws that we’ve selected for this review. Each will have their pros and cons in relation to capabilities and price. It’s up to you to decide which meets your priorities. The full review of each model will follow, enabling you to make a more informed decision.
- Metabo HPT C10RJ: Best value contractor table saw. Large table, extendable to 35”. Rolling stand with great stability, 15A motor, 10” blade.
- Bosch Power Tools 4100-10: One of the most popular contractor table saws. Best rolling stand. Best table capacity, 15A motor, 10” blade.
- DEWALT (DWE7491RS): DeWalt quality assurance and great warranty. Best fence rail, but not the best stand for quick setups. User friendly saw, 15A motor, 10” blade.
- SKILSAW SPT99-11: Superior worm drive technology and dual-field electric motor. This is an expensive 15A 10” contractor saw with the best torque and RPM spec.
Reviews | Best Contractor Table Saws
After some intensive research, we’ve aimed to bring you the full low down on the best contractor table saws available. We’ve taken a detailed look at each machine and their technical specifications. To get the full picture, we’ve also looked at customer reviews and the opinions of people who have put these table saws through their paces.
Review : Metabo HPT C10RJ
I would call the Metabo HPT C10RJ the best value contractor table saw. My experience with the Metabo brand has been great quality at a reasonable price and excellent customer service. Though this model has had some issues and many customers have expressed some disappointment. It does, however, appear that Metabo has addressed this. Unfortunately, there seems to have been a backlog in their ability to correct what looks like a soft start design weakness. Things should be better now that the problem has been rectified.
Before I go into more detail on the initial technical problems, causing the Metabo C10RJ to receive a lower star rating than I feel the saw actually deserves, let me start with why I feel this is a great table saw at a fantastic price. When compared to all the other table saws in this review, the Metabo is the cheapest, yet I believe it can hold its own when pitted against any of the best contractor table saws.
This is certainly a well made table saw, complete with a very convenient rolling stand. The fold and roll setup makes transporting this saw a breeze. Once set up, which is easy enough, it stands well on sturdy legs that extend from the for corners at angle to provide excellent stability. The table is a good size 28¾” X 22”. It has a quick telescopic extension, increasing ripping capacity to 35” (right) and 22” (left). A ¾” T-slot miter gauge is supplied with slots on either side of the blade. The miter gauge is easy use with large scale markings and positive stops for 0°; 15°; 30°; 45° and 60° to the left and right. Onboard storage is provide for this, as well as any other bits and pieces, like the push stick which is also supplied with the saw.
A 120V 15A direct drive motor provides ample power, at a maximum 4,500 RPM. The saw is supplied with a 40-T 10” carbide blade of a reasonable quality standard. Of course you can fit any 10” blade with a ⁵⁄₈” arbor. The blade bevels up to 45°, with a maximum cutting depth of 3¹⁄₈” at 0°, and 2¼” at 45°. Maximum dado capacity: 8¹³⁄₁₆”. Adjusting the blade height and bevel is as easy at it gets, with turn handles on the front panel, just below the table. A large on/off switch on the same panel makes or quick safe emergency stops.
The Metabo HPT C10RJ has all the modern safety and convenience technology that a high-end table saw should offer. This includes an electric brake, easy to install and remove blade guard, riving knife, overload protection, a 2½” dust port, and soft start. The latter being a source of some controversy, which I’ll elaborate on in a moment. The saw weighs 117-pounds and rolls along quite easy on the chunky 8” rubber wheels with all-terrain tread.
Now for the reason why this saw has lost points in so many reviews. While Metabo has resolved this issue and repaired all faulty machines under warranty, there have been many complaints and this needs to be addressed. If you’ve read any of the customer reviews for the Metabo HPT C10RJ, you’re bound to have come across complaints with regards to soft start module. Many users had the unfortunate experience of component failure after only a few starts. So great was the problem, that Metabo was not able to keep up with demand for replacement parts. Some guys waited for months before their saws were repaired. To give Metabo customer support some credit, they did attend to the issue, replacing the old soft start module with a more reliable unit. It just took some time initially. Fortunately, now that this matter has been attended to, future customers will not have endure the same unpleasant experience.
It’s not ideal when a product leaves the factory with an obvious fault. This is something that happens. Even the best brands have experienced this. The marque of respectable manufacturer is in the measures they take to correct the situation. I believe Metabo has proven the commitment to their customers in the way they dealt with the unfortunate situation surrounding bad soft start modules. Looking past this matter, which has been resolved, the C10RJ contractor table saw is a wonderful machine. Compare it to any other, costing a lot more, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This is a reputation for excellence, spanning decades and that instills a great level of trust. This is certainly a high-quality saw with a 2-year warranty. Of great importance, is the fact that the company honors its obligation in fulfilling the terms of this warranty, as was proven with the controversial initial component failure on early models.
Review | Bosch Power Tools 4100-10
Best table saw for contractors for 2021…
I’ve heard many a contractor state that the Bosch 4100-10 is the best portable table saw ever. I can see why they fee this way. Bosch have come up with some legendary power tools over the years, and this is certainly one of them. Possibly the best in terms of easy portability, it also has the nuts to take on any of the best contractor table saws.
The crowning glory of the 4100-10 table saw is the amazing Gravity-Rise rolling stand. The saw is effortless to set up and folds into a really compact unit for transporting. The marvel doesn’t end there. Although incredibly lightweight, the aluminum stand maximizes the footprint for the greatest stability. It has large rubber wheels on one side. On the opposite side, two height adjustable feet allow you to work securely on any surface. No wobble on uneven ground. Something quite remarkable is that this is a really lightweight contractor table saw, only 92-pounds including the stand. Despite this, it is one of the most stable on any type of surface. A winner in terms of portability, without sacrificing on working ability.
The solid, excellently machined, aluminum table is lightweight yet perfect in terms of balance when working with large boards, up to 4-feet. The table measures 29” X 21½”, with slots on either side of the blade for a miter gauge (supplied with the saw). You have a maximum bevel of 47°, with 3¹⁄₈” max cutting depth at 90°, and 2½” at 45°, in line with expectations for 10” saw with a bevel blade. The Bosch table saw can be extended to an incredible 47”. This makes it the perfect contractor table saw for wide boards.
The 15A electric motor, providing 4 HP maximum power, is comparable to any of the best 10” contractor table saws. Power is abundant, with a maximum blade speed of 3,650 RPM. The 10” carbide tip blade, supplied with the saw, is top-quality. The blade assembly is fitted with an arbor lock for quick and easy blade changes.
Ease of use and safety are tops. The Bosch 4100-10 table saw has a fantastic Square-Lock fence, a breeze to adjust and always remains perfectly square. Large easy to use turn adjustments, allow for quick and accurate depth and bevel settings. Safety is enhanced by a great blade guard, with no obstruction to your line of sight, 3-position riving knife, and anti-kickback pawls. It also has overload protection and smart Constant Response technology that ensures the best power as load demand changes, as well as soft start technology. An over-sized emergency stop button is another great safety feature. Dust extraction is made possible, using a 2½ port for a vacuum hose or dust bag. Practical on-board storage is provided for all your accessories.
Every specification listed for the Bosch 4100-10 either matches or exceeds the highest of expectations. The Gravity-Rise rolling stand is the work of pure genius – super-easy to set up and immaculately stable. All that is great about this table saw is amplified by the public response, contractors and DIY users have showered this saw with praise. The 1-year warranty, doesn’t seem that impressive, but this is the standard warranty for Bosch power tools. I don’t believe this is any indication of lower standards. Every Bosch tool I’ve owned have proven themselves to be amongst the most durable.
Review | DEWALT DWE7491RS | 10″
Exceptional table saw that contractors love. It’s hard to go wrong with Dewalt. Timeless.
DeWalt is often my top choice when reviewing power tools. I really like DeWalt intuitive design, great warranty, and service, as well as pretty reasonable prices for high-end tools. However, this review has some stiff competition for top contender. The Bosch table saw (reviewed above) is probably the best for its price, with the Skilsaw model being probably the best all around. The DeWalt DWE791RS is, none the less, a really good saw and I know many a DeWalt loyalist may call it the best.
I’m not too sure what to make of the rolling stand that comes with this table saw. It is obviously a rigid and stable stand, maybe the best in this regard. Though it is cumbersome and complicated to assemble. A far cry from the super-easy Bosch stand. DeWalt call this stand easy to set up. Though I beg to differ, all the other saws in this review have much more practical stands as far as easy portability and setup go. Apart from this small irritation, it has some cool features, like easy access onboard storage and a caddy to safely store the power cord during transportation.
As a contractor table saw, the actual machine is, in true DeWalt style, a pleasure to use. It has a fantastic always square fence with easy to use rack and pinion adjustment. The clever flip over function for the fence, makes narrow cuts a breeze. The solid aluminum table is really great and effortlessly extends to 32½”. Without the telescopic extension, the table measures 21⁷⁄₈” X 26³⁄₈”. Perfectly machined slots on either side of the blade, make for easy and accurate use of the miter gauge which is part of the kit.
Like all the other saws in this review, the DeWalt DWE7491RS has a 15A motor with a 10” blade (4,800 RPM). The blade has a bevel adjustment up to 45°. Maximum cutting depth at 90° is the usual 3¹⁄₈”, and 2¼” at 45°. Setting the depth and bevel angle is as easy as any of the others, with accurate wheels and large scale markings. The DeWalt saw also has a large on/off switch for improved safety.
The tool-free blade guard is one of the best for ease of use and a 2½” dust extraction port is fitted behind the guard. Of course, you get the other safety equipment, like riving knife and push stick. The saw weighs a very reasonable 90-pounds; and has pretty solid wheels fitted to the stand.
Despite my personal concerns about the complicated stand setup, this may not bother too many. It’s not all that complicated to get this saw ready for work. It’s just that many other manufacturers have put more thought into making this easier. Perhaps the less easy setup makes the DeWalt stand more durable, no fancy gadgets to create complications with age. In all other respects, this is a delightfully easy saw to use, with some excellent timesaving and accuracy enhancing features, like the amazing rack and pinion fence. DeWalt tools are always amongst the best when it comes to great quality, as is their service and warranty. The DeWalt 3-year warranty, 90-day money back guarantee, and 1-year free service plan is something that all their customers value greatly.
Review | SKILSAW SPT99-11
8.25″ Worm Drive | Best compact contractor Table Saw
Skilsaw can be credited as the inventor of the portable circular saw, leading to the formation of the Skilsaw company in 1924. Almost a century later, the brand is still seen by many as the leading circular saw manufacturer in the world. This American brand, along with their German counterparts, Festool, certainly dominate when it comes to the best saw technology. With this prestigious history, and global recognition, it should come as no surprise that the Skilsaw SPT99-11 is the most expensive contractor table saw in this review.
Amongst their many accolades, Skilsaw is also the inventor of the worm drive, providing improved torque for difficult cuts and, in most cases, improved accuracy. For those unfamiliar with this concept, I’ll discuss worm drive circular saws in the buying guide, following this review. The Skilsaw SPT99-11 utilizes a heavy duty worm drive, which contributes much to the higher price tag. This also makes it the preferred choice for most professional carpenters.
Another Skil invention is the dual-field electric motor. This is the most efficient way to deliver greater power and durability, thanks to improved cooling. As a company responsible for many great innovations, Skilsaws have always been amongst the most technically advanced. The combination of a the best 15A motor, and worm drive system, make this an incredible 15A saw, propelling the 10” blade to an incredible 5,000 RPM with up to four times more torque than conventional, direct drive circular saws.
The entire machine displays a high level of quality and precision engineering. The 42-tooth carbide blade is one of the best of its kind. The aluminum table and rolling stand are also superb. This provides a wonderfully stable platform with a good 30½” ripping capacity. While many other contractor table saws can accommodate larger boards, few, if any, are as stable as this one. The stand and saw have an excellent center of gravity and height adjustable feet. The 18” wheels are also way better than any other, making this the easiest saw to move over treacherous terrain and on stairs. The handle design, on both sides, also make this an easy table saw to move in difficult situations, like on stairs or onto a truck.
Ease of use is another area where the Skilsaw shines. The square fence has a wonderfully smooth, and exceptionally accurate rack and pinion setup. A large, tough, adjustment wheel, with great markings, allow you to easily and accurately set the bevel angle from -1° to 46°. Blade height adjustment is just as easy, with an above average cutting depth of 3⁵⁄₈” at 90°, and 2³⁄₁₀” at 45°.
As this is a worm drive, there’s no need for a soft start, which improves reliability. All the other safety and convenience features are provided: a large on/off switch, within easy reach for emergency stops; riving knife; anti-kickback pawls; Smart Guard and push stick. It is also fitted with a 2½” dust collection port. For one of the most durable, and reliable contractor saws, the weight is a perfectly reasonable 98.8 LBS. Even though the heavy-duty worm drive is heavy, extensive use of high-grade aluminum throughout has brought the weight down substantially.
If you want the best, you have to pay for it. Yes, the Skilsaw SPT99-11 is one of the most expensive 10” contractor table saws. It is also the best for increased power. For making difficult cuts in hardwood, there can be no better saw, thanks to the increased torque provided by the worm drive. The best technology, expert engineering, and the very best materials, all contribute to the higher cost, and superior nature of this magnificent saw. The product is backed by a 1-year warranty, and 180-day guarantee.
Contractor Table Saw Buying Guide
Having read our review of the best contractor table saws, some may still have many questions. If you’re buying a table saw for the first time, or don’t have much experience, our buying guide will help you make the best decision.
What is a contractor table saw?
Contractors, requiring a table saw to make numerous repetitive cuts, often on large boards, need a table saw designed for this purpose. Any table saw has the advantage of greater productivity. If you’re cutting a large number of shelves, all of the same width, setting your fence once and then ripping the boards to size, is much quicker than measuring and marking each board as you go.
The problem with full-size, cabinet table saws, is their size and weight. These saws cannot practically be transported to a jobsite. Contractor, or jobsite table saws are designed for portability. This means a saw with a reasonably large table that is fitted to stand that easily folds into a portable compact unit. They will generally have wheels to help with mobility as these saws can be heavy, sometimes in excess of 100-pounds.
As well as meeting the needs of contractors, portable compact table saws are often the best option for home or garage shops. This could be a benchtop table saw, or one with a rolling stand. To contend with limited work and storage space, these are obviously a more practical solution for a woodworking shop with limited space.
When shopping for the best contractor table saw, not everyone has the same requirements. So, I intend offering some advice on what to look for when buying a portable table saw.
The Table for your Table Saw MATTERS
The table, and the stand upon which your saw is mounted, are equally important in determining the capabilities of the saw, particularly when it comes to larger boards.
The width of the table will affect the ripping capacity. In other words, how much support you have on either side of the blade for wider boards. Many table saws will have telescopic extensions to increase the width capacity. This allows the saw to be retracted to a more compact size for transportation and storage, then expanded when the saw is in use. Table saw width can be anything from around 20” up to 35”, perhaps a little more.
The length of the table affects stability for safer infeed and outfeed of full-length boards. Though you can use stands on either side of the saw to assist with this.
The table should have slots to accommodate a miter to make accurate cross cuts. The miter needs to fit securely into these slots for the greatest accuracy and have clear markings to set various angles.
It is the fence that makes the table saw such a convenient saw to use. This is a machined metal plate that extrudes 90° from the table and runs along the length of table, parallel to the blade. The fence can be adjusted closer or further from the blade to accurately set the width of the piece to be cut. It keeps the piece perfectly aligned to the blade, ensuring a cut that is 100% square.
A fence that is secured at both ends will be self-squaring, allowing for the fastest setup when changing the width. Setting your board width can be done manually, by sliding the fence to the required distance from the blade. You will usually have a depth gauge to help you obtain an accurate measurement with the least amount of effort. Some saws have a rack and pinion adjustment for the fence. This means that you can turn a dial to move the fence, making the process faster and easier to maintain accuracy.
The stand —
The most important factor to consider when deciding on the best stand is stability. When placing a full board onto the table, you don’t want the saw to tip over. Stability depends on two factors: weight balance, or center of gravity, and the stand footprint.
The weight of the electric motor and table should be perfectly balanced, concentrating at the center of the stand. Furthermore, the stand should extend as far as possible to either side of the table. This footprint is determined by the angle at which the stand extends beyond the width and length of the table. A greater distance between the furthest points of the stand, at floor level, will provide the best stability.
Height adjustment for the base of the stand is also beneficial. The floor surface may be uneven, causing the stand to wobble as you work. Feet that have a screw thread will allow you to make fine height adjustments, enabling you to obtain a more stable, level work surface.
A lot can be written about circular saw blades. So I’ll try keep it brief, sticking to the most important aspects with regards to jobsite table saws. Saw blades will vary in size from small 5” diameter blades, to large 12” diameter. The arbor is the diameter of the hole in the center. This is only important when buying replacement blades. The blade arbor needs to fit the saw that you’re using.
Blade diameter will affect the material thickness that you’re able to cut through. A table saw will have a blade height adjustment. This needs to be set so that the blade just clears the surface of the material you’re cutting. The maximum depth of cut will be a roughly 1½ to 2” less than half the blade diameter, depending on the thickness of the table. Hence, a 10” table saw will typically have a cutting depth of ±3½”.
Apart from size, saw blades also differ in the materials they’re made of and the amount of teeth. Tables saws can be used to cut virtually any material, depending on the blade material. The blade will almost always be made of steel with different materials used for the blade tips. For general wood cutting, a basic steel blade is fine. Carbide tips are common and are better for harder materials. If you regularly cut hardwood, a carbide tipped blade will last longer. Diamond tipped blades are used for cutting tiles and concrete.
The amount of teeth can be anything from 24 – 80. As a rule of thumb, less teeth makes for faster ripping and more teeth are used for a finer cut, particularly cross cuts. Though, you need to feed the wood through the saw slower when using a blade with more teeth.
Motor and Drive —
The electric motor fitted to the saw will determine its power. Obviously, a larger blade will require a motor with more power. Most portable table saws will range from 1 – 5 HP, depending on the size of the blade. This will be around 10 – 20A at 120V. A 10” table saw should use a 15A motor to provide sufficient power for all types of materials and blade types.
The type of drive system also contributes to how the power is delivered. Most portable table saws use a direct drive system. This means that the electric motor is positioned directly adjacent to the blade and a shaft connects the motor to the blade. The blade will rotate at exactly the same speed as the motor. The worm drive, originally developed by Skilsaw, is generally considered to be the best method of delivering power from the motor to the blade.
Many of you of you may be wondering what a worm drive is and how it works? Let me explain.
The worm drive was invented to provide more torque to the blade. This prevents the saw from bogging down when encountering a denser material. As you move through the wood grain, some areas are harder than others, and the saw can easily jam when it hits a particularly hard section.
To provide higher, and more even torque, the worm drive is used to drive a gear. The motor is positioned behind the blade and a worm drive turns a gear connected to the blade. The gear ratio is calculated to provide the best combination of torque and RPM to maximize cutting power.