View Full Version : Table Saws: Benchtop vs. Contractor Saw?
11-13-2000, 02:16 PM
I am wanting to buy a tablesaw for simple, begginer type woodworking projects. I have purchased a recent tool buyer's guide for various wood working tools. The editor recommended that even the beginning woodworker to not purchase a benchtop tablesaw. The editor is making this statement because he/she feels that the benchtop tablesaw is too limited and is not really accessible for additional features for tablesaws. Bascially, the benchtop is recommend for limited funds, space and portability. While funds are somewhat limited and prices between benchtop and contractor tablesaw range between $200 - $500, it is still worth buying a contractor saw over a benchtop version. In addition, what brand/model of tablesaw do you recommend.
I have owned a Benchtop TS and a Direct Drive TS.
I didn't like the Benchtop because it was not accurate, no matter how long i spent adjusting. Plus the miter gauge slot was smaller than the standard 3/8"x3/4", so accessories wouldn't work with it (I don't own any, but i was planning on getting some).
I decided to upgrade from that to a full size saw. I looked between direct drive and contractor style. I went with direct drive due to limited funds. I bought a Jet Shopline 10" Direct Drive TS. I heard complaints about the Jet, but I have about Delta, and every other machine available. I have had no problems with it, And it cuts perfect everytime. I've never had to readjust. I bought mine on sale for $299. not cheap, but well worth it.
Benchtop saws are primarily used by carpenters at job sites, due to their portability. If this is strictly for home use, I wouldn't consider anything but a contractors saw.
Your table saw is the cornerstone of your shop. Any serious woodworker will tell you to avoid a bench saw. As Josh mentioned, you can never be as accurate as you need to be. If you have been pricing wood, as well as tools, you know how important it is to have a powerful, accurate saw. Power and accessories are certainly important factors to keep in mind. Bench saws are very limited. Think long term; dado sets, upgraded miter gauge, extension tables, outfeed tables, etc.
Delta and Jet both make excellent contractors saws. My father, a finish carpenter, has always used Delta in his shop. I broke rank and got a Jet. I've been very pleased. I use a Systimatic dado set and both Freud and Forrest blades.
Spend the extra money on your saw and blades; you'll be glad you did. Good luck.
(Buyers guides often only compare machines; look for specific "tool test" articles on the web. There are several on contractor saws.
11-14-2000, 03:02 PM
I bought an inexpensive bench saw, (made sure that the mitre gauge slot was standard size first), then built a large bench around it (the saw set into the top so that the whole thing is flat). I then used a long clamp and some sheet steel to create a sturdy fence...when all was said and done, it worked great...but I could have bought a good table saw for about the same price (materials for the bench and fence cost as much as the saw), and saved myself a lot of trouble...
11-15-2000, 05:52 PM
Started out with a Craftsman benchtop TS. it lasted about 3 years before the motor gave out. It was usuable but I had to build a lot of jigs to get it to work. Even went as far as to mount it in a table to get a larger working surface.
Bought a grizzly contractors saw this year. Wish I would have started with it. It makes things a lot easier compared to the bench top. If you can afford it, go with a contractors saw. You be glad you did.
11-22-2000, 06:24 PM
I have a Ryobi BT3000 with a 15 AMP. motor and am very pleased with it. It was very accurate out of the box so much so I used it a year before I had to make any adjustments, it is also light enough that it can be portable. I recomend you look at this site http://188.8.131.52/ryobi/ and read why you should buy a BT 3000.