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7 Things You Should Know About Buying Portable Table Saws

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Is your list of honey-do items growing longer and longer?

Itching to get your hands on a good hardwood and get going on that project you’ve had on the back burner for months?

Whatever your reasons for buying a table saw, the smaller, portable table saws versions may have caught your eye.

But are portable saws all they’re cracked up to be? That depends on your situation. In some cases, portable saws are ideal, while in others they won’t fit the bill.

Choosing the right table saw for your situation is crucial, since chances are you won’t be purchasing another one any time soon.

Portable table saws come with many great features, but they do carry some cons as well. Whatever your reasons for purchasing one, there are several factors you should consider.

Here are seven things you should keep in mind when buying a portable table saw.

Portable Table Saws Costs

Besides the obvious benefit of portability, a major winning point for portable table saws is the cost.

Portable table saws tend to be cheaper than larger table saws. This is a great feature if you’re looking for something economical.

However, the lowered price tag is due to changes in the saw’s makeup that may not be worth the trade. If you’re looking to do larger projects, the lower price may not be worth the lowered quality of the machine.

Quality of Materials

What you give up in dollar amounts, you give up in power when it comes to table saws.

Most portable saws are made with aluminum tops instead of cast iron, making them less durable. Other cheaper materials may also be used.

The quality of materials used to construct your saw could impact the saw’s precision and longevity, but it will also positively affect your pocketbook.

Keeping these things in mind is crucial to the success of your future projects.

Power Levels

The power of your table saw may be one of the most important things for you to consider when deciding what to purchase. When buying portable saws, what you give up in weight and size, you give up in power as well.

Portable table saws are built to be lightweight, and therefore use lighter motors. This results in less power and more noise when working.

Ripping through thicker hardwoods requires more power than you will likely have in a portable table saw. Accuracy levels will also drop, so more intricate projects could suffer as well.

However, if you’re using thinner pieces of wood and your projects don’t require as much attention to detail a portable table saw could still be your best option.

Size Matters

Portable table saws are meant to be, well, portable, and thus will come in smaller sizes than standard table saws. While the smaller size may be beneficial, take into consideration both the pros and cons that come with downsizing.

Consider what types of projects you’re most likely to work on. What size of machine do you need?

If the majority of your work will be smaller projects, a portable table saw could be a great option for you.

If large, heavier projects tend to be your norm, or what you plan to work on, a regular saw will probably be a better fit. If saving space in your work area is important, then consider what you’re willing to give up in order to have a more conveniently-sized tool.

Performance Issues

portable table saws
Portable circular saw and wood plank. Worker cuts a wooden board on Table Saw with Stand.

The smaller price tag and space required are both major pros when it comes to table saws. One con that should be taken into consideration, though, is performance.

Portable table saws are not as sturdy or efficient as larger, non-portable ones, simply due to their makeup. As you work on projects, don’t be surprised if you feel less stable. More vibration is also a side effect that comes with portable table saws.

Like with our others points, it is best to assess your specific situation. If slight movements during your cutting sessions aren’t a big issue, then a portable table saw could still be the best option for you.

Reading reviews of specific machines can help you get a better idea of performance pros and cons.

Adding Features

When purchasing a portable table saw, you may find yourself in need of additional features. For example, working with longer pieces of wood may hamper your accuracy due to drooping when the wood stretches farther and farther over the end of the saw’s table.

This shouldn’t be the last straw in your decision-making process, though. Accessories, such as a simple ramp to hold the extending wood can remedy this situation.

While comparing table saws, consider what issues you may run into with a smaller saw. As you do so, you’ll be able to come up with potential solutions before you even encounter a problem.

Don’t Get Comfortable

The smaller size of a portable table saw can be misleading when it comes to power. Don’t underestimate the dangers that accompany these smaller machines.

Emergency room visits for table saw accidents have numbered in the tens of thousands in recent years. Always respect your machine, even if it is a portable one.

When using your table saw, take proper precautions, including wearing safety gear and reading the owner’s manual. You should also make sure your saw is set up properly before use.

Portable table saws are compact and easy to move, which can be deceiving. They may seem more innocent than their larger cousins, but don’t get comfortable and forget their power.

Make Your Decision

As you consider your purchase of a portable table saw, keeping in mind the pros and cons of each aspect of the machine is vital. Consider your needs, including your planned or potential projects.

Are you looking for long-term quality? What’s more important to you, portability, or the ability to cut through harder woods?

Do you actually need the saw to be portable? Or is it just a fun idea?

Taking each of these things into consideration will help you make the best decision for your specific situation.

For more advice on purchasing table saws, visit table saw buying advice guides today.

Also, if size and weight of the portable table saws you are looking for are top priorities on your list, then you can have a look at the 5 top small table saw models we recommend.

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