In this guide we’ll take a look at the best portable table saws for the UK market.
I’ve compared power, performance, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Portable Table Saw?
More Detailed Portable Table Saw Reviews
My top Benchtop table saw recommendation is the Dewalt DW745 Table Saw. Its standout selling points is the build quality, synonymous with the Dewalt brand, and evidenced by a) its cast table top, which is unusual for a benchtop saw, and b) protective steel roll cage. Despite those 2 features it still weighs in at a very respectable 22 Kg (lighter than its competitors), so its portability is in no way compromised.
It’s fence stability is excellent – it is lockable to the front and rear (some fences only lock in one location), and accurate adjustments can be with the calibrated rule. The bevel locking mechanism is also well made, and the mitre gauge operates well in its T-slot (T-slots provide greater accuracy for mitre gauges than regular slots).
The table’s square area allows timber up to 8’ x 4’ to be ripped down the middle (315mm to the left of the blade, 610mm to the right). The maximum cutting depth with its 10” blade (it comes with 24 teeth) is 77mm at 90 deg and 57mm at 45 deg, both perfectly acceptable for a benchtop saw. To control the power – its 1,850 watt motor can generate a no-load speed of 3,800 RPM – the saw has both a soft start and overload protection.
The on-off buttons are well designed with the on button protected and enclosed on 2 sides. There are 2 dust ports – the main one at the rear, and another attached to the blade guard. This is quite an expensive piece of equipment but in my opinion it’s the best table saw for the UK market.
Number 2 on my list of recommendations is the Bosch GTS10J Table Saw. This is a high quality benchtop table saw and comes from the Bosch Professional range, aka Bosch’s ‘blue’ tools.
These tools are specifically “engineered for excellence”, and designed with durability and longevity in mind. This is demonstrated by the 3 year guarantee that comes with all Bosch ‘Professional’ tools. The GTS10J weighs 26 Kg, which is not exactly lightweight, but this does include a neat storage facility under the table surface into which you can clip all the fences, tools and accessories that come with the tool.
The carry handles are also built onto the sturdy frame and the motor and blade are protected by two layers of insulating material. The table surface can extend to allow sheets of up to 8’ x 4’ to be ripped with 210mm to the left of the blade and 460mm to the right.
The motor is very powerful – its 1,800 watts can create a no-load speed of 3,650 RPM. It also has a soft start, from a large well-positioned on-off switch, and runs with overload protection. Its 10” blade (with 30 teeth) can cut to a depth of 77mm when set at 90 deg and 55mm when set at 45 deg.
Dust is removed very efficiently using both a port at the rear of the saw and by one attached to the blade guard. The latter is part of what Bosch refer to as its ‘click and clean’ system; this also incorporates a transparent blade guard to get a better view of the work in progress but also reinforces the concept that more efficient dust removal is not only more healthy in general but also prevents it lodging in the moving parts of the saw, where it would otherwise compromise efficiency and eventual shelf-life.
Overall this is a very high quality tool and comes in a close second for the best table saw for the UK market. This tool is very well designed and is engineered for professional use.
The Evolution Rage 5S Table Saw is the higher spec version of the Fury 5-S. Both share Evolution’s patented technology and most design features. The main differences between the two are that the Fury has a slightly less powerful motor (for the 230 Volt version the Fury’s motor is 1,500 Watt against the Rage’s 1,800 Watts), the Fury’s main table size is slightly smaller (by 56mm x 31mm), and the Rage’s folding stand and transport wheels are replaced by a non-collapsible stand and rubber feet on the Fury.
The Fury is approximately £80 cheaper, whilst still inheriting the underlying technology of the upmarket Rage. In terms of build quality the Fury even has an anti bounce device to ensure the table remains stable during cutting. The cutting height and angle can be easily adjusted with the hand wheel and calibrated gauge and you can cut down to 73mm with the blade in a vertical position and 55mm if tilted to 45 deg. The aluminium fence clamps into place at one end parallel to the blade to ensure accurate rip cuts and the mitre gauge fits snugly into its slot on the table for accurate cross-cut work.
One of the main features of both the Fury and Rage table saws is the efficiency of the multipurpose blade and how effortlessly it cuts not just through wood and plastics but aluminium and steel too.
For DIYer’s this is a table saw to seriously consider, particularly as it is backed up by Evolution’s 3 year guarantee. If you are looking for a high quality tool on a budget this is the best table saw for you.
Next up in our standing saw recommendations is the Lumberjack TS254SE Table Saw. This is a well-made, robust quality tool, and another fine choice to look at when browsing for the best table saw for the UK market.
The tabletop is made of cast aluminium and with the sliding side extensions spans out to a very decent 980mm. A third extension slides out from the rear too, so large work pieces can easily be managed. The top is supported by a sturdy stand with rubber feet.
A very solid locking fence system helps to secure the workpiece in place and if you are performing cross-cuts the mitre gauge and slot are machined with a high level of precision too. A dual purpose handle controls both the height and angle of the blade. Not only is the blade guard transparent (to provide greater visibility when cutting), a laser line guide helps to ensure accuracy.
To minimise the prospect of escaping dust, a proprietary dust management system encloses the blade in a metal housing that also includes the standard dust port at the rear of the saw.
The large On-Off button is easy to operate and the powerful 1,500 Watt motor can generate a no-load speed of 4,500 RPM. The saw comes with the standard 255mm (10”) diameter blade with a 40 TCT tipped teeth. All in all this is a quality tool at very respectable price. It’s definitely a model to consider if you are seeking the best table saw that is packed with quality features.
The VonHaus 1800W Table Saw is our next recommendation. This table saw is aimed more at the DIYer than the professional and is attractively priced for that market.
However it certainly matches the build quality of some of its more expensive competitors, demonstrated in particular by its incredibly sturdy frame and nicely finished powder-coated table.
The table can be extended on both sides by 226mm (approx 9”) to cater for larger workpieces, and the handles used for raising, lowering and tilting the blade are comfortable to use with accurate calibration. The table allows cutting to a depth of 80mm when the saw is positioned vertically, and 65mm when tilted to 45 deg.
The fence locks easily into place at one end and the mitre jig allows crosscuts to +/- 60 deg from the vertical. To confirm your cut is accurate you can switch on the built in laser guide. The saw comes with a really powerful 1,800 Watt motor that can generate a blade speed of 5,500 RPM, more than adequate to cope with cutting through most materials, and to help with that the tool comes with 3 blades for wood, metal and stone.
In terms of safety the on-off button is easily accessible and positioned at a nice height, with an extra trigger you have to depress before you can start it. Most of the dust is funnelled away (via a hose attached to a vacuum) through the dust extraction port at the back of the saw guard. To evidence the quality workmanship the VonHaus comes with a 2 year guarantee.
In my opinion it’s the best budget table saw for the UK market – possessing high quality features as well as a highly affordable price tag.
The Evolution Fury 5-S is the Evolution Rave 5-S’s younger brother! Both share Evolution’s patented technology and most design features. The main differences between the two are that the Fury has a slightly less powerful motor (for the 230 Volt version the Fury’s motor is 1,500 Watt against the Rage’s 1,800 Watts), the Fury’s main table size is slightly smaller (by 56mm x 31mm), and the Rage’s folding stand and transport wheels are replaced by a non-collapsible stand and rubber feet on the Fury.
The Fury is approximately £80 cheaper, whilst still inheriting the underlying technology of the upmarket Rage. In terms of build quality the Fury even has an anti bounce device to ensure the table remains stable during cutting. The cutting height and angle can be easily adjusted with the hand wheel and calibrated gauge and you can cut down to 73mm with the blade in a vertical position and 55mm if tilted to 45 deg.
The aluminium fence clamps into place at one end parallel to the blade to ensure accurate rip cuts and the mitre gauge fits snugly into its slot on the table for accurate cross-cut work.
One of the main features of both the Fury and Rage table saws is the efficiency of the multipurpose blade and how effortlessly it cuts not just through wood and plastics but aluminium and mild steel too. For DIYer’s this is a table saw to seriously consider, particularly as it is backed up by Evolution’s 3 year guarantee.
The Parker Brand PTS250 is a really good option for those on a budget (or for those who consider themselves more of a hobbyist than a professional user).
In many instances it is hard to differentiate many of its features from equivalent ones belonging to its more expensive competitors. For example the (non-folding) stand is as strong and sturdy, the table size is of similar size and extends to the sides (642mm x 938mm when extended), and its aluminium fence is equivalent in strength, length (approx ¾ the length of the table) and its single point locking mechanism.
The mitre gauge is easy to secure in position and can accommodate cross cuts between +/- 60 deg. The hand wheel that controls the blade rise, fall and tilt also works really smoothly. The motor, rated at 2,000 Watts, is actually more powerful than all its competitors and can generate a no-load speed of 5,000 RPM, more than adequate for most jobs. In terms of safety features the blade guard and riving knife are well-constructed and connect up to the dust extraction port.
The on-off switch is well-positioned, protected and easy to operate. At the price there is a lot to admire about this table saw. It also comes with a 2 year guarantee.
What is a Table Saw & What Types are there?
The best table saw is an extremely powerful and versatile cutting machine. A circular saw blade, driven by a motor, and mounted on an arbor secured with trunnions, protrudes through a slot in the table top. There are 5 major categories of table saw of which the first 2 – Cabinet and Hybrid – are stationary, and the last 3 – Jobsite/Contractor/Compact and Benchtop – are portable.
The cabinet saw is the best-engineered, largest, heaviest, most powerful and accurate. It consists of a cast-iron table top, most likely with table extensions to each side, sitting on top of a cabinet that encloses a belt-driven motor. The cabinet protects the motor and stops most dust escaping. This would be the table saw of choice for a professional workshop and costs many hundreds of pounds. Next up is the hybrid table saw. This is essentially a ‘cut-down’ version of the cabinet saw with similar features but smaller, lighter, less powerful and less costly.
However the best table saw for most people will be the portable versions. Although these are smaller and lighter than cabinet and hybrid table saws, they are significantly cheaper and much more versatile. Proximity to a power source is usually their only constraint, but of course these days with battery technology becoming more and more advanced cordless versions are now providing serious competition to their mains powered counterparts. Yes compared to a cabinet saw you sacrifice a degree of build quality and precision with certainly the cheaper portable models, but for most day to day tasks the finish is perfectly acceptable.
Stationary table saws are rather quieter than portable ones though. This is due to the fairly obvious fact that the motor is actually enclosed within the stationary saw’s cabinet, thus improving noise absorption, and secondly the saw blade drive mechanisms are different. The stationary table saw uses an induction motor and the blade arbor is driven by a belt or pulley system. On most portable saws the universal motor drive shaft itself behaves as the arbor so vibrations from working with the stock piece are transmitted back to the unit itself, resulting in greater noise levels. Also with portable units you do have to make separate provision for dust collecting. Dust outlet/collection ports are built in but they do need to be hooked up to a stand alone vacuum tool.
The benchtop version is the entry level saw in the portable table saw market and can be operated from any flat work surface. It does not come with a stand (although you can purchase one separately). Apart from the hobbyists mini and micro saws it is the smallest, lightest and most portable of the table saw family and can be carried by hand from one location to another. This is its main selling point. To achieve this versatility the components are made from lighter material (the main table is often made from aluminium rather than cast iron for example) but this does not detract from its durability. The square area of the table would obviously be a constraint when attempting to work with larger stock, and unlike compact / jobsite / contractor saws table extensions are not really an option with a benchtop table saw.
Other considerations include the fact that the blade is usually positioned towards the front of the table so there is less room to manoeuvre a mitre gauge for example. Also the fences are usually made to fit the table according to the manufacturer’s specific design so you can’t replace them with more generic aftermarket versions. But taking all this into account these are perfectly acceptable constraints when you consider how relatively inexpensive the benchtop table saw is, how versatile it is and all the functions it can perform, especially for most hobbyists and significant numbers of professionals too. There is more on how it can be used later in this guide.
Standing table saws (aka Jobsite/Contractor/Compact) are the next level up from benchtop table saws. They are still designed with portability in mind and come fixed to a stand with wheels. In general they are larger and more powerful than benchtop saws with larger motors and more robust components. Most have the ability to hook up extension tables and come supplied with them. They may also come with induction motors and are belt driven, so are quieter and more comfortable to use. In general the design of this type of saw is more generic so you can for example swap out fences and mitre gauges and replace them with after market versions.
Main Components / Features
Apart from the table the most important feature of the table saw is the saw blade itself. For cutting vertically to different depths there is a handle to raise or lower the blade. For angled (beveled) cuts another handle can tilt the blade up to 45 degrees to the left or right. A throat plate surrounds the blade to ensure dust does not fall past the the edge of the blade down through the slot in the table top to the arbor or driveshaft (if direct drive motor). A blade guard – ideally it should be made of clear plexiglass – hinges to the table to protect the user from the blade.
Of course the other most important feature is the blade itself. Most table saws will come supplied with a generic blade designed to work to that saw’s specification. That may sound obvious but there are so many variations of blade that if you ever wanted / needed to replace it you need to be very sure you choose the correct one, since a mistake could not only spoil your workpiece but also cause you serious injury. For example both saw and blade are designed to work to a max speed (RPM). If the former exceeds the latter the centrifugal force created by the mismatch will destroy the blade.
Apart from blade RPM the next you need to consider is its size – its diameter, width and hole size – to ensure it is compatible with the saw itself. The most popular diameter is 10” and that equates to a vertical cutting depth of about 3-½”. Cordless saws, more recently introduced, generally take a 8-1/4 “ diameter blade. The hole size is typically ⅝” and the width xxx.
Next up you need to think about the materials you will be cutting and how coarse or fine you want your cut. For example a rip blade is more suitable for ripping softer woods – it has fewer larger teeth, will feed more quickly but leave a coarser finish. Conversely crosscut blades are better suited for – you guessed it – crosscuts! They have more smaller teeth, leave a finer finish but the cut takes longer. A lot of the time however you will be want the option of both cuts (and more) and not wanting to change blade, so a combination blade may be a better choice. This could also be used for cuts into other softer materials. For regular cutting into harder materials (e.g. hardwood, metal) you would be better off with a blade dedicated for that purpose. For more specialist joinery tasks, such as cutting slots, you would need a dado stack (check the arbor is long enough to accommodate it).
Finally consider the composition of the blade teeth. Steel tipped teeth are the norm but for cutting metals tungsten carbide tipped teeth are more suitable and for brick and masonry diamond tipped blades are best.
The fence is a metal gauge that is fixed towards the edge of the saw table and aligned parallel to the saw blade. It acts as a fixed guideline against which you offer up your workpiece when making a rip cut. It is set parallel to the saw blade. Clearly the more accurately the fence is aligned the more true will be the cut and so it is very important to ensure you are able to fine tune the fence’s alignment accordingly and that the sliding / adjustment / locking mechanisms are smooth, precise and well machined. If you get this wrong then the workpiece is likely to bind and cause kickback.
In the same way a fence acts as a straight edge for rip cuts along the grain so does a mitre gauge for cross or angled cuts against the grain. The mitre gauge is made up of a guide and an adjustable half moon section. The guide sits inside and moves up and down a slot or track in the table surface that is set parallel to the blade. The half moon section pivots on the guide up to an angle of 45 degrees either side of the vertical. You select your cutting angle, lock the half moon section into place, position your wok piece against it and slide the gauge and workpiece together towards the blade. As with the fence look for a well machined smooth gliding mechanism and avoid any play or wobbling between the guide and the slot. More sophisticated versions have an upside down T-slot profile (instead a plain slot) to accommodate the guide and provide a tighter fit.
The collection and removal of sawdust, debris and any other burr from the table saw is essential to having your table saw run efficiently, maintaining it in peak working condition and most important of all keeping it safe. Why keeping it safe? Because any build up of debris coming into contact with a fast spinning blade will cause friction, heat up and eventually catch fire. On cabinet saws the problem is relatively easily solved since the debris is collected within the cabinet itself and falls onto a slanting shelf that funnels it into a dust extraction port (usually 4” diameter) to which a hose is attached. You then just apply suction from a vacuum. Portable saws however are obviously not designed in this way and even though the majority of their debris will also be diverted into dust ports (usually 2-½” diameter) onto which you attach a vacuum hose, there is more that will naturally collect due to the more ‘open’ design of a portable saw (and also fall from the base of the saw to the ground). So further vacuuming will be required to keep your work area pristine. 1727
Table extensions come in very useful when you are want to work with and support material significantly larger in square area than that of the original table size. Some extensions are standalone and need to be attached to the main table via supports before use, whilst others come already attached to the table via a hinge or telescoping mechanism.
Safety Features to Look For
Most people consider the table saw the most dangerous of all power tools because you are guiding the material towards the saw rather than the saw towards the material. Essentially you are faced with a thin metal disc with incredibly sharp teeth spinning at thousands of RPM a few inches away from your body. The blade is definitely your number one enemy! But you also have a number two enemy and that is kickback. Kickback happens when your workpiece binds and buckles during the cutting operation (because it is not correctly aligned) and is then projected at force back in your direction.
So to protect yourself you need to be taking all the safety precautions you can think of!
In this next section we’ll discuss the most common safety features that are built into or come with the table saw itself. Then we’ll consider the common sense things you yourself should be thinking about as the operator of this potentially dangerous piece of equipment. If your saw does not come with the following features maybe you should look for another one which does.
The On-Off Switch is of course an essential item on any electrical appliance but on a table saw there are some extra safety-related features of the switch to look out for. Since you could often be working with large pieces of material you’re more than likely to be using both hands. What if you need to hit the power off button in a hurry? Well to start with the switch needs to be as big as possible. And with the possibility of no hands free you’ll need to engage your knee, so the switch should be as close to knee height as possible. If you’re working with a benchtop saw then the knee might not work so your elbow would be next best (and the switch would be higher anyway).
These days the best table saw models will all come with a magnetic switch. This is a great idea because in the event of a power cut the magnet automatically stops the saw starting up when power is restored from the mains.
And finally if the on-off button is recessed behind a protective flap that mechanism protects the button from being accidentally pressed.
The blade guard is probably the most obvious safety feature a table saw should have. It sits over the blade and protects your hands and fingers from it. Clearly it should be used as often as possible but there are times when it does need to be removed – for example if you are not cutting completely through the material, when you want to change the blade or when material has got stuck. My advice is ALWAYS PUT IT BACK AFTERWARDS! Also try and look for a transparent (as opposed to opaque) plexiglass guard as you have more control and visibility over the cut.
The riving knife is a fin-shaped piece of metal that sits very closely behind the blade. It is not only designed to protect the operator from the blade, but also to prevent kickback by keeping the 2 sawn pieces separate as they move past the blade so they cannot bind against it.
These are small spring-loaded metal arms attached to the blade guard to which downward facing teeth are attached. The arms hover over the 2 cut pieces and if kickback occurs the teeth bite into the wood to keep it in place.
Automatic braking / flesh detection
A very clever relatively recent innovation is the automatic brake. This feature can detect when flesh comes into contact with a spinning blade and then stops the blade almost instantly (within 5 milliseconds)! It relies on the fact that wood is a poor conductor of electricity and flesh is a good one. If then a small amount of electric current is applied to the blade that current can be monitored and if there is a change in the current’s level due to the proximity of flesh, an aluminium brake block is forced into the blade and the blade gets retracted. There are a couple of provisos however. This won’t work with wet wood (since wet wood is a better conductor than dry) and you will need to replace the blade and braking mechanism if the feature is actually used. On the plus side you retain your thumb or finger!
Further Safety Precautions
Before you even think about using the best table saw take some time to give yourself the once-over! Check you’re not wearing anything that can get tangled up, such as loose clothing or jewellery – always wear suitable clothing. Protect your eyes from dust particles and worse with certified safety goggles. Protect your ears from the high noise levels table saws emit (especially direct drive table saws) with a good pair of ear defenders. Where you can protect your hands with a quality pair of workman’s gloves. Even protect your head with a hard hat and your mouth with a face mask.
Safety – Using the saw
You’ve read the instructions, right? This is blindingly obvious but if you don’t make time to do this and then proceed to make a rookie mistake you only have yourself to blame! The instructions will also contain a section describing how to keep your saw in good working order. It should be cleaned from its previous use and the components checked for readiness. If you are using a benchtop saw make sure it is secure.
Set the fence or the mitre gauge, position the workpiece against it, offer the workpiece up to the blade and switch on the saw. Take your push stick (supplied as an accessory with the table saw) and guide the workpiece through the blade with it. Never PUSH your workpiece onto the blade. It will feed through under its own inertia. Be patient – if you try to force it through it will kickback. One other tip – if you are making a cross-cut do not use the mitre gauge and the fence together – that too will also result in kickback as the workpiece will bind against the fence – so just remove the fence.
And that’s it! Follow those precautions and you should come out unscathed!