What is a Contractor Table Saw? Explained

If you are looking for a table saw that can handle a variety of woodworking projects, you may have come across the term “contractor table saw”. But what exactly is a contractor table saw, and how does it differ from other types of table saws? In this article, we will answer these questions and help you decide if a contractor table saw is right for you.

A contractor table saw is a type of table saw that is designed for stationary use in a workshop or garage. It has a large and heavy cast iron table and a powerful motor that can cut through thick and hard materials.

A contractor table saw is also known as an open-stand table saw, because it has an open base that supports the table and the motor. The motor is usually mounted on the back of the saw and connected to the blade by a belt. This reduces the vibration and noise of the saw, but also makes it harder to adjust the alignment of the blade. A contractor table saw typically has a rip capacity of 30 to 52 inches, which means it can cut a board that is up to that width. A contractor table saw also has a standard 10-inch blade that can be tilted up to 45 degrees for making bevel cuts.

Benefits of a Contractor Table Saw

A contractor table saw has several advantages over other types of table saws, such as portable or cabinet table saws. Some of the benefits are:

A contractor table saw is more affordable than a cabinet table saw, which is the most expensive and advanced type of table saw. A contractor table saw can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500, depending on the features and quality of the saw. A cabinet table saw can cost over $2000, and may require additional accessories and wiring to operate.

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A contractor table saw is more powerful and versatile than a portable table saw, which is the smallest and lightest type of table saw. A contractor table saw has a larger and more stable table that can support larger and heavier workpieces. A contractor table saw also has a more powerful motor that can cut through thicker and harder materials, such as hardwoods and plywood. A portable table saw has a smaller and less stable table that can only support smaller and lighter workpieces. A portable table saw also has a less powerful motor that may struggle with tougher cuts and materials.

A contractor table saw is more accurate and consistent than a portable table saw, which is prone to vibration and misalignment. A contractor table saw has a solid and flat cast iron table that ensures a smooth and precise cut. A contractor table saw also has a reliable and sturdy fence that can be locked in place and adjusted for accuracy. A portable table saw has a thin and flimsy table that may warp or bend over time. A portable table saw also has a less reliable and less sturdy fence that may move or flex during the cut.

Drawbacks of a Contractor Table Saw

A contractor table saw also has some disadvantages compared to other types of table saws. Some of the drawbacks are:

A contractor table saw is heavier and less portable than a portable table saw, which is designed for easy transport and setup. A contractor table saw can weigh over 200 pounds, and may require two or more people to move it. A contractor table saw also has a large footprint that takes up a lot of space in a workshop or garage. A portable table saw can weigh less than 100 pounds, and can be carried by one person. A portable table saw also has a compact design that can be folded and stored in a small space.

A contractor table saw is less powerful and less advanced than a cabinet table saw, which is the most powerful and sophisticated type of table saw. A contractor table saw has a motor that ranges from 1 to 3 horsepower, which may not be enough for some heavy-duty applications. A contractor table saw also has fewer features and options than a cabinet table saw, such as dust collection, safety devices, and digital controls. A cabinet table saw has a motor that ranges from 3 to 5 horsepower, which can handle any cutting task. A cabinet table saw also has more features and options than a contractor table saw, such as dust collection, safety devices, and digital controls.

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How to Choose a Contractor Table Saw

If you are interested in buying a contractor table saw, there are some factors that you should consider before making a purchase. Some of the factors are:

The size and power of the motor. The motor determines how fast and how well the saw can cut through different materials. You should look for a motor that has enough power for your needs, but not too much that it wastes energy and generates heat. A good rule of thumb is to choose a motor that has at least 1.5 horsepower for general woodworking, and at least 2 horsepower for hardwoods and plywood.

The size and quality of the table. The table affects the stability and accuracy of the saw. You should look for a table that is large enough to support your workpieces, but not too large that it takes up too much space. You should also look for a table that is made of cast iron, which is the most durable and flat material for a table saw. You should avoid tables that are made of aluminum or steel, which are less durable and less flat.

The type and quality of the fence. The fence guides the workpiece along the blade and ensures a straight and consistent cut. You should look for a fence that is sturdy and reliable, and that can be locked in place and adjusted for accuracy. You should also look for a fence that has a T-square design, which is the most common and effective type of fence for a table saw. You should avoid fences that are flimsy and unreliable, and that may move or flex during the cut.

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The features and options of the saw. The features and options of the saw affect the convenience and safety of the saw. You should look for a saw that has features and options that suit your preferences and needs, such as dust collection, blade guard, riving knife, miter gauge, and extension wings. You should also look for a saw that has features and options that enhance the safety of the saw, such as blade brake, anti-kickback device, and flesh sensor.

Conclusion

A contractor table saw is a type of table saw that is designed for stationary use in a workshop or garage. It has a large and heavy cast iron table and a powerful motor that can cut through thick and hard materials. A contractor table saw has several benefits over other types of table saws, such as affordability, power, and versatility. However, a contractor table saw also has some drawbacks, such as weight, portability, and sophistication. If you are looking for a table saw that can handle a variety of woodworking projects, a contractor table saw may be a good option for you. However, you should also consider the factors that affect the performance and quality of the saw, such as the motor, the table, the fence, and the features and options.