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Selecting inexpensive table saws for this article almost felt like a lottery. We’ve bought a popular model from a well-known brand and expected to use it for a small woodworking project. A few cuts in, the whole thing was smoking and warping. All in all, the product was on the verge of a breakdown, and so were we!
When putting together our selection, we’ve tested more than 25 products to select the 7 best table saws under $500 on the market. We looked at a number of important features of these saws. First, we considered the blade speed of the saw, which affects kickback and the smoothness of your cuts. Blade diameter and depth of cut were also important factors since these affect the thickness of wood that you can cut and the weight of the blade. As a result, we decided to make the WEN 3720 our Editor’s Choice.
More features: foldable stand, on-board storage, 2-1/2’’ dust port, 8’’ wheels, rip stick included
This relatively large table saw from Wen is designed for hobbyists who tend to work with larger boards, but don’t want to upgrade to a hybrid table saw. The saw features a whopping 3-9/16-inch depth of cut with the 10-inch blade, as well as a 26-inch rip capacity thanks to the telescoping rip fence rails. However, keep in mind that the motor is still only 15 amps, so you’ll need to be careful not to overpower the saw when cutting through especially thick pieces of wood.
The main problem that users had with this saw is alignment. Many users reported that the saw arrives far out of alignment, and that the miter gauges and even the blade itself will fall up to half an inch out of alignment after every cut. Surprisingly, users did note that the rip fence is relatively solid and won’t budge once locked down in place. Still, these precision issues present a major problem for professional users who need a saw that can reliably repeat cuts.
Despite its large size, users found this saw to be relatively portable. The saw can be removed from the stand, which itself folds up for transport and has a set of eight-inch wheels for carting the saw around. In addition, the saw comes with on-board storage.
The saw also comes with a rip stick and a 10-inch carbide blade, presenting an even better value for the money. Wen offers a two-year limited warranty, but no money-back guarantee after you receive the saw.
More features: 0.5’’ dado capacity, carry handle, SquareLockRip fence, on-board storage, Smart Guard system, tool-free dust port cleaning, 24-tooth blade
This tabletop saw from Bosch is extraordinarily portable, making it a favorite among contractors. The saw weighs in at just 52 pounds and has a carry handle and on-board storage so you’ll never forget a blade or accessory.
The downside to the compact design of this saw is that even with the telescoping fence rails, the saw is limited to just an 18-inch rip capacity. However, the large 0.5-inch dado blade capacity is a major advantage for contractors who find themselves frequently creating wood joints. The saw is capable of cutting to 3-1/8 inches and can bevel up to 45 degrees, enabling a wide variety of cuts. Users also appreciated that the fence locks securely into place and is relatively simple to adjust thanks to the precise measurement system on the bottom of the saw.
When it comes to safety, this saw is loaded with features. The Smart Guard system integrates the blade cover, a riving knife, and an anti-kickback pawl so that you’re fully protected when making cuts. The riving knife and blade cover are simple to adjust without tools, so you’re in full control over whether you need more access to the blade for a specific cut.
Users did have a few reservations about this saw unrelated to its performance. The engine is extremely loud, even compared to other 15-amp table saws, and the saw does not come with a stand. In addition, Bosch’s one-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee are relatively short compared to offerings on saws from Dewalt and Ryobi.
More features: extending aluminum table, self-aligning rip fence, 6 ft cord, 13/15’’ dado width, foldable stand, measurement system view
This burly table saw from Skilsaw is the perfect choice for beginning woodworkers thanks to its large rip capacity, precise adjustments, and multitude of safety features. The table saw is designed with an extending aluminum table that offers a rip capacity of 24.5 inches to the right of the blade or 12 inches to the left. That means that most beginners won’t have to fiddle with an additional wood stand when working with bigger boards. On top of that, the rip fence is made to be self-aligning so that the risk of kickback when making rip cuts is greatly reduced.
The saw and miter gauges are easy to adjust thanks to the sturdy wheel underneath the table. Plus, the EZ view measurement system makes it simple to dial in highly precise cuts in barely any time at all. While some users found the miter gauge to be sloppy, this is straightforward to upgrade in the future as your understanding of the saw increases. The saw’s ability to accept dado blades up to 13/15 inches and to make bevel cuts up to 45 degrees also means that this saw has plenty of room to grow with you as you improve in your woodworking.
The only downside that users found with this saw is that it is relatively large and heavy compared to other saws. That’s not a problem if you’ll be keeping it in a relatively large shop at home, but it can limit the use of this saw for contractors who need a more portable option.
What are our favorite features?
Rip capacity of 24.5 inches
Self-aligning rip fence
EZ view measurement system
Three-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee
More features: electric brake for extra safety, Soft Start function, large cutting capacity
The Hitachi C10RJ has a Soft Start function that reduces noise and recoil when you switch on the table saw, and the electric brake can stop the spinning blade within seconds, adding additional security, making this a great choice for the more safety-minded consumer.
This table saw has a bevel range of 0 degrees to 45 degrees in order to make cuts that range in size from 3 1/8 inches to 2 1/4 inches. The beveling height and scale adjustment knobs are located on the front of the cabinet for easy accessibility. The 10-inch 40-tooth carbide-tipped blade is included with the saw, offering high cutting capabilities. It comes with a telescoping table extension for a total of 35 inches of ripping capacity to the right side of the saw and 22 inches to the left.
The big power switch for the table saw is located at knee height, making it easy to turn on and off, and it has an emergency off safety cover as an additional level of security. The Hitachi C10RJ has a foldable stand, making the table saw easy to move and transport. Moreover, it provides less wobbling when cutting and has a durable construction because it weighs 96 pounds.
However, it can be quite tough to move for some users. Also, some customers stated that the manual and instructions for assembly are not user-friendly.
On the other hand, this table saw comes with a 2-year limited warranty. Finally, there’s onboard storage for all tools you may require, making it an amazing table saw.
More features: foldable stand, integrated dust chute, tool-free guard, integrated push stick, anti-kickback pawls included
This compact saw is a great choice for woodworkers on a budget or even homeowners who only occasionally need a table saw. The saw weighs just 50 pounds and takes up hardly any space thanks to the compact design. However, this also limits the rip capacity to just 12 inches, making this saw a relatively difficult sell for more advanced woodworkers and contractors.
Don’t let the small size distract from this saw’s power, though. Users report that the saw rips through hardwood boards with relative ease. Better yet, even though the saw is lightweight, the rip fence and table are sturdy and durable enough to handle heavier pieces of wood without buckling or bending.
Plus, Ryobi packed the saw with safety features, including a tool-free adjustable blade cover and an anti-kickback pawl. The saw even comes with an integrated push stick so that you never have to put your hands close to the blade.
Of course, it’s worth noting that this saw is relatively limited in its capabilities. The saw is not rated to accept a dado blade stack and users found that the miter gauges are limited in precision. The small size of the table means that it can be difficult to add precision accessories as well, and the relatively small area in front of the blade can contribute to kickback.
Ryobi’s warranty policy – three years and a 90-day money-back guarantee – is very impressive for the budget price of this table saw.
What makes it special?
Lightweight and compact
Adjustable blade cover and anti-kickback pawl
Three-year warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee
More features: 7/16’’ dado width, laser indicator, fold out fence, foldable stand, on-board storage
This table saw comes with a number of attractive features, but gets dinged in our review because of a consistent blade alignment issue and poor customer service from Rockwell.
To start off with the high points of this saw, it offers an impressive 30-inch rip capacity with extendable fence railing. The saw is somewhat heavy at 74 pounds, but that same weight allows it to rip through relatively thick hardwood boards without any issues. Some users reported using the saw primarily as a stationary saw, since it offers much of the power of a hybrid saw at half the cost. In addition, hobbyists and contractors alike loved the 3-9/16-inch depth of cut of the saw, as well as the fact that it comes with a laser indicator and on-board storage. The saw even comes with a dust bag, which can make cleaning up significantly easier in situations where you don’t have a shop vacuum available.
However, all of these excellent features need to be weighed against a consistent issue with the blade alignment. Users repeatedly found that the blade was out of alignment enough that it hit against the throat plate. Rockwell does not cover this outside of the 30-day money-back guarantee period, and many users report poor customer service from the company.
Still, this is a fixable issue if the saw is disassembled and reassembled properly. For this reason, the benefits of this saw can still be realized for users who are willing to put in some work.
Why did it make our list?
30-inch rip capacity
Nearly four-inch depth of cut
Comes with dust bag and wheeled stand
What is not ideal about it?
Significant, consistent issue with blade alignment that requires disassembling saw
Users loved this inexpensive and versatile table saw from Dewalt, which has a number of features typically reserved for more expensive saws. First, users appreciated that the table is compact and uses a telescoping fence rail system to increase the rip capacity to up to 24 inches to the right of the blade. The Site-Pro modular guarding system also means that users can quickly and easily adjust the blade cover for different cuts, without the need for tools. That creates a lot of incentive to leave the blade cover on all the time, which dramatically increases the safety of this saw.
Users felt that the saw punches above its 15-amp motor, with plenty of power for cutting through thin hardwood boards as well as softwoods. Plus, the saw comes with a 24-tooth carbide blade that is a significant improvement over the stock blades normally found on table saws.
Hobbyists found that this saw fits fell in a small shop, although the area of the table in front of the blade is only a few inches long. That means that there’s significant potential for kickback unless you add another table to hold boards. That said, the on-board storage was a welcome addition to this saw and users appreciated that the rear feet of the stand are adjustable to work with any flooring.
To sweeten the price of this saw, Dewalt includes a three-year warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
What makes it stand out?
Telescoping fence rail system
Site-Pro modular guarding system
Included carbide blade
Three-year warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Not enough table area in front of blade
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve learned more about our seven favorite table saws under $500, how do you choose between them to get the table saw that’s right for your woodworking needs? Our Buying Guide will cover what to expect from a budget table saw, important safety tips, and everything you need to know about how to choose the perfect table saw.
Table saw under $500 – what to expect?
Table saws under $500 can be extraordinary for their prices, but they do have some limitations compared to more expensive saws. Inexpensive table saws will generally be portable or contractor-style saws, with relatively small and lightweight tables and saw blades that are smaller in diameter. Compared to hybrid or cabinet table saws that typically cost thousands of dollars, these table saws will have less powerful motors – typically 15 amps – and produce slower blade speeds of only a few thousand rotations per minute. The smaller tables will also limit the size of rip cuts, and the saws may lack helpful features like bevels and miter gauges.
That said, these are not necessarily bad traits for most beginning woodworkers. Slower, less powerful table saws are still more than capable of ripping through softwood boards and producing highly accurate cuts. Plus, the small size and portability can be an advantage for contractors and woodworkers with a small home shop.
Reasons to purchase a table saw
Table saws are capable of making a wide range of simple cuts through lumber, which is why they are one of the first tools added to every woodworker’s shop. Table saws can be used for running simple rip cuts through large boards, trimming a piece of wood down to exact dimensions, or making precisely angled cuts that can be used for fitting wood to a corner.
Another reason that many contractors and woodworkers like compact table saws is that they are portable. Table saws can easily fit inside a home workshop or be transported and rapidly set up at a job site, making them one of the most versatile tools for hobbyists and professionals alike.
Must do – woodworker’s guide to safe sawing
Table saws are inherently dangerous – they involve a fast-moving blade in close proximity to your hands and body. So, it’s extremely important to follow a few safety guidelines whenever you are working with a table saw.
First, approach the table saw with respect. Wear appropriate safety clothing, including eye protection and thick gloves for handling wood, and remove any loose clothing and jewelry. Also be sure to clean the area around the table saw so that there are no tripping hazards and no sawdust from your last project. Be sure that the saw has been maintained and that all safety features are working properly.
When it comes time to start the saw, never turn the power on with the blade engaged. Likewise, you should never find yourself reaching over the saw blade for any reason. When beginning to make cuts, you should always push wood through the blade rather than pull it through, maintaining a strong stance over the saw to help absorb any kickback.
Importantly, you should never free-hand a cut. Always use the fence or miter gauge to guide your wood, and use an additional stand when making rip cuts that are larger than your table. If you need to, use a push stick rather than your hands to push wood through the blade.
Features to consider while buying the best table saw under $500
When it comes to choosing a table saw, the number of different features can be overwhelming. Here, we’ll explain the features you need to know about in order to get the right table saw under $500.
Never enough – safety features
Table saw manufacturers take safety seriously, and it’s important to take advantage of all the available safety technology when choosing a table saw. The most basic safety feature to look for is a blade cover, which retracts just enough to allow your wood to pass through the blade. Blade covers should be clear so that you can see your work clearly. Remember that while most blade covers are removable, you should leave them on your saw at all times.
Another important safety feature found on most modern table saws is a riving knife. This is essentially a splitting knife that sits behind the main blade and helps to prevent kickback by grabbing wood after it passes through the blade. As for blade covers, many table saws offer removable riving knives, but these should always be left on the saw. Some table saws, like the model from Ryobi, also come with an anti-kickback pawl to further reduce kickback.
Finally, some table saws like those from Wen and Ryobi come with integrated push sticks. These can be very helpful when making large rip cuts, since they allow you to guide the wood through the saw without putting your hands anywhere near the blade.
Using the fence
The rip fence is, in the eyes of many woodworkers, the most critical component of every table saw. The fence is there to guide wood through the blade, whether you’re making small and precise cuts or large rip cuts.
However, not all fences are designed equally well, so it’s extremely important to look for a saw with a durable and accurate fence. A straight fence not only means accurate cuts, but also less kickback when making rip cuts. Plus, since you’ll constantly be moving the fence around the table to adjust your cuts, it’s important that your saw has a system that allows you to easily and accurately change the fence positioning.
Cutting precision and capacity
Precision is, not surprisingly, critical in any table saw. If you saw isn’t precise, you’ll end up with boards of different dimensions any time you try to repeat a cut. In the context of a table saw, precision means that you should be able to adjust the fence and miter gauges to the same measurements and get the same exact cut every time.
Importantly, the accuracy of the saw should remain consistent over time. This is where having a saw with a durable fence and miter gauge comes into play, since cheap versions of these parts can bend over time with heavy use.
Rip capacity is another important measure of how table saws operate and refer to the widest possible cut that you can make with the table and fence. Rip capacities on portable and contractor saws will generally be smaller than those for cabinet saws – the 30-inch rip capacity of the Rockwell saw, the largest rip capacity of saws we reviewed, is still relatively small for woodworkers who take on large projects. Keep in mind that rip capacity isn’t completely limiting, since you can use a stand to cut larger pieces of wood that extend beyond your saw’s table.
Speed and power
Most inexpensive table saws have a 15-amp motor, which offers enough power to cut through most softwood boards. However, these saws may struggle with thick softwood boards and many hardwoods.
Blade speed is an important consideration because it affects the smoothness of your cuts and the likelihood of kickback. In general, a faster blade speed will reduce kickback and produce cuts with smoother edges. There is relatively little difference in the blade speeds of the saws we reviewed – any blade speed between 4,500 and 5,000 rpm will offer relatively smooth cuts.
The dust port is technically an accessory feature to a table saw, but it’s one you’ll want to have. The dust port allows you to connect a shop vacuum directly to your saw so you can suck up any sawdust produced during cutting. Using a vacuum with your dust port is the single best way to prevent sawdust from piling up in the guts of your saw, where it can cause problems, and from filling the air in your workshop.
All of the table saws under $500 that we reviewed use 10-inch blades, in part because this is an extremely common diameter that makes it easy to switch out blades. That said, blade diameter can vary and 12-inch blades are also quite common.
Keep in mind that the stock blades provided with most table saws are relatively cheap – replacing the blade is one of the best upgrades you can make to your saw.
Size, weight and table extensions
The size and weight of your saw is a major consideration if you plan on carrying it between jobsites or have relatively limited workshop space. Most table saws under $500 are relatively compact, especially compared to hybrid and cabinet table saws, but some are smaller than others. For example, the Ryobi saw is designed to be extremely lightweight and portable, but have smaller rip capacity because of this design.
Keep in mind that many portable table saws reduce their size during transit by using table extensions. These can be folded out or telescoped during table use. However, keep in mind that many woodworkers find that these types of tables are not perfectly level and they take some extra work to set up.
Many portable table saws like the Bosch and Dewalt saws have on-board storage that allows you to stow miter gauges, dado blades, and other useful accessories inside the saw. While this storage isn’t strictly necessary, it can be nice to have all your table saw tools in a single place.
There is a huge variety of accessories available on table saws, some of which come standard on specific saw models. For example, saws like the Rockwell have integrated laser measures, while the Wen and Ryobi saws come with push sticks for making rip cuts. The most important accessory to have is a stand, although this is integrated into most of the saws that we reviewed. If you’re looking to upgrade your table saw, consider purchasing a better blade, a set of dado blades, an extension table, or jigs.
Table saws should last for years if maintained properly, but it’s nice to have the peace of mind that comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. Many manufacturers including Dewalt, Ryobi, Rockwell, and Skilsaw offer three-year warranties, and Dewalt and Ryobi even offer 90-day money-back guarantees on their saws.
Table saw maintenance tips
Maintaining your table saw is extremely important for ensuring that it runs smoothly and safely for years to come. There are a number of things you can do to keep your saw in excellent condition.
First, you need to deal with sawdust buildup. Sawdust that accumulates inside the guts of the saw can be cleaned away with a brush and shop vacuum. You can also use compressed air to remove any stuck sawdust.
Once the sawdust is gone, you should lubricate the gears and adjustment knobs on your saw with spray lubricant. The blade and riving knife should be cleaned with pitch, and you should use an oil lubricant to wipe down the saw’s table to ensure that wood continues to slide smoothly.
It’s also important to maintain the alignment of your saw – this should be done after every five hours of use. Be sure that all of the screws holding the blade and throat assembly in place are tight, and use a level to ensure that the rip fence and miter gauge slots are parallel with each other. Finally, make sure that the blade is parallel with the rip fence and with the riving knife.
Yes, although how easy it is to sharpen a blade depends on the material. If you have a steel saw blade, you can sharpen it yourself using a file or blade sharpening tool. If the blade is carbide, then you’ll likely need to have a professional sharpen it since this requires a special set of tools.
You should not use a budget table saw, which is designed for cutting wood, to cut through metal or stone. This will not only damage your blade, but can put a lot of wear and tear on your saw’s motor.
Our three overall favorite table saws under $500 are the WEN 3720, the Bosch GTS1031, and the Skilsaw SKIL 3410-02. All three of these saws have enough power to cut through hardwood boards. While the rip capacities pale in comparison to larger hybrid saws, the Dewalt and Skilsaw models can cut 24-inch rips.
Contractors in particular loved the Bosch saw for its power and portability, although they wished it would come with a stand for the price.
The Skilsaw is an ideal choice for beginning woodworkers since it offers simple, precise adjustments and plenty of room for upgrades.
We feel that the WEN 3720 is the overall best table saw under $500 thanks to its whopping 3-9/16-inch depth of cut with the 10-inch blade, as well as a 26-inch rip capacity thanks to the telescoping rip fence rails.