Selecting a Table Saw - Page Two

Cabinet Saws

Cabinet saws, aka shop saws, are designed to meet the operating and durability requirements of professional woodworkers, and are larger, heavier duty, and more powerful than contractor saw.  They are normally driven by a 3-5 horsepower motors and are generally wired directly to a 220-volt circuit.  The cabinet saw is mounted on a fixed base, with the motor mounted in a cabinet making it a quieter saw, and the enclosed base make dust collection simple.  The large voltage gives the saw enough power to make straight, precise cuts through the hardest wood and the large, sturdy table guarantees a flat surface.

The cabinet saw is more expensive than the other types of saws, but has an overall superior performance advantage.  It also has a height and tilt adjustment feature and has better dust collection than the other models.  Cabinet saw are built to more demanding standards than less expensive saws, their tables flatter, their bearings and pulleys stronger and tougher, and usually they are outfitted with a more reliable fence system.  The rip fence is finely-tuned to produce cuts with the tolerance of 1/32 inch necessary in fine woodworking.

Even with the greater cost, greater electrical power requirements, the larger size and heavier weight of the saws; they are still the favorite saw of professional woodworkers and serious hobbyists.

Hybrid saws

Hybrid table saws contain some of the features of cabinet saw, is more compact than the contractor saw, at a price closer to the contractor saw.  Hybrid saws are essentially a scaled down version of the cabinet saw. They are lighter weight, and equipped with motors in the 1-2 HP range, and therefore do not need 220 volt wiring. 

Some hybrid saws have a cabinet saw style base and some have a shorter enclosed base and legs.  It requires less room in your shop with a more solid and heavier base, it has the lower vibration of a cabinet saw, along with its greater dust control.

 While still having cabinets they are much lighter and mobile, but are sturdy and well constructed and have many advantages for the serious hobbyist, at a more affordably priced than the cabinet saw.


Each different saw-type is specialized to oblige the diverse needs of each woodworker or shop. Finding out what is needed from a table saw must decided upon, before the type of saw that should be acquired is decide upon.  Just as significant as the type of saw you choose is the features of the saw. Some contractor model saws offer many of the same features that you'd expect to find on a top-quality cabinet saw, such as accurate fence systems, precision ground cast iron table tops, and extension wings.   Saws in the cabinet saw class may share certain features they are not all built to the same quality standards. Examine the quality of the components, including the quality of the fence system, the width and carriage of the trunnions, the finish and grind of the table top and extension wings, and anything that will make a more efficient power transmission to the blade.

Selecting a Table Saw - Page 1

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