Types of table saws; stationary vs portable.

Types of Table Saws (In-depth guide!)

Table saws are an incredible handy tool used by many carpenters and DIYers. They are able to make very accurate rip cuts easily. With that being said, there are a number of different table saws out there so it can be difficult to determine which is the right one for you. We will go through all the different table saws to help you make an informed decision.

Types of Table Saws

Types of table saws can be broken down into 2 categories: portable and stationary. Portable table saws include bench top and jobsite saws. They’re easily transported and much lighter. Stationary table saws include contractor, cabinet and hybrid saws. These are larger and heavier, but allow bigger rip capacity and precision.

Portable Table Saws

Bench top table saw

This is the smallest and most light weight option when it comes to table saws. It does not come with a stand so you can set it up anywhere. It has by far the smallest footprint of all the table saw.

Dewalt bench top table saw.

The size of these saws are by far their best feature. This small size makes it easy to store and throw in your vehicle to travel around with. They make stands for these saws that are sold separately. But if you are like me, you can easily make a stand using 2 saw horses and a piece of plywood.

Using table saws with drywall for stand for table saw.

These table saws are also the cheapest. They range in price between $200-$400 depending on the manufacturer and features.

Carrying a Dewalt bench top table saw.

Other then size, cost, and portability they tend to be inferior when compared to all other table saws.

They tend to have a less powerful motor compared to all other table saws. This can make cutting harder materials much more difficult. These smaller table saws often have smaller blades as well. This means if cutting thicker materials you may have to make multiple cuts (this can significantly impact the accuracy).

Small table top saw cutting a 4x4.

With these table saws you also get a smaller cutting surface. This can make it more difficult to cut larger pieces of material and affects the accuracy. Along with the smaller surface you also have a smaller fence distance allowed between fence and blade. This can make it much more difficult to make precise straight cuts. They tend to have the smallest RIP CAPACITY of all the table saws.

A represents smaller table and B represents smaller fence on bench top table saw.
Smaller table (A) and fence (B) on a bench top table saw

Lets take a look at the specs of one of the best bench top table saws out there. This is the Dewalt 8-1/4th inch bench top table saw.

  • Weight: 54 lbs (24.49 kg)
  • Motor amps: 15 amps
  • Volts: 110
  • Speed: 5,800 RPMs
  • Length: 22.75 inches
  • Width: 22.75 inches
  • Height: 13 inches
  • Rip capacity: 28 inches
  • Cost: $395.87

These saws are often referred to as compact saws as well.

Jobsite table saw

Jobsite table saws tend to be a little bigger then bench top saws and often come mounted on a stand. The stand is commonly able to fold up but in general has a much larger footprint then the bench top saw.

Dewalt jobsite table saw.

They are a bit more expensive then bench top says as they range between: $450-$700. The increase price actually gets you some better features. They tend to have better fences, improved alignment, sliding extension tables and folding stands with wheels. These all lead to more accurate and precise cuts with a larger rip capacity.

Extended fence on a Dewalt jobsite table saw.
Extendable fence on jobsite table saw

The jobsite saw tends to be more durable then the benchtop table saw. They are meant to withstand the high demands of jobsites. There motors are also a little more powerful allowing them to cut thicker material easier.

As you can expect, these table saws are less portable and much larger then the previously discussed bench top models. Depending on the size, these saws may require two people to transport.

Dewalt jobsite table saw fully folded down.
Jobsite table saw fully folded down

Lets take a closer look at the specs on the Bosch 10 in worksite table saw:

  • Weight: 110 lbs (49.9 kg)
  • Motor amps: 15 amps
  • Volts: 120 v
  • Speed: 3650 RPM
  • Length: 32.5 inches
  • Width: 27 inches
  • Height: 13 inches
  • Rip capacity: 28 inches
  • Cost: $629

These table saws are most commonly used by contractors who need a rugged yet still portable saw.

Stationary Table Saws

As the name suggests these table saws are not meant to be moved. Stationary table saws include; contractor saws, cabinet saws and hybrid saws. They are much larger and heavier then the portable saws. Their motors provide much more power which leads to better cutting capacity and capability. They tend to come with much larger cutting surfaces leading to more rip capacity. In general, these stationary saws make more accurate cuts.

Contractor table saw

These saws are the cheapest option when it comes to the stationary saws. Their price ranges from $600-$1,800. A significant increase in price in regards to the portable saws. These table saws are attached to a base that often times has wheels (though these are not foldable). The wheels make it easier to move around your garage or workshop.

Ridgid contractor saw.

They were actually originally made for contractors so they could transport them around easier. So they are lighter than cabinet and contractor saws and do not have an enclosed cabinet. Since portable saws have come around these are much less frequently transported anymore.

They often come with cast iron top. These tops tend to stay flatter over time and decrease vibration when saw is running (leading to more accurate cuts). Typically tables will be about 25-30 inches deep and 18-22 inches wide. They also often comes with extendable wings that lead to increased table size.

Cast iron top on a contractor table saw.
Cast iron top on contractor table saw

These contractor miter saws typically have a 1-2 horse power motors that hang off the back of the saw (they are exposed). This provides plenty of power for most wood working jobs and is supported by a typical household outlet. This motor style though is not great for dust collection, which can lead to a mess.

Motor with a square around it on a contractor table saw.
Motor on contractor table saw

Lets take a look at the specs of the Delta 36 contractor table saw:

  • Weight: 243 lbs (110.2 kg)
  • Motor amps: 15 amps
  • Volts: 120 v
  • Speed: 3450 RPM
  • Length: 43 inches
  • Width: 30 inches
  • Height: 23 inches
  • Rip capacity: 30 inches
  • Cost: $1,402.90

Cabinet table saw

These are the “holy grail” when it comes to table saws. These are massive saws that take up a ton of room, but have by far the largest rip capacity at 50 inches (with no add on needed). With that being said these are much more expensive. They can range anywhere from $3,000-$10,000.


This saw got its name from the small cabinet under the table of the saw. This houses the motor of the saw. These motors usually have 5-7.5 horse power, which is much more powerful then the contractor saw. This is not usually the saw for DIYers as most household circuits do not support this power. These are most commonly used in commercial/industrial work shops.

Cabinet table saw

These saws usually come with the highest quality cast iron and steel that significantly reduce the vibration leading to highly precise cuts. The tops of the table are much larger and allow for you to cut bigger material. These saws have no problem cutting through thick/dense material. The fences are much more robust and more accurate. This all leads to a much heavier and larger saw that takes up a lot of space. These saws are very difficult to move.

Cabinet saw making a large cut in big piece of plywood

The enclosed motor allows for a much better dust collection system compared to contractor saws. This leads to a much neater and cleaner workshop.

Cabinet saws are very durable and last a long time.

Lets take a look at the specs on the Grizzly industrial heavy duty cabinet saw:

  • Weight: 435 lbs (197.3 kg)
  • Motor amps: 15 amps
  • Volts: 220 v
  • Speed: 3750 RPM
  • Length: 91.5 inches
  • Width: 75 inches
  • Height: 40.63 inches
  • Rip capacity: 50 inches
  • Cost: $3,130

Hybrid table saw

Hybrid tables saws are relatively newer to the market. As the name suggests they tend to be a hybrid between cabinet saws and contractor saws. They have some of the characteristics of cabinet saws but at a much lower price.

In general, a Hybrid table saw is a step above a contractor saw, but a step below a cabinet saw.

Hybrid table saw

Hybrid saws have a fully enclosed motor like the cabinet saw. This enclosure will vary depending on the saw. On some hybrid saws the enclosure will go all the way to the ground. Others will have a smaller enclosure with legs. Either way this leads to a smaller footprint and a much lighter saw then the cabinet table saw.

Dewalt hybrid table saw with legs

Like contractor saws these tend to have 1.5-2 horse power motors so they can run on a normal household outlet. The enclosed motor leads to optimal dust collection. Sometimes you will even see a tub from the cutting surface to the cabinet to help enhance dust collection.

Hybrid table saw with tube for dust collection

Hybrid saws tend to have a slightly higher rip capacity at 30-40 inches which is slightly higher then contractor saws (depending on model). They are usually made with stainless steel tops again reducing the vibrations when cutting. They weigh somewhere in between cabinet and contractor saws making them pretty difficult to move (you will definitely need a second person).

These saws tend to range in price between: $700-$5,000, depending on the manufacturer, style and features.

Lets take a look at the specs on the Ridgid 10 inch professional Hybrid saw:

  • Weight: 267 lbs (121.10 kg)
  • Motor amps: 13 amps
  • Volts: 120 v
  • Speed: 3450 RPM
  • Length: 46.3 inches
  • Width: 30.6 inches
  • Height: 37.1 inches
  • Rip capacity: 30 inches
  • Cost: $1,099

Other less common table saws

Mini table saws

These table saws are used when cutting very small pieces of wood. They use a 4 inch blade, which is much smaller then the 10 inch blade used by all other table saws.

Mini table saw

Mini table saws are very light weight and take up minimal room on a tool bench. They can be very easy to transport. They cost anywhere between $50-$200. There mostly used by hobbyists (like people building model cars/ships). Mini saws can also be used on a jobsite for cutting smaller pieces of wood such as trim. They cut smaller pieces of wood much safer then the larger saws.

Lets look at the specs of the Cnest 4 inch mini table saw:

  • Weight: 5.45 lbs (2.47 kg)
  • Amps: 8 amps
  • Volts: 240 v
  • Speed: 10,000 RPM
  • Length: 7.48 inches
  • Width: 6.5 inches
  • Height: 3.94 inches
  • Cost: $69.99

Sliding table saws

These are the largest table saw out there. Also known as the “European table saw.” Sliding saws are basically cabinet saws that have a sliding table to the left of the blade. This allows you to cut much larger sheets of plywood. They can be up to 6 feet long, so you need a lot of space for these. These are most often seen at industrial shops that are cutting large material on a massive scale.

Sliding table saw

Sliding table saws are very expensive. They are mostly only made outside of the United states, but Powermatic makes an sliding table attachment you can add to your cabinet saw if you please. It costs $1,829.99 for the attachment.

Table saw rip capacity

Rip capacity of a table saw refers to the space between the blade and the edge of the fence (located on right side of blade). The fence on most table saws is adjustable so the max rip capacity refers to how far the fence can be adjusted. In general, most portable saws have a rip capacity of 28 inches, contractor saws of 30-35 inches and cabinet saws of 50 inches.

Rip capacity shown with arrow from blade to fence on a table saw

This determines how wide you can cut any given material. Ideally, you want a saw that has the highest rip capacity. Since cabinet saws have a 50 inch rip capacity, you can adjust the fence to make any size rip you want (under 50 inches). This is a very important feature when it comes to table saws and you tend to see the higher the rip capacity the higher the cost.

There are a number of ways to increase the maximum rip capacity of the saw that you own. Often times these come with a price tag. There are a number of DIYers out there that will show you how to do this on a budget though.

Which saw is right for you?

Now comes the time to decide which saw is right for you!

This all depends on what you are looking for. If size and portability are key then the bench top or jobsite saw are for you. Just remember with these you will loose some accuracy and you rip capacity will be smaller, BUT you will save some money.

If accuracy and quality are most important then you want to decide between the stationary saws. If price and size are no issue, I would recommend the cabinet saw as it will be the most accurate and durable.

As a simple DIYer myself, I have a bench top table saw with a makeshift saw horse bench that I use. It is perfect for my small garage when it comes to storage, but also allows me to make the fairly precise cuts that I need for my weekend projects.

If you got through all of this and realized, I don’t know if I need a table saw at all. There are lots of other saws out there that can help with household projects. Tables saws tend to be the most expensive when it comes all the saw options.

If you are looking for a saw that allows more variety and is a little cheaper, I would recommend looking into a miter saw or circular saw.


  • Portable Table Saws
    • Bench top table saw
    • Jobsite table saw
  • Stationary Table Saws
    • Contractor table saw
    • Cabinet table saw
    • Hybrid table saw
  • Other less common Table Saws
    • Mini table saw
    • Sliding table saw
  • Table Saw Rip Capacity

I hope this was helpful for you in regards to learning about which table saw is best for you! If so please let me know which saw you choose in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.