Unfortunately, nothing seemed to be completely aligned from the factory, so right off the bat, we got cuts that were far from straight. After quite a bit of adjusting and fiddling, we managed to get some pretty decent cuts, though not the cleanest or straightest of the saws we tested. We also weren’t thrilled about how long the blade took to slow down once the saw was powered off. Sometimes you want to turn the saw off, adjust your piece, and make a new cut. When the blade just continues spinning, it starts to reduce your productivity.
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For people who need a multitasking jigsaw and need to cut various materials including wood, plastic, PVC, and steel, we recommend getting this PORTER-CABLE PCE345 6-Amp Orbital Jigsaw which is our 3rd pick for the list. This corded jigsaw for woodworking is quite powerful since it is able to deliver a cutting speed of up to 3,200 which only a corded machine can deliver.
Routers with engines in the 1.75 to 2.25 HP range would be considered mid-sized routers. These may come with a plunge or fixed base and require both hands during operation. Mid-sized routers are a good compromise between convenience and power. They can accomplish jobs that would unfeasible with trim routers, and jobs where a full-sized router would be too unwieldy.
So, where does this tool go wrong? For starters, the blade didn’t want to quite get to zero degrees. Naturally, this means it’s not going to deliver a straight cut. While the blade is getting up to speed, the entire saw vibrates and makes a very disconcerting grinding type of noise. Definitely not something that inspires confidence! The fence also didn’t want to stay straight and tended to migrate during use. All in all, it’s a great feature set for the price, but the cheap construction is not built to last.
The good news is that if you already own a dust collection system or a shop vac, then you may be compatible with many models. Even if it doesn’t match the port size of your shop vac, you can often purchase converters that will make the table saw work with the system you already own. Consequently, you shouldn’t avoid a unit because it has a port size that is different from the gauge of your shop vac. This is something to look into before making a purchase, just to make sure that converters that will work with your model are being sold.

If you don’t get a model with a flat table, you’re not going to be satisfied with your cut quality. It’s an overgeneralization to say that all good cuts start with a perfectly-flat table on a table saw, but there’s some truth to it. Even minor warping can result in huge changes to the final piece after you’ve made the cut. Unfortunately, it’s not always a problem that can be seen by the naked eye.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting a model that doesn’t have a problem with internal dust collection. Some don’t do a great job of funneling the dust towards the port, so it ends up sitting inside the unit. This can affect performance, as sawdust is great at gumming up moving parts. So, if you get one of those models, know that you’re going to have to regularly open it up and clean it out to keep it in tip-top shape, which is a pain, but necessary if you want your unit to last a long time.
Contractor models also tend to be more powerful and more precise than portable saws, which gives them a definite upside if you’re going to be doing lots of work, or work that requires a fine degree of precision. This type can also be a good choice if you’re going to leave your table saw in one place for extended periods of time, while still being light enough that they can be moved if you need to do so.
Although this saw doesn’t give us anything to harp on when it comes to operation, it has one massive design flaw that handicaps it. The motor is open to all of the sawdust you’re cutting. This causes the saw to have common longevity issues, dying short of the two-year mark. Despite the great functionality, it won’t be much use once the motor dies. For the high price, we’d hope for a great warranty to accompany this tool, but instead, we get a very mediocre one-year policy. When spending so much on a table saw, we think the better choice is to spend it wisely on a good long-term investment that will last for years of use.
Routers with engines in the 1.75 to 2.25 HP range would be considered mid-sized routers. These may come with a plunge or fixed base and require both hands during operation. Mid-sized routers are a good compromise between convenience and power. They can accomplish jobs that would unfeasible with trim routers, and jobs where a full-sized router would be too unwieldy.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting a model that doesn’t have a problem with internal dust collection. Some don’t do a great job of funneling the dust towards the port, so it ends up sitting inside the unit. This can affect performance, as sawdust is great at gumming up moving parts. So, if you get one of those models, know that you’re going to have to regularly open it up and clean it out to keep it in tip-top shape, which is a pain, but necessary if you want your unit to last a long time.

While some people consider the circular saw to be more of a carpentry tool than a fine woodworking tool, but some would disagree. There may be no more versatile basic handheld power tool than a circular saw. When used with a clamp-on straight-edge, the circular saw can be just about as accurate as a table saw and handle quite a few of the tasks that one would attempt with a table saw, particularly cutting sheet goods such as plywood or medium-density fiberboard. When woodworking on a budget, a quality circular saw should be the first handheld power tool purchased, as it is the one that will likely be the most useful as you get started.


The good news is that if you already own a dust collection system or a shop vac, then you may be compatible with many models. Even if it doesn’t match the port size of your shop vac, you can often purchase converters that will make the table saw work with the system you already own. Consequently, you shouldn’t avoid a unit because it has a port size that is different from the gauge of your shop vac. This is something to look into before making a purchase, just to make sure that converters that will work with your model are being sold.
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