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Table saw - portable vs stationary

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  • Table saw - portable vs stationary

    Assuming I bolt down a portable / contractor table saw to a workbench i already have, will it have similar performance characteristics to a fixed/cabinet variety? or is the actual saw mechanism (motor, gears, bearings, etc) of a different quality.

  • #2
    Re: Table saw - portable vs stationary

    The better portables are capable of good cuts, but there's a pretty significant difference between a good portable and a good stationary that goes well beyond just weight and stability. There's a lot more operating room in front of the blade on a stationary saw. The motors and drive systems are also very different...a belt drive induction motor is much quieter, runs with less vibration, and tends to have more torque. For the most part, universal motors tend to be cost prohibitive and difficult to replace (as well as more likely to need replacing), whereas most stationary saws have an off the shelf NEMA 56 motor frame that's usually pretty simple to replace. The materials of construction are also very different, giving the stationary saws better longterm reliability...often lasting for decades. Standard full size saws are also much easier to do upgrades to....fence, wings, miter gauge, switches, belts, etc.

    Unless portability is needed, or space is nearly non-existant, I usually encourage folks to go with a decent full size stationary saw if possible.

    Here's a look at the guts of a Ridgid R4511 hybrid saw (same as the Steel City 35930, 35925, and Craftsman 22116):

    Here's a look at teh guts of a Grizzly G0690 3hp cabinet saw (same as the Laguna Platinum):

    Here's a look at the guts of a Craftsman 22124 (same as their former 22114 and same as the Steel City 35605):

    Here's a look under a DeWalt DW746 hybrid:

    Here's a look under a Grizzly G0478 hybrid:

    Here's a look under a Ridgid 3650 contractor saw (similar to the older Craftsman contractor saws):

    Here's a look under a Bosch 4100 jobsite saw:

    The trunnion systems for anyone of these full size stationary saws would outweigh an entire portable jobsite saw:
    Last edited by hewood; 10-27-2011, 05:41 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Table saw - portable vs stationary

      this is my opinion, and experiences, there will be a difference, but I have not had the opportunity to try that many saws out,

      the weight of a true cabinet saw does a lot for the tool,

      a "portable" saw is usually a lot lighter and many times is not much more than skil type saw bolted to a top,

      a contractors saw is usually much more with a separate motor, and the trunnion is similar to a cabinet saw,
      but my contractors saw is nothing like my cabinet saw, (and it was a good contractors saw in it day),

      and a cabinet saw is usually built with more cast, heaver parts, and designed for less vibrations, and with a full steel stand that helps as well,

      (I am reasonable assured that some of the higher end contractors saw come close or surpass some lower end cabinet saws)
      for the most part (and price bears this out) the contractors saw is a mid quality saw, where a portable or bench saw is usually on the low end, and the cabinet saw is usually the top end,
      but my contractors saw is nothing like my cabinet saw,

      some make a hybrid saw which is a cross between a cabinet saw and contractors saw,

      this is how I see it,
      the portable saw or bench saw is usually made for portability and not really designed for accuracy, to the part time week end warrior or for the contractor who is on the move a lot,

      the contractors saw is lightweight to set up at a job site or a shop and move around and has a good quality and accuracy, (the new ones are much better than the older unit, (mostly fence improvements)

      the cabinet saw is not portable, and is not easly moved even in the shop, but is rock solid and can run 24/7 and maintain accuracy for many many years,

      another way of viewing it is like in pickup or trucks,
      an S10 is a good unit, but light and low pay load capacity,( I would not call it a serious truck),
      the 3/4 ton pickup you have a towing machine and has a good pay load capacity, you have a good and real truck but still a pickup,
      a 2 1/2 ton truck it is built for work work and more work, it haul all day long and will last 100's of thousands of miles, and carry a full pay load of 20,000 pounds,

      and IMO the saws are similar, a S10 will never be a 2 1/2 truck or even a 3/4 ton, different saws for different purposes and needs,

      as far a quality goes, I am sure the price is some of it, but my guess is there are some very high quality portable saws out there, and it would not surprise me to see some cabinet saws that leave a lot to be desired,

      my sugestion is to see if you can try them out first in some fasion and see if they meet your desires, the S10 may be all you need or want, but then again you may want the 2 1/2 ton unit.

      (a few days ago I saw a friend of mine using a portable saw, and I stopped and walked over to talk to him, they had a new Ryobi saw I think, (it looked like a plastic top, it may have been aluminum, no miter gage slots, some kind of internal miter gage mechanism you attached a small fence to, the top was small IMO, the biggest thing was it was portable, had a fold up stand under it and wheels on the stand I did not see it run but they were having trouble with dust coming back up at them as it had a dust collection cover about the blade (most likely work great with a vacuum) but was not very good with out, It was not my cabinet saw regardless what one would bolt it to)
      Last edited by BHD; 10-27-2011, 05:41 PM.
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      • #4
        Re: Table saw - portable vs stationary

        If you will be using the saw a lot, you will want to invest in more than a portable unit. A mid to high level contractor's table saw will be more enjoyable to use. They offer features that a smaller, lighter saw won't have: a large, solid top made of a flat, heavy material, a better motor, a quality mitre guage, a quality fence, and much better dust collection.


        • #5
          Re: Table saw - portable vs stationary

          Wow... you guys supplied some great and impressive information. Thanks for the great photos too.

          I'm not shopping for a saw, but I just had to comment on the "answers".




          • #6
            Re: Table saw - portable vs stationary

            Thank you much guys. A whole lot of answer to my question.


            • #7
              Re: Table saw - portable vs stationary

              this might be somewhat redundant, but it seems to present some good information quite concisely:

              The Right Table Saw for Your Shop - Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
              there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.