The table saw size is one of the significant factors that affect the woodworking project sizes you can make.
The table saws you will find in the market would generally fall under the following categories: portable or “jobsite” table saws, hybrid table saws, contractor table saws, and cabinet table saws. Besides, as you shop around for the ideal table saw, you will find different types of table saws in various sizes, which can further confound you.
So, you might be asking likewise about which table saw size you should choose. However, your choice of table saw size should depend on the work type you will often engage in. For example, if you frequently cut broad plywood, you might as well go for one with a wide table. Moreover, it will be best to go for a table saw that can handle larger saw blades.
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Does the Saw Blade Size Matter?
The size of the table saw blade matters much when cutting wood pieces. Hence, you must choose the correct saw blade size for your projects. The standard dimensions of table saw blades include the 10-inch and 12-inch table saws. Nevertheless, these designations also signify the framework, power consumption, physical sizes, and capabilities.
The 10-inch table saws can deal with lighter projects if you’re an occasional DIYer. But if you will use your table saw for heavy-duty tasks, you can always go for the 12-inch saw blade.
You can run the majority of 10″ table saws using 110V. Hence, they are easy to use. However, the 12″ table saws might require a 220V power supply. Therefore, you might need to wire your workshop with the necessary voltage supply if you want to use these table saws.
Cutting Depth, Cutting Capacity, and Blade Size
Table saws get named according to the size of their saw blade. Since the majority of the table saws can handle 10-inch saw blades, the standard table saw is the 10-inch table saw. However, you will also find a few 12-inch table saws that thrive in taking 12-inch saw blades.
The saw blades are adjustable, meaning you can set them to cut shallowly or deeply. You will also find an 8-1/4-inch table saw. This table saw cuts up to 2.2″ deep because the diameter of the saw blade is shorter. Besides, this table saw is incapable of cutting more than 2.2″ deep. This saw blade has a shallow depth and is ideal for cutting small objects or materials.
The 10-inch table saws, however, have a maximum cutting depth of 3.5 inches. Thus, it can cut twice as deep as the 8-1/4″ table saw. Moreover, the 10-inch table saws are the most common today. On the other hand, the 12-inch table saws have longer diameters and are capable of cutting up to 4-inch deep.
Another metric you need to consider when purchasing a table saw is the rip capacity of the table saw. The rip capacity determines the length of the materials you can rip using the table saw. The 12-inch table saw usually has a longer ripping capacity than the smaller table saws.
Besides, they are suitable for cutting softer woods. However, the smaller table saws are perfect for ripping sheet materials, though they are not suited for ripping thick lumber.
Of course, if you only rip less extensive materials, you can go away with the 28-inch ripping capacity. But if you would rip more extensive materials, you should go for table saws with greater ripping capacity. In this way, you can cut a larger sheet in one go and more accurately.
The fence determines the rip capacity of the table saw, although theoretically, the rip capacity of table saws is infinitesimal. The largest rip capacity is 50 inches. Only the largest and best table saws are capable of this extensive rip capacity.
Nevertheless, most of your cuts will not require you to have a 50-inch ripping capacity. So, most woodworkers opt for table saws with 30-inch rip capacity.
Blade Runner and Other Accessories
The table saw blade runners are an important step to getting your cuts right. However, if you’re a beginner, you might be at a loss as to what these blade runners are and their functions. Once you have good blade runners, you can make all types of table saw sleds.
First, you need to ensure that you make a zero-clearance throat plate because factory throat plates generally exhibit a wide gap adjacent to the blade. Many manufacturers also sell throat plates. So, you might as well check on them when you buy a table saw.
Since the most common table saws are the 10-inch ones, you will find more accessories for the 10-inch table saws. In theory, the ten-inch table saw blades would readily fit onto the 12-inch table saws. However, the arbor or the hole where you attach the saw blade is smaller than the 10-inch saw blade.
The 10-inch saw blade arbor is around 5/8.” Meanwhile, the 12-inch table saw comes with a 1″ arbor hole. If you have a 10″ table saw, you will easily find other accessories like fences, miter gauges, throat plates, frame parts, and other accessories for your ten-inch table saw.
Every table saw comes with its corresponding blunt force or power. So, if you try to force a material onto your 10-inch saw blade, the saw blade might break down. The 12-inch saw blade comes with more power. It is, in fact, a beast. If you push material onto it, it will kick back the material. Of course, the 10-inch will also kick back, but the larger one will kick back harder.
You can cut a 1-1/4″-thick wood piece using the 10-inch with ease. On the other hand, the 12-inch table saw can easily rip two-inch-thick laminated lumber. So, if you want to cut through thicker materials, the 12-inch table saw blade would fare well.
Durability and Longevity
If you engage in heavy-duty cutting tasks using a table saw, it will be best to settle for the 12-inch table saw. The 12-inch comes with a more robust framework and is more stable than the 10-inch table saw. Hence, you can regularly make cabinets using this table saw and easily cut large lumber pieces.
Besides, the 12-inch table saw can cut smoothly because it comes with more teeth. Again, it got extra stability due to its larger size and more robust frame. Moreover, the more prominent 12-inch table saw has the edge over the smaller 10-inch table saw for durability.
Sizes of the Table Top
You should not only focus on the saw blade size and other parameters when choosing a table saw. It will be best likewise to consider the tabletop size. Your choice of the tabletop size should take into consideration your cutting needs.
If the materials you often deal with are smaller in size, you can go for a smaller tabletop. Yet, if you often cut large pieces of materials, you might as well go for larger tabletops. It is crucial that you choose a table saw model that corresponds to your work requirements.
You might be constrained in your options by your budget. Yet, if budget isn’t an issue for you, you should splurge on buying a table saw with a large tabletop. Don’t shortchange yourself by buying something with a smaller tabletop.
The table saw is usually the centerpiece of most workshops, and if you are a DIYer who wants to expand your woodworking activities, getting an excellent table saw would be of great advantage to you. The market, however, is awash with myriads of table saw models and brands.
Besides, table saws come in different sizes, aside from these myriads of brands and models. So, you might get confused in the choosing process. But if you know which size is best for your needs, you can surely maximize the use of the table saw you will be purchasing.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker and carpenter who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.