Woodworkers know that working with a saw always involves a certain amount of risk. Table saws can be some of the most dangerous, not because of their design but because of the powerful motors and fast-spinning blades they use.
A good table saw for beginners will already have several important safety features like a riving knife and a rip fence, but that isn’t enough. Push blocks are critical for providing good grip points on the wood you’re cutting and preventing kickback.
Even if your saw comes with one push block, or more likely a push stick, you should still invest in another to make sure you have the right equipment for every job.
Of course, a cheap push block doesn’t offer nearly as much protection as higher-quality models. We’ve found some of the best and safest designs out there to help keep you safe no matter what projects you’re working on.
This design is one of the safest options currently on the market. It’s adjustable grip points and two separate cutting channels make this push block incredibly easy to customize to a wide range of projects and materials.
The block is designed to have a lot of points of customization where you can make slight changes to better fit the wood you’re currently cutting. The ability to change cutting channel width makes it possible to safely cut on a wide-angle, without risking damage to the push block.
This design is also effective for both large and small pieces of wood.
Its larger profile provides wide grip points and even pressure across more of the cutting surface. The design also slides smoothly against most table saw surfaces, which means that you can still use the larger push block on smaller projects safely.
The comfortable handle on the top of the push block gives you plenty of leverage so you won’t have to fight to keep enough pressure on the cutting surface to prevent kickback.
Each of these features adds to the safety and effectiveness of the push block, keeping you safer in your workshop and making it easier to keep working longer.
Why we like it
This push block is one of the most advanced and easy to use options currently available for woodworkers. Its design makes sense, and most users will be able to adjust different dimensions quickly and with ease. This push block is a big improvement over makeshift wooden options, and much more durable and long-lasting than most homemade versions.
The Grr-Ripper Advanced is very similar to the basic Grr-Ripper design we’ve already discussed. This model adds an accessory flat surface along one side of the push block to help hold larger pieces of wood steady.
The addition might not be necessary for cutting most dimensional lumber, but it’s an important and effective adaptation for plyboard, wooden sheets, and anything more than a foot on a side.
Sturdy metal bolt attachments hold the additional plastic foot in place without risking any damage to the wooden surface it grips underneath. Avoiding damage in the early cutting phase of your project will save time on your finishing work later.
3 directional force control design helps direct the pressure on the push block to all the right places, effectively preventing kick back while you’re working.
This design still has the adjustable cutting channels to allow for bevel cutting as well as straight-line cuts. The push block provides enough pressure and has enough grip on the bottom to help prevent kickback with even the most difficult and knotted wood and hold it steady at even the deepest bevel.
The green grip proprietary grip material at the bottom of both of these push blocks are well designed to move smoothly over a table saw cutting table while also providing a high level of grip on the wood you’re cutting.
Why we like it
This addition to the Grr-Ripper is a fantastic upgrade for woodworkers who focus on building large pieces of furniture and other big projects that take larger sections of lumber. The grippy design is easy to use but incredibly effective. High placed handles keep your hands far away from the saw blade while transferring the pressure of your grip to the cutting surface.
This somewhat smaller and simpler push block design still provides good grip points and a lot of stability for your sawing needs. This design is meant to work just as well with table saws as it works with band saws.
The main feature of this design are the gravity hook grips on the end of the push block. Designed to grip the end of your saw materials, these push blocks help provide additional stability and help push and move your project through the saw.
The design is equally effective for horizontal and vertical use. As long as you have the push block placed at the end of your material, the hooks on the bottom will deploy and give you additional grip and leverage for better control and improved safety.
This push block might be a little less feature-enhanced than the two we’ve already discussed in the Grr-Rip line, but it’s versatile and flexible design is particularly effective. Being compatible with several different kinds of saws also makes this push block one of the more versatile options.
This push block also has the green-grip material to help make sure your push block never slips, providing a better and more consistent grip on your cutting material. It’s good for both sanded and unsanded wood and will hold tight even to surfaces that feel smooth to the touch.
Why we like it
This simpler push block is a great option if you’re looking for a standard block that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but also doesn’t need any adjustments before it’s ready to use. The grippy bottom is especially effective, while gravity hooks help make sure you always have the leverage you need for safe cutting, regardless of what kind of saw you’re using.
This option is the first push block and push stick package we’ve included in this list. Instead of just getting a single more versatile tool, this set gives you a wider variety of more specialized pushing tools.
Each of the tools is made from durable plastic. They are colored orange for better visibility while you’re working. The bright color also helps make sure you’ll never lose these push blocks or push sticks in your workshop. They’ll stand out in any storage area and in any lighting.
Each of the 5 different tools has a slightly different purpose, and you can use them in combination to get more versatility and flexibility overall. The long V push stick lets you cut from further away, while you can use a push block on the other side of the project to help keep it steady without getting too close to the moving blade for instance.
The main downside of this set is that it doesn’t have any of the cutting channels or voids that other push blocks offer, which means that you risk cutting the tool and dulling your blade anytime you need to use a grip point close to the blade.
Why we like it
These push blocks and sticks all use more traditional designs compared to the more innovative options we’ve already covered. The designs are simple, but it’s also highly effective. The combination of plastic and foam rubber is sturdy but also incredibly lightweight. This pack is well designed for your average woodworking shop and works for a reasonably wide variety of saws and projects.
This PowerTec push block and stick set is very similar to the set by Fulton Safety. It’s another 5-pack set, fairly evenly split between push blocks and sticks. They even use a similar style of traditional sticks and blocks. The combination is powerful enough for almost any woodworking job and works well for most workshops and saw combinations.
The ergonomic handles are also a nice addition on this set. Not only is each push block and set a little different so you can choose the exact right tool for each job, but they’re also more comfortable and easier to use than other versions.
These designs are also great for using more than one push block and stick in combination. They work well together and provide different kinds of stability to make sure you’ve always got what you need. No more using one push block and your hand, protect both hands by always having the appropriate tools on hand.
Being made from bright safety orange plastic also makes it easier to see exactly what you’re doing and differentiate between your push stick and your project when you’re working close in with the saw.
Of course, while this system is effective and worth investing in, you’ll still need other safety measures like a good riving knife in addition to the push block and push sticks.
Why we like it
Overall this system is one of the better sets you can get if you’re looking for a comprehensive push block and push stick combination that works for all kinds of woodworking. The ergonomic design is simple and comfortable, while the lightweight design makes it easier to maneuver your push blocks into exactly the right space.
Sometimes you need to work with narrow cuts and smaller pieces of wood. That’s just a fact of life and part of the job as a woodworker. You could try to just hold the wood from the other side, the wider side further away from the blade, but that’s still not a perfect solution. Even with a riving knife and standing to the side instead of in front of your saw you’re risking kickback and injuries.
Instead, these narrow push sticks are perfect for pushing narrow stock through the saw safely. The design is simple but easy to use. The angle at the end of the push stick will perfectly hold the right-angle edge of most stock wood.
These two push sticks also use a couple of rare earth magnets to hold the push stick against metal surfaces, letting you store them on the front of cabinets, and even directly on some table saws.
Just in case you don’t have any metal surfaces, both sticks also have a hole drilled in the handle to hang them from on any standard tool racks. Both storage solutions are effective and make it much easier to keep your shop organized and easy to use.
Why we like it
These push sticks are certainly the simplest of the options on our list, but they still perform an important service. The narrower profile, only 3/8ths of an inch thick, is perfect for finishing detailed cuts more safely than without the push stick. The grip design and ergonomic handle both work to give you more stability and grip while you’re working.
Table Saw Push Block Buyer’s Guide
Now that we’ve gone over some of the best push sticks and push blocks on the market, let’s look and see what makes a push block a good one. We also want to take a moment and talk about the advantages of buying a push block instead of making one.
Hopefully, once you’ve read this guide, you’ll have a better sense of what kind of push block you need for your workshop, whether you’re an expert woodworker or just putting together your first ever kit.
Why Buy a Push Block Instead of Making One?
Push blocks and sticks are some of the most common equipment and tools woodworkers make for themselves. It’s common to see woodworkers use scrap wood and leftover plyboard to make their own push sticks as they break and get worn down by the saw.
Homemade push sticks are a good option when you’re cutting something that’s literally so thin you can’t place a stick between the stock and the ripping fence without getting the push stick cut in the process. But it’s not as steady or stable an option for any other kind of cutting.
Push blocks are a serious upgrade partially because the wider design is a lot more secure on your stock and holds the material steadier. That combination seriously reduces the risk of kickback.
But not many woodworkers want to take the time to build a push block for every occasion, or want to spend enough scrap material to make an effective push block that’s both tall enough, easy to use, and adaptable to the wide range of cutting you’ll do on your table saw and other equipment.
The push blocks we recommend on this list might not be cost-free like your scrap wood push sticks, but they are much more reusable and customizable to meet a wider range of different situations and materials.
Bigger push blocks are also much larger and have more points of contact with your stock. That’s especially important when you’re working with wide stock like plyboard and particleboard.
The only time we recommend using a homemade push stick is when there is no way to prevent feeding the push stick or board into the saw while you work. Otherwise, plastic push blocks that are specifically designed to give you a good grip and prevent kickback are much more effective. The improved grip and better leverage make woodworking much safer.
Even more importantly, store-bought push blocks work with a wider range of saws, more safely than most hand made versions.
You might spend a little more on a store-bought option, but it’ll save you time, effort, and injury in the long run.
There are a few options when it comes to push block materials, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right material will help you save money on future replacements.
Plastic is one of the most common options for push blocks because it’s solid and durable but also relatively inexpensive and easy to manufacture. Basic push blocks can be made of solid plastic without causing any problems. The plastic can even take a slice or two without causing too much damage as long as the saw isn’t taller than the surface of the push block.
Plastic push blocks can also be more customizable than other materials, especially larger models like the Grrrr-Ripper line of blocks we discussed at the top of our list. However, the more customizable your push block, the more likely it is to have some metal components.
Metal components like nails, bolts, and slides can all cause problems for your saw if they’re in the path of the blade. These push blocks might be more adaptive and effective, but you’ll need to pay just as much attention to placement and safety to prevent accidentally damaging your saw blade and stressing the motor by trying to cut something the saw isn’t designed for.
Plastic and Rubber Foam
Combination plastic and rubber foam push boards and sticks are much lighter and usually cost less than versions made from solid plastic. They can be easier to use and maneuver because of the reduced weight.
However, that reduced weight can also mean that these push blocks and sticks don’t have as much leverage and grip than other options.
Also, plastic and rubber foam push blocks and sticks will almost always break if you get too close to the saw and accidentally cut the block. The foam inside just isn’t strong enough to hold up to accidental cutting.
Even some store-bought push blocks and sticks use wood like the ones you can make at home. However, usually, the quality of the wood and construction is better than the scrap wood most woodworkers use.
These push blocks tend to be a little more expensive and a little less re-usable than other materials, and they’re rarely as customizable as a good plastic push block.
We don’t generally recommend metal push blocks for woodworking. A good design can be sturdy and effective, but there is too much risk of the metal causing damage to your saw blade and the internal mechanisms and motor while you work with a metal push block.
The same goes for any material harder than plastic or hardwoods.
Getting the right design is just as important as getting the right material and the right size for your project. Good design can even make up for a push block that’s a little too light or doesn’t have as much grip strength.
Adjustable Push Block
Adjustable push blocks have different sections that can extend or collapse depending on the needs of your project and the dimensions of the stock you’re working with. They’re a good option for working with projects that have multiple heights and dimensions, or for shops that typically handle a lot of variety in what they’re cutting and building.
Adjustable push blocks are usually some of the most secure options because they can be reconfigured to fit your exact needs instead of just making it work. You can also get better leverage for a wider range of tasks.
For instance, an adjustable push block can also be used to hold a piece against a belt sander while reducing the risk to your hands.
Original Push Block
Regular push blocks usually don’t have any adjustable parts. They’re just small rectangles with a grippy bottom and a handle on top that gives you better leverage and control depending on what you’re doing.
There are some push blocks that have a few additional features, which we’ll discuss a little further down, but most are simple.
It’s worth noting that plain push blocks do come with several different handle designs. Some are general, but others are focused on giving you more pushing power and leverage, while still others are designed to work better in your right or your left hand.
If you decide to go with simple push blocks, it’s important to get a couple of additional push blocks that have different handles and designs.
Push sticks are much smaller than push blocks, which means they aren’t quite as safe to use. However, push sticks are better for tight spaces, and cutting anywhere you can’t fit a push block effectively.
Generally, it’s okay to go with cheaper materials for a push stick than a push block. Push sticks get closer to the blade and are more likely to get damaged in the process. That means you’ll probably need to replace it more often, which makes cheaper materials and construction a more reasonable option.
However, the cheaper and less durable your push stick the more you’ll want to rely on other tools to make sure you’re as safe as possible while you’re woodworking, especially when you’re working with more challenging kinds of wood.
There are a couple of types of additional features that can be included on your push blocks, but they aren’t necessary for the basic function of the tool.
Optional grips on the end of the push block, for instance, can add to the grip of your push block, but they aren’t required to give good performance and maneuverability.
Adjustability is another functional feature, but it isn’t necessary.
There are also features that help with storage or comfort. Storage adaptations like hooks or holes for hanging and magnets can help you keep your tools safe and out of the way, while also making it easier to be stored safely.
Price should be one of your primary concerns when you’re looking at good push blocks. That’s because they’re almost certainly going to need replacement at some point, so spending too much on a good push block will make it hard to get your money’s worth out of the tool.
Generally, a good push block won’t run more than about $25-30, which is also the maximum investment that’s usually worth the cost.
The more different kinds of saws and tools you can use your push block with, the more likely you are to get good value from the investment.
This is a combination of whether the push block can be used horizontally and vertically, as well as what additional features and grip points are included with the push block.
Adjustable push blocks are usually the most effective design for multiple tool use, so it may be worth investing in a good adjustable plastic push block if you need to use the push block with several different kinds of tools.
All of these push blocks and push sticks are fantastic additions to a well-equipped workshop. Every option improves your grip and will help keep your hand further away from the blade so that you’re less likely to get injured. At the same time, all of them also provide greater stability to reduce the risk of kickback.
Overall though, the best of these options is the GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock for Table Saws by MICROJIG, the first on our list.
This 3d plastic push block is incredibly consistent and easy to use, and its versatile design offers a lot of grip points to make it more effective with tools other than table saws.
The extended version of the Grr-Ripper might be better for large plyboard and flat sheet stock that you need to cut, but it’s not quite as versatile as this version.
This design is easy to use and works for the widest possible range of tools.
Plus, it’s mostly plastic design and proprietary Green-Grip bottom give it some of the best grip and leverage possible from a push block.
All in all, it’s a tool any shop would benefit from owning.
I have an unhealthy obsession with contracting and renovation. I’ve been a contractor for over 15 years and I love tackling challenging projects to make them look amazing.