You know how important it is to get precision cuts with smooth edges and minimal damage. Having a great table saw is about a lot more than just getting a saw that can handle the material you’re working with. Great carpentry starts with smooth edges and minimal material loss so that you can create precise cabinetry, solid joints, and beautifully even pieces.
When you’re looking for a great table saw on a budget it can feel like you’ll have to compromise on those standards to stay within your allocated spend.
After all, money doesn’t grow on trees and you can use other finishing techniques to create polished wood products even though it takes more time.
Fortunately, improvements in motors, blade design, and other saw features have made it possible to get a fantastic table saw for under $500.
We’ve designed this article with an eye toward professional quality saws that work as jobsite saws, in smaller workshops, while still providing the high-quality cutting performance professionals expect.
Toward the end, we’ve also included a buying guide for table saws to help you pick the right saw for your needs and the workshop space you have available.
DeWalt is one of those brands that knows how important quality and consistency are for professional contractors, carpenters, and woodworkers. Their power tools are designed to offer high-quality performance in almost any circumstance. DeWalt also backs their tools with a standard warranty that covers hardware failure and often even covers other damage as well.
That’s the reassurance you need to know that you’re getting a high-quality product when you invest in a new tool for your business. But, the company is less important than the product itself. Let’s see what the DWE7485 has to offer professionals and hobbyists alike.
The DWE7485 is a compact jobsite saw that’s really designed for professionals who need to take their saw with them from place to place. Its smaller design is a huge benefit if you don’t have a lot of vehicle space for transport, and it also means that this saw weighs less than many of the alternatives on the market.
DeWalt has also worked to make sure this smaller saw is still complete enough that you can start working with this saw the minute you’ve pulled it out of the box. It might not have all the features and accessories you want in a great saw, there’s no feather board for instance, but it’s got everything you need to safely use the saw in a wide variety of situations and for a wide selection of materials.
You’ll get a push stick for the table saw, non-cut through riving knife, 24 tooth blade and guard, blade change wrenches, anti-kickback pawls, and miter gauge standard in this kit.
That 24 tooth blade might not always be the best option depending on the kind of work you need, but the blade change wrenches are well designed to help you change the blades with minimal fuss.
This saw is a little smaller than many compact jobsite models, however. It does not work with a standard 10-inch blade, instead of going for the slightly smaller 8 ¼” alternative.
Smaller blades don’t have less cutting power or variety. You can get the same range of blades in the smaller size. However, smaller blades do mean less cutting depth, limiting the function of the table saw slightly.
If you primarily work with thinner sections of wood to begin with, this table saw is a fantastic option.
The saw also provides some onboard storage for the fence and other accessories. That storage is great for the off-season when you aren’t using your saw as often. It’s also a fantastic adaptation that makes moving the saw from place to place that much simpler.
Why we like it
DeWalt is one of the top power tool brands out there for a reason, and that high-quality craftsmanship and design shows in this saw. It’s a little smaller than a typical jobsite table saw, but its high-quality cutting performance and great design improvements make it just as efficient as larger saws, just with a smaller profile. We love this table saw so much it’s even made our list of the best table saws under $600 and the best table saws under $1,000 as well.
Skilsaw’s Worm Drive gearing system gives these saws some of the highest torque of any saw in the business. That’s great when you’re in a hurry, but it does make these saws a little more aggressive and better for professionals than people who are still learning to use a table saw safely and effectively.
Of course, the worm drive isn’t the only aspect of this saw that’s worth talking about, so let’s look at the details!
This jobsite table saw is another model that uses a slightly smaller blade design, 8 ¼” instead of 10”. That’s not a huge limitation in any respect except that it does shrink the safe cutting depth on this saw slightly.
You’ll still be able to cut most sheets of plywood and higher quality materials that come in relatively thin sheets, along with most other materials that your regular table saw is equipped to handle.
Plus, the worm drive means that this saw has a lot more torque than an average table saw of this size. It’s well equipped to work with toothier blades, continuous rotation blades, and everything in between. It’s a good fit for hardwoods, tile, and finishing work.
As a ripping saw, this table saw is one of the best options on the market.
The rack and pinion system was also built with a similar level of attention to detail and precision. It’s designed to move smoothly between different settings with very little effort. The system also maintains a high degree of precision through long-term use, so you won’t have to deal with jamming or less than perfect angle control as your saw starts to age.
The all-metal construction of this saw frame also gives you a sturdier and longer-lasting frame without the additional weight. It’s light enough to work on most tables and workspaces, which is a huge advantage if you forget your stand or are working somewhere where utilizing a stand isn’t an option.
The only thing you need to look for is to make sure that whatever surface you’re using for the saw is as close to perfectly level as possible. Like any saw, this machine works a lot better if you can keep it level while you’re working.
This saw also has a serious advantage in the dual field motor. This motor design helps to keep the saw cooler while you’re working. A cooler motor will last longer, but they’re also great for keeping temperatures low on the jobsite.
That way you can rip through more material before the saw needs a break.
Why we like it
Overall, this saw is a more aggressive and powerful version of a jobsite saw, which makes it a good option for carpenters who are looking for a smaller model that can still handle hardwoods and finishing work.
Delta machinery has more than a century of high-quality craftsmanship behind them. Their products might not be the most well known in the industry, but that doesn’t stop them from being some of the biggest gems in power tools out there.
This table saw is the first on our list that comes with its own stand, which is a huge advantage for most mobile professionals. The gravity rise stand is a fantastic option thanks to how easily it’s set up and torn down. However, like most gravity rise stands this model is relatively limited when it comes to leveling capacity.
This jobsite saw is also a little different in that it’s more of a hybrid between a traditional jobsite saw and a contractor saw. It’s got a contractor-grade motor to give you a little more power and torque. That makes it easier to work with lots of different materials including difficult hardwoods and tile.
The blade guard system on this saw is also particularly effective and still lets you maintain visual contact with your work while you’re cutting.
This saw offers 32.5” of rip capacity, which is significantly more rip capacity than most table saws of the same size and weight.
This saw also has dado capacity for creating customized cuts and excellent well-finished edges.
The Delta stand is also patented to set up and tear down in a single movement, which saves you a lot of time and energy on-site. Saving time is important for making your jobs as efficient and profitable as possible.
The rail adjustment system is similarly streamlined. There are three quick adjustment tabs to make it easier to go between different settings on the job. That means it’s easier to create custom cuts and to move between different kinds of saw work quickly and easily.
Why we like it
This system is a great choice for carpenters who focus on finishing work, contractors who want to create custom edging and need a powerful saw, and anyone who wants to take a little more power with them from job to job. It’s highly efficient design, huge rip capacity, and easy to use stand all improve the portability and versatility of this design.
Metabo HPT is another well-known brand with a reputation for creating high-quality tools that last and hold up well to the rigor of professional use. Their designs are easy to use and designed to help increase the overall efficiency of their tools.
Now that you know what to expect from the brand let’s see what you can expect from this saw.
This saw is another product that comes with both the table saw you need and a portable stand to make it easier to use on your job sites, wherever that might be.
The stand is incredibly easy to use thanks to a fold & roll stand design that helps you set up and tear down the stand without as much effort. The fold and roll stand also means that the stand can be wheeled around to ensure the user can maneuver through tough terrain with ease.
A heavier stand like this is a huge advantage since it lowers the point of balance and reduces the chances that an accident will send your saw tumbling.
The biggest downside of most stands is that they are usually very difficult to transport around job sites. Being heavy and stiff, they are not able to adapt to most rough terrain. Because this table saw comes with a fold and roll system with wheels, transporting the table saw from one location to another should be much easier.
The bevel system on the saw ranges from 0 to 45 degrees so you can make a wide range of angled cuts that your project is calling for.
The saw itself is a slightly less powerful option than many of the saws on this list. It’s a 15-amp motor, which means plenty of torque and cutting power, but it produces a lower RPM of 4,500 rpm which should still be enough power to tackle most jobs.
The benefit of that combination is that it helps to decrease the vibration and noise level from this saw, which makes it a great addition to a noisy jobsite.
This system also has a telescoping table extension which gives you 35 inches of rip capacity to the right and an additional 22” to the left. This is way more rip capacity compared to other models on the market which makes this saw suitable for a wider range of jobs.
Why we like it
This saw is a great option for professionals who want to cut down on the noise and vibration from their equipment, making it easier to use and more effective on a busy job site with a lot of communication.
Tacklife is a new kid on the block when it comes to high-quality professional power tools, but this saw is a fantastic example of the quality and affordability that has helped them expand their market share. Their team started with only 10 dedicated professionals, which is impressive considering their high-quality products.
This saw is the only saw on our list that’s considered a contractor saw not a portable saw. The original idea behind a contractor saw was a more powerful and efficient saw that’s got a little more workspace available. These saws are meant to work on a wider variety of materials and still be portable enough to come with you when it’s needed.
This saw comes with a relatively large workspace to begin with, as well as a table extender that works well to give you even greater rip capacity. The fence system is easy to move and relocate. It provides a solid backdrop for you to work with, even when the extender system is fully deployed.
The extension system also works well on both sides, which means that this table saw is about as close as you can get to a larger stationary table saw as you can get in a relatively portable model.
The 15-amp motor on this saw is also about as powerful as you can get in a portable design. However, the RPM is only middling at 4,800 rpm.
The miter gauge gives you control for up to a 45-degree angle on your cuts. That means a lot of customization power and control. The saw is also a full-sized 10-inch saw, which means that you have a lot of blade versatility and many different designs to fit the needs of the moment.
Why we like it
This saw is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for something a little bigger and sturdier and don’t mind that it’s a little heavier, a little larger, and less portable than true jobsite table saws. As a professional level saw there just aren’t that many options out there that will work better for fine finishing work and precision cuts.
Now that we’ve looked at all of our top pick table saws under $500, let’s see what makes these saws some of the best.
This buying guide is about more than just the saws on this list. It’s designed to help you decide what you need in a table saw, even if that means a different model or style than the table saws on this list.
Types of Table Saws
Knowing what type of table saw you need is one of the first steps to picking a saw that will work for you not against you. This is probably the most critical decision you can make when you’re picking out a new table saw.
Portable & Jobsite Table Saws
Portable table saws are some of the most common saws made today. Also called jobsite saws, these table saws are designed specifically to take from place to place. That means that the designers make some compromises in the name of portability, efficiency, and lowering the weight of the tool.
The result is that these saws are usually among the least powerful designs, but they are also some of the most popular for everything but the finest detail work.
Carpenter saws are designed to be as close to a stationary saw as you can get while still being able to move the saw from place to place if necessary. They are smaller and often shaped very much like a cabinet saw, but they are also usually lighter and slightly less powerful. These saws were created for fine detail carpentry work on the go, though they do perform better if you can leave them in your workshop.
This is the most versatile version of a relatively small saw, though you’ll occasionally see jobsite saws with carpentry saw motors.
Cabinet saws aren’t the largest saws out there, but they are a popular choice for a stationary saw that fits in a relatively small area. These saws are named for the cabinet-like enclosure underneath that protects the motor and other circuitry.
If you aren’t looking for a saw that takes up several square feet but want the impressive power of those more permanent workshop saws, this kind of saw is probably your best bet.
Hybrid table saws are saws that are trying to bridge the gap between larger and more stationary saws and smaller portable models. Hybrid saws are generally sized like a jobsite saw, but with one or more features that would make just as much sense on a carpenter’s saw.
Table Saw Materials
Most table saws use a metal frame, metal top, and all metal components near the blade assembly with the exception of the blade guard itself. However, there are plenty of other materials that can be used in combination with the metal parts.
Metal frames can be lightweight, in which case they are usually a little thinner and more delicate. Or they can be heavy-duty, which is usually a better option for portable saws.
However, plastic panels and components can sometimes be used to reduce the weight and cost of the saw, and plastic is almost always less durable and long-lasting than even lightweight all-metal designs. Look for all metal and decide whether low weight or high durability is more important in a table saw for you.
Direct drive motors are generally the most common and universal style for portable saw motors. They are efficient, easy to use, and compact, which is a big part of why they are so common. However, this design is almost always louder than belt drive motors and produces more vibration.
Belt drive motors are a little larger and generally need some kind of dust collection system to help keep the motor working longer. But they are also quieter and reduce the vibration through your saw. They also tend to be the more powerful type of motor, which means that a belt-drive motor can cut through more difficult materials and works better as a heavy-duty professional’s tool.
Dust Collection Systems
Dust collection systems are generally considered an optional feature for your table saw since you can create a completely independent dust collection system and have it work almost as well or better than a built-in dust collection system.
Dust collections systems help you control the sawdust and wood splinters that naturally build up when you’re doing a lot of material cutting.
A good dust collection system is usually a lot more important when you’re working with non-wood materials like tile and stone, but only the more advanced table saws tend to come with them. However, some stands include a dust collection system, and there are dust collection systems designed to be hooked up to a simple shop vac.
Standard equipment is all the equipment that should come with your table saw. These tools and accessories are generally considered essential for the safe operation of your saw but won’t generally include all the tools and accessories you would prefer to have onboard when you’re working on a project.
Your rip fence is the guide on the side of your saw that helps you control where you’re sawing and gives you a more stable point to prevent wavering and vibration in the piece you’re working on. The rip fence is one of your most important pieces of equipment, so it’s important to make sure it has a good clamp system and is solid enough to work with your preferred materials.
The attachment system should be easy to use and designed so that you can take it off the saw and change positions quickly and easily.
Ideally, your saw should also have a measurement system on the side that you can reference to make sure you’re placing the fence at the right distance from the blade without having to measure the exact distance every time.
The blade guard is another important safety feature that serves the dual purpose of helping you keep hands and body parts away from a spinning blade, while also helping to prevent cutting debris and waste materials from flying back toward the saw’s user.
A good blade guard should be firm, hinged so that it moves to accommodate a wide range of cutting materials, and still give you good visual contact with the blade while you’re working.
Blades come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. The size of your blade determines the size of the piece you can work on, at least when it comes to the depth of the cut you can make with the saw.
Toothed saws are some of the most common when it comes to woodworking saws. Fewer teeth tend to equal rougher and more aggressive blades that produce rougher edges. More teeth create finer edges but also often take a little longer to cut through your material.
Continuous cutting blades without teeth are suitable for tile and masonry, while other abrasive blades are suitable for a wide range of hard but delicate materials.
Most saws will come with at least one blade, but usually, you’ll only get a blade of middling quality with relatively few teeth.
Your miter gauge gives you the ability to cut at a specific angle without having to bevel the angle of the blade itself. A great miter gauge gives you a lot more control over what you’re doing and allows you to create a lot more custom angles, especially if you’re also using a saw with beveled settings as an option.
A good throat plate protects the mechanisms underneath the blade and helps with feeding your materials smoothly and without jamming.
Good throat plates are often overlooked, but they greatly enhance the performance of your saw.
Dado-enabled saws allow you to mount multiple blades at the same time to create a specific shape or type of cut. These are great for finishing work and cabinetry, but they tend to need an advanced user and can be difficult to get right.
Many saws will come with their own specialty stand designed to make it easier to take from place to place. A great stand is a huge asset to mobile professional craftsmen, but you can also purchase stands separately, in both universal and specialized designs. So, while it’s nice to get a stand with your saw, it’s not necessarily a requirement. Check out some of our favorite portable table saw stands to get a better idea of some of the capabilities they can offer.
Table extensions are sometimes built into the saw table, but they can also often be purchased separately and attached directly or not. Table extensions increase your rip capacity and can give you more workspace in general.
Overall, for a budget table saw with a good balance between features, power, and price, the DeWalt 8-¼-Inch Table Saw (DWE7485) is the best value on this list. That’s not to say that the other saws aren’t also fantastic, because they are, but rather that the DeWalt saw is the most balanced of each of them. Additionally, it’s a reliable table saw for experienced professionals and an excellent table saw for beginners alike. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options you can check out our favorite table saws under $200 as well.
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.