Congratulations on deciding to finally take the plunge and buy a table saw of your own! A table saw is an amazingly versatile tool which will hopefully give you years of enjoyment and satisfaction. If you're a handyman or handywoman around the house you'll find yourself going back to your table saw again and again as new projects arise. Maybe you'll walk through the living room and decide you need to install some custom-made built-in bookcases. Your table saw will help you rip and cut those boards with a precision that can't be found in a circular saw.
But buying a table saw for a home work shop is not like going out and buying a hammer or an electric drill. Sure, there are plenty of options and features to decide upon, but tables saws can be large and expensive pieces of equipment and you want to make sure you're getting exactly what you need and want for years to come.
Here are a few of the things you should consider before buying a table saw for youself:
Size of the saw: This may sound like an obvious one but I know a lot of people who have spent a lot of money on table saws they almost never use because the saw takes up so much room in the shop that it ends up being moved out of the way. If you're going to buy a cabinet, contractor or hybrid table saw then definitely plan on where you're going to place the saw and whether or not you'll have enough room around the front, sides and back of the table saw for feeding in large pieces of wood from time to time. If space is an issue then you may want to consider a benchtop or portable table saw which can be placed on a shelf or in corner when not in use and pulled out on a cart or extentible legs when needed.
Size of your projects: You also need to consider your skill level and what you're going to be doing with your table saw. If you're going to be building a spice rack then you probably don't need a large cabinet table saw and if you're going to put down wood floors throughout your home with custom shelving and bookcases then a cheap table saw may not suit your needs. Besides considering your current needs also think about your future needs. Do you think you may have larger projects in the future? If so then you may want to purchase a table saw with a few more features then you need currently so that you can "grow" into your saw.
Budget: This is often the deciding factor for many people. Table saws vary widely in price but generally the higher you pay the better quality saw your are getting. A portable table saw can cost between $100 to $500 while a cabinet table saw can cost several thousand dollars. If you're going to work on a single project and then never plan to use your table saw again then you may want to look for a cheaper saw. If you're thinking about opening up your own woodworking business then you may want to consider making the investment in a high quality and more expensive table saw.
As long as you take your time while researching your table saw purchase you should do okay. Read through some table saw reviews, consider your needs and your space requirements and balance it against your budget. Then purchase the table saw you are the most comfortable with and let the ripping and cutting fun begin!
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