Table saws can be subdivided into four distinct categories which include the cabinet, hybrid, contractor and benchtop versions. Any other model you may come across is a combination of the above.
Cabinet table saws
They are heavily built which helps in reducing unnecessary vibration and friction during work, increasing accuracy with every incision. The most distinguishing aspect of these devices is that they have a concealed cabinet base, with induction motors that rotate at a speed of 3-5 hp range. For those that are planning to use it at home, a robust heavy-duty circuit would first have to be installed and this requires a power outlet of 220 V.
The motor section is enclosed within a cabinet unit which serves to drive the blade along three parallel v-belt conduits. These machines are naturally heavier than the rest and offer numerous advantages over them, for instance, they have lower vibration effects and improved durability.
Also known as job-site saws, they are lightweight and designed for placement on top of the table or any other supportive stand for operation. These devices have direct injection drive mechanisms but no universal motor as per such, due to their slim construction it’s possible to carry a benchtop from one location to another without breaking a sweat. This allows you to work for extended periods of time without getting tired in the process, the machine is designed to deliver more power in contrast to its diminutive size.
They are characteristically larger and heavier with a detachable stand/base and wheels, the direct drive motor is attached to the blade and drives it independently even without the need of a belt.
This version is very popular amongst hobbyists and residential users, given that their power circuits consume far less energy and are more efficient. Since these systems sometimes hang off the saw on pivot stands, dust accumulation can be a problem especially if you are used to placing your machine out in the open.
Hybrid table saws
As the name suggests, they are particularly designed to compete in the market with other equally high-end contractor blades. Hybrids offer nearly all the benefits of a traditional cabinet saw, albeit at much reduced prices.
Some of them have cabinet-mounted trunnions which improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary downtime. Others also have sliding tables which help in enhancing cross cut quality, delivering the best results each time.
Generally, European-styled saws are more complex in design compared to their American counterparts. Unless modified to fit into the US market, these devices aren’t actually equipped with stacked dado blades like their cousins. Nonetheless, Europeans versions are still lighter in construction and offer much advanced options compared to the others.
They have multi-purpose configurations that include boring, jointer, shaper and planer accessories. Plus the blade edge system has a cross-wise diameter of about 30 mm, in contrast to American markets where the 5.8 inch arbor is considered a much viable alternative.
The scoring blade found in this machine aids in reducing splintering in different types of stocks, particularly the laminated ones. Before buying any of these contrivances, ensure that the manufacturers has a comprehensive warranty for every unit bought.