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What are ya wanting to do? Small and portable means limited ability. General contractor work such as some ripping, light cross cutting, etc. is doable. Panel work would be "iffy" at best.
Regardless of the saw itself, a quality blade is a must. Good ripper, crosscutter, or a general purpose (40 tooth combo) would be needed.
More details will help us help you.
Bill
 

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Steve,

Depends on how small your work area is. In my area, you can buy a mid 80's Craftsman contractor saw with cast iron table and cast iron web extensions for around $150, about the price of a new portable saw. These can be upgraded for low cost to give you a very viable table saw. If you have the room, I'd go this way. Something like this:
 

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I'd shy away from direct drive aluminum table saws unless you absolutely have to stow the table saw away after use. I have to stow mine away and have a top of the line Dewalt (DWE7491). I'm surprised that the machine is relatively stable in operation (and the soft-start helps).

If you can manage a semi-permanent placement, as CharlesA mentioned look for a contractor style saw with cast iron, used if you are open to restoring. For new, the Ridgid R4512 (buyer beware…lots of elevation issues reported) and Delta 36-725 (seems promising) are your cheapest options.
 

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Steve,

I was in a similar position a few years ago. My dad's rule was always put your money in the tablesaw, but I could only afford the Dewalt 745 Compact Job Site Saw (refurbing an old saw wasn't an option for me, and I wanted a warranty.) Really good, but I quickly grew out of it and had my eye on the a couple different Grizzly models; however, someone recommended the Rigid R4512. I figured for a third of the cost, I could spend on other tools I needed. In retrospect, that was a mistake. Even with a Vega fence, I find the saw lacking for reasons posted all over this forum and others. One year later, I'm now looking to upgrade again. Should've followed dad's rule!
 

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I can't say I have ever seen a portable that had the usefulness of a Contractor's saw. Portables have problems with things like plywood sheets and longer boards and accuracy is questionable. I agree with the blade comment. I use a 10", 60 tooth, thin kerf combination carbide blade.
 

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I can t say I have ever seen a portable that had the usefulness of a Contractor s saw. Portables have problems with things like plywood sheets and longer boards and accuracy is questionable. I agree with the blade comment. I use a 10", 60 tooth, thin kerf combination carbide blade.

- OldWrangler
I agree. I have a very old contractors saw and I have never really been able to justify an upgrade. It cuts straight and I have never felt a need for more power.

Learn how to tune a table saw, and the worst piece of scrap metal you have ever seen can cut circles around a very expensive table saw that is not properly tuned.

On the other hand, with the limited space I have, I really wish I had a very nice plunge\track saw instead sometimes. Easy to store, cuts large sheets of plywood down to size, portable solution for on site work, and a good blade can produce furniture quality cuts. The only problem is that a good plunge saw can be as much as a new portable table saw. I would recommend the TS55 or 75 if you decide to go this route. It would be a life long tool that would never collect dust.

My blade of choice for rips and cross cuts on my table saw is the Freud Thin Kerf Next Generation Premier Fusion P410T
 
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