Table Saws In the $500-1000 (but really closer to $500) Price Range

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 12-11-2012 09:21 AM 18774 views 1 time favorited 83 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 3042 days

12-11-2012 09:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

Since getting my Kreg tool I’ve been on a tear. My table saw is an 20+ year old low end Craftsman on a steel base. I think it is time to upgrade.

My first foray was a portable contractor saws: DeWalt 744, Bosch 4100. With stands they are over $500. HD has the DeWalt 745 for $299 put that unit won’t accept dado blades.

Researching I’ve found more alternatives and have become intrigued by the Incra Fence The link is a YouTube video. The website is:

I’m now focused on a few options. Note: my observations from numerous reviews is that rated power or amperage is not the determinant of cutting speed and that smoothness trumps power in most cases.

1) Craftsman 21833, Ridgid R4512, Dayton 4KXD1. Reports have them all being identical although Dayton and Craftsman list the power as 1.75hp and Ridgid as [email protected] (the others say [email protected]). Most owners seem satisfied. I believe it has a cast iron center and formed steel wings. The Ridgid is $529 at HD, the Craftsman is $550 through the 13th, $590 after. The Dayton is in the mid-to-high $600s plus shipping.

2) Steel City 35990 SS/CS/C/CG/G. The first at at Lowes for $620 has formed steel center and sides, the CS has cast center/steel sides, the C is all cast, the CG is cast center/granite sides and the G is all granite. Steel City says the all granite has the least vibration and doesn’t corrode. All are rated at 1.5hp. Lowes has the G for $820 and Amazon have the G for $899. The others are at dealers and net of shipping are more. HD has the C and G, each for just under $1000.

3) Steel City 35926. Similar to the 35990G with a 1.75hp motor and a base that looks like a cabinet but is open on the side and has wheels. The base is easier to assemble. $850 at Amazon but out of stock.

4) Steel City 35960 C/G, Craftsman 22116. Similar to the 35926 but with an upgraded fence. The Craftsman has a rear support with miter slot clearence. The Steel City price is $1000, which is probably $1150-1200 with shipping The Craftsman is in store pickup for $950 plus an additional 5% off for using a Sears Card.

Are there models in this price range that should be considered but that I missed?

If the analysis above is correct, the choice is probably between the $529 R4512 at HD, the Steel City 359550SS at Lowes, the 35926 at Amazon, or the 22116 at Sears.

What do you recommend?

I’m making various bookcases, cabinets, racks, etc…organizing 30 years of “stuff”.

83 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8415 posts in 4424 days

#1 posted 12-11-2012 10:41 AM

You’re to be commended for you doing your homework! You can add the Rikon 10-201 as being about the same saw as the SC 35990C (Woodcraft $900). I’d also give some consideration to the Grizzly G0661 and G0715P. ($924/$824 shipped)

There are pros and cons with each of the saws you’ve listed, but all have good potential to become good performers, once aligned and fitted with a good blade. These are all a significant step up from a portable jobsite saw. They all have similar duty ratings, but some feature full solid surfaces, better fences, and full enclosures….if budget allows, those are nice features. If not, the R4512 et al are capable saws…..if you do go that route, bring an HF 20% coupon and see if you can get a deal.

If you’ve got 220v, the Grizzly G1023RL is a significant step up for $1294 to your door….more money, but a heck of a bargain for a 3hp industrial cabinet saw. Just some food for thought.

Executive decision time!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View pingpingpang's profile


12 posts in 3042 days

#2 posted 12-11-2012 11:26 AM

Just FYI
R4512 is on clearance at HD but YMMV

I want to get one but not sure if I can get the package fit in my CR-V

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 4071 days

#3 posted 12-11-2012 11:38 AM

I have an older Ridgid that I am very happy with and their customer service is great. I bought mine on a closeout special so it was about $400.

All that being said, if I was shopping for a saw in that range today, I would be looking hard at the Grizzly G0715P ($825 to your door).

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 4207 days

#4 posted 12-11-2012 01:21 PM

When you say you are intrigued by the Incra fence, do you mean that you will be considering it for purchase? If so, whatever saw you get will give you a return on the standard fence once you sell it.

I would consider used. I purchased a 1992 3hp Unisaw on Craigslist several years ago because I knew that I’d be accessorizing it with all the Incra gear. Therefore, I was able to put my capital mostly on the saw itself. Whereas a used saw wont have safety features like a riving knife, you can still use splitters.

Regardless, I don’t see the logic of paying a grand on a hybrid saw when a couple of bills more will get you the 3hp saw that Scott mentioned. The difference is huge in the power and capability that you gain.

-- jay,

View toolie's profile


2203 posts in 3677 days

#5 posted 12-11-2012 03:26 PM

have you considered the room that the incra needs? its a very good fence but seems to significantly increase the space that needs to be allocated to the saw.

that said, steel city and grizzly are both having sales:

the 4512 is a great value, especially if you can find a HD that will honor harbor freight’s “20% off any single item” coupon. $400 plus tax is a great value for a 10” CI hybrid with 30” of rip capacity, a riving knife, a built in mobile base and ridgid’s lifetime service agreement (free parts and labor for life).

the steel city tools are attractive, covered by a five year guaranty and are also available through HD online. and HD online will match the sale prices from the SC website and include free home delivery (at least that’s what they told me when oi called and discussed purchasing one of the TSs on sale.

you’ve focused on some really nice tools from reputable dealers/manufacturers. at least you haven’t been sucked in by that “gold standard” in WW BS that powermatic, and it’s poor cousion, jet, try to foist on unsuspecting tool snobs.

good luck with your selection process and remember to post pics of the resulting acquisition.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View NiteWalker's profile


2742 posts in 3626 days

#6 posted 12-11-2012 03:32 PM

Go for one of the steel city models or the craftsman; those have cabinet mounted trunions.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4697 days

#7 posted 12-11-2012 03:39 PM

I think the Cman 22116 is the best on that list. it has cabinet mounted trunnions, and can be picked up at the store. (you should verify that it does have cab-mounted Trunnions though as I could be mistaken with the model)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 3042 days

#8 posted 12-12-2012 01:28 AM

There are also Steel City 3hp models in the $1200; the 35618 is $1060 at Amazon with a 50” table and their “industrial fence”.

Amazon has the 35990CG—cast iron center, graphite wings—for $699 including shipping. I missed it before because it was out of stock. That may be a better solution that the 35990G ($820 at Lowes) and the 35826 ($850 at Amazon). The CG may eliminate the miter channel changing width issue reported in some reviews.

The Grizzly G0715P is $824 delivered from Grizzly. They are 3 hours away in PA, but it cheaper to have them deliver that cost of the round trip drive. It has a 2hp motor but I wonder if there is any measureable difference between the It has quite a few bad reviews although its specs are good.

The Sears shows the old Steel City blade guard. One concern is not knowing how old the saw is. The ones marketed as Steel City appear to be recently built having the updates. The second issue with the Sears is the warranty; Sears is 1 year, Steel City is 5 years. The third is warranty support. Steel City is reported to provide advice (if you call Canada) and parts rapidly. They don’t flinch at replacing damaged granite. Does the same support for the Craftsman model have to go through financially unstable Sears?

My local HD has the R4512 for $499 (one in stock). They may honor Lowes or Harbor Freight coupons. If I can get a 10% Lowes coupon that would be $450, or $250 less than the next option, the Steel City 35990CG at Amazon. That coupon would make the $820 Steel City 35990G (all granite top) $740, or $290 more than the R4512.

The Incra 32” fence is $400, the 52” fence with legs $100 more. The 52” can mount (an admittedly expensive) router table, but that table can make use of the Incra fence (the router fence mounts on the table saw fence).

Two notes. Incra isn’t fond of the Steel City saws. On most saws the center section contains the miter grooves, the wings are just for support. On the Steel City saws, the miter grooves separate the wings from the center; the outside of the miter grooves is on the wings. While Steel City uses 4 bolts on both the front and back rails (one on each wing and two on the center), and the R4512 uses 8 on both the front and back rails, the Incra rails use just two bolts.

Incra specifies them to be connected to the center section. On the Steel City saws that center section is narrow. I poster on another forum was concerned about it last year: Incra told me the same today. The poster referenced another poster’s pictures; they show the Incra mounted on a Steel City 35990G using one center and one wing mounting hole.

Incra was also concerned about the threaded blind screw holes on the granite tops. They are inserts. On the cast iron tops the screw holes are in the material and not blind or then mount uses a nut rather than internal threads.

However, the Incra can be easily moved to another table saw; it isn’t table saw specific.

Because of limitations the saw will be going to the basement. A bit of a pita getting materials in and out…but necessary. The area the saw ill go is 66”x96”. There is space in front of that, but not ‘dedicated’ to the saw. As a result, a saw where the legs are assembled separately will be a lot easier to get into basement; the cabinet saws often have very heavy center sections.

I will need to run a new circuit for the saw if it will draw 15A or 20A. It probably doesn’t make any difference if it is 240v or 120v from a cost or complexity standpoint.

Thanks for all the feedback,


View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 3042 days

#9 posted 12-12-2012 02:01 AM

One note: the Steel City doesn’t mount the wings like other saws.

On the Grizzly and R4512 the wings are mounted to the center section through bolts between their interface. On the 35990C/G/CG models the wings mount on the motor housing in a manner similar to the center section.

Mounting the Incra rail on the wing isn’t a matter of strength, but just a matter of alignment. If the alignment is within .001-.002”, does it matter? Note: the center section itself is truer than that.

View knotscott's profile


8415 posts in 4424 days

#10 posted 12-12-2012 02:04 AM

If you’re going to run wire, I’d definitely wire it for 220v….might even be cheaper if it means smaller gauge wire. Plus it’ll leave open 120v outlets for other things, and there’s likely to be less voltage drop. All the saws mentioned will run on 220v.

The issues with the G0715P were mainly issues with early models….alignment would shift when the blade height changed. The same issues also pertained to the early Ridgid R4512 and Cman 21833, which share similar guts under the hood. Supposedly those have all been resolved.

I’m seeing the SC 35618 for $1517 shipped on Amazon…. $1060 delivered would be a screaming buy signal in my book.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 3234 days

#11 posted 12-12-2012 02:54 AM

If you really want the incra fence, I would say go for the ridgid and upgrade it. There are thousands of people out there who turn out beautiful furniture with bench top saws, so i dont see any need for the incra. I say get the ridgid and put a delta fence on it.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7915 posts in 3963 days

#12 posted 12-12-2012 03:02 AM

I’ll let Knotscott take this one. I find it impossible to recommend a $500 TS in any seriousness. I apologize, but I am trying to be honest. The TS is the mainstay of most WW shops and to shortchange this piece is rather telling in where the rest of the shop equipment is heading. Yeah, I know that/this is a harsh statement, but the truth can sometimes be a bitter pill. and sometimes it is difficult to swallow that you have to give up on owning a quality piece of equipment because of a lack of $$$$. It happens, but please to not give in to sacrificing quality over quantity. Just my opinion, but please consider what I am sharing…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 3042 days

#13 posted 12-12-2012 04:59 AM

First, I made an error on the $1069 saw…or at least I think I did. The 3hp is going to be $1200.

Mike, all of these saws are full of compromises. The R4512 is $680 if you buy it from Grainger with a Dayton label. It is comparable in weight and power to the other 120V saws. It has formed metal wings, questionable fence. Owners are happy to get it for the price. Several posters have said it has the same mechanicals as the Grizzly although the Grizzly with its cabinet and cast iron wings is over 100lbs heavier.

The two big knocks on Steel City are miter slots that change width and get a taper as the wings are leveled and a marginal instruction manual. At $824 delivered, I would probably opt for the Steel City 35990CG ($700), 35990G ($820) or 35926G ($850) first. A 10% coupon probably drops the 35990G to $740.

That still compares to the R4512 at $450-500. The R4512 with a Incra 32” right side fence and miter with fence would be less than $1000.


View Paden501's profile


35 posts in 3399 days

#14 posted 12-12-2012 01:38 PM

My vote is for the Ridgid R4512. I have the Craftsman clone (21833) and it’s all the saw I could ever need. The only minus to it in my eyes is the fence… Several times I’ve thought about upgrading it. For my shop, I also like the portability of having the contractors style saw that I can roll around when I need space.

Regardless of price, if I had to do it over again I would have bought the Ridgid over the Craftsman though, because of the lifetime service warranty that Ridgid provides. Unfortunately I wasn’t that smart when I bought mine.

View jerkylips's profile


495 posts in 3619 days

#15 posted 12-12-2012 02:59 PM

you really didn’t say if you’re open to looking for a used saw. I would recommend going that route – you’ll get more for your money.

If you want to buy new & considering one of the “clone” saws, I’d go with the Ridgid. LSA was already mentioned, but also Home Depot will honor the Harbor Freight 20% one item coupon, which will save you $100ish..

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