What is a Portable Table Saw and what is it Used For?

A portable table saw is essentially a saw that you can easily take with you wherever you go. It’s great for people who are always on the move, like contractors or woodworkers who work at different job sites. These saws are usually smaller and lighter than the stationary variety, which makes it easier for workers to transport them.

What is a Portable Table Saw Used for?

It is typically used for cutting wood, but can also be used to cut other materials (depending on the type of blade being used). A portable table saw typically consists of a circular saw blade mounted on a portable table, which provides a stable surface for making precise cuts.

Some common uses for a portable table saw include: 

1. Cutting wood for construction or carpentry projects

A portable table saw can be used to make precise cuts in wood for use in construction or carpentry projects. It is especially useful for making straight cuts or precise angled cuts using a miter gauge.

2. Cutting Wood For Decorative or Craft Projects

A portable table saw is a useful tool for cutting wood into intricate shapes and patterns, particularly for decorative or craft purposes. It can also be used to make precise cuts, such as for creating joints or dovetails.

3. Cutting Wood for Firewood

 A portable table saw can be an efficient tool for cutting logs into smaller pieces that are suitable for use as firewood.  

4. Resawing

Resawing is the process of cutting a large piece of wood into thinner pieces. This can be useful if you need to create thin veneers or if you want to make thinner pieces of wood from a thicker piece.

5. Ripping

Ripping wood involves making cuts along the grain to achieve a desired width, often to construct furniture or shelving.

Types Of Portable Table Saws

The three most popular portable saws are as follows:

1. Compact Table Saw 

A compact table saw is a type of portable table saw that is smaller and more lightweight than other types of table saws. It is designed to be easily carried and transported to different locations and is often used by professionals who need a saw that they can take with them to job sites.

2. Jobsite Table Saw 

The job site table saw is typically used on job sites. It is more rugged and durable than other types of table saws, and it is designed to be able to withstand the rigors of being transported to and used on different job sites. Jobsite table saws are usually more compact and lightweight than traditional table saws, which makes them easier to carry and transport. They are also often equipped with features that make them easier to use on the job site, such as wheels for easy movement, built-in stands for stability, and dust collection systems to keep the work area clean. 

3. Benchtop Portable Saw 

A benchtop portable saw is a small, lightweight table saw that is designed to be placed on a workbench or table. It is a type of portable table saw that is compact and easy to store, making it a good choice for those who have limited space in their workshop. Benchtop saws are typically less powerful and have smaller tables than other types of portable table saws, such as job site saws or contractor saws.

Types Of Portable Saws 


Compact portable saw 

Small, and lightweight, suitable for small projects 

Job site portable saw

Larger and more powerful, durable, suitable for larger/frequent tasks 

Benchtop portable saw 

Designed to be used on a stable work surface, maybe smaller.

Features And Accessories Of Portable Table Saws

Here are some common features and accessories associated with portable table saws:

  • Folding or collapsible table and stand: Allows the saw to be easily transported and stored when not in use.

  • Blade guard and splitter: Protects the operator from the moving blade and helps prevent kickback.

  • Adjustable rip fence: Allows the operator to make precise cuts along the length of the material.

  • Miter gauge: Enables the operator to make angled cuts.

  • Dado blade set: Allows the operator to make grooves or dadoes in the material being cut.

  • Extension tables: Provides additional support for longer material or larger projects.

  • Blade wrenches: Used to change or adjust the saw blade.

  • Push sticks: Used to guide the material being cut safely through the saw blade.

  • Onboard storage: Provides a convenient place to store tools and accessories when not in use.

  • Stand with wheels: Allows the saw to be easily moved around the job site.

Things To Consider When Buying a Portable Table Saw

There are several factors to consider when buying a portable table saw. First of all, consider the type of materials you will be cutting and the size/thickness of those materials. This will help determine the size and power of the saw you need. Next, consider the features you need, such as a stand, miter gauge, and blade guard.

These features can make the saw more convenient and safer to use. You should also consider the weight and portability of the saw, as well as its price and overall quality. Additionally, consider the warranty and customer service provided by the manufacturer. It is important to choose a saw that is well-made and reliable to ensure that it will last for many years.

Tips For Using A Portable Table Saw 

Here are some tips for beginners on how to safely operate a portable table saw and some important things to keep in mind: 

  • It’s important to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when using a portable table saw, including ear protection, eye protection, and gloves. 

  • The saw should be set up on a flat, stable surface and the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed for setup and use. 

  • The blade should be properly tightened and aligned with the saw table. A push stick or push pad can help guide the material through the saw.

  • Hands should be kept a safe distance away from the saw blade at all times, and the material being cut should be secured with the saw’s hold-down or feather boards. A splitter or riving knife can help prevent binding or kickback. 

Remember to turn the saw off and unplug it before making any adjustments or changing the blade, and regularly check and maintain the saw by cleaning and sharpening the blade and other moving parts.


1. What is a good portable table saw for beginners?

If you are a beginner looking for a portable table saw, you might want to consider a benchtop saw. These saws are smaller and lighter, making them more portable and easier to handle. They are also generally less expensive than jobsite portable saws.

2. How common are table saw accidents?

Table saw accidents are common, especially if proper safety precautions are not followed. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated 40,000 table saw-related injuries in the United States each year. Many of these injuries are caused by contact with the saw blade and can result in amputations, lacerations, and other serious injuries.

3. What safety precautions should be taken when using a portable table saw?

Secure the saw to a stable surface before using it, and do not reach over the saw while it is in operation.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating and maintaining the saw.


A portable table saw is a valuable power tool and a good alternative to a circular saw for woodworkers and carpenters who need to make precise cuts on the go. It is portable, meaning it can be easily moved from one location to another, especially making it a useful tool for those who work on different job sites.  

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