A table saw is an indispensable power tool for serious woodworkers as well as contractors and construction companies. It allows a woodworker to make long, uniform cuts on pieces of lumber, with the precision, that a circular saw or miter saw sometimes lacks. In order to use it safely and comfortably, it is important to choose a table saw that’s the correct height for the end-user.
A table saw that will be comfortable to use will generally be level with the space between a person’s 1st and 2nd thumb joints, when their hand is held at their sides. Most commercially available table saws that come with a stand range from 31 inches to 37 inches high. This height allows for comfortable use for the majority of users.
If you go to a big box retail store for a table saw, you will be greeted with a fair amount of variation in table saw height.
Several floor models will be out on display, which allows you to test the height and find one that’s comfortable for you. Some table saws are even adjustable to allow for different height settings.
What is the Average Height for Table Saws?
A table saw’s ideal height is different depending on the person using it. In the United States, the average adult male height is 69.1 inches, or about 5 feet 9 inches tall.
Table saws are designed with this average height in mind, but there is substantial variation between them. For example, table saws available online have the following heights:
|Manufacturer||Model||Height (in inches)|
How to Know What Size Table Saw Fits You
Take advantage of the floor models on display to get a feel for a good height for you. You may need to bend slightly to use one, but if the table saw is too low, you’ll probably have a sore back after a long day of using it.
If the table saw is too high, it will likely be difficult and possibly dangerous to use if you get off balance.
Ultimately, a good height for a table saw is based on personal preference.
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What About Portable Table Saws?
There are also portable table saws available that don’t come with a stand. These table saws consist of the blade, the tabletop, and the motor, and you’ll need a steady surface like a workbench to place it on.
Another option if you’re stuck without a table is to place it on the floor, though this would be uncomfortable for long periods of use.
The key is to make sure the saw stays steady, or it could be extremely dangerous.
Portable table saws are significantly less expensive than ones that come with stands, but a heavy-duty stand can pay dividends.
How Do You Use a Table Saw Properly?
What Table Saws Are Used For
Table saws are used to make long, straight cuts in lumber or to make cross cuts to make lumber shorter.
As the name suggests, it’s a saw blade that’s housed in a “table,” with a guide that helps keep the board steady while cutting.
It is typically used to make wide pieces of lumber or plywood narrower.
It is used while standing, so a user’s height is the most important consideration in making sure it’s used safely and comfortably.
How to Use a Table Saw
In order to use a table saw, the user will stand behind the saw and feed boards through the blade after setting the rip guide to the proper width.
As you feed the board through the blade, you’ll need a way to keep the board level to prevent it from kicking back.
Having a sawhorse or workbench on the backside to catch the boards is therefore very important, and it will have to be within an inch or two of the height of the table saw.
Other Factors in Selecting a Table Saw (Except Height)?
For the majority of customers, a table saw’s price will be a significant factor in a purchasing decision.
Table saws that are sold with a stand vary wildly based on the brand, but the top-of-the-line models with all the bells and whistles can approach $600.
A portable table saw without a stand is much less, sometimes less than half of a similar model with a stand.
At a minimum, you should expect to spend no less than $150 on a base model from a reputable manufacturer.
For the amateur woodworker, a good table saw will be versatile and able to be used for a variety of jobs.
Amateur woodworkers aren’t typically cutting hundreds of feet of lumber day after day, but they may have a project that requires several different cuts.
A table saw that’s easily adjusted will fill the average consumer’s need nicely.
On the other hand, a contractor or business which has a high throughput of lumber will likely choose a heavier-duty saw with a more robust motor that can handle hours of use.
Since most consumers don’t have the need, the money, or the space for multiple tools, their table saws need to be able to fill several needs.
One key feature is blade adjustability. The blade should be able to move up and down to account for lumber of various thicknesses, as well as be tilted to allow for angled cuts (bevel).
Generally, more expensive table saws will have greater blade adjustability.
A table saw is only as good as its blade, so you may need to buy a higher-quality blade than the one that comes standard with the saw.
Another important note is that when your blade is dulled, you should buy a new blade to keep the motor from working too hard as well as to keep your cuts smooth.
There are a variety of blades to choose from in all price ranges.
The majority of table saws will be 10 inches blade, which allows for faster cuts, but blade sizes range from 8.5 inches for smaller amateur models all the way up to 12 inches for industrial models.
Read also: Table Saw Blade Cutting Direction
4. Rip Guide
A table saw’s rip guide (the piece that keeps the wood in line when cutting), is difficult to assess without seeing a floor model, but there are plenty of sites online which review table saws in depth.
A rip guide should be sturdy, with a locking mechanism that keeps it from moving at all while cutting.
You should also look for a rip guide that’s relatively tall so the table saw can handle lumber of a variety of thicknesses.
5. Motor and Power Source
A table saw’s motor size is another variable that should be considered.
Table saws come equipped with a motor that’s anywhere from 1.75 to 3 horsepower, with higher horsepower more suitable to thicker boards, higher throughput, or harder woods.
While there are some table saws that are battery-powered on the market, they’re still in the infancy stages of their development.
Until cordless technology improves, you’ll get the best performance out of a corded table saw.
6. Safety Features
A table saw is obviously a dangerous power tool; it’s a sharp metal blade with jagged teeth spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute.
Anything that can cut a hard piece of wood can do significant damage to a human limb. So, it’s important to take safety seriously when using this tool.
Modern table saws are built with a variety of safety features, but the key ones are a plastic or metal blade guard that keeps the wood from rising off the blade, as well as a kill switch that allows a quick turn-off.
Another good practice is to use a push stick to push the wood through the blade, so your hands always stay clear of the blade itself.
Read also: Where Are Grizzly Table Saws Made?
When it comes right down to it, the proper height for your table saw depends on your height.
While the average height tends to be 34 inches and the standard range is between 31 and 38 inches, the best choice for you will fall right about even with the distance of your thumb knuckle from the floor.
This is going to be the most comfortable height, especially if you spend hours in your workshop.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right saw, including price, versatility, blade, rip guide, motor, and power source to name a few.
They’re all important and can influence what you decide to purchase. And starting with a tool that is the right height for you is an essential part of that decision!
I hope this article was helpful to you. Don’t forget to check my other articles!
Cheers, tools owners!