The table saw is a woodworking tool that has a circular blade that partially protrudes through a table top to expose enough of the blade to cut the appropriate thickness through a board.
Although all table saws are generally the same, there are several classifications. Below is a list of the different classifications with some common characteristics of that class.
Benchtop saws are light, portable jobsite saws. They generally have a direct drive motor and an aluminum table top. The aluminum table does not allow for the same milling precision as a cast iron top. Also, with the direct drive motor, the arbor will not be long enough to accept a full stack dado blade.
These contractor saws are a step up from the benchtop models. Contractor saws have changed dramatically over the years so I will separate them in older and newer models.
They are most of the time belt driven, and have a cast iron table. The table extensions are generally not cast iron but instead are pressed steel or some other material that will reduce weight. These saws are bigger and harder to move around than the benchtop models but are still mobile enough to be used on a jobsite. The motors are 1.5 hp or less. Some do not have an arbor long enough the accept a full stack dado blade. This is the type of saw that we currently have in the makerspace.
Unlike the older models, the extension tables on the newer models are cast iron. This allows a decent sized very flat work surface but at the cost of weight. These saws include a base with casters that allow the saw to be moved around in the shop but are too heavy to easily lift them. The newer models also have 1.5 hp or less motors. Some models include a riving knife that adjusts up and down with the blade.
Hybrid saws are, again, a step up from the contractor saw. These saws feature a bigger 1.75 hp motor and have a closed cabinet base. This closed base makes the saw a stationary piece of equipment but allows for better dust collection. Some models have larger table tops than the contractor saws.
Cabinet saws are the top tier of saws. They are very similar to the hybrid saws but generally run off of 220V and have motors that are 3+hp so they won't bog down when cutting through hard woods.