Hybrid Saws: Compromise or Cure-all?

The table saw is one of the most important machines in a shop. Should we make room for a new category, or stay with the ‘old reliables?’
By Troy Sexton
Pages: 38-44

From the November 2007 issue #165
Buy this issue now

Hybrid table saws burst onto the woodworking scene almost as fast as hybrid cars rocked Detroit. They’ve plucked a few characteristics from the contractor saw, as well as some features of the cabinet saw to establish their own identity, and price point, in the middle of the pack. So, will these saws have the same Detroit-type impact on woodworking?

The big step the hybrids have taken above the contractor’s saw is placing the motor in the cabinet. No more belts running exposed behind the saw that allow cutoffs or fingers into their path – or wearing prematurely (I’ve replaced a number of belts on my contractor saws).

With the base enclosed, dust collection is greatly improved, at a reasonable cost. You attach a dust-collection hose to the 4″-dust port instead of rigging a bag or box under the traditional contractor saw.

If the hybrid is a step above the contractor saw, it has to be a step down from the cabinet saws. That step is in power. Hybrid power is 1-3/4hp to 2hp while the larger cabinet saws have a minimum of 3hp. But, with the smaller motors comes the ability to power the saws on 110-volt electric, another major difference. If your shop doesn’t have 220v electric you can move up to a hybrid saw with few worries.

Online Extra

To see a video about the saws tested in this issue, click here.

From the November 2007 issue #165
Buy this issue now