Their 15-amp, 120-volt motors cut with greater ease than a circ saw, although they can bog down if fed thick hardwood too quickly. The cabinets are typically plastic, with cast-aluminum tops and extruded-aluminum fences. In these models, the motors are supported by trunnions mounted to the underside of the table. The resulting vibration reduces accuracy. These trunnions are usually made of lightweight steel or aluminum, which are susceptible to wear. And because these saws are small, cutting full-size sheets of plywood or MDF isn't a good idea unless the sheet is supported by a table extension.
Good for: Beginning DIYers who are learning the ropes; contractors who need portability; workshops with limited space.
What to look for: Folding stand with wheels and adjustable feet; built-in table extensions for handling sheet goods; screws to fine-tune fence; dust-collector hookup to vacuum.