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Portable Table Saws: Bosch or Dewalt?

Most carpenters these days are very concerned about space. Whether we are trying to cram all of our tools into the back of a pickup, into a small garage/shop, or onto a cramped jobsite, most of us are all-too-aware that the old adage “bigger is better” is not always true. How many times have we been on a job only to wish we had brought that one tool that was left behind due to lack of space?

One of the main culprits in the attack against space is the pesky table saw. While it is an essential tool, the portable table saw takes up the largest chunk of real estate, whether in use or packed away. Most carpenters I know are always trying to find a smaller table saw—but we’re also loath to sacrifice quality. After all, a table saw isn’t worth a nickel if it won’t cut well or operate safely.

(Note: Click any image to enlarge)

This article will focus on two of the smallest table saws out there: the Bosch GTS1031 (52 lbs.) and the DeWalt DW745 (45 lbs.). I wanted to see if these saws were up to a real-world challenge on a jobsite, or if they were simply designed for the occasional DIY project. Ironically, a lot of the carpenters I’ve been working with, and we have a good-size crew, have been interested in the results of my head-to-head study; in fact, many of them participated in this review.

Most portable table saws these days are pretty much a standard size, and many manufacturers offer some sort of collapsible-wheeled stand as an accessory. Wheeled stands are great if you have a step-van or a trailer—and an endless amount of available space. But if you’re working out of a regular van or pickup truck, you’ll have to start making serious sacrifices with the tools you carry when you decide to load your table saw. And if you do load your table saw, you’d better have help!

Table saws mounted to wheeled stands weigh over 100 lbs., more weight then I like to lift twice a day, alone. Some carpenters still swear by these stands, and I suppose I might, too, if I worked on small jobs where my tool setup was always close to my vehicle. But I work on large jobsites, on high-end custom homes, and some days I see my truck only twice a day. My on-the-job shop varies from a basement wine cellar to a third-floor master suite. And the grounds are always torn up with trenches, concrete work, and landscapers. Wheeling a saw stand around is not an option.

At the same time, portable table saws are too small to really work on, even if you’re just ripping trim and shelving. And for cutting cabinet parts, they’re nearly worthless. That’s why, for this review, I tested both ‘compact’ portable saws using a Rousseau 2745 table-saw stand with an out-feed table.

A little about the Rousseau stand: right out of the box I had issues. First, of the eight screws that secure the table top, two fell out when I turned it right side up, and two more were stripped! Those aren’t very good odds. There was also welding slag left on the main crossbar that impeded the fence from sliding smoothly and functioning properly. In order to get the fence to work, I had to sand off the little metal beads under the powder coating, which, of course, removed the finish. I was not impressed to say the least, especially since the stand costs just as much as one of these saws.

To Rousseau’s credit, when I brought this to their attention, they sent out a replacement stand. In fact, my note to them sparked a full-on company meeting and review of quality control issues. They thanked me for criticizing their stand! I’d like to see more companies step up and take responsibility for their products the same way. Believe me, if you ever have an issue with a Rousseau product, you can expect to get good service.

Now, back to how this affects the saws and their levels of performance. Rousseau stands provide portable saws—especially these new compact saws—a much larger work surface, greater stability, and improved safety. The stands come with a shop-saw-style rip fence, and there are a multitude of add-ons and modifications you can also purchase to suit your needs. I used the Rousseau 2720 out-feed table to go along with my stand.

Blades

Now, on to the saws.

My first suggestion when it comes to these portable saws is to remove the factory-supplied blade and go buy a good blade! You can keep the original blade around for those times when you need a sacrificial blade—when you know there are nails or something that might ruin a good blade. And while I’m on the subject, never buy a thin-kerf blade. I know that saw manufacturers recommend thin-kerf blades for these saws because the motors aren’t nearly as powerful as a shop saw, but, honestly, most of the work we do with a small portable saw is ripping trim material—not a lot of 8/4 hardwood.

Both of these saws have more than enough power to run a full-width saw blade. If you’re running a thin-kerf blade to save material…well, I honestly don’t think you’ll ever save enough material to make it worth your while. The biggest headache of a thin-kerf blade is deflection. When I’m cutting hardwoods—sometimes even when I’m ripping softwood—and I want to rip off anything under 1/8 in., deflection really pisses me off. And I’m often trying to rip off less than 1/16 in.!

So for this review, I ended up using three different blades: I tried a Ridgid Titanium 50 tooth blade and a Forrest Woodworker blade on both saws, in addition to the factory supplied blades. I actually liked the less-expensive Ridgid blade in the Dewalt more than the thin-kerf Forrest. But, in the Bosch both alternate blades seemed to wobble more than the original blade so we used the factory-supplied blade in the 1031. 

Multi-purpose tools?

While I am on this rant, I’m also not a believer in making your out-feed table a multi-purpose Swiss-army knife. I see a lot of carpenters installing everything from router inserts to accessory clamps in their out-feed tables (sorry, Gary!). I may be the only one—and I apologize if I’m insulting all the other out-feed table fanatics—but maybe I’m the only unfortunate soul that runs into that open router hole, or that slightly proud lip or screw, while I’m making a delicate and expensive rip.

Hang-ups like that also create a dangerous situation when you have a spinning blade, binding material, and irreplaceable fingers. I know it’s tempting—after all, just look at all that free space! But unless you are extremely diligent about making everything absolutely flush, unless you use solid router inserts every time you rip, you could be putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Okay, that’s enough lecturing for today.

The Bosch GTS 1031

TiC has already examined the DeWalt 745, so let’s look closely at its rival. The Bosch compact saw has many of the same features—after all, manufacturers are beginning to recognize the importance of these details.

A large paddle-switch makes it easy to turn the saw on, and especially easy and fast to turn the saw off!
Like the DeWalt saw, the Bosch table extends to the right. Lift the lever to slide the table out, then lock the lever by pressing it back down.

On the DeWalt 745 the fence slides out on a cool rack-and-pinon gear, but relies on a Rube-Goldberg flip-over arm to support the stock. But on the Bosch extension system a small section of the table actually slides out. There’s no rack-and-pinion control, but there is good support for the workpiece. Of course, on our jobsite, we rarely used these fences because the saws were mounted in Rousseau stands.

Riving Knives

Riving knives are now required accessories on all saws—the days of having to remodel a saw guard and make your own riving knife are fortunately over. Like most carpenters, I’ve grown to like riving knives so much—and have learned to rely on how well they prevent kickback—that I’m reluctant to use a saw without a riving knife. You should be, too.

Both the DeWalt and the Bosch come with similar guard systems. The lever that releases the riving knife on the Bosch saw is slightly larger than the DeWalt’s, but it’s not painted yellow, so it’s harder to see in this photo.
The riving knife is really nothing more than the splitter, stripped of the guard and anti-kick back pawl, with the height adjusted to about 1/8 in. to 1/4 in. below the teeth on the blade.
Once the riving knife is lifted to its highest position, the guard slips onto the front…
…and the anti-kickback pawl snaps on to the back.

I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit the truth: Like most carpenters, our crew rarely used the saw with the full guard in place. We like to see the blade—there’s no other way to make precise measurements. In fact, most of the time we put on the guard only when we heard the jobsite safety inspector was around the corner—and at those moments, it was nice that the guard installs so easily and so quickly. (Yes, on some of our jobs, there’s a safety inspector! For insurance and liability purposes, many large contractors have an OSHA-style inspector that will fine companies for frayed cords, not having guards on saws, pinned back safeties, etc.)

The guard stores beneath the saw. A flick of the finger releases it.
The anti-kickback pawl stores beneath the saw, too, and snaps in securely.

• • •

Accessory Storage & Handles

While we’re looking at the bottom of the saw, notice that the whole base of the saw is protected by a roll-bar cage. That may be the reason the Bosch weighs 7 lbs. more than the DeWalt, but it is good protection.

The cage provides a secure handle for lifting and carrying the saw.
Comfortable handles are also installed at the top of the saw, on both sides of the table.
Handy cord storage can be found beneath the back of the saw, inside the cage.
I really appreciate how saw manufacturers are thinking more about the problems we face with tool accessories. Even the miter gauge—which I never use—stores beneath the table, at the back of the saw.
And if you use the rip fence, it can also be stored upside down beneath the table. Unfortunately, in that position, the rip fence interferes with dropping the saw into a Rousseau stand, but hey, you can’t expect to win every time!
A stout push stick also stores on the side of the saw, within easy reach.

Head-to-Head on the Jobsite

Remember, we used these saws one at a time. And they were often the only table saw on the jobsite. So we used each saw a lot—sometimes asking a little too much of it. But that’s reality, right? My overall impression of the Bosch saw is that it’s okay. I’m not the type to bash anyone or anything, but I tried two different blades on the saw and they both had a serious wobble—and one of them was the blade that came with the saw. The wobble was especially noticeable on startup, and although it straightened out—or seemed to—I wasn’t happy with how it left the edges of the stock: rough, and often with saw marks, which meant extra work cleaning up edges that wouldn’t normally need that kind of effort. It was pretty disappointing.

The Bosch saw bevels past 0 and 45 degrees, which is very handy!
But the lock/unlock lever is a knuckle-buster at the 45 degree angle. You can’t release the lock without bashing your knuckles into the table saw extension release lever. I guess that’s another price we pay for compact portable saws.

I like the cool riving knife system, but more dust seems to fly in your face than out the back port, especially if you don’t have a vacuum hooked up—which is another thing to carry, and another reason why a wheeled saw stand doesn’t work for me. Overall, I don’t have a lot of great things to say about the Bosch. It’s a mediocre tool, a judgment reflected by the voices of my other crew members: They all asked if I could bring the DeWalt back. That about sums it up.

Top Pick – DeWalt

We started working with the DeWalt, and in the end we went back to it. I didn’t play easy with this saw just because of its size, and neither did the other guys on our crew. Like I said, it was often the only table saw on the job site, so it was used for everything from making custom plinth blocks out of 8/4 hardwood to ripping sheet goods down to size.

Overall, both saws are loud. Hearing protection is a must when using either of these tools. Gary tested the decibels and found that the Bosch was slightly louder.

Both saws have 15 amp motors and work just fine for what I would call “standard” ripping, but both struggled somewhat with thicker hardwoods. Their ripping capacities without the Rousseau stand are limited. You could, of course, supplement this with a track saw, but that means finding space for it. And that is what this article is about: finding tools that work within our confined spaces—both on the jobsite and in our vehicles. Do we have to sacrifice space for function? And what exactly is the sacrifice?

The truth is, I made both of these saws work for me on cramped jobsites for over a month each, and our work is demanding. In the end, the DeWalt won the war. For those of us with limited space, this saw is a viable option. But that doesn’t mean the DeWalt won with acclaim. The saw has some deficiencies that might really bother a fanatic. Two black metal tabs at the rear of the blade insert are not flush with the insert. I had to tape over those pieces to stop wood from catching on the proud lip.

The DeWalt has some serious plusses, too, like the rack-and-pinion fence, though unfortunately, because I used the Rousseau stand, I didn’t get to use the best feature on the saw—it’s very easy to make accurate adjustments in small increments with that fence!

But the DeWalt is a good little saw. It handled everything we threw at it. Sure, there were a few hiccups, like burn marks and chatter, and scant power at times—when we really pushed the little guy. And really, given the price, size, and weight of the saw, all of these complaints are minor; they should be expected. Call me a pessimist, if you will, but I don’t expect cabinet-saw performance from a portable unit. In my opinion, for the money (and for the size!), this little DeWalt saw performs just fine, even on the very demanding jobs where I work—where installations are often unacceptable if they’re off by 1/32 in.

And I have to say this in support of both Bosch and DeWalt: I think manufacturers are starting to catch on that people like us make our living out of the back of a pickup, a van, or half of a garage, and we need all the help we can get!

• • •

AUTHOR BIO

Michael Inskeep is a foreman at Millworks By Design in southern California. As a young man he realized he had a talent for creating things, which grew into a love for building furniture, painting, drawing, and making music. As a professional carpenter, he cut his teeth building stairs. From there he made the transition to other aspects of finish carpentry. Along the way Michael had the fortune to work with some exceptional carpenters who taught him a few “tricks of the trade.” He also enjoys passing those “tricks” on to others who are willing to learn. His attention to detail, and ability to learn quickly, have led him to work on some of the largest and best projects in southern California. But, at the end of the day, his true passions are his two baby boys. The smiles on their faces make all the stress of deadlines and dust worthwhile!

Comments/Discussion

65 Responses to “Portable Table Saws: Bosch or Dewalt?”

  1. Ron Paulk

    Good review. I have been using the DeWalt 744s for years and was also running a couple of the Bosch 4100s. Mine, as you can tell from the model numbers, were the larger versions. When I scaled my crew down to one, me, I chose the DeWalt as it is my favorite to use mainly due to the fence. WIth my DeWalt hooked up to a shop built out-feed table, I like it better than the Powermatic 66 5hp with 52″ Biesemeyer fence I sold 10 years ago. I haven’t run into a job it can’t handle: so far;)

    Reply
    • Gary Katz

      “Good review”??? I think it’s a GREAT review!!! ;)

      Thank you Michael for working hard on this story and never giving up. I know it took about six month to really use these tools enough to judge them fairly.

      And thanks to the other guys at Millworks By Design for their help, too.
      Gary

      Reply
  2. Drew Dana

    Great review, I already forwarded it to some guys looking to get a compact jobsite table saw. My only disagreement is about your opinion on having a table saw and a track saw. I think the track saw takes up minimally more room but increases your capabilities expotentially. i could not imagine trying to push a full sheet of 3/4″ veneer plywood through one of those compact saws with or without a quality outfeed table. Likewise i could never see myself ripping down a 1×4 with a track saw. Both tools should have a spot in a truck or van.

    Reply
    • Michael Inskeep

      Drew, don’t get me wrong… I am all for having every tool at your disposal! That is exactly what this article is about! Making more room for other tools that might otherwise get left behind due to lack of space. So I agree, cram as many tools in there as you can! I know we all do. Track saws are great tools, we use them all the time. But we definitely ripped down full sheets of 3/4″ plywood on these setups.
      Thanks for the comment!
      Michael

      Reply
  3. Steve Christopher

    Nice article ! I have the 745 and am glad i bought it.
    BTW Did you know your helper loading the saw in the van looks just like Gary Katz ! :)

    Reply
  4. Craig

    Having used many table saws over the years I prefer the Dewalt saw for its fence and durability. The Bosch looks like a good saw also. For jobs needing precision a contractor tablesaw cannot be replaced.

    Reply
  5. Matt Follett

    This is such a welcome review Michael. You couldn’t have hit more solidly on the head when you refer the table saw as, “One of the main culprits in the attack against space.”

    I’m amazed at how many tools I can pack into my van but my Bosch 4100 eats real estate like none other (even though I can load it w/o doing a one-man dead lift). I had hoped that the Bosch would score higher as I love the current model I have now, but I have to upgrade my performance by downsizing. This review helps me decide to drink the DeWalt colored Kool-Aide.

    Solid job all the way through.

    Reply
  6. kreg McMahon

    Michael, thanks for the review.. I for one switched from the dewalt to the bosch 2 months ago and now wish I had the dewalt back. I switched since the Dewalt’s plastic pieces for the cord bevel handle and on and off switch had all broken off over due time, which should not happen.

    I put the forrest blade, woodworkerII on my Bosch but really have noticed the blade wobble. At first the fence was a pain to get exact till I realized the little knob screw on the back had to be tightened then it is fine, but in now way as good as the dewalt. Us carpenters, the fence is one of the most important parts.

    I like lots of the features of the Bosch, but with the fence alignment and blade wobble I too am not found of this saw.

    Reply
  7. tom

    Good review! I purchased mine a few months ago. I am not to impressed with it’s performance. Blade wobble, saw marks. Saw seems to choke on thicker wood.
    The table insert bent during the first week. Called up Bosch told them my concerns and they sent me a new insert. Very thin and does bend ripping small pieces. Terrible design. Bosch told me the saw has been on the market in Europe for a few years and they never heard of such a thing. I went to the service center and asked about any issues and they have never seen the saw yet. Not happy with this saw.
    I don’t like yellow but I think I made a mistake here. Expensive one a that…

    Reply
  8. Joe Beaton

    Great review! Found this article MOST helpful as I’m about to purchase a small table saw and was debating between the Dewalt & Bosch. I was leaning toward the Dewalt and now you’ve convinced me to go with the Dewalt!!

    Reply
  9. Laurie McDougall

    Ok, so that’s why my buddy sold me his old bosch 4100! Doh! I have to agree, some of the issues are a real pain. The fence being a biggie! I have wood always trying to leave the fence during a cut, it’s darn scary!
    Excellent review, thanks!

    Reply
  10. Ed Latson

    Michael Inskeep-
    Very nice article! And Two hammers way up for the Rousseau products!!! We have been using the Rousseau table saw stands,etc for over 20 years. We have models for both the 8 1/4″ saw and 10″. One of the cool aspects is that the stands are the same height so our infeed/outfeed tables are 100% interchangeable. We have extra outfeed tables that double as material stands to be kept to the right of the saw; also using one table as a helper for infeed-as well as outfeed- for those long pieces of material.

    I also agree with the ‘no insert policy.’ With a larger crew there tends to be less finesse with the care needed to work around extra table top ‘stuff’ (and the safety issues are critical, too). I think they can be ideal for the single craftsman/ smaller shop.

    The Rousseau products fold flat; store well in a truck/trailer,van. They are a cinch to set up; adjustments are VERY easy for their long rip fence, and don’t forget; THESE ARE NOT BIESMEYER FENCES….they’re not pretending to be either!!

    Michael- very good article for an unsung hero of a simple, well-built, dependable tool-Rousseau.
    Many thanks.
    Ed Latson -still makin’g dust and chips for nearly forty years….

    Reply
    • W.A.Strahan

      maybe i havent read down far enough but, speaking of outfeed table inserts he doesnt like them but has a kreg keyhole on his ?

      Reply
  11. David Lemke

    I know you could not rate every saw out there but the makita tablesaw with a Rousseau stand has been our standby for the last 20 years or so. From the good old 8″ days to the 10″. I have three of these setups, the saws have all taken a pouding, stood the test of time and accuracy is right in there. I have’nt looked to see what the newer makita model is about but would not buy another saw without looking. The only reason I would get a new one would be to get a riving knife to be osha compliant without a gaurd. I am sure I would also have to buy a new stand to fit it as well. The old Rousseau saw stands, frames, anyway have all held up. The tops being built with laminate and particle board are all trashed since I do not have the luxury of hanging out inside and doing fine finish all the time. We pretty much leave a saw stand stand up all the time, frame to finish, and they go through all the weather. Even when they were new and we tried to be careful they still will get wet. I have a plan to rebuild tops with a weather proof product but just haven’t taken the time to deal with it. (fishing time) Really don’t think I should have to, never could figure out why they use partical board for tops. I enjoy reading your articles and can tell they are done by caring professionals.
    PS. Where are both these saws manufactured? I look and factor it into my purchasing…

    Reply
  12. Jeff

    Great review,cheers. I switched to the Dewalt after 22 years using Makita(s). I switched mostly for the rip fence on the Dewalt, it saves time, and with consistent methods, it is accurate. My one complaint is the 745 will not allow you to use a dado blade. One thought, does the Rousseau stand take up less space than a track saw, and given limited space, which would be more useful?

    Reply
  13. Tim Ridges

    Thanks for taking the time with this review. I’m running the Makita 2703 with the rousseau stand and couldn’t be happier. I often wonder why the Makita gets left out of this conversation, it’s a little beast. I have owned and used the gamut of portable table saws/stands and firmly believe the Makita/Rousseau combo to be up there with Bobs uncle. I have had the pleasant experience of dealing with customer service at rousseau and they have a customer for life. I have had the exact opposite experience with dewalts customer service and am decidedly anti- dewalt. I had a planer repair malfunction a few years back (dewalts repair) and was lucky that a serious injury didn’t occur as a result.

    I find that the inflatable wheeled table saw stands that are out there fall into the “seemed like a good idea at the time” category. Especially for the kid who never seemed to maintain his bicycle tires. Dangerous.

    I agree with the “keep it clean” policy for horizontal table saw surfaces. I had retrofitted my stand with a phenolic top to the right of the blade and sunk a Jessum lift into it and found it a hassle and liability on multiple levels. I also acquired a Festool MFT table for clamping etc. and that helps to keep the clutter off the table saw. The rousseau fence is very accurate and can be set with one hand so having to take the time to clean the table is an extra step I find as enjoyable as picking a broken nose.

    A note on the plastic push stick shown being used in the first picture. Every time I see one being used I get the chills up my spine. They allow the material to elevate at the blade which leads to kickback and injury. I learned this only through painful experience and now employ a push stick system that prevents this from happening.

    Thanks for the article and keep up the good work.

    T

    Reply
  14. Ed Latson

    RE: Van/truck/trailer storage..
    A quick note…I refer anyone concerned about their lack of storage; poor storage systems, etc to a very fine article in these pages last summer:

    “Van Racking” by English ‘chippie’ (carpenter) Tom Bainbridge
    -This Is Carpentry—July 15,2011

    One of the smartest layouts,well written and excellent give and take with Tom B.-the author (also, wicked good photos of the sequence for his retrofit).

    Reply
  15. Tim Raleigh

    Michael
    Great review thanks. I always wondered how those two saws compared (I am biased towards the Bosch) so now I know.
    While I don’t have this saw (I have the 4100), with the Rousseau stand with the out feed attachment. While I have found the out feed attachment a bit weak, especially on uneven ground I don’t use it much. Instead I use the Rigid stands. For sheet goods I use my rail saw .
    I bought the 4100 saw with the collapsible-wheeled stand but I agree with you, it really doesn’t work for me even though the 4100 is heavier than the 1031.
    I don’t use the Rousseau fence either as I never felt it was robust enough, so I attached a third party fence (Vega) which allows me to use thin kerf blades with out a lot of deflection. Yes there is still some and on stock that is wetter on the inside than the outside it can get nasty but the fence helps.
    Thanks again.
    Tim

    Reply
  16. Billy the Builder

    Good review. I have worked with this DeWalt saw and was pleased with the performance. The track saws often are key to working in close quarters. Even in the shop we seldom put full sheets thru the heavy table saw. Of course I’m old school. A sharp hammer, a dull chisel and a little workmanship goes a long way!
    Thanks Billy the Builder

    Reply
  17. Sam Marsico

    Thanks for taking the time to do this review. I agree that a review of Makita is needed to complete the process. I have used both the 8 1/4″ and the 10″ Makita with a Rousseau stand and outfeed table with no complaints. I have been considering purchasing a smaller table saw for a while now. I bought the compact dewalt for my dad last Christmas and the switch fell apart in less than a month, followed by the cord storage. I currently use an older Bosch 4100 and could not be happier, so I have been surprised by all the negative reviews of the gts1031.
    One thing is certain: I will be purchasing a Rousseau setup with whichever saw I choose. I just wish they would use a different surface, like Medex or Phenolic.

    I attached two pics of my current outfeed setup with the Bosch 4100. The surface is Medex and it’s drilled on 4″ centers with a 3/4″ paddle bit to accept Festool clamps. It also has a Kreg clamp plate on the corner with reversible aluminum fences set at 90deg for doing face frames (I am obviously not anti-table clutter). As you can see in the photo, the leg folds flat and is retained by a swivel bracket. The second table in the background is a heavier duty knock-down type, also built to the height of the saw so it can serve as additional outfeed, crosscut support, and a place for more clutter :)

    Reply
  18. Marc

    I have the Bosch saw, and I really dont like it. I agree, the blades wobble, it vibrates, is loud, and leaves a lousy finished cut.

    My buddy has the Dewalt, and it is definitely better.

    I also think the old Makitas were great, except for the fences. If I could have the old Makita 8″ with the Dewalt fence, that would be a great saw!

    Thanks for the article, it confirms my feelings about the Bosch. I really think Bosch has lowered their quality on so many of their tools. I dont see myself buying any more of their stuff unless they make some real upgrades.

    One thing that we have to realize with all these tools… manufacturers are not building these tools for craftsman, they are marketing to the homeowner. That market is so much larger than the contractor, so they are putting all these tools at a certain price point for the market. They try to make it look like they are making them for professionals, but if they were, they would build them with quality in mind, not quantity and price point.

    Reply
  19. Dan

    Good review but I was waiting to hear about the guard assy. for the DeWalt. Particularly if the the new guard will work on the older model. I looked at the assy. at a Lowes display and it seems to be the same basic design. if it would fit i’d buy one. I do use the guard for ripping 2x stock but not much else. That guard looks to actually be usable.

    As a handyman, I use the saw both as is and with a rousseau stand depending on the need but I wouldn’t be w/o my rousseau stand , however I did make my own outfeed table for it. There stands are good but pricey.

    As a quick note as I was preparing to retire from one career and switch to another I began collecting the tools I thought I was going to need. Following others recomendations I bought a wheeled Rigid tablesaw stand, a wheeled Rigid chopsaw stand and the portable Bosch tablesaw. As of this writing they all live out in the shed and never see the light of day except in the spring and fall during cleanup of the shed. I tried using the Bosch for a couple of months but found I seldom used it due to it’s weight and the PITA factor for dragging it out. I would find myself using the sidewinder saw in its place b/c it was easier. Went out and got the DeWalt as soon as I had the money and have been very happy with it. If you work alone that 20 LBS becomes a big consideration. I have no problem getting the proper saw for the job at hand now. Still wish I knew if the newer guard would fit my 5 year old saw though. Then I could make the old one into a riving knife.

    Reply
    • Gary Katz

      The guard assembly on the DeWalt was covered in our earlier review of the Dewalt 745 saw. Both assemblies are very similar: the power tool industry adopted a common design to meet federal requirements. But none of these new guard systems can be retrofitted to earlier saws. However, you can if you wish remodel your existing guard and make it a riving knife.
      Gary

      Reply
  20. Joseph

    Great article,like the way you see things. Great insight. Looking forward to your next article. How about one on stairs? Always stuff to learn there.

    Reply
    • Gary Katz

      Joseph,
      We’ve published a few articles on stairs. There will be more, too!
      Gary

      Reply
  21. Norm Miller

    I’ve used the DeWalt for years and when a friend bought the Bosch, I was anxious to try it out. Boy, was I disappointed! You’re right on all counts. The ONLY thing I thought was cool was that it could hold a full stack dado set, but with all that vibration going on with a smaller blade, I don’t think I’d want to try it. I did high end trim carpentry and some years ago I downsized to a smaller truck, and when my big DeWalt was getting long in the tooth I bought the compact version, and love it! I built a knock down plywood stand similar to your rosseau and have ripped 8/4 oak without a problem. Now that I’m out of the trim business and building custom furniture in a shop, I will still, at times, drag out the little guy and set it up outside to make a bunch of repetitive rips.

    Great article!

    Reply
  22. tom

    Who actually uses the dado blades on these portable saws. And if so on what types of jobs… Thank you !

    Reply
    • Sam Marsico

      I have an old adjustable dado set that I use in my Bosch. It works well with the dado insert I bought for 11 dollars on amazon. I have also used a friend’s dado set that adjusts with a spanner wrench. The insert kit from Bosch comes with a thin washer to make more room for the stack. Types of jobs… fixed shelving in closets and garages, job sign frames, carcass tops/floors/backs, etc. Once you have it you will use it.

      Reply
      • Volker

        Sam, what 6″ adjustable dado fits. I have this great Bosch GTS1031 too and need it to build bee hives, are the 3262 ajustables from Sears any good?
        I am a DIY beekeeper.

        Reply
    • Jeff

      I do. I’ve ripped ploughs for guardrails and caps to accept ballusters, etc. Not often, but I’ve done several on my old 4100 and anticipate doing more. The fact that the DeWalt won’t allow this is a dealbreaker to me. Besides, my 4100 still works fine for me. But I love tool reviews and this one was particularly good.

      I also use a Rousseau table and had the exact same issues Michael describes in the review — screw stripped and falling out. I was very disappointed, especially considering the cost of the table. I never contacted Rousseau regarding the poor workmanship and kick myself constantly for not doing so. I bought the table over five years ago so it would seem that the statue of limitations has run out!

      At any rate, thanks for writing a well thought out and detailed review, Michael. I enjoyed it.

      Reply
  23. martin

    i have the bosch 4100 and wish i had bought the dw 745, but for some reason i recently bought the new compact bosch as featured in the article, and i have experienced no problems at all with wobbling or sawmarks ón finish cuts. I use a 2mm blade with 48 or 60 teeth, and it works perfectly. I have also made long cuts on old oak without problems, with a good blade and the right pressure. the dustextraction is very effective too ( of course with vaccum connected). But the main advantage is the portability since i seem to get Jobs mainly ón the 4. floor. And on top of that, it takes up very little space i my van the way i fitted it.
    perhaps the saws we get in Scandinavia are produced somewhere else than the ones you get in the US.
    i have also worked with the dw745 which is also good, i just went for maximum portability and i really think i got what i wanted.
    And thank you all for the articles, comments and the dedication, we all get better…
    martin, denmark

    Reply
  24. Ed Latson

    Anyone have any idea when the American market version of Festool’s table saws–both the Precisio CS 50/ or 70–will finally land on these shores?

    Then we can dispense with the foo-fraw over poorly made products; product that comes pretty close, etc, et, etc. Hasn’t Festool already made a substantial impact in how a lot of us ‘invest in tool systems’ instead of this Mickey Mouse stuff of settling for tools that are ‘almost good enough’ but still miss the mark?

    Reply
  25. DM

    I have DeWALT 745 Table Saw (sold my Bosch saw) and very happy with it!

    The fence is great and overall built quality is great!

    Reply
  26. Marcus Ridgeway

    Great article Michael.

    I too had the problem with the black tabs on the back of the throat plate on my 745. That end of the plate would drop down just far enough to cause material to hang up. I was going to replace the OEM plate with a phenolic one (still might), but for now I filed a chamfer on the table opening that meets up to the plate at the black tabs with a half-round file. Now if the material drops down slightly at the back of the throat plate it rides back up on the chamfer to the table surface.

    Reply
    • Steve Christopher

      Marcus I had that problem and Dewalt offered no “fix” other than what you did.
      I on the other hand found if you snap off those sheet metal black pieces, use a few (trial and error for amount) layers of aluminum duct tape as shims, snap them back on. They will “flush” to the top.

      Reply
  27. Jesse wright

    I have both tye dewalt and bosch saws. I really enjoyed the article it was put together nicely. I think it would of been a better review with out the use of the aftermarket stand and fence… I think it got in the way of a real fair evaluation. I would of like to have seen a more direct comparison review.
    Both models have down falls but also many pivotal advancements for the size and purpose. No mention of the great stand on the Bosch as well as dust collection with the use of the assessorized collection bag. The review to me was just more personalized. But don’t get me wrong it was good. The author made some good points.

    I use the Bosch as my main saw. The throat plate is driving me crazy, but i did out fit it with a zero clearance one and its much better !
    Currently have been doing alot of work with it using dado stacks. It works great!!! I really never knew how much a dado stack helps out because I never tried it before. I have been making alot of Greene & Greene trim details and cabinets. The value of a dado stack is almost priceless for that work.

    Reply
    • Rob Potter

      I have to agree with you about the review, Jesse. It was a well put together piece, and I have to say there was a lot of useful info in there. And it also was more personal and in fact less “head to head”than the title might imply.
      I replaced my full sized Bosch with the compact dewalt four or five years ago and I really haven’t looked back. The Bosch is a nicer saw in my opinion in many ways but it just took up way to much space in my truck, especially with the wheeled stand. My dewalt isn’t perfect though; there’s a lot of plastic, and the switch is falling apart. Most troubling though is that the gears that crank the blade up and down get gummed up and sticky and I worry about their longevity. That said, it has seen a lot of use, and though I take good care of my tools, I’ve definitely pushed a lot of material through that saw. I’d feel happy I got my money’s worth if it quit tomorrow. And after reading this review and comments and I’d buy another one most likely not the new compact Bosch that I’ve been intrigued with since I first saw it.
      Oh and a question: I’ve never tried running a dado set on the small dewalt because I read that it couldnt be done. Is it an issue of power or arbor length or something else? It would be handy if it could run a dado set…
      Thanks for writing this Michael. I did enjoy it and found a lot of useful info even if I found it not quite the typical review.

      Reply
      • Gary Katz

        Rob,
        I agree with you and Jesse. Michael’s article is personal. I don’t think you’ll find many ‘typical’ tool reviews in TiC. That’s not our real focus. We try to ‘review’ tools ‘In Use’, on the jobsite, the way an individual carpenter would use them. That’s why the story is subjective, from Michael’s point of view. It’s not an editorial head-to-head comparison, just a “What I like or don’t like” story. If you need to know how long it takes each saw to cut a rip through a 3/4″ x 96″ sheet of plywood…you’ll have to check out JLC or FHB. I just can’t see asking a carpenter to invest that kind of time in a tool review, when the real reason we buy or don’t buy a particular tool has little to do with how fast it can rip or how many screws it will drive on a full charge. We judge the tools we use subjectively: how much we enjoy or don’t enjoy using them, and why.

        Reply
  28. Ari Z

    “I think manufacturers are starting to catch on that people like us make our living out of the back of a pickup, a van, or half of a garage, and we need all the help we can get!”

    Thank goodness! Having a good portable saw is going to make a huge difference on the job site and easier on the carpenter to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

    Reply
  29. Russ

    I have been using the Bosch portable table saw with collapsable stand for ten years and haven’t had a single problem. Yes, there is blade wobble at start up but thiis doesn’t affect the cut in any discernible way. I like the quick and easy to use the blade tilting mechanism and haven’t hit my knuckles yet. The table extends quickly and securely for wider cuts. I haven’t had the opportunity to use a DeWalt so I can’t make a valid comparison, but I would stand behind the Bosch with confidence.

    Reply
    • Gary Katz

      Russ,
      If you’ve been using the Bosch portable table saw for ten years, then you’re using the 400 saw, not the new smaller saw that was reviewed in this article. The newer saw has only been around for a couple years, tops. But I agree with you. The original Bosch portable saw–the 400 and the improved version with the riving knife–are the best portable saws I’ve ever used. I have one of them dedicated full-time to a dado blade set.
      Gary

      Reply
  30. Hal

    I bought the Bosch GTS1031 and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! Cuts everything I have thrown at it smooth and square. From oak to ipe iron wood. There is NO vibration with the blade. You can tell this saw is going to last a long long time. I even just built a table saw sled for cabinet doors I’m making. This saw is head and shoulders about the Dewalt. I looked at both and decided on the Bosch for it’s preciseness and strength. I look forward to many years with this thing.

    Reply
  31. Gary

    I wore 8″ makita out in the 80s, but with a rouseau stand and fence it was surprising some of the quality work we accomplished. when dewalt introduced their 10 saw I was really impressed. then Bosch built their 10″ and I was able closely compare them and Makitas’ new 10′. (gutless wonder.)could not rip a 2×4 new. boschs’ folding stand was commercial duty compared to dewalts’ toy wobble stand. The Bosch was vast improvement in every way except it’s bulkiness and unprotected bottom edge. IT had a real crank for the blade tilt and much better support for thin sheets at fence. even the questionable rear support has been just enough help on many occasions I have NOT found a saw guard that was anything but a hazard. Mental focus is way more important, and I have shut more than one of these power houses down in a bind and turning it off before the motor burnt up..So unless Dewalt has made improvements in the last few years I would not waste my money.I agree with you on push sticks. I make mine same as yours.

    Reply
  32. WarriorWithWood

    Thanks for this, I was about to buy the Bosch and now I’m going with the Dewalt because of this article.

    Reply
  33. Xavier

    Great article, thanks for sharing Gary! I see you guys attach flat stock to the saw’s factory fence. I recently purchased a Bosch 4100 saw (a big purchase for a relatively young carpenter such as myself) and am racking my brain on how to attach something similar. Countersink short T-bolts fastened to the groove in the alum/ fence? My only gripe so far about the 4100 and gravity rise stand is getting it in and out of my truck bed as well as upstairs or curbs..the wheels could be a tad bigger diameter. Maybe I’ll modify this at some point.

    Xavier

    Reply
  34. jeff

    Could you gents tell me the difference between the Dewalt 755 and the 744 XRS? I’m looking at my first portable….against a more standard contractor table saw set up,….finding that I have to drag my contractor around the house site to get jobs done (it’s darn heavy!). Thanks. Jt

    Reply
    • Nick

      You mean Dewalt 745?
      DW 744 XRS has dado capability and a 24″ max rip instead of just 16″ on DW 745. It also came with a rolling stand. But you have to pay about 50% more expensive for the DW744 XRS.

      Reply
  35. Sam

    Hi all,

    I’m just bought a Bosch GTS1031 for my home shop and I need to buy a table for it. I’m Looking at the Rousseau 2745 + outfeed table as mentioned in this comparison. Has anyone else used this setup or can anyone else confirm their compatibility as EVERYWHERE I see this stand online states clearly that it ONLY fits the Dewalt 745. Hope that’s not true and that it does indeed fit the GTS1031. Any insight appreciated.

    Reply
    • Michael

      Sam,
      Yes, that stand should work with your saw. If you have any questions about it I would contact Rousseau directly. But that is the setup that I used for this comparison and it worked great.
      Thanks.

      Reply
  36. Gus

    Hi, (to anyone reading this),

    I just purchased the DW745 saw and the riving knife spec states that the min, kerf thickness MUST be 0.094″ or 2.44mm. And the max. plate thickness MUST be 0.067″ or 1.75mm. I have shopped around for an aftermarket 50T combination blade or anything similar and none of the blades fall into this spec. Am I missing something here or does DeWalt expecting me to go buy their other riving knife sold as an accessory ???

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  37. Gus

    I forgot to mention, in Michael’s article, he mentioned that he used the Ridgid 50T carbide (R1050C) and that one does not fall into this spec. Not sure if he had another riving knife that accommodated the Ridgid blade?

    Reply
  38. Jay

    excellent review, enjoyed reading it.

    I’m just starting into the carpentry hobby. I am slowly acquiring the necessary tools. Interestingly enough, I came across the Rousseau portamax table for the dewalt saw and then I find your review for the saw using it.

    Thank you for your hard work in providing a fair, honest review. You sir, have helped me decide. I’m bummed I missed out the discounted price of $299 at home depot. Regardless, I am still planning to buy it.

    Cheers,
    Jay

    Reply
  39. Cory Penttila

    Hey Michael. I know this thread is a little old but I just wasted to say you did a bang up job on the review. I wanted to add my little bit about these jobsite table saws also. I got a Ridgid 4510 folding jobsite table saw about a year and half ago and have gone through 3 motors with moderate use. Now the motors are backordered for 3 months and I have no choice but to buy a new saw. After reading your review I have decided on the Dewalt.
    Thanks for the great insight!
    Cory

    Reply
  40. Serge Young

    My hitachi has finally died after 13 years of abuse. I am in the market for a new portable saw. I use to be a big hitachi fan but it looks as if they have cheapened many of there tools. I have never owned any type of dewalt tool, but after reading your post I may just give their saw a try. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  41. Stanford Rolling

    Having bought and used many table saws over the years I prefer the Dewalt saw for its fence and durability. I purchased a Bosch few weeks ago. I am not too impressed with it’s performance. Blade wobble, saw marks. Saw seems to choke on thicker wood.

    Reply
  42. Rob Schumacher

    Regarding the Bosch GTS1031, I’ve read the article and most of the comments. One thing seems to be missing, however, from everyone’s considerations, and that is how much play there is in the arbor. There’s a lot of comment on sloppy cuts and blade wobble. I don’t think it’s the blades as much as it is, by far, the slop in the arbor.

    I’ve had two of these saws. I got the first not long after it became available, and immediately noticed what I considered tremendous play in the arbor. The standard, metal throat plate is also very flexible, which works against clean cuts in its own way, but the sloppy arbor is the real culprit. I took my first saw to the Denver Bosch service center, where they succeeded in replacing some washer inside the motor, or so they said, and the play was reduced to 0.004″. I was told that the company’s manufacturing tolerances allow up to 0.018″ of play. “Outrageous,” I thought. After this warranteed service, plus a zero clearance throat plate, I had a very good cut quality with my Forrest blades, comparable, in fact, to that of my Unisaw back in the shop, even on something as hard as hickory. I was satisfied, and with a Festool vac attached it has been a pleasure to use this saw for my trim work on site. Its size really helps with loading my truck, as others have stated.
    Now it’s two years later and I just bought a second 1031. I expected to see the same runout problem and was not disappointed, so I took this one to my local service center for the same fix. About two weeks later it came back, with a work order listing a replaced bearing. Well, speaking of disappointment, the “repaired” arbor is maybe slightly better, but not as good as the first time and I can easily feel and hear the remaining slop when I hold the blade lightly between two fingers and tilt it back and forth. Again, I use a full thickness, Forrest blade, and with a zero clearance throat plate a lot of the problem is addressed.

    What really bothers me is the principal of the thing. It seems to me that if you’re going to make a table saw, any table saw, STEP ONE is to design a good bearing setup so the blade doesn’t wobble. That should be utterly fundamental and not too tough to achieve on any price point. Why build something mediocre? Why bother? I buy the best tools I can because they make my work better, easier, and more enjoyable. I would actually pay quite a bit more for a similarly sized, portable table saw that works like it should, with no compromises, but it seems there isn’t such a machine available in the US. The European version of this saw comes with soft start. Why not the one they sell here? Do they allow sloppy arbors on those, too?

    Thanks for your consideration,
    Rob

    Reply
  43. Dimitris

    Hi everyone, I have a Dewalt DW745. It’s a very good saw but has a very small infeed and outfeed, as an outfeed solution there are many option(DIY) but i cant find an infeed solution. I have problems with the crosscut sled and the miter, they’re all standingin the air if a have a wide enough stock to cut.

    Thanks for any help.

    Reply
  44. Norm Dawley

    Hello all. Novice/intermediate carpenter here. I realize this thread is kinda old, but I’m trying to decide whether to buy the Bosch or the Dewalt, and so far this is the most relevant article I could find. Thought I’d throw in my 2 cents.

    First of all, great review, Michael. Really appreciate the details of actual on-site job use. Secondly, great website, Gary. Lots of useful information. Love the forums. I think many carpenters learn a lot from talking with other carpenters, especially novices learning from journeymen.

    Thirdly, I’ve used both a Dewalt (don’t know which model number, several years old) and the Bosch with gravity rise folding/rolling stand. In my mind, both have their merits and drawbacks. Although both saws have 15 amp motors (I think), the motor on the Bosch seems beefier, bogs down less. The stand seems sturdier, and the wheels make it relatively easy to drag around a bumpy jobsite and up stairs. I don’t mind the extra weight or size of the Bosch. I’ve found a way to load and unload it solo into and out of the back of my rig. It does take up a lot of space (when folded down for hauling/storage).

    I don’t like the fence on the Bosch. Difficult to make micro-adjustments, and seems hard to align parallel to the blade. Haven’t noticed blade wobble, but I trust others with more experience than I that this is true.

    I like the fence on the Dewalt. The rack and pinion is easy to micro-adjust, and I’ve had little problems with the fence out of parallel with the blade. The motor seems to bog down more than the Bosch’s. The detached stand (old school) is easy to carry and set up, but seems a bit more unstable than Bosch’s new gravity rise folding/rolling stand. I don’t mind slugging around the Dewalt saw. It’s not too heavy for me, and I have a good back (so far!) It can be easier to get to hard-to-reach places than the Bosch if there’s not clear ground to roll over.

    We have had problems with dust impeding the blade tilting. If you notice this, DO NOT force the blade to tilt. You’ll only pack the dust tighter, making it more difficult to remove. Turn it over and clean it well at the tilt points where they attach to the bottom of the table. Dental tools help for this, to get impacted sawdust out of a tiny space. Also, the height crank can get dusty and very hard to turn. We cleaned it well and lubed it up with some lithium grease, if I recall correctly, which solved the problem.

    Long story short, I’m gonna go with the Dewalt because of its fence. If the Bosch had a better fence, I’d probably go for it. Now to decide between the Dewalt 744 and 745. Nick (comment 36.1, October 12, 2012) mentioned above that the 745 has 24″ rip and dado blade capacities, while the 744 is limited to a 16″ rip and no dado blade capacity. Are there other differences? I don’t like the looks of the new rolling Dewalt stand. Does anyone have any experience with it?

    Thanks in advance. Don’t know if anyone is still paying attention to this somewhat-old thread.

    Norm from Sequim

    Reply
  45. Michael Barton

    Love the article. I was planning to add my 2 cents about the best portable saw – i usually go with DeWalt instead of Bosch, but honestly this article is so well planned out that there is nothing else to add to it, as it honestly presents both sides of the coin.

    Reply

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