Table saws are one of those tools that you might think you don’t need until you get more serious about woodworking projects. Once you start looking at the prices that manufacturers charge though, you might find yourself surprised at just how much one costs. Professional shops spend thousands of dollars on these tools, but you can easily find one that will fit your budget.
After looking at what woodworking enthusiasts and professionals want out of a product, we decided to the find the best one priced under $200. The model that quickly grabbed our attention was the Craftsman Evolv 15 Amp 28461 (Check Price on Amazon.com). With a six-foot cord length, this model is perfect for use in any woodworking shop or hobbyist’s home.
It comes with a 15-amp motor that performs just as well as those on larger ones and allows you to work with harder wood types. This model also comes with a top that helps you see the blade as it moves and a large work area with a rip fence. We created a list of the top features of this model to help you see why it’s the right choice for you.
Contents Table - Click to expand
Top Features of the Craftsman Evolv 10-Inch Table Saw
The problem with some budget items is that the manufacturer attempts to cut costs with the inclusion of a blade that doesn't perform very well and doesn't last very long. Included with this model is a blade with carbide tips that can cut through almost any type of wood. Each of the 24 tips are sharp to the touch and become even more efficient when you regularly sharpen the blade.
Setting up and using a standard product in your home workshop is often hard because it adds so much weight to the tools. This model keeps the weight down to right around 50 pounds. Not only does this mean that you can set it up without any help, but it also means that you can move the tool whenever you need.
Keeping your eyes on the spinning blade is important for two reasons. It allows you to keep your hands in a safe position and at a safe distance from that blade, and it lets you know how to move your wood. It has a clear guard on the top that helps you view the blade while maintaining a safe distance.
A common problem reported by customers of other affordable units is that the motor isn't strong enough for their needs, but you won't have that problem with the Evolv. It comes with a 15-amp motor that works effortlessly with the carbide tipped blade to cut through any type of wood. You can use it just as effortlessly with hard woods as you do with softer materials.
Some products under 200 lack any type of miter gauge, which makes it hard for you to adjust the tool, but the Evolv comes with a miter gauge that you can adjust in mere seconds. This makes it easy for you to change the angles of your cuts and to use the tool when making beveled cuts for molding and similar projects.
Having a guard system increases your safety. This model comes with a guard system that works with an include clamp. You can latch this clamp down to set up the assembly and to keep your hands safe.
The included anti-kickback pawl also works to keep you safe. When working with a longer board or a heavier piece of wood, you risk the blade producing a kickback that can knock your hands off the wood and even knock you off your feet. This feature has a push button control that turns it on, which lets you get protection before cutting or while in the middle of cutting.
One of the easiest ways to keep the wood from slipping off it is with a fence. Some under 200 units do not come with any type of fencing but are compatible with fence pieces that you buy separately.
The Evolv comes with a fence system that mounts and comes off in seconds. It has a quick release design that lets you make adjustments to your measurements just as quickly too.
Despite its low cost, the Evolv comes with an impressive top that measures 25-inches by 17-inches. This gives you more space to work on as you cut. You can also use the included fence to extend the size of your work area to cut wider and larger boards.
Also included with this unit is a riving knife that you can raise and lower as needed. Lowering this knife allows you to make shallow cuts and notches that do not go all the way through the wood. This knife also works at different heights to make cuts all the way through a thick board.
One nice feature about the riving knife on this model is that you can adjust it without using any special tools. It has a cam lever on the side that lets you change the placement of the knife before or while using the tool.
Discovering that your shirt caught on the blade is a scary prospect, but the Evolv has an emergency stop button that helps you remain in control. This button has a convenient location right on the front of the stand and exactly near where you stand when using the tool. You can hit this button with your free hand or even your leg to bring the blade to a stop.
As an added bonus, this button also functions as the power button. It takes just one motion to turn it on and start using it.
Craftsman is one of the only manufacturers of saws under 200 that include a durable stand. This stand uses a durable type of steel that will outlive the included blade. Craftsman picked a comfort height for this stand to make it easy for anyone to use without feeling like they need to hunch over the top.
Clear Work Area
If you ever tried to use a larger and more expensive product before, you likely noted the number of features found on the work top. Too many manufacturers place so many buttons and options on the top that it limits how quickly you can work and what you can do. The Evolv puts the push stick on the side to make it easier and faster to find and to keep the top as clear as possible.
Fast Blade Adjustments
The height of the blade is what determines how deep it cuts into the wood. Craftsman designed this model to feature a rack and pinion system. This helps you adjust the height of the blade before putting your wood on the top or while you're in the middle of making a cut.
Included in the Packaging
To help you see what comes complete with the Craftsman Evolv, we created a handy list of everything that comes included in the packaging. That list includes:
- Steel stand
- Wrenches for using and adjusting the blade
- Carbide tipped blade
- Assembly for the glade
- Push stick
- Rip fencing system
- Hex keys
- Pawls to prevent kickbacks
- Use manual
The user manual includes detailed instructions on how to use and care for it. It also features information on setting up the tool and maintaining it.
We want you to know as much about the Evolv as possible to ensure that you have a good understanding of whether it’s right for your projects. That is why we wanted to give you information about some of the cons of the product in addition to its top features.
This model does not come with any wheels on the base, which makes it harder to move than those that do include wheels. You cannot roll it across your work area when you need to use it. As it weighs less than 60 pounds though, most will have no problem moving it.
While the blade on this model does adjust, it may not rise as high or cut as low as you need, especially concerning the wood of four-inches thick or thicker. This is more of a hobbyist tool than one designed for professional use.
There are also a few issues that relate to the included rip fencing. This fence isn’t as strong as those used on larger ones and does not do as good of a job of supporting longer or larger boards.
Though there are some flaws with the Craftsman Evolv, it’s a good option for those looking to save some cash. We think it’s the best product under 200 currently available.