Originally Posted by Johnla
How much you looking to spend? $100 is not going to do it, $400-$500 is probably the starting point for something on a decent entry level contractor type table saw, like this Ridgid R4512 from Home Depot.http://www.homedepot.com/Tools-Hardw...&storeId=10051
Move up to $1000, and that should get into the start of some really good affordable saws. There is a lot of brands that make good saws, even some of the imports from places like Grizzly have some decent saws. For example Grizzly has this 110/220v 2hp "Hybrid" with cast iron table & wings for $795 plus $99 for shipping.http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-H...Series-/G0715P
Also, consider something like a used Delta saw. And some of the upper end of the Sears Craftsman table saws are pretty good also.
I pretty much agree with everything John said. The Ridgid contractor saw from Home Depot is a nice saw, especially at its price point.
I generally advise people to stay away from portable saws (like the DeWalt or the Bosch) unless they actually need to haul the saw from one job site to another. If the saw is going to stay in your basement or garage, a saw like the Ridgid 4512 is a MUCH better tool.
Used tools can be a great way to save money. For your first saw, it's safest to stick to brands that are of a reliably good quality. For instance, Delta has made consistently good stuff for decades (but avoid Delta Shopmaster). All of the contractors saws sold by Ridgid have been good tools. Craftsman and Grizzly, on the other hand, have sold a few very nice saws and a whole bunch of saws that were not so nice. Buying a used Craftsman or Grizzly saw really requires that you be able to tell the good from the rest. Easier and safer to stick with brands that are consistently good.
Just for kicks, I checked my local Craigslist the other day. There was a Delta contractor saw with a nice fence and a mobile base for under $400, although it was a couple of hours away. There was also a Ridgid contractor saw with a mobile base for $400. The Delta looked like a bargain, and the Ridgid would have been a nice saw with a little dickering.
I don't have any experience with track saws. But they look like they might be a good alternative to a table saw.
I have both. Track saws are great for breaking down sheet goods (plywood & MDF) and can be very accurate if you're careful with your layout. Track saws are not as useful for cutting solid wood. To use a track saw on solid wood, you must start with a workpiece that's wide enough that you can rest the track on it, which means it is difficult and dangerous to cut anything narrower than about 6". It is possible to make repetitive cuts with a track saw but doing so is time consuming. In general, a table saw is a much more versatile tool. If I could only have one, I would take the table saw in a heart beat.