Best Contractor Saw 2017: Powermatic 1791230K 64B Review

Powermatic 1791230K 64B Review

Source: powermatic.com

Powermatic 1791230K 64B Review

Welcome to our Powermatic 1791230K 64B review – This is a contractor table saw, and winner of our “best contractor table saw” award.

Pros

  • Reputable manufacturer
  • Stellar safety features
  • Whole table surface is precision ground cast iron
  • Smooth and sturdy fence

Cons

  • Dust collection could be better
  • Could use more power

General Functionality

Source: powermatic.com

Being from such an experienced and legendary table saw manufacturer, you can be sure that the overall build quality and usability of the Powermatic 1791230K 64B is top notch in most regards.

Motor

Running at 1.75hp, the motor produces much less power than you’d find in Powermatic cabinet saws (some being up to 5hp), and you might even consider this motor to be somewhat underpowered.

But, there’s really no need to worry – this belt-driven motor has plenty of power to get the job done.

It’ll make short work of softwoods, and also deal with hardwoods of up to about 1-1/2 inches without any issues – especially true if you run a thin kerf blade.

Blade

There’s a standard 10 inch blade on the Powermatic – although interestingly, some people get a “stock” blade included in their packaging, and others don’t.

I wouldn’t worry too much about this, though. If a blade doesn’t arrive with the saw you could actually consider this to be a good thing, as it would mean you don’t have to actually use the thing.

The “stock” blade, when it arrives, is awful – as is typical with virtually every blade that comes with any table saw, regardless of type or manufacturer.

As always, we advise that you upgrade to a good blade instantly.

Ripping Capacity

One of the great things about choosing a contractor saw over a smaller portable table saw is that you get a much greater rip capacity.

With a ripping capacity of 50 inches, the 1791230K 64B gives you plenty of space to work with.

Not only is this much more space than you’d get with a portable table saw, but it’s also all solid table space rather than the extendable rails you’d get with a smaller saw.

The whole table surface is precision ground cast iron for the near perfect flatness that’s to be expected from a contractor table saw.

Blade Height and Bevel Adjustment

The adjustment handles are a pleasure to use. As is typical with Powermatic products, they’re well made and easy to use.

The handles are made out of metal, and you can feel the quality every time you grab them to make an adjustment – this is true for both height and bevel adjustment handles.

Not only are they sturdy and a pleasure to use, but it’s also easy to precisely set the height or angle you need, and then reliability lock it securely in place.

This is one of things I like most about a contractor table saw (or any sort of stationary table saw, really) – the small things. Features like the height and bevel handles are things you’ll use over and over again.. so having them just work as they should in a quality fashion is great.

This is especially true when the features are built by a company like Powermatic. Even though they basically do the same thing, the difference between the adjustment handles on this contractor table saw and the plasticy cheapo ones you’d get on any portable table saw is like night and day.

Dust Collection

There’s no surprise here, the dust collection isn’t great.

It’s just OK – but you can certainly expect a lot of cleanup after using this table saw.

We can’t really blame Powermatic for that though, can we?

This is just one of those things that comes with buying a contractor table saw – you’ve got to expect that the dust collection isn’t going to be the best in the world.

Contractor saws sit on open-sided stands, which makes it really easy for dust to escape. Even though the Powermatic has built in dust collection, it still fails to impress.

For superior dust collection, you should consider a hybrid table saw like the Shop Fox W1819. And for truly perfect dust collection, a full on cabinet table saw would be what you want.

Fence and Miter Gauge

Source: powermatic.com

When choosing a table saw, people often get too caught up on features like the motor or blade adjustments – things that frankly, most manufacturers can nail these days.

What’s more important to consider are the “smaller” features – but the ones you’ll be using regularly, and the ones that will really impact the quality of results you get from your table saw.

What really makes established and respected manufacturers like Powermatic apart from the crowd is their attention to detail, and the quality of those every day features that you’ll use all the time.

It’s safe to say that after decades of manufacturing table saws, Powermatic knows how to make a great fence.

This is true of their larger cabinet saws, and also of their contractor table saws – such as the 1791230K 64B.

It uses a classic Biesenmeyer fence that attaches on only one side. And it’s solid.

It works great. After set up, it will remain reliably square for every cut you make.

It glides smoothly along the rails, is easy to set precisely where you need, and will lock securely in place.

Powermatic have really nailed this fence. It’s not only very useful, but also a pleasure to use. From the sturdy and strong metal handle, to the smooth glide as you push it along the rails – simply a wonderful fence.

Safety Features

Source: powermatic.com

The 1791230K 64B comes with a standard set of safety features to be expected by every table saw sold today – a riving knife and a blade guard.

If you’ve read other reviews and buying guides on Woodwork Boss, you’ll know that we put a great importance on safety when using table saws – and any other power tool, for that matter.

Every table saw sold in the US is required by law to include a blade guard and riving knife at minimum – but, they also need to be easy to use and not detract from the main fuction of the saw, which is its cutting ability.

Many cheap table saws will have their required safety features.. but they’ll bug you. The blade guard will be hard to see through, or it’ll have a splitter instead of a riving knife, or it’ll be a hassle to install or adjust the safety gear.

All of this makes you less likely to use it, just because it’s a hassle. And that’s the real issue we see these days with safety gear on some table saws.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the Powermatic 1791230K 64B.

As is to be expected, the quality of the safety features is stellar. They do their job, but they’re also easy to use and won’t detract from the overall functionality of the saw.

Both blade guard and riving knife are easy to install tool-free with their quick release design. That’s a good start.

The guard is large and clear, and it won’t obstruct your view too much when using the saw. The riving knife is placed near the blade for maximum kickback prevention, and simply adjusts with the blade both up and down and for bevel as it should.

Conclusion

The Powermatic 1791230K 64B is an expensive contractor saw, but it’s worth every penny.

You get a lot of the quality that you’d find in the larger cabinet saws from Powermatic, but at a fraction of the cost.

This Powermatic table saw is our winner of “best contractor table saw” for a reason – it’s simply hard to beat the quality that comes from a Powermatic.

It’ll deliver precise cuts on hard and softwoods day in and day out, and it’ll be a pleasure to use at the same time. From the powerful motor, to amazing fence, to great safety features, this table saw just does everything right.

The only reason to not consider buying this table saw, is if you need something more capable. You may want more power, or better dust collection, or just more functionality overall – in which case, you should consider a hybrid or cabinet table saw.

But aside from that, you’ll love the Powermatic 1791230K 64B and it’ll serve you well for years if not decades.

Click here to read user reviews on Amazon.

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