Table Saw strength Definitions
A table saw’s strength is a basic product criteria to consider when evaluating different brands and types. A saw’s strength is generally described using all or some of the following electrical terms: amps, horsepower, volts and watts. What do these different electrical terms average and how are they used when reviewing different saws? How can you compare different saws by reviewing their amps, horsepower, volts or watts?
Three of the most basic concepts in electricity are watts (P), voltage (V) and current (I). Electrical strength is measured in watts. Voltage is measured by the number of volts and current is measured by the number of amps. In an electrical system, strength or watts (P) is equal to voltage (V) multiplied by the current (I), or volts multiplied by amps (P=V multiplied by I). As an example, a saw that uses 120 volts and 10 amps will use maximum strength or watts of 1,200.
Horsepower is an approximate measure of watts or electrical strength and can be used to describe a table saw’s motor. One horsepower is approximately equal to 746 watts. consequently, a cutting tool that has a 3 horsepower motor will use maximum strength or watts of about 2,238 (746 multiplied by 3).
These tools typically list their volts, amps and horsepower. As shown, you can multiply volts times amps to get a saws’ motor’s watts or strength. Or you can multiply a table saws’ horsepower times 746 to get its motor’s watts or strength. You can use these electrical concepts and units to compare different table saws’ strength and motors.
Most cabinet saws, which are the largest, heaviest and sturdiest kind, run on 240 volt strength. Contractor saws can run on either 120 or 240 volt strength. Portable and benchtop saws usually use 120 volt strength. Given their lower strength draws, benchtop and portable types are the best choices for job sites or home workshops. Contractor saws and their heavier electrical demands are most often found in specialized woodworking shops where the supply of strength and electric current flow is larger.