The origins of Bosch Tools can be traced back to Stuttgart, Germany where in 1887 Robert Bosch introduced a magneto for use in automobile engines of the time. Bosch is still one of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive components and the Bosch Tool Division – started in 1932 – controlled 36% of the world’s power tool market as of late 2008.
If you are looking to buy your first table saw or replace an existing one, check the Internet and you’ll find Bosch table saws rank at or near the top in user and expert reviews in almost all categories of table saws. But they also rank at the top in price, sometimes costing several hundred dollars more than competitive models with similar features. Are they worth the difference?
You can find a lot of table saw buying guides and reviews of specific table saw models on the Internet, but most of them focus more on convenience features than on performance features. While portability and ease of assembly, operation, and placement or storage are certainly important considerations, the principal reason for buying a table saw is to cut wood.
Simply put, the design, engineering, components, and materials used in some saws result in better performance. It is easy for reviewers to expound on convenience features, but the level of performance needed depends on the individual purchaser and can vary in many ways. So what are some performance considerations that justify higher prices in table saws?
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First there is reliability. If you need precision cuts you’ll want rip fences and miter gauges that will produce the same cut on every piece you feed through your saw. Second, there is safety. If the saw is light and underpowered, it will have a tendency to vibrate and move around when feeding woods like oak and maple. In addition, you have more chance of kickback. Third, there is durability. Cheaper motors and materials do not last as long.
In terms of performance, you do get what you pay for. With Bosch table saws you’ll find better motors, more steel and cast iron, and better precision machined parts. As a general rule Bosch table saws will be more stable and safe to operate and produce better cuts than cheaper competitive models. Let’s look at some of their offerings.
There are actually three different models in Bosch’s latest line – the base 4100, the 4100-09, and the 4100DG-09. The 4100 is a high quality professional bench top saw featuring their new SmartGuard system which separates the riving knife from the blade guard and the anti-kickback pawls. All three components can be removed and re-attached without tools. It also has the highly accurate Bosch SquareLock Rip Fence. Put the 4100 on to Bosch’s Gravity Rise Stand and you’ve got the Bosch 4100-09.
Many competitive portable saws require at least a two step fold down process but not this one. You simply release a lever and a gently push on the handle starts the saw downward where gravity takes over and the saw gently settles into dolly position. This stand is the only one on the market today with air-filled tires, making it much easier to move around than stands with solid rubber tires.
The top of the line 4100DG-09 adds the industry’s first rip fence with a digital readout. This is actually a separate piece that magnetically attaches to the SquareLock Rip Fence. If you are interested in any one of these models, make sure you check the woodworking forums. Despite these enhancements, there are expert woodworkers out there you don’t feel they’re worth the extra money, and they’re willing to tell you why.
It is interesting to note that Bosch also offers high quality accessories that can be used with their competitor’s table saws. The Gravity Rise Stand – Model TS200 – can be used with portable table saws from DeWalt, Ridgid, Craftsman, Makita, and Hitachi.