We have been a fan of SKILSAW separating itself off from the SKIL brand and focusing on new saw products for pros. The worm drive saw has been a top choice for years and years and nice to see more products build around the tried and true technology. The biggest (really only) complaint we’ve ever heard about the worm drive is it can be too large and powerful for what people want to do using a 7-1/4” circular saw. New products utilizing the powerful motor like the Sawsquatch 10-1/4” Circular Saw SPT70WT-22 ($399) or the Outlaw 8” Worm Drive Metal Saw SPT78MMC-22 ($319) make a lot of sense. The new SKILSAW 10” Worm Drive Table Saw SPT70WM-22 ($379) is another great example of how this increased power as well as other inherent features of the gearing make this a very smart addition.
To be fair we did write the article Why a Track Saw is Better than a Table Saw several years ago but more just to say how much we really like the track saws. Table saws definitely have their place and we would break the portable jobsite table saws into 3 main categories, compact jobsite saws which are very lightweight and under $500, the full size jobsite saws which typically will weigh more but include wheel system and range from $500-$800 and the flesh detecting jobsite table saws ranging from $1300-$1400.
We would of course recommend you consider a flesh detecting table saw such as the SawStop JSS-MCA ($1299 in-store, $1399 shipped) or Bosch ReaXX ($1399, launching June 1, 2016). Of course these safer jobsite saws are 2x to 3x the cost and just not an option for a lot of people’s budgets, unfortunately. In the compact table saw market we could see the SKILSAW Worm Drive Table Saw become the top dog.
Worm Drive Vs Direct Drive Vs Belt Drive for Table Saws
The higher end table saws (portable or stationary) are all going to be belt drive setups; more powerful, less vibration, quieter, longer motor life, easier to maintain, etc. Unfortunately belt driven system are going to cost more and require more physical space inside the saw so these are not in any of the compact table saws. All the compact table saws are direct drive motors which reduce cost, size and weight but can still be pretty powerful. Worm Drive is a form of Direct Drive but the gearing is setup so that there is more contact than a traditional cut gear, hence power is transferred from the motor more efficiently.
The SKILSAW SPT70WT-22 table saw takes advantage of the additional power transferred by the worm drive system to power a 10” blade with impressive torque. We used it to make several cuts in 4”x 4” as well as other tough materials and never found it to struggle in the lease. The other inherent trait of the worm drive system which improve performance is that it actually takes more power as well as time to get the blade spinning at full speed on startup. The effect is a natural soft start which when partnered with the duel field motor means this cooler running motor should last longer.