Table saws, like anything else, come in all different shapes and sizes. There are portable models and stationary models, multi-functional saws and hobby saws, saws with stands and tabletop machines. If you opt for the latter, however, you are either going to need a really solid workbench to set it down on, or you are going to have to work on the ground – and it will not take long before you tire of this.
One of the restrictions with setting your tabletop machine on a general-purpose workbench is manoeuvrability. Generally, and especially where space is restricted, workbenches are placed against the wall of a workshop, which means that if you are trying to rip lengths of timber, you may not have sufficient room behind the saw to feed the material through. Ideally, you need the saw to be in an area where you can access it from all sides and if you own a tabletop model of saw, therefore, you are going to need a stand.
One option, having already bought the machine, is to use it on the ground to build your own stand. Not only is this an inexpensive choice, but it also means that you can customise your stand to meet your own needs. It can either be something quite straightforward that is just designed to support the saw, but you can of course, incorporate handy storage drawers for tools, or any other feature that you desire. Whichever design you choose, however, it is vital to make sure that the saw is secure and cannot be unseated or topple over.
The other option is to buy a stand. Many of the companies that manufacture table saws also produce an optional stand and these come in a variety of designs. When you are shopping around, one of your main considerations should be the stability of the stand as this contributes directly to the accuracy and precision of your cuts. A stand which vibrates significantly or moves across the floor as you work will not only mar the quality of your work, but could also be extremely dangerous. It is important, therefore, to make sure that the stand is both sufficiently heavy and that it is wide enough across the base to spread the load of the machine and the material that you are working with.
The first type of commercially-available stand that you are likely to encounter is the fixed stand, and these are normally heavy and incorporate features which will minimise vibration. Stands which have locking castors are also an excellent choice because they allow for greater mobility, both when moving from place to place around a work site and when storing the machine away after use. Another option is the folding stand. Simple and fast to set up, these are again excellent in terms of increasing mobility, but by design many are a lot flimsier and less rigid. As in the case of any stand, for your own safety, do check to make sure that the product you buy stands steady and firm.