What type of panel saws are there at your disposal?
The focus of our panel saw reviews today, vertical saws take up less floor space.
Used by cabinet shops and sign shops alike, vertical panel saws come in higher cost and lower cost guise…
For cross cutting, both types of saw call for the blade to travel through the short side of the sheet.
The difference comes with rip cutting. Cheaper models force you to slide the material through the saw while more expensive panel saws have the saw moving through the material while it’s stationary.
These are effectively large table saws.
You’ll get a sliding feed table that serves to push the material through the blade.
If you don’t have the feed table in place, you’ll still be able to cut sheet goods with a horizontal panel saw.
Who Needs Panel Saws?
Where panel saws were once considered only really much good for rough sizing, modern wall saws often come out to play alongside saw benches and sliding table saws.
If these saws look immediately familiar, they’re a staple fixture in lumber yards and DIY stores.
Panel saws are also invaluable for shop fitters looking to process large panels.
This type of industrial panel saw is not suitable or necessary for use in the home workshop.
If you’ve got lots of bulky panels you need to cut down to size in a hurry, though, there’s no substitute for the best panel saw.
The first thing you need to consider if you’ve been tempted to invest in a panel saw is whether you really need one in the first place?
Panels saws are not cheap or portable. This should absolutely not be a whim purchase you might regret.
If you do have more robust commercial cutting needs and you’ve decided to hunt for the best panel saw, you should start off by thinking of price relative to what work you’ll get done rather than simply obsessing about the bottom line. A great wall saw is a true workhouse that can be a profitable addition to your business. Don’t look for the cheapest option.
Once you’ve decided on you budget, you’ll immediately have far fewer models within your chosen parameters. This is a great lazy approach to buying a panel saw since your options are whittle down before you’ve even done anything.
Having established that you would benefit from a panel saw and fixed down your budget, here are a few simple pointers to bear in mind to get the best saw for your needs…
What To Consider When Buying a Table Saw
Mobility and Portability
You need to think about weight, particularly if you need to use your panel saw out on site.
Perhaps more important than poundage is whether or not the saw comes with wheels to simplify transportation. If you need to use your saw in a mobile setting, this is crucial.
You can also find folding stands available for many panel saws so you can use them outside the workshop as required.
You need to focus firmly on the circumstances of your business and make sure you get a unit in line with those needs.
All About Alignment
Most decent panel saws come assembled for good reason. You’ll get an incredible level of accuracy straight out the box.
While you’ll need some input when it comes to set up, you won’t be stretched into aligning the saw yourself. Think about whether the few dollars you might shave off by buying a component saw are worth the time spent and accuracy potentially forfeited by taking the DIY route.
If precision matters to you as much as speed, you should look for a panel saw that needs neither alignment nor calibration.
The best frames are welded from a single piece. A strong and durable frame will also play an instrumental role in overall accuracy so this is no area for corner-cutting. The frame is the cornerstone of your panel saw.
If you opt for a bolted frame, think about corrosion and loosening and factor this into your maintenance.
With the best frame in place, a panel saw won’t warp or twist over the course of time and you’ll enjoy superior performance along the way.
Rip Cut Capacity
Since rip cuts go along the grain, they tend to be slightly easier on your equipment.
Some panel saws offer you unlimited ripping capacity while others are not cut out to deal comfortably with sheets larger than 4 x 8. As with all aspects of this buying decision it’s about intended purpose so laser in on the type of work you need to carry out and make sure you get this right.
Cross Cut Capacity
Creating a little more work for your saw, cross cuts usually run to 50 inches as standard with panel saws and can often exceed 70 inches.
Think closely about the work you do now and the work you might do further down the line then buy accordingly.
When the guide tubes are fashioned from fabricated steel, they won’t just work like a dream but they’ll last for years.
As always, avoid bolts if possible for no other reason than the wear-and-tear they suffer over time and the way in which they degenerate.
Blade sizes run from 7 inches through 8 inches and there’s no right or wrong answer here.
As a general benchmark, the heavier and more industrial your cutting needs, the bigger the blade you should prioritize.
Price and ROI
The bottom line is clearly important, especially when you’re dealing with something as expensive as the best panel saw.
While this is true, you should think about this purchase in terms of the direct and impactful benefits it will bring about from day 1 in your business.
Budget for the very best panel saw you can justify even if your first instinct is to shy away from the price tag. The last thing you want is to pour money into what looks like the steal of the century only for it to let you down a year in.
Your overarching consideration should be the value you’ll receive. Investing in a panel saw will yield massive dividends if you have a pressing need to cut down sheeting quick-smart.
Usage and Maintenance Tips
While you obviously wouldn’t cut loose a complete beginner on a panel saw and expect great results, there’s a very narrow learning curve and you’ll be up and running in no time.
Since you don’t want to be replacing your panel saw in a hurry, it pays to make sure everything is clean and dust-free and that you monitor your saw so it doesn’t degrade.
If you have any bolts in place on your chosen saw, make sure they’re always fully tightened and that they aren’t starting to corrode.
Make sure blades are always cleaned and replaced as needed.
If you exercise a light touch, the best panel saw should last for years on end.