Buying the Best Table Saw Fence (Top 5 Reviews)
The table saw rip fence is an extremely important piece of equipment. Understandably, choosing the correct product can be a little daunting.
The majority of stock fences sold with machines are of lacklustre quality. Sure they are functional, but they are not up to the standard you can expect from a good after market table saw fence.
However, which is the best table saw fence on the market today?
That’s exactly what we have taken a look at here. We have put 5 top rated table saw rip fences through their paces. For our findings at a glance just head to the table below. For full reviews of each table saw fence system, and a dedicated buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
Best Table Saw Fence System – Top 5
PRODUCT NAME DETAILS OUR RATING
TOP PICK 30" FENCE:DELTA 36-T30 T2Table Saw Fence
30-Inch Fence Rail System Shop Fox W1716Aluma-Classic Fence Standard Rails57-Inch Fence TOP PICK 50" FENCE:Vega PRO 50Table Saw Fence Fence System: 42"Fence Bar: 50" Craftsman A182010901Table Saw Fence Assembly Fits Craftsman: 315.2182907"L x 3"W x 2"H Bosch Parts 2610950148Rip Fence Assembly Fits various BoschParts models
Table Saw Fence Reviews
The best table saw fence will be designed to provide high quality, repeatable cuts across a wide range of applications. Safety will be a top priority too.
In our opinion the following table saw systems will do just that. Here’s the 5 that made the grade.
1. TOP PICK: DELTA 36-T30 T2 Table Saw Fence Review
This is a T-square type of rip fence that features a 30-inch fence and rail system. It is designed and made by Delta Machinery, the preeminent maker of table saws and accessories including long-lasting high-quality table saw fences.
The DELTA 36-T30 T2 weighs about 30 pounds, and the fence bar is 60 inches long. The fence has a square cross-section that measures 3 inches by 3 inches. These ample dimensions means the unit can fit onto table saws that are 60 inches wide.
The maximum rip capacity is also good in that it can support 30 inches, (enough to accommodate a wide range of woodwork projects.)
The rip capacity is the distance that the fence can be moved away from the blade, which also determines the maximum width of the workpiece cut by the table saw.
This fence features the 3-point locking system that characterizes it as a high-quality T-square fence.
It is described as T-shaped because it has a short guide tube on which the rip fence bar slides on. This steel guide tube features a clamping device and scale that allows the fence to be clamped onto a specific point on tube.
The rail is mounted along the edge of the table top. This mounting is done on the edge nearest to the worker (for the front rail), and at the edge farthest from the worker (the rear rail). The mounting hardware is shipped alongside the fence.
The steel guide tube is mounted atop the front (supporting) rail. The use of a rear rail allows this fence to be clamped down more securely when a tenon jig is being used, and this allows for clean and precisely-shaped grooves to be made in the workpiece.
The locking system allows this fence to maintain its position and squareness when in use. This allows it to maintain its parallel alignment to the saw-blade without requiring constant adjustments.
Therefore, the woodworker can set it and then rip over 100 wood parts in a day without any major adjustment, and this shows that it has a high rip capacity. Likewise, it allows pieces of the same width to be re-produced rapidly.
The cuts made are therefore accurate enough for both normal and high-precision woodwork. But how is accuracy determined?
It is determined by measuring how parallel the fence is to the miter slot. In a fully setup table saw, the rip fence that is paralleled to the saw blade is also expected to be exactly parallel to miter slot.
To measure its straightness, the distance from the fence to the miter slot is measured at two points, at the front of the table, and then at the back of the table.
Ideally, these two measurements are expected to be exactly the same, but if there is a difference of 0.015 inches or less(for high-precision woodwork), the fence is considered as capable of supporting accurate cuts.
This rip fence allows allows for very precise cuts to be made. This is possible because it has a micro-adjustment capability.
This is done by adjusting the setting screw on the rail which causes the fence to torque, with the rail acting as a pivot.
For instance, if the aforementioned distance between the fence and miter slot differs by 0.015 inches, the setting screw causes the fence to rotate by very small degrees on the rail, and this allows its farthest end to move a bit closer to the miter slot, hence reducing or eliminating the 0.015 inch difference.
Afterwards, it is clamped down on the table, and highly accurate wood pieces can be cut. This also allows for pieces of the exactly the same width to be cut rapidly, and this gives this rip fence a high cut-list capacity.
This fence is built from high-quality durable materials and its design allows it to operate for long without breaking. Its surfaces feature smooth aluminum faces that allow wood to slid near-effortlessly through the saw blade.
Finally, for peace of mind the Delta comes with a warranty that lasts for 24 months.
The Delta 36-T30 T2 is a T-square type of rip fence that features a 30-inch fence and rail system. It is portable, durable, and made from high-quality materials that allow it to perform heavy-duty ripping.
The exceptionally superb performance, high cost-performance ratio, and outstanding material quality of Delta 36-T30 T2 makes it in our opinion, the best table saw fence in our top 5 round up.
This is a T-square type of rip fence that features a 57-inch fence and standard rail system. It is designed and made by Shop Fox. Shop Fox designates this product as an aluma-classic fence because of its steel and aluminum construction.
The Shop Fox W1716 weighs about 53.3 pounds, and the fence bar is 61 inches long. This makes it heavier than the Delta T2, but their lengths are almost the same. This also means that it can fit in table saws that are 60 inches wide.
However, unlike the T2 fence which has a square cross-section, the Shop Fox W1716 fence has a rectangular cross-section that measures 17.2 inches by 7 inches.
Also the maximum rip capacity the Shop Fox W1716 can support is 30 inches.
The fence features only a single-point locking system because it lacks rear support rails. Even so, similar to the Delta the W1716 can be clamped down securely to the table.
One of its most unique features is its scale. To read this scale on its guiding rod, the Shop Fox has a screwed rectangular transparent plate, which features a circular lens, on top of the scale.
The lens is well-positioned directly on top of the calibration marks of the scales, hence allowing the worker to accurately read the measurements as well as lock the fence at the right position.
There is also a magnified cursor that points the worker to the exact calibration mark hence allowing for very precise readings to be made.
There is a heavy-duty locking lever that securely clamps the fence to its guide tube hence ensuring that no deflection occurs when it is sliding wood that is being cut by the blade. This high-performance locking lever serves as the only locking system for this fence.
Just like the Delta 36-T30 T2 , the standard rail of the W1716 is mounted along the front edge of the table top. It does not have a rear rail, and if one needs to use a tenon jig with this fence, then the locking lever would need to be tightened further a little bit.
This locking system will allow it to maintain its position and squareness when in use. Likewise, the locking lever it to maintain its parallel alignment to the saw-blade.
This rip fence allows allows for very precise cuts to be made because it supports micro-adjustment capability. This also allows for pieces of the exactly the same width to be cut rapidly, and this gives it a high cut-list capacity.
The Shop Fox W1716 is built from high-quality durable aluminum and steel materials. Its design allows it to operate for long periods without breaking.
Furthermore, the surfaces of the fence feature smooth aluminum faces that allow wood to slid near-effortlessly through the saw blade.
The Shop Fox W1716 is a T-square rip fence that features a 57-inch fence and standard rail system. It is made from durable, high-quality materials and its operational design allows it to perform heavy-duty ripping.
While in our opinion it is not up to the standard of the Delta, this is still a reliable tool that will help take your woodworking projects to the next level in terms of accuracy of cut.
3. TOP PICK: Vega Pro-50 Table Saw Fence Review
Now we move into the realm of the big boys. The Vega-Pro 50 is a sliding type of table saw fence that features a 42-inch fence bar, and it can slide up-to 50-inches to the right of the saw-blade.
Designed by Vega, the unit weighs about 49.5 pounds, and the fence bar is 77.2 inches long.
Although this means that it can fit in table saws that are 77 inches wide, this fence cannot be justly compared to either the Delta or Shop Fox reviewed above.
With the larger capacity it is designed to perform different functions as compared to the other 2 T-square rip fences.
Taking the dimensions here on their own merit, the fence bar of Vega Pro-50 has a rectangular cross-section that measures 11.9 inches by 4.1 inches.
And of course, the Vega Pro-50 supports a very large rip capacity of 60-inches (50 inches to the right of the blade, and 10 inches to its left side).
The guide rails are mounted to the table saw, and the guide tube that carries the fence bar is slid on these guide rails. The guide rails are supported by brackets, which ensure that it maintains its position on the table edge.
The Vega Pro-50 is designed to be fitted to both portable and contractor table saws. It is a sliding-type of table saw fence which means that the entire rip fence setup (not just the fence bar) can slide towards or away from the saw blade.
This is unlike either Delta 36-T30 T2 or Shop Fox W1716 where the fence bar only slides along its guide tube.
For the Vega Pro-50, this ability to slide as a unit along the length of the table saw allows it to slide past the saw blade (when it has been retracted below the insert) and be positioned to the left of the blade.
Normally, T-square rip fences can only be positioned to the right of the blade, while sliding-type table saw fences can be positioned either to the left or right of the saw blade.
This also means that the entire fence mounting system of Vega Pro-50 support adjustment of measurements.
The Vega Pro-50 can be slid 50 inches to the right along its rail, and this allows a miter gauge to be fitted to the miter slot. The miter gauge allows a wood piece to be cut at an angle, either perpendicular to the grain orientation or at any other angle less than 90 degrees, (you can find more info on using a miter gauge here).
Because, it can cut as well as rip wood, the Vega Pro-50 requires more power as compared to T-square rip fences, as cutting is more energy intensive as compared to ripping.
For this reason, it is advisable for one to fit the Vega Pro-50 to a table saw whose blade-anchor unit is powered by an electric motor whose power rating is 3HP (horsepowers) or above.
In comparison, the Delta and Shop Fox fences can work well with 1-2HP electric motors.
The rail system of the Vega Pro-50 is made from a rolled and chrome plated high-quality tube whose smooth surface allows for effortless gliding of the fence head.
The walls of these guide rails are thick and this makes them strong as well as gives them superior rigidity.
Its micro-adjustment mechanism allows for dialing of ultra-fine measurement changes so as to achieve precise rips, cuts, or properly-shaped grooves.
It therefore allows for very precise cuts to be made because it supports micro-adjustment capability. This also allows for pieces of the exactly the same width to be cut rapidly, and this gives it a high cut-list capacity.
The Vega Pro-50 is a high-performance, sliding type of table saw fence that features a 42-inch fence bar that can slide up-to 50-inches to the right, and 10 inches to the left, of the saw-blade. In short it has tons of rip capacity.
In our opinion it is currently the best 60 inch capacity table saw fence you can buy. Highly recommended.
This is a T-square type of table saw assembly that features only the fence bar and its guide tube. It is designed and made by Craftsman.
The Craftsman A182010901 weighs about 5.3 pounds, and the guide tube is 7 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 2 inches tall. This allows this guide tube to be fitted into the rails that can be attached to most table saws. Its fence bar has a rectangular cross-section.
The rip capacity of this table saw assembly depends on the table saw fence rails onto which the guide tube is fitted onto.
Even so, as a standard T-square type of rip fence, it is expected to support a maximum rip capacity of 30 inches, which allows it to perform most types of wood ripping woodwork.
Much like the Shop Fox, the Craftsman A182010901 table saw fence assembly features only a single-point locking system because it comes without any support rails.
Even so, it can still be clamped down securely to the table. This is done using a heavy-duty locking lever that securely clamps the fence bar to its guide tube hence ensuring that no deflection occurs when it is sliding wood that is being cut by the blade.
This high-performance locking lever serves as the only locking system for the fence.
One of the most unique features is the fact the fence assembly lacks any kind of scale on the guide tube. This therefore necessitates the worker to mount it onto rails alongside a calibrated scale.
Some rails do feature a calibrated scale, and they are most suitable for this fence head assembly.
Its locking system allows it to maintain its position and squareness when in use. Also, there is need to ensure that the locking lever maintains the parallel alignment of the fence bar to the saw-blade.
Its ripping capacity and cut-list capacity are primarily determined by the table saw rail assembly on which this fence head unit is fitted onto.
If it is fitted to a good rail assembly, Craftsman A182010901 can achieve a high rip capacity as well as exceptional cut-list capacity.
The Craftsman A182010901 is a T-square type of table saw assembly that features only the fence head. This fence head is made of a high-quality and durable fence bar that is fitted into a well-designed guide tube.
This is a T-square type of rip fence assembly that features only the fence bar and its guide tube. It is designed and made by Bosch.
The Bosch Parts 2610950148 weighs about 5.3 pounds, which is almost equivalent to the weight of Craftsman reviewed above.
The fence bar is 29 inches long, and it has a rectangular cross-section which measures 7 inches by 5 inches. Its guide is well-designed to fit into most rails that can be attached to almost any table saw.
Just like Craftsman the rip capacity of Bosch Parts table saw fence depends on the rails which the guide tube is fitted onto.
Regardless of the rail assembly, as a standard T-square type of rip fence, it is expected to support a maximum rip capacity of 30 inches, which allows it to perform most types of wood ripping woodwork.
However, some woodworker may find it hard to position this table saw fence 30 inches away from the blade if the fence is fitted onto an ovoid rail system.
Just like the Shop Fox and the Craftsman options, the Bosch Parts 2610950148 features only a single-point locking system because it comes without any support rails.
Even so, it can still be clamped down securely to the table. This is done using a high-quality locking clamp that securely clamps the fence bar to its guide tube hence ensuring that no wobble or flex occurs when the fence bar is being used to slide wood that is being cut by the blade.
Also, this high-performance locking clamp serves as the only locking system for this fence assembly.
Regarding calibration scales, this offering from Bosch Parts shares a unique feature with the Craftsman A182010901.
Both of these fence assemblies lack any form of calibrated scale on their guide tubes. This therefore necessitates the worker to mount Bosch Parts 2610950148 assembly onto rails alongside a calibrated scale.
There are some rails that come with an attached calibrated scale, and such rail assembles are most suitable for this fence head assembly.
The locking system also helps maintain position and squareness when in use. Also, this locking system maintains the parallel alignment of the fence bar.
The Bosch Parts 2610950148 is built from high-quality and durable materials; and its compact design allows it to operate for long without breaking.
Likewise, the surfaces of the fence bar feature smooth faces that allow wood to slid near-effortlessly through the saw blade.
Bosch Parts 2610950148 is a T-square type of rip fence assembly that is made up of only the fence head. This fence head is made of a high-quality and durable fence bar, which is fitted to a compactly-designed guide tube.
Table Saw Fence System Buyer’s Guide
A good rip fence will change the way you work. The superior results will be noticeable immediately.
The added square to your cuts, along with improved repeatability will make you wonder why you didn’t upgrade to a replacement table saw fence earlier.
Anyway, we’ve been harking on about the benefits of owning a rip fence system. This is a buyer’s guide so let’s start at the beginning:
So what is a Table Saw Fence System?
To cover the basics, a table saw fence (or rip fence as it is sometimes called) A table fence, or rip fence as its otherwise known, is an additional piece of apparatus that you attach to your table saw to assist in lining up your cuts.
It really is a fundamental tool to your setup. Combine the best table saw with a lousy rip fence and you will never achieve the highest quality results.
The system is made up of a durable straight piece of metal that includes guide rails a clamping system.
The smooth central bar is designed so that you can slide your material towards the table saw blade, with minimum friction and maximum accuracy and control.
What is a table saw fence used for?
A good quality rip fence will give you the ability to make long, precise cuts across the full length of the work material.
It will also help sustain accuracy of repeat cuts where maintaining the same dimensions over multiple pieces is paramount.
In essence, a high-quality rip fence can make the difference between a substandard project and something you will be extremely proud.
So now you know why you should own a table saw fence system; it’s time to discuss what you should look for when buying one.
What to look for when buying a table saw fence system
There’s a number of variables to consider when buying a rip fence; price, quality of construction and overall size capacity to name just a few.
Let’s take a closer look at some of them now…
What size fence to buy
The way you use your table saw will help you decide which is the best fence size for you. If you own a large machine and are constantly dealing with big woodworking projects; you will want a rip fence that can accommodate your materials.
Essentially, for ease of installation you don’t want to be attaching a large fence to a small saw.
With this in mind, the two main options available to you are the 30 or 50-inch rip capacity. Let’s discuss these a little further.
Thirty Inch Rip Capacity
Most non-professional users should get by with a 30 inch rip capacity.
They obviously require less space to install and are generally cheaper to buy than the 50-inch options.
On the occasions you have to cut materials of larger dimensions, you can attempt the ripping from the alternative side.
However, this is not recommended should large material cutting be a frequent occurrence. Under those circumstance the 50-inch fence would be the better buy for you.
Fifty Inch Rip Capacity
If you have a large work area and the nature of your projects calls for it, the 50 inch table saw fence is the one to buy.
The price difference when compared to the 30 inch options is marginal, yet the versatility the larger fence will provide is often too good to miss. You will be covered no matter what you need to cut.
The resale value is also a bonus. Many users prefer the large capacity making your machine more desirable should you decide to upgrade in the future.
The bottom line is this; if you have the workspace, go for the larger 50-inch rep fence. If you are limited in this regard, opt for the smaller design for convenience.
How easy is it to install?
Nobody wants a system that is tricky to install or even require some additional components in order to fit properly.
A simple after market table saw fence should be installable in under 30 minutes. Any longer than that and you could be looking at something that is badly designed.
Having said that, a slightly more complicated setup could be due to added features. Read the small print before buying to see exactly what the system purports to do.
If previous users have had setup issues it could be a sign that the fence is not the best one to buy.
The best table saw fence will allow you to make accurate measurements with ease. This is the most important function of all.
This means fine adjustments should be possible. While you will not always require the ability to make 1/32″ adjustments, knowing you can when needed is a big deal.
With that being said, you can always make your buying decision based on this variable. If fine adjustments are important for your projects, you will want to buy the market leader in this regard.
If it is not such a deal breaker, you can make your decision based on a wider range of concerns.
Reliability of alignment
This is where user reviews become important. If too many buyers have complained that the system fails to keep aligned over repeat cuts, you know there’s a design flaw somewhere. Such a rip fence is best avoided.
If on the other hand users have praised the overall consistency of results you will be reassured that the fence is reliable enough for your needs.
How deep are your pockets?
Price is a factor in any buying decision. However, with a rip fence you should always buy the best quality system you can afford.
Trying to save a few bucks will hurt in the long run if you end up buying a fence that is not up to the task. Your results will suffer.
Overall, a quality rip fence is a good investment. Furthermore a better system will last you longer, saving you money in the end.
Image Credits: VSC Tools