I started liking the 21830 table saw from the first time I grabbed its well-placed grips and pulled it out of the box. After milling up oak thresholds and ripping 1-by, 2-by, and 5/4 softwoods and 1/2-inch OSB, the tool's power and thoughtful design features lived up to the good first impression.
Setup and Adjustment. Assembling the saw took about an hour and was easy. Even though the blade and fence were accurate out of the box, I checked the adjustments to see how they work. Dialing in the positive stops on the blade bevel to 90 and 45 degrees is simple and accurate, though the instructions for completing these tasks need improvement. Adjusting the blade parallel to the fence and miter slot also was easy.
The rip-fence indicator showed 1/4 inch off the actual measurement, and I couldn't fix it. On other types of tools this would bother me (a lot), but since I've never trusted these notoriously undependable jobsite table saws' measurements anyway, I had no problem continuing to use my tape or a combination square to set the measurement.
Power. This saw has plenty of power. Cutting red oak 1-by material to bridge two different floor heights, I made 21/4-inch-deep relief cuts on the bottoms of saddle thresholds and the saw's 15-amp motor muscled through the wood. The tool also handled 45-degree bevel cuts in 2-by, 1-by, and 5/4 trim boards, and 1/2-inch cuts in OSB. The included blade caused some vibration in heavy cutting; a thicker-kerf ripping blade reduced it.
Fence and Table Adjustments. The fence works great and locks securely. I wish the whale fin-shaped handle was slimmer: Its shape obstructs locking the fence with a work piece already in place, such as if you're adjusting the fence to match a pencil mark on your lumber.
The table extends right of the blade, providing 24-inch rip capacity. The single-lever adjustment works great and the rails slide smoothly. The extendable outfeed rail provides a handy 13 inches of extra support.
Mobility. The 21830 comes with a compact, collapsible stand and wheel kit and tows well on 43/4-inch wheels. Also, the saw is light enough to carry by its over-molded rubber grips.
Other Features. I like the tool's onboard storage for holding the fence, blades, wrench, and miter gauge. It has an excellent blade change: The tool-less throat plate pops right out, and an easy-to-reach arbor lock secures the blade for one-wrench switch-out. The saw comes with a plastic push stick and dado throat plate. I drilled a hole in the push stick, so it could store on the saw with the blades. Finally, the 21830 has a fantastic retractable cord. It weighs 90 pounds. $399. 800-377-7414. www.sears.com/craftsman.