The best table saw for DIYers
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A Terrific Table Saw for DIYers

 

Kobalt KT1015 Table Saw Review

In short, the KT1015 Kobalt table saw is an outstanding saw for its value and should perfectly suit the needs of any DIYer.  

From ripping plywood sheets to cutting lap joints with stacked dado blades, this table saw does it all for a budget price.

Earning 4 out of 5 measuring tapes, it’s definitely one of my most treasured tools. With the Kobalt in my collection, I am able to complete a whole new range of projects.

 

The Nitty Gritty on the Kobalt Table Saw

For many years I got by without a table saw. I’d always just used my trusty handsaw or circular saw.

Because our previous home was small, I just didn’t have a need for it. I couldn’t work on as many projects as I wanted to.

This changed once we bought a larger home. The list of projects we wanted to complete on our new home was endless.

A larger yard meant things like planter boxes, storage sheds, and picnic tables. A more spacious garage meant custom shelving and work benches. The projects went on and on.

It was inevitable that the need for a table saw would come up. It was the construction of the shed that prompted this.

The first couple weeks of working on the shed, I used my handsaw and portable power saws. Then as I got deeper into the project, I ran into a wall.

I realized that I needed to make certain long narrow cuts. These cuts were nearly impossible to do reliably and consistently with my current means.

The Best Table Saw for DIYers

So it was time for a table saw. I was really excited as I had always wanted one, and this was the perfect opportunity to make the investment.

I researched many types online so I could find the best table saw. At the time, the prices ranged from around $250 to thousands of dollars.

I opted for the Kobalt KT1050 table saw from Lowes. After a 10% coupon I purchased on eBay for $2, I got the table saw for just under $300 with free delivery. (Here’s a very similar tablesaw on Amazon.)

Why I Chose the Kobalt Table saw

There were two main deciding factors for choosing this saw versus others in the same price range. The first one was the maximum cutting depth at 90 degrees.

The KT1015 Kobalt table saw allowed up to 3.5 inches of height on the blade, which meant I could cut a 4 x 4 with one pass on the blade. Most of the other saws maxed out at 3.125.”

I could also cut 2 x 4s on the longer side if I needed as well.​

The Absolutely Best Table Saw for DIYers

The second decision factor was that the Kobalt table saw came with a folding built in stand.

I didn’t fully understand the mechanics of its intended operation until watching some YouTube videos. Then I decided this saw was perfect for me.

During normal usage, the saw sits on its stand and works like a regular table saw.

Then when you’re done your cutting for the day, you press a foot lever, raise two handles and the saw tilts vertically on its side and is wheeled away for storage.

The Kobalt table saw in its wheeled storage position:

Using the Kobalt Table Saw for DIY Projects
The Absolutely Best Table Saw for DIYers

In this mode, it looks and maneuvers like a two wheel dolly. Because it stands up vertically, it takes up minimal space against the wall when not in use.

This was perfect for my setup as I did not want a permanent spot for the table saw and was hoping to easily pull it out as needed.

In the picture below, the lever with the lock icon transforms the saw into working position.

The Kobalt Table Saw In Action

The table saw arrived about a week later at my front door. I was held up from working on the shed project due to cuts needed from the saw, so I was eager to set it up and continue construction.

It took about an hour to assemble all of the parts and learn operation of all the features.

Since it was my first time using a table saw, I did a number of practice cuts with scrap wood to get a feel for the saw and its mechanics.

I verified the 3.5” max blade height with a piece of 4 x 4. Then, I tried some angled cuts with the included miter slide. I also ripped some bevel cuts on some 2 x 4s.

The cuts were clean and effortless.

The dust port sprayed most of the sawdust out and away from me, piling it up in a hill.

Once I was comfortable with the Kobalt table saw, I did the real cuts I needed for my project and was very happy with the results.

Here is a picture of the side showing the yellow power switch and the blade adjustment wheel. You can raise or lower the blade by spinning the wheel.

Also, attached to the wheel is a bevel lever that you can use to adjust the angle of the blade. I found the power switch to be in the perfect location because it is easy to turn the saw off with your knee after a cut.

The opposite side of the saw is where the sawdust shoots out.

The Absolutely Best Table Saw for DIYers

One thing I was not too happy about with the Kobalt table saw was the misalignment of the riving knife. The riving knife is a metal splitter that sits just behind the blade.

As the saw blade cuts through the wood, the riving knife slides right into the freshly cut groove and forces the wood to remain parallel to the guide fence.

It’s a safety feature of table saws that helps to prevent a lot of kickback (when the spinning motion of the blade forces the wood to jerk back at you).

The riving knife is supposed to be aligned perfectly with the blade, but mine was not. It actually wasn’t too bad at the beginning, but as I used the saw over the next couple months, the alignment got worse.

The Kobalt table saw manual did come with instructions on aligning it via some hexagonal screws, but I haven’t gotten around to fixing it.

I did also read online about a number of people having trouble with the alignment and could not fix it regardless of the adjustment screw settings.

Some people have even had to stick washers into the riving knife mounting points to align it manually.

Hopefully when I get the time to look into it more, it will work out for me.

In the meantime, when I cut wood, the riving knife either happens to nudge into the cut groove, or I have to place a pre-cut block of scrap wood to force the alignment.

I do occasionally just use my finger to manually nudge the riving knife into place with the blade spinning, but this is highly dangerous and I would not recommend to anyone (note to self to stop doing this and fix the alignment).

Another thing that I was not too fond of was aligning the guide fence. This is the guide that runs parallel to the blade that you slide your wood against to ensure your cut is even.

The guide has two clamping levers on both ends that you engage to lock it down to the table saw surface.

The problem with this technique is that you have to manually ensure the guide is parallel to the blade. If the guide isn’t parallel (within a close margin of error), then your cut is not going to be straight.

Also, your wood will likely get stuck at some point as you slide it through the blade. So both ends of the guide have to be the same distance away from the blade.

It’s really not that difficult to do. However, it can get annoying if you’re making a number of cuts and constantly adjusting the fence.

I’m used to using a tape measure to ensure both ends of the guide fence are the same distance from the edge of the table. Other people use a speed square to quickly align the fence.

The fancier table saws use a rack and pinion system for the guide fence. This is where you spin a handle to slide the fence left or right.

This would be perfect for me if I had a few more hundred dollars to spend on a table saw. Yet, that was outside my budget.

Here is a picture showing the guide fence with one of the adjustment levers.

There is a ruler on the front to help you set the distance from the blade, but I find this not to be always accurate. I tend to rely on my trusty measuring tape.

Using the guide fence on the table saw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the misaligned riving knife and the work needed to setup the guide fence are my only squabbles with the KT1015 Kobalt table saw.

It’s a terrific saw for a great value and should satisfy the needs of your typical home DIYer. My most prized item in my tool collection is definitely this Kobalt table saw.

For a mere $300, it has put me on a whole new level of craftsmanship, and allowed me to accomplish projects that would have been nearly impossible in the past.

Kobalt Table Saw Accessories

I ended up buying a featherboard. Some people make one but I found it easiest to just buy one.

Featherboards are great when you need that extra bit of precision as your guiding your piece of wood into the blade, the featherboard will keep the beginning flush against the fence ensuring a more consistent cut. 

It was a pretty cheap purchase, and it’s a really nice accessory to have with the Kobalt table saw. 

Hammering It Home…

Listed below are the projects where I used the Kobalt KT105 table saw. To see detailed steps and pictures, click the project below.

6 Comments

  1. Hello, I have this table saw and I was trying to cut a dado the other day. The height adjusted kept loosening and blade began to drop. How do I tighten the blade height adjustment so it doesn’t move after it’s set?

  2. Thanks for your table saw recommendation. I have heard of the KT1015 Kobalt, but I’m not decided on whether or not to get it yet. I have been looking to get a quality table saw, and I’ve done quite a bit of research on it. At this point, for me, it’s between the KT1015 and the DEWALT D745, which everyone seems to be talking about. I’ll let you know what I ultimately go with. I had checked out some other sites for table saw ideas – Carve YourCreation, for example, mentions some interesting models, although they’re on the low end of the price spectrum as per the theme of the article. I found that it was a helpful resource; it’s not my site, but I hope you don’t mind me linking it. What are your thoughts on the DEWALT D745? Have you heard about it?

    1. Hi, I am a huge fan of all Dewalt tools and own a number of their products. Unfortunately, a compact table saw like the D745 was not really ideal for my garage setup. The KT1015 came with an awesome rolling folding stand that made it super portable for me to take in and out of the garage easily. That was really the selling point for me. The D745 is probably a better table saw in terms of quality and performance, but the KT1015 cuts well enough for me and folds and rolls away nicely into a corner when done.

  3. I just bought this saw as it’s on sale til 6/20 for $179 at Lowe’s. As much as I’ve heard back and forth on this saw, that price plus my immediate need makes it a no-brainer right now.

    So, my questions for you: It looks like you have replaced the blade. Judging by that yellow poking through, I’m guessing it’s a DeWalt blade? Did you have an issue with the stock Kobalt 24T that it came with? Which blade did you replace it with and why? Any other caveats or things a new owner of this saw should know?

    1. Ended up grabbing a Diablo General purpose 40T after some more research. Thanks for this write up!

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