The Best Table Saw Fences
A new table saw fence can make your current table saw feel like a completely different machine. We'll walk you through some of the best choices on the market.
If precision matters in your woodworking, you may want to consider a third-party table saw fence to replace the one that came with your table saw. The quality of the manufacturer-supplied fence systems varies widely across the industry. Customers commonly find that they seem difficult to adjust precisely, don’t stay accurate from cut to cut, or suffer other problems. I’ve put together a list of some of the top aftermarket fences suitable for most woodworkers with a home shop.
If you just want one product to check out, I think the Shop Fox W2005 Fence with Standard Rails is the best all-around choice for most people.
If you already know you want a new table saw fence, read on for my top picks. But if you have questions about whether a new fence makes sense for you, jump down to my buying guide.
The Top 5 Table Saw Fences
Delta is a major manufacturer of contractor and cabinet table saws. They designed this fence to mount on their saws right out of the box. But you can mount it to just about any saw whose table measures 27” front-to-back. You’ll probably need to drill new mounting holes for your non-Delta table saw. A generous number of fasteners included in the box let you secure it to your table saw.
You’ll get 30” of rip capacity to the right of your saw blade once installed. And you’ll have 13 1/2” of capacity to the left of the blade, more than most similar models. This extra room to the left comes in handy for making bevel cuts, depending on which way your blade tilts. (For safety, make bevel cuts so the wood doesn’t get trapped “under” the tilted saw and against the fence.)
Once you calibrate it, the fence stays accurate to about 1/64”. So you won’t need to constantly check it with a ruler or tape measure like you did with your old fence!
A small number of users report that sometimes the manufacturing process leaves slightly concave areas around the bolt holes. If this bothers you, you may want to slightly shim these areas—a couple pieces of blue painter’s tape should work.
Whether you own a Delta saw or not, this fence makes an excellent choice for any home woodworker.
- Easy to install
- Usually straight right out of the box
- Easy to adjust
- Stays accurate once properly calibrated
- Comes with lots of fasteners for mounting on different saws
- Face may be slightly concave around bolt holes, requiring shimming for absolute flatness
Vega manufactures a variety of aftermarket table saw fences. The U26 features a 36” long fence that mounts to almost any table saw with a 27” table (measured front-to-back). Once installed, you’ll have 26” of rip capacity to the right of your blade and 8” to the left.
If you have a Delta, Powermatic, or Craftsman saw, the mounting holes will probably line up for a straightforward installation. For other saws, you may need to drill some holes to mount it to your particular saw. If you don’t have a drill and tap set, you might need to pick one up.
The fence feels rock solid once you clamp it down in place. A micro-adjustment mechanism lets you get the fence “close enough” (within an inch or so) by hand and then dial it in precisely. This can make for a simpler set-up than needing to nudge the entire fence by hand to set up your cuts.
- Simple install
- Rock solid once clamped down
- Requires only 2 holes drilled to fit Craftsman saws
- Easy to adjust using micro-adjuster
- Easy to remove for cross-cutting and holds position afterward
- Some quality control issues mean occasionally arrives scratched due to parts moving in shipping
- Does not attach to wing extensions using included parts (need to manufacture them to get full 26” to the right)
Shop Fox W2005
Shop Fox designed the W2005 to fit any 27”-deep (front-to-back) table saw. As with most aftermarket fences, you may need to drill and tap mounting holes in your saw’s cabinet. Conveniently, Shop Fox provides a drill-and-tap set right in the box. Some purchasers have found the provided tap not up to the task, though, and ended up buying their own. You can find tap sets pretty cheaply at a home improvement store, but it’s unfortunate the supplied one might not do the trick.
Once installed, the W2005 provides 25” of rip capacity to the right of your saw blade. That gives you just enough room to rip a 4’x8’ piece of plywood down the middle.
Not enough for you? Shop Fox has another option. Their W2006 fence gives you a whopping 54” of rip capacity. Make sure you have the space for it, though—the rails stretch a full 7’ long!
The clamping action on the W2005 (and W2006) feels quite sturdy. Once you have it positioned accurately, you can make all your cuts secure in the knowledge that they’ll come out identical. And the fence lifts off the rails when you need it out of the way to make cross-cuts.
One little missing feature that would turn this into a truly stellar fence: a micro-adjust knob. Without that, you’ll need to delicately tap the fence into the exact position you want it before clamping down. I view the micro-adjust as a “nice to have,” and even without it, this is a great product.
- HDPE plastic fence surface for extremely low sliding resistance
- Clamps completely tight for accurate cuts
- Includes drill and tap set in case mounting holes need to be drilled
- Easily lifts off to make room for cross-cutting
- No micro-adjustment feature
- Packaging issues sometimes leads to missing or damaged parts
Shop Fox W1410
At 37 pounds, this fence from Shop Fox comes in lighter than several others on our list. If you have a smaller, lighter saw, this might matter to you. Some of the heavier fence and rail systems (topping out over 70 pounds) might make your saw top-heavy unless you add extra support. Plus, you need to factor in that weight if you’re one of the people (like me) who needs to move equipment around a small shop. The W1410 feels light enough that, while you’ll certainly notice it, it won’t tip your saw over or cause you to strain too much to move it.
As with the other fences, this one attaches to pretty much any table saw that has a table 27” front-to-back. With some saws, you’ll need to drill and tap mounting holes into the cabinet of your saw. Like the W2005, Shop Fox includes a drill and tap in the box with the fence. With luck, they’ll work for you. But some people report that they weren’t beefy enough to fully drill or tap a cast-iron saw. In that case, you’ll need to pick up your own inexpensive drill or tap from the hardware store.
Thanks to the W1410’s lighter weight, you won’t get that rock-solid feeling you get with the heavier fences. In spite of that, the clamp on this fence works quite well. Once locked into position, the fence stays there until you move it again. So you can rest assured that all your cuts will come out accurately.
In a nice touch, the top of the W1410 features a T-track. So if you have clamps, jigs, or other accessories that fit in a T-track, you can attach them directly to the fence. This might save you some head-scratching trying to figure out how to clamp them to the fence without obstructing your work.
One small ding against the W1410 is that some purchasers have needed to do a bit of filing or sanding on the rails to get a smooth movement. Once you do that, though, the fence glides super-smoothly on its ball-bearing guides, making it a snap to position accurately.
- Glides very smoothly on ball-bearing guides
- T-track on top of fence for easy attachment of clamps and accessories
- Locks down securely
- Might need some filing/sanding to get completely smooth movement along support rails
- Included drill and tap set are not very good, will probably need to use your own 5/16 bit and 3/8 tap
The U50 from Vega features longer rails than most fences, giving it a full 50” of rip capacity to the right of the blade. It offers just 8” to the left of the blade, though, so consider whether that matters to you. If you frequently make bevel cuts to the left of the blade, you might think twice, but otherwise I consider the U50 a great choice. It weighs in lighter than some of its competition, at 38 pounds.
The lighter construction does create some compromises, though. The build quality and fit-and-finish doesn’t seem quite as high as its more expensive competition. In particular, it features several sharp corners that you’ll probably want to file down for safety. And if you crave tools with beautiful finishes and machinist-quality fits, the U50 might leave you disappointed.
Those cosmetic issues aside, Vega has produced a solid table saw fence, in particular if you need all that extra rip capacity. It has a micro-adjustment feature, so you just need to get the fence “close enough” by hand. Then you use the more accurate micro-adjuster to set it precisely where you want it. Once clamped, the fence won’t move on you. And Vega provides good customer support for any problems or questions you might have.
- Micro-adjustment feature
- Auxiliary table support
- Easy to zero in
- Excellent customer support for questions
- Sharp corners may need filing down for safety
- Workmanship/fit-and-finish not as high as more expensive products
You probably have some questions about buying a new table saw fence. After all, it’s something that most of us will do once or twice in our lives. Once you’ve paired a quality table saw with a great fence, both of them should last for decades.
Why Buy an Aftermarket Fence?
Basically, to save time and money.
Most table saws come with rip fences that seem just “good enough.” They basically do the minimum required of them. You will often find that they aren’t quite as precise as you like. They often arrive not quite straight, or else they don’t stay straight reliably under the force of wood pushing against them.
In the end, you often find yourself with a ruler or tape measure measuring along the fence. This takes up valuable time—even more if you need to re-check frequently between cuts. If the fence has a bit of give in it, you might still end up making the wrong cut. At best, this wastes time—at worst, you may ruin your wood.
For all these reasons, it makes sense to have a fence that you know you can position once and have it stay accurate. All the fences I list in this article will give you that peace of mind. Each of them has its pluses and minuses, but none of them will have you constantly double-checking with a ruler.
Can I Install an Aftermarket Fence on My Table Saw?
Probably, unless you have a compact jobsite table saw. But you may need to do a little upfront work. Two factors come in to play: size and mounting.
Almost all aftermarket table saw fences target saws with tables that measure 27” from front to back. Table saw makers have more or less standardized on this size. Fence manufacturers typically build in a little tolerance for slight variations—maybe up to 1/2” or so depending on the model. That fits the vast majority of contractor and cabinet table saws on the market.
So if your table saw measures more than about 27 1/2” from front to back, it’s unlikely these fences will fit. If it measures slightly under 27”, you can probably fashion a shim to hold the rail and make it work.
But they won’t fit on portable jobsite table saws that often measure around 21-22” deep.
Most these fences come as a system that includes both the fence and rails that attach to the front and back of your saw. These will replace the rails that came with your saw. Saw manufacturers differ on where the holes for mounting fence rails ought to be. While you’ll find some common layouts, none have universal adoption.
If you buy a fence from the manufacturer of your saw, most likely it’ll just work. Otherwise, prepare to drill some new holes in your saw’s cabinet to mount the rails. This might seem daunting, but quality fences come with instructions on how to lay out your holes. You’ll want to take time with this, double- and triple-checking the entire layout before drilling. Consider using clamps to hold the rails on your saw while you move the fence into different positions. You want to make sure that it moves smoothly and precisely everywhere before you commit to drilling a hole.
Some fences come with a drill bit to drill the holes and a tap to thread the whole so you can mount the rail. These are often on the less sturdy (read: cheaper) side, and might not be up to the task. In that case, or if the fence ships without any, you might need to use your own drill bits and taps. (Or pick up a cheap set at a home improvement center.) You’ll want to make sure to use the sizes indicated in the instructions.
What Features Do I Need?
Any rip fence ought to align precisely and stay securely in that position until you move it. All the fences I’ve mentioned here will do that. Beyond that, though, there are some differences to consider.
The fences come with rails of a particular length. And the fence positioning mechanism itself takes up some space. Together with the layout of the mounting holes, these will determine how far you can position the fence from the blade.
All the fences I’ve chosen will give you at least 25” of capacity to the right of the blade. That gives enough room to rip a 4’x8’ piece of plywood down the middle. And some will give you up to 50” of capacity, a must if you make large cabinets.
Bear in mind that you need to have the space to actually put the saw with these large rails attached. In some cases, the rails stretch up to 7’ long. And you’ll need to make sure you have enough support under the rails that the saw doesn’t become top-heavy. Make sure to check that before you use it (with some wood on top but without the saw plugged in).
All else equal, longer rails will weigh more than shorter ones. But the rails vary considerably in design and construction. When you add the weight of the fence itself in, these systems can add between about 35 and 75 pounds to your saw.
If you have a cabinet saw that never moves, this probably doesn’t matter much. Just make sure you have enough support under the rails, and you can make them as long as you want.
A lot of us have smaller shops, and need to move our equipment around. Make sure the added weight doesn’t make your contractor table saw too “tippy”. You’ll need to figure out a way to support the rails but still allow for moving the saw.
I think almost anyone would be happy with the Shop Fox W2005 Fence with Standard Rails. But each fence has its advantages and disadvantages. I hope I’ve given you all the information you need to choose the table saw fence just right for you!