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The Best Table Saw Push Blocks

Push blocks are an important safety accessory for your table saw; we look at the best ones on the market.

Push sticks are an integral tool for using a table saw safely. Making a push stick out of scrap wood is almost a rite of passage for new table saw owners.

These days, most table saws come with a rudimentary plastic push stick. But it’s often not well-suited for many types of cuts. While you could probably fashion a custom push stick for just about any scenario, that can be time-consuming. Many people (myself included) like the convenience of buying an aftermarket push block.

I’ll walk you through some of the best push blocks on the market today, to help you understand which might be the right tool for you.

Read on for all the details, but if you want, here's a cheat-sheet to my picks:

    Why Use a Push Block?

    The simple answer is: to finish your project with as many fingers as you started with! Any time a cut on a table saw would bring your hand too close to the spinning blade, reach for a push stick or push block instead.

    Your tolerance for what counts as “too close” might vary. I’d recommend never trying to make a cut with less than 6” between the blade and fence without using some kind of push tool.

    It’s tempting to think that we’re coordinated enough to safely keep our fingers away from saw blades. And we are, 999 times out of 1000, or even better. But mishaps happen. Maybe you trip or slip while you’re adjusting your stance. Or the workpiece pinches between the blade and fence, leading to kickback and pushing your hand towards the blade. That fraction of a second before you can react might be enough to send you to the emergency room without a finger or two.

    It’s simply not worth risking compared to the small investment in either making or purchasing a push block.

    Push Block vs. Push Stick

    A push stick and a push block both serve the same basic function: pushing a workpiece through a saw while keeping your fingers out of harm’s way.

    The main difference between them is their shape. A push stick is generally thin, between 1/4” and 3/4”. It typically has a notch to grab the workpiece and push it forward through the saw blade, and it is quite effective at this. But it’s less effective at two other jobs: keeping the workpiece flat against the saw table and tight against a rip fence. It just doesn’t have enough surface area.

    A push block is wider, perhaps several inches across. It’ll often have a handle on top to help you grip it. By pushing down firmly, you can not only move the workpiece forward, but also keep it tight to the table and the rip fence.

    Using a push block gives you much more control, and therefore leads to safer cuts. For very narrow cuts, of course, a push block just won’t fit. In those cases, the narrower push stick remains a tried and true solution.

    Buying vs. Making a Push Block

    Making your own push block or push stick is a common project even for beginners in the wood shop. There are dozens of different designs and tutorials available. I think it’s a great exercise for anyone to do, and you can certainly use nothing but shop-made push blocks your entire life.

    But the convenience and versatility of commercial push blocks is tough to beat. They’ve got ergonomic designs so they’re easy to grip. And they’re built to maximize the pressure you can apply on the workpiece, increasing your margin of safety.

    The Best Table Saw Push Blocks

    Let’s look at some of the best push blocks available for sale. Quite a few of these are actually bundles that include multiple push blocks or push sticks for different purposes.

    Microjig GR-100 GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock

    You may have heard about the Microjig GR-100 already. This line of products has taken the woodworking and hobbyist world by storm over the past few years. And maybe that has left you wondering if it’s just empty hype or if the product lives up to it. In my opinion, yes, it does, and it’s my top pick for anyone looking for a push block for their table saw or router.

    Microjig GR-100

    To be fair, there are considerably cheaper options available, some of which I recommend below. But the build quality of the GRR-RIPPER line is head and shoulders above many of its competitors. While its body is plastic, it’s a high-impact plastic with some weight to it. It should last for many years, unless you run it straight through your saw blade!

    The bottom is covered with a rubbery material Microjig calls “Green GRR-RIP”. In my experience, it does a great job gripping all kinds of material, from wood to acrylic plastic.

    The biggest differentiator from most other push blocks is how the GRR-RIPPER is designed to pass over the saw blade. You can adjust (or remote) the center “leg” so the blade passes completely through a board while your hand stays safely several inches above. And the sliding support on the side provides additional support when balancing the GRR-RIPPER on narrow boards.

    There are quite a few accessories you can add to the basic GRR-RIPPER, either piece by piece or as part of the complete set I discuss below.

    Positives

    • Adjustable legs allow saw blade to pass under block
    • Strong grip from texturized rubber pad
    • Angled handle to help keep workpiece against fence
    • Many accessories available as add-ons

    Negatives

    • Pricier than most basic push blocks
    • Thumbscrew adjustments are precise but take time to setup

    Microjig GR-200 GRR-RIPPER Advanced 3D Pushblock

    Everything I said about the basic GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock above applies to this bundle as well. The difference is the addition of a much larger stabilizing plate and an adjustable spacer. Otherwise, the core push block is exactly the same.

    The stabilizing plate can slide back under the body of the block itself. This can help hold a workpiece tight against the fence, even if it’s narrower than the GRR-RIPPER block.

    And the adjustable spacer can attach to either side and be moved up and down. This can either provide an extra degree of grip on the workpiece or extra stability if you rest it on your saw table.

    This is the push block I have at hand in my own shop. To be honest, though, I rarely use the large stabilizing plate. If you’re not sure you need it, you could get just the Microjig GR-100 and add the stabilizing plate later. Or get one of each, since having two push blocks is handy, but you may not need two stabilizing plates.

    Positives

    • Adjustable legs allow saw blade to pass under block
    • Strong grip from texturized rubber pad
    • Angled handle to help keep workpiece against fence
    • Stabilizer plate helps keep thin workpieces perfectly aligned with fence

    Negatives

    • Pricier than most basic push blocks
    • Thumbscrew adjustments are precise but take time to setup

    Microjig GB-1 GRR-RIP BLOCK

    The Microjig GB-1 is a much simpler push block than the others in the GRR-RIPPER lineup. It features the same solid construction and grippy pad, but without all the adjustability and attachment points.

    A nifty feature of this push block is its drop-down “smart hooks”, two on each end. When you’re pushing against the tail end of a board, the hooks drop down to catch the end and provide an extra degree of control. They pop up out of the way if you’re pushing down in the middle of the board. To me, that’s the biggest benefit this block gives you over a simple shop-made model.

    The rubber pad is textured to provide extra grip, greatly reducing the risk of your hand sliding forward unexpectedly as you push on your workpiece. And the handle is slightly angled to help direct pressure into the rip fence, keeping the workpiece tight against it.

    If you want to use this push block on its side with a band saw or router fence, you’ll appreciate one other touch. One side has a vertical “wall” along its length. This wall helps you keep pressure perfectly horizontally against the fence.

    One caution: Some customers have reported that the rubber pad has deteriorated over time, losing its gripping ability. It’s not clear whether this remains an ongoing problem or if it was a short-term flaw that has since been corrected. This should be covered under the 3-year warranty, so if it happens to you, be sure to contact customer service for a replacement. I continue to recommend this product because it does seem to have affected only a small fraction of customers.

    Positives

    • Textured pad provides reliable grip on all types of workpieces
    • Angled handle helps keep workpiece against fence
    • Right-angle fence for precise use vertically on router table or band saw

    Negatives

    • More expensive than simpler push blocks
    • Some customers report pad deteriorated too quickly

    Milescraft 7334 Safety Bundle

    The Milescraft 7334 is the only bundle in my top picks that includes a featherboard. Rather than helping you push a workpiece forward, the featherboard provides sideways pressure to keep it tight against a rip fence. This increases the precision of your cut as well as reducing rotational movement of the workpiece that can lead to kickback.

    The Milescraft featherboard in this package sits in your miter slot to the left of the blade. A pair of knobs let you tighten it down so it pushes against your workpiece while still allowing it to slide forward. Tightening the knobs also expands the miter bar, keeping it secure in your miter slot.

    If you don’t already own a featherboard, this bundle might appeal to you. For a relatively modest price, you get a pretty standard push block and push stick too. While they don’t have any fancy attachments, these three tools will let you make a huge variety of table saw cuts safely.

    Positives

    • Includes featherboard to keep workpieces tight against fence
    • Two types of push tool for both wide and narrow workpieces

    Negatives

    • Featherboard can be difficult to adjust to proper distance

    Microjig GR-281 GRR-RIPPER Complete 3D Pushblock System

    If you want the ultimate in adjustability, the Microjig GR-281 bundle might be right for you. It includes the same push block and stabilizing plate as in the Microjig GR-200 above. But it adds on a number of accessories that each have their specific purpose.

    A variety of gravity-heel attachments drop down to catch against the tail end of a board as you push. They retract up when you push down in the middle of the board. And they’re designed to be “sacrificial”, meaning you can cut right through them. This can help prevent tear-out as the saw exits the tail end of your workpiece.

    A clear deflector/connector is more useful on a router table than a table saw, in my opinion. It lets you see the router bit in action, while shielding you from flying debris and keeping your fingers away from the bit. It can also be used to connect two GRR-RIPPERs together into one long unit, which would help you control longer material on a router table or jointer.

    Finally, it includes a super-thin 1/8” leg. This leg lets you safely guide strips as narrow as 1/8” past the blade, while providing full stability and control. That’s not an especially common need for most people, but if your projects reqiure such narrow cuts, this is a huge benefit.

    If you’ve already got a GRR-RIPPER but like what you see in this bundle, you can always purchase the gravity-heel kit, the 1/8” leg, and the deflector/connector separately.

    Positives

    • Adjustable legs allow saw blade to pass under block
    • Strong grip from texturized rubber pad
    • Angled handle to help keep workpiece against fence
    • Included accessories increase effectiveness with thin pieces and long boards

    Negatives

    • Quite pricy compared to simpler push block sets
    • Thumbscrew adjustments are precise but take time to setup

    Powertec 71510 Deluxe Safety Push Block and Stick Set

    The Powertec 71510 is one of two push block sets from Powertec in my list. I’d classify the set below as more of a “budget” option, while this set has a bit more of a rugged and polished design.

    The set includes two basic push blocks with handles, so you can use a single block for short pieces or go hand-over-hand for longer ones. It’s also got two different shapes of push sticks. One “V-style” push stick has a longer base, and would be preferable for pushing long, thin boards through the saw. The other would do better on shorter workpieces.

    Finally, there’s one long “hand plane” style push block, which I think is not ideal for a table saw. It would be great on a router table or jointer where you want full two-handed control of a board.

    You’ll pay a little bit of a premium compared to the budget-level Powertec bundle below. Either one will do the trick, but if you’re willing to spend the extra few dollars, I think this is the more durable of the two.

    Positives

    • Variety of push tools should cover most scenarios
    • Solid build quality compared to similarly-priced sets

    Negatives

    • No accessories to help stabilize narrow workpieces against fence

    Delmar Tools Push Block

    The Delmar Tools Push Block has a couple nifty features that make it really easy to use on a table saw. It has an adjustable center leg like the GRR-RIPPERs above. But rather than requiring you to loosen and tighten a pair of thumbscrews, you adjust its spacing by rotating a wheel. This can be a time-saver if you’re making a number of different cuts.

    And rather than a fixed third leg for stability, it has a disc that pops up or down with the press of a button. Again, on the GRR-RIPPER, raising or lowering the stability legs requires adjusting a pair of thumbscrews. A small inconvenience, to be sure, but it could add up if you’re doing it frequently.

    For making a lot of similar cuts, I think I prefer the functionality and expandability of the GRR-RIPPERs. But if you just need to make a quick cut, or cuts of varying widths, these quick-adjustment features on the Delmar Tools pushblock might make it the tool of choice instead.

    Positives

    • Quick adjustments via button and rotating wheel for fast set-up of cuts
    • Legs allow table saw blade to pass underneath push block
    • Strong grip on almost all materials
    • Less expensive than the similar GRR-RIPPER

    Negatives

    • Not quite as flexible or expandable as similar GRR-RIPPER blocks

    Powertec 71009 Safety Push Block and Stick Set

    Rather than allowing a lot of adjustments and add-ons, the Powertec 71009 5-piece set takes a different approach. It bundles together several simpler tools that you can use in different situations.

    A pair of push blocks with angled handles let you push material hand-over-hand while maintaining good pressure. They don’t have any option for stabilizing against the table, so will be best suited for wide, flat workpieces. Or you could use them on a router or jointed.

    A couple of more traditionally-shaped push sticks will help guide narrower pieces of material through your table saw. The fifth piece is a bit more unusual, in that it looks like a bright orange hand plane. On a table saw, you wouldn’t be able to use it effectively without leaning over the blade, which is a definite no-no. I feel it’s a better fit for use on a router table where you want two-handed control of your workpiece.

    The fit and finish might not be quite up to the standard of the Microjig products, but will work just fine for a variety of projects. And the price is low enough that, should the pieces get too beat up, you won’t feel bad about buying another set. Note that this set is pretty much identical to the Fulton push block set below, so if one is out of stock, you should feel free to order the other.

    Positives

    • Variety of push tools should cover most common scenarios
    • Includes two push blocks for hand-over-hand action on long boards
    • Inexpensive enough to buy for any type of shop

    Negatives

    • Not as durable as push blocks made from higher-density plastic

    Fulton Push Block/Push Stick Set 5 Piece Set

    Sharp-eyed readers will notice that this 5-piece set appears nearly identical to the Powertec offering above. In fact, I can’t find any real difference between the two. Since both are made in China, I suspect they are sourced from the same factory.

    So why include both of them in this list? Simply put, given the vagaries of the global supply chain these days, one or the other might be out of stock from time to time. So if you can’t find one of them, look for the other.

    Like the Powertec, I think this set offers a good variety of push tools at a price that is hard to beat.

    Positives

    • Variety of push tools should cover most common scenarios
    • Includes two push blocks for hand-over-hand action on long boards
    • Inexpensive enough to buy for any type of shop

    Negatives

    • Not as durable as push blocks made from higher-density plastic

    Conclusion

    Using a push block or push stick is an important safety precaution when making cuts that would otherwise put your hand too close to a table saw blade. You can make your own, or choose from a variety of commercial products. I think the Microjig GR-100 is a fantastic product because of its quality construction and expandability. If you prefer to spend less money, the Powertec 71510 is well made and covers most common scenarios.


    Read more:

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    Adam Ethridge
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