Not having the right equipment for your home improvement job can definitely make a project frustrating, but it could be dangerous as well. Like many people, I bought a circular saw when I first started doing DIY, and I thought that would be all I needed. I figured table saws were for professional woodworkers and contractors.
But when I found myself needing to make cuts that just didn’t feel safe with a circular saw, I started investigating portable jobsite table saws. The main benefit of this type of table saw is its compact size and portability. I didn’t have the space for a full-size table saw taking up an entire corner of my basement.
If you’re in the same boat, read on for my review of one of the most appealing products in this category, the Bosch GTS1031!
Features and Benefits
Most table saws have more or less the same set of features these days. For a detailed run-down of all the important ones, check out our full guide to choosing a table saw. I’ll hit on some of the important features of the GTS1031 below.
Motor and Power Supply
The motor on this saw can be run on a typical 120V, 15A line that you have in your house. The motor is rated at 5,000 rpm, which is higher than most of its competition. Whether this is an advantage or not might depend on your uses for it. Some people report that the faster blade speed results in very aggressive and rough cuts.
It’s also very loud, even by the standards of portable table saws, which are known for their loudness. There’s no soft-start feature, so be prepared for some vibration when it’s turned on and comes up to speed immediately. On the plus side, it should handle up to 2”-thick pieces of almost any kind of wood.
Table and Fence
At 20” by 22 1/2”, the table is on the small side. You definitely won’t want to use this table saw for cutting large sheet goods like a 4’ x 8’ piece of plywood. And its 18” rip capacity is also fairly small. It should work fine for most projects as long as you have some other way to break down large sheets, like a circular saw.
The fence adjustment system works well, and is designed for one-hand operation. The fence itself is a bit on the flimsy side. You may want to use a Teflon spray on the fence mechanism to help it glide more smoothly.
Unlike some of its competitors, the GTS1031 does not come with a stand in the package. So it’s designed for use on top of a table or bench. At 52 pounds, it’s definitely not the lightest table saw in this class. But that’s still manageable for most people, and it has a strategically-placed grip handle designed to balance the saw for one-handed carrying. This is a nice benefit compared to the somewhat awkward carrying positions some of its competitors force you into.
A stand is available as a separate accessory It doesn’t have wheels, so you’ll need to set it up at the desired location, then collapse and carry it when finished. It weighs only 14 pounds, so carrying the stand should be no problem.
Blades and Cutting
The saw can accept any 10” blade, and comes with a 24-tooth carbide tip blade provided. While this blade is perfectly adequate for ripping lumber or doing coarse cuts, you may want to replace it if you need more accurate and cleaner cuts. Check out our buyer’s guide to the best table saw blades!
The blade tilts left up to 47 degrees to make beveled cuts. While the mechanism is easy to use, some customers have reported that it loosens over time. Left loose, the blade may tilt during use, which poses a safety hazard! Make sure to check the tightness of the tilt mechanism often.
Some customers report needing to tune the blade for accuracy out of the box, though others say their saw arrived perfectly adjusted. There are many tutorials available out there to guide you through this. If accuracy is important to you, you’ll want to check this before using the saw for any important work.
Miter Gauge and Slots
T-slot miter slots on the GTS1031 allow you to use a number of T-slot accessories in addition to a standard miter gauge. This is a higher-end feature that many of its competitors lack. Sadly, though, the miter gauge provided in the box suffers from many of the same problems as the competition. It is cheaply made and fairly sloppy. If precision matters in your miter cuts, you may want to replace it with a third-party model.
A standard 2” dust collection port will let you hook this saw up a shop-vac for easy dust collection. It does a pretty good job of capturing dust, but it’s by no means “dust free” in the shop. Be sure to wear adequate eye and breathing protection to keep dust out of your body!
Bosch calls the safety mechanism on the saw its Smart Guard System. It consists of a modular blade guard that can be easily removed and put back in place. This should remove one of the common excuses people have for not using the blade guard!
A riving knife attaches to the guard to keep material from pinching the saw blade. And anti-kickback pawls help keep wood from shooting back toward you if something does get pinched. The guard, knife, and pawls can all be stored on the base of the saw so they won’t get lost if you need to remove them temporarily.
All of these features are standard for table saws these days, but the ease of using them on the GTS1031 shows Bosch takes safety seriously.
How Does it Compare?
Almost any portable jobsite table saw is going to have its pluses and minuses. It’s important to consider your specific needs and see how different manufacturers have traded off features versus portability. Here are a few other models to take a look at.
Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) offers this portable table saw with a larger table, at 28 3/4″ x 22”. Its 35” rip capacity is the largest in this category. And it features up to 10” of additional outfeed support at the rear of the table as an included accessory. All of this would be useful to anyone needing to cut larger material. Read our full review of the Metabo HPT C10RJS.
This DeWalt 10″ table saw has a larger table (26 3/8″ x 21 7/8″), but its maximum rip width of 32 1/2″ really sets it apart. It features an additional dust-collection port attached to the top of the riving knife, in addition to a 2 1/2″ port in the rear of the blade assembly. If you have the right adapters to hook up both ports (or you’re outside and don’t care), this could be a nice feature. Read our full review of the DeWalt DWE7491RS.
This is a top-of-the-line product that has a large 25 1/2″ rip capacity as well as a larger table. But its main claim to fame is SawStop’s patented safety technology. It uses electrical sensors to detect when your finger or other body part makes contact with the saw blade, and instantly stops the blade. This technology can turn an otherwise tragic accident into a minor nick, but it comes at a very steep price. If safety is the main concern, though, this is worth a look!
The compact size of the Bosch GTS1031 is probably its single biggest selling point. It won’t take up much room in your shop, and can be easily moved out of sight when not needed. That benefit comes with a very direct downside, namely the small table and rip capacity. If you don’t anticipate needing to cut large sheet goods, this won’t be a problem and the GTS1031 will be a great choice.
But if you foresee needing to break down larger items, one of its competitors might give you the extra room you need.