The portable Makita table saw model 2705 is the only one currently being manufactured, although some retailers are still offering older models (as of 2/2011), the 2703 and 2704. The 2705 can be purchased with a rolling, folding stand as model number 2705X1. Makita has long been considered a pro-grade tool manufacturer, and their table saw is no exception. It is a very popular with professional contractors, as well as hobbyists that are short on space.
The Makita 2705 offers several improvements over the older models. Most notably, it includes an adjustable riving knife, a tool-less blade guard system, and an improved fence (although the fence is still the biggest complaint as you will see below). The Makita table saw comes with a powerful 15 amp motor that seems to be one of its biggest attractions. The motor design allows it to power through lumber that other brands struggle with.
The Makita 2705 has a die-cast machined aluminum top that measures 22-1/4" deep by 29-5/8" wide, and a right side extension that extends out to 42", giving it a 25 inch ripping capacity. Unlike many small table saws, it uses a standard full-size 3/4" T-slot miter gauge, which allows you to use aftermarket sleds and other accessories. Another plus is the depth of cut that is available. The portable Makita saw can cut up to 3-9/16" at 90 degrees, allowing you to rip standard 4X material in a single pass.
Like most portable table saws nowadays, the Makita 2705 offers on-board tool storage for the miter gauge, rip fence, wrench, safety guard, push stick, and even a dado blade. The dado capacity of 13/16" is one of the largest in its class. It also has an electric blade brake so you don't have to waste time waiting for the blade to stop spinning after a cut.
Reviews of the Makita table saw are generally quite good. The combined rating of the two models (with and without the stand) on Amazon comes out to 4.1 stars (click to read the reviews) with 18 owners reporting. At CPO Tools it gets 4.7 out of 5 stars with three reviews, and an owner at the Northern Tool website gives it 5 stars. One feature that comes up time and time again is the power this model has. Makita's reputation for quality and the ability to take abuse also are not lost on this tool. The rolling, folding stand that comes with the 2705X1 also gets high marks.
The most common criticism of the saw is the rip fence. Some owners have issues with the fence not locking tightly enough, and being too easy to bump out of adjustment. It can be difficult to adjust and keep parallel to the blade. However, many portable table saws have similar issues with the fence, and the Dewalt DW745 seems to be the only one that doesn't get many complaints about the sturdiness of the fence.
The only other real complaint is that the Makita table saw is heavier than other portable table saws. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as heavier weight means more stability, but less portability. The rolling stand certainly helps, but a contractor still has to lift it into the truck at the end of the day!
The Makita table saw # 2705 is a solid choice in a portable table saw. It has several advantages over most other portable table saws:
- the 3-9/16" depth capacity means you can cut 4x lumber in one pass
- it has a blade brake, which is rare in portable table saws
- an adjustable riving knife
- a tool-less blade guard system
- more power than most portable table saws
Makita tools are designed for day-in, day-out professional use, and their portable table saw holds up to their reputation, as long as you can live with the weight and the not-as-good-as-Dewalt fence. If you are looking in this price range, you will want to take a look at the Dewalt DW744 and the Bosch 4100 for comparison before you decide on the Makita table saw.
Note: If you are buying your first table saw, or need help tuning up one you already own, I would recommend getting a good book on the subject. The two that seem to be recommended most often on the woodworking forums are Jim Tolpin's Table Saw Magic and Kelly Mehler's The Table Saw Book. Both have good ratings on Amazon, and they cover all the basic operations, as well as safety, maintenance, and accessories.