Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
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Last updated: December 27, 2020
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Table saws are familiar tools in many workshops. They help woodworkers to create both straight and angled cuts through wood. Modern table saws allow the blade to adjust so as to change the depth of cut and they can cut one sheet of lumber into several smaller pieces of various sizes to be used in other projects. But if you want precision in your work, safe operation and want to see even results, a rip fence becomes an integral part to your table saw. A rip fence looks like a metal bar and runs parallel to the table blade. You can also adjust the fence according to the width of the cut and ensure that the material is lined up for a clean rip along the grain.
The benefits of a rip fence are really worth the investment but you could be struggling to choose the best table saw fence. Indeed, the options are many including manual and electric table saw fences. Then there are other features to consider such as type of fence whether T-square or standard table fence, construction material, locking mechanism and any supplied accessories. These form part of the criteria that we used in coming up with a list of five table saw fences that stand out of the crowd.
Our research was based on customer reviews and ratings as well as opinion from experienced woodworking professionals. Below you can find a comparison table followed by in-depth reviews of our select table saw fence models before moving on to a comprehensive buying guide.
This DELTA 36-T30 T2 is our top choice and it is for those looking for the easiest-to-use table saw fence without skimping on quality. This tool is made of premium quality steel and welded at weak points to ensure that it remains solid under stress. The rip fence is easy to use out of the box and it can work with different table saws to perform a variety of jobs.
This fence weighs just about 30 pounds and the fence bar measures 60 inches long, while its square cross-section is 3 x 3 inches. These decent dimensions means the tool can fit onto table saws that are up to 60 inches wide. The maximum rip capacity is pretty decent at 30 inches, meaning it is capable of accommodating a wide range of projects.
It features a 3-point locking mechanism, which characterizes it as a T-square fence. The fence is described as T-shaped due to the fact that it has a short steel guide tube on which the fence bar slides on. A clamping device and scale on this tube allows clamping of the fence onto a specific point on the guide tube. There is also a rear rail that allows the fence to be clamped down securely to ensure clean and accurate cuts are made in the material.
Thanks to a locking system, this fence can be maintained in place and squareness when in use, thus eliminating the need for constant adjustments. Micro-adjustment capability will also allow you to make very precise cuts. Finally, the DELTA 36-T30 T2 comes with a 2-year warranty for peace of mind. Its high cost-performance ratio and exceptional material quality makes it the best table saw fence in our opinion.
What we liked:
High ripping capacity – 30 inches
Micro-adjustment capability promotes precise cuts
Easy positioning of fence on the table saw
Easy-to-read positioning scale on guide tube
High-quality steel and welded parts
What could be better:
Has a plastic handle, which is odd for that important part of the rip fence.
Does not support more than 30 inches of rip capacity
The Shop Fox W1410 is a simple, easy-to-use and effective tool that won’t damage your wallet in the process. The standout attribute of this unit is that it is compatible with virtually any 27-inch table saw. This is particularly useful for those with older table saws. It is also the model of choice for those with household brand names and even those with less famous brands because of how versatile this fence is.
This tool has positioning knobs on either side which allows both right-handed and left-handed individuals to use it. Installing this unit is also a doddle, with straightforward instructions and fuss-free locking mechanisms. The tool locks on both the front and back and its locking lever is quite large and made out of tough materials to ensure that it stays in place. This handle won’t give up the ghost after wear and tear like many other plastic levers on the market.
Whether you lock the mechanisms or not, the system stays aligned and parallel to the blade, ensuring that you get an accurate cut even if you forget to lock it down. It also includes ball bearing guides that allow you to easily move it without exerting any force at all. In addition, the unit features micro adjustment knobs that will enable you to make tiny adjustments as necessary.
Overall, this table saw rip fence is of decent quality at a great price.
What we liked:
Easy to set up thanks to easy-to-follow instructions.
Moves smoothly and promotes accuracy.
Can be used by both right-handed and left-handed woodworkers.
Includes ball bearing guides on the track system
Precise cuts when locked or unlocked
What could be better:
Drill and tap that’s supplied with the unit is of poor quality
The Shop Fox W1716 is a great option for those looking for a durable rip fence at a reasonably fair price point. This fence of a mixture of steel and aluminium, with the steel making it strong and highly resistant to wear and tear. On the other hand, aluminium makes the entire tool a lot lighter so that it is easy to transport between job sites. It also contributes to the lower price point of this unit, without taking away from its quality.
The selling point of this tool is that it can fit a wide range of table saws because of its widely spread adjustment points and torsion box design. It also features a front lever locking mechanism, which ensures the fence stays in position throughout use. That’s the only way to get accurate cuts every time, but it doesn’t need any rear locking mechanism.
Another benefit is the supplied measuring tape is attached using a self-adhesive, meaning you can mount it at any particular point on the unit unlike other units that lets you stick with what the manufacturer offers. There is a standard rail system, adjustable magnified cursor and adjustable fence pads, which combine to promote accurate positioning.
When it comes to specifications, this unit measures 57 inches and provides a maximum rip depth of 30 inches to the right of the blade. Better still, the smooth aluminium surface allows wood to slide almost effortlessly through the saw blade. It also has a cross-section that measures 17.2’’ by 7’’.
All in all, this Shop Fox W1716 has the best fence rail system and its operational design will allow it to perform heavy-duty cutting.
What we liked:
Offers a reliable straight guide.
Has a magnification lens on its scale
Great ripping capacity
Supports micro adjustment for extremely accurate cuts
Easy positioning of fence on the table saw.
Easy-to-read positioning scale.
Lightweight aluminium construction.
What could be better:
Installation can be fussy and may require an extra hand.
The Delta 847962005250 comes in at the very low end of the price and it would make a great choice for starters. The tool is made of high-quality durable steel to ensure that you will not be looking for a replacement any time soon. Additionally, the robust construction makes heavy-duty projects and ripping heavier workpieces a breeze.
This specific rip fence should fit any table saw including contractor saw, hybrid saw, and unisaw models. Moreover, the fence system is a well-built unit that is quite easy to set up. A three-point locking system with twin hairline pointers will ensure the fence is parallel to the blade and accurate to within 0.4mm. The locking mechanism itself is robust and sturdy, so you will be confident when putting the fence through a lot of work.
The steel tube fence body promotes easy gliding for quick and precise ripping as well as making square cuts. The fence securely clamps to front tube and hooks over rear rail, allowing for fence attachments, while it can be placed on either side of the blade for continuous ripping capabilities on both left and right tilt saws. It also includes a measuring tape located on both right hand and left hand side of blade, meaning you can make actual readings from either side.
If you are looking for a quick fix at budget price but with quality guaranteed, this Delta 847962005250 is worth considering.
What we liked:
Attaches to all Delta table saws.
Three-point locking system promotes accuracy to 0.4mm.
The Bosch Parts 2610950148 is simply a T-square rip fence with just a fence bar and guide tube. It fits a number of Bosch Parts table saws and weighs around 5.3 lbs. The fence bar is 29’’ long plus it includes a rectangular cross-section which measures 7’’ x 5’’. Like many rip fences, the rip capacity of this Bosch depends on the rails which the guide tube is attached to. However, as a standard T-square rip fence, this Bosch Parts should support a maximum rip capacity of 30 inches, which will allow it to perform most types of wood ripping projects.
This tool features a single-point locking system as it comes without support rails. Still, it can be clamped down securely to the table saw. We recommend using a robust locking clamp to securely clamp the fence bar to its guide tube. In so doing, you can be sure there’ll be no flexing or wobbling when using the fence bar to slide material that you want to cut.
Since this fence assembly lacks any kind of calibrated scale on its guide tube, it would be necessary to mount the tool onto rails alongside a calibrated scale. Its locking system also helps maintain position and squareness when ripping material and ensures a parallel alignment of the fence bar. Important to mention is that this table saw fence is constructed from high-quality materials plus its compact design allows it to withstand load for long without breaking.
All things considered, the Bosch Parts 2610950148 is a good choice for anyone in need of a basic fence bar and guide tube.
What we liked:
Easy positioning on the table.
Fits most Bosch Parts table saws.
Very much affordable.
What could be better:
Requires a rail assembly.
Not for rip capacities of more than 30 inches.
Things to Сonsider
There you have the top choices when it comes to ripping material to precision. Now let’s look at the things that come in play when buying a table saw fence and the most important features to consider.
Table saw fence – why would you need one
A decent rip fence will enable you to make long, accurate cuts across the entire length of the material.
It will also help maintain accuracy of repeat cuts where keeping the same dimensions for multiple pieces of wood is key.
A rip fence also protects users by ensuring that the material being cut is lined up properly so the grain of the wood is ripped neatly. Cutting across the grain or at an angle can be hazardous causing kickbacks which can injure the user.
To cover the basics, a rip fence is an additional tool that you attach to your table saw to help in lining up your cuts. The system is made up of a strong straight metal piece that includes guide rails and a clamping mechanism. There is also a smooth central bar that is designed to allow sliding of material towards the table saw blade, with very little friction and maximum precision and control.
Basically, a top quality table saw fence can mean the difference between a substandard finish and something you will be very proud of, while ensuring operator safety.
Woodworker’s tips for fence handling
Always make sure to push the fence and the material entirely past the rotating blade in order to avoid kickbacks and binding.
Remember to turn off the table saw before you pull the fence back and dispose of your cut pieces.
And since fences are not that long, keeping a long board against it can be quite difficult, especially for the DIYer who works alone. The wood can wander off the fence and lead to ruined cuts. Luckily, clamping a straight, long board to your fence can help you avoid this problem. Ideally it is easy to keep the material tightly against a longer fence than a shorter one.
Wood with knots or unevenly dried wood will usually warp badly when it is getting cut. In addition, material that has one half bending outward can cause kickback, uneven cuts, or even burn marks. If you see this happening, clamp a straight 3/4-inch board against the fence in a manner that it ends at the core of the blade.
When it comes to making several narrow, identical strips, you don’t have to move the fence for every cut. Simply attach a strip of lumber that’s thinner than the rip cut width. It will allow you to hold your material against it while pushing a jig through. A jig will allow you to rip material without having to move the fence, leave alone protect your fingers from the blade.
Obviously, price is a huge factor in any purchasing decision. With a rip fence, however, you will want to buy the best quality tool you can afford. The good thing is you can find decent models at any price point such as the options we have reviewed above. Just keep in mind that trying to save some bucks can hurt in the long run in case you end up with a fence that’s not up to the task. Furthermore, your results will suffer.
Features to consider while buying the best table saw fence
This is the part where you need to know why this and that matters. So let’s break it down:
Choose the size
The best fence size for you depends on how you use your table. If you have a large table saw and regularly deal with big woodworking projects, you will equally want a rip fence that can handle your work pieces. For ease of installation, you will have to match your machine to an ideal sized rip fence.
That said, there are two sizes of rip fences:
30-inch rip capacity
Most DIYers should find this one enough for the job. A 30-inch rip fence, such as the DELTA 36-T30 T2, requires little space to install is generally cheap. Whenever you will want to cut materials of larger dimensions, you can try the ripping from the other side. However, this is not recommended if the need to cut large materials becomes too often. In that case, upgrading to a 50-inch rip fence is not an option.
50-inch rip capacity
Those with large working areas and whose projects involve ripping longer pieces of materials, the 50-inch table saw fence is the perfect one to buy. Of course, there is a marginal price difference compared to the 30-inch models, but the kind of versatility you will get from a larger rip fence is too good to miss. You will be covered no matter the material you will need to cut, whether large or small.
Ideally, if you have the workspace, choose the large 50-inch table saw fence, while go for the smaller 30-inch option if you are limited on that regard.
Electric or manual?
Some woodworkers enjoy pushing the wood along to rip it but that won’t last long if you need to repeat the same action multiple times a day.
So if cutting large quantities of material is your full time job, then you will be better off with an electric rip fence doing all the heavy lifting for you. This will save you time and effort so you can focus on creativity of your work.
Electric fences are also perfect for when high precision work is needed. They easily switch between different measurements without you having to think too much.
Lastly, consider paying a little more for your table saw fence. This is a purchase that should last for many years and cheap options may not suffice. They are more likely to produce inaccurate results and be unsteady under heavy load. If you have to, save up for some time to get a durable tool that has been well-built.
Type of the fence
Rip fences can be classified into two primary categories; the standard table fence and the T-square.
The standard rip fence is particularly useful if you have a table saw that can slide. This fence will also be able to slide forward and backwards smoothly, allowing you to make more precise cuts. It additionally can remain flat and this is crucial when you have very thin material.
T-Square models are good for helping you get accurate geometric squares and rectangles. Some models that we have reviewed above are this type including the Shop Fox W1716, Shop Fox W1410 and DELTA 36-T30 T2. These also allow for attachment of other fixtures that promote even greater precision.
While a great fence doesn’t add horsepower to a table saw, it can make cuts straighter, more accurate and more repeatable. It has to be a solidly built unit, though this depends on the materials it is made from, which we discuss their importance below.
The best table saw fences are made of steel. Aluminum is also another popular fence material and tools made from this material are usually lightweight. Some models like the Shop Fox W1716 are constructed from a mix of these two materials, therefore, benefiting in terms of strength and weight. These metals provide additional support to your work piece.
You will want to avoid models that come with plastic components as those parts can break easily and keep you from using the tool.
While the top brands are well-known for accurate measurements, you might want to find out from woodworking forums and reviews regarding their accuracy. Well, accuracy it’s not something they will tell you at the retail store but you can get answers from people who have used the model that you are eyeing. Note that the fence assembly and the quality of the design will have an impact on accuracy.
This is such an important part of any good table saw fence. The locking mechanism will ensure that the face stays in position and does not move as a result of vibration when cutting with a table saw. This way, you can be sure of making accurate cuts each and every time. Some units lock on both the front and back and this too takes accuracy to a whole new level. The DELTA 36-T30 T2 is a good example in that respect.
If the rip fence can hold other accessories like jigs in place, then that’s a huge plus. It may not be something that you need straight away but it may become essential for serious projects. Purchasing a model that will let you use extra fixings with it widens the capabilities of your rip fence. If your choice doesn’t have this offering, don’t mind it because it is not a must-have thing. Most top brands, however, will allow this kind of modification.
The models we reviewed above have one to two-year warranties and that goes to tell you not to expect too much. Obviously, the longer the warranty, the more trustworthy the brand even if there are still well-built models without it.
Table saw fence alignment tips
Make sure that the width between the side of the fence and the blade is the same. Otherwise, you will get errors in your project.
Unlock the fence guide so that you can make adjustments as you desire. There should be a lever or knob for you to do so.
Follow the measuring guide at the edge of your table between the rip fence and saw blade in order to cut to a specific width.
If you need to move your fence to the opposite side of the table, unlock it and remove it from the side of the table. Then measure the distance you need and lock it.
Always double check your measurements even after locking the fence in place.
There are after-market rip fences that advertise that they can be set up in less than 30 minutes. However, some table saw fences are far more demanding than that. Some models are hard to install they are poorly designed, while others just have complex designs. Ideally, you will need time to install the fence as this video can show you:
Yes it can. But considering how much you will be paying for materials, you will not want to compromise in accuracy, hence the need for a fence. A fence will without doubt make the job easier, especially when it comes to lining up the material and measuring your cuts.
Considering the plethora of options to choose from, it was difficult to narrow down to the best five. However, the DELTA 36-T30 T2 shines above the rest and we thought it is the ultimate best table saw fence. It makes use of a T-Square locking system and will fit a variety of saws. Its 30-inch ripping capacity is enough for wide range of projects and you can expect it to last long owing to a steel construction.
Coming in second is the Shop Fox W1410. Apart from being ideal for both right and left-hand use, it fits most 27-inch saws and it is painless to install. Ball bearing guides allow for smooth movement, while a large locking mechanism keeps it in position as needed. Its price point means it could be the best thing for the money.
But even more affordable is the Delta 847962005250. Designed to use with all Delta table saws, it features a three-point locking mechanism that promotes exceptional accuracy. It also allows you to add fence attachments as your project may demand. It doesn’t get better than being able to work with both left and right tilt saws.
With those few recommendations, we hope this guide has been useful to you.