A few months ago Bosch introduced their new GTS1031 table saw. Smaller and lighter than Bosch’s venerable 4100 saw, the GTS1031 was also designed with ultimate portability in mind. We reviewed the GTS1031 to see how well it performs and whether it truly is the ultimate compact portable table saw.
Initial Setup and Calibration
Right out of the box, the table saw was perfectly setup. At 0°, the blade is perfectly square and parallel to the miter gauge. The fence was also set straight right out of the box, parallel to both the blade and miter gauge.
The GTS1031 has all the features you would expect – 15A motor, 10″ blade, -2°-47° bevel adjustment, no-load speed of 5000 RPM, and 3-1/8″ vertical cut capacity. The table is 22.5″wide and 20″ deep, with one side extending to provide for an 18″ maximum rip capacity. Uncommon for small benchtop table saws, the GTS1031 can accommodate a 1/2″ wide 8″ dado blade stack, with optional TS1013 throat plate.
GTS1031 Rip Fence
Bosch designed the rip fence to maintain perfect square alignment with minimal adjustment. To adjust the fence position, you lift the lever, move the fence, and lock it back down. The lever is a bit stiff to operate, and although you can loosen up the clamping pressure, doing so can throw things out of square.
What I liked about the fence is that it really does auto-square itself quite nicely, despite the stiffness of its locking lever. Both sides of the fence are smooth and straight, which makes it quick and easy to install an auxiliary or sacrificial fence.
The table saw features modular safety apparatus that click into place with relative ease.
The riving knife (splitter) helps prevent kickback by separating the workpiece and its cut-off after passing through the blade. Adjusting the height of the riving knife is done relatively quickly, but the operation could have been made easier. Not only is the inner saw compartment somewhat cramped, it sometimes took a little hunting to find the correct height position in low light, a minor complaint.
Anti-kickback pawls work as sort of ratchet mechanism, allowing wood to move forward but not backwards. This is a safety feature found on all modern table saws. On the GTS1031, the anti-kickback pawls lock onto the riving knife quickly, and easily. The mechanism is very well designed, and the spring-loaded lock is very easy on the fingers.
As with most new table saws on the market, the GTS1031 features a blade guard that also locks onto the riving knife. Installation is also quick and easy, and both guard arms can be snapped into an upright position temporarily when necessary.
Adjustment and Controls
The blade-height controls are a tad bit too close to the power switch box for my liking, but I never once skinned my knuckles when holding onto the wheel knob with my fingers. This is merely an observational detail, not a complaint.
Bevel adjustment is enabled by rotating the red knob next to the blade height adjustment wheel, and the table extension can be allowed to move by raising the red lever beneath the table surface.
A hole through the power switch accommodates small locks to prevent unauthorized use.
Portability and Storage
Bosch was NOT kidding when they said the GTS1031 will represent ultimate portability. Every accessory docks inside the saw neatly, including the fence, which attaches to the underside of the table surface.
Weighing 52 lbs, the saw is a bit too heavy for me to carry one-handed for long distances. Luckily there are handles at the sides that allow it to be carried with two hands as well.
The front of the saw, as well as the sides, are recessed behind its structural features, giving the saw a rectangular profile. This makes it possible to transport or store the saw vertically or horizontally. Since I have a very small shop, I stored the saw next to a tool chest on the bottom shelf of my workbench between review uses and tests.
Our tests were done with standard framing lumber, hardwood 1/4″ to 1″ in thickness, and various odds and ends. The saw cut through everything it was asked it. If there’s something the GTS1031 cannot handle, don’t expect to find a portable jobsite saw in its class that can do better. The motor makes a lot of noise, so expect to have to wear ear protection. Dust direction is mediocre, but a shroud and 4″ dust collection port can be used to minimize clean-up times.
Ultimate portability? Absolutely! At first thought, you might dismiss these features, thinking that since you’re not a pro you won’t benefit from the saw’s jobsite-friendly features. But there is something so gratifying about being able to fit a table saw, even a compact portable jobsite saw, in a small shop. The ability to store the saw neatly on its side opens the doors for a lot of beginner woodworkers and homeowners.
At the end of the day, there were a few very minor complaints – riving knife controls I was not too fond of, a thin throat plate that did not always snap into proper position on the first try, and a rip fence clamping lever that sends me back to the gym for hand-strength exercises.
The minor complaints are offset by many praises – easy adjustment, quick setup and breakdown, solid performance, perfect calibration right out of the box, great documentation, smooth and flat table top, and the ability to use a dado set with the saw.
With a $400 MSRP and <$400 street price, the GTS1031 is a great buy. Bosch did a decent job of creating a very jobsite and home-friendly form factor without sacrificing usability or performance.
Thank you to Bosch for providing the sample for this review unconditionally. Review samples are typically returned, donated, or in some cases retained for further testing or benchmark and comparison purposes.