Harbor Freight has come out with a new Hercules portable table saw, with claims that it competes with the Dewalt DWE7480 table saw.
The new Harbor Freight Hercules table saw features a 24″ rip capacity, telescoping rip fence rail system, smooth aluminum table surface, and 2-1/2″ dust port.
Harbor Freight boasts the following about their new Hercules table saw:
- Can handle tough and demanding jobsite conditions
- Cuts precisely
- Powers through the most demanding wood-cutting applications
- Swift and accurate fence adjustments
- Extra-smooth tabletop
- Lightweight and portable
- Delivers jobsite performance
Harbor Freight also says that their new Hercules table saw has a powerful motor for effortless rip cutting.
- 15A motor
- 4800 RPM*
- 24″ rip capacity
- 3-1/8″ max depth of cut (at 90°)
- 0-45° bevel angles
- Metal roll cage
- Weighs 54 lbs
*The sales flyer says 4800 RPM, the product page says 4500 RPM.
The saw comes with a transparent blade guard, riving knife, anti-kickback pawls, a miter gauge, push stick, and blade wrench. It’s bundled with a 10″ professional carbide-toothed saw blade.
Here’s the Dewalt DWE7480 that Harbor Freight seeks to compete against.
The Hercules table saw looks to lack Dewalt’s fence adjustment knob. With the Dewalt fence, you can dial it in via the rack and pinion mechanism. But with the Harbor Freight Hercules table saw, you unlock the fence, move it, then lock it down.
From what I can tell, the Harbor Freight Hercules table saw also lacks the flip-down function of the fence.
To extend the Hercules table saw’s extension table, you unlock it via a lever, slide the extension table to the desired position, and the lock it back into position.
Looking at the Harbor Freight Hercules user manual, I wish they had more in there. In their multi-part safety information, they say that you should align the fence to be parallel with the saw blade, but they don’t actually tell you how to do this. Later on, they say that the rip fence must be perfectly parallel to the blade.
With a portable table saw, you might have to align the blade, fence, riving knife, or adjust the bevel square system. There are a couple of other adjustments that escape my attention at the moment. Dewalt and other brands show you how to do all this in their manuals. Harbor Freight’s Hercules manual does not.
There are no “gotchas,” at least none that I can see through a computer screen. Generally, I’ll take Dewalt’s rack and pinion fence adjustments over how other portable table saws do things.
The Hercules table saw is cheaper than Dewalt’s. That doesn’t necessary mean it’s bad. So far, the customer reviews are very positive.
Personally, I’d feel more comfortable going with Dewalt, Bosch, Hitachi, or Ridgid, and some of these brands occasionally have models that are go on sale for below $300.
If you ask me, I don’t find the design (mainly the fence adjustment mechanism) appealing. although keep in mind I have NOT tried it firsthand (yet?). I also think that a $250 portable table saw should have better detailed alignment, squaring, and calibration processes. After looking through the online manual a couple of times, it looks like users are left guessing about how to align and calibrate the saw. Luckily, this is an area that can be improved upon, assuming there are no glaring issues with the adjustment processes themselves.
Although not for me, I think that Harbor Freight is really starting to disrupt the market with their Hercules power tools. I wouldn’t quite see them as alternatives to Dewalt and other pro-grade tool brands, but potentially as a step-up from entry-level tools. Perhaps not. With Harbor Freight, every tool needs to be considered on an individual basis.
What’s your take on the new Harbor Freight Hercules table saw?
Are there any new or potential Hercules power tools that might hold your attention?