DeWalt DWE7499GD Table Saw with Guard Detect
The DeWalt DWE7499GD Table Saw with Guard Detect is a 10″ job site table saw that comes with a feature that makes sure the user is responsible for deciding to use the table saw without the guard in place. There’s good reason for this. Due to some legal posturing by a competing brand, and subsequent 2011 notice for proposed rulemaking by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) whereby manufacturers would soon be forced to implement new safety features, new table saws virtually ceased to come to market for two years while uncertainty prevailed. Finally, in June of this year (2014), a judge dismissed a related lawsuit against the power tool industry and things returned to normal. Now, finally, new table saws are beginning to appear on the market and, like the DeWalt DWE7499GD, these saws are arriving with new safety features.
The DeWalt DWE7499GD has a 32-1/2″ rip capacity and includes a robust folding rolling stand. The rip capacity of the saw is due to an advanced rip fence that is operated by an effective and well-designed gearing system to give it added strength as well as additional capacity. The fence can be installed in two positions—one for ripping material under ~8-inches in width and one for wider rip cuts.
There’s also one more feature we liked about this rip fence, and that was the ability to use it for both narrow ripping and as an extended workpiece support. There is a thin bar that can be flipped over in front of the fence. In the lower position it serves as a material support for ripping material up to 32-1/2” in width. Lift it up, however, and you can now slide it over the top of the table saw and give yourself an additional 2” of clearance for using a push stick. This also has the added benefit of letting you keep the fence in place when making these types of narrow rip cuts—better safety.
The DeWalt DWE7499GD table saw uses the increasingly standard split blade guard that includes a riving knife that stays with the blade and protects against kickback regardless of the height of the blade or position of the blade guard. There is also a standalone riving knife that can be used when you absolutely have to remove the guard. It is the mechanism that allows you to remove and swap the riving knife for the blade guard that really impressed me. A handle at the left side of the table can be pulled out. Through the use of a steel cable (much like a bicycle brake system) it opens the retention system behind the blade, allowing you to quickly and effortlessly replace the guard with the riving knife (or vice versa). This is, by far, the easiest guard changing system I’ve ever used and it will all but ensure that anyone using this table at least has a riving knife present when cutting material (which deters a significant amount of kickback incidents on its own).
Onboard Tool Storage
It’s worth noting that DeWalt does a fantastic job of providing onboard tool storage for the fence, blade guard, push stick, blade wrenches, and even a cord wrap for the power cord. While I’d love to see manufacturers start using “clips” instead of the traditional integrated U-shaped cord grabbers (which don’t hold for long), at least DeWalt is thinking in the right direction. The blade guard storage area in particular is among the easiest I’ve ever had access to—which is good on a saw where you’re trying to encourage its use. It’s very easy to pack up this saw and feel confident that everything will still be there when you get to the job site or back to the shop.
The DeWalt Guard Detect Feature
I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the Guard Detect feature on this saw. It’s actually pretty cool, and something that is sure to alleviate some liability on the part of saw owners. When you attempt to use the DeWalt DWE7499GD without the guard installed, the system flashes a red light above the red paddle switch and fails to operate. To force the saw to operate without a guard (in the event that you’re making a very narrow rip, for example) you must turn the bypass knob once. This will turn the light solid and allow a single operation of the tool. Once the cut is completed, the system resets. Each additional cut without the blade guard inserted will require you again to rotate the bypass knob. Because of the new system, the DeWalt DWE7499GD differs from the DWE7491RS by replacing the pushbutton power functionality with a more traditional “pull to power” system. On both saws, pressing the red paddle switch disengages the tool.
DeWalt’s Guard Detect feature may not be as sexy as a SawStop blade retraction system, but it accomplishes several things. For one, it provides a method by which there is no excuse for an operator to say they weren’t aware the blade guard needed to be attached. Secondly, it doesn’t add weight to the tool by introducing a complex emergency blade braking system. Third, it never destroys the blade by smashing it to a grinding halt underneath the table. Here’s the weird part, though. The new DeWalt DWE7499GD currently runs $799 at Home Depot and $715 at Amazon.com. You can get the near-identical DWE7491RS saw and rolling stand (save for the Blade Guard technology) for $565 at The Home Depot and $578 at Amazon.com. Back when the CPSC was considering SawStop’s technology, the Power Tool Institute (PTI) argued that, at the retail level, implementing an advanced system like a near-instantaneous blade brake would result in an additional $300 to the retail price of a table saw. The odd thing is that DeWalt, at present, is adding $234 for what is essentially a blinking light, and a switch.
- Power: 15 A
- Table Size: 21-7/8″ (556 mm) X 26-3/8″ (669 mm)
- Miter Angle: 30° L&R
- Bevel Angle: 0° to 45°L
- Blade Size: 10″ (254 mm)
- Max. Cut Depth, 0° Bevel: 3-1/8″ (79 mm)
- Max. Cut Depth, 45° Bevel: 2-1/4″ (57 mm)
- RPM, no load: 4800
Using the DeWalt DWE7499GD Table Saw
The first thing we did withe the DeWalt DWE7499GD Table Saw was test its usability features. I started with the fence. Adjusting it is accomplished by unlocking the fence with the two flip latches and then placing it on top of the table in either of the two positions depending upon the width of your desired rip. Twisting the extension knob on the front of the saw slides the fence across the table to where you want it, and the mechanism is very solid and confidence-inspiring. There’s not a lot of slop, and you feel like you can position it exactly where you need it and lock it down with the lever mounted under the right side of the table. With the included DeWalt blade the table saw was accurate right out of the box.
When the removable rip fence is positioned for maximum rip widths, it can extend out to just over 32-1/2″. Flipping over the material support (which also doubles as a narrow rip fence) gives you a lot of confidence when cutting on sheet goods. We found it to be perfect for squaring up sheets less than 3 feet wide or taking 15″ or more off a piece of melamine or ply material.
It was the narrow ripping that really impressed me the most, however. The functionality of this fence is made even more useful with the elevation of the narrow rip auxiliary fence. All of those cuts you tend to make where the blade guard interferes with your push stick are no longer a problem. Slide the narrow rip auxiliary fence down, and add 2” to your desired cut on the DWE7499GD table saw’s rip scale to get a cut with the blade guard in place and plenty of room for your push stick.
Beveling the blade on the DeWalt DWE7499GD is extremely easy. The locking release behind the depth adjustment wheel is very simple to use and the entire mechanism slides along the angle guide with little resistance—a welcome change from some of the other systems I’ve used.
I used the DeWalt DWE7499GD table saw to rip a bunch of material for a fireplace I was renovating (modernizing is more accurate in this case). It took on poplar with ease, and the included thin kerf blade, while optimized for coarse ripping, presented a nice edge to the wood. It also tended to slice through 3/4” plywood like butter, leaving an equally smooth edge. The 15-amp motor is very strong, and I noticed no slow-downs or hesitation, even with repeated rip cuts on heart pine planks which were part of the flooring on a renovated 1920’s craftsman style home. If you want to test a saw’s mettle, run a dozen or so heart pine boards through it for finishing up the flooring in a room and see if it bogs down at all. You don’t get to rip much harder material than that on a daily basis!
Maximum cut depth with the included 10” blade was 3-1/8″ at 90 degrees—a bit small for a 10” table saw by around 3/8”. I’d like to see at least 3-1/2” with even a little more if possible to clear thicker stock when absolutely necessary, using a lower TPI blade. Assuming you don’t have a band saw handy, with this table saw you’ll need to use a feather board and cut part of the way through thick stock, then flip it over to complete the cut. Drop the blade all the way to 45 degrees and your clearance goes to 2-1/4″.
Blade changes were quick, and I appreciated the twist lock for removing the throat plate—much better than the tensioned friction release systems used by Bosch and others. Changing the height of the blade with the adjustment wheel was quick and effortless. Once the blade was exposed, using the two included blade wrenches made quick work of removing and installing a new 10” blade. Dust removal is accomplished via a top and bottom dust collector (when you use the guard). It collected a good amount of dust when we collected from both ports, though I had to jerry rig an adaptor for the oversized bottom port. I rarely use this feature in the field with a job site saw.
Finally, the rolling stand is adequate, with easy maneuverability and legs that can be retracted with your foot while you hold the saw upright on the wheels. It’s very convenient to move and set up, and at least as space-conscious as a gravity-rise style stand. The wheels have a nice, wide stance which is great for stability during travel, but presents a bit more difficulty if you need to maneuver through tight spaces. During use there is some movement, particularly if you’re pushing through heavier stock. Oddly, DeWalt doesn’t currently offer this tool without the stand, raising the price of the tool considerably for those who may just want to throw this saw in a truck bed or pair it with an existing or more robust stand.
I love this new table saw. The DeWalt DWE7499GD has almost the perfect blend of features, convenience and performance I’ve seen in a job site table saw. The problem is, I think I understand safety enough to love the near-identical DWE7491RS even more—particularly since I get all the same features, performance and power for over $200 less. It’s a very difficult argument to make for the Guard Detect feature at the current price point. Beyond that, the DWE7499GD adds nothing to the standard model without that feature. DeWalt doesn’t have plans to obsolete the DWE7491RS just yet, and we expect the DWE7499GD will eventually come down in price after it’s released. For now, it’s a good thing DeWalt is selling both tools. For users who require the additional safety, the DWE7499GD provides it in a great performing saw.
The DWE7499GD will almost certainly drop in price over time. For now, it's a good thing DeWalt is selling both tools. For users who require the additional safety, the DWE7499GD provides it in a great performing saw.
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