When it comes to table saws a ton of focus gets put on the sexy metrics of horsepower and table size. An often overlooked feature of table saws, at least for new buyers, that can literally make or break the tool is the table saw fence.
Have ever tried to make finishing cuts only to have the wood start to bind and burn at the end because the table saw fence won’t stay aligned? Or maybe your cuts never seem to come out straight because the fence has started to warp?
I have said on more than a few occasions that I have been very happy with my Grizzly hybrid table saw. The one thing that has constantly driven me nuts though is the fence. Shortly after I bought the saw Grizzly actually discontinued the model and released a similar model with a far superior table saw fence system, for what it’s worth.
The fence on my saw has way too much play in it which leads to misalignment to the blade when locking it down. For the most part, I’m always able to get it to work but have had to become a little more acquainted with the jointer and drum sander to clean up my edges before glue-ups!
My Picks for the Best Table Saw Fence Upgrades
- Vega PRO 50 Table Saw Fence System
- INCRA LS32-TS TS-LS Table Saw Fence
- Delta Power Tools Biesemeyer Fence
- Shop Fox W1716 Aluma-Classic Fence with Standard Rails
- Accusquare Table Saw Fence, 40″ Right Rip
The Best Table Saw Fences
Here are a few of the best table saw fence systems available right now. Check the fit of each for your specific saw as some are designed to work with certain brands of table saw only.
- Uses existing hole pattern for Delta Unisaw, Contractor, powermatic 66, Sears 10-inch saw
- 50-inch right 10-inch left of blade
- Fence mounting system allows full adjustment for accuracy
- Micro adjustment and aux table support
- Guide rails supported by brackets, 2-1/2-inch fence height
The Vega PRO, and Vega Utility, table saw fence systems are some of the most recommended table saw fences on the market. Their sturdy construction, ease of installation, precise locking, and micro-adjustment features make this fence a solid buy.
The fence itself is made from high-strength extruded aluminum coated in epoxy for a smooth glide while cutting. The front and back rails are made from steel tubing which has been chrome plated and polished so the fence glides effortlessly.
The micro-adjustment system makes it a snap to adjust your cuts by the thousandths of an inch. No more bumping the rail and relocking it in hopes that you’ve moved it just enough.
The Vega table saw fence systems come in a number of sizes to fit almost any full-size table saw. Note that they do not recommend installing these fences on jobsite-style saws.
Check each model as some are designed to fit certain table saw models. Others may require some drilling to properly align the bolt holes for the rails.
- Incrementally positioned carriage provides accuracy to .002" and perfect repeatability
- Five sliding scale template channels
- Easy On, Easy Off for cross-cutting operations and remounts in less than 10 seconds.
- Fence glides eliminate all fence to table contact for a velvet smooth slide to your next cut
- Universal mounting brackets virtually guarantee compatibility with any 10" table saw, with no drilling, tapping or modifications.
The Incra table saw fence upgrade is probably the most unique after-market fence available. This unit, with its front, back, and middle rail, keep the fence absolutely square to the blade for easy, repeatable cuts. The fence also features a lead screw system to quickly dial in precise measurements down to .002″!
Incra claims the fence will fit almost any 10″ table saw on the market with no drilling required although a few reviewers noted that they did have to drill some new holes. Overall installation is easy though and once the fence is set up it is one of the best systems on the market.
Now with all that said, for some experienced woodworkers who have a solid flow for setting up cuts at the table saw this system may prove to be a bit cumbersome in the end. The micro-adjustment mechanism, while impressive, does take a bit more time to set than just measuring the cut with a tape measure or ruler.
- Simple and accurate 3 point locking system rated industry best
- Fits models 36-L352, 36-L552 and 36-L552LVC Type 2 Unisaws
- Entire fence is adjustable for fast accurate cuts time and time again
Over the last few decades, the name Biesemeyer became synonymous with top-of-the-line when it came to table saw fences. Titans in the table saw world, like the Delta Unisaw, came equipped with these fences and they were in hot demand as an upgrade.
While these fences are still a high-end upgrade with their sturdy build and solid locking features some have noted that quality has taken a turn from what it once was. Overall though the fence still is well-reviewed and represents a huge upgrade over the most stock table saw fences.
Note that there are a number of different fence and rail systems available. So depending on your existing saw and rails be sure to research which system will fit.
- Standard 57-inch rails provide 30-inch maximum rip to the right of the blade
- Fits most table saws easily
- Steel and aluminum fence body for durability, strength, and reduced weight
- Easy single locking cam action lever
- Wide right angle design for maximum accuracy and support
When Grizzly and Shop Fox (they are essentially the same company) redesigned their table saw fences a few years back this was the result that came out of it. As I mentioned earlier the fence redesign was probably the leading driver for why they discontinued the hybrid table saw model I currently use and rolled out the upgraded version.
The Shop Fox Aluma-Classic fence is made from a combination of extruded aluminum and steel for a durable yet lightweight design. The locking mechanism and handle are probably the best components of the entire system as they quickly lock the fence securely and, most importantly, square. Whereas my old fence has a lot of play while I lock it down.
This fence is a great upgrade option for folks with older saws or just cheap fences who don’t necessarily want to spend the money on an absolute top-of-the-line system.
The Accusquare table saw fence is an excellent upgrade that fits most major table saw manufacturers. I love that it is built with t-slots on all three exposed sides of the fence so you can easily add on auxiliary fences or accessories using t-slot nuts.
The fence clamps down with a spring-loaded clamp which tends to keep the fence parallel to the blade each and every time you clamp it down.
Best of all is this fence has generally been in stock over the past year whereas many of the other after market fences have been extremely difficult to find.
Other Table Saw Fence Upgrade Options
There are a few other table saw fence upgrade options, like the Delta T3 system or Jet XACTA, that are designed to fit specific brands or models of saws. The Jet XACTA, for example, is an extremely well-rated fence but it is almost impossible to find rails for it anymore so unless it fits on your existing saw you may be out of luck.
If you have an old saw though, or just a saw with a cheap, bad fence, upgrading your fence can breathe new life to your saw and its capabilities.
What Makes for A Good Table Saw Fence?
Table saw fences should be sturdy, lock into place with little play, and be long enough to support your piece all the way through a cut. Here are a few things to look out for when upgrading your table saw fence.
Most high-quality table saw fences will be built with a combination of steel and aluminum. The steel components give the whole system good rigidity and some heft while the aluminum keeps the fence lightweight enough to move around easily.
Some fences have composite or plastic edges that, in theory, allow for less resistance against the while making a cut. While this is a great option, and one used by some of the top table saw manufacturers, these materials can be prone to warping over time. While the material is replaceable, I wouldn’t be happy about having to replace these components when spending $3,000+ on a top-of-the-line table saw.
The mechanism to lock the table saw fence in place to the rails can truly make or break the fence. As I said earlier, this is the biggest shortcoming on the fence on my table saw. There is just way too much play when locking it down so I can never fully trust that it will be well aligned.
Most high-quality table saw fence upgrades will have a wide guide surface against the rails and a multi-point locking system. This helps ensure that the fence itself will stay square to the blade.
This should come without saying but choose the right size fence for your saw! Table saw fences come in a number of different sizes both for the fence itself and the rails. Buying a fence with new rails is one way to increase or decrease the footprint of your table saw as well.
The fence itself should ideally extend a few inches past the end of the table. This helps to keep your pieces supported all the way through a cut.
Are you looking for a new fence and rail system or just a fence to drop onto your existing table saw rails? This will dictate which options you have available to you.
Some table saw fences, like the Incra fence we’ll talk about a bit later, come fully integrated with their own rail system. Systems like this are extremely well made and a great upgrade but also cost quite a bit more than a drop on fence.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.