Ryobi, the quintessential DIY supplier best known for combining price point and features, is about to come out with a new table saw and two new router tables, and they are understandably proud of them. Both new tools — the table saw and the router tables — are scheduled to be available in early June of this year. To get some advance information about the new table saw, designated model number BTS21, I caught up with Angie Shelton, who described it as “a portable table saw with all the features of a stationary saw.”
“Two new features set this saw apart from its competitors,” Angie explained. “To the left of the blade is a sliding table with a built-in miter gauge, something one typically finds only on higher priced and European saws. The miter gauge drops into pre-drilled holes in the sliding table, allowing the table and gauge to move together. When you don’t need a sliding table, it locks into place, becoming a stationary table. Best of all, the rails for the sliding table telescope so that they do not protrude either in front or back of the unit to compromise its compact footprint.
“On the other side of the saw, a release mechanism allows the table to extend outward to the right, facilitating a full 30-inch rip capacity. As the table slides out, the fence rail extends along with it, giving you both right side support and an extended fence. Both the rigid and moving fence segments have top-mounted tape measures for setting the fence in either mode.
“The legs are also particularly interesting,” Angie continued. “Tip the saw to the left and set it on its wheels and landing pad, then pull the release lever on the right side. The legs fold up, becoming the handle used to wheel the collapsed unit around. When you are ready to work again, just reverse the whole process: pull the lever and the legs unfold so you can tip the unit onto them and start to work. Don’t need legs? You can also use the saw on a tabletop or truck bed with the legs folded, and it sits completely level for use that way as well.
“As with most saws, there’s a dust port ready to hook up to a shop vac or dust collector, but this saw has another option for those times when dust collection is not available. Included with the saw is a passive dust collection bag that pops on and off easily to let you work clean even when you are outside your shop. For safety’s sake, there’s a newly designed ‘tool-free’ blade guard you can remove and replace quickly without any tools.”
As with former models, there’s an outfeed support for cutting longer pieces, onboard storage for wrenches and fences, and a holder for coiling the cord. The street price for this feature-laden saw is $250, but then Ryobi has long been known for affordable pricing.
Not content with upgrading their table saw, Ryobi next turned their attention to the humble router table, creating two new versions, a beginner and an intermediate (the A25RT01 and A25RT02). To get the lowdown on these, I spoke with Lilia Macias.
“Both models sport fairly large table tops,” Lilia explained, “and have drop-in inserts that allow you to lift the router out of the table without removing it from the insert. Hex screws let you level the insert plate from the top. With it comes a starting pin and five snap-in throat plates to accommodate a wide range of bit sizes. The pre-drilled insert fits a wide range of routers, and the table comes with all the hardware needed to attach any listed router.
“The tables both have a miter gauge slot and come with a miter gauge. There’s also a clever articulated bit guard that lifts up and lies flat on the wood as you cut, dropping down again after the cut is finished. That means any exposed bit is covered before, after and during the cut. Both have built in dust collection ports and split fences that can be offset to allow the router to be used as a jointer.”
“Supporting the tables are steel legs with a cutout at the bottom designed to fit common clamps, letting you easily clamp it to a work bench. At the bottom are rubber feet to help prevent slipping, and each leg’s foot is drilled to allow it to be bolted down as well. The on/off switch employs the same safety key that fits all Ryobi bench tools, and a dual outlet allows you to plug in both the router and a shop vac or light. Flipping the switch turns on both plugged in tools, and a built-in 15-amp overload protector with a reset switch prevents tripping circuit breakers.
“The main difference between the two,” Lilia pointed out, “is that the intermediate model has a larger table and a larger, sturdier fence. The beginner’s table is 28″ x 16″ and is made of three-quarter MDF, while the intermediate is 32″ x 16″ of heavier one-inch MDF. While the beginner has a plastic fence, the intermediate uses standard three-quarter inch MDF fence faces, offering more stability and easy replacement should you decide to use it as a sacrificial zero clearance fence. The fence on the intermediate also has an extruded aluminum T-track to hold other jigs, stops or a featherboard for safe hold-downs. Yes, a featherboard is included too.”
When they are released this summer, the beginner router table will retail for $70 and the intermediate for $100. All Ryobi tools are sold exclusively through Home Depot.
“We did a lot of research and got a lot of feedback over a period of two years,” the two women told me, “so we could design these tools to be less intimidating and easier to set up and use.”
It looks like all that research paid off.