A saw horse is an indispensable item for any self-respecting professional or amateur carpenter. Furthermore, a pair of them opens up a lot more opportunities for tackling complex woodworking projects. People tend to underestimate saw horses and even forget about them in favor of fancy complex workbenches and work tables.
If you have the best saw horses for the job, you can easily turn them into a workbench, but you can’t do the same in reverse. If you want to be able to work with large sheets of wood and 2x4s with ease, a solid pair of saw horses may be just what you need.
7 Best Saw Horses for Stability & Reliability
1. Rockwell JawHorse RK9003 Portable Material Support System
The Rockwell JawHorse is one of the few multi-purpose saw horses in this price range. The wide range of possible adjustments allow it to be used as a workbench, bench vice, saw horse, and pretty much anything else that you can think of when working with wood.
Unlike traditional models, this one has three legs. Still, with for a maximum weight limit of 600 pounds, the stability is nearly flawless. If you’re wondering about the clamping force, the RK9003 can deliver about one metric ton of pressure, which is enough to let you really pound on large pieces of wood.
The build quality is great which you might expect from the price. If you favor 100% steel frames, this meets your requirements. But what really impressed me was the foot pedal. It allows the user to create a hands-free work station which can help speed up measurements and finishing work.
- Highly customizable saw horse
- Superior build quality
- Great clamping force
- Not the highest weight capacity on its own
- A bit expensive if your workshop is only lacking a saw horse
2. ToughBuilt C550 Folding Saw Horse
The ToughBuilt C550 comes with a very tight 2×4 support on the side. It offers a max weight capacity of 2200 pounds if used as per pair. Its robust build and weight capacity make it suitable for a variety of heavy-duty projects. The fact that it can be used as a jobsite table too adds even more value.
Unlike most saw horses in this price range, the C550 features a 100% steel construction. Also, thanks to the pivoting feet, it allows you to get much more stability when working with pieces of material close to the weight limit.
However, I appreciate the fact that it’s a folding saw horse more than anything else. It can withstand a good amount of abuse at a busy job site and has enough versatility to cater to both small and large projects.
Corrosion protection is always nice to have. But, although the ToughBuilt can endure rough working environments, don’t expect the fine powder-coated finish to remain pretty for too long against scrapes and hits, which could be a very good thing for those workmen who wouldn’t want to be caught dead next to a flawless saw horse that looks unused.
- Can be converted into a job site table
- Heavy duty steel build
- High weight capacity
- Fast-open legs
- Just a midrange ToughBuilt saw horse in terms of features
3. Hitachi 115445 Folding Saw Horses (Pair)
While this pair of Hitachi 115445 folding saw horses don’t have the most durable frames, they still provide a good weight capacity of 1200lbs for per pair. In terms of functionality, I wasn’t disappointed.
The package contains two green sawbucks for holding the flat side of a 2×4. You can also use them to turn the saw horse into a workbench. This allows you to work on 4×8 sheets quite comfortably. There’s good stability in the build even though it doesn’t feature a robust steel frame.
All things considered, this pair of saw horses is probably best when purchased as a set with a Hitachi circular saw. That’s when you get the most bang for your buck. The saw, the blade, the cord hooks, the built-in shelf – everything comes together.
If you already own all the cutting power tools that you’ll ever need and you’re just missing a saw horse, this is a solid budget-friendly option. If not for the build quality then at least for all the extra storage features.
- Can be purchased with or without a Hitachi circular saw
- Solid additional sawbucks
- Cord hooks and built-in shelf for extra storage
- Average frame quality
4. DeWalt DWX725 Heavy Duty Saw Horse
The DeWalt DWX725 isn’t exactly budget-friendly but it offers an impressive utility and durability with its lightweight aluminum construction.
Weighing just 15.4 pounds, this is one of the easiest tools a carpenter can carry with him. It comes with handles and a weight capacity of 1000lbs each. That should be more than enough to hold large pieces of timber in place.
There’s a leg locking lever mechanism that helps with the stability. You can also attach a piece of plywood to the saw horse and turn it into a quick worktable for more delicate projects. The DWX725 is marketed as a heavy duty work stand.
The 3-year warranty is a good sign of the manufacturer’s confidence in the build quality. Other than not having a more complex locking mechanism and extra safety features, it’s hard to put a finger on something that’s wrong with the DeWalt.
- Sturdy and supportive
- High weight capacity
- Light and easy to carry
- Pricey to add another to make a pair
- Can’t be adjusted for uneven terrain
5. Portamate PM-3300 Folding Saw Horses (Pair)
If you’re looking for heavy duty saw horses in their most basic form, the Portamate PM-3300 might be right up your alley. After putting together the pair of saw horses, the weight capacity is around 500lb each or 1000lbs for the pair. This is an affordable pair of saw horses for a home workshop which might be competent enough for some job sites too.
The work height is 33 inches, which is comfortable for most average height users. The height cannot be adjusted.
Although I wasn’t too pleased that the assembly process which required me to have all the tools ready and do all the work, the end result was worth it. The legs open up to a wide stance which offers superior stability. The top pre-drilled holes are there to facilitate the installation of both 2X4 and 2X6 cutting surfaces.
This Portamate may not feature any bells and whistles, but if you’re good with your hands, you won’t need them. If you’re just beginning your journey into woodworking, these are excellent entry-level saw horses.
- Solid 100% steel frame
- Up to 1000lbs weight limit for the pair of PM-3300
- Pre-drilled holes for mounting a cutting surface
- Excellent value for the money
- Little to no pre-assembly done
- A bit expensive given its basic design
6. Trojan TS-35 Tall Saw Horse
At first glance, the Trojan TS-35 doesn’t look like much. It has a solid frame with 1/8” thick welded steel but it looks rather simple considering the price. However, the self-leveling saw horse legs are nothing to scoff at.
The TS-35 is slightly taller than your average saw horse but only by about 2”. It’s supposed to stay leveled at 35” above the ground but if you’re on uneven terrain, things would change a bit. The stability is not an issue and as far as I can tell neither is the frame quality.
You don’t often get a lifetime guarantee with work tools, but that’s exactly what you get with a purchase of the Trojan TS-35 (just the two steel legs, which make up one saw horse). What’s perhaps even better is that the design features gripping teeth as opposed to the traditional screws and nails setup.
- Excellent control
- Quality steel framework
- Adjustable for uneven terrain
- Lifetime warranty
- Average weight capacity
- A bit expensive for a basic US-made model
7. Stanley 011031S FatMax Saw Horse
The FatMax from Stanley is somewhat interesting because it puts a lot of emphasis on extra features rather than a massive weight capacity. For all intents and purposes, this model is best suited for smaller home workshops and not busy job sites.
That being said, here are some of the things you’re getting with the FatMax. A toolbox with a tray, lid organizers, a padlock eye, individually adjustable legs, and a rubber coated handle for easy transportation.
If you put a cutting board on top and turn it into a workbench, you can pretty much keep everything you need on hand. Of course, these are just nice little perks, but for someone that actually has limited storage space, they can make a world of difference.
The stability is also great and given the individual leg adjustments, uneven terrain shouldn’t be an issue. The rubber inserts are nothing to write home about but, all things considered, they do a pretty good job, and probably lowered the manufacturing cost.
- Toolbox and lid organizers as extra storage
- Very easy to set up due to the slide-in mechanism
- Individually adjusting legs for extra balance and support
- Low weight capacity
- Average frame durability
Materials Matter The Most
Solid steel frames can give you a working weight capacity of a couple thousand pounds per pair of saw horse. That’s why you won’t see any plastic saw horses labeled heavy-duty, lest it’d be false advertising. Heavy-duty doesn’t just refer to how much weight the frame can sustain but also for how long and how often.
Heavy-duty saw horses are designed to handle daily abuse. A plastic saw horse may be able to hold a few hundred pounds, maybe even 1000 pounds, but it doesn’t mean it can do it forever. This is because there is such a thing as material fatigue, the gradual weakening of materials under repeated loads, and even the strongest plastic will break much quicker than most metals if subjected to the same load repeatedly. That’s why plastic is only sought-after in portable saw horses.
Other things to consider are what you’ll have to pay for the material and what else you can expect besides the frame. Plastic saw horses may not be super cheap but they tend to come with additional features such as storage options. It wouldn’t be practical to offer as much with metal as it’d make the stand overly heavy.
Wooden saw horses may also be a good alternative for some people. But they’re heavy and usually not foldable.
Do You Need Some Extra Storage Space?
It’s when you get into serious woodworking at home that the priorities may change.
If you’re low on storage space already, then sacrificing some weight capacity or overall frame quality to get a good deal on a saw horse with storage options is not a bad idea. Even one slide-in shelf and a few cord hooks may be enough to make your workload easier simply by not having to run around your garage or workshop to get more tools.
Folding Saw Horses – Are They Worth the Extra Buck?
You get two things from folding saw horses. The first benefit is being able to carry them with you to any job site easily. The second is saving room in your workshop as you can fold it and store it until you need it again.
But, does everyone need this feature? – Definitely not. Although there’s not much difference in pricing when it comes to fixed or folding saw horses anymore, the ones that fold may not have the same durability. More joints usually translate to more opportunities for failure.
A Final Consideration
Even if you know all there is to know about saw horses, landing on a model for your work site or your home workshop may not be easy. Woodworking is a serious craft and it can be very taxing on the slightest mistakes.
And, if you’re serious about your craft, try to avoid skimping on a pair of quality saw horses. My favorite saw horses as discussed above should give you an idea of where to start.