Alright, so I’m rethinking all of this a bit in terms of priorities. I think it would be good to go for a higher powered router with a plunge base combo kit and a separate fence. That should run me about $240. A benchtop planer and jointer should run me about $600 if I play my cards right on the used market. So I’m trying to cut back on some other things where I can.
As far as a table saw, at least to start, I’ve ruled out a contractor/hybrid saw or larger. It just won’t work in my space, and on top of that, to get one at a price I’m comfortable with, I’d have to give up things like anti-kickback pawls, and a modern adjustable and removable riving knife, which are important to me. Maybe down the line, if I find the need, I’ll rewire and insulate my attic to make a shop up there with a bigger saw, but not now.
For jobsite saws, I previously really liked the DeWalt DW745, but after visiting HD and playing with some of their floor models, I left with the impression that all of the hype over the rack and pinion fence might be over the top marketing wank. I say that not because the DeWalt fence was bad by any means, but because even when adjusting the non-rack and pinion fence on the floor model Ryobi RTS11, I didn’t notice it moving out of square at all, and it seemed to lock in place quite well. My impression was that the guys who complain about the fence unsquaring itself constantly in video reviews may never have set it up correctly to begin with – as it appears a few Ridgid models on the floor had either not been set up right or broke and had this problem. I personally did not see nearly the amount of play in these saws that I often see in videos. For nearly half the price, the Ryobi can also run a 6 inch, 1/2" stack dado – which the DeWalt can’t. The rip capacity lags behind at 12", but I’m not sure that should be a driving force in my decision, as I don’t plan to do a lot of sheet goods, and I would use a circular saw with a straight edge guide on those rare occasions.
So aside from the rip capacity, and the fence, is there anything to substantially recommend the DeWalt DW745 over the Ryobi RTS11. The Ryobi certainly looks like a good deal at nearly half the price, but if there’s something I’m missing I’d love to know now rather than later.