[Originally in this thread. Thanks much for the legwork, Scott.]
Last November I compiled a blade comparison chart of 30 various blades. This is a more user friendly update to that list. It includes at least 4 new blades that weren't on the original, but more importantly, it includes separate charts for the general purpose, crosscut blades, and rip blades. In the initial chart all blades were rated the same way, which made it somewhere between difficult and useless to compare different types of blades. In the revised list, general purpose blades are grouped and compared to each other based on cut quality in various materials with different types of cuts, feedrate, and their ability to do many things well. The crosscut blades were judged more on cut performance and freedom from tearout than versatility or feedrate. Inversely, the bulk rippers were evaluated more on feedrate and ability to chomp through thick material than cut quality or versatility. The charts for each type of blade show the same parameters, but the emphasis changes for each, and the overall ratings were derived differently for each category because the criteria was different. It's possible to draw some conclusions of individual cutting characteristics across charts, but the "Overall Task Ratings" are only relevant within each of the three classification charts.
Disclaimer - This endeavor grew mostly out of curiosity and a fascination with sharp shiny objects, and trying to track what blades I'd tried. It's by no means intended to be a scientific or comprehensive blade review. It's just some guy playing with saw blades in his garage on an average saw tuned by an amateur, and documenting some observations. Some of the ratings are just opinion and some are subject to several sources of variability, though I've tried to reduce those as much as possible and employ a logical method. There are undoubtedly flaws in my evaluation method as well as my approach to the documention. Even a slight change to the criteria and calculations impacts the results. Note that most of the blades are excellent performers for their respective tasks that I'd expect very good results from regardless of their relative ratings. It should be easy to spot those that I didn't like....it's indicated pretty bluntly. :soapbox:
My saw is a 1-3/4hp hybrid, and I tend to favor good quality 3/32" thin kerf blades for the faster feedrate and lower strain on the motor. Faster feedrate gives me more control over the speed and the ability to handle thicker materials. Note that I've never had an issue with deflection with high quality TK blades, and the cut quality has been comparable to that of a full kerf blade...even without a stabilizer. I'll emphasize the importance of high quality with that statement. Some of you will prefer full kerfs for your own reasons, and if you've got a full 3hp+ cabinet saw, there's less reason to consider the TK's. Modern highend TK's have excellent alloys, construction, and precision. In every case when I compared a comparable high quality full kerf to a thin kerf, the TK had a noticeably faster feedrate, which inherently leads to lower burn rate and the ability to rip thicker stock with a smaller saw. The ratings reflect this and should be considered when comparing blades, especially if you have a saw with a larger motor.
One valuable lesson I've taken from experimenting with various blades, is that similar designs made to similar quality levels tend to have similar performance. The cuts from blades like the 40T WWII, TS2000, DW7657, and Gold Medal are nearly indistinguishable from each other, though feedrates vary due to kerf width. I'd expect similar cut performance from the similar Freud F410 or Infinity Super General. Provided that the initial quality level is at a high enough level, choosing the correct blade for the task makes more difference than brand, model, or price. Interestly, some of the best examples of the more value oriented blades aren't too far behind the top dogs. There are differences mind you, but the results from some of the better bargains leave acceptable cuts for most given applications. Don't confuse the "better bargains" with the cheap, low quality blades that are waste of money. There are some excellent $45 blades on the market that I consider to be bargains, but unfortunately, there are also alot of poorly made blades that cost too much regardless of price. The examples of poor performers that were included in this comparison were published primarily as a reference, and as a reminder of hard learned lesson that it's often more expensive in the long run to spend too little.
Because of space restrictions, the charts and corresponding spreadsheets will be posted in separate responses below.