Here are a few lessons I learned when buying table saw blades:
* Check the blade specs in your table saw manual. They may state minimum or maximum carbide tooth (kerf) sizes, or maybe a blade body thickness. (My table saw specifies a maximum blade body thickness, and I had to call the blade manufacturers to get that spec. To my surprise, I found high quality blades with blade bodies that were wider than recommended!)
* Consider the mix of cuts that the blade will perform. The OP, @Buckmark13
, asked for a general woodworking blade. To me, that means a mix of crosscuts and rip cuts. What about non-through cuts? Dados? Rabbets? Tenons? Notches? Box joints? Does Buckmark13 have a dado set?
* How will he/she use blades over the long term? Do you treat them like disposables and replace them when they are dull? If so, get cheap blades. Do you resharpen them until they are used up? If so, get high quality blades. What budget do we have for blades.
* Who will resharpen the blades for you? Someone local? Ask them for advice? The manufacturer? Expect to pay more, but expect a "factory" quality finish on sharpening.
Most general purpose and combination blades have carbide teeth in an alternating top bevel (ATB) arrangement. The carbide tips are like angled slicers, cutting left and right. If you look carefully at the "bottom" of a non-through blade cut, it dips down slightly in the center where the angled blade tips don't cut. You will see the upward angled "bat's ears" in the corners of the cut. None of this matters or shows when you are making through cuts, like crosscuts and rip cuts.
Dado and box joint blade sets are designed to leave a flat bottom in the cut. That's useful for non-through cuts, like dados, rabbets, notches, tenons, box joints, etc. Some people use their regular blades to do those functions. If they buy a general purpose / combination blade, they should consider getting one that leaves flat bottoms, such as a blade that includes raker teeth.
Another consideration for blades is the kerf, or cutting width. Blades for table saws come in standard kerf and thin kerf. Standard kerf blades are approximately 1/8 inch wide, and thin kerf blades are around 3/32 wide. Both have advantages and disadvantages:
Standard Kerf Blades:
Pros: Wider teeth are stronger and last longer. Thicker, stiffer blade body. Larger carbide teeth absorb friction heat better.
Cons: Wider kerf means more wasted wood (sawdust) per cut. More force is required to push wood through the cut.
Thin Kerf Blades:
Pros: Work better with a low power saw (say, a jobsite saw). Thinner kerf means less wasted wood per cut. Less force required to push wood through cut.
Cons: Thinner teeth wear out faster, require sharpening more often. Smaller carbide tips have less heat capacity, more sensitive to the friction of cutting. Thinner blades flex and vibrate more during cuts.
These days, many people prefer thin kerf blades, even for their full-power table saws. An instant benefit is 25% less sawdust per cut.
I have a Forrest Woodworker II and a Forrest Woodworker II "modified" thin kerf with raker. I also have a Freud SD-208 dado set. I just ordered a Freud Fusion (standard kerf) blade. I met the Freud/Diablo guy at the woodworking store one day, and he convinced me that it is a very good blade design, so I decided to try one.
Woodworker II, standard kerf:
Woodworker II, thin kerf "modified" to include a raker tooth:
Freud SD-208 Dado Set:
Freud Fusion, standard kerf:
* I wish my Forrest blades were reversed. I would prefer it if the standard width blade had the raker tooth for flat bottom cuts, and the thin kerf blade without. I knew less about blades at the time I ordered my first one.
* I called Forrest before ordering the "modified" general purpose blade that includes the raker teeth. During the call, I openly asked the Forrest technical support person why more people don't buy blades with the raker tooth? His response was that he doesn't understand it either. He commented that the raker tooth makes rip cuts faster, easier, and better. He also said that there is no impact on crosscuts. Plus, you get a flatter bottom for non-through cuts. Why not?
* The Freud guy convinced me that Freud really has a better design in their Fusion blades. Among many design features we discussed, I was most impressed with the multi-grind side geometry of the carbide tips, which reduces the amount of side surface area in contact with the wood, reducing friction heat and carbide tooth expansion during the cut. He also commented that Freud makes their own carbide.
* (Put this in the "Believe it or Not!" category.)
The Freud guy also commented that much of what makes Forrest blades so good is their factory sharpening; he claimed that the blades are not particularly special in themselves. He said that if you resharpen a Forrest blade at your average local sharpener, you will get an ordinary blade. I am not sure I believe it entirely, but there may be some truth in it, too.
Without further information from BuckMark13 (Buck? Mark?), I would recommend buying:
1. A high quality, thin kerf blade for most of the general woodworking that you will do.
2. A high quality, standard kerf blade with a raker tooth, which can be used for non-through cuts.
3. A junk blade for non-precision, cut-up work. Don't use your good blades to chop up scrap for the trash can, okay?
If you can afford them, I recommend both of these blades:
Thin kerf, great design - Freud Fusion, Thin Kerf:
Standard kerf with raker tooth - Forrest Woodworker II Modified:
Use the Freud blade for most of your woodworking, and also when the Forrest blade is out for sharpening. Use the Forrest blade when you have a mix of cuts that include non-through cuts, and when the Freud blade is out for sharpening. For most quality woodworking cuts, you can use whatever blade is installed at the time. With a properly adjusted saw, you should get a clean, glue-ready cut from either blade. Send the Freud blade to Freud for sharpening. Send the Forrest blade to Forrest for sharpening. It costs more, but they will understand and respect their respective carbide tip geometries and do a factory-quality job.
In addition, find a cheap blade to have around for cutting up junk. Take the time to change blades when you have scrap wood to cut on the table saw. Don't be lazy.
One final comment: I am not married to Forrest or Freud. There are many good brands out there, and you can do well for less money. I happen to own and know those particular blades. I bought them initially based on their reputations, but I am also pleased with how well they have worked out for me.