No one company makes the best of everything in a given class and price range. Some the of the Hitachi line represents good value IMO, but I don't find their saws to be overly competitive. "Best" is often more of a decision of class/category of the tool rather than the brand, and is also dependent on the situation it'll be used in. Cast iron and steel tools with belt driven induction motors tend to have advantages over the lighter weight aluminum and plastic tools with universal motors.
For stationary machinery, I'd checkout the offerings from Grizzly, GI, Jet, Craftsman (the newer Orion made TS and Rikon made BS are very competitive within their class and price), Delta, Rikon, Ridgid, Shop Fox, and Steel City. They all have tablesaws and and bandsaws that can be very good performers when setup well and equipped with good blades. By including the larger number of brands, you'll get a better feel for what's available, what you like, and stand a much better chance of getting a good price on comparable machines.
For portables and hand tools, I'd include names like Bosch, Milwaukee, Ridgid, PC, DW, and Makita, in addition to Hitachi.
Last edited by knotscott; 11-25-2007 at 01:06 PM.