I mostly do repetitive cuts, of 1"x3"x8's or 2"x3"x8's, so for a project I might have to cut 20 pieces of 1x3x24"long
eventually Ill buy a table saw... I had one(evolv craftsman cheapest one on sale) but I returned it because it couldn't hold dados the arbor was too short...
I think it might be faster and more accurate to get the same exact cuts, and dados can do deeper cuts faster than the router?
Yipes...my reply turned out to be so windy, I had to come back and do an intro and disclaimer......Reading what you have written reminds me a lot of things I have gone through in the last couple years. That's the intro, now for the disclaimer. I'm not a guru at this stuff but have managed to figure out a few things. Some I had to learn the hard way, others I was smart enough to research until I found the answers before jumping.
These days I do most of my 'joinery dado' cuts with my Radial Arm Saw. If I could shop for saws all over again, I would have picked it up first. I still wouldn't give up my table saw, because it is better for ripping. The 'new' price range of 700+ slowed me down on the RAS more than it needed to. I knew they were available cheap used, but wary because I had never used one and didn't know what to expect or look for. I got lucky and ended up trading a PC worth about 100 bucks for a saw that turned out to be worth 250 to 300.
It is easier to hold a four foot long piece of lumber still and drag a blade over it than 'consistently' guide longer pieces over the table mounted dado. Doing half lap joints on a full 8 foot long 2x4 is a balance challenge with a TS, even when using a feed stand. It takes 5 passes with a 3/4" stack to cut out a channel 3.5" wide.
Repetitive Cross cuts under 24" are a super snap to do on the RAS, because the table is already that big. When it comes to slicing up boards for drawer sides, faces and backs, the RAS rocks.
My current list of projects has me in need of a lot of 1x2, 2x2 & 2x4 cuts with lengths between 24" & 48", so I am in the mood to conjure up a deluxe 'miter saw stand' that can be broken (or folded) up easily.
I have done a little bit of dado cutting with a router, and quite a bit more with a low end table saw. (Ryobi 200 buck cheapo at home depot). I should point out that I couldn't get a full 3/4" stack on the Ryobi because of the lower blade guard. I also chose to go mid-evil on the throat plate, rather than spend 20 bucks for the optional 'dado throat plate'. Looking back, I wish I would have just bought the right throat plate.
Any 8" stacked dado set is going to cut alot faster than a router bit. It is important to point out that it will also cut A LOT rougher while it does. I don't know how well a 'stacked' set would hold up when cutting harder woods though.
Chip evacuation is one of the factors that slows down the slot cutting with a router bit, creating the need to do the cut in multiple passes.
Most of my dado cuts have been in hem-fir or western red cedar, both very soft in comparison to oak or maple or whatever else you might be working with on the harder side of the spectrum.
Cutting any stock on a table saw that is less than 6" wide or so is risky business without building a cross cut sled. If the work piece is cut in two pieces before it slides under the anti-kickback prawls, pinching and kickback happens way to easily.
Another thing you might want to consider is your 'mechanical aptitude' for adjusting and calibrating machines. The Miter saw is the simplest and the RAS is the most complex to keep aligned and adjusted. Table saws also have several adjustments that need to be periodically checked and tweaked to keep things square.
If you don't mind the 'mechanical challenges' used RAS and TS units are abundant on Craig's list. (less than 100.00 in a lot of cases). That is because both style units take up space and people decide to 'dump' them.
If space is an issue, my TS actually requires more free space to use than my RAS because the workpiece has to 'flow' across it. My RAS has a larger 'Footprint' than the TS, but I don't need to drag it out into the drive way to have enough free space around it to use it.
Ok, that is enuff babbling for one post.....