All Replies on Just wondering: SawStop opinions wanted

  • Advertise with us
View Doss's profile

Just wondering: SawStop opinions wanted

by Doss
posted 08-10-2012 05:48 PM

33 replies so far

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3165 days

#1 posted 08-10-2012 06:08 PM

I have the 3hp PCS cabinet saw. I think this saw is competitive with similarly priced saws even without the blade brake feature. I like working with it.

-- Greg D.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3000 days

#2 posted 08-10-2012 06:18 PM

I don’t have one, but I wish I could afford one.
I have a $500 hybrid saw and there is no Saw Stop available in that price range.
If I could afford a $3000 saw, Saw Stop would be at the top of my list.

For me, it is not that much more than comparable saws by PM, Delta, Etc.
Given that it sells in line with the premium brands, price wise, I think it has an advantage over those saws because of its blade brake.

The more expensive the base saw, the more the SS makes sense. By that I mean the blade brake seems to add about $200 to the price of the saw. So, adding $200 to a $1300 saw hurts more than adding $200 to a $3000 saw.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2293 days

#3 posted 08-10-2012 06:23 PM

crank49, thanks for your input. I updated my original topic to reflect more of what I’m searching for.

If the SawStop didn’t have the blade brake, is it just as good of a saw as its competitors (not necessarily on price alone, but features and build quality)?

Thanks again.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Roadster280's profile


31 posts in 2148 days

#4 posted 08-10-2012 06:29 PM

I just bought a 3hp PCS, with 52” rails. To fund it, I sold a 3HP PM66, a 7.5HP PM72 and a 10HP RPC. The PM’s needed to be restored. I took the view that I would too long restoring the PMs, and even then, they wouldn’t have even a riving knife, and the blade guard/splitters weren’t anything like the more modern designs.

So it was new saw time. I’ve seen the Unisaw and the PM2000 before, and knew they were both good. I looked at the Sawstop, and the construction seemed equivalent, if not superior. I just finished assembling the SS last night, and so far, it’s been excellent. I cut up quite a lot of 3/4 plywood to make brackets to hang my DC ducting on, and deliberately used the RIDGID 50T blade from my old RIDGID TS3660. It’s like night and day. Lord knows what a WW2 will be like. I bought one of those for the new saw, but I’ll save that for some decent wood.

I was a little disappointed when I unboxed the SS, and stood the main cabinet up. It looks quite small, and in comparison to the 72, it’s a dwarf. But then my 72 wasn’t operational, and this one is. Short of cutting railway ties, I think I’ll be OK with it. Once the wings, fence and extension table go on, it doesn’t seem small. It’s a bit short, so I’ll be building a roll-around cart for it to raise the height more than anything, but it’s what I need, and what I had was more than I need.

For 3 grand, if one saw will cut your fingers off, and the other won’t, all other things equal (which they are, to me), it’s a no-brainer. Now I can do some woodworking, once I have the DC hooked up.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2277 days

#5 posted 08-10-2012 06:43 PM

I look at it this way. I don’t buy a car because of the number of airbags it has or it’s accident avoidance feature. The sawstop brake technology is nice, but also flawed. There is no denying it. I’ll be honest and say if I owned it, it would be in bypass mode 90% of the time. I wouldn’t feel like changing the cartridge when I am using a dado blade, and I don’t want to take a risk in a false positive trigger if I nick a stable I didn’t see or cut some wood with a high moisture content. If you think they are rare, talk to people who sell the cartridges.

As with a car, I know I could have an accident at any time. I also know that the more safety equipment that is there, the better I will come out of it. Because I am willing to accept certain risks in the name of performance or price, I make sure the safety equipment I am getting is all it can be. Yes, I am very concerned about laceration hazards on a table saw, but like with some cars ability to brake or steer for you, I think I’ll pass.

In that market segment, I would easily take a JET, Unisaw, or Powermatic over a saw stop.


View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2293 days

#6 posted 08-10-2012 06:55 PM

Thanks again Greg, crank, Roadster, and Joe. I enjoy the discussion so far. I’m not in the market for a SawStop really, but I like to be informed so when the time comes to buy a larger tablesaw I’ll know my options.

I am just trying to make sure I’m not missing something about the Sawstop that makes people buy it besides the brake. I mean, it’s great and all, but I’m cautious enough with a tablesaw that I don’t see myself getting cut (and yes, I am fully aware that because of that mindset it may be the reason that ends up getting me cut).

That’s why I was trying to equalize the field in my original topic as without the brake as its selling feature… what else does it have to compete with similar saws?

Joe, some of your reasons for not liking that brake are some of the reasons I have too for not liking it.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3405 days

#7 posted 08-10-2012 06:55 PM

Obviously there’s a bit of a premium to be paid for the safety feature, and its value is subjective, but the PCS and ICS are really good saws that don’t seem too out of line with the competition IMHO.

You definitely pay a larger premium for the safety feature on the contractor saw….they’re well made but still have the disadvantages of an outboard motor (and smaller motor), lighter weight, less robust under pinnings, plus the basic model comes with steel wings, and an unremarkable fence….all for more than a good 3hp cabinet saw would cost without the safety feature (Griz, Steel City, Jet). The contractor saw minus the safety feature just wouldn’t equate for me….

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View danr's profile


154 posts in 3214 days

#8 posted 08-10-2012 06:57 PM

Hey all of you SS owners, I am just curious, does the blade breaking / stopping system in any way prevent or reduce kick-back? I know that the riving knife is there to help reduce kick-back but I am curious about the blade braking system relative to kickback. Thanks for your feedback.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2293 days

#9 posted 08-10-2012 07:07 PM

danr, from what I understand, “No, it does not.” That is unless you happen to complete the circuit to fire the brake at the same time a kickback is occurring… which I doubt can happen in any reasonably expected set of probabilities.

Scott, I was hoping you’d comment some time soon since I usually read your insight into all the different tablesaws on the market. Thanks for dropping in.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2277 days

#10 posted 08-10-2012 07:08 PM

The brake does nothing to avoid kickback, however a a kickback can have the nasty side effect of you sending your hand into the blade instead of pushing the wood (that was there) through it, so it helps with that. If I got a good deal on one, it’s definitely something I would consider, but as of right now it’s not even on my list.

I do see a lot of the pros using them in videos, but I’m sure that is clever product placement as much as it is personal preference. The Unisaw and PM2000 are proven performers that have been around for a looong time. Honestly if I were to upgrade, I would get a euro style slider like the Hammer K3 winner and just eliminate pushing wood with my hands all together.


View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2293 days

#11 posted 08-10-2012 07:23 PM

Joe, (not to get off topic) what I wonder about that Hammer (which is no doubt a really nice saw) is what makes it so different than a standard cabinet saw with a sled and outfeed table? Yes, I realize it’s integrated into the design and there are some really nice extra features with the saw in general, but functionally, does it hold an advantage over a well-designed sled and outfeed (besides possibly alignment and a slightly deeper cut)?

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Roadster280's profile


31 posts in 2148 days

#12 posted 08-10-2012 07:24 PM

I will say that the dust collection/guidance off the SS’s blade guard (without a vacuum attached) is very good indeed. I’ve noticed that with more recent tools (eg Bosch GCM12SD gliding miter saw) that the designers have started to put more thought into this aspect. As I understand it, the kinetic energy of the chips themselves is used to good effect and the dust is channeled to the DC port. I can’t wait to get the cyclone attached.

One area where the Unisaw scores well is the dual front elevation/bevel controls. I would much prefer that to the side arrangement of the SS. In fact that is the reason I didn’t buy the SS ICS. The dust door is on the right on the ICS, and it would get in the way of the cabinet I want to build there. The PCS has the bevel control there, but is much less space-consuming than the ICS’s dust door.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2277 days

#13 posted 08-10-2012 07:30 PM

you can’t rip with a sled. the massive k3 has a 79”x48” capacity – that means the slider has a 79” stroke. You can also lock the sliding table and rip like a traditional saw if you wanted to. It’s also not THAT expensive. The huge one goes for about 5 grand and comes with the outrigger table. As I mentioned, you push the table, not the wood. unless you are ripping super long boards (bad idea anyway) or do something stupid, your hands are nowhere near the blade. Also your body is never inline with the blade, so kickback injuries are a little more avoidable.


View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3677 days

#14 posted 08-10-2012 07:35 PM

while the SS seems to be a solid TS on it’s own (unrelated to safety device) if I was in the market for a 3K+ saw I would be looking at european style sliders and not american saws. (but that’s just me… and a few others).

just my $0.02

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2293 days

#15 posted 08-10-2012 07:45 PM

Roadster, Joe, and PurpLev, good points and what I was looking for.

If you’re a cabinetshop or other pro, yes, $5000 isn’t that much. If you’re a hobbyist or craftsman or similar, $5000 is a lot (maybe). I think a majority of us are in the $500-2000 tablesaw market on this forum. I may be wrong on that, but that’s what I think. So, in that context I’ll try to remain.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2277 days

#16 posted 08-10-2012 07:46 PM

Also with a slider, you don’t have to worry about pinching up against a rip fence. I’m sure we’ve all tried to force that super stressed/tensioned piece of wood through the blade. Without the fence there, the wood has a place to “blow out”. Also you are supporting the entire board through the entire cut. IMO, a slider is safer than any traditional table saw, no matter which way you slice it (pun alert!)


View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2277 days

#17 posted 08-10-2012 07:54 PM

You don’t have to spring for a 5k felder. The smallest k3 winner goes for a little under 3 grand. Grizzly sells sliders less than that too. There are a lot of options out there. For the kind of versatility and accuracy you are getting, it’s not that expensive. You don’t need a panel saw/track saw for full sheet goods, you don’t need a ton of cross cutting jigs/miter gauges (those things add up), and for 5 grand you are also getting a 4hp saw with a 12” blade, 4” max depth of cut.

You also aren’t getting a PCS model sawstop for under 3 grand. The contractor one is not worth the price in my opinion. As knotscott said, you are paying a massive premium in that segment with little benefit other than the blade brake.


View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3261 days

#18 posted 08-10-2012 08:01 PM

I do not have a SawStop, but wish I could afford one. I have a Ryobi BT3100 that I bought used.

I HAVE seen them up close and personal, and they are nice. Fit and finish looks good, controls at least while not under power seem smooth, comparable to the Grizzly cabinet saws.

So simply put, IF say for example the Grizzly G0691 was offered with the Saw Stop Features for a reasonable premium (say an additional $150.00) I would go with the Grizzly. The Saw Stop is nice, but I just don’t see it in the same category as say a Powermatic, or Uni… Close, but not quite there…

I honestly think that the SawStop should be at a more affordable price point, even with its safety feature. It really seems to compete with the G0691 and similar $1200 to $1500 saws…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View zzzzdoc's profile


550 posts in 3032 days

#19 posted 08-10-2012 08:03 PM

I think it’s at least as good, if not better than comparable saws.

The instructions, and organization of parts as it arrives for assembly is by far the best I have ever seen for anything. Electrical, mechanical, kids toys, anything. I actually took pictures of how it was packed/organized and showed it to friends who were similarly amazed.

Customer service is excellent as well.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View BigMig's profile


440 posts in 2642 days

#20 posted 08-10-2012 08:13 PM

When I was in the market for a 3hp saw with an excellent fence system, great dust collection, etc, the prices of SS’s competitors were similar, so I bought the SawStop 3HP and haven’t regretted it. When changing to the dado blade set, it takes about an additional 10 seconds to change the brake – so no issue there. You’ve already got the plate off and blades out. It’s very easy.

And the protection is another excellent feature.

Once I decided to buy a cabinet saw, SS was a clear choice.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2277 days

#21 posted 08-10-2012 08:26 PM

Very good points about the saw stop. I just feel the inherent design of the traditional table saw is flawed and dangerous. The saw stop does a little to remove the laceration hazard, but kickback is still a huge issue and I am willing to be there are more kickback related injuries than blade contact injuries. I think if you are willing to spend upward of 3k, you should seriously consider a euro style slider.


View Roadster280's profile


31 posts in 2148 days

#22 posted 08-10-2012 09:15 PM

There may be more kickback injuries, sure. However, unless it’s a really, really bad one, it probably won’t be as bad as cutting your fingers off. That’s the way I looked at it, anyway.

Also, on the cost. Mine was $2999 plus tax for the 3HP PCS with 52” rails. Had I gone with the 1.75 PCS, it would have been well under 3 grand OTD.

I have to say I don’t like the fixed cartel pricing on the things, but until they get clamped down on, that’s what it will be, and my biggest issue was having to spend time on my old saws to get them where I wanted to be in terms of condition. In that respect, I don’t mind paying a “cartel premium”, but I do wish I could have just ordered it from Amazon, say, for $2700 or similar.

View TheDane's profile (online now)


5448 posts in 3692 days

#23 posted 08-10-2012 10:02 PM

I have a PCS-175 … it is a great saw. Well designed and engineered, great fit & finish, and a pleasure to use.

However if Delta had the blade brake or similar safety featue, there would be a UniSaw sitting in my shop.

Why? There are some features on the UniSaw I like (front-mounted blade tilt wheel, etc.), but more than anything else, I’m a ‘homer’. The Delta UniSaw is built in the Anderson, South Carolina by American workers … SawStop is manufactured in Taiwan.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ScottStewart's profile


119 posts in 2161 days

#24 posted 08-11-2012 01:10 AM

I bought a PCS this week, so take that into consideration…

I considered the PM 2000, the new Unisaw, and the PCS. Fit and finish did not seem dramatically different between the 3 saws.

I had a hard time finding any features on the PM 2000 that made me want it over the other two.

With the Delta, I really like the front angle adjustment. I havn’t heard concerns about the Unisaw quality, but I have heard a bunch of concerns about the cheapening of Delta’s other tools. Can the Unisaw be far behind when you need parts?

With the Sawstop, changing to a dado blade is going to take more time, and the dado setup is going to be $175 rather than $90ish. I like the lever lock throat plate and how it lets me change between the guard and riving knife quickly. I also like the guard assembly/above table dust control better. The only thing that scares me about Sawstop is that it hasn’t been around a long time, will it be here 20 years from now? Early adapters are either brilliant or idiots when judged by time.

Frankly, if there had been a $500 difference between the saws, I would have had to think hard. At the same price, I have a hard time seeing the justification for the other 2 saws.

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#25 posted 08-11-2012 01:38 AM

This subject has been asked dozens of times and usually ends up with the folks that love SS and those that feel that the owner/inventor has tried or is trying to force safety devices down there throat . I’m not trying to be rude but lots of newer members don’t bother to search the questions (on LJs) they ask on before posting. In these case you would have found at least a dozen post if not more posting the pros and cons of SS. To answer you question I have used a Saw Stop on a regular basis and I think it’s a quality table saw, the safety factor is a good reason to buy a SS but not the only reason, it is quality top to bottom. As far as the saftey issue goes call your local hospital and see how much it would cost to TRY and reattach your fingers.As far as kick backs are considered any one that stands in the wrong place can be hit by flying wood from kick backs. I tell all of my students if they can put the funds To buy a SS buy one. It should be the last saw you will ever need to buy.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2220 days

#26 posted 08-11-2012 01:44 AM

Doss, I think a SawStop with a sliding table attachment would be the ultimate table saw.

-- My terrible signature...

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2969 days

#27 posted 08-11-2012 03:51 AM

I’ve had a unisaw for over twenty years. No complaints. Bought a sawstop ICS and I prefer it over the unisaw because it is soooo smooth and vibration is minimal. I also believe in the safety features. I would buy another.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View majwoodworks's profile


3 posts in 2136 days

#28 posted 08-19-2012 07:31 AM

I am glad that SawStop came up with an idea to save people from serious injuries. I hope that more woodworking/construction companies buy into cost saving injuries, but for the average hobbyist/self employed table saw user. To justify essentially a one time maybe two time safety feature. When you take a spinning blade that is designed to slow down by exhausting its rotational momentum, and instead stop it in milliseconds. (Totally awesome slow motion video though.) Other things have to go awry. I am just thinking off the top of my head, but isn’t the spindle precision ground. What about the motor itself, wouldn’t the shock wave affect the coils. I guess if you only risk doing it once you might get away with blade and brake. In my opinion with a bit of Boy Scout motto “be prepared (for anything,)” is probably a heck of a lot less expensive than the “in case” bad things happen. Hey, I am one of those people, that if instead of putting my glove up to catch a fly ball, I catch a baseball to the face, next time I might put my glove up. I believe modern trauma medicine is pretty straight forward and has advanced significantly since the introduction of SawStop. This should get people thinking about more than just an expensive brake and possibly expensive blade(s).

View CplSteel's profile


142 posts in 2193 days

#29 posted 08-19-2012 08:43 AM

Lumberjoe said: “a kickback can have the nasty side effect of you sending your hand into the blade instead of pushing the wood (that was there) through it, so it helps with that. “

Actually that is not quite true. It takes .005 seconds for the blade to stop, almost all of that deceleration happens at the end of that time period, so the blade advances about 1/4 turn during that time. Now, the break is supposed to give less than a 1/8” cut if you approach at 1 foot per second or less. .005 seconds at 1 foot per second is .005 feet, i.e. .06 inches, which is 1/16”. Just fine if you push your hand through the blade on a cut. However, have a kickback move your hand into the blade and it will go much faster and the cut will be much deeper (10 inch blade at 3500 rpm would launch wood at up to 150 feet per second, if your hand got shoved in at that speed it would travel 9 inches in .005 seconds, but there is a limit to how deep a 1/4 rotation will cut before they get bogged down) and an amputation can still occur.

Full disclosure, I don’t own a table saw, when I move (hopefully soon) to a place that has enough room for one I will probably buy one and I am debating on what to buy. Saw stop is still near the top of the list even though it is not 100% safe (and I do despise the inventor for trying to force the product like he is).

I have the same concern as the OP, all else being equal in the 3k saws, does SS keep up with the neighbors. Or better yet, would I be better off with a nice miter saw/track saw, band saw, and router table instead? But that is another thread, no need to derail this one.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2139 days

#30 posted 08-19-2012 12:57 PM

I have a SawStop ICS, purchased last December. It is the fourth table saw I’ve owned, and I’ve probably used 13-15 different brand and model examples over 16-17 years of woodworking.

The potential for kickback is greatly reduced, possibly even eliminated, by a true riving knife. Want of a real riving knife is what drove me to replace my previous, 12 year old, 3HP Canadian-made cabinet saw. Most (all?) new table saws sold in the USA now include proper riving knives.

Having personally used three examples of the SS ICS, I chose to spend the extra money for a SawStop. Attractions included the blade brake technology, a very nice hydraulic mobile base, as well as the general high level of fit and finish of the saw. Also, if flesh sense technology is legislated, I saw my previous saw taking a huge hit in resale value, as a flood of used machines could potentially hit the market. I kept the Excalibur overarm guard, as well as my Ezee-Feed, and installed them on the new saw.

Earlier it was mentioned that you can’t rip with a sled. Sure you can! Taper and edge straightening sleds do exactly that, rip with a sled…

I like Euro saws, but the footprint of a traditional 10” cabinet saw and outfeed table better fits my space.

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2591 days

#31 posted 08-19-2012 03:13 PM

Any saw of the quality that sawstop produces is worth its price. Add the unique safety feature that comes with a sawstop and you have the best bargain of any tablesaw on the market. Value is certainly a subjective thing. Having all 10 fingers at the end of the day is an objective thing.

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3925 days

#32 posted 08-19-2012 05:35 PM

My two cents is that the SS is excellent in all respects. Personally, the SS has kept me from having a serious injury, without this, I probably would not have three fingers on my right hand. Even without the braking system I think it’s better saw than most. I have had several other table saws and I’ve not had a single reason to be unhappy with the SS.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View bigbullets's profile


25 posts in 2089 days

#33 posted 10-04-2012 10:22 PM

The Sawstop even without the safety feature is one of the best and best in some regards because the calibration is much easier than say a Delta. The 36 inch fence system is better than a beismeyer in my view.

-- "good night Chesty Puller, where ever you are"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics