Question on HP for table saw

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Forum topic by RJweb posted 03-21-2016 12:50 AM 1586 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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126 posts in 2874 days

03-21-2016 12:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry walnut

I am about to order a new saw, my question is do you feel that the 3 hp would be that much better than the 1.75 hp to warrant the extra expense of $1000.00 (400.00 saw and 600.00 to get 220 installed in my shop) ? I just do this as a hobby want to make some furniture for around the house, not for production that I would be using it every day and night. And how thick of hardwood do you feel can be cut without it boging down. Thx RJ

-- Life Begins @ 190 MPH

27 replies so far

View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3372 days

#1 posted 03-21-2016 12:55 AM

No. Get a good quality thin kerf rip blade and you can cut 2” hardwood without much trouble.

-- Gerry,

View tomd's profile


2186 posts in 4011 days

#2 posted 03-21-2016 01:01 AM

I have used a 2HP saw for 40 years as a hobbyist with no problems.

-- Tom D

View knotscott's profile


8183 posts in 3617 days

#3 posted 03-21-2016 01:12 AM

There is a notable difference, but it’s not essential to have 3hp. It’s a “nice to have”. $1k premium for a hobbyist to jump to 3hp seems pretty steep to me too. I could do whatever I needed with my 1.75hp hybrid…it’s just more sensitive to setup, blade selection, material density, etc. It did run better on 220v, but if your 120v circuit is adequate and dedicated to just the saw, and is well aligned and fitted with a good sharp 3/32” blade that’s suitable for the task, you should have no trouble. Keeping the blade clean, and the wood straight and flat helps too.

With that said, 220v is incredibly nice to have for larger DC or other bigger motors that you could want in the future. I ran my own line from a spare dryer line for ~$35.

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

View MrUnix's profile


7114 posts in 2440 days

#4 posted 03-21-2016 01:19 AM

You will most likely need a 20A (120v) circuit for that saw. A 1.75hp motor will be very close to or over what your typical 15A circuit can handle (ex: The Sawstop 1.75hp is rated at 14A and requires a 20A circuit as per the manual).


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Julian's profile


1434 posts in 2931 days

#5 posted 03-21-2016 01:29 AM

You’ll have to decide for your self. Everyone will have their own opinion. I went from a 1.75hp table saw to a 3 hp saw. I wanted more power when cutting 2” or thicker hardwoods without having to slow down the feed rate. My old 1.75 hp saw was able to handle such cuts but it did have to slow down the feed rate to make the cut. I always use a thin kerf blade. The price difference does not have to be $1000 to step up to a 3hp saw. Check Craigslist daily. Since you have a saw you can wait to find a good deal.

-- Julian

View Brendo's profile


5 posts in 1039 days

#6 posted 03-21-2016 01:33 AM

Let me start by saying I learn something new everyday, and usually it’s that I was wrong about something the day before. But, here’s are my thoughts about your question. I have a 10” Delta w/ a 3hp motor and it is a great tool. However it does have its limitations. I rarely use my table saw to cut through hardwoods that are thicker than 8/4” just because I never really need to. I think I’ve probably tripped the shutoff on that saw rip cutting pine 2×4’s but only because I was being stupid. I was using a dull blade, and pushing the wood through too quickly. However, if I always used a sharp blade that was suitable for the material being cut, and pushed the wood through at a slower (not too slow) speed, I should never be annoyed by the motor shutting off or bogging down. It might still happen once in a great while if I tried ripping a thick hardwood, but not enough to bother me. Plus, when do you really work with wood, on the table saw, that is that thick and also long enough to put a sustained high demand on the motor. Back when I stalled the motor ripping 2×4’s, it probably only stalled when I got halfway through ripping the 4th or 5th, 8 footer with the dull blade and impatiently fast feed rate.

Another important question . . . Is this saw an 8”, 10” or 12”? If this is an 8” then no, I wouldn’t want to spend $1000 for a 3hp motor. If it’s 12” then I would want nothing less than a 3hp motor. If it’s a 10” saw, some would want a 3hp and others would save their money to invest in other areas of their shop. Keep in mind though, that if you are building on your hobby of woodworking, than you might find yourself needing 220v next year when you want to buy a shaper, planer, bandsaw, dust collection system, or whatever. Think about that $1000 and what it will give you. Does it give you a bigger motor and power for that motor? Or does it give you a bigger motor and an outlet that can be used for newer, nicer equipment that won’t be an added expense in your future shopping. But don’t get the 3hp motor just to say you have one, cause most furniture makers don’t NEED one in order to build any piece of furniture a home needs. If you don’t buy the 3hp, you will run into situations where you need to stop for 5 minutes while your saw overload resets, and you’ll need to step up the blade height over 2 or 3 passes when ripping thick dense woods. What I mean is, if you have to rip cut a thick hardwood, take one cut halfway through the entire length, stop the saw, raise the blade some more, and make the cut again, taking off the additional material. It’s slower, but you can make a smaller motor do the work that it shouldn’t be able to with this technique. Also, you may need to use this technique with a 3hp motor at times. But, you can always put that $1000 towards hand planes, sandpaper, handsaws, sharp blades, etc. to help you cope with the occasional limitation. If you buy the 3hp motor, do it because you want to invest in building your shop after this purchase, not only with this purchase. Good luck

View TheFridge's profile


10818 posts in 1727 days

#7 posted 03-21-2016 01:56 AM

You need a dedicated ckt for either saw.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5322 posts in 1962 days

#8 posted 03-21-2016 02:09 AM

If you’re planning on cutting thick, really hard wood, a thin kerf ripping blade would be a good addition to the saw. While it might be a pain to have to switch from a combination blade or whatever you would typically have installed, it would make the task much easier for you and the saw. It’s really a function of speed more than anything, you can cut 2 3/4” ebony with a dull, full kerf, 50 tooth blade and it will cut, but very slowly and with alot of burning. The feed rate does need to be enough with almost any given blade to reduce the chance of burning your lumber, especially thicker stock.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View RJweb's profile


126 posts in 2874 days

#9 posted 03-21-2016 02:33 AM

Thx for all the repleys, I am buying a Sawstop pcs, but didn’t want to tell you that in case it sway the answers. I did have all the receptas on there own circuit 20 amp, when I first starting to put the shop together. But now they want 600 to run the 220 line in, so I am on the fence but thx for all your help.

-- Life Begins @ 190 MPH

View MrUnix's profile


7114 posts in 2440 days

#10 posted 03-21-2016 02:43 AM

I did have all the receptas on there own circuit 20 amp, when I first starting to put the shop together.

Then you could always convert one of your dedicated 20A circuits to 240v for just the cost of a breaker. The wiring already in place will be more than sufficient.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3484 days

#11 posted 03-21-2016 02:49 AM

Well, as an owner of a saw stop, I figured you were talking about the two pcs models. Lol

The pure difference in the saw price is minimal considering that $125+ is for the better blade guard that includes the dust collection port. Just so you know, the 1.75 comes with the same guard as the contractor saw. Not the nicer guard on the 3hp you usually see in the showrooms. I bought the 3hp and have never been happier. With my future woodworking plans in mind, I didn’t ever want to feel like I wished I had more power.

As for the $600 for the electrical upgrade, that sounds WAAAY expensive. At least to me, it does. I would shop around a bit more on that.
BUT, as others have said, what are your future plans. If you are planning to make use of a 240 line in the future, just bite the bullet now and get the power run to the shop.Labor and copper prices will never go down in the future. So the power will cost you more when you need it later. So if you’re planning for the power upgrade that cost is kind of a wash as you will pay now or pay later. .

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View joey502's profile


544 posts in 1759 days

#12 posted 03-21-2016 02:52 AM

1.75hp is plenty for the hobbist. That is the hp on my saw, no problems. I will echo what others have said about the thin kerf blades, particularly when cuting over 1” thicknesses. A high quality blade kept clean with the appropriate number of teeth for the cut will do just fine at 1.75 hp.

Just out of curiosity, was that $600 quote the only one you have? Maybe i am out of touch but unless you electric panel is across the house that seems high to me.

View RJweb's profile


126 posts in 2874 days

#13 posted 03-21-2016 03:03 AM

Thx for your help, yes I only got one price so far, our panel is about 80 ft away. We just move in this area, lived in pa for 68 years, and now Texas they are trying to make a cowboy about of me.

-- Life Begins @ 190 MPH

View chiseler's profile


125 posts in 1130 days

#14 posted 03-21-2016 04:25 AM

I think you should be fine .with a good sharp blade and don’t push it when cutting thicker,harder woods.I used a 1HP unisaw for years,occasionally I would have to take my time.

-- Scott.Triangle,NY Becareful and don't forget...They cut meat too! Ask me how I know

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5243 posts in 2734 days

#15 posted 03-21-2016 11:36 AM

One thing about a SS, if you get the 1.75 HP (which is plenty of saw for a hobbyist, IMHO), you can later upgrade it to a 3HP fairly easily and relatively inexpensive. SS will sell you a new motor (about $300, unless it went up) and you may need a new contactor ($100, from SS). I’d say go for the 1.75 HP and wait and see. I’m fairly sure you’ll be happy with it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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