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Having trouble deciding between Sawstop CS and PCS

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Forum topic by live4ever posted 04-06-2010 08:44 PM 2272 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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live4ever

983 posts in 2477 days


04-06-2010 08:44 PM

Hi all,

I’m having a LOT of trouble deciding between a Sawstop CS and PCS. I am very fortunate to be able to afford either one of these for my hobby and very fortunate to have an understanding wife who insisted it was going to be SS or no tablesaw. Have to agree with her as my career requires all of my fingers.

This is the first TS I will have owned.

Power – 1.75hp vs. 3hp. Honestly, I doubt I will ever tax a 1.75hp motor. But the added power is nice when there.

Dust collection – Huge selling point of the PCS. I have a small garage shop with only shopvac based DC. I know they’re planning on adding the overtable DC blade guard for the contractor saw soon, but unclear when that will be and whether it will cost additional money. The thought of being able to use the saw and not make an absolute mess is very attractive.

Footprint – Since it’s a tiny shop, every square inch of my space is valuable. The PCS doesn’t have a large motor that sticks out the back.

Noise – The PCS is probably quieter under no load. Under load, I imagine it’s the same. Noise is a huge issue for me being that our home is attached on both sides. I imagine both saws are significantly better than my circular saw though. :)

Overall fit & finish – nicer on the PCS, but not hugely different (???).

Cost – similarly spec’d (36” fence, cast wings, mobile base), there is a $1k difference between the two, for what amounts to more power, much better DC, and a neater and more solid package. There would be the added cost of 220V but it’s not a huge job – there is an unused 20A 12/3 circuit already there. Conduit just needs to be relocated and a 220V receptacle put on the end.

What would you do? Anyone make the same decision? Anything I’m not considering? Thanks!

-l4e

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.


12 replies so far

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

714 posts in 3085 days


#1 posted 04-06-2010 08:56 PM

Go for the better saw! Sounds like the wife is on board but if not remember that it is easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3288 days


#2 posted 04-06-2010 09:05 PM

I would vote for the PCS as well. I used a contractor saw before adding the PCS to my shop. It is one of the those purchases that, after using the saw, I wondered why it took me so long to add the cabinet saw to my shop. I have owned the PCS for over a year now and it is so nice not to have to fight to get a good consistent cut with my saw.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View olddutchman's profile

olddutchman

187 posts in 3402 days


#3 posted 04-06-2010 09:44 PM

I agree as well! If You are able to purchase it and not feel it, Go for the best. You will be happier

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 2477 days


#4 posted 04-06-2010 09:54 PM

Well, we’ll definitely “feel” the PCS more than the CS, lol, which is why I’m torn. :) Not to mention that $1k can get a lot of other things…like wood.

Scott – did you use a regular contractor saw or a Sawstop before? I ask because I’d be surprised if anyone would describe working with a Sawstop CS as fighting with the saw. But if that were the case, the decision would be pretty easy then!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3288 days


#5 posted 04-07-2010 01:44 AM

I used a Craftsman contractor saw before getting the PCS. The biggest drawback to the Craftsman saw was the fence. It would routinely take me 5 to 10 minutes to get the fence and blade in alignment to make a cut. But another drawback to the contractor saw was it size. It really was not designed to handle cutting sheet goods. With a the PCS cabinet saw I can rip or crosscut full size sheet goods without any problem.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dan 's profile

Dan

11 posts in 2518 days


#6 posted 04-07-2010 02:30 AM

I stepped up the PCS about a month ago. The safety features of the SS was important to me, so I didn’t seriously consider another brand. I thought about the CS, but decided against it for a couple of reasons. First, the CS wasn’t any smaller than the PCS, so there was no advantage there. Second, the dust collection and build quality of the PCS was better, albeit at a higher price. Finally, I think the biggest factor for me wasn’t so much the final price, but the relative price of each model compared to similar saws from other manufacturers. The price of the CS is significantly higher than other contractor saws. When I was making my purchase, there were still some of the $300 Ridgid saws around (although not in my area). I just couldn’t justify doubling or tripling the price of a comparable saw simply for the safety features. While the PCS is more expensive, its price and quality is in line with the Delta Unisaw, so you’re not paying a huge premium just for the safety features. Ultimately, either saw is going to be a big chunk of change. For me, I was more comfortable paying more for the higher quality saw that “came with” the blade brake as opposed to paying a lot extra just to be safe.

View barryvabeach's profile

barryvabeach

159 posts in 2510 days


#7 posted 04-07-2010 03:36 AM

I wanted to chime in only to see what price you were quoted on the contractor. I bought the PCS when it first came out and love it. Though at that time, IIRC, the contractor was in the neighbor hood of $2,400 once you added the cast iron extension tables and all the extras, so in my mind, the PCS had a premium of under $500. Last year they said they were also going to offer a hybrid saw in the future, but I haven’t heard anything about that in quite some time and I just checked their web page and I don’t see anything about it. I think you are right in most of your comparisons, but there are a couple of other differences. On the zero clearance insert on the contractor you lock down the throat insert using a 3 mm wrench ( see page 26 of the manual). On the PCS, there are no locking screws, instead they use a tool less lever that is mounted on the insert itself. Anytime you change from splitter to riving knife, you have to remove the insert, reinstall it, then repeat when you are done so tool less changes on the PCS are a real bonus. Also, the contractor comes either of 2 separate fences – the aluminum one, which I heard was not that great, and the besse style one from the pcs – if you get the contractor saw, make sure you get the better fence. In WOOD magazine this month they did a very cursory overview of cabinet saws, and rated the SS PCS one of the top two saws along with the new Uni. Focusing on what Dan said, they showed the new Uni at about $300 more that the PCS at “street pricing” , which in my mind makes the PCS a no brainer. OTOH, they said they gave a slight edge to the Uni because its conversion from riving to splitter was easier, and it came with a better miter gauge.

View Darell's profile

Darell

433 posts in 3061 days


#8 posted 04-07-2010 04:34 AM

I own the SS contractor saw and love it. I wanted a cabinet saw but couldn’t afford the Industrial cabinet saw so I waited until the contractor saw came out and bought it. While I’m very happy with the contractor saw I intend to up grade to the PCS in the next year or so. More power, better dust collection and smaller foot print without the motor hanging off the back make the PCS the better choice. Get the PCS. You won’t regret it.

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View Dan 's profile

Dan

11 posts in 2518 days


#9 posted 04-07-2010 06:09 AM

I don’t know how the switch between the riving knife and splitter could be easier than on the SS, but if the Uni’s is easier, good job Delta. As for the mitre gauge on the PCS, unfortunately I have to agree. The one packed in with mine is complete junk – the face of the gauge is so wavy, there’s no way to square it up. That is my only real complaint so far with the PCS. Regardless of which model you go with, plan on upgrading the mitre gauge as soon as you get it.

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 2477 days


#10 posted 04-07-2010 09:41 PM

Thanks for your thoughts, jocks! I’m going to try to go for the PCS if we can swing it. I should have of course known better than to try to get a bunch of LJs to save me money, lol.

Dan – you bring up a great point regarding the premium of the safety feature. It is much easier to convince oneself to pay for the safety feature when it’s basically free (though I’d never be looking at Unisaw quality anyways). It was a little hard to stomach the $2,500 for a contractor saw knowing I could get a very similar saw (capability-wise) for about $700-900.

Also, I was definitely planning on getting an Incra miter gauge anyways.

Barry – thanks for pointing out the differences on the zero clearance insert removal. Score another point for the PCS. :)

For those that may be interested, the pricing information (standard everywhere):

Contractor saw:
CS + 36” Beis fence $1779
Pair of cast iron wings $189
Mobile base $160
1 additional free blade (40T) – ‘til April 30 ‘10
TOTAL: $2128 + sales tax

PCS:
Saw with 36” Beis fence (cast wings std.) $2899
Integrated mobile base $199
2 additional free blades (40T,80T) – ‘til April 30 ‘10
TOTAL: $3098 + sales tax

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 2737 days


#11 posted 04-07-2010 09:53 PM

Go with the best you can afford….you will never regret that kind of choice. PCS is indeed the nicer rig. I wish the SS technology had been available when I upgraded my TS.

The safety feature of the SS is priceless in my opinion….that is seconded by several of my friends that are missing digits due to accidents. After 40+ years I haven’t had any major catastrophes (no one is immune) but it would be nice to know that I have additional protection in place. Safety should always be considered part of the equation….and never discounted because of price concerns….I am sure that my next upgrade will include the SS technology…and anything else that may protect me from injury.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View barryvabeach's profile

barryvabeach

159 posts in 2510 days


#12 posted 04-08-2010 12:58 AM

I will buck the general rule that says spend more money and tell you you might want to pass on the mobile base. I hear it is pretty good, but I passed when I bought mine a year ago and don’t miss it at all. I put in on a home made base with wheels and stops thinking I might need to move it to cut certain sheet goods, but it has been a year and I haven’t moved it yet. If you think you will move it often, then a mobile base is worth it. Also, if the blades are the titanium colored, I have the 40T and it is great. I use it instead of my Forrest WWII. Thanks for the breakdown on cost, when I was looking they said the contractor was about $2,400 out the door, and that seems right counting taxes.

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