3hp vs 5hp

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Forum topic by buckbuster31 posted 03-28-2017 01:40 PM 782 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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254 posts in 718 days

03-28-2017 01:40 PM

Is it that much more valuable to have a 5hp table saw vs 3hp?

12 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


19451 posts in 2059 days

#1 posted 03-28-2017 01:46 PM

I can’t imagine needing 5 hp in a 10” saw, but perhaps in a 12” saw.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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254 posts in 718 days

#2 posted 03-28-2017 02:09 PM

well, that is kind of what I was thinking. 5hp seemed overkill to me

View knotscott's profile


8150 posts in 3578 days

#3 posted 03-28-2017 02:12 PM

Never used 5hp, but the jump from 1.75hp to 3hp was pretty significant. 3hp is much harder to bog, and pretty much allows me to dictate whatever pace I want….I can’t imagine needing more. 5hp can’t hurt if you have the electrical circuit to support it, but I wouldn’t see it as necessary for a hobbyist at all, so wouldn’t pay much of a premium for it.

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

View bonesbr549's profile


1576 posts in 3270 days

#4 posted 03-28-2017 02:27 PM

It depends. I had a low powered saw for a long time and hated it. I used a 3hp Griz for over 10 years and it worked great. It did have to go slow with thick stock (12/4). It did it but you had to baby it.

When I upgraded 3 years ago to the Sawstop, I wanted to go get the 5hp and don’t regret it one bit. Its a nice saw and the last one I’ll ever own.

Saved for a long long time for it, and sold the griz to help fund part of it.

I considered the 3hp to save some money but thought buy once cry once. Glad I did.

If you plan on working with mostly thinner stock 3hp will be fine . However no one has ever uttered the phrase “dang I bought too much saw, need to down size”. :)

That’s my 2 cents worth. That and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee.


-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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Fred Hargis

5177 posts in 2696 days

#5 posted 03-28-2017 02:28 PM

My current is 5 HP mostly because, well, I could. But i have to say…I do wish I had went with 3. The 5 is more expensive, takes a bigger circuit, and has no advantage (IMHO) to a hobbyist. I had went from a 1.5 to a 3 HP saw, and I could see the difference. I don’t see it between the 3 and 5. I think the 5 might be useful in a commercial shop where the saw may run 5-6 hours+ a day; but for hobbyist? Not in my opinion…..

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

View jbay's profile


2889 posts in 1102 days

#6 posted 03-28-2017 02:31 PM

I’m currently have a 3hp which I use daily. It cuts everything fine but when cutting thicker Hardwoods it seems a little taxing on the motor, I mean it cuts it fine, but I’m in the market for a new saw and it will be a 5hp.
I have the Tim Allen syndrome…...power up!

View buckbuster31's profile


254 posts in 718 days

#7 posted 03-28-2017 03:14 PM

I have a 40 hour week as a state farm agent and run a pretty significant wood working business (by my standards not others) and typically do it 40-50 plus hours a week. 8/4 is the biggest I cut, so I think a new 3hp will be more than enough for me.

View rwe2156's profile


3171 posts in 1683 days

#8 posted 03-28-2017 03:29 PM

With a good quality SHARP blade it would be totally unnecessary for all but a few situtations.

For example, 5Hp can get you 12” – 14” blade which would be useful if you’re a shop sawing a lot of slabs, making timber frame type furniture, etc. (BTW, have you priced a 12” blade lately?)

The other would be a production situation using a power feeder, for example ripping lots of hardwood.

I’ve worked in some pretty big shops and all they have are 3HP machines.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bigblockyeti's profile


5286 posts in 1923 days

#9 posted 03-28-2017 03:44 PM

I worked in a millwork shop for a while during college and we has two tables saws, a 7.5hp 14” Delta and a 5hp Unisaw. Additional power is handy for lots of heavy rip work and can extend when a dulling blade needs to be replaced (using a power feeder). The bigger saw was left under an overhang somewhat exposed to the elements an was used for rough work where the Unisaw was inside an kept in top condition always. The big saw never suffer for lack of power, ever, regardless of what it was being used for. The Unisaw did benefit sometimes having 5hp but that advantage was seen infrequently and in a commercial shop so for the average home gamer, unless you were attempting some huge dados on a regular basis, it would be difficult to justify as the power advantage would be rarely if ever used.

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

View Redoak49's profile


3667 posts in 2191 days

#10 posted 03-28-2017 04:15 PM

If you think you are going to cut thick hardwoods a lot, then go with the 5 hp.

I have a 3 hp Sawstop and have never had a problem.

Look at the difference in costs, the cost of a circuit to handle it and what you will be using it for.

If you just want to have it to say you have one…then go for it.

View moke's profile


1270 posts in 2979 days

#11 posted 03-28-2017 05:01 PM

About 2 months ago I worked in a friends shop that has a 5hp ICS Saw stop, I have a 3 hp PCS…I really did not notice the difference until he said something, then I thought I might be able to…..but I am the guy that has chest pains in CPR class….(power of suggestion)


-- Mike

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William Shelley

595 posts in 1672 days

#12 posted 03-28-2017 05:22 PM

If I were routinely ripping 12/4 or 16/4, I would use a bandsaw for that. Less waste, and safer.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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