Is bigger always better?

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Forum topic by rrdesigns posted 1234 days ago 1158 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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491 posts in 1787 days

1234 days ago

When choosing between table saws, are there real performance differences between 3 and 5 HP motors? (bet you thought I was going somewhere else with this)

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

22 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7257 posts in 2249 days

#1 posted 1234 days ago

Not for most one-person work done without a power feeder.
In industrial settings where 2 or more sheets of MDF/ply/melamine are cut at the same time, yes.


View terry staggs's profile

terry staggs

19 posts in 1238 days

#2 posted 1234 days ago

my opinion is the 5 horse is by far better if you are doing alot of ripping in hardwood. for the average sop jock at home you will never need more that 3 horse. unless you just wanna brag a bit about owning one. i have both in our shop and for our use the 5 hp is by far the best deal


View Scott 's profile


103 posts in 1960 days

#3 posted 1234 days ago

The 5 hp will prob. sling a walnut board a little further when in binds up! Seriously though, I have not found anything my 3 hp saw can’t handle.

-- Scott, South Carolina

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3272 posts in 1796 days

#4 posted 1234 days ago

I have both, too. I have a 3 hp. old Craftsman, and a 5 hp. Unisaw….The Uni out performs the other by a long shot….When ripping 8/4 or thicker, you don’t slow that beast down…..And…I got it for the same price as the 3 hp. Unisaw…Why not go for it?

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View cabmaker's profile


1287 posts in 1410 days

#5 posted 1234 days ago

Substantial differance yes. You dont have to worry about whether your blade is sharp or not, just push it will take it. Really though I like a five hp simply because its brawny and doesnt cry as much under load. I have had two unisaws with 3hp and dont get me wrong they earned there keep for sure but I had no problem bogging it down at times. If your looking for occassional use as in hobby and such you probably will not even need the 3hp. 1 1/2 will do lots of work. Good luck

View AZMac's profile


87 posts in 1294 days

#6 posted 1234 days ago

the 5 HP is by far better, but it comes with a higher price tag$$$$.
would I like a 5 HP, oh yes, but woodworking is a hobby for me not a business. I have a Grizzly G0715P 10” with a 2 HP motor 220 VAC Single phase, and I have not had trouble ripping walnut, cherry, or Maple.
So I would think the 3 HP would be find.

View sawdust55109's profile


64 posts in 1450 days

#7 posted 1234 days ago

If you are ripping 8/4, the 5 hp is tough to beat. If you use 4/4 material, 3 will do just fine.
IMHO the 5 is worth the extra 200 if your already in for 2k.

View rrdesigns's profile


491 posts in 1787 days

#8 posted 1234 days ago

I’m looking at these two saws: and
The cost difference isn’t much and the saw setups are very similar. Main difference is the horsepower.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View AZMac's profile


87 posts in 1294 days

#9 posted 1234 days ago

$120 difference, I think the 5 HP is the best buy.
I was raised in northern, OK. it’s a good place to live.

View dbhost's profile


5378 posts in 1833 days

#10 posted 1234 days ago

It depends on what you are doing, how fast you want to do it, and how often you want to do it. I haven’t tried anything with my 1.5HP saw that it won’t handle at a slow feed rate, fast enough to avoid burning, but slow none the less… A 3HP saw would plow through faster… I would agree, a 5HP saw would fling the board further than a 3Hp saw when it does kick back…

I think if you are doing nothing but ripping or crosscutting hundreds of linear feet of hardwood every day all day, you might want to opt for the 5HP saw, otherwise, it’s just bragging rights. Like the Camaro and Mustang guys bragging about whos car is faster. Who cares? If you use either one to its limit on public roads, you will likely go to jail…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1241 days

#11 posted 1234 days ago

Undecided. She says yes. He says no.

So, I went there.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Richard's profile


789 posts in 1292 days

#12 posted 1234 days ago

For the price difference I would go for the 5HP, but then I would also have to put it in my living room so it is not going to happen.
Hope you don’t have to take either one of them up any stairs, they are heavy.

View Kevin's profile


445 posts in 1807 days

#13 posted 1234 days ago

If it’s just a couple hundred bucks price difference and you have it to spare, I would go for the 5HP. Probably the last saw you would ever need for a very long time. Getting into that price rance with such little difference in price you might as well go for the 5HP.

Would the 5HP be overkill, probably so unless you are doing what a lot of other people have said already. My point is the price difference for the 5HP is worth it.


-- Williamsburg, KY

View rrdesigns's profile


491 posts in 1787 days

#14 posted 1233 days ago

Placed my order today for this one:

Now I’m shopping for board buddy rollers and jigs to make my new venture safer. Thanks for all the comments and help. Lumberjocks are the best!

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View darrenjttu's profile


81 posts in 1693 days

#15 posted 1233 days ago

I ordered mine two weeks ago and they told me it was on backorder till June. Did they tell yuou any thing different? Also its $120.00 difference between 3 and 5 horses so why wouldnt you go with the five horse and never think about it agian.

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