Is bigger always better?

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Forum topic by rrdesigns posted 03-12-2011 03:45 AM 1679 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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531 posts in 3186 days

03-12-2011 03:45 AM

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 (online now)


10401 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 03-12-2011 03:53 AM

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.

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terry staggs

19 posts in 2636 days

#2 posted 03-12-2011 04:56 AM

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


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103 posts in 3359 days

#3 posted 03-12-2011 05:14 AM

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

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Rick Dennington

5862 posts in 3194 days

#4 posted 03-12-2011 05:21 AM

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?

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

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1731 posts in 2809 days

#5 posted 03-12-2011 05:30 AM

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 2693 days

#6 posted 03-12-2011 05:33 AM

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.

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64 posts in 2848 days

#7 posted 03-12-2011 06:43 AM

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.

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531 posts in 3186 days

#8 posted 03-12-2011 06:56 AM

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 2693 days

#9 posted 03-12-2011 08:08 AM

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

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5712 posts in 3232 days

#10 posted 03-12-2011 08:18 AM

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…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2639 days

#11 posted 03-12-2011 08:47 AM

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


1916 posts in 2690 days

#12 posted 03-12-2011 05:25 PM

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


462 posts in 3205 days

#13 posted 03-12-2011 07:16 PM

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


531 posts in 3186 days

#14 posted 03-12-2011 10:23 PM

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


83 posts in 3092 days

#15 posted 03-12-2011 11:05 PM

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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