Please save me from drinking the SawStop Kool-Aid

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Forum topic by gmaffPappy posted 11-09-2012 02:02 PM 5298 views 1 time favorited 123 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 2151 days

11-09-2012 02:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sawstop table saw delta jet powermatic wirlwind review question

So, I’ve received the go-ahead from my wife to buy a TS.

I’ve never owned anything but a bench top TS, and I know that a new bench top TS won’t cut it for making cabinets and furniture. I want to build a shop that is free of fine dust. I don’t want to add to the noisy activity of woodworking buy getting tools that make more noise than they should. Thus, I’m going to purchase a Pro Cabinet TS. I wired the garage for 220, and that means I can go 3HP. I know 5HP is more saw than I will ever use. I don’t have a issue spending the money on GOOD quality and lots of options, but I won’t waist money on something I’ll never use – like the 2 extra HP. So, what Brand of TS should I buy?

A little about myself: I play guitar for pleasure, and I’m a computer consultant. I make my living with my fingers. All my friends and family tell me, “You should hire someone to do that home construction!” or “Just go out and buy that piece of furniture you want!” because “Someone that makes a living typing shouldn’t be near a saw!” I understand those opinions, but they just don’t cut it. I love working with the wood and building things. But, most of all, I love counting on my fingers with my four year old.

I’ve used Jet and PM saws over the years. I liked them. Several years ago, I almost pulled the trigger on a Grizzly, but didn’t because I don’t usually go for the bargain brand. I know that if I get a saw that isn’t REALLY good, I’ll always regret not spending the extra cash to have the saw I REALLY wanted. After many hours of scouring reviews on this and other sites and talking to people at pro shops, I don’t think I want to buy a Delta. They seem to be on the down side of their reign. Then I cam across what I think is the one for me…the SawStop. If all things where the same, I’d choose the SawStop for safety and safety alone.

So, that’s the question, are all things the same? SawStop is “Top In Class?” but when one spends that kind of money on a saw, shouldn’t all the top saws perform pretty much the same? Shouldn’t they all have the same: options, build quality, ease of use, noise level, dust collection, ease of alignment, cut quality, etc?

If there is a really good reason, other than price, to choose a saw other than the SawStop, I will seriously consider it that saw. Especially since there are after market safety devices like the WhirlWind that will hopefully be coming to market soon.

I am inviting the mud slinging. I’m calling the fighters to their corners so the fight can begin. Please save me from drinking the SawStop Kool-Aid and convince me to save the money and still end up with a GREAT saw. I’d love to tell my wife I’m saving money….so I can buy a great dust collector.

I know there’s a lot of politics involved with SawStop. I’ve read all about it. I personally love politics. I’m a free market/fewer government regulation type, and usually vote with my wallet. Those types of issues are not what I want to discuss. I’d like to hear the reason why I should buy “x” as apposed to “y” based on manufacturing quality, the saw’s capability, ease of use, etc.

I’ve read all sorts of reviews of lots of brands, but none that I’ve come across really do a comprehensive apples to apples comparisons of the saws, like Consumer Reports does for TV’s.

Of course, at any time, anyone could save a lot of the mud slinging by providing a link to that elusive and comprehensive Consumer Reports review.

-- If it's easy to do, you haven't spent enough time over engineering it.

123 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117203 posts in 3697 days

#1 posted 11-09-2012 02:13 PM

I agree “save the money” buy a Saw Stop and save the cost and pain of hand surgery and possible end of guitar playing. My 2 cents.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3279 days

#2 posted 11-09-2012 02:22 PM

I agree. I currently do not see a reason to purchase a Powermatic or Delta cabinet saw if the Sawstop is the same price. Those saws have no advantages over the Sawstop. Basically, it’s like getting the safety feature for free.

I hate the politics of all that, and I suppose if I were more idealistic in that regard (e.g. as full of piss and vinegar as I used to be) then I would be leading the boycott. But until there are similar safety devices on other saws, my next saw will be a Sawstop…and BTW I own a 3HP Delta Unisaw.

We all try to be safe in the shop, which is most important because we want to avoid catastrophes. But it’s the things we DON’T foresee that can cause the loss of a digit(s). For that reason, I’d love the extra layer of protection that such technology provides.

-- jay,

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3267 days

#3 posted 11-09-2012 02:45 PM

As a fellow guitarist and IT person, my next saw will be a SawStop. I currently have a Grizzley 1023 which is a great saw, powerful, accurate and well-made.

I’m thinking about a coast-to-coast relocation and will probably sell the Grizzley rather than pay to move it. That would make room for the SawStop.

I think that once you get into the decent-quality cabinet saws, the quality differences start to shrink as per the law of diminishing returns. Having said that, by all accounts the SawStop is a quality saw that is worth the money.

Regarding the politics, what matters most? A political stance or keeping all ten of your fingers? That’s a personal question that is up to each of us.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 2357 days

#4 posted 11-09-2012 02:56 PM

Reading your post, it sounds like you’ve already decided to buy the SawStop and are currently trying to second-guess yourself with this posting. If you’ve already read all the reviews and done your homework like you say, go with your gut and buy the SS.

View Tedstor's profile (online now)


1666 posts in 2753 days

#5 posted 11-09-2012 02:57 PM

If I were buying a cabinet saw, I can’t think of reason to avoid a SS. I’ve never heard any gripe about their performance. The cost among the cabinet saws is pretty comparable. Its the entry/mid level saws that would become less-affordable if SS tech were legally mandated. I’d personally pay a small additional percentage for a SS cabinet saw – all else being equal. But I wouldn’t want to pay an additional $300 for an entry-level Ryobi saw that has licensed SS technology.

View EEngineer's profile


1113 posts in 3733 days

#6 posted 11-09-2012 02:58 PM

The very best safety device in your shop is right between your ears!

You know, I am one of those voices you hear against SawStop in LJ’s. But I have obviously not made myself clear. I have nothing against SawStop technology. I design sensors for a living. I understand the technology behind SawStop and I think it probably works very well. And they have every right to be successful selling their saws in competition with every other saw manufacturer. More power to them! (is there a pun in there?)

But I take exception to lobbying for a government mandate to force people to buy SawStop technology!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View ChrisK's profile


1984 posts in 3202 days

#7 posted 11-09-2012 03:22 PM

SawStop saws have a lot going for them and you can bypass the safety if you are cutting wet wood or think you might hit a staple. The whole saw is first rate. I look at them every time I am in Peachtree Woodworker’s store in Norcross.

-- Chris K

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 3773 days

#8 posted 11-09-2012 03:27 PM

The cost of a ss cabinet saw is on par with the other top saws. I am not a pro cabinet maker but all those i know switched to ss when it was time to replace their equipment.

look at the woodworkers who are on tv like tommy mc , they also did.

i do not see why one would want to not have a ss when its available at a similar price and quality than the delta’s or the likes.

-- Yves

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3034 days

#9 posted 11-09-2012 03:40 PM

Devil’s advocate here…
How is buying a SawStop Tablesaw going to “save” you from cutting your digits off with your Bandsaw, or chewing your digits off with either your Jointer or your Planer?

To narrow this whole safety issue down to “just a tablesaw thing” sounds way too ingenuine as a standalone argument for your well being. If your other hobbies and profession are that critical to you then you need to truly sit down and come to a well thought out decision as to either BE or NOT BE into woodworking, at all.

Yeah, I know this is a strong statement, but I do think that many, many folks truly need to have that discussion with themselves. My 2-cents…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View TheCook's profile


39 posts in 2241 days

#10 posted 11-09-2012 03:40 PM

Nobody ever went to their grave wishing they had fewer fingers.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3768 days

#11 posted 11-09-2012 03:45 PM

Try out a slider.

View dbhost's profile


5766 posts in 3352 days

#12 posted 11-09-2012 04:08 PM

A couple of points.

#1. I have stated this clearly and without hesitation here and elsewhere but it bears repeating. I 100% despise the SawStop inventors business tactics of using Government and the courts to push his invention. #2. The blade brake on the SawStop table saw does nothing to protect you when it is turned off when you are cutting green / wet woods like pressure treated. #3. The blade brake does nothing to protect you on the miter saw, band saw, lathe, jointer etc…

Having said that, I do know from what I have seen, and heard, seeing a Sawstop first hand, they are every bit as well made as a UniSaw, or a Powermatic. I don’t particularly care for how short they are, but then again, I can make that complaint about most table saws. I have back issues and I hate to have to stoop for anything.

The cabinet saw version, has excellent dust collection, great mass, wonderfully flat true and smooth top, great fence, silky smooth elevation and tilt. It is a top notch saw for sure.

To be blunt, I love my little cheapie Ryobi BT3100. I know folks will fuss at me about it, but it has been a great saw. But I know it is going to eventually die. When it does, I hope to have the funds to replace it with a SawStop 3HP PCS. I will put it up on a 4” riser to reduce my stooping, and call it good!

Now having said that, if Grizzly were to come out with something that did the same sort of thing, in a saw similar to the G0691 for example, or say a Delta Unisaw 3HP with blade brake tech, and marketed it at a reasonable price, there is no way I would spend a dime with SawStop due to their business practices.

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View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3429 days

#13 posted 11-09-2012 04:14 PM

It makes basic common sense to be as safe as possible …using common sense, caution, your brain and the most safe tools possible are a no brainer. The weakest link in this chain can cause an accident and the saw with the most safety features such as the Saw Stop will be a strong link. Common sense, focus, concentration and caution are free…only the saw stop costs money. You should go for the Saw Stop. I can not imagine why you would regret buying it…especially since it is quality.

View TheDane's profile


5516 posts in 3783 days

#14 posted 11-09-2012 04:14 PM

I bought a SawStop PCS when I moved into my new shop 6 months ago. With 2 grandsons spending some time in the shop, the brake/safety mechanism was a major factor in making the decision to purchase, but since then, I have come to really appreciate the engineering and quality of the saw.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3486 days

#15 posted 11-09-2012 04:18 PM

There is a reason that Saw Stop is the best selling cabinet table saw. It is top quality machine with the addition of a great safety feature.

It is more expensive but a great saw.


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