SawStop Contractor vs Laguna Cabinet Saw

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Forum topic by Damian Penney posted 09-10-2008 03:05 PM 11637 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3954 days

09-10-2008 03:05 PM

What am I really giving up by getting the SawStop contractor saw vs a decent cabinet saw. I realize that the motor isn’t as powerful, but I’ve never had a problem cutting anything on my current one, including 8/4 maple so that doesn’t really concern me but I don’t really understand all the talk about trunnions to be honest, the opinion seems to be bigger is better but I’m not exactly sure why.

I’m asking this because I was all ready to buy the Laguna when my wife asked ‘does it have the finger thing’ and I said no that saw is a lot more to which she replied, ‘well you should get that one’. I just can’t justify spending $3500-$3800 on one, which leads me to their contractor saw.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

20 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3611 days

#1 posted 09-10-2008 03:36 PM

Well, the SawStop really (only) has the advantage of the blade-stopping mechanism to offer, but that is about all it has – it’s a great invention, and a wonderful safety device – but it’s still a contractor saw. what would you benefit from a cabinet saw? move power of course (one of the main reasons), better dust collection, trunnion that is mounted on the cabinet as opposed to contractors saw where it is mounted to the table top – making it much harder to align the blade with the fence and miter gauge. Also the motor is in the cabinet and not hanging out the back of the saw. Cabinet saws are heavier, and with a more massive trunnion making it more stable with less vibrations – all in all, a better quality product.

people keep bringing up the “need for power” on table saws, and although a 1 3/4HP saw can cut 8/4 maple with no problems , a 3 or 5HP saw will cut it with more ease – meaning less force that the operator needs to apply on the lumber – adding to the overall safety of the tool

If the power that the contractor saw is more than you need (and it is for most of us), and you dont mind the motor hanging out the back of the saw, and you already plan on fabricating a good dust collection system for this saw – then with the added blade stopping mechanism – you have a winner!

personally – I’d go with a full size cabinet/cabinet style(hybrid) saw like the Laguna/New Unisaw/Steel City/etc…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3953 days

#2 posted 09-10-2008 03:53 PM

If you can afford the $4K for the SawStop, get it. You gain your wife’s peace of mind for not having to worry about you cutting off your arm or something. That can lead to you getting even more tools with all the bells and whistles which are more safe as well. Plus, I don’t know if you have children but, I worry that my daughter may walk into the shop someday and decide to “play” with my equipment. The peace of mind that at least the biggest piece of equipment won’t hurt her has to be worth a lot more than $4K. And, let’s face it, unless you’re making some very wicked good projects, you’re not going to max out the capabilities of the contractor’s SawStop. BTW, I’ve heard there are a few things about the SawStop that don’t come with most cabinet saws, check it out.

Good luck,

-- Jim

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Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3954 days

#3 posted 09-10-2008 04:14 PM

The SawStop contractor is about 2K which is the same as most cabinet saws. So the question is what won’t the contractor saw do that a cabinet saw will. I’m with you on the not wanting to cut my fingers off though.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3942 days

#4 posted 09-10-2008 04:31 PM

Hi Damien,

Purplev did a great job of filling you in with all the technical details, and a recommendation of his first choices.

Having talked with a number of retailers through the ezee-feed business, and based solely on their input, my feelings of hybrid saws aren’t that great.

They seem to believe the hybrid’s were designed to convince buyers you can buy a cabinet style saw for less money, and end up with cabinet saw quality.

Damien, having seen your work (through pictures), I think you should consider that your talent deserves the quality of a first rate saw, as you are doing first rate work.

If you don’t want to spend the money for the Saw Stop, I would consider a steel city saw, even without the “finger thingy”, since they will deliver the best in precision.

Regarding your fingers, you know if your tendencies are to follow all the safety concerns and precautions, that should protect you, and use that track record for your decision.

Hope I’ve helped in confusing you even more. lol


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3611 days

#5 posted 09-10-2008 04:47 PM

Lee Thanks for the input about the retailers. I’m curious though if you can shed some more input from that source as to what reasons the hybrids are not that great ? I will be upgrading my table saw in the future, and was originally thinking about going hybrid as they are more “convenient” with the ability to run them on 110V, but lately with the introduction of the new Unisaw, and some rave reviews on the Steel city saws I’m tending to go that route (although the steel city 1.75Hp seems like a good choice at the moment with cabinet mounted trunnions, riving knife, and very very good reviews here and elsewhere) ?

Damien – like Lee mentioned, as long as you follow safety procedures, and be conscience and focused while working, you shouldn’t be at the point where you need a blade-stopper. What I’m somewhat concerned is that people with SawStops will rely on the saw to be safe for them, and end up working more sloppy – and what would then happen when they work on another machine?... just food for thought.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3954 days

#6 posted 09-10-2008 04:55 PM

Thanks for the kind words Lee. I guess my question is would a cabinet saw provide any more accuracy over SawStop’s contractor saw?

With regards the Steel City Lee would you go granite or iron?

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3560 days

#7 posted 09-10-2008 07:22 PM

Granite tends to chip, iron doesn’t. Stay away from granite, it is a fad.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

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Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3954 days

#8 posted 09-10-2008 08:25 PM

Okay, and out of left field how is the JET Deluxe EXACTA 3HP/50” compared to the SS & the Laguna?

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View gizmodyne's profile


1776 posts in 4053 days

#9 posted 09-10-2008 09:20 PM

The sawstop is coming out with a hybrid model with an in between price.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Steve  Terry's profile

Steve Terry

2 posts in 3027 days

#10 posted 01-05-2010 12:04 AM

Fellow Woodsters – I am new to the site. I came acrossed it while looking at reviews for commerical wood shop equipment and looking at Laguna Tools. Last year there was a lot of ‘chat’. Have they improved their product line enough that LumberJocks are looking at their equipment lines once more? The new CNC, Dovetailer, and 3 in 1 cabinet door maker which seem perfect for our new operations. I want to hear though, from experienced cabinet ‘mechanics’ on LT current customer service and product performance if possible. I am looking at a total shop refit and want to know if Jet is a better move even though I would have more steps in setup and fabrication using them.


View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3338 days

#11 posted 01-05-2010 02:47 AM

I’m not familiar enough with the SS contractor saw to comment much, other than it does have an outboard motor and all the disadvantages associated with that design…larger footprint, longer belt, dust collection obstacles, a lifting hazard when the motor is tilted, and table mounted trunnions that are harder to reach and more likely to get whacked out of alignment. That saw really should have been designed as a hybrid in the first place IMO…there’s just very little advantage in choosing the outboard location.

If you should decide against the SS CS in favor of a cab saw, have you considered the Grizzly G0690/G0691 instead of the Laguna? They’re very similar saws, made in the same plant, from the same primary components. The Griz is typically a few hundred bucks cheaper.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#12 posted 01-05-2010 02:59 AM

Grizzly has much better customer service. I think there’s no contest between a contractor saw and a cabinet saw. But how much does a finger cost ? I don’t have a saw stop but I wish I did.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View F Ben Kautz's profile

F Ben Kautz

32 posts in 2574 days

#13 posted 05-04-2013 10:20 PM

It looks like Grizzly, Laguna, and Baileigh cabinet saws are all the same per given model. I wonder if there is any difference in how each may differ in specs by company buying them.
I have not seen anything that would tell me that.
I did notice that on both the Grizzly and Baileigh saws with the router table mounted on them, the router fence is on backwards. It would be difficult to feed wood in this setup.
Anyone elses comments on this?

-- Woodsurgin

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2261 days

#14 posted 05-05-2013 01:32 AM

I don’t see what all the fuss is about SAWSTOP get a nice heavy saw and never work in a hurry or when yolu are tired that’s called safety

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2806 days

#15 posted 05-05-2013 03:20 AM

Steve, I think your question deserves it’s own topic. Go to ‘Forum Topics’ click ‘Veiw All’ – ‘Start New Topic’ . -Jack

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