Cabinet Table Saw - Which one?

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Forum topic by EJWash posted 09-14-2014 10:29 PM 3748 views 1 time favorited 94 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View EJWash's profile


26 posts in 1526 days

09-14-2014 10:29 PM

Hi All,

During a residential move, I sold several of my woodworking machines. Although reliable and well maintained, they were dated and I had outgrown them. I saw the move as a great opportunity to get a little return on my investments, and I did not have to move them to my new home.

Amongst the machinery was my trusty Craftsman 10” contractor’s saw. It was more than twenty-years old, and although it was still serving my needs, I began bumping-up against its limitations more and more. So now, it’s time to upgrade. I intend to add a 10” cabinet saw to my home shop. My short list of manufacturers are:

- Powermatic
- Delta (Unisaw)
- Jet (Xacta Saw)
- StopSaw

My home shop is wired for 220V, so I’m good in that regard. I’m wrestling over going with 3HP or 5PH.

I know that Powermatic is still the Gold Standard of table saws, but maybe the other manufacturers have stepped their game up? What do you guys/gals think?


-- EJ

94 replies so far

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2680 days

#1 posted 09-14-2014 10:51 PM

Actually, Sawstop is the gold standard…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2433 days

#2 posted 09-14-2014 11:57 PM

I own a PM66 and am quite happy with it. However, if I were buying again and could afford it, I would take a hard look at the SawStops. I don’t ever want to earn the nickname of Four Fingered Wu!

Regarding the 3hp vs 5hp issue, I think 3hp is very adequate for a home shop unless you intend to rip 8/4 hard maple 8 hours a day. :D

-- Art

View nashranch's profile


46 posts in 2234 days

#3 posted 09-15-2014 12:11 AM

I recently bought a ‘99 model Delta Unisaw 3HP. All i can say is WOW!!! So much power and made in the good ole USA. I highly recommend it. I will never have to buy another table Saw.

Nash Ranch

View EJWash's profile


26 posts in 1526 days

#4 posted 09-15-2014 12:16 AM

I watched a demonstration of the StopSaw at my local Rockler when they came out. Other than the blade retraction/stop feature, I really didn’t see much difference between it and a Jet.

When I was a kid, my father lost half a thumb to a table saw. Years later, he told me that the incident was due to him being distracted and in a hurry. As a result of his “gift” to me, I give all of my tools a huge berth and a lot of respect.


-- EJ

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2622 days

#5 posted 09-15-2014 12:27 AM

Actually, Sawstop is the gold standard…


We have had a few heated discussions over sawstop in the past but I don’t recall any about which table saw is the gold standard?powermatic or sawstop? you may have already started WWIII.

EJWash,why are not considering a Grizzly table saw?I don’t own one but a lot of members think highly of the name Grizzly.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3824 days

#6 posted 09-15-2014 12:29 AM

Powermatic and JET are owned by the same
parent company these days. Powermatic isn’t
what it was. It’s a badge now, put on
Asian and European made machines. I’ve
heard Powermatic and Grizzly 3hp shapers
come off the same assembly line.

I’m not knocking Powermatic. I think they
stand behind their product and you can expect
good fit and finish. The new machines are
priced at a premium for what they are and
the quality is not head and shoulders above
other Asian-made machines however.

I’ve started recommending a 12” or larger
table saw for furniture making. On the used
market there are real bargains on these
larger saws to be found.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3147 days

#7 posted 09-15-2014 12:52 AM

I would look to a SawStop seriously before any Powermatic, Jet or Delta. They are all made in Asia now.

To say that other than the safety stop feature the SawStop doesn’t look much different than the Jet makes my head spin.
Are you serious?
You don’t see the added value in the safety stop feature?
For me that single feature completely eclipses anything the other brands offer; especially since otherwise they are all pretty much equal and not much different in price, other than the Delta being the most expensive for no good reason.
Loren brings up a good point about 12” saws.
And Ken makes a good point about Grizzly needing to be in consideration.

I’ll just combine those two points.
Why not look at a Grizzly 12”, GO 696X 5 hp single phase. Even including shipping would still cost $500-$700 less than the SawStop, Powermatic, Delta or Jet and would be a hell of a lot more saw.

View EJWash's profile


26 posts in 1526 days

#8 posted 09-15-2014 02:49 AM

Just cruised Acme Tool and all four of my choices are made in Taiwan – if Acme’s listings are correct.

Grizzly is not, I repeat, NOT an option.

And again, besides the safety feature of the SawStop, what are the other features that put it above the rest?


-- EJ

View bigblockyeti's profile


5257 posts in 1896 days

#9 posted 09-15-2014 03:06 AM

It costs quite a bit more, so you have to talk yourself into thinking it’s better if you’ve just dropped $4000 on a $2500 saw.

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

View iminmyshop's profile


287 posts in 2170 days

#10 posted 09-15-2014 03:08 AM

All of the top brands today offer excellent quality and a much higher degree of accuracy than is ever possible on a Craftsman (I’ve owned several). My father used to say that good carpenters don’t blame their tools because good carpenters only buy good tools. So in terms of accuracy I think you will be happy with almost any one of your choices.

But there is the safety issue. We are all careful and respect the power of our tools. Yet there are 34,000 ER visits and 10% of those result in some kind of amputation every year. Sobering numbers. I bought a SawStop and I love everything about it. It is rock solid, beautifully engineered, good dust collection and very accurate. The few times I called their support line it was quick, friendly and top notch. So what it came down to for me is “how much are my fingers worth?”


View hotncold's profile


784 posts in 1720 days

#11 posted 09-15-2014 03:17 AM

The 3 HP and 5 HP Sawstop table saws are as fine as you can buy today! I recently got rid of my 20 year old Craftsman contractor style table saw and I looked at all brands.
All other factors being equal, the safety brake on the Sawstop was the deciding factor…BUT it would not have been the reason I bought the saw if anything else was lacking.
The Sawstop saw was dead accurate “out of the box”. It’s quiet, strong and the dust collection is better than most.
It’s the only saw I would buy again!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3147 days

#12 posted 09-15-2014 04:56 AM

If you still have to ask the question “Other than the safety feature, what’s puts it above the rest?”

It costs no more.
It is just as well made if not better.
It is sold by a company that is hell bent on having a better, safer product than anyone else.

Where did that ”$4000 for a $2500 saw” crap come from?
The only saw on the list that sells for $4000 is the Delta.

SawStop Professional Cabinet saw, 3 hp, about $2795 to $3100 depending on fence.
SawStop, Jet and Powermatic are about the same.

View toolie's profile


2147 posts in 2804 days

#13 posted 09-15-2014 10:34 AM

Grizzly is not, I repeat, NOT an option.

gold plated marketing hype and fancy paint jobs do not, necessarily, make better machines.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5143 posts in 2669 days

#14 posted 09-15-2014 11:35 AM

It’s a really tough choice, I’m thinking through the same thing right now. Since they all essentially come from Asia, it boils down to some other factors. Safety features aside, I’m thinking right now you’ll have better customer service from Grizzly (based on my past experience) and Sawstop. At one time Powermatic would have been a top pick, or maybe even a Unisaw; but both those companies have fell out of my favor. One thing about the Sawstop: to get 5 HP you’d have to move to an ICS, which ups the ante quite a bit. The PCS only goes up to 3 HP.

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

View hotncold's profile


784 posts in 1720 days

#15 posted 09-15-2014 03:36 PM

The 3 HP Sawstop (with a sharp blade) has cut everything I threw at it with ease…
I’ve NEVER heard anyone who bought the Sawstop cabinet saw (either horsepower) say, “I wish I had bought something else!”

-- Dennie - Tennessee

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