1.75hp vs/ 3hp saws

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 03-30-2015 07:39 AM 4551 views 0 times favorited 62 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1234 posts in 2019 days

03-30-2015 07:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw 220v 110v

So…aside from more power always being better, as a hobbyist do I really need to go to a 220v table saw? Thinking of buying a new saw in the next year or two to upgrade from my contractor/jobsite model. I’m looking pretty hard at a Sawstop (I know…I know…), Grizzly, Jet and a couple others.

Other than faster feed rates and bigger passes on larger/harder stock, what do I get with the additional HP? Realistically is 8/4 stock too much for a 1.75HP saw? There will be a cost associated with getting 220v to my garage/shop. So I have that on top of the cost difference in the saws themselves.

What are the pros and cons here?


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

62 replies so far

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1928 days

#1 posted 03-30-2015 08:08 AM

I have a 1.75hp contractors saw. I used it for a lot of years, moved it around and had to switch it from 220v to 110 several times. Found it runs better and cooler on 220v.
On the upper power heavier saws. I took a look at what I wanted to do, then went with 5hp + there.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2860 days

#2 posted 03-30-2015 08:08 AM

I’ve got a hitachi saw with a 15amp 1.5 hp motor which has been more then adequate along with a similar power radial arm saw. As long as the blade is sharp I’ve had no problem slicing through 2” purple heart or 3” maple. The radial arm saw is rewired to 240v and now bogs down even less helping it cut faster. The switch to 240 seems to let the blade spin up faster and improve power, I suspect it’s a torque thing as it doesn’t change hp. I’ve used the tableware at 120v for 5 years now and really can’t complain about the power or the cut quality overall so no you don’t need 240v.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View joey502's profile


537 posts in 1542 days

#3 posted 03-30-2015 08:11 AM

I have a 1.75hp hybrid/ cabinet saw wired at 120V. My cousin and I installed a 60 amp sub panel for my garage shop so there is no need for me to wire the saw at 240V. Luckily my garage is attached to my house and the main panel is in the garage, less than a day job.

Aside from power I do not think a 3hp saw would get me anything. My saw has cabinet mounted trunnions, a 52” fence and cast iron wings.

For 8/4 stock I use a this blade and have no issues.

Pros: less out of pocket purchase price along with above notes.

Cons: For me, as a hobby woodworker, there are not any cons to my saw. I have been very happy with it.

View bbasiaga's profile


1234 posts in 2019 days

#4 posted 03-30-2015 08:47 AM

Thanks. My Rigid 110V portable saw has done great so far too.

To clarify, I’m wondering about saws with a 1.75hp (110V) vs 3hp(220V) motor. For instance, you can get the Sawstop PCS either way, with a $500 difference or so in price.

When you’re potentially spending 2.5k on the saw, you’d hate to wish you spent the extra for the 220V version if it pays any dividends…just not sure what if anything those dividends would be.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View knotscott's profile


8056 posts in 3400 days

#5 posted 03-30-2015 09:35 AM

It’s worth clarifying whether you have a full size contractor saw with a belt drive induction motor hanging off the back or a portable jobsite saw….they’re aren’t the same. The jump from a jobsite saw to an actual contractor saw is pretty significant, if that’s what you have.

3hp isn’t essential, but none of our tools are. We can always do with less. I ran smaller saws successfully for several years before getting a 3hp cabinet saw. A good 1.5hp motor on a saw that’s setup well with a good blade can cut to full blade height (~ 3”) in most common materials if the stock is flat and straight. The denser the material, the more it’ll struggle. The smaller motors are more sensitive to setup, blade selection, and the stock being cut. They’ll labor more on tougher cuts. Good thin kerf blades can help alot.

A 3hp motor is less sensitive to all the factors surrounding setup, blade selection, and wood thickness/density. The difference is quite noticeable. You can generally feed the wood at your pace, as opposed to waiting on the saw. I almost never slow the 3hp saw. They labor much less, so in theory should last longer. You can also more easily run full kerf blades, which handle heat better, so long cutting sessions are less of a problem.

Food for thought….you may eventually want 220v in your shop. It’s handy to have should ever stumble onto a great deal on a tool with a true 2hp motor or larger.

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

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2629 days

#6 posted 03-30-2015 11:24 AM

To answer your question there really is nothing a 3hp saw will do in regular use a 1.75hp saw won’t do a bit slower. That said, I have run a 1.75 hp contractor saw before and a 5hp saw at a shop I frequent. Who buy my sawstop for home use I will be buying a 3hp saw. If you poke around I think you will find most people who used both prefer the 3hp.

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Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2518 days

#7 posted 03-30-2015 11:28 AM

If you buy the Sawstop, I’d get the 1.75 HP version. The thing is you can always upgrade later for about the same amount as the upgrade cost. I’m not sire why, but the options on the saws seem to cost more than buying them separately. On the ICS model, the 5 HP upgrade is $400, but you can buy the motor for $300…go figure. But I wernt from a 1.5 HP contracors saw to a 3 HP cabinet saw and pretty much agree with your assessment that you can make faster/deeper cuts. Otherwise 1.5 HP does just fine, as will 1.75 HP. That doesn’t address the question about lower amp draw on 240V, motor working less hard, etc. but from a user standpoint you won’t lose anything.

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

View OSU55's profile


1699 posts in 2014 days

#8 posted 03-30-2015 11:42 AM

As a hobbyist, do you need a 220v saw? No. Do you need a new saw? No. Do you want a new 220v saw? Sounds like it. Other pieces of equipment where 220v can help – dust collection, nice large VS lathe. larger planer, large drum sander. Probably be feel more satisfied going with a 220v saw.

View WDHLT15's profile


1747 posts in 2500 days

#9 posted 03-30-2015 11:59 AM

I have the 1.75 HP Sawstop. Does everything that I need.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1745 days

#10 posted 03-30-2015 12:11 PM

I have a 3hp Unisaw and having used lower power saws previously, the biggest difference is the ability to maintain higher feed rates with very hard materials. Usually when you get a more powerful saw, your getting a heavier built saw as well, which has obvious benefits. Another perhaps not so obvious advantage is the ability to get good results from a blade that needs to be sharpened where the excessively slow feed rate required with less available power would almost certainly result in burning.

View bonesbr549's profile


1557 posts in 3091 days

#11 posted 03-30-2015 01:22 PM

Do you NEED 3hp no, and I’ve had everything form a direct drive tabletop to a contractor belt drive 110, to 3hp cabinet saw to my current 5hp cabinet saw.

All got the job done, heck a hand saw will get the job done. Now, the more power, the more easier the cut, and faster.

I remember the days of lots of cuts and tripping the breaker, when she’d get too hot. Or the having to slow the feed rate down not to bind on the thicker stuff.

Trust me when I say you will never ever ever, say the following statement “Dang I bought too much table saw”.

I would say get the 220, and 3hp min if you wish to compromise.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View MrFid's profile


876 posts in 1929 days

#12 posted 03-30-2015 01:32 PM

I’ve cut 8/4 purpleheart with my 1.75 HP saw quite a bit recently. Had no problems. I do probably have to make sure my blade is sharp more often than I would if I had a 3 HP saw. I just cut a little slower. For a hobbyist, I wouldn’t say I need any more than what I’ve got. I’ve allocated the money I’d have spent for the extra power in other tools.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View bondogaposis's profile


4765 posts in 2375 days

#13 posted 03-30-2015 01:37 PM

I have a 1 3/4 HP saw (sears 113.). I routinely cut 8/4 stock with it. It will bog down if I feed it too fast, and a sharp thin kerf rip blade is a must. I get by with it but I would love to have a 3HP saw. So to answer your question, no you don’t need a 3 HP saw, but you will want one.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1201 days

#14 posted 03-30-2015 02:11 PM

Beside the most obvious difference of power and speed of cut. A cabinet saw brings additional features worth considering. They include:
1. Larger trunnion assemble providing longer life for the saw and more accurate cut.
2. The trunnion is attached to the cabinet not hung from the table top thus making alignment easier.
3. The saw has greater weight thereby eliminating viberation. The down side is that it will be less mobile.
4. Larger saws tend to have magnetic contractors in place of switches. With a regular switch if the power fails the saw stops but will automatically start when the power returns. A magnetic contractor will not start the saw when power returns. This increases safety.
5. The top and side extension tables tend to be heavier and more likely ground with more precision than the stamped steel wings of a smaller saw.
6. Most (all??) larger cabinet saws are left tilt (blade tilts away from the fence on an angled cut). Most woodworkers will agree that this improves safety and allows some cuts to be made easier than with a right tilt saw.

Hope this helps.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

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Mainiac Matt

8088 posts in 2353 days

#15 posted 03-30-2015 02:12 PM


Usually when you get a more powerful saw, your getting a heavier built saw as well, which has obvious benefits.
- bigblockyeti

I rehabbed a 30 year old 3 HP Jet and the vibration of the saw is significantly less than the 113 Craftsman I sold off.

Thje Jet has a much heavier and robust mechanism… and they were not exactly know as “high end” back then.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

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