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View trevor7428's profile

Table saw purchase dilemma

by trevor7428
posted 08-17-2016 01:48 AM

26 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2871 days

#1 posted 08-17-2016 02:33 AM

You’ll get a lot of opinions here, as Sawstop is very polarizing. I love my PCS 3hp. If you have the money, it is a top notch cabinet saw AND has the safety feature. The grizzly 690 and 1023 series are good saws and cost between 1500 and 2k, so a little less. Both are 3hp IIRC. The PM2000 saw can be had in the same range as the sawstop. It has a larger table and is generally heavier.

For me, the 36” rip capacity (vs. 30” for a lot of others, unless you go up to 50” which I didn’t have room for) was a big selling point. If you get the ICS mobile base with the PCS conversion (more money though), it is the best in class base. Fully hydraulic, omnidirectional. Also worth the extra cost, IMO. Plus, the safety feature. The saw was in perfect alignment from the factory (I checked). PM probably would be. Grizzly, idk. But they can be aligned if you’re willing to do the work.

If you’re going 3hp, do you have 220v power already? That adds to the cost. Also of note, the 3hp PCS comes with the upgraded blade guard that can work with the over arm dust collection accessory. The 1.75hp does not, but it can be bought separately. Don’t know why, and doesnt’ matter if you don’t want the overarm collection system.

Go saw stop and you won’t be disappointed. Its top shelf. The other saws are good saws too.

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

View JPJ's profile


819 posts in 3496 days

#2 posted 08-17-2016 02:45 AM

You won’t regret the Sawstop 3hp I love mine!

View WhoMe's profile


1568 posts in 4119 days

#3 posted 08-17-2016 04:23 AM

Another vote for the saw stop. I have the 3hp, 36” pcs, with the ics mobile base. Absolutely love mine. Had been wanting and saving for one for a while but a kick back and almost cutting the ends of 3 fingers off due to a brain fart, forced the issue for the purchase before I was ready. Even though I am as safe as I can be, the saw will keep me safer when I have another brain fart. That alone is worth the saw price to me and the wife.
No regrets on the purchase at all. The saw is a pleasure to use every time.

I tell people the “wife acceptance factor” is very high for this saw.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View dalepage's profile


387 posts in 1717 days

#4 posted 08-17-2016 04:33 AM

For sure get a 3-horse motor. In a 10-inch saw, you’ll have so much more options without bogging down and/or burning the wood. I use a lot of cherry and it’s good to be able to move it through quickly so that it doesn’t burn. I’d never go back to an under-powered saw.

-- Dale

View knotscott's profile


8386 posts in 4252 days

#5 posted 08-17-2016 09:48 AM

As long as you’re not taking food of the family table, I doubt you’ll ever regret getting the 3hp PCS, but you probably regret NOT getting it! The jump to 3hp is significant….it’ll allow you to dictate the pace, rather than the saw. The motor will also rarely if ever strain, so should last longer. Plus it’ll be less sensitive about blade selection and alignment. No real downside to 3hp if you have 220v and the budget.

If you really need to trim cost, but still want the bigger saw, the Grizzly G1023RL is a heck of a deal.

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

View Woodbum's profile


942 posts in 3941 days

#6 posted 08-17-2016 10:42 AM

I own a Grizzly 1023 and am very pleased with the value that the saw offers; as well as the performance. I have not owned a Sawstop, but I sell them in my part time job; and they are really a fine piece of machinery even without the flesh sensing safety feature. I would recommend that if you do decide on the Sawstop, that you make the leap to the 3hp; and get all of the accessories that you want when you buy the saw. It is better to get what you want in one slightly larger purchase than to keep going back to the money well for after purchase accessories.

As Knotscot, the LJ table saw subject matter expert said; the Grizzly 1023 series is a great saw for a fraction of the money that the Sawstop will set you back; the performance is terrific and their customer service is great. You can buy one and still have pretty much enough money left to buy another stationary tool for your shop from Grizzly such as one of their very good band saws or a helical head 8” joiner. The value and the quality are there.

In the same price range as the Sawstop is the Powematic PM2000 which has traditionally been an excellent saw and a standard of the industry. If I were going to spend that kind of money though; it is a no brainer…I would get the Sawstop.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Robert's profile


4024 posts in 2357 days

#7 posted 08-17-2016 11:53 AM

I totally agree a 3HP cabinet saw will be a one time purchase and will last your lifetime.
But you’ll have to get away from SS or PM if you’re looking for a more budget conscious saw.

My Jet Xacta has served me well for over 10+ years. I’ve never touched a setting on it and every time I’ve checked its dead on. The Biesmeyer fence is the only way to go IMO.

A quality tool also retains its value. My Jet was ~$1600 10 years ago and I think I could sell it for $1200. The same saw is around $2500 today.

Keep in mind a SS will not save you from kickbacks or loose knots flying (hopefully) past your face, which, BTW are much more apt to happen than putting your hand on the blade.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View trevor7428's profile


266 posts in 1837 days

#8 posted 08-17-2016 07:31 PM

For some reason, i think all i need is 1.75 HP sawstop PCS 36” (l don’t know why, maybe because its cheaper and my brain is telling me, that’s all I need lol) This will be my biggest purchase ever, besides my house and vehicle.

If anyone thinks I’m making a mistake, by not buying the 3HP. Please tell me after reading

After reading and watching a bunch of sawstop reviews online, I think the 1.75HP is best because
1. Woodworking is a hobby, not profession
2. Don’t cut 8/4 hardwood (never as of yet) even if I ever do, couldn’t I just feed it slow with a sharp rip blade and ill be fine?
3. In the future if I absolutely needed 3HP. I founf out i can upgrade the engine to 3HP (not sure how realistic this is or how difficult)
4. I do have 220v in my garage (only 1 outlet) but its not near, where the table saw will be going (right dab in the middle of the garage) haven’t looked into 220v extention cords, but would assume its best to plug saw straight into outlet.

But please, Tell me after all this do you think its still worth it to get the 3 HP from the get go? The only downside about getting 1.75 HP, is my local woodworking store does not have any in stock right now and won’t receive any more till Monday but of course they do have the 3HP one in stock now. I do not own a truck. So it makes things more difficult. Have to work around the schedule of my buddy with truck and also my own work schedule.

And even tho I do make good money. $3000 is way more than I would like to spend on a saw. The 3HP is Approx $3500 both are going to put a dent in my pocket. (Still have plently enough for all my other bills and then some) but since I technically can afford the 3HP, does that alone beat all the other reasons, I listed above?

-- Thank You Trevor OBrion

View mike02130's profile


170 posts in 1549 days

#9 posted 08-17-2016 07:40 PM

Just be careful and buy a used Delta unisaw that’s 3hp. I see them averaging 600. Don’t fret.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View WhyMe's profile


1318 posts in 2437 days

#10 posted 08-17-2016 08:50 PM

If you’re just a hobbyist, why isn’t the Delta 36-725 you have good enough? Other than it’s blade won’t stop if nicking a hotdog, what can’t it do for you?

View JayT's profile


6413 posts in 3087 days

#11 posted 08-17-2016 08:56 PM

I agree with WhyMe. The first two and last reasons you list for the 1.75HP are also reasons to just stay with the Delta. For $3k you are getting very little upgrade in capability with the 1.75HP PCS. The only major benefit is the safety feature. At least with the 3HP, you are moving up the scale in performance, as well as adding the safety.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Rentvent's profile


151 posts in 1725 days

#12 posted 08-18-2016 12:47 AM

If 1.75 HP is all you need, then maybe consider the SS contractor saw with cast iron wings. The table is the same size as the PCS and the 36” fence system is exactly the same.

the 3HP PCS comes with a NEMA 6-15P plug. You can make a longer power cord for the saw with a regular extension cord (preferably 12ga). There are instructions with the saw that give detail but it’s easy. The outlet in the garage might need to be changed out to a NEMA 6-20 and the corresponding breaker changed out to 20A or less.

If you are patient, you can try to wait for a deal. I got a new 3HP PCS from Amazon about six weeks ago for $2499 with tax and shipping included.

BTW, there’s a used CNS-175 with 30-inch fence on Amazon right now for $1224 shipped from Amazon warehouse deals.

View mlipps's profile


122 posts in 1991 days

#13 posted 08-18-2016 12:53 AM

+1 for the SS 3hp. Also spend the extra money and get the industrial mobile base. Navigating a 450lb shopping cart (wheel functionality is the same…and as a car actually) is tough. Having 4 wheels (on the industrial mobile base) makes moving it a breeze. It’s a lot of money definitely. I’ve had both the PCS and ICS and I haven’t been sorry that I spent the money. Buy it, you’ll never look back.

View knotscott's profile


8386 posts in 4252 days

#14 posted 08-18-2016 12:59 AM

Once you get anywhere near the price range of a PCS, I think it makes sense to get a saw that you will love, vs one that’s sufficient for the task that you will “like”. My thinking is that you’ve gone way beyond just the utility of being able to cut wood, so why not maximize the value of the high price, get the 3hp motor and love it every time you’ll use it? I think that’s where the sweet spot for value is, plus having nearly double the power has some obvious advantages. Some of that $420 premium will come back to you in resale value too.

It’s sort of like making the decision to buy a premium luxury car like a Mercedes (vs a Chevy), then trying to cut some cost by downgrading with a smaller engine and manual windows. I’m afraid you’ll regret going to this level and not getting the whole package.

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

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1778 days

#15 posted 08-18-2016 01:03 AM

In my opinion if you spend that kind of money and didn’t get the 3hp you would seriously regret it. My saw has got me in trouble because it is under powered, nothing worse than have to back out of a cut. Also with the 1.75 hp you will most likely need a thin kerf blade, Can they be used on saw stop?. Keep in mind that your blade options are limited too when you buy a saw stop. Buy a blade with shoulders and you just defeated your $3000 piece of mind. A used uni saw or powermatic is where its at and you would be buying american.

Buying the 1.75hp instead of the 3hp would be buying the v6 that gets the same mpg as the v8.

View mike02130's profile


170 posts in 1549 days

#16 posted 08-18-2016 02:42 AM

The unisaw and powermatics are tanks. Buy an older model. Everyone say yay or nay. Think of what else you can buy with all that lettuce you’ll save. I accept donations.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View JohnDon's profile


135 posts in 2045 days

#17 posted 08-18-2016 04:01 AM

Trevor, I think your thought process and conclusions are very reasonable for meeting your needs. For a hobbyist doing mostly light to medium duty cutting, I think 1.75 hp is plenty adequate. For the price difference, I think the PCS is in the “sweet spot”, giving you a lot more saw for the money, compared with the contractor version.
The T glide fence on the 36” PCS is substantially better than the fence on the 30” model. I don’t want to get in any arguments, but don’t agree that an expensive saw somehow deserves the most powerful motor you can get. Obviously, a lot of buyers must find the 1.75 adequate, or Sawstop wouldn’t sell them. Go with what you need.

Sure, you can get really good saws (unisaw, powermatic, etc), and used you can save money. But, as you indicated, the possible loss of a finger would be catastrophic for you. Go with the Sawstop.

FWIW, last year I helped my son assemble his 36” 1.75hp PCS. It is a beautiful saw, with top notch assembly instructions, and terrific quality. He got the lower price mobile base, which is still smooth and extremely easy to use. I’ve used the saw when visiting to make some run of the mill projects (shelves, sofa table), and found the 1.75 has plenty of power.

He was able to move the boxed saw from the store with his RAV4, but it was a tight fit, and unloading took some ingenuity.

If I could afford it, I’d get one for myself in a second. (At my stage in life, amputation of a finger would not be as catastrophic as it would be for my son, so I just try to be super careful with my own non-SS saw).

View avsmusic1's profile


664 posts in 1561 days

#18 posted 08-18-2016 02:35 PM

Buying the 1.75hp instead of the 3hp would be buying the v6 that gets the same mpg as the v8.

This is my thinking too.

To me, the marginal value of the price difference between the two SS models seems enormous while the marginal value of upgrading from the delta to a 1.75hp model seems fairly low.

You will make up most of the difference between the 1.75 and the 3 if/when you sell the delta

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3474 days

#19 posted 08-18-2016 02:42 PM

In for a penny in for a pound. Best to get the bigger version, and only cry once. I still don’t think in the history of motors too many people have ever said that “there is too much power”.

Better resale value, better dust collection fixtures, more weight, more power…all seem like worthy investments to me. Plus I kind of agree with the others. Upgrading from the Delta to the 1.75SS is not really a step up worth $3k. You are paying for a serious premium for the safety device.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1581 days

#20 posted 08-18-2016 03:49 PM

You can get the features and accessories your heart desires, but spread out the cost. I’d step up to the 3hp SS with the better mobile base. Buy the other accessories later. I don’t believe their cost is any different if you buy them up-front vs. later.

Do you really, really need to cut dados immediately after you have the saw assembled? Or can you wait another paycheck or 2? :)

You mentioned getting the 1.75hp motor then upgrading later. Have you priced high quality 3hp motors? Even if you ignore the labor involved, I think you’ll see it’s much cheaper in the long run to buy the 3hp motor up-front.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View trevor7428's profile


266 posts in 1837 days

#21 posted 08-18-2016 04:18 PM

It’s so weird. I’ve ass this question here on lumberjocks and in person at a local woodworking meeting I went to last night (which actually have a couple saw stops there too.

Everyone here is telling me to do 3HP but everyone last night is saying 1.75HP is perfect.

Kinda tough to decide with mixed views.
I wouldn’t be getting saw for a couple days
I let everyone know what I decide

-- Thank You Trevor OBrion

View clin's profile


1121 posts in 1872 days

#22 posted 08-18-2016 04:26 PM

I bought a 3 HP, 36” PCS and all the goodies (~$3,500) about a year ago. I started out with the idea of getting a high-end fence for a 50+ year old, 3/4 HP table saw I had. Decided that wasn’t going to be what I wanted and went down the table-saw rabbit hole and came out with a 3 HP PCS.

I couldn’t be happier.

As to not ever having a NEED to cut thick lumber, you likely will find more and more uses for a very capable tool like a 3 HP table saw. I think when it comes to a general purpose expensive item that you expect to use for years if not decades, it is best to buy more saw than you need now.

As said earlier, after you have paid the bill, you won’t regret getting the 3 HP saw. However, the reverse is not true. Day may come that you kick yourself for not having done it.

Another vote for getting the ICS base. It’s expensive, but well worth it. Much more maneuverable than the PCS base. I consider this a must-have if you expect to move the saw around much at all. And unless you have a large dedicated woodworking shop, it’s likely you will need to move the saw around.

Finally, running the saw or anything 220 V on an extension cord is fine. If anything, a 220 V device draws half the current, for the same power, as a 110 V. So in fact, an extension cord is actually more appropriate in that sense.

I did have to make my own extension cord. You can get heavy duty cable and connectors at the home center. Just make sure the plug and socket adapters you get match the saw and wall outlet. And of course that the wire size is a match to the plug and socket and of course that the whole thing is all appropriately current rated for running the saw.

-- Clin

View Putttn's profile


133 posts in 3154 days

#23 posted 08-20-2016 12:39 AM

Love my 1.75 PCS and outfitted it with the INCRA TS LS system and can’t say enough good things about this setup.

-- Bill eastern Washington Home of beloved ZAGS

View trevor7428's profile


266 posts in 1837 days

#24 posted 08-23-2016 08:18 PM

So you guys are gunna hate me, but I purchased the 1.75HP sawstop PCS 36”.
So far I love it, except for the issue meantioned Here

I’m sure everyone here will have the second laugh. When in a couple years from now, I complain I wish I would’ve purchased the 3HP lol.

-- Thank You Trevor OBrion

View clin's profile


1121 posts in 1872 days

#25 posted 08-23-2016 08:34 PM

It’s a great saw either way. And while you probably will have some instance where the extra power would help, hopefully that won’t be the difference between getting the job done or not.

Enjoy the new saw.

-- Clin

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1581 days

#26 posted 08-24-2016 02:54 PM


-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

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