Sawstop vs Powermatic Table Saws

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Forum topic by tooldad posted 05-13-2011 05:43 AM 22710 views 0 times favorited 72 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 4220 days

05-13-2011 05:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sawstop saw stop powermatic table saw

Our 30 year old unisaw finally bit the dust. We repaired the motor in December, for it only to last 3 months and burn up again.

Finally my administrators told me to get quotes for a new table saw. Naturally being a shop teacher I want a Sawstop. Here’s the dilema, identical saws: Powermatic 5hp = $2900. Sawstop 5hp = $4300. Grizzly 5hp = $2500.

Grizzly is good, but we only get about 10 years from grizzly tools in our environment.

My coworker brought up a valid point. I can get reviews and testimonies from powermatic saws lasting 20+ years. However I cannot get that from sawstop, because they simply haven’t been in business that long.

I need some valid points beyond the safety of the sawstop to convince admin to spend the extra $1500.

Thanks for any help or input.

72 replies so far

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 3173 days

#1 posted 05-13-2011 06:00 AM

I would say buy a powermatic, probably because I own one ,so I am biased,but the only reason to spend the extra money would be for the safety of the sawstop.
The sawstop is a nice saw but definitely not better than a Powermatic

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View roundguy's profile


62 posts in 3190 days

#2 posted 05-13-2011 06:12 AM

I’m biased, as I’ve had my Powermatic for close to 20 years, and it runs the same as the day I bought it.

Since you’re teaching kids, I’d hate to tell a parent of a student that cut off a finger that you saved $1500. The legal fees would exceed $1500. If Carlos Osorio’s case sets any kind of precedence, I might prefer to side with safety.

View knotscott's profile


8332 posts in 3881 days

#3 posted 05-13-2011 06:23 AM

As much as I hate this about our current society, and as much as I despise Gass for promoting it in our society, lawsuits would influence my decision if I were potentially liable for an injury. The price differences seem like peanuts compared to litigation costs.

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

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3696 days

#4 posted 05-13-2011 08:09 AM

Saw Stop might actually help lower your insurance cost over the years,
if that were the case the higher price might prove to be an actual cost
savings…Dosen’t hurt for the teacher to research…;)

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View WinterSun's profile


163 posts in 3115 days

#5 posted 05-13-2011 08:15 AM

Just one quick point regarding the longevity of the Powermatic: you can absolutely get plenty of people to attest to the longevity of PM66s, etc., but the PM2000 is in the same boat as the SawStop. Both are fairly new models made in southeast Asia. One carries a weighty name which has been tarnished somewhat under its current ownership. Given where the saw will be used, I’d push very hard for the SawStop, even though I can’t stand (and maybe because of?) the way Gass is pushing it through the lawsuit culture.

-- Rory // Milwaukee, WI

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3664 days

#6 posted 05-13-2011 02:12 PM

I’m a high school teacher. I can’t imagine my kids (mathematics) using my Unisaw. If they cut off two fingers, they’d only be able to count to eight. :)

I’d get the SawStop.

-- jay,

View TJU's profile


72 posts in 3162 days

#7 posted 05-13-2011 03:00 PM

Maybe to better accomidate his learning style you could switch from the binary system to the base 8 system :)

I have a newish table saw but if I were to get a new one I would get a saw stop. The reason is that it is a good machine and I have kids that will be old enough to start using it in a few years.


-- Although the voices aren't real they have some pretty good ideas.

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3199 days

#8 posted 05-13-2011 03:14 PM

The Powermatic is a no-brainer for me. Take the extra $2000 that you’d be spending on black lacquer and lobbyists and buy a Shark Guard and overhead boom. And a REALLY nice push stick. I’m about at the end with the Sawstop stuff. Like Knottscot mentions, the difference is price is a moot point and they are both clearly quality saws. I pay over $80,000 a year in insurance and I don’t own a SawStop. I wouldn’t take one for free after all of this nonsense. Quoting the emergency room price of finger reattachment is simple propaganda to me. If it’ll get a lawyer off your back for even a minute, fork out for the Sawstop. I’m disgusted by myself for saying that. Not meaning to offend anyone, I’m just tiring terminally of the SawStop argument.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Pete DeSimas's profile

Pete DeSimas

15 posts in 3177 days

#9 posted 05-13-2011 03:24 PM

I would ask the Admin what price they would put on a childs fingers. If it is less than the $1500 difference, get the Powermatic, if its is more than the $1500 difference, get the SawStop. One incident with one child coming in contact with that blade and the sawstop will have paid for itself. There is all the justification you need.

I have a 42 year old unisaw and it is a great machine. But if I ever decide to replace it, it will be with a SawStop for the safety.

-- Pete DeSimas - Rhode Island

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3356 days

#10 posted 05-13-2011 03:40 PM

I’d suggest you talk to other shop teachers who might have, or rather undoubtedly have, faced the same question.

I will PM you the name of a local one who has two SSs. He may be able to help you sort through The Ask.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 3111 days

#11 posted 05-13-2011 04:51 PM

I agree that the powermatic saw of today is not the same as the powermatic model 66 of by gone years. It uses different metals and it is made under different conditions.

Everyone is assuming that if you have a sawstop you won’t cut your fingers off. Of course if you have a non-sawstop saw you will still not cut your fingers off if you don’t stick your fingers into the blade. Teaching kids how to avoid dangerous situations is worth a lot more then a brake feature.

From what I hear the saws are pretty comparable in quality, one costs a lot more and has an off switch on a safety feature that when tripped destroys the saw blade and can be tripped from things other then cutting fingers.

View Sgt374's profile


36 posts in 3100 days

#12 posted 05-13-2011 04:54 PM


View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3323 days

#13 posted 05-13-2011 04:54 PM

In your operating environment the Saw Stop is the clear choice to me – safety management with young people who are learning responsibilities, procedures and the need to stick to them is hard enough. Saving one students fingers would be all the payback you need.

In aviation we have a saying, if you think safety is expensive – try an accident.

Just my two cents


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3680 days

#14 posted 05-13-2011 05:03 PM

It’s hard to imagine that—if each and all of us could separate the product from the inventor, and from the questionable practices that he’s used, in an effort to increase his market share—we wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend the SawStop for the school environment.

Most of us buckle up our kids, in the car, even though we know that avoiding a collision is OUR responsibility, as drivers.

Most of us probably STILL err on the side of caution, where kids are concerned.

I think I’d err on the side of caution, in THIS situation, too.

Good luck !

-- -- Neil

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3738 days

#15 posted 05-13-2011 05:06 PM

I am another one that is to the soul disgusted by Steve Gass and his using the courts to push his business agenda. HOWEVER, in the environment that you are in, and knowing that kids tend to be less than fully attentive to the task at hand, with the safety device available, there is something to be considered for you personally. Now that you have publicly asked the question. IF you chose to go with the Powermatic instead of the “safer” SawStop, and a child does abbreviate one of his / her digits on the saw, not only would the school have to face a lawsuit, but chances are REALLY good that you could end up being held personally liable and having to defend yourself against a law suit…

You gotta love lawyers….

I have to swallow a bit of vomit here to say this, but I’d get the SawStop just to keep the Scheisters away from you and your family…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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