Sawstop help contractor vs pro series

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Forum topic by justwingit posted 01-15-2019 02:10 AM 1091 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 232 days

01-15-2019 02:10 AM

Quick question, after some more poor bevel cuts on my radial saw and with a generous gift from a friend, I’m looking to finally get a tablesaw. I really like the idea of a backup saftety of the sawstop (as crazy as the costs are) . I was debating between the contractors saw (with upgraded cast iron wings – now or in the near future) and the 36inch (so I get the good fence) outfeed table for sure. $2069 with the cast iron or about 1800 without.

The 1.5 hp professional saw is $2469 with the 36 inch fence (maybe mobile base down the road)?

What does everyone think. Pro’s and cons of either? I don’t want to make a purchase this large only to regret spending a little more later, but Im certainly not made of money. This would be the only new saw ive ever bought. (RAS – from the 1970’s, drill press from the 80’s, chop saw that came with the house, a 100$ used bandsaw ect….)

Anyone suggesting non sawstop saws, thank you but Id rather spend the markup 1000$ just incase I screw up and hit a finger. I’ve also used the pro model in shop classes and loved the feel/effectiveness of it.

Any thoughts appreciated. For my this is a one time kinda purchase!


20 replies so far

View jamsomito's profile


432 posts in 878 days

#1 posted 01-15-2019 02:21 AM

Any table saw is better than no table saw :)

I have a contractor saw and it does what I need it to do. It has a few quirks but mostly at it’s extreme adjustments and I have work arounds for those that are only minor inconveniences. I’ve heard the sawstop contractor saw is not without it’s issues likewise. See here:

My dream saw is the sawstop PCS. Either the 1.75HP or the 3HP. That’s the one I’m saving for as it would solve the inherent issues with my contractor saw.

But in the meantime, I’m able to do what I need to with my contractor saw. I know I didn’t give you an answer, but that’s my experience and thought process. Good luck and you’ll make me jealous either way :)

View clin's profile


1051 posts in 1448 days

#2 posted 01-15-2019 02:41 AM

I have a 3 HP SawStop PCS and it’s a wonderful saw. The added cost of the SawStop is closer to $500, not $1,000. Though it’s a bit hard to make true apples to apples comparisons.

I’ve never heard of anyone wishing they bought a contractor saw instead of a cabinet saw. There are of course other very good saws that are less expensive than the SawStop. Everyone’s risk reward calculation is a bit different. I obviously decided the added safety of a SawStop was worth it. I compare a SawStop to having a car with airbags. You aren’t being dumb or taking your life in your hands not having them, but if bad things happen, you’ll be glad you have it.

If you really see this as a one time purchase (saw for the rest of your life), then I’d spend the extra for the PCS. Also you said you’ve worked with the PCS and liked it. The contractor saw is simply not going to be as nice, though I’m sure it is an excellent contractor saw.

The 1.5 HP is going to be a good saw. I sprang for the 3 HP, just to have as much power as possible to avoid any future regrets. But it is possible to upgrade in the future. Sure that’s more expensive than getting the 3 HP to start, but my guess is you won’t feel the need to upgrade unless you start making a lot of deep cuts in hardwood where the extra power would come in handy.

I agree with getting the 36” and better fence.

I vote for the PCS.

-- Clin

View Sawdust35's profile


64 posts in 1314 days

#3 posted 01-15-2019 03:14 AM

I was very fortunate to be given as a group gift from several family members a sawstop contractor saw w/cast iron wings, 52” table extension, beismeyer style fence. I have added the over-head dust collector, mobile base and dust collection panel (I think that is what it’s called). I really like the saw and the extra table space has been useful for sheet goods. If I hadn’t been given this saw or needed to replace it I would buy the 3hp PCS model. The extra horsepower and better dust collection with the cabinet saw are appealing to me.

That being said, the 1.75hp motor on my saw has handled everything I’ve cut on it (8/4 soft maple being hardest wood so far). When cutting the maple I have to slow down the feed rate and make sure my rip blade is clean.

I’ve had the contractor saw since 2012.

Side note on the mobile base, I don’t like the mobile base for the contractor saw. In hindsight I should have bought the ICS base or the PM-3500 or 3550 (which weren’t available in 2012).

View rcs47's profile


204 posts in 3581 days

#4 posted 01-15-2019 04:24 AM

I got the 36” SS contractors saw with cast iron wings, mobile base, and dust collection kit when the only other choice was the ICS. I did not go ICS because my panel breaker space was limited.

This was the first contractor saw I had ever used. The work method I had always used (trained to do) was push the wood past the blade and let the end fall to the floor. The first time I did this, the wood hit the motor. A trip to home depot for a roller stand and I have a safer work practice today.

The pro saw came out about 1 year after I got my saw. If it was available, I would have gotten the pro saw, and not looked twice at the contractor saw. I don’t think I’d gotten the 36” fence on the pro.

Pick up an extra brake for your 10” blade, plus a dado brake. You will want a dado insert too.

Just remember as long as the blade is spinning the brake will fire. I talked with a cabinet shop owner that had trips from his workers pulling out their tapes to check a measurement as the blade was spinning down only to have the tape hit the blade and BANG!

Have fun with the new saw,

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5642 posts in 2945 days

#5 posted 01-15-2019 11:37 AM

There is nothing wrong with a contractor (well, sometimes the dust collection can be tricky), but you will eventually yern for a cabinet saw. Might as well get it from the getgo.

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

View knotscott's profile


8302 posts in 3827 days

#6 posted 01-15-2019 11:42 AM

The contractor saw should be fine, but IMHO the PCS is the sweet spot for performance and value. Cry once and enjoy the decision forever after.

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

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


499 posts in 231 days

#7 posted 01-15-2019 11:57 AM

Well, in then next decade do you want to buy two saws or one?

View firefighterontheside's profile


20444 posts in 2308 days

#8 posted 01-15-2019 12:59 PM

I had a grizzly contractor saw for many years and was very happy. Then I was gifted a grizzly hybrid saw and came to really like the cabinet saw and not having the motor hanging out the back. When I decided to buy a Sawstop, there was no question it would be the PCS. I considered the 1.75, but for a few extra hundred I got the 3 horse. I’m sure I could have done fine with the 1.75 since I never noticed that I needed more than my old 1.5 grizzly had to offer. I’ve had it for a few months and am very happy with my purchase. It was the easiest $3000 I’ve ever spent. No remorse over spending the money. Where did you get your prices from? They seem to be too low.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View justwingit's profile


25 posts in 232 days

#9 posted 01-15-2019 01:26 PM

Thank you all for the help. It sounds as if I should stretch my self and go with the professional saw now. I can always then do the 3hp upgrade in the future.

As far as the pricing: this is lifted straight from woodcraft (but doesnt include taxes or shipping Sawstop – 1.75 HP Professional Cabinet Saw with 36” Professional T-Glide Fence System PCS175-TGP236 $2,469.00)

One more question, we occasionally (every year or two I get some water in the basement (where the shop is). Having used tools I haven’t worried to much (its usually a cm or two of water at most). Can a professional saw be put up on some small concrete block? I really don’t want to spend this kinda dough and regret it.

View ScottM's profile


739 posts in 2598 days

#10 posted 01-15-2019 02:12 PM

I just bought the PCS 175 w/36” fence. I used a Ridgid contractor saw for several years and it did what I wanted but, like you, wanted a cabinet saw and safety features. So far I really like it! I also got the industrial base. Makes it a breeze to move it which I need to do since the shop is the garage for both cars so it gets moved a lot.

I don’t see why you couldn’t put it up on blocks.

View justwingit's profile


25 posts in 232 days

#11 posted 01-16-2019 01:10 AM

Thanks ScottM the industrial base does make major sense. Glad you are enjoying yours!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5642 posts in 2945 days

#12 posted 01-16-2019 11:51 AM

Because of the way the ICS base works, if you have it and fear water in the basement just jack the saw up for however long is needed, then drop it back down once the floor is dry. By far the easiest solution (and maybe the most expensive).

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

View Markmh1's profile


109 posts in 895 days

#13 posted 01-16-2019 12:57 PM

If you opt for the PCS, get the hydraulic base. I have the standard base, and every time I move the saw I wish
for the hydraulic base.
On my PCS, the base needed to be installed when the saw was on the styrofoam, lying on it’s side. If you’re
thinking of adding a brand X base later on, realize the Sawstop mobile base lifts the saw squarely so the legs on
the extension table don’t drag on the floor. If the saw lifts at a slight angle, somethings gonna drag.

My son has the contractor saw with the cast iron wings and 36” table. He seems very happy with it, and so far
(about a year) he’s not sorry he got it.

IMO, even if Sawstop didn’t have the safety feature it would still be the saw to get, they’re that nice.


View justwingit's profile


25 posts in 232 days

#14 posted 01-17-2019 02:33 AM

thanks for the heads up on the hydraulic base. Seems like the way to go… of course its more money…. :)

View RDan's profile


106 posts in 2776 days

#15 posted 01-17-2019 05:38 AM

Dan, I bought mine with the 36” fence and the regular mobile base on the PCS. The issue with it is you have 2 wheels fixed. So it is harder to maneuver in a small space. I opted for the 3 HP, took me longer to get 240 V AC in for it due to some health issues. So I wish I had gotten the 1.75 HP first. The saw is super accurate, love how easy it is to change the guard to the riving knife and back. Dan

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