Helping picking out an upgraded table saw?

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Forum topic by morrd223 posted 08-31-2020 07:43 PM 527 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 59 days

08-31-2020 07:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw power tools purchase advice

Read a bit on this forum over the years, but I would would really love the community’s help with deciding on an upgrade for my table saw.

I’ve been using an old workhorse of a Delta/Rockwell Model 10 contractor saw—but I am looking to upgrade to something a little better with a few more modern conveniences.

I was looking at hybrid saws since I want something relatively sturdy like my Rockwell, but I am only a hobbyist, so a huge cabinet saw feel unnecessary.

Money is not quite ‘no object’; but Im ready to make a serious investment that will serve for years and years.

My biggest limitations are power and space – I can only access 120v power at the moment; and I’m a little space constrained, so ideally the saw would be able to roll up against the wall when not in use, while rolling into the middle of the shop when using it (my current set up just has heavy duty casters bolted to it).

I have seen a few recomendations online for the Rigid R4520, the SawStop contractor saw models, Grizzly’s (though I’m not sure if I can move them around as easily).

Would love any recomendations and thoughts.

13 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile


1054 posts in 2532 days

#1 posted 08-31-2020 07:56 PM

Any can be put on casters. Any you can make flip up out feed and wings, so that is not an issue.
As I have mentioned several times, download the owners manuals and see how they are built. Yo wil then see about half of them are actually the same saw. Some contractor/hybrid have iron trunions, some aluminum.

The ols standby was the Delta COntractor. Old one. Not sure I trust new ones.

SS is a nice saw. I have a one generation old Ridgid ( no riving knife) and it is fine. If I can ever justify it, I would get a Saw Stop PCS or a Harvey cabinet 3 HP. Truth, with proper blades a 1 3/4 will rip 3 inch oak, so unless yo uare doing a lot of work with purpleheart or ironwood, the bigger saw is a “want” not a “need” . Only running a combo blade did I think I needed the bigger saw.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3523 posts in 4320 days

#2 posted 08-31-2020 08:14 PM

I had that same saw for years. It really was a good saw but I began to realize that a good cabinet saw would make up for the inaccuracy of the delta/rockwell. I settled on a sawstop professional. Ya it’s bigger and it will roll good if you spring for the industrial wheels. I too used to park the old one against a wall. This one pretty much stays put unless I really need to move it. I solved the space problem by rethinking the layout of the shop. Before, I needed a mitre saw to take up the slack of the inaccuracy of the delta. The delta was pretty much delegated to ripping wood. The mitre saw gave me nice cross cuts. But with the new saw, I really don’t need anything else. So, it has become the central thing in the shop with other stuff mothballed or put aside unless I really need them.
So I have this big saw in the center of the room with an outfeed/assembly table and the other stuff around the edges of the shop. Best move I ever made. I love, love, this saw.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View CWWoodworking's profile


1092 posts in 1061 days

#3 posted 08-31-2020 08:46 PM

I’d find a way to get the power for 3-5 horse. They don’t cost that much more and that way you never have to worry about power. Also the true cabinet saws design has been proven over decades.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3722 posts in 2377 days

#4 posted 08-31-2020 08:59 PM

Random comments, FWIW:

- You are miss informed, there is not a huge difference in floor space or overall size.
Both your Contractor saw and Unisaw have same size 27” deep table tops. The contractor saw is actually deeper front to back due motor hanging out. If you get a saw with T-Square fence, it adds ~2in to front of saw for stronger support rail, which ends up being same square footage as motor out back.
Many contractor saws have stamped steel legs that splay outward and require a larger mobile base opening then a cabinet saw with ~21×21 base size.
Many people think a cabinet saw is larger as they also want a larger fence than they have contractor saw. With same fence, they occupy nearly same depth, width, and floor space.

- By limiting your power source to 120V 15A, a 1.5HP cabinet saw will not add any additional power or cutting capability beyond a 1.5HP contractor saw. Hence buying a 120V cabinet saw is lateral move, not an upgrade.

- If considering a 2HP 120V saw upgrade, check your new saw power requirements closely. Most true 2HP 18-20A motors require minimum 25A or 30A wire & breaker. The cost to run a 30A 120v line is roughly same as 240v 20A line, assuming you have room in breaker panel; so most folks spend the money for 240v shop power.

- Any saw can be put onto a mobile base. The grizzly bear claw is good choice for smooth floors, and Rockler All terrain is my preference for lot so movement on rough floors.

- What modern convenience are you missing?

Riving knife? Yes, with a new cabinet saw, you get a riving knife.

T-Square fence? You can add this to you present saw.
I regularly see used Biesemeyer or Unifence on CL for < $150, and new Delta T2 short fence is only $300.

Tough choice: Spend $400 for new fence+mobile base, use remaining $1000 for new jointer, planer, or large stack of wood, or spend $1200-1500 on new saw.

Sorry I didn’t help very much. LOL
Hopefully you are better informed.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View a1Jim's profile


118142 posts in 4460 days

#5 posted 08-31-2020 10:40 PM

View morrd223's profile


2 posts in 59 days

#6 posted 09-23-2020 01:07 AM

thanks to everyone for the very helpful replies!

View Madmark2's profile


1714 posts in 1471 days

#7 posted 09-23-2020 06:40 AM

What was your choice? Enquiring minds want to know! ;)

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Robert's profile


4048 posts in 2363 days

#8 posted 09-23-2020 10:40 AM

Of those three,

1. SawStop
2. Grizzly
3. Rigid

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

View John Jardin's profile

John Jardin

84 posts in 523 days

#9 posted 09-23-2020 11:32 AM

+1 on Captain…common sense rules

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6297 posts in 3291 days

#10 posted 09-23-2020 01:07 PM

Like the Captain suggested upgrading your current saw is something to be considered. Having 220vt service in the shop is always a good idea, even for future expansion you have yet to think of. So changing out your motor to a 220 vt 3-5 hp motor is a good upgrade. Or a T-2 fence. Finally what about expanding your set up and making the saw do more work for you?

Here in red is dead space and of course stamped steel wings.

Both can be upgraded and you could have this. You imagination and determination are your limit.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View JustAtool's profile


3 posts in 58 days

#11 posted 09-25-2020 05:27 PM

Here’s a thread I made over on, about my 4512 modified for a small shop to take up less space. Same 30” depth, but it’s only 44” long instead of 58” so it isn’t as bulky to store and easier to move around.

View AndyJ1s's profile


462 posts in 638 days

#12 posted 09-25-2020 07:09 PM

Beware, a more powerful 3HP+ motor may be too heavy for your saw’s cantilevered motor mount. And transmitting that much power to the saw arbor via the same single pulley and belt may not work well and/or long, unless that saw was offered with a higher power motor as an option.

Note that some fences (e.g. Delta Unifence, no longer made but available on used market) only have a front rail, so they can back up to a wall a couple of inches closer, if nothing else is sticking out the back. Note that my Unisaw’s motor starter box is on the back of the cabinet, and sticks out past the rear of the table.

I have a Unifence, and I would not trade it for any other.

Used, pre- ~2000 Unisaws were made in USA, and are widely available on the used market, with varying rehab needs, and prices to match. They have truly massive iron castings and trunnions under the hood, in a design relatively unchanged for over 70 years.

However if a true riving knife is important, they are not a good choice. I have an early 90’s US-made Unisaw which I purchased new, with the Unifence. I’m not about to trade it for a more modern, less well built saw made in China.

A Felder slider/shaper combo made in Austria, to match my jointer/planer? Maybe…

-- Andy - Arlington TX

View OldBull's profile


220 posts in 178 days

#13 posted 09-25-2020 07:20 PM

I am not as experienced as any of these folks in here but I can say the first question to ask is do you want the sawstop technology, maybe that will help with an answer.

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