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Forum topic by Bill7255 posted 03-07-2014 02:35 PM 14812 views 0 times favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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428 posts in 3338 days

03-07-2014 02:35 PM

I am going to buy a new table saw in the next month. My budget is $4K or less. I have been using a 1980’s Jet CTAS 3hp, with a 52 inch Biesemeyer fence and Excallibur overarm guard. for about the last 8 years and it is still a very good saw. But eventually it will need bearing, lacks a riving knife, etc. I am looking for a more precise saw with good dust collection. What I am considering are the PM, Jet, SawStop, Grizzly, Baileigh Unisaw saws in the 3hp class. I looked at slider type saws, but do not feel they are for me. Considerations are safety, precision, price and warranty.

My top choices are the PM, Unisaw, SawStop, and Jet. The SawStop IMO has the lead in safety. (I am not interested in the politics, only the technical information). However the saw only has a two year warranty, with one year on the fence. Reviews on this saw is very high, however I have seen a couple of reviews where the fence is questionable. The PM, Unisaw, and Jet all have 5 year warranties (I believe). Concerns with the Unisaw are part availability and it is higher in price than the others. PM has been considered the Gold standard, but is that based on saws made long ago? What does the PM offer that the Jet does not and how good is the fence system? Jet is less expensive, how does it compare to the PM? Is the Jet fence as good as the PM? I could actually buy the PM 5hp for about the same price as the SawStop.

Baileigh and Grizzly saws only have a one year warranty. The price is much more attractive. Is there that much difference in construction/ quality?

Dust collection is important to me. Also are the blade guards on the PM, Jet and Unisaw useful or are woodworkers still removing them because they are a PIA? The ease of use for bevel and fence are also important to me.

Thanks for your comments

-- Bill R

58 replies so far

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 4121 days

#1 posted 03-07-2014 03:37 PM

That’s a hefty budget, and you can get a lot for that. I had a Griz 3hp 1023slx for 9+ years and never failed me and it got moved across country and back so it was a great deal at about 1500$. I sold that and am waiting on my SS 5hp ICS. Went with more beef, quality, and safety. I’ll keep my opinion short and leave it at that. I had no complaints with the Griz just wanted more.

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

View bigblockyeti's profile


7190 posts in 2774 days

#2 posted 03-07-2014 03:44 PM

Didn’t realize the SS warranty was so short. If you’re looking for something that will last a long time, choose something with the least that can fail. The gold standard reference is certainly not based on what’s for sale today. The Unisaw is expensive, but has the controls on the front which in and of itself some may consider a safety feature, not to mention the convenience. If I had to buy a new saw, it would be in the 5hp class, either a Unisaw or Powermatic.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 3659 days

#3 posted 03-07-2014 03:50 PM

At 4k you have passed the maximum performance budget and now you are talking about minor differences in fit and finish. To me there is no question you should be going for the sawstop. I hate the company for their politics, but that doesn’t change the fact that they make a solid saw and have the only blade brake on the market. To not buy it over concerns about the fence does not make sense. You can buy a bessy clone for under 300 and have a rock solid fence if the sawstop fence ever gives out.

View Bogeyguy's profile


548 posts in 3122 days

#4 posted 03-07-2014 04:01 PM

Despite all the pros and cons you may have read here, if you have the cash, the SS is a no brainer. Now I’m going to duck down from the SS detractors. LOL!

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3124 days

#5 posted 03-07-2014 04:08 PM

+1 for saw stop.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View mikeevens45's profile


68 posts in 2630 days

#6 posted 03-07-2014 04:23 PM


-- as technology progresses, wood workers seem to regress...all my power tools and my favorite is a chisel and a hand plane

View knotscott's profile


8415 posts in 4429 days

#7 posted 03-07-2014 04:34 PM

I can’t tell you which is definitely the best saw for you, but I can tell you that PM and Jet are associated companies, with PM being marketed as their premier line….AFAIK the Jet Xacta II and PM Accufence are the same fence…basically the same as the HTC fence. The PM2000 has a larger table than most (30” deep vs 27”).

I can also tell you that Saw Stop is the only alternative that offers their unique braking system….there is some premium for it, but you do get a very nice saw independent of the safety brake.

Regarding warranties…. reliability studies tell us that most devices that are going to fail before the end of their expected service lives, will do so shortly after being placed into service….it’s known as an “infant mortality rate” in quality/reliability circles. Reliability curves of service life of any device show huge increases of failure in the early going, then fall to much lower levels for the normal service life of a given device, until finally they ramp up toward the tail end of that anticipated service life (table saws have very long expected service lives, compared to say most modern electronics). Generally an initial short warranty will cover the vast majority of common issues that arise. It’s the very reason that extended warranties are so profitable to those who offer them. Warranty duration is one contributor to the lower price of tools from Grizzly….lack of dealer mark up is another, and may be the more significant contributor of the two. Longer warranties have some appeal to certain people, as does dealer support, and they’re willing to pay for it, which is one of the allures of brands like PM and Jet. Longer warranties and dealer support are paid for in advance, whether they’re actually utilized or not. While there is some risk that a shorter warranty could leave you footing the bill on a repair, the odds are in your favor that you won’t need to perform anything more than routine maintenance. For me, warranty is a minor consideration in the equation, and focusing on other key parameters are more important, but YMMV.

At the top end of your budget, I’d be hardpressed to pass up the safety technology of the SS. I just don’t see much of an advantage over other $3000-$4000 saws without the safety device. If you wanted a really good saw without spending that much, I’d either have your current Jet maintained back to original, or would look to something like the Grizzly G1023RL series or G0690 (same saw as one of the Laguna and Baliegh saws).

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

View hotncold's profile


788 posts in 2598 days

#8 posted 03-07-2014 04:41 PM

Longer warranties are as much a marketing tool used to create a perception of better/longer quality. At least that is what I’ve seen with products in my business. No changes to the products but the warranty gets extended…complete with new product brochures hawking the longer warranty.
As for the saws, this week I ordered a new 3HP Sawstop PCS. For me, it was a no brainer.

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View Woodknack's profile


13552 posts in 3434 days

#9 posted 03-07-2014 06:52 PM

Delta makes the Unisaw, not Baileigh. As for parts, I’ve owned a Delta for over 15 years and have never needed parts. I don’t know that parts are a problem anyway for machines currently in production. “The Gold Standard” is a marketing line, not an actual thing, but PM has a solid reputation. The SS also has a solid reputation in the short time they’ve been around. I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, go see/touch the saws in person and you’ll know. That’s how I ended up with the Delta over the Jet and PM, it just seemed “right” when I fiddled with it.

-- Rick M,

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 4121 days

#10 posted 03-07-2014 09:46 PM

I gave my opinion on the saw but warantee’s are a marketing tool. I had a Delta X5 sander, and even with the 5 year warantee it was still a piece of crap. Most modern tools are 1 year. I judge by the number out for resale. I tried for over a year to find a used ICS at a discount price. Could not find it. Still cant. I think that says a lot.

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

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2957 days

#11 posted 03-07-2014 10:26 PM

Just me, I would bypass the dinky 10” puni saws and look into a 12-14” such as a clean used PM 72A.
Much more solid machine, more table distance up front, and overall better results.
Never heard a 12”-14” saw owner say, I wish I had a 10”.
But, don’t stand in front of the board/blade like the owner of sawstop does, take the lead in safety yourself.
By the way, a splitter work just fine, should use one on your current saw.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 4806 days

#12 posted 03-07-2014 11:08 PM

Nice reply unbob. Please forgive me for spitting my coffee everywheres while reading it.

1. A splitter might be nice on older saws as I have used them quite a lot. But the blade moves away from the splitter when it’s being lowered allowing more time for pinch. A riving knife remains constant.

2. Is there something magical that happens with a 12” saw that enables you obtain overall better results?

3. SawStop owners tempt fate? WOW….. I always knew they were idiots! :)

View Woodmaster1's profile


1701 posts in 3641 days

#13 posted 03-08-2014 12:01 AM

I have 2yr. Old 5hp Unisaw that is great. I would not trade it for any other saw. I have used a sawstop they are also good saws but I like my Unisaw better. As long as you practice good safety techniques any good table saw is safe.

View madts's profile


1954 posts in 3393 days

#14 posted 03-08-2014 12:36 AM

Saw stop is a no brainer.
Why buy a brand new saw that can cut your fingers off, when you can buy one that won’t.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View NiteWalker's profile


2742 posts in 3631 days

#15 posted 03-08-2014 12:49 AM

What most others said, I’d be all over a sawstop.

I think most misinterpret the safety mechanism though; it’s not meant to give you a false sense of security. It’s there to prevent a potentially harmful and expensive accident when common safety practices fail. Just because your car has airbags doesn’t mean you drive like a maniac, right?

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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