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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading many forums over the past few weeks as well as manufacturer information on many brands and models of table saws. But the one thing that seems harder to pin down is overall opinion and performance of the table saws, mainly due to to what I can only call "fanboy love" which tends to overlook flaws and failings when giving opinions about brands.

I am researching now so I am better prepared to make a real informed choice within the next 6-9 months. My budget will be between $2000 - $5000 because I want this to be the last table saw I need to buy.

I have been looking a lot at the Powermatic and the Sawstop but I'm not leaning one way or another until I think I have more honest feedback. I am open to almost any brand of table saw, and I think I will be buying roughly a 3HP with 36-52in area on fence/rip area. I will mostly be cutting sheet goods, hardwood, 2x4, 2x6, nothing overly exotic or beefy for the time being. I decided on 3HP because I want my work pace to dictate the speed at which I cut, and not the motor, and as I've heard so often "no one with the 3HP says they wish they had the 1.75HP"

Some of my main concerns are:
1. Quality fence, one that is easy to use, stays straight, easy to adjust/align, and will last for a long time without a lot of hassle. At this price point dropping an additional $500 or more for a new/different fence system seems.... wrong to me.
2. I want a saw that has reliable and accurate adjustments (IE Angle settings, depth etc) so that I know without the use of a digital angle finder or gauge that I'm pretty darn close to where it says on the graduations. Yes I realize this is relative but I already have a table saw that I have to manually measure everything 5 times and still gives a horrible cut.
3. Maintenance that is pretty straight forward and doesn't take 5 hours every month or two.
4. Solid dust collection that actually works, I've read many posts about subpar dust collection which causes headaches for the previous point. I feel that the premium price of my budget should include dust collection that actually collects about 90%+ of the dust etc. And yes I know a lot of this is relative to the power of the DC but lets assume here that it has ideal suction/flow.
5. Mobility - My garage still needs to be a 2 car garage at the end of the day, I need a mobile base that will last and make moving the saw easy

What are the real pros/cons of some of these higher end table saws, it's easy for me to find 1000 videos and reviews praising this brand or that, but its been very hard to find people that are honest with themselves and their audience.

Please share with me the brands you use, pictures if you have them, the honest feedback for them, things you like and things you don't like, this information helps me to better understand my own needs and that if your con might be a pro for me.
 
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where's my table saw?
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OK, you asked for it ....

At the low end, I have used the "lowly" Craftsman 12" direct drive table saws for the last 35 years, after replacing the crappy fence with Delta Unifence everything works just fine and plenty of power on 220 v. The Delta Unifence is now discontinued so Ebay is the only source.

At the top end is an older 12" Powermatic 68, with a Biesemeyer fence, a heavy duty brute, that is dead on each time you move it and lock it down. The controls are as smooth as butter and the 5 HP motor is scary powerful. The surfaces are ground beautifully smooth and it's very well made. Dust collection sucks .... well not literally. I made my own blade shroud, since on that older saw it was not a design priority. A new saw will have better dust collection.... I hope! Inspect each saw for a complete blade shroud for the best dust collection. A 4" port at the base of the cabinet is just about useless.

Kinda in the middle is a Craftsman 22124 hydrid also with a Biesmeyer fence and a 1 3/4 HP motor.. Also very smooth controls and enough power for all I need of a 10" saw.

Your best bet is to inspect the saws in person, and work the fence and elevation and tilt controls just like you would test drive a new car/truck. Listen to the motor, check for vibrations, check the location of the ON/OFF switch for easy shut down, Woodcraft often has both Powermatic and Sawstop models on the floor in the larger stores.

I have no experience with the Saw Stop other than seeing it in the show room and observing that it is very high quality. If the safety feature is a priority, that that will narrow it down immediately. I have had no flesh biting injuries in 50 years of table saw operation. I use push sticks and blocks and hold downs and a splitter to prevent kickbacks. I do not have a blade guard as such only a simple 2 sided thin plywood cover to keep the dust off my face.
Keep in mind a fair amount of dust is spit off the top of the spinning blade and there are "over the blade" dust systems just for that reason.

The simple rule I follow is to never put your hand in direct line with the blade.... well if it's 18" away then maybe OK, but that really is still poor practice. The pushing forces should be forward and into the fence using the right hand with the fence to the right of the blade. :smile3:
 

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Got Sawdust?
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That's a healthy budget for a table saw. The world is your oyster.

All joking aside, l would go with a Delta Unisaw or something similar with the largest cast iron table you have room for.

I'm sure the more experienced folks will have more educated advice.
 

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Check out Rob Cosman's YouTube video on "Why I chose a SawStop ". I am on my phone and cannot link it. Rob is knowledgeable and, as far as I know, unbiased.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Your best bet is to inspect the saws in person, and work the fence and elevation and tilt controls just like you would test drive a new car/truck. Listen to the motor, check for vibrations, check the location of the ON/OFF switch for easy shut down, Woodcraft often has both Powermatic and Sawstop models on the floor in the larger stores.
I was actually in a Woodcraft store this morning, looking at the Sawstop, but they did not have any PM on display. The guy showed me the adjustment screws on the t-glide fence, very simple and easy.

Check out Rob Cosman's YouTube video on "Why I chose a SawStop ". I am on my phone and cannot link it. Rob is knowledgeable and, as far as I know, unbiased.
Watched that video a few weeks ago, I'm subscribed to his channel and have watched many of his videos.
 

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The Saw Stop ICS is about as good as it gets in a 3hp industrial style cabinet saw. Extremely well made, and won't bite the hand that feeds it....their PCS is really good too, but the ICS is more robust. The Powermatic PM2000 is right up there too, but it does bite....at that price point, why not get one that won't?

I would not spend that kind of money on a Delta product at this time due to the current ownership and service concerns. Jet, Baileigh, Laguna, Shop Fox, and Grizzly are all solid choices (and possibly better value) but aren't made to the level of the SS or PM IMHO.
 

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In the price range that you allow any of the saws should meet your criteria.

If I was going to buy a saw in that zone I would get the Sawstop. All else being equal I believe that the safety of that saw makes it the winner hands down.

George
 

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I agree that if you're pouring Fort Knox into your table saw you might as well make damned sure you're not also pouring Fort Knox into the Emergency room to sew a finger or two back on. Go with SS.. That's my opinion because I did get clipped once with a pile of danger Ryobi $119 model.. For that kind of money you shouldn't even have to think about your fingers getting shorter. Leave that up to your kitchen knives.
 

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in our shop we have the sawstop ics and ss contractor saw, high end grizzly cabinet saw, and I have an older delta unisaw at home.


I prefer the old unisaw's and the sawstop ics. I agree that the delta is not what they used to be. the ics is a fine saw in its operations, and has the safety feature as well. I have used powermatic's, and they are darn nice if you can find a good one.


try to get somewhere to see them and try them
 

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in our shop we have the sawstop ics and ss contractor saw, high end grizzly cabinet saw, and I have an older delta unisaw at home.


I prefer the old unisaw's and the sawstop ics. I agree that the delta is not what they used to be. the ics is a fine saw in its operations, and has the safety feature as well. I have used powermatic's, and they are darn nice if you can find a good one.


try to get somewhere to see them and try them
"try to get somewhere to see them and try them "

This cannot be said often enough or loud enough. When you are purchasing something as personal as a table saw you need to put your hands on the models you are thinking about BEFORE purchase.

George
 

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I can only refer to the 3 hp Sawstop PCS with the 36" table. The only other table saw I've used is an old direct drive Craftsman.
I sprung for the overarm dust collection accessory and the integrated mobile base. Both are worth the money to me.
Dust collection is very good when I remember to open the gate for the collector. The overarm collector works well except when I'm trimming a very small amount off the edge of a board. As long as the offcut is about 1/2" wide or more it does well.
The overarm unit can't be used with the fence for cuts under about an inch wide due to the fence bumping it. Swapping to the riving knife is a 15 - 20 second job.
The fence is accurate and easy to set. Glides smoothly.
The paddle switch is recessed somewhat from the table front. I don't find it easy to bump with my thigh.
The safety system works! At least when metal touches the spinning blade. Haven't tested it with flesh. So pay attention to what's in your wood. New brake and blade will set you back $100.00+. I use a metal detection wand on all my wood, new or old.
A dado set requires a different brake. Only an 8" set can be used.
The saw cannot be used without a brake, so I keep a spare on hand. (And a blade.)
For me, these inconveniences are very minor compared to the pleasure I get from using a top quality saw.



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Got Sawdust?
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I can only refer to the 3 hp Sawstop PCS with the 36" table. The only other table saw I've used is an old direct drive Craftsman.
I sprung for the overarm dust collection accessory and the integrated mobile base. Both are worth the money to me.
Dust collection is very good when I remember to open the gate for the collector. The overarm collector works well except when I'm trimming a very small amount off the edge of a board. As long as the offcut is about 1/2" wide or more it does well.
The overarm unit can't be used with the fence for cuts under about an inch wide due to the fence bumping it. Swapping to the riving knife is a 15 - 20 second job.
The fence is accurate and easy to set. Glides smoothly.
The paddle switch is recessed somewhat from the table front. I don't find it easy to bump with my thigh.
The safety system works! At least when metal touches the spinning blade. Haven't tested it with flesh. So pay attention to what's in your wood. New brake and blade will set you back $100.00+. I use a metal detection wand on all my wood, new or old.
A dado set requires a different brake. Only an 8" set can be used.
The saw cannot be used without a brake, so I keep a spare on hand. (And a blade.)
For me, these inconveniences are very minor compared to the pleasure I get from using a top quality saw.

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I know very little about the SS; is the brake a one use item? Something that has to be replaced if used?
 

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I have been reading many forums over the past few weeks as well as manufacturer information on many brands and models of table saws. But the one thing that seems harder to pin down is overall opinion and performance of the table saws, mainly due to to what I can only call "fanboy love" which tends to overlook flaws and failings when giving opinions about brands.
A wild idea, but works well for me, was a used Felder Hammer C3-31, a 3 motor combination machine, $5,000 from Craig's List. For that I got a 12" 3HP saw (with a 48" slider), a 3HP router, a 3HP 12" joiner and a 3HP 12" planer on a mobile base. Has it's positives and negatives but it's mobile and makes for a very viable 12' x 22' shop. They do come up from time to time.
 

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I know very little about the SS; is the brake a one use item? Something that has to be replaced if used?
Yes, but the last I knew they'd pay for it if it resulted in a "save", meaning you triggered it with your flesh. If you trigger it with a miter gauge or wet wood, I think it's around $80.

I have been reading many forums over the past few weeks as well as manufacturer information on many brands and models of table saws. But the one thing that seems harder to pin down is overall opinion and performance of the table saws, mainly due to to what I can only call "fanboy love" which tends to overlook flaws and failings when giving opinions about brands.
I really think it'll be hard to quantify performance of the saws at this level. End performance is enormously effected by things like setup, lubrication, blade selection, fence, belts and pulleys, and even the throat insert, not to mention whether or not the material is flat and straight. There are a lot of variables. For every difference you think you might notice, there's potentially an underlying cause that could be contributed to something to do with some variable beyond just the brand and model number that can be easily adjusted. Until you make a jump in horsepower, or get a completely different style fence like the Incra, it's going to be difficult to tell which saw made a cut. They all have loads of potential for excellent precision and ample power.

The fit and finish may be a bit nicer on some (...and arguably at that), but even at the entry level of a $1500 industrial type cabinet saw, the performance of something like a Grizzly G1023RL and G0690 have excellent potential, especially at the hobby level. The top end saws like the PM2000 and I think the ICS have about 3" more depth from front to back (30" vs 27"), adding more mass, so those may feel a little different. They also have heavier duty underpinnings in some of the unseen parts, which will show up more after years of heavy daily use. Otherwise, many of the saws come from the same factories, and offer longer or shorter warranties, dealer support, and may sport different "bolt ons" like the switch, blade guard, motor, belts, handwheels, etc. In fact at one time, the G0690 was the same as the original Laguna Platinum, Baileigh 3hp cabinet saw, and a few others....warranty and dealer support were the major differences that added a $300-$400 premium.

The industrial sliders may offer some unique abilities, but I'm not familiar enough to speak about them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All good information, but I was hoping for a bit more 'first-hand' knowledge for some of these saws, what specifically did you like or dislike.

I have been eyeing the SawStop PCS31230 52" T-Glide 3HP with overarm collection and Industrial Mobile Base, and I know that most saws in this range are nice but I wanted to know the little niggles that most people don't mention.

Yes the SawStop has a great safety feature, but I do not want to exclude other saws just because they lack this feature. I am very safety minded when working around any dangerous tools (thanks military training!) and I would hate to overlook a great potential saw because I became narrowly focused on one brand or a specific feature.

Currently I have a $200 Ryobi table saw and aside from performing like trash, can't get a straight cut to save my life, and it generally scares the **** outta me, I want to only make 1 more purchase and that be the end of it. I don't want to do what many people do and upgrade, use, buy used, use, upgrade, so on and so forth.. I would rather spend my time and money on a quality product that will likely outlast me and remove a piece of hassle from my life so I can focus more on the projects and less about how inferior my tools are.

This is why I want honest feedback, pros and cons, for the higher end saws this community uses so I can make a more informed choice. As for going and physically looking at the saws I'm considering I am trying to do that as well, but currently the closest store that actually has any PM on display is about a 2 hour trip and the closest Grizzly showroom is about a 10 hour round trip, so not always an option.
 

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Okay, for starters, I will be honest and say that I haven't read anyone else's posts so I am just flying solo and giving my opinion here without any bias from anyone else's ideas. I currently have a Sawstop 3HP PCS and I have been using this saw for a couple of years. I absolutely love this saw. The construction of the saw and the performance is top notch with the added security of the flesh sensing brake. At first, I was a little surprised to see the the extension table was made of wood. Kind of a torsion box with a melamine coating on it. I thought that it wouldn't stand up to any sort of abuse but other than some scratches on it from normal use, the side table still looks great. I have had zero problems with this unit and surprisingly, it has kept its calibration since day one. I check it from time to time to see if anything has gone out of whack and it has always remained true. The accessories that come with the saw are pretty heavy duty including the blades wrenches. I'm used to saws coming with flimsy wrenches that you are nervous about using because the jaws of the wrench actually spread open when using them but not with the Sawstop. The wrenches are thick steel and are a perfect fit to the arbour and the arbour nut. I like the fact that the retaining nut of the blade is also quite a heavy gauge but I am assuming that this is to withstand a tripping of the brake, should it happen. I do not like the push stick that comes with the unit. I think it is too long and it is very awkward to use so I don't use it at all. The riving knife is extremely solid and easy to remove if you are using a dado set. Speaking of dado set, there will be an extra expense, should you get a Sawstop. The original blade brake that comes with the saw is NOT suitable for a dado blade. There is just too much blade in a dado set for a normal brake mechanism to stop so you will need to purchase a designated dado brake as well as a new insert to cut for your dado set. I thought that the brake mechanism would be a PITA to change out but I have learned that it is actually a very quick and easy process once you get used to it and it is no big deal to change it out when you need to. There is a tool that comes with the saw that sets the proper distance between the blade and the brake and I have to be honest and saw that I only use it to check the set up from time to time. The saw's control panel will tell you if the brake is too far from the blade. As for the dust collection, if you have the dust port at the rear of the saw connected (4" port) you are only getting partial benefit to the saw's dust collection. There is a separate over arm dust collection system that is available and it T's off from the initial 4" port to provide collection to the blade guard. The two collection systems working together provide excellent dust collection of about 85-90% of the dust from the cut. Removing the blade insert is extremely easy and it makes blade changes quick and painless. I do have one complaint about the saw and that is that the power cord is too short. I ended up purchasing some cable and replacing the power cord with a much longer one to reach around the shop. As far as mobility goes, you can purchase a mobile base that works very well with the press of one foot. It raises the entire saw, including the extension table completely off the floor and allows you to roll it to wherever you need it to be. I don't use this feature very much because my saw has a fairly permanent home in my shop, but there have been times where I needed to move the saw and I was glad that I had the mobile base. The tool storage on the lower right side of the cabinet holds everything neatly and conveniently in reach. The mitre fence that came with it? I couldn't tell you if it is good or bad. It feels pretty solid but I have an INCRA after market fence that I love and I have used it since day one with the Sawstop. There is a way to over ride the safety mechanism if you want but it is a pain in the butt and they make it that way on purpose so that you are not constantly over riding the safety feature. The on off switch console is another solid unit that feels good when you turn it on or off. No flimsiness here at all. Another point to make is the assembly of this saw. It was extremely easy and the instructions couldn't have been easier to follow or understand with everything being colour coded and blister packed to the point where a child (if they had the physical strength) could assembly it. I have not regretted purchasing this saw for one moment and there has never been a time where I have wished I bought something else. I have never had to deal with them, but I have also heard that their customer service is top notch and that they really cater to the customer. I don't know if my little write up helps you or not, but feel free to ask me any questions you like, either by PM or in this thread and I will do my best to answer you as best I can. Good luck on your saw quest.
 

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The SS brake is a single use item. The blade jams into it at high speed, trashing it and blade-at least the carbide tipped. I don't know what might happen to a HSS blade.
Another consideration I didn't think to mention earlier is the insert. The design is such that it cannot be easily made in the shop, if at all. Also, the dado requires a differently configured insert. Each insert type currently runs $39.00.
If you run several different dado widths, and suffer from OCD, then you'll probably want zero clearance for each width. That could get spendy. I do fine with one dado insert for all.
I'm convinced the push stick SS includes in the package is to encourage us to buy or make real push tools. I have several pads and a couple of shoes, but my go-to pushers are my two GRRR Ripper systems. They are an excellent accessory for an excellent saw.


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Okay, for starters, I will be honest and say that I haven't read anyone else's posts so I am just flying solo and giving my opinion here without any bias from anyone else's ideas. I currently have a Sawstop 3HP PCS and I have been using this saw for a couple of years. I absolutely love this saw. The construction of the saw and the performance is top notch with the added security of the flesh sensing brake. At first, I was a little surprised to see the the extension table was made of wood. Kind of a torsion box with a melamine coating on it. I thought that it wouldn't stand up to any sort of abuse but other than some scratches on it from normal use, the side table still looks great. I have had zero problems with this unit and surprisingly, it has kept its calibration since day one. I check it from time to time to see if anything has gone out of whack and it has always remained true. The accessories that come with the saw are pretty heavy duty including the blades wrenches. I'm used to saws coming with flimsy wrenches that you are nervous about using because the jaws of the wrench actually spread open when using them but not with the Sawstop. The wrenches are thick steel and are a perfect fit to the arbour and the arbour nut. I like the fact that the retaining nut of the blade is also quite a heavy gauge but I am assuming that this is to withstand a tripping of the brake, should it happen. I do not like the push stick that comes with the unit. I think it is too long and it is very awkward to use so I don't use it at all. The riving knife is extremely solid and easy to remove if you are using a dado set. Speaking of dado set, there will be an extra expense, should you get a Sawstop. The original blade brake that comes with the saw is NOT suitable for a dado blade. There is just too much blade in a dado set for a normal brake mechanism to stop so you will need to purchase a designated dado brake as well as a new insert to cut for your dado set. I thought that the brake mechanism would be a PITA to change out but I have learned that it is actually a very quick and easy process once you get used to it and it is no big deal to change it out when you need to. There is a tool that comes with the saw that sets the proper distance between the blade and the brake and I have to be honest and saw that I only use it to check the set up from time to time. The saw's control panel will tell you if the brake is too far from the blade. As for the dust collection, if you have the dust port at the rear of the saw connected (4" port) you are only getting partial benefit to the saw's dust collection. There is a separate over arm dust collection system that is available and it T's off from the initial 4" port to provide collection to the blade guard. The two collection systems working together provide excellent dust collection of about 85-90% of the dust from the cut. Removing the blade insert is extremely easy and it makes blade changes quick and painless. I do have one complaint about the saw and that is that the power cord is too short. I ended up purchasing some cable and replacing the power cord with a much longer one to reach around the shop. As far as mobility goes, you can purchase a mobile base that works very well with the press of one foot. It raises the entire saw, including the extension table completely off the floor and allows you to roll it to wherever you need it to be. I don't use this feature very much because my saw has a fairly permanent home in my shop, but there have been times where I needed to move the saw and I was glad that I had the mobile base. The tool storage on the lower right side of the cabinet holds everything neatly and conveniently in reach. The mitre fence that came with it? I couldn't tell you if it is good or bad. It feels pretty solid but I have an INCRA after market fence that I love and I have used it since day one with the Sawstop. There is a way to over ride the safety mechanism if you want but it is a pain in the butt and they make it that way on purpose so that you are not constantly over riding the safety feature. The on off switch console is another solid unit that feels good when you turn it on or off. No flimsiness here at all. Another point to make is the assembly of this saw. It was extremely easy and the instructions couldn't have been easier to follow or understand with everything being colour coded and blister packed to the point where a child (if they had the physical strength) could assembly it. I have not regretted purchasing this saw for one moment and there has never been a time where I have wished I bought something else. I have never had to deal with them, but I have also heard that their customer service is top notch and that they really cater to the customer. I don't know if my little write up helps you or not, but feel free to ask me any questions you like, either by PM or in this thread and I will do my best to answer you as best I can. Good luck on your saw quest.
WOW!!!!

This had to be a record breaker paragraph. I would not try to read that on a bet.

George
 

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where's my table saw?
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Why paragraphs are needed...

Your eye can not visually keep track of where it was reading on a page that full of text. The lines run together and you have to start over with what you remember reading previously. It's just not easy to do. :|

Ever since you commented on a very long paragraph I posted, I became more aware of this, and will sometimes paragraph just 2 sentences if it helps clarity. Clarity is what we are seeking here to help and inform. and without it it's just so many words on a page. Older folks struggle with this more than young speed readers .... probably? :nerd2:
 

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I read it with ease. I'm and older reader.
I tend to skip posts with long, rambling, run-on sentences.


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