Full Review of SawStop: Is it Worth the Money?
One of the biggest concerns facing woodworkers in the modern age is safety.
Working with power tools can be extremely hazardous, and although we’d all like to believe that we’re immune to accidents due to our experience or caution, this is simply not true.
One of the worst offenders for jobsite accidents related to woodworking is the dreaded table saw. Not only can you quickly and efficiently slice off the ends (or worse) of your fingers in less than a second, their kickback can bruise or even break bones.
SawStop: The Company’s Mission
SawStop is a company that set out to create a safer table saw so that we can work unhindered by concerns of losing fingers.
Their unique design stops the saw blade immediately once it comes into contact with anything that isn’t wood. This is accomplished by running a small electric current through the metal blade.
The interruption of the current (such as by a finger) activates an electronic braking system that stops the blade’s rotation within fractions of a second. This means that what could have resulted in the loss of your fingers now only results in a small cut.
SawStop has become a sensation in the woodworking community since then, and for good reason. After all, who wouldn’t want the guarantee of safety combined with an ultra-powerful table saw?
Of course, these great qualities come with an equally impressive price tag. Their most basic model, the Jobsite Pro, has a base price of $1399. This price only increases with the larger models, and their largest stationary model, the Industrial, starts at a whopping $4049.
This leaves many people wondering whether or not the SawStop is worth the price. We’ll be going in depth today to discuss the pros and cons of SawStop in order to help you ultimately decide if you think it’s worth the money.
Let’s start by looking at the models that SawStop offers and some of their features. As previously mentioned, the most basic model is called the Jobsite Pro.
This one, as the name suggests, is ideal for taking along with you onto jobsites. It is mobile and can be wheeled around for easier movability. Unlike some of their other options, the Jobsite Pro is only available in one model.
It features a 10 inch saw blade and a 4 horsepower motor. Its 116 inch cord gives you some flexibility with placement on the jobsite, and when the cart is open the entire thing measured 48” by 29” with an optimal working height of 36”. Weighing in at 113 pounds, this relatively light and easy to control unit starts at a hefty $1400.
Their next tier of saw is called the Contractor. This one is not as mobile as the Jobsite Pro, but does feature some integrated mobility options.
Also unlike the Jobsite Pro, the Contractor offers three different model options. The main appreciable difference in models comes in their rip capacity length and their extension wing length. Available in 30”, 36”, and 52” rip capacities, there is an option for everyone out there.
The 30” option does not come with extension wings, but the others do. Weighing in at between 245 and 335 pounds, each model is more difficult to move than the last (but also sturdier). With a base price of $1699, the Contractor offers several upgrade options, such as cast-iron wings, for a price.
Next we have the Professional. Unlike the previous two options, the Professional is not mobile. This takes it out of the running for anyone needing a table saw for jobsite work.
However, this does mean that it is a sturdier option for those with a designated woodshop. Offering the same three rip capacity lengths as the Contractor, the Professional features a 40-tooth, professional grade blade of 10 inches. Starting at $2449, this table saw is definitely a bit more of an investment.
Lastly, the Industrial is SawStop’s top tier line. Ideal for serious craftsmen and professionals, this table saw is the heaviest duty one you may have ever seen.
The blade has tilting capability, unlike all the other models, and the entire unit weights anywhere between 530 and 685 pounds. Obviously, this table saw is not at all easily moved and is definitely meant to stay in one place for a very long time. With 36” and 52” rip capacity options and a professional grade 10” blade, the Industrial table saw will set you back a minimum of $4049.
Worth the Money? We’d Say So.
So, is SawStop worth the money?
If you’re buying table saw for the first time and are willing to spend a little more up front to get high quality, extremely safe tool, then I would say yes.
If you’re experienced in the woodworking game and are looking to upgrade your workshop’s safety after hearing one too many stories about missing fingers, also yes.
If you’re neither of these, and are just looking for an all-around good table saw, then maybe. SawStop is not a bad investment at all. It is an extreme high quality tool with the best safety features on the market. It is up to you (and your budget) to decide whether it’s the right option for your needs.