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SawStop Contractor Saw Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 2 Star Rating (1 Review)


SawStop Contractor Saw (c) SawStop, LLC.

The Bottom Line

A few years ago, SawStop made waves with their revolutionary blade safety system, which is designed to stop their table saw blade and drop it below the table within milliseconds should the woodworker come in contact with the blade. Until recently, they only offered a cabinet saw.

Now, that safety feature has been added to a world-class contractor saw, one loaded with features that rivals any other contractor saw that I've ever used. In testing this saw, I was duly impressed with not only the list of features, but the fit and finish of the saw and the power with which it cut. It is truly an impressive machine.
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  • Contractor Saw that includes SawStop's revolutionary blade brake system
  • 1.75-HP motor can be set up for 110 or 220-volt power
  • Cast iron table with removable extension wings, that can be replaced by optional cast iron wings
  • Exceptionally well-written owner's guides and assembly manuals


  • More expensive than most contractor saws, but that price includes SawStop's blade brake system


  • Standard features include a solid cast iron table with T-style miter tracks, plus cast iron trunnions and arbor block
  • Features a true riving knife, easily interchangeable with a blade guard (including a riving knife & anti-kickback pawls)
  • Blade shroud designed for better dust collection than most contractor saws
  • Large start/stop paddle power switch with removable lock-out key
  • Blade brake system can be switched off for cutting of extremely wet stock
  • Options include mobile base, cast iron wings, T-Glide (Biesemeyer-style) fence and extension table

Guide Review - SawStop Contractor Saw Review

I have been familiar with SawStop's patented blade brake safety system since it's introduction a few years ago, when I saw their famous "hot dog" demo (which you can watch at www.SawStop.com). While the safety feature is definitely impressive, I wanted to see how the saw performed compared to comparable models.

I've used a number of contractor's saws in my time, and let's just say that I came away from my testing of the SawStop Contractor Saw quite impressed. First of all, while it took about four hours from the moment I opened the box until I finished assembly and adjustments to prepare for my first cut, I was very pleased with the exceptionally well-written assembly instructions. The only trouble that I encountered was that my box didn't include a drive belt, an oversight that the local dealer quickly rectified.

Once I began cutting, the SawStop really began to shine. The unit I tested included the optional T-Glide fence system, cast iron extension wings and mobile base. Once the fence was adjusted to be square to the table, it remained true no matter where I placed it. The 1-3/4 HP motor handled any task that I threw at it while set to 110-volt power and with the included 10" blade. I'm sure that adding a top-end blade and switching the power supply to 220-volt would make it perform even better.

I must admit I've never been a big fan of blade guards, but I felt comfortable using the saw with the blade guard (including riving knife and anti-kickback pawls). However, one can easily trade the blade guard for a single riving knife with a quick flick of a lever beneath the table top.

While the price is certainly higher than most competing saws, I'm of the opinion that if the safety feature saves one person's hand from an accident, then the additional money was well spent. To get a saw of this quality with the safety features is a bonus.
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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 2 out of 5
Buy a powermatic, Member bagpipeguy

I have had this tool for over a year now and have run a lot of boards through it. Like many I saw the time warp video with the guy who places his finger in the blade and the machine stops. and i was like ooooooooo that's nice so i sold my powermatic contractors saw to get the sawstop contractors saw. first the machine is really expensive. I bought the upgraded fence, the mobile base, and the cast iron wings bc the wings it comes with well they are really cheap and the fence it comes with well it is garbage plain and simple. so you have to spend 2000 dollars for a decent set up. i should say my powermatic was 1200 but had all of these features and the table extension was a routing table. Next, the machine has a hard time cutting long oak boards. (this is with a really expensive blade). i would trip the breaker on the machine constantly while cutting a one inch thick oak board. I am not saying the powermatic cut through this like butter, but i never tripped the circuit on the powermatic. added expense. so this is something you may not know about. the sawstop has a bypass mode that will allow you to turn the computer off which i will talk more about latter. however, if you want to make a quick dado cut well you can't. to make the cut one would think you would turn the saw off put the new blades in and run the dado cut through the bypass mode. Unfortunately you can not do that, you have to buy a whole separate brake to cut a dado. this process involves taking the other brake out and placing a new brake in. yes if you work for sawstop and have been trained to do this is takes only a few mins. however, if you live in the real world it takes about 20 mins. so if you are going to purchase this saw remember to purchase the dado brake. again you don't have to do this with a powermatic. God forbid you have to cut pressure treated lumber on the sawstop bc it cant do it with the computer on. so i am not a hobby woodworker. this is how i earn my living. i build a whole lot of porches and outdoor structures. so i use a lot of pressure treated lumber. to cut pressure treated lumber you have to run the saw in bypass mode. if you don't you will be out a 50-150 dollar blade and a 70 dollar computerized break. I bought this saw to protect my fingers, but most of the time i am using it on bypass mode which means I am not protecting my fingers at all. the motor is weaker than the powermatic, everything costs a ton for this saw, and i still have not managed to get one of their customer service reps to respond to me. so basically this saw is a waste of money. the sawstop is great if you are careless and like to get your fingers by the blade and yes accidents can happen but if you have to run the saw in bypass most of the time accidents can still happen with this over priced table saw. If you think about what you are doing and use safety equipment then you don't need this saw i will be selling mine and going back to the powermatic which is just a better saw.

103 out of 122 people found this helpful.

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