Big and heavy cabinet saws provide more power and precision than other table saws. Reviews praise this top-of-the-line 3-horsepower SawStop cabinet saw for performance, ease of use and dust control as well as its unusual safety -- with the flesh-sensing blade brake to prevent cuts, plus an excellent blade guard and riving knife. It's also available in a 5-horsepower version, but reviews say a 3-horsepower cabinet saw is powerful enough for almost every user. The warranty is for two years. The newer SawStop model, the Professional Cabinet Saw (*Est. $3,000) is a bit smaller and lighter so it doesn't cut quite as smoothly, but it features improved dust control and a blade guard that's easier to use.
Newer and less expensive SawStop models have gotten more attention since they came out; Popular Woodworking compares this original SawStop cabinet saw with the less expensive SawStop Professional model. Earlier, Taunton's 2008 Tool Guide reports on tests comparing the SawStop Industrial with other cabinet saws, plus results from the annual survey of readers of Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding. Thorough comparison tests in three other publications -- Workbench, Popular Woodworking and Tools of the Trade -- also include the SawStop cabinet saw. Detailed single-product reviews in Woodworker's Journal and Woodcraft magazine evaluate the SawStop saw not only for its unique safety features but for performance, ease of use and build quality as well. A recent report from an engineer at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reinforces the importance of the SawStop safety features.
1. Popular Woodworking
This detailed review compares the SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw (ICS) with the newer, less expensive SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw (PCS). The heavier weight and trunnions design on the SawStop ICS makes for smoother cutting, but the newer model provides better dust collection and still performs very well.
Review: Benchtop Table Saws, Glen D. Huey, Dec. 2009
2. Taunton's 2010 Tool Guide
This review compares the riving knife and blade guard system used on the SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw with those on seven other cabinet saws. The SawStop blade guard is judged "user-friendly." A big lever makes it easy to adjust the riving knives, but only after you remove the throat plate -- unnecessary on the Delta Unisaw, which earns top ranking here.
Review: A Riving Knife Prevents Tablesaw Kickback, Roland Johnson, Nov. 2009
3. Fine Woodworking
This review calls the SawStop cabinet saw "a major leap forward" in table saw safety. The reviewer praises the true riving knife, as well as the innovative blade brake.
Review: A Safer Tablesaw Finally Arrives, Kelly Mehler, Nov. 2008
4. Woodcraft Magazine
This article by a hand surgeon and woodworking enthusiast notes that most table saw injuries happen to experienced users. He traded in his Delta Unisaw for a SawStop cabinet saw, based on its superior safety features.
Review: Table Saw Safety: A Woodworking Hand Surgeon's Unique Perspective, John A. Miyano, Jan. 2008
5. Taunton's 2008 Tool Guide
The SawStop CB31230 (now called the SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw) shares top ranking for performance with the Powermatic PM2000, based on earlier tests of 11 cabinet saws at Fine Woodworking, but the SawStop has the best safety features, including the easiest blade guard to remove and replace. The annual survey of readers of Fine Homebuilding and Fine Woodworking ranks the SawStop highest for two years in a row.
Review: 10-in. Cabinet Saws, Roland Johnson and Taunton Press Editors, Sept. 2007
6. Workbench Magazine
Here too, the SawStop shares top ranking with the Powermatic PM2000. Workbench also provides an online video of the SawStop blade brake in action.
Review: Table Saw Shootout!, Bill Link, June 2006
7. Popular Woodworking
This article praises both the SawStop CB3230 and Powermatic PM2000 for their riving knives, but favors the Powermatic saw overall.
Review: What's New in Table Saws, Editors of Popular Woodworking, Jan. 2007
8. Tools of the Trade Online
Six heavy-duty cabinet table saws are run through objective tests here, with the SawStop sharing top ratings with the Laguna TS for fit and finish, trunnions, smooth cutting, dust collection and safety -- with riving knives and excellent blade guards.
Review: 3-HP Cabinet Saws, Bill Thomas, Nov. 2005
9. Woodworker's Journal
This woodworking instructor tests the SawStop cabinet saw in his own school, and also interviews other SawStop owners about their experiences with the saw. The blade guard and riving knife get top ratings for safety and convenience, and the saw's dust collection is also excellent.
Review: SawStop in the Real World, George Vondriska, June 2008
10. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Engineering psychologist Timothy Smith concludes that the extra protection provided by the SawStop blade brake is important for preventing serious injuries. He praises the new blade guards equipped with riving knives -- as on the exemplary Bosch table saws -- but concludes that they're not enough by themselves, since a hand can still move into the blade.
Review: Human Factors Evaluation of Technology Intended to Address Blade-Contact Injuries with Table Saws, Timothy P. Smith, Engineering Psychologist, July 2011
11. Woodcraft Magazine
Both amateur and professional woodworkers here agree that the SawStop's safety features alone make it far superior to other table saws, but the saw also earns praise for low vibration, out-of-the-box alignment, table flatness, blade runout and parallelism.
Review: Safety First, Jim Derby, Jan. 2007
The SawStop blade brake is tested to see if it actually works as advertised. Editors try to cut hot dogs and chicken thighs to be sure they stop the blade, but also test using softer, dampened wood to see if it generates false positives.
Review: Cutting-edge Protection for Hands and Fingers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, June 2007