sbarton22

Powermatic or Sawstop

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Can anyone give me an opinion or things to consider when looking at a new table saw? I'm down to the Powermatic PM2000 or the similar Sawstop version.

 

Basically, I want to buy this sucker once. For what is is worth, I have a basement shop, and the powermatic says it ship @ 600 lbs. I have no idea how I would get that in the shop.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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At this point you just need to go with your gut as to which is better. Powermatic is a proven name, and SawStop has the additional "safety" feature. Both should provide a good, serviceable life. Oh, and neither will likely be your "last" saw you purchase. I see they have CNC saws coming down in price....

 

As far as getting them into your basement shop, you can disassemble further if needed. All the saws and bigger equipment I've purchased needed additional assembly, and with the exception of my bandsaw, no piece was too big to carry by myself. You can definitely get it moved with the help of a buddy or two. Assemble in your shop.

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getting the saw into the basement shouldn't be an issue because it's not going to come assembled in one 600lb box (at least mine didn't). there were multiple pieces and while they were all heavy, it wasn't too bad getting it into my basement.  

 

as for the question of PM vs SS.....i can never wrap my head around why someone wouldn't go with a sawstop if they were buying a new saw these days.  sawstop's quality is top notch, plus it may keep u from cutting off your fingers.  the safety feature alone makes it stand by itself, but when you combine how good of a tables saw it actually is, i don't think there's a question. 

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You're down to two fairly expensive and well regarded cabinet saws made in Asia......why wouldn't you buy the one with the flesh sensing safety feature if the price difference isn't a factor?  I could understand if you were lamenting about a 3hp Griz cabinet saw vs a 1.5hp SS contractor saw, but the choice between the two you've listed is a no brainer to me. 

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PM has been around since 1921. Do you trust that SS the company will last long enough to see you through your use. The saw should last a normal lifetime, both of them. IF SS was gone where would you get a new brake if it did fire off? Something to think about. I know everyone is going to say SS isnt going anywhere but you never know. The PM can essentially be rebuilt with local bearings as long as the trunion or something like that doesnt break. The brake is the only real difference besides color and I think the cast iron base with built in wheels that lift the PM.

Don

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I really like Powermatic, their machines are top notch. Most of my machines are Powermatic. However I decided to go with the SS for my table saw because of the safety feature. Let me tell you the quality of this saw is outstanding. From the time I first opened up the boxes and found all the hardware in blister packs, to opening the owners manual (which is by far the best I have ever seen), to the first time I turned it on and heard it hum.
I have heard people say that the safety feature might make one become complacent around the saw, but from my experience I use the saw like I would any other saw, in fact I forget that the safety feature is even on it. I just like knowing that I have one more line of defense from injuring myself, one that I would not have on another saw. Accidents can happen no matter how safe one tries to be, thats why they're called accidents.
So it was a no brainer to me and shouldn't be for you. You will not regret it.

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I heard amazing ... a-m-a-z-i-n-g stories about General ... why is General not in that league?

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Thanks for all the great feedback. I think we have boiled it down to the two main points... the safety feature vs the brand longevity.

 

So, let's remove the safety feature...after that, what's the difference? Both are 3hp, 230v 13 A. Both have cast iron tops. Am I seeing that the PM has a cast base and the SS doesn't? If I'm getting the same saw, why not pay less for the safety? 

 

I feel like I am missing something.

 

I love PM. My bandsaw has been one of the best purchases I have made. But I'm not necessarily a brand loyalty to a fault guy. I bought a different brand dust collector because it was the best for what I needed. This might be another time I should deviate from PM.

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I heard amazing ... a-m-a-z-i-n-g stories about General ... why is General not in that league?

 

I don't know anything about General, and I don't even know where to get one in Kansas City.

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PM has been around since 1921. Do you trust that SS the company will last long enough to see you through your use. The saw should last a normal lifetime, both of them. IF SS was gone where would you get a new brake if it did fire off? Something to think about. I know everyone is going to say SS isnt going anywhere but you never know. The PM can essentially be rebuilt with local bearings as long as the trunion or something like that doesnt break. The brake is the only real difference besides color and I think the cast iron base with built in wheels that lift the PM.

Don

 

 

Other than the brake the biggest difference between the two saws is the HUGE Trunion on the SS and the medium sized trunion on the PM. Look up under the table

inside the cabinet of both saws. You will notice two major differences aside from the brake. You will notice the SS has a better dust collection design (IMO), and that the SawStop's trunion is about twice the size of the PM. (Not my opinion, but a fact.) The trunion on the SS was designed for 1 million stops. That's a lot of force. Therefore a lot of beefy cast iron.

 

Don't get me wrong the PM is a great saw. But the beefier trunion in my opinion give the SS a more solid feel. (Although in truth they are both very solid) The beefier trunion also means you will probably never have to tune the saw after you set it up. The beefier trunion does weigh more so it might be something to think about when trying to get it down the stairs to your basement shop. The beefier trunion also means you get pneumatically assisted wheels on the raising and lowering the blade as well as the blade tilt. The PM's wheels are fine, but the pnuematically assisted wheels are a dream to use.

 

The PM has a more robust side feed table. The SS is fine. It is equivalent to Deltas. Mine has not warped or had a problem in the 7 years I've had mine and moved 4 times, used it a ton. I've also stood on it once. (I didn't want to but I was hanging my dust collection tubes alone and well you know...) But the PM's table top is a thicker design. The SS is a slightly thinner design with support rails. If you are thinking or removing the side table to add a router table then this point is moot.

 

Having dealt with both companies a little bit I can tell you PM's customer service is okay, SS's is the best in the industry.

PM has a descent manual that comes with their saw. SS has the best manual I've ever seen. Not just the best saw manual I've ever seen... I mean the BEST manual I've ever seen.

 

The other difference I can think of is back 7 years ago the PM's riving knife did not raise and lower with the blade. Which means you have to remove it for non-through cuts. Which is fine as you usually don't need it for non-through cuts, but the more often you have to remove a safety feature the less likely you might be to put it back on. Maybe somebody out there knows if PM's riving knife design has changed and it now goes up and down with the blade.

 

 

Oh and then there's the brake. You will never have buyer's remorse like the buyer's remorse you will have if you should happen to cut off a digit or two after this purchase... just saying.

 

But, if I were you and trying to decide between 3000 dollars for the SS professional cabinet saw, 3500 dollars for the PM cabinet saw and 3900 dollars for the SS industrial cabinet saw. To me, this is a no brainer. You are spending a lot  of money for a saw.... BUY THE BEST saw you can get in that category. Buy the SS Industrial cabinet saw and enjoy it for the rest of your life. Teach your children woodworking on it. You will not regret it. In the 7 years since I dropped about 4K on mine I have had exactly 0 seconds of my life where I didn't think I made the exactly right decision.

Chris H and sbarton22 like this

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Explain the Saw Stop safety feature to your wife then ask her which you should get.  I guess she will not suggest but will firmly instruct you which to get.  

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Great explanation!! Leaning towards the SS professional cabinet saw now.

 

Tom...my wife already gave me the lecture about which saw to get...then she said to get whichever I want...but I know which one she wants me to get.

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I sold a 1999 General 650 and replaced it with a SawStop ICS, after using three examples of the ICS over the course of a few months.

 

Going on 14 months of use, if somebody snuck in the dark of night and stole my SS, I'd buy another instantly.   I've been seriously woodworking since the early 90's, and I can't think of more than one or two other tools I've owned where I would say the same.

 

Even the assembly process and manual for the SawStop are head and shoulders above anything else I've seen in woodworking.

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Other than the brake the biggest difference between the two saws is the HUGE Trunion on the SS and the medium sized trunion on the PM. Look up under the table

inside the cabinet of both saws. You will notice two major differences aside from the brake. You will notice the SS has a better dust collection design (IMO), and that the SawStop's trunion is about twice the size of the PM. (Not my opinion, but a fact.) The trunion on the SS was designed for 1 million stops. That's a lot of force. Therefore a lot of beefy cast iron.

Don't get me wrong the PM is a great saw. But the beefier trunion in my opinion give the SS a more solid feel. (Although in truth they are both very solid) The beefier trunion also means you will probably never have to tune the saw after you set it up. The beefier trunion does weigh more so it might be something to think about when trying to get it down the stairs to your basement shop. The beefier trunion also means you get pneumatically assisted wheels on the raising and lowering the blade as well as the blade tilt. The PM's wheels are fine, but the pnuematically assisted wheels are a dream to use.

The PM has a more robust side feed table. The SS is fine. It is equivalent to Deltas. Mine has not warped or had a problem in the 7 years I've had mine and moved 4 times, used it a ton. I've also stood on it once. (I didn't want to but I was hanging my dust collection tubes alone and well you know...) But the PM's table top is a thicker design. The SS is a slightly thinner design with support rails. If you are thinking or removing the side table to add a router table then this point is moot.

Having dealt with both companies a little bit I can tell you PM's customer service is okay, SS's is the best in the industry.

PM has a descent manual that comes with their saw. SS has the best manual I've ever seen. Not just the best saw manual I've ever seen... I mean the BEST manual I've ever seen.

The other difference I can think of is back 7 years ago the PM's riving knife did not raise and lower with the blade. Which means you have to remove it for non-through cuts. Which is fine as you usually don't need it for non-through cuts, but the more often you have to remove a safety feature the less likely you might be to put it back on. Maybe somebody out there knows if PM's riving knife design has changed and it now goes up and down with the blade.

Oh and then there's the brake. You will never have buyer's remorse like the buyer's remorse you will have if you should happen to cut off a digit or two after this purchase... just saying.

But, if I were you and trying to decide between 3000 dollars for the SS professional cabinet saw, 3500 dollars for the PM cabinet saw and 3900 dollars for the SS industrial cabinet saw. To me, this is a no brainer. You are spending a lot of money for a saw.... BUY THE BEST saw you can get in that category. Buy the SS Industrial cabinet saw and enjoy it for the rest of your life. Teach your children woodworking on it. You will not regret it. In the 7 years since I dropped about 4K on mine I have had exactly 0 seconds of my life where I didn't think I made the exactly right decision.

Not real sure about most of that. The SS Pro is 3K at woodcraft, the pm2000 is 3K at woodcraft.

Those two saws are not on the same level the pro is a small light weight saw, more comparable to the smaller jets.

The PM does have a moving knife, that is what makes it a riving knife vs a splitter. The PM knife didnt change its always had one. It was one of the first to have them.

The competition is the SS ICS not the PRO. The PM's and the ICS are 30" tables with bigger motors.

The ICS is closer to 4K where the PM is 3K.

The moble base does not come with the SS. PM its built in and works like a wind up watch. Pull out the crank and turn. Very easy, they skate around like they were on ice. They are hidden under the saw and dont hang off the base.

The ICS and PM both use the same shrouded dust collection system.

The trunion is not beefer it has more parts. The ICS uses 62mm bearings and PM uses 100MM bearing. The SS is a split drive saw meaning one belt drive a counter shaft and the other drives the arbor. The mass of the trunion reflects the additional drive assembly. The PM is a single drive saw with less parts.

The PM owners manual is on par with the SS at least in PDF format anyway. Never seen the SS in print.

The Pro is light, the PM and the ICS come in at about the same weight class within a few pound of each other.

The center lock cranks are all PM on both saws, PM owns the patent.

PM's customer service is top notch. They ship parts needed quick and dont question anything. If its broke they fix it.

PM side table is not thicker or better in fact its identicle. This only changes when you add the build in router lift from PM then you get a better table.

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Not real sure about most of that. The SS Pro is 3K at woodcraft, the pm2000 is 3K at woodcraft.

Those two saws are not on the same level the pro is a small light weight saw, more comparable to the smaller jets.

The PM does have a moving knife, that is what makes it a riving knife vs a splitter. The PM knife didnt change its always had one. It was one of the first to have them.

The competition is the SS ICS not the PRO. The PM's and the ICS are 30" tables with bigger motors.

The ICS is closer to 4K where the PM is 3K.

The moble base does not come with the SS. PM its built in and works like a wind up watch. Pull out the crank and turn. Very easy, they skate around like they were on ice. They are hidden under the saw and dont hang off the base.

The ICS and PM both use the same shrouded dust collection system.

The trunion is not beefer it has more parts. The ICS uses 62mm bearings and PM uses 100MM bearing. The SS is a split drive saw meaning one belt drive a counter shaft and the other drives the arbor. The mass of the trunion reflects the additional drive assembly. The PM is a single drive saw with less parts.

The PM owners manual is on par with the SS at least in PDF format anyway. Never seen the SS in print.

The Pro is light, the PM and the ICS come in at about the same weight class within a few pound of each other.

The center lock cranks are all PM on both saws, PM owns the patent.

PM's customer service is top notch. They ship parts needed quick and dont question anything. If its broke they fix it.

PM side table is not thicker or better in fact its identicle. This only changes when you add the build in router lift from PM then you get a better table.

Hey Particle board,.

Didn't mean to start up a bunch of stuff.

My accross the street neighbor has a PM. Neither of us move our saws so I'm not sure about the mobile base (his has none). I've always said the PM is a great saw. But I don't know a single person (including my across the street neighbor) who has used both the PM and the SS ICS and didn't say "I should have gotten the SS ICS".

 

I'm sure tons of PM owners on the forum will yell at me.

Anyhow, his side table is more robust than mine. Perhaps his is after market.

 

The PM and the SS ICS do weigh about the same, but the PM's weight is in the cabinet the SS ICS is in the trunion. I don't agree with your trunion assesment, I look at his I look at mine. I say damed mine's beefier. He says the same thing.

The weight gives both saws a solid feel. IMO putting the weight in the trunion feels better.

 

I still prefer the SS dust collection system, My saw is almost completely "clean" to run. (I do have the above the table option.)

 

Anyway, of all the SS ICS owners I know not one of them has any buyer's remorse. I can name at least 1 PM owner with buyers remorse. He drools over my saw all the time.

 

My point is stil the same though, once you get into that price range, why not get the best and safest saw you can get? ... Because you get a free mobile base? ... seems silly to me.

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Hey Particle board,.

Didn't mean to start up a bunch of stuff.

My accross the street neighbor has a PM. Neither of us move our saws so I'm not sure about the mobile base (his has none). I've always said the PM is a great saw. But I don't know a single person (including my across the street neighbor) who has used both the PM and the SS ICS and didn't say "I should have gotten the SS ICS".

 

I'm sure tons of PM owners on the forum will yell at me.

Anyhow, his side table is more robust than mine. Perhaps his is after market.

 

The PM and the SS ICS do weigh about the same, but the PM's weight is in the cabinet the SS ICS is in the trunion. I don't agree with your trunion assesment, I look at his I look at mine. I say damed mine's beefier. He says the same thing.

The weight gives both saws a solid feel. IMO putting the weight in the trunion feels better.

 

I still prefer the SS dust collection system, My saw is almost completely "clean" to run. (I do have the above the table option.)

 

Anyway, of all the SS ICS owners I know not one of them has any buyer's remorse. I can name at least 1 PM owner with buyers remorse. He drools over my saw all the time.

 

My point is stil the same though, once you get into that price range, why not get the best and safest saw you can get? ... Because you get a free mobile base? ... seems silly to me.

We are not arguing best or not just giving the OP information. Money wise the ICS is a $1000 more expensive which is the proper comparison not the PCS. I think your friend might have the older PM not the 2000. If you take the extra parts out of the SS trunions they are about the same as the PM 2K. They did a revamp when they went to the riving knife setup. The SS and PM dust colection is the same shrouded system. Comparably they are both nearly the same in quality and overal feel.

For $3000 you get less saw but you get a brake. For $4000 you get a comparable saw and a brake. That is the real difference.

Its all just more info for the OP.

Don

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Don,


I just talked to my neighbor.
He has a PM 66. They stopped making his saw in 2008. You are referring to the PM 2000, which would explain the differences.


I bought my saw back in 2007, when they were still making the PM 66. So, much or my comparisons are based back then.

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PM warranty is 5 years, SS is 2/5 years.

I just wonder why.

 

Sawstop:

 

"The Industrial saw motor has a 5 year warranty, 2 years overall on the saw and the Professional is a 2 year overall, no additional motor warranty. "

 

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Might want to check that bearing size again for the pm2000 as it list a 47mm bearing part #79 in the parts list for the arbor. http://content.powermatic.com/assets/manuals/1792007K_man_EN.pdf . Go to page 33 for parts list and page 35 for the schematic.

 

Last time I checked 47mm is smaller than 62mm. 

 

The other thing to think about is that the blade on the sawstop actually moves vertically and not in an arc like on the powermatic or unisaw. Plus it's a dream to raise and lower as I could use only my pinky to raise and lower the blade.

 

And if for some unforeseen reason you couldn't get brake cartridges any more you can always bypass it by rewiring it. 

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Might want to check that bearing size again for the pm2000 as it list a 47mm bearing part #79 in the parts list for the arbor. http://content.powermatic.com/assets/manuals/1792007K_man_EN.pdf . Go to page 33 for parts list and page 35 for the schematic.

 

Last time I checked 47mm is smaller than 62mm. 

 

The other thing to think about is that the blade on the sawstop actually moves vertically and not in an arc like on the powermatic or unisaw. Plus it's a dream to raise and lower as I could use only my pinky to raise and lower the blade.

 

And if for some unforeseen reason you couldn't get brake cartridges any more you can always bypass it by rewiring it. 

I guess your right if use vbx pn. Cant find where I found 100.

Sorry

Don

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Didn't mean to start any controversies. I was really looking for what the difference in some really awesome options...and let's face it, these are all super awesome saws. I only have a contractors saw, and it has serviced me really well. Outside of the raising mechanism and accuracy, which to this point, has not been a problem, I can't really complain.

 

This new saw is a gift, and I'm only going to get it once and I don't want to take advantage of the giver. I've taken everyone's thoughts into consideration and it really has helped me look at factors that I simply was not going to think about on my own. 

 

My local woodcraft guy gets major ups in this conversation because he knows what I make and my style. We talked through a lot of things, most of which were led by things that my friends here have brought to my attention, so your help here was invaluable.

 

Ultimately, my guy talked me out of 2 of the most expensive saws because I don't need the options they provide. That is not to say those saws aren't great, because they really are. I mean to say that that once we get in the 3HP range, there is awesome and super awesome. There are some factors that are relevant in my situation and other less relevant. The opinions given were offered in a vacuum and were all greatly considered. 

 

I would like to thank everyone for their help. I truly, truly appreciate it. I'm going to be extremely happy with my new saw (after I run my new dedicated homerun line) and I only have this community and my woodcraft guy to thank for it.

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Good luck with your purchase! No doubt they are both great saws that were both in my final round when I was deciding (also looked at the new Unisaw). I am very pleased with my final decision, but I am sure I also would have been pleased with either of the other 2 as well. Read all the info, do a proper setup, know how to use all the safety features, and you'll have a great saw to use for many many years.

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Think about it this way. There is only realy one major player in the US TS market and thats Chiu Ting. They have a full line up of saws leaving branding out of the equation. Your looking at a saw with flesh sensing and a saw without. Take the flesh sensing saw and strip away the flesh sensing. Take a look at the whole line up and find a saw that is comparable with the same feature or close to the same.

For example the ICS, strip away the flesh sensing, which saw is comparable with the same features.

Do the same for the PCS if thats what your looking at. I havent compared but Id guess somewhere in the grizzly line is where that would be. Now you decide if you want to spend the difference for flesh sensing. Look at PM, Jet, Griz, SF, Gen int, wood stock and oliver, Im sure there are even more.

Im not a fanboy of any "brand" just for this reason. If you find yourself getting up to the $4 or $5K mark then Id just skip them all and start looking across the pond.

Don

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