April 21, 2021

SawStop Contractor vs Professional Saw| How To Choose Between Them

I have several years of experience with SawStop contractor table saw and SawStop professional saw models in the woodworking industry. This has led me to the SawStop contractor vs Professional debate. I have tried portable and heavy duty table saws at home and in my shop.

It was a journey full of errors and comparisons contributing to the discussion. Among other features, you need to pay attention to speed, dust collection system, durability, height, design and construction. These features need to be compared to match your needs. This is precisely what this article is about.

Overview of the SawStop contractor

1-3/4HP 1PH 110-120V Contractor Saw with 52

The SawStop contractor has heavy-duty arbor bearings and a 1.75hp motor.  There are large handles for adjusting the height of the saw machine that are comfortable. The blade guard system comes with the dust collection system, blade, and riving knife. 

The 10 inch blade size is the standard size. What makes it safe is the braking system and the riving knife that avoids kickbacks. It has the trunnion assembly mounted on the underside of the saw. The blade raising mechanism allows you to adjust the height of the blade. 

It is not selective when it comes to blade size. It works with both 8 and 10 inch blades. The instructions that come with the manual are easy to follow. The handwheels are easy to operate as well. You need to check the table’s flatness before starting the saw machine. 

The accuracy of your material is going to be compromised. I advise you to run tests as well to ensure precision. The belt drive is smooth when running. Changing from the riving knife to the blade guard system is easy. The blade guard has pawls that are anti-kickbacks. 

The blade guard is high-quality plastic that makes the activities visible. The saw comes with cast-iron wings and a mobile base. That makes it convenient since you can move it around. However, the low-end model comes with steel wings. 

The mobile base is sturdy and prevents the vibration that comes with the saw machine. It allows the saw machine to have a smooth movement. It has a smooth mechanism that lifts and lowers the saw using a simple pedal mechanism. The motor runs on a household circuit. That gives it sufficient power to cut through thick material. 

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Safe
  • Sturdy table
  • Ease of use
  • Adjustable

Cons

  • Alignment issues
  • The dust collector could have been big

Key Features of the SawStop contractor

1-3/4HP 1PH 110-120V Contractor Saw with 36

Fence system

The Sawstop contractor saw has a fence system that is easy to control. It is aluminum that requires minimal maintenance, and it is versatile. It is lightweight and sturdy. The fence system has a locking system that locks the front and rear of the saw. That reduces the chances of flexing during cutting. 

The fence is easy to adjust, and you are allowed to upgrade to the Biesemeyer style fence that is conventional. The SawStop 10inch contractor saw has two models that come with 52inch and 36inch T-glide fence systems. These are of heavy-gauge steel. That makes it solid and reliable. 

Riving knife

The riving knife is a safety feature installed on the table saw. The moment you adjust the blade, you have to adjust it. The riving knife comes combined with a full blade guard. That prevents kickbacks that are dangerous to users. 

Blade

The blade is in plastic that connects to a 4-inch dust port. That reduces your workload since your working area is dust-free. The dust saw captured about 95%. The 10inch blade is the standard size. 

The SawStop 10inch contractor table saw has a 10 inch blade that is great for accurate cuts. The maximum depth of cut is 31/8inch. It has an electrical signal that changes when the blade contacts the human skin. The changing of the electric signal comes with activating the safety feature. 

Blade brake system

The brake mechanism senses the human skin. It stops the spinning blade in 5milliseconds. That prevents minor and major injuries from the user. The moment you activate the brake pedal, you have to replace the cartridge. The blade has to be repaired or tossed if you notice damaged teeth. 

Replacing the cartridge does not take five minutes. The SawStop 10inch contractor table saw has aluminum brake springs that block the blade’s path. The blade stops contacting the human skin and automatically shuts off the motor. The blade comes underneath the table in less than five milliseconds. 

Overview of the Sawstop Professional

3HP 1PH 230V Professional Cabinet Saw with 36

There are two types of SawStop professional saws. That includes the contractor table saw and the cabinet table saw. Contractor table saws are lighter than the cabinet table saw. They have a belt drive and induction motors.

The SawStop professional cabinet saw has two riving knives. The first one fits below the height of the blade. It is ideal for non-through cuts such as grooves. The other one is for attaching the blade cover. It is located slightly above the blade. 

Changing blades has become an easy exercise when using the Sawstop professional. Two buttons are at the end of the insert that connects to the mating screw heads in the cavity. 

A bail-type handle at the other end of the insert also inserts and locks it in person. The process comes with the use of a two-wrench process. The saw tool has an innovative braking system that is a bit complicated. The system goes through checks and flashing lights when you turn on the saw machine.

 When the system is ready, the green light remains constant. The saw is easy to use. There is a chart that explains the signs and meanings of the saw machine. Some keys keep the braking system in bypass mode. 

That is on the material that you suspect has moisture. Moisture sets off the braking system. Access doors at the side of the table saw, and rear panels give you easy access to the brake cartridge. There is a need for the mobile base before setting up the saw because it is difficult to assemble it before the base. 

Pros

  • An efficient dust collection system
  • Tool-free quick-change blade guard system
  • Sleek fence and rails
  • Accurate alignment system
  • Accessibility

Cons

  • It selects blades and dado sets
  • The security system slows down your work

Key Features of the Sawstop Professional

1-3/4HP 1PH 110V Professional Cabinet Saw with 36

Blade guard

The blade guard system of the Sawstop professional is a combination of a blade guard and a dust collection system. It comes with anti-kickback pawls in two sets. 

The first set is for thin material, and the moment you start using thick stock, you need to activate the large pawls. The blade has a stop guard made of aluminum. Switching from the blade guard system to the riving knife is easy and does not require using tools.

Braking system

A table saw is dangerous, so Sawstop introduced an efficient blade braking system. It keeps your fingers and whole body safe from the machine. 

It controls the amount of electricity that passes through the blade. The SawStop 10inch saw has a spinning blade that stops in less than five milliseconds and drops under the table. In that regard, the chances of getting a little scratch are low.

Dust collection system

It has a bi-level dust collection system that collects dust from the top of the saw through the blade and below. The dust collection system of the SawStop 10inch professional cabinet saw is 99% accurate and efficient. The dust collection includes a blade guard. It comes with a 4inch dust port.

Fence system

The SawStop 10inch professional cabinet saw has a 52inch T-glide fence system. The rails are a heavy-gauge system for a perfect lockdown and reliable square cutting that does not come with deflection. 

The SawStop saw has a 36 inch T-glide fence system that is also reliable and efficient. The steel fence and rail are firm and solid. Check the adjusting screws before starting the saw machine. The locking handle is comfortable and secures the saw in place. 

Similarities

  • They have the same miter gauge. 
  • The blade system has the riving knife and a dust collection system on both models. 
  • They both use 10inch blades.
  • They both have cast-iron tabletops.
  • They both use the 30, 36, and 52-inch fence configurations.
  • They both use a 4inch dust collection port.
  • They both come with the micro-blade guard.

Differences

  • The Professional model has spring bearings on the miter bar, whereas the Contractor does not have.
  • The Contractor saw has 1.75hp, whereas the Professional has both 1.75 and 3hp.

Cost 

The SawStop Professional starts from 3500, whereas the SawStop Contractor ranges from 1400. That makes the Contractor more affordable than the Professional. 

Verdict

A tight budget speaks in favour of the SawStop contractor table saw. If you are looking for a table saw with spring bearings, the Professional table saw is the perfect model. Again, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to powerful motors. I am sure that a thorough review of each of the above models will meet your preferences.

David D. Hughes

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