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Which SawStop Saw is Right for Me?

Updated: Mar 1

Which SawStop is the best?

SawStop carries 5 models of their table saw - all which utilize their finger saving technology to disable the spinning blade when contact with skin has been detected. Depending on the frequency of use, shop space and budget, there is a SawStop to fit your needs. Some features and add-ons are model specific, so getting the functionality you're looking for can depend on which table saw you purchase.

This guide will help make a decision on which SawStop to buy so you can get back to real issues like figuring out how much to charge for your woodworking projects or what kind of saw blade to use and where to find quality saw blades.

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Portable vs Stationary SawStop Table Saw

Technically speaking, each SawStop table saw can be made portable with the mobile base add-on, but 2 of the 5 are built to be truly mobile. The entry-level saws are designed with the jobsite carpenter in mind. The Compact Table Saw (CTS) and the Jobsite Saw Pro (JSP) offer the same safety features of the stationary table saws, but can easily be packed along from jobsite to jobsite.

Can you set up a portable SawStop in a permanent location in your shop? Yes - if you want a reliable saw that can protect you from an accident all without spending thousands, there is no reason you can't. In fact, many have built outfeed tables around their Compact Table Saw for their home shop. However, the Compact Table Saw and Jobsite Saw Pro lack some of the features and add-ons that you can get with one of the higher end models such as better dust collection and dead accurate rip fences.

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What Are The Differences Between SawStop Table Saws?

SawStop produces 5 models of their table saw - one for every budget. We don't discuss the Industrial Cabinet Saw (ICS) as it tends to be outside the budget and necessity of the typical woodworker. There are two main categories: Portable and Stationary

Portable SawStop Table Saws

Stationary SawStop Table Saws

SawStop Compact Table Saw (CTS)

SawStop Compact Table Saw

The newest addition to the SawStop family is the CTS model. This is the entry-level table saw that comes in under $1,000. It is designed for on-the-go cutting operations catering to contractors, home improvers, DIYers and anyone looking for SawStop safety on a budget.

Weighing less than 70 lbs, portability is the main draw to this saw. The weight savings means

you sacrifice in material durability as it is constructed with more plastic components than desired. The CTS comes with far fewer optional add-ons to choose from - though a folding stand is available.

With the base model, the only other customization you can make is with the zero clearance table saw insert to reduce tear out.

SawStop Compact Table Saw (CTS) Pros and Cons

CTS Pros:

  • Easiest on your budget while including SawStop's technology

  • Lightweight and portable

CTS Cons:

  • Lacks the ability to modify the saw to your needs

  • Cannot add a dado stack

  • Sub-par dust collection

SawStop Compact Table Saw (CTS) Accessories

Tear out may not be a big concern if you are opting for the compact model, but for under $50, a zero clearance insert can be added. The only other option is the folding stand that can be used if you don't have a dedicated place in your shop for your saw or you pack it to and from the jobsite.


SawStop Jobsite Saw Pro (JSS)

SawStop Jobsite Pro (JSS)

The JSS is a step up from the CTS in mobility and features and was built with the construction worker in mind.

Though twice as heavy, it includes the mobile cart to make maneuvering a breeze. It also folds down for a smaller footprint when stored or hauling.

If safety on the jobsite and mobility on a budget are your priorities, this is the table saw for you.

SawStop Jobsite Saw Pro (JSS) Pros and Cons

JSS Pros:

  • Includes a mobile cart for easy packing in and out of the jobsite or around the shop

  • Add-on dado stack available

  • Slightly larger table compared to the CTS

  • Upgraded T-Fence

  • Improved dust collection over the CTS

JSS Cons:

  • Twice the weight of the CTS

  • Nearly twice the cost of the CTS

  • Few add-on options

SawStop Jobsite Saw Pro (JSS) Accessories

The JSS allows for the addition of a zero clearance plate when tear out is a concern, as-well-as a dado stack to save time cutting dado grooves. All SawStop table saws can accomodate an 8" dado stack, but require a specific dado brake cartridge to be installed.


SawStop Contractor Saw (CNS)

SawStop Contractor Saw (CNS)

If the JSS was a step up from the CTS, the CNS is a major step up from the JSS. The Contractor Saw is about as close as you can get to a cabinet saw without the large footprint. This is the most versatile table saw in the SawStop lineup. Limited on shop space? Add the mobile base or add the router table insert to this saw! Don't have room for a miter saw? Add

the crosscut table. Concerned about a dirty shop and breathing in harmful sawdust? Add the overarm dust collection system or upgrade to the floating overarm dust collection. Require a bigger table? Upgrade to the 36" or 52" fence assemblies.

With more than 150 unique configuration possibilities, this saw can be customized for your needs.

Along with configurability, the CNS offers the stability of steel legs and durability with its cast iron table top. Add the Cast Iron Wing Assembly to expand the surface area of your top.

SawStop Contractor Saw (CNS) Pros and Cons

CNS Pros:

  • Huge leap forward in quality

  • Lowest cost in SawStop lineup of stationary saws

  • Endless configuration possibilities - build the perfect saw for your needs

CNS Cons:

  • Expensive add-ons

SawStop Contractor Saw (CNS) Accessories

Is the magswitch featherboard better than the Hedgehog?

If you want to learn more about the best featherboards for your table saw, check out The Featherboard Showdown.

We looked at the two leading featherboards, The Hedgehog Spiral Featherboard and the Magswitch to determine which is the best overall.


SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw (PCS)

SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw (PCS)

The PCS is the cream of the crop cabinet saw. Combining all of the great features of the CNS with MORE stability, MORE power, MORE precision and MORE dust collection. It is no wonder why this is the best selling SawStop table saw in their lineup. The base PCS starts at around $2,900, but be prepared for a $3,500+ price tag by the time you add the necessary features such as the 36" T-Glide Fence/Rail System and dust collection.

The fantastic thing about SawStop is that it is continually checking to ensure the brake technology is ready. The indicator lights ensure you are aware of any issues and prevent the blade from spinning until cleared.

The PCS, with its cabinet design and heavy duty construction, is rock solid. Pro-tip: be sure to upgrade to at least the 36" fence/rail system. Why not spend $200 more for more table top real estate and the premium T-Glide fence system?

I opted for the 3HP motor in preparation for an expanding shop, but the 1.75HP is more than enough for the typical woodworker and saves $500. Either option will cut through some serious board feet.

SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw (PCS) Pros and Cons

PCS Pros:

  • 99% dust collection

  • Tons of configuration options to suit your workshop

  • Powerful - won't bog down on tough hard woods

  • Large table surface that can be expanded up to 52"

  • Large sliding table available for easy cutting of 4x8 sheets

PCS Cons:

  • Expensive

SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw (PCS) Accessories

SawStop offers a range of table saws, all with their patented finger-saving technology, to cater to the needs of different users. The five models vary in price, mobility, and customization options. The Compact Table Saw and Jobsite Saw Pro are the most portable, but the Contractor Saw offers the most versatility with more than 150 unique configuration options. Whether you are a professional carpenter or a DIY enthusiast, investing in a SawStop table saw is an investment in safety. Remember to always prioritize safety in your woodworking projects and let us know in the comments which SawStop accessory is your favorite!

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Nov 08, 2022

Amazing tech. I’ve seen the video for these where they detect moisture from a hot dog - what would be your finger - and show it stopping the blade.


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