SawStop has produced a job site saw as part of their line up for some time, but recently it got some updates and I was able to check it out first hand. The first feature that anyone would notice about the saw of course is SawStop’s patented safety technology that stops the blade within milliseconds on contact with skin preventing serious injury. The natural question that most people want to know is; is the saw still a good saw outside of the contact detection safety feature, especially given the high price point of the saw? Even if you can’t cut a finger off, you still need to be able to use the saw. SawStop I believe has done an excellent job of constructing the saw outside of the stop mechanism.
The SawStop jobsite saw weighs in at 113 pounds with the cart, which seems like a lot, but it is actually not far off of the current Bosch and DeWalt models at 92 and 90 pounds respectively. The wheeled cart makes the saw easy to move around on site. The table top on the SawStop is a generous 24-1/2″ deep. The fence has been revamped with a removable low side to make cutting thin stock safer and easier, giving your hands more room to grip the work piece. The low fence can easily be removed and reinstalled when needed. The fence slides easily and locks firmly. SawStop uses an easy to push lever on the top of the fence to control the locking and although it doesn’t require much effort to lock and unlock the fence it holds quite well. One difference between SawStop and a lot of other job site saws is the fact that the fence only locks at the front of the saw. Some people don’t like the fact that the rear of the fence can deflect during a cut, however, it should be noted that most stationary saw fences are constructed this way. It is safer to have the fence able to give slightly at the rear if a board is seriously twisting during a cut. This small movement could help prevent a kickback. Hiding under the right side of the saw top is a storage container for the guard, riving knife, wrenches, and an extra blade brake cartridge.
The blade can be raised with one full revolution of the hand wheel at the front, and tilting the blade is accomplished by squeezing the back of the blade raising the hand wheel and sliding it right or left which is fairly easy to do. The angle of tilt can be further fine-tuned with a large knob on the front, right of the saw. The controls are easy and intuitive to use, although I am not head-over-heels in love with the speed of the blade rise/fall. I would like to see it go a little slower so it can be set more accurately when needed for dados, but most of the cuts on this saw will likely be through cuts, so this isn’t a big deal.
One thing that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned in a review before is the quality of the instruction manual. SawStop actually produces a really good manual with this saw, and they also have several instruction sheets stuck to the saw in key places. The instructions for installing and removing the low fence are on it, and instructions for replacing the brake cartridge are on the onboard toolbox. Right from the moment you open the box, the instructions guide you through unpacking and assembling the saw in a simple and straightforward manner.
The guard on this version of the saw was upgraded to include a vacuum connection point. The saw can be hooked up above and below the table. The dust collection does work decently if you have a sizeable vacuum connected, but I think that most small portable vacuums will struggle to provide enough suction when split to two different collection points to do a really good job.
Overall the saw is easy to set up and use. Outside of the stop mechanism, the saw is well made and quite user friendly which makes it a pleasure to use. If you are in the market for a new jobsite sized saw, I would have a close look at the SawStop.