Sawstop vs. Powermatic PM 2000 in the Professional Wood Shop

You know I love a good power tool dust up… this one’s a classic. A Woodnetter and professional woodshop owner asks his fellow woodworkers whether he should put Sawstops or Powermatic PM2000s in his shop.

Here are his criteria for the decision:

Safety (obviously sawstop wins this category)
Dust collection-very important to me
Ease of the moving parts and adjustments
Accuracy (that is a given)
Service and durabiliy

What one do you think is better built. I guess I am hard on my tools, and I can’t afford to wait for service and for parts from Sawstop if there service is slow or difficult to deal with.

Here are the results as I tabulated them:
Sawstop Votes: 7

Powermatic PM 2000 Votes: 2

Most folks suggested that since he has employees using his table saws they should be using the safer Sawstops. That said, there were some great questions asked about the long term viability of Sawstop as a company. Also there was a cameo appearance by the Wood Whisperer so you know I had to quote him ;)

Good Points from the thread:

“…within 5 years, SS will license their technology to WMH and get out of the tool building business”

“So if $4050 is too rich for your blood, wait 5 years and buy a gold or green sawstop machine for 2/3 that price.”
Tim in MD – see his full comment he makes a great argument relating the viability of the company to the idea of purchasing a SS any time soon.

“Its like asking if you should buy a pickup or an SUV. Performance issues aside, which vehicle has the functionality you want. If you want that feature, you buy that saw. If you don’t want that feature, then you buy the PM2000. Practically speaking, I think you would be hard pressed to “notice” any performance differences between the two.”
from the Wood Whisperer

Sawstop or PM 2000 (Woodnet thread that inspired this post)
Before I buy the SawStop???
The Sawstop debate rages on
Inventor’s Attempt at Saw Safety Cuts Against Industry’s Grain
A Table Saw Buying Guide: Benchtop vs Contractor vs Cabinet vs Hybrid’s Ultimate Guide to the Top Ten Most Dangerous Woodworking Power Tools
DIY Table Saw Alternative: EZ Guide + Circular Saw

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10 Responses to Sawstop vs. Powermatic PM 2000 in the Professional Wood Shop

  1. Piper5036 says:

    you might see if there is an isurance savings by protecting your employees that might help offset the cost

  2. Joseph Arena says:

    We have a Sawstop in our shop and the instant stop feature works. Right after I turned off the machine and the blade was slowing down, I reached in to get a snall strip of wood and my middle finger hit the blade. The blade came to an immediate stop and my injury to my finger tip, although painful and bloody it was not serious enough to go to the hospital and with antibiotic cream and band aids, it healed in a couple of weeks.

    The only negative is the cost to replace the sensing module, so you need to have one in stock at all times otherwise the machine is out of commission until the module is replaced.


  3. Hal says:

    I am a woodshop teacher, and have used a number of table saws over the years. I now have a sawstop in my lab. The fence works great, the saw makes very nice cuts, the saw has been very reliable, and the safety aspect of it is its greatest feature. The bottom line is safety. Our school system bought us this saw because we brought it to their attention. Our statement was “The technology is available, if we choose to use a less safe machine, and an injury occurs, it was our choice of saw that caused the injury to happen”. Student safety is always a teacher’s concern, but our own personal safety is also something we should not overlook. If I had the choice of spending more money for a Sawstop, or rolling the dice on my fingers, I would definitely spend the money to get the sawstop….even if I had to sacrifice something else to buy it! Once a crippling injury occurs, there is no turning back. Your productivity would drop, as well as your enjoyment of your craft. In my opinion, there is only one choice. Buy what you need to protect yourself now, rather than wait a few years for the price to come down. My two cents. Hal

  4. Ian Hogg says:

    We just hooked up two saw stop saws in our lab. A cabinet model and a contractor model. We chucked out two Delta saws…one a fully tricked out Unisaw. Saw to saw there is just no comparison, the Saw Stop wins hands down. I have been teaching woodworking for 21 years in 2 countries, 9 different schools. That is a lot of different saws. The safety feature is just an incredible bonus!

  5. kevin lynch says:

    at the tech school i attend we have seven saw stops and one already saved my brother from a injury. to be honest i really dont wanna work on any other saw. its like having a car w/o seat belts. i’ve been told i costs around 30k to reconnect a severed didgit. at that price its a no brainer. even w/o the brake feature is still a very nice saw.

  6. richard savary says:

    To insist on the SawStop just because it has a very sophisticated, expensive, effective and also costly safety feature goes too far. It fails to consider the satisfaction that can come from safe, competent use of an ordinary, dangerous machine!

    If a person is sufficiently careful, special protections should not be (strictly) necessary. I don’t have the risk taker gene, but using a machine which has the potential to sever a finger in a flash – without ever letting that happen, gives me some satisfaction.

    It’s like how riding a motorcycle competently, and so reducing one’s chance of an accident, is satisfying, partly because it’s dangerous, and partly because it’s an exercise in competence, i.e. a test of skill, with real stakes. It’s these small challenges that keep life interesting!

    I used to operate a punch press, where I put a small workpiece into a die, pressed the pedal, stamped the workpiece, and removed it, sometimes doing as many as 20,000 cycles a day. It was a challenge for me. I never got caught (by the machine), and attribute that to good coordination. I would rather not do it again! But I’m rather proud that I COULD do it.

    No, I don’t favor taking unnecessary risks, but I don’t necessarily favor spending good money for automatic features to protect me from myself, either. That said, I think SawStops are GREAT for schools. I’d much rather my child hold onto her fingers at least until she’s gotten the maturity, training and experience she needs to work safely. As for on the job, I WOULD expect there to be insurance advantages, which would cover the extra cost of the SawStop, and given our litigious society, if it were my shop, I’d favor the SawStop.

    In my personal shop it’d be the Powermatic.

    I should add that I consider my table saw to be my most dangerous power tool. I feel safer using my chainsaw! So far, no one has invented a safer version of that.

    One last consideration: The SawStop does not work with moist wood. I occasionally use my TS to cut green wood. If you try that with a SawStop, you will probably need a new cartridge.

  7. Corky Mara says:

    I teach Residential carpentry and we purchased A Sawstop last year. We had a perfectly good Powermatic but when I had the chance get the Sawstop I jumped at it. This saw is a beast. I only have two minor complaints. First, the dust collection setup is not that great and secondly, you have to have small hand to get the nut on the arbor when changing from single blade to stacked blades.You can change it from the side opening but it’s time consuming. Other than that this saw is going to be the Industry standard. Like someone said in the earlier post .If you know that you can have a safer saw and you don’t buy it, and someone gets hurt… You’re up a creek.
    P.S. If you need to cut moist wood you can use the bypass switch. However this does disable the safety feature.

  8. Daniel says:

    I work in a the carpenters shop at my school and we have 3 Sawstop saws. Today one of my fellow student woodworkers had his finger saved by the sawstop safety feature. I think this is the saw I will purchase when I “grow up”

  9. Joseph says:

    I am a hand surgeon and a woodworking enthusiast. I heard about the swastop technology 7 years ago but did not really learn about it or investigate it until today when i saw a patient that works with them. I literally have taken care of countless of tablesaw injuries/severe amputations. In my personal shop the one machine that I have most respect for is the table saw. After leraning about the sawstop, there is no way I will not purchase one for my shop. Trust me, it is not worth taking the chance. There is no substitute for safe techniques but accidents simply do happen. A new table saw can $500-$600 without the technology and another $1000 with it, that is the best $1000 you can ever spend if you lose your focus for just a second while using a table saw.

  10. Ray P says:

    I will wait for a USA built SawStop, or a licensed version. I would have one already but the greed that drives mfgrs to send jobs offshore is just too much for me. I will continue to buy products made in North America as long as they are available.

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