Is More Horsepower Better in a Table Saw?

Five out of five woodworkers agree get more power. December 29, 2008

I've been using a 1 1/2 hp Delta contractor table saw to cut 3/4" thick maple and just a few times 1 1/2 thick. Because I'm interested in buying the new Saw Stop for safety reasons, I'm not sure if I should buy the contractor version 1 1/2 hp or the 3 hp one. Are there advantages to the more powerful one if I rarely cut something thicker than 3/4 solid maple?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor H:
I can't speak to the SS brand, but I can speak to the contractor vs. cabinet saw question. I just made that move a few months ago. The extra hp allows cutting thicker material at a faster rate with little or no slowdown. It has much better dust control due to the enclosed cabinet. It also has less vibration due to the added mass of the various pieces. Can't say it's a good move for everyone, but it was for me.

From contributor A:
Go for the biggest saw you can afford! If you don't need to move it, go for the cabinet saw for sure. It's so much safer than a contractor saw. I think contractor saws are a thing of the past. You either need to move it and get a portable saw or you don't and get a real cabinet saw. The Saw Stop thing I'm not sure... Good for schools maybe.

From contributor B:
More horsepower! The first saw I bought that had a real motor in it scared me to death. I had contractor type saws and this one had 7 1/2 hp. After I got used to it, what a wonderful saw! It cut better, never bogged down, the blade didn't burn or catch. Get the bigger saw - the others are toys.

From contributor K:
If you do a search of this website for Sawstop, you will find some enthusiastic endorsements by owners of those saws, for their overall quality as well as their inherent safety in case of contact with the blade. I have no experience with them myself, but have used Powermatic 66 and Delta Unisaws as well as jobsite contractor's saws. The heavier saws are much more stable, vibration free and powerful, well worth the investment for a business situation. With the addition of a good aftermarket splitter and overhead blade guard, they will serve you well until you find you need a sliding table saw.