Tool Talk #5: SawStop PCS vs. Grizzly G0690

Well over half of the emails sent to me are on the subject of tools. I have no objections to responding to them but I thought it would be beneficial to start a video library of sorts to briefly touch on what I think of a particular tool or set of tools. These won’t be in depth tool reviews as I know very few people are interested in that kind of thing and I really don’t want to go over all the details. Instead I’ll just focus on the things I like about the tool, things I don’t like about the tool, and would I buy it again. I have a huge list of “episodes” that can be made and plan on releasing one per week. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people.

SawStop PCS vs. Grizzly G0690

Specifications for the Grizzly G0690 found here:

Specifications for the SawStop PCS found here:

I paid $1,504.31 including freight for the G0690 in March of 2014. I received the SawStop PCS at no out of pocket cost to me in a marketing arrangement in April or May of 2015. I did not pay out of pocket for the SawStop table saw and am not required to say anything good or bad or write anything good or bad about the saw. The views and opinions here are purely mine. Keep in mind that I’m comparing a $1,500+ saw to a $3,000+ saw. Based on price alone the SawStop should be the better saw.

Head to Head:

  • Motor – Both saws had a 3hp motor that ran off of 240v electricity. Neither have bogged down at anything I’ve cut with them.
  • Fence – Both fences perform as intended and didn’t have any problems. I do prefer the scale pointers more on the SawStop.
  • Cast iron top – The size and finish are about the same. Less sharp edges on the SawStop.
  • Cut capacity – Both saws have options to get up to 52″ cut capacity to the right of the blade. On the Grizzly I moved my stock rails to the right to get a total of about 36.5″ or 37″. The SawStop model I’m using has a capacity to the right of the blade of 52″. For what I do I think the sweet spot is about 36″ of cut capacity. I very rarely use anything more than that.
  • Riving knife – Both have quick release riving knives that work well but the one on the SawStop is easier. It has a large handle that you turn slightly to release where as the Grizzly had a thumb screw type of release.
  • Insert plates – I like the way the SawStop insert plates lock down and are removed much more than the Grizzly. Even with an aftermarket zero clearance insert on the Grizzly I prefer the SawStop insert plates.
  • Assembly – I had zero complaints or problems with either assembly but the packaging, instructions, and overall process was better with the SawStop.
  • Setup – Setup and dialing the saw in on the G0690 was pretty smooth. I didn’t have any problems but it did take some time. I had zero setup time on the SawStop. According to a dial indicator the blade and fence were both parallel with the miter slots from the factory and the only adjustment I had to make was making the fence perpendicular to the saw top surface.
  • Dust collection – The SawStop has better dust collection. It has a dust shroud inside the cabinet that puts the suction right on the blade. I also received the Overarm Dust Collection kit for the SawStop. It works very well but I find it to be in the way so I removed it.
  • Mobile base – Neither saw has a mobile base standard with it. I put a Shop Fox mobile base on the bottom of the Grizzly and it did the job. The Industrial Mobile base that I got with the SawStop is amazing. If you ever see one of these saws in a retail store make sure you play with the industrial mobile base. It is the heaviest item in my shop and moves around the easiest.

Would I buy either the SawStop PCS or the Grizzly G0690 again?

I know first hand that making large tool investments in a hobby woodworking shop is primarily dependent upon your budget and secondarily on wants. I’ve wanted a SawStop table saw since the first time I saw a demonstration of the safety feature. But at the time of purchasing my Grizzly G0690 I simply could not afford it. If I were to go back in time and be in the same situation that limited my table saw purchase to the Grizzly I would definitely buy it again. The G0690 did everything I needed it to do and I had absolutely zero problems out of it. However, if some crazy situation happened today where I sold my house and the shop was sold with it I would purchase the SawStop PCS for the next shop. The safety feature speaks for itself and every little detail and evidence of quality is much greater on my SawStop than on my G0690.




  1. Great review Jay. I replaced my Delta Unisaw 3HP table saw with the SawStop 3HP 52″ Industrial Saw after cutting two of my fingers on the Delta saw. The SawStop is exceptional and manufacturer sent me a demo cartridge and blade to demonstrate the safety aspect of the saw to my woodworking friends and the surgeon who reattached my fingers.

  2. Good review! Thanks Jay! I live here in humid Florida and heard a horror story of a bagpipe makers SawStop that activated on some lumber and would never work right after that. He has a video where all he did was turn on the machine and the brake engaged. It never did work correctly. Have any of your readers experienced similar humidity problems?

    • I have been using a 3 hp SawStop cabinet saw for around 7 years in Pensacola, FL – pretty nasty humidity. The only trouble I’ve had is when I cut into a broken off screw within some old reclaimed lumber (I don’t cut that kind of material any more). Supposedly, cutting into a fastener like this is not supposed to set off the safety cartridge, but it sure did – lesson learned. But no trouble with humidity. The saw I use is at work in a shop with window AC units. So it is inside, but only gets air conditioned when I’m in there working (I’m the only one who uses the saw). Maybe in a shed workshop, the humidity would be worse and cause trouble. I don’t know.

  3. The only other thing I was hoping for (that you didn’t cover)…was the comparison of blade accuracy – does height of blade stay put once locked in? Does angle stay put once locked in? Right now I’m trying to decide if I want to buy the Powermatic PM1000 or the Sawstop. Right now I have a Jet contractor saw, and I’m ready to upgrade to a cabinet saw. The contractor saw just doesn’t have the accuracy I need/want! Thanks Jay! Love you content!


  4. AWESOME!! Thank you for your Review!! I am in the market for a nice TS and this was the one on was looking at… You hit right on the points I wanted to know and was wondering on the size to go with!! Thanks again..

  5. Thanks Jay for all of your Video’s. I have the Same Sawstop that you reported on. I agree with you on the quality of the Sawstop and accuracy. I have use mine for about two years and am amazed at the accuracy and percision of the Sawstop. Out of the box Blade, Fense, all hold downs were perfect. I agree it something was to happen and I needed to replace my current Sawstop, I would buy another Sawstop. This is my third Table Saw and I would recommend Sawstop to anyone thinking of purchasing a Table Saw.

  6. Hi Jay, In reply to Mike asking you to demonstrate putting your finger on the blade, there is a video on YouTube of the Saw Stop maker doing exactly that under controlled conditions. No blood, but NOT a natural thing to do…. or watch!

    I have seen a Saw Stop and they certainly are a quality sawbench. The Saw Stop safety feature is a great idea, but as with any machine the best safety feature is to be always mindful where your fingers/hand are at all times while working. Personally I always keep my hand more than a hand’s width from the blade and use a push stick for any closer work.

  7. Thanks again Jay for your website/blogs/videos. Always an inspiration! What saw blades are you using these days? You used to use the Irwin/Marples blade. Thoughts?

    • I normally wear out the stock blades before I buy anything. My SawStop came with a SawStop titanium blade. I’m using it with good results. When I purchase a blade I always look for an Irwin Marples blade though. Good cut quality and good value for the money. I just put a Marples blade on my miter saw a couple weeks ago.

  8. Love your straight-talk reviews. I’m using an old 3hp 220V Jet tablesaw with an extended table and Biesemeyer fence which gets the job done, but requires careful and too frequent maintenance. I don’t make a living with my woodwork so it’s acceptable. If I made my living as you do I would go for the Sawstop!

  9. I have had one of the contractor versions for about four years. It has performed superbly for me. I did trip the system once when it grazed an aluminum T-track that my hand was touching on the other end. When it fired there was a loud bang and then dead silence. It took me a few seconds to realize the blade was gone. It was so fast I just couldn’t believe it had happened. I’ll never own a saw without the feature again.
    Your review was honest and well done.

  10. Yes would agree price would mean a lot for me also and space. Can’t beat safety for sure better to have then not and for the saw that was half price to keep up with this one awesome also. Great info thanks Jay

  11. Thanks for the review Jay. I have always wondered if you are giving up a lot of other features in order to get another one. But from your review, it doesn’t appear so. Always good to hear what your thoughts are.

  12. Great presentation. It is so refreshing for someone to emphasise that they did not pay for something. But as you say, both you and the company benefited. I’m from England and really envey the tools that you can get in the USA and the prices you pay.

  13. Jay, nice work as always. Question for you: Are you worried that you will accidentally trip the safety feature while cutting a piece of wood that has a staple in it, or some accidental trip? What is the cost when/if that happens to this saw?

  14. Awssome review a very nice PCS. when I taught a shop class we called if “creative funding“. Hope you get more that way. Enjoy your vids.

  15. As everyone said, great review. I have the same saw as you. Money was a consideration but I recinntly retired and spend much more time in my shop now.. I have been using a Creftsman saw since I was about 20. I am very safety conscious and was weighing the money vs the possibility I wouldn’t have an accident when thinking about an upgrade. I figured I am getting older so the odds may be shifting towards an accident. So I bought the SawStop. Love the saw. It is a dream coming from the old Craftsman. Two things you could have mentioned are the height and angle adjustment wheels that move eferetlessly and lock easily, and the blade / Brake changeout which is a piece of cake.

    Great review. Look forward every week to see what you are up to.

  16. P.S. The only way the brake would trip is if the metal brad, staple or whatever that hit the blade was somehow connected electrically to your skin.

    One thing to watch out for though is when using jigs or metal miter gage’s like incra not to let the fence or whatever, that you are holding, come in contact with the blade.

  17. Great review. I appreciate your weekly updates.

    After a (fortunately minor) accident on my Grizzly 5hp saw, I found a SawStop 3hp Industrial model on Craig’s list and made the change. I always thought the Grizzly 5hp was a beast, but as you noted, the Sawstop is also unstoppable. I also agree the dust collection is much, much better on the SawStop. The saw has a 36″ fence system and I agree with you, it’s plenty. The Grizzly had a 52″ fence which I never used.

    A couple of comments:

    – I’ve occasionally used my Grizzly to cut thin brass and aluminum stock. I forgot this would trigger the SawStop brake and the system was triggered. It worked great and I won’t make that mistake again.

    – The SawStop inserts are quite expensive so I bought an insert from Infinity tools which is aluminum with a 1/4″ mdf replaceable insert. It can be used for dado sets as well as 10″ blades and the inserts are very easy to make yourself (I made about 30 of them in a half hour). Now I have separate inserts for each width saw blade and the commonly used dado widths.

    A great saw.

  18. Thank you for the review, i found it very informative, and especially appreciated the safety comments. I am ont of those people who in a second had a hand cut off in a saw accident. Luckly it was reattached and works well in general, but it was a hard lesson to learn. Safety cannot be stressed enough.

  19. Great review, Jay! I bought the 1.75 hp SawStop a few months ago, and I am very pleased with it. As you mentioned, assembly was the best documented for any tool I have ever owned. Originally I thought SawStop was sort of a one-trick pony (i.e. the safety), but the fit and finish are just beautiful. I was thinking of getting the 3 hp version, but it is very heavy, so I opted for the 110V version. Two of us were able to move and assemble the 1.75 hp version (including installing the mobile base); however, it might take a small army to assemble the bigger version and install the heavier mobile base.
    You might consider commenting on the weight issue for those of us with fewer manpower resources.

  20. I’ve been window shopping cabinet saws for the better part of 2015 and enjoyed your post. I’ve come t the conclusion that these are the only two lines to consider.

    Grizzly offers nearly every feature with minor sacrifices on a fit and finish. Sawstop on the ther hand compares favorably with powermatic and delta even before you consider their patented safety feature. Seems like it’s one or the other.

    Yet…I’ve had my eyes on Grizzly’s sliding table saw lately. Fits in my shop, safer than most cabinet saws, and won’t break the bank.

  21. Hi Jay, excellent video sessions, very informative. Just a question though, when using the cabinet saw, you used certain tools to guide the wood you were busy cutting. It had odd shapes and thus my question, is it self made or purchased?

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