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Thread: Purchasing new cabinet saw 3hp vs. 5hp?

  1. #1

    Purchasing new cabinet saw 3hp vs. 5hp?

    Hi to all. I am a newcomer and setting up my shop. I am not totally sure of all the things i might want to build. I am looking at the sawstop and will place my order early next week but got stuck at the 3hp or 5hp (single phase). i have a 14" jointer/planer and a 20 inch bandsaw from minimax and will be buying rough lumber. any help or insight on the difference or need for one over the other would be appreciated. it is $200 more for the 5hp. i only want to buy this once. thank you ahead of time for any insight you might have.

  2. #2
    jon, horsepower and cast iron are your friend....02 tod
    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN; I ACCEPT FULL LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY POSTS ON THIS FORUM, ALL POSTS ARE MADE IN GOOD FAITH CONTAINING FACTUAL INFORMATION AS I KNOW IT.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Sterling CT
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    2,457
    hi jon
    I have had a 3 hp saw, a 7.5 hp and now a 9 hp saw. The 3 was fine for most things, but I usually ran a thin kerf blade on it. The larger saws can power through anything you would want to put on the machine. I would say consider the % extra you are talking about ( sounds like about 7% extra ) and make your choice. I don't see a down side to the 5 hp at $200 extra
    best wishes

    lou

  4. #4
    I struggled with the same this when I bought my SawStop. $200 more and I could have the 5HP version... So I looked at the type of WW I did and the majority of things I cut are 3/4" and ocassionally I would cut something thicker but not enough to justify the extra cost. IMO unless you are running a 12" blade it does not make sense to go up to 5HP... Unless you really want to brag to your friends. Yes the 5hp will let you cut faster, but how fast do you need to be? If you are a pro then yeah go ahead, if you are a hobbiest then just stay with the 3HP and buy a nice miter guage to replace the one that comes with the saw or get some grrippers and take your wife out to a nice dinner for letting you get the SawStop ( I am assuming you are married hehehe)
    I can pay retail anywhere, so how's your service?
    Grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory one project at a time
    Maker of precision cut firewood


  5. #5
    10" blade, no powerfeed - 3HP
    12" blade, no powerfeed - 5HP
    10" blade, powerfeed - 5HP
    12" blade, powerfeed - 7.5HP

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Near saw dust
    Posts
    980
    Just got my 3 hp SS cab saw and it EATS rough lumber as fast as you dare ram it in. So it should cut most of what you need it to at normal, safe speeds. The larger saw will also need more amps, if power is a concern for you. If not I would bet the 5 hp for another $200 if that is all it costs. More power is better. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    KC, MO
    Posts
    2,041
    Although I see Michael B's logic... I'd go for the extra HP for the $200 - but do still take your wife out to dinner!!! Make yourself some sack lunches over a couple months (instead of eating out...) and you'll have it paid for.......

    The 5hp runs at 20.5 amps.....so you'll need a 25 amp breaker. Enjoy your new saw!

  8. #8
    I've only run 3HP saws in my shop and it's never been an issue for me to have more power. I was, however, under the unpression that if I were to switch to 5hp, that I would need to upgrade my 30A breaker and 10 guage wiring. If I'm wrong on this, I'm sure someone will correct me. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    9,738
    I've got a Unisaw with 1 1/2 HP. I'm a full-time woodworker. That saw has eaten everything I've ever fed to it for twenty-five years.

  10. #10

    Hp ???

    I would have to agree with Steven W's guide posted above. I do not see really needing 5 hp without a slider or a power feeder. I had a MM 410 slider with 4.8hp motor with belt driven scoring off the main motor. I could not put it under any load with sheet stock. The shaper and J/P was another story.

    But hey for 200.00 divided over the years you plan to own it? It will be very costly to upgrade later on if you find your wanting more power.

    My personal thought on equipment: If you run a 3hp at say 80% load (2.4hp) and a 5 HP at 48% which do you think will last longer? Just my 2 cts, nothing scientific. A 5hp should have larger brgs and larger motor in general, should run cooler. Thats my logic anyway. If you plan years of use and long days in the shop.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Wall
    Although I see Michael B's logic... I'd go for the extra HP for the $200 - but do still take your wife out to dinner!!! Make yourself some sack lunches over a couple months (instead of eating out...) and you'll have it paid for.......

    The 5hp runs at 20.5 amps.....so you'll need a 25 amp breaker. Enjoy your new saw!
    Roy you are Da' MAN May I be so bold as to give you a new nickname Roy "More Power" Wall

    I still think that the 3hp is fine
    I can pay retail anywhere, so how's your service?
    Grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory one project at a time
    Maker of precision cut firewood


  12. #12
    Jon,

    Since you're a newcomer who's not sure of what he's going to build and buying all these top line tools, what's an extra 200?
    You can't talk about me without talking about yourself!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
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    15,807
    Jon, my 3hp Unisaw with full kerf blade has easily handled everything that Iíve thrown at it. Steven makes an interesting point concerning power feeds, but I don't use a power feed.
    Please help support the Creek.


    During the middle ages they celebrated the end of the plague with wine and orgies. Does anyone know if there is anything planned when this one ends?

    ---

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pa
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    2,266
    I have a 3hp Unisaw, and used it for years without problem. The thick stock was a bit slower to feed, but it was never a serious problem. I only run full kerf blades.

    But when I bought the SS, I put the 5 hp on it, knowing that I had to build a shop full of benches, and would be running a bunch of 12/4 hard maple. For $200, I'd go for it. But, if you don't cut much thick stock, there would not be a need for it.
    Alan Turner
    Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    267
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bell
    i only want to buy this once.
    Jon,

    You've pretty much answered you own question me thinks... Personally, (it's always easier to spend someone elses money ) I would upgrade the saw to 5hp.

    I too just went through the same thought process and while I can't say for sure I'll really need the 5hp, it will be there if I do. I'm the kind of person that will get tired of not having the right tool and eventually upgrade it later which costs money. You'll soon forget about that extra $200.00. Of course if it's a matter of money you certainly would do well with a 3hp and you alone will know what's right for you.

    If it were up to me I'd upgrade it!

    Larry

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