SawStop makes the best table saws for both the home shop and the job site, but each model has its own strengths. If you’ve been comparing the SawStop Professional vs. Contractor models, we’re here to help you make the decision that’s right for your specific needs.
SawStop Professional vs. Contractor Saws: MOBILITY
Every SawStop offers a way to achieve some degree of portability. However, the SawStop Contractor Saw has a bit of a leg up here. Let’s take a look at why:
- SawStop Contractor: The Contractor Saw features a CNS Mobile Base with an open design and four casters (two fixed and two swiveling). The Mobile Base is very stable and designed for much easier transport than a boxy cabinet base over uneven ground or in a busy workspace.
- SawStop Professional: First, you have the integrated PCS Mobile Base, which is very similar to the CNS version (but fitted for a cabinet-style base). Then, there’s the Industrial Mobile Base. The four swivel casters bear a ton of weight and make it possible to spin the SawStop in place, but you’ll need to install a PCS Conversion Kit to make it fit the Professional.
WINNER: SawStop Contractor Saw
SawStop Professional vs. Contractor Saws: FENCE
SawStop is renowned for its high quality, sturdy fence systems. Both of these saws come with a 30” fence on the base models, offer larger options, and perform well above the standard table or cabinet saw for accuracy and stability. However, they have slightly different features:
- SawStop Contractor: The CNS Standard Fence Assembly is a lightweight aluminum 30” fence that secures on both ends (front and back) of the saw. Some SawStop accessories won’t be compatible, and it’s not quite as sturdy as the legendary T-Glide fence, but it’s lightweight and has a small footprint—great on the job site. As a bonus, the Contractor Saw is also compatible with SawStop’s 36” and 52” T-Glide fence systems, just like the Professional.
- SawStop Professional: The 30” PCS Premium Fence Assembly is a lot like the Biesemeyer fences you see on the larger saws, securing only to the front rail. This makes it compatible with most SawStop accessories. The miter gauge has spring bearings on the side of the miter bar (unlike the Contractor Saw), ensuring it’s extra firm with no play in the slot. While sturdy and compact, this is still one step below the robust 36” and 52” T-Glide Professional models with their heavy-duty Biesemeyer-style fence systems—but you can easily opt for those if preferred!
WINNER: SawStop Professional Saw
SawStop Professional vs. Contractor Saws: POWER
Let’s get this out of the way first—both of these saws pack a punch and get the job done. Either can be wired for 110 or 220 VAC with no effect on horsepower or performance, and both are available at 1.75 HP. The difference is that the Professional has a larger option, too:
- SawStop Contractor: The CNS will limit you to 1.75 HP, which is just fine in most scenarios. You can slice through standard sheet goods (perhaps for cabinetry) with this saw all day long, for years. Take on hardwoods every so often with a thinner blade with fewer teeth, or just feed it slower (but be careful about burns).
- SawStop Professional: It’s pretty hard to over-tax a 3 HP motor. The option is great if you need it.
WINNER: SawStop Professional Saw
Go with the SawStop Contractor Saw if you need all-purpose versatility and lightweight maneuverability. The table-mounted trunnion, exterior motor, and stamped steel wings help it weigh in at 200 lbs less than the typical Professional configuration.
If you want the best table saw for robust, stable power (and top-notch upgrades/accessories), go with the SawStop Professional Saw. The cast-iron wings, cabinet-mounted trunnion, and 3.0HP option can’t do you wrong.