In my search for the ultimate value for money quality table saw I've realised it's all about compromise. Weight vs. portability. Table saw vs loss of shop space. Quality vs. Affordability. Safety features: splitters vs. riving knives, and sawstop wizardry. Left vs. right tilt. Dado / no Dado. Mitre fences. Rip fences. So many options. So many decisions.
The other thing you suddenly realise is that Australia gets the world's left overs. Brands and models are limited. For example powermatic and delta currently have no Aust. distributor. Models here are often more expensive (which you can't blame the dollar or transport as they are mostly made in Asia). They are also often several years behind US/Euro models.
So I got thinking what do I really need or want? As I do mainly medium to large furniture projects my requirements start with reliably and accurately cutting 3/4" timber but can cut 2" hardwood without strain. Dado ability is handy. A riving knife I would consider standard safety equipement but I don't see SawStop as necessity. Left tilt is my preference. Good dust handling is important. I want it to last twenty years. The original budget $1.5-2.5K.
So lets look at the line up...
Laguna 10" Platinum - $1995
Available at Gregory Machinery the Laguna is my current preference. It's a 3hp left tilting cabinet saw. It has removable riving knife and saw cover. The plastic faced steel T-style rip fence appears well built. Standard 16mm or 5/8" arbour for a 10" blade blade for a 20mm wide 8" Dado. 220kg. Ticks quite a few boxes and is within budget.
Jet Proshop - $1499
The Jet Proshop is available through Carbatec. It's open base design is closer to a contractor saw than a cabinet saw. However, unlike a standard contractor saw its motor is contained within rather then at the behind. It is a left tilting 10" saw. It's lighter at 113kg and takes up less shop space. It's 1.75hp would be more than enough for cutting 3/4" furniture timber but I fear would struggle with thicker wood or while using dado blades. Dust handling appears average relying on a sloped internal case. None-the-less appears good value.
Jet Xacta Deluxe - $2799
A 3hp 10" Jet work horse. This saw shows promise but it's over budget and not available until March. The non-deluxe model currently available at Carbatec doesn't have a riving knife but would be more than adequate.
The Sawstop Saws are now available at Gabbett. They have a great reputation of being well built quaity saws. The are unique in their SawStop safety features (though I'm sure other companies will catch up.) Similar in to Jet Proshop it is a 10" 1.75hp saw. The engine is behind but in the Australian version within a case. It has easy to use riving knife and good dust handling. But its over $3K and 1.75hp.
Carbatec had no stand-out models although the TSC-10HB looked interesting. It's a shame they stopped making the TS10L. The Felder/Hammer saws look great but start at $4.5K similar to the Saw Stop 3-5hp Cabinet Saw and over budget. Machinery House's offering looked like good value but nothing stood out.
I aim to order one early next week...