With all the excitement about the Bosch ReaXX 1041A table saw, we thought it might be good to compare it against the new SawStop Jobsite table saw. We might even throw in some references to the tried and true Bosch 4100-09 table saw. Having used both saws extensively now, we wanted to make sure our readers could understand the differences and make a wise choice when shopping for the best portable jobsite table saw. Even without the (admittedly impressive) flesh-detecting technology, both the Bosch Reaxx 1041A table saw and the SawStop Jobsite Table Saw are impressive products. As with any good comparison, the Bosch Reaxx vs SawStop JSS-MCA table saw comparison needs to begin with features.
Bosch vs SawStop – Comparing Features
The Bosch 4100 really is a great tool, and it set the platform under which the new Reaxx saw was developed. Both tools still have onboard storage for the guard system and rip fence as well as blade wrenches and even additional blades. It’s the premium flesh detecting technology of the Reaxx system, however, that takes the $599 price point of the 4100-09 and jumps it to $1499. With that in mind, it’s only fair to compare the new Bosch Reaxx vs SawStop JSS-MCA Jobsite table saw and see which might be best for your business.
Bosch Reaxx vs SawStop JSS-MCA Rip Capacity & Outfeed
The new Bosch Reaxx table saw has a rip capacity of 25 inches. You simply lift a red release lever on the front of the tool, slide the fence out to the right, and then lock it back down. The dual scale on the fence covers both positions, so you can continue to make accurate cuts. Material support is provided by the part of the table that moves along with the fence.
The SawStop jobsite table saw has a similar rip capacity of 25.5 inches, and setting the table is equally easy. On the Bosch 1041A, however, a movable outfeed gives you an additional 18-inches of support off the back of the saw—something not provided by SawStop in its jobsite model. This feature is also available as an attachment on the existing Bosch 4100 saw, but it comes standard on the Bosch Reaxx.
- Advantage: Bosch Reaxx (slightly)
SawStop and Bosch Reaxx Table Saw Fences Compared
Power on a jobsite table saw is important—very important. Accuracy, however, is equally critical—particularly for anyone doing trim. A rough framer may be able to get away with slightly imperfect cuts, but if you’re making a set of built-ins or performing some other on-site carpentry work, you want your cuts to be true. The table saw fence has everything to do with that.
With that said, we think both the Bosch and SawStop fences do a great job of provided nice, square cuts. Both include non-conductive surfaces so you don’t trip the blade safety mechanism while ripping material. The Bosch uses a self-righting clamp mechanism that’ familiar to anyone who’s used any of their saws in the past. You can start your alignment a bit crooked, but when you clamp it down, you’re going to straighten out and end up square to the blade.
The SawStop is all performed at the front of the fence—much like a Biesemeyer fence system. Activation, however, is unique. You just push down on the far end of the red lever located in the top of the fence and frees the fence up to move. Once you push the lever back to its “flat” position, it locks down the fence. Once finger is all it takes. It also glides easily left and right when you control it (as you’re supposed to) from the front of the fence. This is a great fence and one of the easiest we’ve used.
- Advantage: SawStop
Where the Bosch 4100 stores the push stick behind the saw, making it a little difficult to get to, the Bosch 1041A places it right up front in a holster. That means you’re more likely to use it. This is a great change for a saw that’s emphasizing safety. SawStop stores it atop the location where the rip fence is placed, on the right side of the saw. It’s nearly as easy to get to as the Reaxx table saw.
On the other hand, tool storage on the SawStop JSS-MCA is simply brilliant. Adding to the convenient side storage is a tray that sits just under the table. It’s accessible when you extend the table to its full rip capacity. Inside, you can safely stores items like a replacement brake cartridge, the three included hex wrenches, and the miter guide. On the back you find a place for an extra blade and the two blade wrenches. They’re held securely, but can be released quickly and easily.
Bosch has all of its storage on the outside of the saw. The side features a plastic door that houses up to two additional dual-activation cartridges. It seemed to hold up well to the bumps and drops associated with using the saw on a job site. Where the Sawstop lets you slide the fence straight in to secure it, the Reaxx fence (like the 4100) clamps upside down to the table. This takes a little getting used to, but it holds securely once you fasten it in place.
- Advantage: SawStop
Blade Height Adjustment
The one feature that really impressed us the most about the SawStop JSS-MCA jobsite table saw, in particular, was its blade height adjustment. SawStop uses a geared mechanism that lets you raise the blade the entire height with just one rotation. That saves a ton of time and makes for a very simple action for setting your blade height. Even the blade angle adjust is simple, with a squeeze mechanism behind the height adjustment wheel that easily tilts the blade left or right—and a balanced trunnion means that the mechanism isn’t fighting against you the whole time. Then, a fine-adjust knob lets you dial it in for a more precise angle. About the only negative is that, if you touch the bevel adjust knob, you may not actually have the saw perfectly square to the table when you put it back as there’s no clear zero point.
The Bosch has traditional controls, with more than 20 turns to get the blade from bottom to top, and a locking lever for the bevel.
- Advantage: SawStop (by a mile)
Bosch Reaxx vs SawStop on Features
Here’s a quick table to let you check out some of the key differences between the SawStop JSS-MCA and the Bosch ReaXX table saws:
|Bosch Reaxx 1041A
|Bosch 4100 (for reference)
|-2º to 45º
|-1º to 46º (w/fractional adjust
and balanced trunnion)
|-2º to 47º
|Self-squaring w/material support
|Blade height adjust
|One turn elevation
|Forced below deck
|Destructive blade brake
|Computer control system
|Computer control system
|Standard paddle switch
|Push stick storage
Bosch vs SawStop on Flesh Detection and Safety
This is where the rubber hits the road. We tested both the SawStop and Bosch Reaxx table saws to see how well their flesh detection technology worked. We do NOT recommend anyone else try these methods. After all, you’re essentially trusting in electronics to protect you—never a good idea when you can avoid it entirely. We also took precautions to minimize the potential injury due to a failure of the saw to stop the blade at all.
Another thing to mention is that our results are hardly conclusive. You could test these saws any number of ways. You could include countless angles, different amounts of force, and test various parts of the blade. You could use different materials, form hot dogs, to bratwursts, to highly-conductive foil insulation. There are endless ways to test these saws, and we only chose a few due to time constraints, number of blades and cartridges at your disposal, and our willingness to sacrifice our hands to the task!
Bosch Reaxx Safety Performance Results
We can sum up our Bosch Reaxx safety performance results in two distinctive tests we ran on each. The first utilized an open palm hit. We slapped the “meaty” part of our (and by “our”, I mean Kenny) palm onto the top of the full-speed spinning blade. We minimized the danger in this test by only allowing a small portion of the blade to stick up through a 2×4 clamped to the top of the saw table.
The effect was instantaneous. Upon contact with Kenny’s palm, the saw blade was shot down below the table. It also kept spinning until it stopped naturally. Kenny had two small slices on his palm, about an inch in length. This represented the alternating points of the table saw blade teeth which were allowed to come into contact with his skin before being shot below the deck of the table.
- You can see a video of this safety event here.
The second test we performed was a finger drag across the front of the blade. This would test what happened during a front-of-blade contact. Kenny dragged his pointer finger across the blade, which was again positioned so that only a portion of the blade was exposed through a piece of 2×4 lumber. This minimized the potential damage should the system malfunction or not give us the results we expected.
The result was four lines representing, we believe, the edges of four particular blade teeth. The finger bled a bit, but the blade did successfully drop below the surface. Given the mathematics and trigonometry behind a four-tooth result, you can reasonably assume that the Bosch Reaxx would allow up to a 1/4-inch depth of cut if the speed of impact was aggressive enough.
That’s FAR better than an amputation but still worth noting. If you think a safer table saw is going to prevent all possible injuries, we would respectfully encourage you to continue practicing ALL safety precautions and best practices.
- You can see a video of this second safety event here.
SawStop Jobsite Table Saw Safety Performance Results
We set up the same exact test for the SawStop Jobsite table saw and again slammed our hand down onto the spinning blade. This time, however, the aluminum brake mechanism completely stopped the spinning blade. There was a noticeable difference in sound compared to a blade that kept spinning below the table surface. The other main difference included the fact that Kenny’s hand had absolutely no visible damage. He felt some contact with the blade, but it was so slight as to be imperceptible. When we looked at his palm, absolutely no trace of any blade contact appeared. None.
- You can see a video of this first SawStop safety event here.
On the second test we set up the SawStop in the same exact manner. We continued to imply our failsafes and carefully constructed the test to prevent all possible damage—even if the system failed us completely. Kenny again dragged his finger across the SawStop blade as it was spinning at full speed. The results were very similar to what we experienced from the Bosch Reaxx. Kenny’s finger received some damage, but instead of evidence for four blade teeth—there was evidence for just two.
- You can view the video for the second SawStop safety event here.
If you trigger the Bosch, you can get back up and running very quickly by flipping the dual-activation cartridge. It will cost you around $99 to get another one—also good for two more events. That’s $50 per event by the numbers. Your blade will continue to work and does not even need to be removed. A safety event on the SawStop will cost you around $69 for the replacement brake cartridge plus a new blade. It takes some finagling to remove the brake from the SawStop, but the included tools will help you pry it and the damaged blade off the table saw.
Clearly, the main selling feature of this new Bosch Reaxx table saw is the flesh detection technology. When comparing the Bosch Reaxx 1041A vs 4100 you have to understand that it isn’t a replacement to the 4100. Rather, it’s a high-tech saw that provides a number of useful and sought-after safety features. That means that the real question and comparison becomes the Bosch Reaxx 1041A vs SawStop jobsite saw as both are a premium product.
After comparing the Bosch Reaxx vs SawStop JSS-MCA table saws, we can see some clear delineations. Your preferences and how you like to work could sway you one way or the other. Personally, we feel that the fact that the SawStop actually stops the blade completely has two effects. One, it causes blade damage and forces you to replace the blade. Secondly, however, it may minimize more potential damage than allowing a blade to continue spinning s it drops down below the table. Our results are hardly conclusive, but that does at least seem to be the case with our results.
If you want to hear Kenny Koehler and Clint DeBoer talk about the test results of both saws, check out our Tailgate Talk video.
I simply love the rip fence, blade height adjustment, and tool storage on the SawStop JSS-MCA. The included Gravity Rise stand included with the Bosch Reaxx remains my favorite, however. We’re not going to make any decisions for the tradesmen reading this article. So, Bosch vs SawStop…which is it? You’ve got the data and can choose for yourself.