It was during a time when I was shopping for the best portable jobsite table saw that I first read about SawStop technology. Its safety features quickly impressed me as did the build quality of the tool. While I liked the design, I didn’t exactly have the room for a full-size cabinet saw in my little shop. When the SawStop jobsite table saw (JSS-120A60) came out I didn’t have any more excuses. The SawStop jobsite table saw isn’t inexpensive. The saw runs $1,299 plus shipping. Still, almost losing a digit some years ago drove me to pull the trigger and place an order. In the end, buying a SawStop table saw just made sense.
SawStop Jobsite Table Saw Packaging and Setup
I ordered my SawStop Jobsite table saw from a small dealer. The saw shipped directly from the manufacturer to my home. When I returned from work a week later, a box the size of a chest freezer sat in my backyard. The saw comes safely nestled in styrofoam, and I found a clear set of instructions on how to get the wheels on and the saw out of the box. In under 5 minutes, I had the saw prepped for making its first cut. I plugged it in, let it run its diagnostics, and fired it up. It sounded good, so I rolled it down to my workshop. The saw navigates easily and rolls much like a wheelbarrow.
The SawStop JSS-120A60 has excellent aboard storage—something you almost never see with a jobsite table saw (or any other saw for that matter). Simply slide open the table, slide out the plastic storage compartment, and flip it open. It reveals storage for your saw guard, 3-5mm wrenches, and miter block. You can also fit a spare brake in there.
SawStop JSS-120A60 Jobsite Table Saw Features
The fence on the SawStop jobsite table saw is nice and smooth. It doesn’t have a complicated rear connection point. Instead, the back of the fence rides on a wheel, so that the top-mounted lock can secure the front of the fence. This front anchor is similar to how a Biesemeyer fence works. All of the movement and locking is up front on the business end. Grab it in the middle, and it actually won’t slide smoothly for you. The fence slides (glides, really) left or right easily when you move the front edge along the track. To lock it down you just push down on the centrally-mounted red lever.
If you push on the back of the fence, you’ll feel a bit of give. However, that’s the case with even the best fences. If everything’s aligned correctly, it shouldn’t take much pressure to slide your material evenly along the fence. One improvement would be to make the front crossbar of the fence a bit wider to offer even more stability.
To open up the table you swing open the tab located under the 6-inch left-of-blade mark and slide the table to the right until it stops. Once opened, the red measurements on the front of the table now correspond to the correct right-of-blade distances.
Sawstop built a material support right into the fence. It deploys via a top-mounted dial. This helps support your work when you extend the table wide. The fence sits over the newly-created open space.
Blade and Tool Access and Storage
Accessing the SawStop blade is easy. Removing the blade guard and swapping it out for the riving knife is easier still. The non-conductive throat plate lifts off easily, and there’s a ton of room for your hand to flip the release lever.
For blade and tool storage, the rear of the SawStop JSS-120A60 table saw has you covered. A nifty spring-loaded pin system pulls and turns to let you slide on and store an additional 10-inch blade and the two blade tools. I’d like to see more capacity here for adding at least a second blade.
The push stick, fence, and cord wrap are located on the right side of the table saw, and everything locks into place nicely for travel. The plastic push stick has a rather shallow lip, but it will do in a pinch.
Bevel Cuts and Depth Adjust
Adjusting the depth of cut on the SawStop Jobsite table saw is almost ridiculously easy. Unlike most saws, the depth adjustment wheel is geared so that one complete revolution raises the blade fully up or down. It’s equally simple to adjust bevel. You just grab the back of the wheel and pull as you slide the blade left or right. Adjacent to the large wheel is a fine adjustment knob to dial in the bevel to the exact degree you need. This caused some concern from at least one of our Pros since there’s not hard stop on the fine adjustment knob. That means that while you can calibrate the bevel stop to a perfect 90—you can throw that off the tiniest bit with the fine adjust at any time.
The controls for the saw are fairly intuitive, and I really like the big paddle Off switch that can be easily hit with a knee. A dual-LED indicator shows the status of the system using a lot of different combinations. These two lights have a combined total of 12 different indications for telling you what the saw is doing or what mode it’s in. Fortunately, SawStop provides a guide on the saw itself or we’d be lost.
One of those statuses is particularly handy. If you put the saw into bypass mode you can run a piece of wood or material through it and then check the lights to see if it would have triggered. That lets you know whether you can run the rest of the cuts in normal mode and benefit from the protection the saw offers. SawStop actually has a patent on this.
SawStop Dust Collection
Dust collection with portable jobsite table saws always proves to be tricky. With a Bosch VAC140A dust extractor hooked up to the back of the saw, it still generated an impressive amount of fine dust. To me, it seemed to make a bigger mess than even my old DeWalt. This may be a factor of requiring that the blade be exposed underneath the saw to allow for the safety brake/cartridge to stop the blade. At the Pro Tool Reviews Shop, the guys felt the SawStop was one of the better-performing saws, with very little dust drop at the bottom and only fine particles up top. I happen to be particularly sensitive to that fine dust and do everything I can to mitigate it.
Adding the optional SawStop saw dust collection blade guard JSS-DCG could significantly reduce the top dust. It requires some configuration, and would likely appear only on jobsites that required near-total dust mitigation.
For anyone cutting wet wood or anything containing metal, the SawStop jobsite table saw includes an override mode. When used in this mode you are turning off a significant safety feature of the saw, but you can cut conductive materials like wet pressure-treated lumber, aluminum, foil insulation sheets, or anything else that passes electricity.
Using the SawStop JSS-120A60 Table Saw
My first actual cut with the SawStop jobsite table saw was in 3/4-inch plywood, and I found a clean 90-degree edge. I was, and continue to be, pleasantly surprised by the quality of the stock saw blade.
In addition to plywood, I have run beech, oak, and maple through the SawStopJSS-120A60 Jobsite table saw, and it has plowed through all of the materials with ease. The saw has very little vibration and has yet to get bogged down. Even ripping a laminated beech countertop down proved to be no problem. If you’ve used other jobsite saws, the smoothness of the cut will impress you, and it makes for a confident cut.
They ran pressure-treated lumber through the saw along with 3/4-inch plywood and commercial grade pallet wood. These pallets housed air large conditioning and refrigeration units for Publix, a regional grocery store chain based in Lakeland, FL. The tough pallet wood was essentially 6×6 lumber topped and bottomed with and 2×6 boards.
At the end of their testing, they agreed with me that this saw has significant power and makes nice smooth cuts. It’s a great portable table saw for the jobsite.
Flesh Detection Technology
No review of the SawStopJSS-120A60 jobsite table saw would be complete without an examination of the flesh-detection safety system. The folks at Pro Tool Reviews handled this as I didn’t have extra brakes and blades available to replace after the unit activated. They actually got the saw to trigger off of a super wet piece of pressure-treated 2×10. The folks at Pro Tool Reviews (It was Clint—don’t tell anyone!) neglected to put the saw into bypass mode before making the cut and got to see exactly how quickly the mechanism triggered!
The serial-controlled brake mechanism is completely replaceable and surprisingly self-contained. It really has to be in order to be practical. That didn’t stop us from being impressed by the way it was designed. Everything from the spring mechanism to the aluminum brake itself is involved in getting that blade to stop instantly and tucked down below the table to avoid injury.
The aluminum brake not only had the Diablo blade firmly embedded within it, but it was also slightly deformed. Like a vehicle’s “crumple zone” it took the brunt of the force of the blade and absorbed the forces while stopping it cold.
We’ll be performing several additional tests in the near future. There’s no shortage of videos showing the flesh detection capability of these saws. Also, our comparison of the SawStop vs Bosch ReaXX included some surprises.
Clearly this saw has what it takes to function well as a Pro’s portable jobsite table saw. At $1400, it presents itself as a premium product. In our opinion, the performance and features justify the price in this case. Sawstop could have made a safer jobsite table saw—but, in fact, they made a better table saw that happens to be safer as well.
I purchased my particular saw at full retail and had some trouble with the extension table. I believe it may have gotten bent or otherwise warped during shipping. SawStop was impressive about making it right. They had no problem swapping out the bum part, and customer service was attentive and knowledgeable. This type of attention (they didn’t know I was reviewing it, nor did I tell them) inspires confidence in their products.
SawStop JSS-120A60 Saw Additional Features
- One turn blade elevation
- QuickTilt w/micro adjust
- T-Style fence with ErgoLock
- Low profile blade guard
- Tool-free zero-clearance insert
- Accessory storage drawer
- Extension clamp
- Includes: Collapsible rolling cart, miter gauge, JSS micro blade guard, riving knife, (2) blade wrenches, push stick, 10″ carbide tipped blade, standard brake cartridge, 3/4/5 mm hex keys
SawStop Jobsite Table Saw Specs
- Motor: 15A, 120 VAC 60 Hz, Universal
- Peak HP 4.0 HP
- Blade speed: 4,000 RPM (no load)
- Restart protection
- Dimensions (saw): 15-1/2″ H x 31-3/4″ W x 28-3/4″ D
- Dimensions (w/cart folded): 45″ H x 26-1/4″ W x 28-3/4″ D
- Weight (saw): 79 lbs
- Weight (w/cart): 108 lbs
- Blade Diameter: 10 in.
- Dado Diameter: 8 in.
- Max. rip right of blade (extended): 25-1/2 in.