It was well over a year ago we first heard Bosch Reaxx Jobsite Table Saw GTS1041A-09 ($1499) would be hitting the market to compete with the SawStop Jobsite Table Saw JSS-MCA ($1299, + $100 w/shipping) which had, at the time, just hit the market. Well it looks like the day is soon at hand as Bosch is promising to deliver these new saws starting June 1 (you can pre-orders now), despite the active lawsuit with SawStop. We want to look at pros and cons raised by both sides and hopefully get a better idea how these two saws stack up!
Reasons to go with SawStop JSS-MCA
We had several opportunities to use the SawStop JSS-MCA at this point and we can say without a doubt it is a very nice portable table saw. Extremely mobile, solid base, one-turn blade height adjustment, micro bevel adjustment, on-board storage and just an all-around well-built portable table saw, we would argue currently the best on market without even considering the safety feature. The safety aspect luckily we have not personally triggered but we have seen the “hot dog test” several times in person.
The positives of SawStop’s safety blade stop is that there are tens of thousands in use for 10+ years now, no reports of failure or major problems resulting in injury, they use the same replacement cartridges in Jobsite saw as the cabinet saws and the replacements are readily available in dealers across the country. These saws and very easy to use, self-diagnose on each start up to detect problems and you can by-pass the safety (needed for cutting thin metals or very wet wood) but the by-pass resets automatically each time it turns off. The saw can also test for conductivity simply by touching the material to the blade before cutting so you don’t need to guess.
The safety mechanism is twofold, it stops the blade (within 3 milliseconds) and retracts the blade, this does jams an aluminum block into the saw blade making in unusable unless you take it to a blade sharpener (probably not worthwhile on a jobsite saw blade). The SawStop safety cartridge is $69 and is a onetime use device so typically you should get an extra when you purchase the saw, there is storage space on saw for an extra cartridge. Since the saw is already on the market there are several additional accessories readily available including dust collection, dado safety cartridge (separate cartridge need to be replaced with blades) and the whole package comes in at 108 lbs (20-30 lbs less than Reaxx should be) which thanks to the handle design can load in and out of a vehicle by pretty much anyone.
Reasons to go with Bosch Reaxx Saw
Since the Bosch Reaxx saw is the new competitor it not only needs to be as good but really needs to offer compelling reasons why it is better than the current option of SawStop. Coming out of the gate with a price $200 higher doesn’t help the case at all. What does help the case is that the saw will not damage the blade when the safety is activated, potentially saving cost in blade replacements.
Also the Bosch Safety Cartridge is a duel use (has 2 pistons, each 1 time use) so when you buy the saw you automatically have a backup build-in, replacements are $90 (or $45 per use). The same cartridge will also work with 10″ or 8″ dado blades. Another feature that may justify the higher price tag for everyday usability is the saw also has a built-in out-feed support which helps keep larger materials supported without needing to drag out additional support stands. This is very handy feature we would expect to use often.
You can communicate with the saw by using the REAXX Android App (will release before June 1 & no immediate plans for an equivalent IOS version) to register, track activations, service requirements and control lockout features. It’ll be a pretty straightforward app which has useful info and in the future can be updated for more functionality. There is always a risk this could deter less tech-savvy customers but for this saw’s target users we think this interface makes sense.
The Bosch Reaxx Base Saw GTS1041A ($1299) removes the mobile stand and outfeed support as well as shaves $200 off the price to be equal to the SawStop JSS-MCA. For Bosch it makes more sense to offered a less expensive base unit. We have all seen many DIY plans & videos (500K views for video below) for building pretty elaborate table saw work stations which Bosch is hoping to tap into to use their new base Reaxx GTS1041A table saw to not only go against the SawStop Jobsite Saw but also go after the market for safer saws in the workshop.
Questions SawStop Raises about the Bosch Reaxx Saw
With the Bosch Reaxx Table Saw eminently hitting the market June 1 SawStop is pretty actively campaigning about why their saw is better and raising some questions for users to consider. We want to make sure to get the full story from both sides of the table, not dismiss these questions but let our readers make up their own minds what is important to them.
First with the safety mechanism, the SawStop has a duel safety mechanism to stop blade as well as retract the blade vs Bosch Reaxx only retracting the blade, in the unlikely situation the retract failed (on either saw) the SawStop has redundancy in safety mechanisms. At the same time however SawStop claims to have never had a safety failure with 10+ years and tens of thousands of saws in the market.
Second, raised questions on how quickly the Bosch Reaxx safety works, with their saw at 3 milliseconds, suggesting (from YouTube videos frame by frame analysis) the Bosch Reaxx could take more than double their time (6+ milliseconds) to fully retract and that timing would be depend on blade height. Again not sure how big of a concern this truly is based on the hot dogs in those videos which seem to have about equally little damage.
Third they point out that the Bosch Reaxx requires service after 25 triggers of the safety, which certainly can be an annoyance to take a tool in for service and does take the saw out of use for some time. That being said we would say there are much bigger issues with either the user or organization or saw if any of these flesh detecting saws (SawStop or Bosch) were to be triggered even 10 times. We would suggest you should really talk to your local dealer, have the saw looked at and/or get some professional training on properly using a saw with flesh detecting technology well before you get to 25 triggers!
Final major question/statement from SawStop is with the conductivity testing, while both saws offer by-pass for their safety, SawStop is only one who allows the material to be tested (touching material to blade while not spinning to show different LEDs) prior to making any cuts. This is a pretty big deal as it gives the user more confidence in what they are doing, prevents accidental triggers (saving time and money) and allowing the safety to be “on” more often when cutting questionable material. This is a very handy feature for a flesh-detecting saw which we see as a much bigger deal than any of the previously mentioned concerns.
Once the Bosch Reaxx Saw does finally hit the market we have no doubt there will be a lot that get purchased simply based on the loyal fan base Bosch Tools has built with their portable table saws & miter saws over the years. We are confident it will be a good saw and users will like using it although we are just speculating at this point as we have yet to really get our hands on one for more than a few minutes.
That being said SawStop has built their own very loyal following with an impressive jobsite saw that already have thousands in the field. The biggest objection we have heard about the SawStop JSS-MCA Jobsite Saw is with the price tag and Bosch is not attempting to address that objection with the Reaxx Saw at this point. Both of these saws are more than double the cost of other portable table saws, which we would argue is worth the money but our hope is that with more saws in the market, volume will eventually drive production costs lower and these saws will naturally come within reach for more and more users.