Many of our customers in small woodworking shops compare the compact Hammer K3 Winner 79x48 Sliding Panel Saw with the SawStop American-style table saw.
Both are well-built machines (Hammer is made in Austria, SawStop in Taiwan) capable of fine work and suitable for use in a home hobby shop or professional cabinet shop. The footprint is usually a concern, and although sliding table saws appear larger, they do not actually take up much more space. Further, each manufacturer offers a mobility kit that makes it easy to move the heavy machinery without help.
Let's look at the physical size of two machines on display right now.
The SawStop Professional Saw, equipped with 36" rip fence and over-arm dust collection measures 69" x 36". Equipped with the SawStop 52" T-Glide Fence, it would measure 85" x 36".
Let's compare that to the Hammer K3. The size of this saw is a little more difficult to describe. Sliding table saws are designed to optimize the use of table space. Nearly all material cut is supported by the aluminum sliding table, and the precision-machined cast iron saw top and two steel extension tables provide additional working surface and support.
Unless you are cutting material over 8", you probably won't require and outfeed support. When I replaced my American-style table saw with a sliding table saw, I found that I had more useable shop space.
Equipped with a 50" rip capacity, the saw has an overall footprint of 73 x 79". If space is tight, you could certainly remove the second, smaller steel extension table to reduce the footprint to 47" x 79".
Other Differences Between the SawStop Cabinet Saw and Hammer K3 Winner 79x48
Of course, size isn't the only consideration when choosing a saw. In terms of capability, both saws accept a 10" blade and are capable of handling large and small material. The Hammer can also accept 12" blades and has the option of using a scoring blade for flawless cuts in melamine, plywood and veneered work.
You probably are aware of SawStop's flesh-detecting brake system which stops the saw blade on contract with skin. The Hammer K3 is equipped with an electronic brake that stops the blade quickly after the saw is shut off, eliminating long coast-down times. While not the same as the SawStop brake, bear in mind that many accidents happen when the saw is off and blade is costing to a stop, when the user just wants to remove the material near the blade and continue work. The included outrigger and crosscut fence can be set up in a minute for crosscut, or it can even be left on.
The Hammer K3 had one big safety feature that the SawStop does not - the sliding table. With a clamp, large or small material can be securely locked to the table and fed past the saw blade with your hands several feet away. This method also makes it easy to cut straight lines on irregularly shaped stock.
As I alluded to earlier, I do have a sliding table saw in my own shop. Seven years later, I can't see myself going back to an American-style saw, even after moving my shop into a one-car garage and reducing my workshop space by half.