agree 1000% on the cost… I agonized over this for a few months. I was upgrading from a 15 year old contractor saw that I had built a table around and mocked up some dust collection, but when the motor started going out I knew it was time to do my research.
At the end of the day it came down to about $800 more to have the safety feature, and with 2 boys who really wanted to spend time in the shop, I felt it was a worthwhile investment.
The best part, in retrospect, is that the seller completely dropped the ball when shipping me the saw, and it took 3 weeks to get all the parts, not to mention 2 failed attempts because nobody seems to understand what a lift-gate it. In the end, they completely refunded me shipping, plus knocked $250 off the saw, so the difference was only $550 to get the SawStop safety feature over a Powermatic / Jet / Grizzly with comparable specs…
I can’t say enough good things about the SawStop, I love the fit, finish and quality of the saw, plus the dust collection is superb. The added safety feature is just a plus, and I hope to never have to test it out for real, but knowing it’s there sure helps, although there’s still a tremendous respect for the danger of that spinning wheel of death.
The bad part about adding the saw to my shop is it started a cascade of other upgrades to my Jet dust collector (added the super dust deputy and a fine filter) as well as 4" piping throughout the shop and the auto-start / stop relay on the saw so the DC kicks on automatically, as well as the cost of blast gates, hoses and other connectors for each of the tools