I received a test sample of the new Bosch Reaxx table saw GTS1041A, which features flesh-detection and injury-mitigation technology, and recently started putting it to the test.
I actually received the saw a few months ago, but with a kitchen remodel, a new baby, and lots of other things on my plate, I only recently had a chance to set it up. But that also means that I had grown extremely eager to get it going.
I built the roller stand first, and am very pleased with its quality. I especially like the swivel feet. It sometimes takes a little deliberate shifting to deploy the saw from its “stored” or transporting position, but repetition commits the minor fiddling motion to memory.
In other words, the Reaxx’s roller stand is not automatic, but I’ve also been using it on uneven ground, and it’s still loads easier to use than other types of saw stands and roller stands.
As for the saw, that part requires a little context. I have been using a Dewalt table saw recently, the DWE7491RS ($579 via Amazon), for a project I’m working on, and also to test it for review. So when I fired up the Bosch Reaxx, my recent Dewalt experiences were still very fresh.
I first noticed that the fence is robust and stronger-feeling than the Dewalt, but it isn’t as smooth to adjust. That was the biggest difference.
Setup was easy – you unscrew a red cap, insert the safety cartridge, attach the wire harness, screw down the cap, use the included spanner wrench to tighten it another 1/8 turn, lift the blade in a 2-action maneuver, and you’re ready to go.
The instruction manual wasn’t clear as to why the saw blade was in the lower released position. I’m thinking they test the safety mechanism of each saw before they leave the factory.
The first time I started the saw, the blade fell down. I hadn’t even raised the blade height, I was just doing a quick system test activation. To lift the blade, you have to hold a lever (in the above image it’s to the left, near the blade throat plate lock), attach the blade change wrench over the arbor nut, and lift it fast. I guess I wasn’t forceful enough?
When I made a test cut, the blade vibrated against the sides of the throat plate. The throat plate is more elaborate than most, with height adjustment screws, but it looks fairly well adjusted.
So why was it making a metal-rubbing-metal sound? Blade runout? Is the blade not secure in the operational position?
And then I checked the 0° and 45° calibration. It was off at both. Okay, maybe it shifted a little. UCH, the hard stop, which was supposed to be set at the factory, was off. So I had to take longer than I wanted to, to reach under the saw and adjust the stop cam.
The cam isn’t easy to reach, either. I had to blindly feel for it, and hope I was adjusting it properly. Maybe I should have done this with the saw upside down?
But then the 45° was off, Uch, I’ll worry about that another time.
You’re supposed to calibrate a new saw, but I like to see good saws calibrated and set square right out of the box.
While there are parts of this saw masterfully designed and engineered, I’m unhappy with too many things. The riving knife is a bugger to adjust, the saw was off square and the 0° stop improperly set at the factory.
And what is that metal-on-metal ringing sound? I need to check a kerf mark to see if it’s runout or something else. I have only used the saw with the stock blade, which are often junky.
With a $1500 price tag, I expected this to be the best portable table saw on the market. Ignoring my initial complaints for a moment, the user experience just isn’t as good as I have recently experienced with my recent Dewalt sample.
I do like the rear outfeed extension, but wish it was a little more secure during transport.
I have more testing to do, but to be honest, I’m not looking forward to it. I didn’t exactly enjoy my first few uses of the saw. Hopefully my impression will change, as I like the idea of a portable table saw with flesh detection and injury avoidance.
There are a lot of things that I like about this saw, and want to like about this saw. And right now, it’s one of only 2 portable jobsite table saws that offer any kind of flesh detection safety mechanism.
With the riving knife so finicky to adjust, especially compared to Dewalt’s design, I have the feeling that a lot of professional users will view it, and the other guarding, as optional. That’s a bad idea, as the flesh-detection mechanism does nothing to mitigate wood-launching kickback.
As I continue testing of this saw, what would you have me consider or evaluate? I know that, like myself, you guys have a lot of questions about it.
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Thank you to Bosch for providing this test sample unconditionally.
I get that new technology is expensive, and there’s an uphill legal battle to fight against Sawstop… but I was really hoping this would come in at about $750-$1000. I want the price of finger-saving technology to come down and be approachable.
Well that’s disappointing. I was hoping Bosch would provide some meaningful competition to SawStop. If it’s this hard to get working out of the box, that’s a big problem. In particular since this model (with stand) costs $200 more than a comparable SawStop.
I’m guessing you’ve already reached out to SawStop for a comparable test model? Doesn’t seem like it would fit their marketing strategy though, they’re pushing for ubiquity on youtube and tv, not so much talk about quality. Everything I’ve heard about their cabinet saw is fantastic, and the Jobsite saw gets good marks as well.
yeah agreed. I guess it’s great the Sawstop’s actual products are extremely good…It’s just the dirty legalize and politics that annoy a lot of us about them.
I don’t know what to do at this point. I’m still using a little Dewalt 745 (the updated version with 21″ capacity), in which my homemade infeed and outfeed options are enough to use it for everything i’ve needed to so far (and accuracy remains surprisingly good) I don’t like ripping sheets on portable TS’s anyway, just use a 8 foot clamp guide and cordless circ saw…but I’ve been eye-balling the higher end portable options, and when an accurate and simple job site saw lands under a grand…that doesn’t delete body parts…I’ll probably pull the trigger. I’ve been lucky, and haven’t had any issues over the past couple of years, but the peace of mind that these detector-style saws offer is hard to ignore.
but this bosch clearly won’t be what I upgrade to.
I’d prefer they ditched the whole flesh detection. I know I know – but it causes lax saftey thinking on the part of the user and that’s very bad.
1500, even at 750 it’s too much.. Course I do have to say I think even at 550 the dewalt saw is over priced, but I bought one anyway.
what I’d like tested – does it actual turn off and save your finger (yes test it with a hot dog or something of course). Does is smurf the blade in the process – small price to pay yes but I thought Bosch’s key defense was that they were saving the blade too?
ANd because of that cannon plug – does it work correctly or is there some fault activation if that red wire plug isn’t fully tightened. as a preventative.
Meanwhile I have a similar dewalt saw to the one you’re using and I’d love an out feed extension but I bought a cheap roller piece from harbor freight for 17 dollars – and it’s worth every penny. easily fold up and cart able too.
I also wish for a Dewalt extension table. Using a work stand is a challenge on uneven or angled ground.
The Bosch seems to run through a self test at power up.
I do have a spare cartridge I’ll use to test it’s detection response.
Whats the saftey cartridge? If it detects flesh and drops the blade, the cartridge needs to be replaced?
The cartridge has 2 charges, afterwhich yes, it must be replaced. But not the blade – the blade remains undamaged.
The charge has an expiration date, but my newborn will be old enough to vote by then (2034).
Aparently they’re affected by moisture (at least the SawStop is) both in the environment and “wet” lumber which can set them off. I wonder to what degree that is and if you’re in a very humid environment this is rendered ineffective. At least with the Bosch you don’t loose a blade in that false positive.
Is my quick search correct that a cartridge is $100, thats $50 a finger…. but if the saw has a fault in detection is Bosch going to give people free cartridges?!?! Maybe thats why the cost is so high. If the saw experiences false detections often no one is going to want it. Sounds like a printer ink scam LOL
I don’t know about you, but I value my fingers a lot more than $50. I also value them higher than a SawStop cartridge and Woodworker II.
I’m guessing many construction companies would rather pay for a few of these cartridges going off than dealing with the insurance payouts (with rising costs) and possible lawsuits.
There’s a bypass mode for cutting wet lumber just like SawStop. From my reading on SawStop, I’ve only heard of false-fires being triggered by PT lumber (which is sopping wet), not by green, or regular lumber.
I was joking in referencing $50/finger. Yes the technology is great if it prevents injuries no matter the cost. My point was more to it costing $50 for false detections, hopefully it works flawless. Good it has bypass for wet lumber.
Since I can’t reccomend Stuart or anyone here actually test it in such a way, you might check out protoolreview. They had a guy test it in the safest way I guess you could with your actual hand. That being said all of their reviews are far too glowing for me to trust them much so Toolguyd is always number 1 in that department!
You can still get the Bosch 4100-09 which is, if I’m not mistaken, the exact same except no flesh detection at $500
If that’s the case, would be a great 1-to-1 comparison to see if any issues are the same, or unique to the Reaxx.
The problems with the saw are curious. I wonder whether they’re due to poor product and process engineering, or Bosch ramping up production too quickly with poor QC as a result. It’s hard to determine which would be more worrisome. Of course, it could be both.
One thing that I’d like to see would be whether or not the brake kicks in when the saw gets wet, whether or not it will make it through the self-test when it’s wet, and what happens when the saw tips over. All three are risks on the jobsite or for the guy working in his driveway. (Sudden cloud burst, errant water balloon, rambunctious St Bernard, etc….)
Oh, and there is the truly vexing question: will the safety fire on dry salami? Exactly what sorts of sausage will fire the safety, and which won’t? Inquiring minds want to know. You could invite us all over for a sausage and cheese party.
Rob Roblilard had issues with his Bosch Reaxx saws and power. He showed a video of it struggling to rip down a 2×4! He had 2 to test and they both had the same issue the the variable speed motor kicking down too much and bogging down.
Would it cut a wet 2×4? How about if it’s raining outside? What I wear gloves????
The effects of gloves or clothing are what I am curious about too.
There’s an override. You shouldn’t be using electric tools in the rain, but I’m guessing it will be fine if it just starts to drizzle at the start of a cut.
I don’t think it’ll sense your finger through a glove, unless the fingertips were conductive or capacitive for smartphone use. Clothes? Gloves, clothes, and long hair must be kept away from power tools. They increase the danger, and introduce more and different types of hazards.
I wish that these tools had a “testing” mode, where you can touch the blade of a powered-off tool with different materials just to ensure the sensor is fully functional. Maybe it does, but I didn’t read anything of the sort in the manual.
A SawStop will indicate after a bypass cut if the brake would have been triggered, though it can be a little tricky to notice since it’s a flashing light-code, rather than a specific indicator. This isn’t nearly as user-friendly as your idea though.
I haven’t been able to find anything mentioning a similar feature on the Bosch. It seems that other reviewers are also noting problems with their units though.
Personally, my questions are around quality, which you’re touching on. I have no problems spending on the safety feature, but at $1500 I expect this saw to come with a higher than average build quality for a contractor saw. What you’re observing sounds like run of the mill made in China contractor saw material…for $1500. I’d rather put that money into a sawstop cabinet saw.
Could it be that your test sample was rushed out and the blade alignment and setup issues won’t plague the retail models? I’d expect a new table saw to need some alignment if I put another blade on it, but a brand new $1500 saw should definitely come plug and play from the factory.
I like Bosch, but for DIY, I’m fine with a sub-$100 Skil table saw. My biggest concern is that minor issues hamper wide adoption of the tech where it will be most useful – on jobsites and in commercial shops. If production ramps up from high demand, then we can probably look forward to other saws with similar safety technology from other major manufacturers. If the user experience sucks, and the safety tech flops, these things will never get cheap enough in price for the average homeowner to consider over a regular table saw. Worst case, Bosch gives up and bins the whole idea, goes back to only regular saws.
For future reviews, I’d be interested in the perspective of whether or not the safety tech and the saw overall seems like it’s going to be a win or a fail in terms of getting people and businesses to spend the money for the safety benefits vs. saving money and just getting a good saw but without the safety tech.
I’ve seen the hot dog test and if you are going to do that test, I would like to recommend a modification. I’ve seen the hotdog on a cutting sled and in a glove always pushed into the blade slowly. In the one real life accident I’ve seen (without flesh detection) it was a kick back that caused the person to pull their hand away but then fall into the blade. So if you do a test, I would like to see the hot dog dropped onto the running blade or pushed quickly into the running blade to simulate a real word accident vs a best case, inch forward until it fires. It would also be cool to do that test in a glove to see the damage to the glove but (hopefully) not the hot dog.
Something along the lines of this: https://youtu.be/u7sRrC2Jpp4?t=258
That was no gentle slide a hotdog into a blade until the system pops!
I just want to reiterate how awful the Sawstop guy is. I am not fond of lawyers in general.
That said… The technology is awesome.
I will not buy any saw that pays even a penny to the Sawstop guy, though.
I haven’t followed this guy since I bought my sawstop a few years ago. I know he wanted to FORCE the industry to license his technology. Yeah, he may be self serving, but I’m sure this kind of thing happens a lot in less visible ways. Gass was just very open in trying to turn the industry to his benefit. But, I just don’t care about the politics. I don’t care about trying to spite the guy. If the saw saves me one time, I’m never thinking about his lobbying efforts. Possibly sacrificing a finger for spite seems silly. Even if the saw brake never trips, it’s a damn good saw.
There are likely other people like Gass behind products you own, you just don’t know it.
Screw Sawstop, they couldn’t care less about helping people and making dangerous tools safer, they only care about making regulations mandatory for implementing their monopoly. Scumbag of a company, I hope the big tool companies gang up to squash this spineless POS.
…and other “for profit” companies genuinely care about helping people? Drug companies for example? HA! Don’t get sick if you can’t pay for meds. Airlines? Those jokers make flying a painful experience and then try to make you pay extra for things they take away. But you likely still buy their products. I don’t get the double standard? Most products or services we buy come from companies that exist solely to enrich owners/stockholders. Sawstop isn’t unique in lacking corporate altruism. If that reality is a surprise to anyone, that’s a surprise to me.