View Full Version : New table saw purchased! - 220 or 110V?

10-10-2004, 06:43 PM
Thanks to everyone for you input on table saws. To refresh you all, I looked at unisaws and contractor saws from Asia and North America as well as some old ahrn (a 14" Moak tilting table that sold for $27 on ebay). I am hugely relieved to have not purchased the Moak. A basement hobbyist like me has no business aquiring an 800 lb industrial monster. Really guys, what would you realistically do with something that big, even if you could get it down the stairs? Thanks to those who advised against.

Reason prevailed in the end, and I bought something cost effective and more than sufficient for my shop needs. I purchased the Grizzly G0444Z Contractor's saw with cast iron table top and extension wings. The top really does have an almost mirror smooth finish. It came with the Shop Fox Aluma-Classic fence on 57" rails - a Beismeyer clone. Total price delivered - $603:

The saw was delivered by truck from who knows where and arrived at the warehouse in just 4 days. Assembly took approximately 5 hours and was made simple and straighforward by Grizzly's excellent instruction booklet. And that's where I am.

Now the question: Should I run it on 110 or 220 volt power.? Either way I need to add a new circuit since it'll draw 24A on 110V. After remodelling the kitchen my electrical panel is nearly full, though, so adding a 220V circuit will mean having to consolidate other wiring and will be a major hastle. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each? I am hoping to power it up next weekend and post comments on it's performance.

Thanks again for the input.


[ 10-10-2004, 07:44 PM: Message edited by: guillemot ]

Bob Smalser
10-10-2004, 07:41 PM
Last time I recommended somebody go with bigger voltages as a general rule because it's cheaper, cooler and lengthens motor life, some engineer jumped in and corrected me with 2 pages of data.

What little I understood of it didn't change my mind.

Harry Miller
10-10-2004, 07:52 PM
I had been running a R.A.S for 20 years and a T.S. for 10 in my basement with minor but annoying stalling and fuse blowing when ripping hardwood. When we got central air conditioning (this is the South part of Canada.) the installer suggested he put in another 220 volt panel for my saws. I had him do this and have been extremely happy. They seem like different machines. So I'm with Bob.

Gary E
10-10-2004, 07:53 PM
If at all possible run it on 220v. current draw will be 1/2 that of a 110v draw and 220v wire size can be smaller.

If you have a electric clothes drier, you could plug the saw into drier outlet. Only thing is that your wife may not like the idea, saw or drier, one at a time not both at same time.

10-10-2004, 07:59 PM
I have that same saw and I think you will really like it.
I run mine on 110 just because I have needed to move it to various locations to do what I do.
If it was going to sit in one place or just a couple places I'd use 220.

Bruce Hooke
10-10-2004, 08:12 PM
Rather than consolidate other wiring, maybe you should consider adding a subpanel. If you've got a couple of underutilized circuits then consolidating them into one circuit might not be that hard, but underutilized circuits seem to be kind of rare, in which case a subpanel might make more sense.

Of course either solution assumes that you are not already overtaxing the electrical service to your home!

Tom Lathrop
10-10-2004, 08:41 PM
In spite of contrary advice you may have gotten, 220 will be better than 110 for higher current machines. But 24 amps? No "normal" house wiring is sized to work at this load and it could be dangerous. The 14 GA wire should be limited to 15 amps continuous and 12 GA to 20 amps continuous and that is on a dedicated circuit with no other loads.

You may be able to push these numbers some but that is where the fire department gets their "electrical fire" statistics.

We go through the fantasy of electric motor ratings often on the forum but what is important is the continuous working current when the tool is under normal load. Starting current will be quite a bit higher than the rated current.

Another factor is whether your main panel can supply the load of the saw in addition to its other normal loads. Yet another factor in favor of 220 is that it will automatically draw balanced current from each leg of the two 110 circuits entering your power panel. Using 110 draws the full (double) current from only one leg of the feed and could trip the main breaker when it could handle the halved current of the 220 saw load.

In any case, 220 will require half the current at the same power and is always preferred if the tool current is at or above the limit of the 110 circuit.

[ 10-10-2004, 09:44 PM: Message edited by: Tom Lathrop ]

Peter Malcolm Jardine
10-10-2004, 08:48 PM
220v ;)

10-10-2004, 10:49 PM
220V. I suppose there could be a case for 120 but this ain't it.

10-11-2004, 07:42 AM
Ok, so I suppose this should be interpreted as favoritism for 220, eh? I will see what I can do to make that happen. One possibility is cutting the drierwire, as Gary suggested, and running a new outlet off the same circuit. In that case, is there some kind of switch that I could install that would only allow one outlet to opperate at a time? I imagine that the electrical inspector would raise an eyebrow at an overloaded circuit. Alternately, I could get a longer power cord for the saw and just plug directly into the dryer outlet across the room. Any problems forseen with running a 15A device on a 30A curcuit? I am at the point in my electrical training where I can splice wire, install new circuits, outlets, and such, but I don't know much about the "rules" of electricity.

Bruce suggested a 220V sub panel. That sounds like a job for an electrician. Or is it something I could do myself? The house only has 100A service. It might be a lot of work for just one device. I suppose that I could run the bandsaw on 220 as well in that case.

Thanks again for the responses.


[ 10-11-2004, 09:09 AM: Message edited by: guillemot ]

Dan Lindberg
10-11-2004, 02:05 PM

If you happen to have a Square D box, you can get 1/2 slot breakers, which would allow you to make room for a 20 or 30 amp 220 breaker in the box.

Don't under estimate the value of a high current/dedicated voltage supply liie for your saw. I currently have my TS in the garage which has no power. I run the lights and saw on a 75 ft 16 gauge cord (ya I know, bad), anyway the saw is noticable low on power. When I run the planer with a 220v/30a line from the elec box, the saw is a new mach with plenty of power. (I can plug in either 220/30a or 110/20a on this "extension cord".


Bruce Hooke
10-11-2004, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by guillemot:
Any problems forseen with running a 15A device on a 30A curcuit? I am at the point in my electrical training where I can splice wire, install new circuits, outlets, and such, but I don't know much about the "rules" of electricity.
When I was running the wiring for my tablesaw I asked pretty much this same question of an electrician and he said that it was a bad idea. My recollection is that the logic was along the lines of if something goes wrong with the saw that causes an overload it is much better if the breaker cuts out sooner rather than later to prevent damage to the motor on the saw or an overload on the cord leading to the saw. So, If I'm thinking about this right you would ideally be running a 15A 220V circuit. However, as I think about it he may also have been concerned about the capacity of the wire running from the breaker to the recepticle, which is clearly a different issue, so you may want to get independant confirmation on this. If you do go this route and want a switch to allow power to only go to either one place or the other then it seems to me that a simple double pole double throw (ON-ON) switch mounted on a junction box would do the job. You would need to make sure the switch was rated for the power you plan to run through it but I'd be very surprised if you could not find such either locally or from someplace like McMaster-Carr or Graingers. One thing I would want to check before moving ahead with this plan is exactly how many of the wires in the 220 circuit need to be switched in such a system. I'm assuming that only the two hot wires would need to be switched but I do not know that for certain.

Bruce suggested a 220V sub panel. That sounds like a job for an electrician. Or is it something I could do myself? The house only has 100A service. It might be a lot of work for just one device. I suppose that I could run the bandsaw on 220 as well in that case.

Thanks again for the responses.

JeffThe subpanel does not need to be dedicated to 220. What you are basically doing is adding a new service panel that feeds off the existing panel. The level of service to your house is an independant issue -- the fact that you have 100A service determines how many things you can run at once which is only indirectly related to the number of circuits and panels you can have in the house. Adding a subpanel ought not be that complicated but it might be best to either have an elctrician do it or at least see if you can find an electrician who would be willing to check out your work once it's done. There are various issues that need to be addressed like the size of the wire leading to the subpanel and how the ground gets handled -- the little details that make all the difference!

[ 10-11-2004, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Hooke ]

10-11-2004, 02:29 PM
220 no matter what it takes...keep me posted and when it's all wired up and tested for the initial run, call and I'll make sure there is a suitable quantity of nice spruce from Fred Tebb Sons there to check out the smoothness of your blades..... :D

ion barnes
10-11-2004, 03:39 PM
At the old homestead, we took a line from the stove circuit, and just remembered not to try welding while mom was cooking. When I got my own shop, I had a 220v breaker put in so that I could run a circuit around the shop. Really, i can only be at one machine at a time so its not a hardship. I have a 10"table saw, 7hp air comp., 250amp welder, and a jointer. If needed I still have space in the panel for another 220 brreaker.

George Roberts
10-11-2004, 03:47 PM
guillemot ---

There is no difference in performance between 24amps @ 110v and 12amps @ 220v.

For 110v you need a 30amp circuit minimum. For 220v you need a 15amp circuit minimum.

For 220v you need a double pole shut off switch. For 110v either a single or doulbe pole switch will work.

You also need the proper plug configuration.

ion barnes
10-11-2004, 03:54 PM
Your local electrical regs should be consulted first. In Canada, a standard 110 circuit is fused for a max of 15amps, anything larger requires a dedicated circuit with a designated plug blade configeration. I am sure the same applies in your neck of the woods. It means that you would have to string a new circuit from the panel with bigger wire and the unique recepticle and plug, just as you would do with a 220 circuit.

10-11-2004, 04:38 PM
George izz right...same power drain...BUT ya are gonna blow something......standard house wiring izz fer a maximum of 15 amps per circuit, and the wiring is sized accordingly...ya run a risk of burning the house down, and the insurance ain't agonna pay when they find out ya done burned down your house with ill eagle wiring......do it right and don't even consider jerry rigging it... :(

watts izz watts....it's sorta like using 25 psi hose to run your diesel thru fer your 65 hp engine and then converting to a pair of 300 hp engines and then trying to run 300 psi throught the same hose...can't take the pressure.....you may still be using 15 gallons per hour, but you are now using 300 psi for a few seconds at a time instead of a constant flow.....but in your case you are trying to pull more pressure constantly (amps) and the hose (wiring) will blow sooner or later....it may work on Georges boat (for a while) but when the boat sinks he ain't agonna pay for your house...

[ 10-11-2004, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: paladin ]

Bruce Hooke
10-11-2004, 04:48 PM
Note regarding the two previous posts: Jeff said that he was going to run a new circuit either way, so presumably if he did go with 110V he would be running a special 30A 110V circuit with the recepticle to match. The issue is that a standard 220 breaker takes 2 slots in the panel and it sounds like he only has one slot left...

10-11-2004, 04:49 PM
That is correct, Bruce. My assumption has been that for a 30A curcuit I'd have to run 10 guage and for a 15A it'd be 12. Do wire guage requirements change when working with 110 or 220 for a given amperage?

The point made about running a 15A device on a 30A circuit and blowing out the motor is well taken. I won't do that.

Dan, my box is a cuttler-hammer. I'll look into half slot breakers for it. Thanks for the tip. And I'll look for that spruce in the mail paladin! :D

This discussion should be useful to many who are setting up a home shop. Wiring is probably the last think I considered when purchasing tools. Keep the suggestions coming!


[ 10-11-2004, 07:35 PM: Message edited by: guillemot ]

George Roberts
10-12-2004, 08:26 PM
paladin ---

It was not my suggestion that he use existing wiring and just increase the breaker size.


Bob Smalser ---

It is probably important to note that the voltage/power drop to the saw is often important.

For 50' of #10 wire (110v 24amp) the power drop is 5%.

For 50' of #12 wire (220 12amp) the power drop is only 1%.

These are usual/reasonable wire sizes for this saw but the power drop at 110v will be more noticable than the power drop at 220v.

Perhaps #8 wire would be a better choice at 110v.

Bill Perkins
10-12-2004, 09:14 PM
Jeff around here 100 amp panels are considered relics from the past . When older homes are upgraded an increase in panel size is automatic .The typical modern ( American ) home draws more juice .Plus you have a significant home shop . It sounds like your existing system is maxed out, that's probably why there are no available breakers .

If it's like here the power company is responsible for the cable from the utility pole to the meter.If your system is old , call them and they'll come out for free and check that the supply line is properly sized and in good condition .If they find it's undersized by current standards , that's a heads up that your whole system is obsolete .You'll need to check the line from the meter to your breaker panel . This is serious stuff ; I think consulting with a licenced electrician would be smart .New panel ,some ground fault circuits ,a sub panel in the shop , check the ground :it could be time .

[ 10-14-2004, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: Bill Perkins ]

10-13-2004, 06:56 AM
Jeff, what ever you do (110 or 220) post back after you get it up and running and tell us what you think of Grizzly. I've got their base entry level contractors table saw and I love it.


Bruce Hooke
10-13-2004, 09:13 AM
For reference, I know two or three people who upgraded the service to their house from 100A to something more up to date and all three had to spend about $1000. This was about 10 years ago...

That said, I bet you would get this money back when you sell the house.

Certainly, having an electrician in to check out the situation would not be a bad idea. An awful lot of fires are started by electical problems.

10-13-2004, 10:11 AM
A 100amp service seems a little small for a modern
house...very small for a house with power tools.
if you have and electric range is 50amp, electric
dryer 40amp table saw 24 amp...=114amps, I relise
that the devices don't draw what the fused for, but if came to me and asked for a sub panel I would recomend getting a 200amp service... you could have an electricain put in a 150amp service
but the labor costs are no more for the 200amp
and you would have all the room you need for your
house and power tools... In my house my T/S is
wired for 240v and I did what you said about consoludating the load until I get a chance to change my service.

10-13-2004, 05:45 PM
I would recommend setting up another pannel for your tools and other things in the same area. run big wire (6 or 8 gauge), (just for the record you should make sure that there is less then 2000 watts runing over a 12 guage wire. (either way the saw needs to be run with atleast 10 gauge wire).

the panel doen't even need to be in the wall.

Bill Fisher
10-13-2004, 06:25 PM

I donít want to get in an argument with anybody but I canít resist posting on this subject for the following reasons.

1). As a professional electronics geek I would suggest that you hire a professional electrician (not an easy thing to do either I know). Itís not that what you want to do is that hard but it needs to be done correctly and at least meet your local building code. As mentioned, your insurance carrier is not going to be happy with you if fire results, see 2.

2). As a volunteer fireman I donít want to have to put out any more house fires started by faulty electrics. And Iíve put out a few. Some of the things I have seen defy belief. Considering how much energy there is in a residential service, and mix in some of the gross negligence I have seen, and itís a wonder house arenít bursting into flame more often. Consider that you will be making lots of saw dust tooÖ..Kaboom!

3). I just completed rewiring my shop tools to 220v. The TS, Radial Arm Saw, Band Saw and Jointer are all on the same 15amp, 220volt circuit. The house lights donít flicker any more, the tools start up much faster, I was able to reduce the number of shop circuits (by three) and the house service is better balanced (as mentioned above). I havenít noticed any better performance from my tools but the house likes it a lot better. I put twist lock plugs on all of the converted tools so I donít mix up which tool gets plugged into which level voltage.


P.S. Are you sure that youíre drawing 24amps constant? That would have to be a large HP motor, even at 110v, to draw that much current and most contractor saws are in the 1 Ĺ HP range. My Jet is 15amps I believe. If you mean 24 starting amps then that is more believable and is not really important to this discussion. Any decent wiring job will more than handle that.

10-14-2004, 08:39 PM
Oh man, maybe I should just sharpen up my hand tools and send that Grizzly thing back to Taiwan!

OK, we have a 100A service panel, 50A range, 30A drier, and numerous other 15 and 20A circuits to the rest of the house. Our lifestyle is such that we don't leave a lot of lights on, but we run a computer, sometimes a tv, and then there's the shop. After all the work I've done on the house recently, there isn't $1000 left for the electrician to come back (I am in graduate school and headed for a field that won't make me a fortune). That's less than he cost last time, but more than I can give him now. I need a solution that will get my shop up and running without:

1) a fire

2) a new home equity line of credit

3) a 5 year apprenticeship with an electrician

What can I do? If I run all my tools on one 220V, 15A circuit and remove a 20A circuit, that would be a step in the right direction. Then if I can consolidate even two 15A circuits into one (say for the basement/shop lights and my bedroom lights) I can open up enough space on the panel to allow for the expanded functionality and at the same time even reduce the total load by dropping that one circuit. Would that be a viable option if possible?

By the way, JTA, that guage calculator says to use 14A wire. That sounds awefully light, doesn't it? Won't I need a 3-wire + ground for this (2 hots + neutral and ground)?

I'll think about this quandry more over the weekend. Maybe I'll test the saw next week! :rolleyes:

[ 10-14-2004, 09:40 PM: Message edited by: guillemot ]

Gary E
10-14-2004, 09:29 PM
1...How many "POWER TOOLs" do you have? dont count drill motors or sanders etc. Do count your new saw, a jointer, a planer etc.

2...Are you alone or will there be more than 2 or 3 working at one time?

3...Is it common to REQUIRE both the dryer and the saw to run at the same time? or can you do with ONE OR THE OTHER?

4...How far is it from the Dryer to your saw?

If I assume correctly, you are running this saw and nothing else, then something else but not the saw, and are doing this with minimal help.

If it was me, and I have done this with a saw, a welding machine, and several other not often used tools. Use the PROPER SIZE WIRE, the PROPER PLUG and plug the saw in where the DRYER WAS plugged in, as the dryer will now be UNPLUGED. It's simple, safe and will not cause any dificulty as long as the wire is the proper size and it's length is not around the block.

If on the other hand you are well beyond this part time use and NEED everything hooked up all the time, do EXACTLY as Bill Fisher wrote.

Bill Perkins
10-14-2004, 10:41 PM
Gas would be another way of bringing the required amount of energy into your home .Wouldn't a tank that ran the stove , dryer ,and water heater be a money saver long term ? Converting to gas for any one of these functions would solve the immediate problem , and you may find that the financing for the appliance could be part of the monthly gas bill .I've seen deals where to promote gas use the company finances the appliance .

[ 10-14-2004, 11:57 PM: Message edited by: Bill Perkins ]

Bill Fisher
10-15-2004, 02:19 PM

You have asked a simple question that has a very complex answer, not because the answer is technically hard but because there are many ways of powering your saw and only a few of those ways will be appropriate to you. How you know which ways are appropriate, well that answer isnít easy either, it all depends (howís that for a non-committal answer). Maybe another way of looking at this is to break it down into component pieces.

1). Should you run your new saw at 110 or 220vac? In my opinion 220vac, because at 220v the tool draws less current and so gives you more options circuit wise. My tools reach operating speed much faster after I converted to 220v, I like that because it makes me feel the tools are more powerful (they donít cut any better but it feeds my ego so I feel better). The house lights donít flicker anymore when I start the tools, that makes the wife happier and that makes me happier. I now have 3 additional circuits that I can use for something else. The tools ran fine at 110v for 8 years but I like it better now that I have converted and wish that I had done it sooner.
2). Converting the tools to 220vac. My tools took 15min each so this was not a consideration and the instructions were clear and precise so I donít believe there is an issue here.
3). Converting the shop circuits to 220vac. Hereís the holdup I think and maybe I can explain some of the considerations.
a). Total circuit current draw. Only you can determine this because only you know exactly what you intend to do but generally you need to add up the current draw of the all of the tools you intend to run on that circuit. You will find that there are standard current steps, 10, 15 and 20 amps are popular sizes and you need only pick the one just higher than you calculated. For example if your total (at 220v) is 10 amps pick 15 amps as the value you will build the circuit to deliver. Resist the temptation to build the biggest circuit you can; as already mentioned a 30 amp circuit breaker is not necessary, or safe, for a tool that draws 7 amps.
b). Pick the wire size. Read the boxes the wire comes in, it will tell what that gauge wire is rated for, or find a good electrical supply house and ask the counter guy for help.
b). Size the breaker to the wire. If you have 12 gauge wire, which is rated for 20 amps, then protect the circuit with a 20 amp breaker. The purpose of the breaker is to keep the wire from heating up and causing a fire. Sure, your tool could heat up and start a fire too, and if it didnít draw enough current wouldnít trip the breaker either, but you canít protect everything and I guess thereís enough experience out there that code thinks the wire is the biggest risk.
c). Connecting to the main service. Hereís where it gets really complex and I am not willing to give much advice. The type of service you have will dictate how many conductors you need and how to connect them and I donít know that. A sub panel might be advisable but I canít tell. You might want to wire for ground fault protection, I donít know what your code is. Code has something to say about how you run the cables and I donít know this either. 100 amps, while small by modern building standards, should be enough and I wouldnít worry too much about that other than 100 amps is most you can use at one time so plan accordingly.
4). It wonít cost $1000 to have an electrician run a single line from your service and provide you with a plug for your saw, course it wonít be free either. By the way heís going to ask you most of the questions above too.

I wasnít trying to scare you or even put you off trying this yourself but I was trying to impress you that this is a serious decision and not to be taken lightly. There are plenty of shops that would make excellent sets for Frankensteinís Monster movies and some of them have never had an incident. But some of them end in tragedy.


10-15-2004, 03:17 PM
I would consoldate my wireing untill you can
afford a new service...I would not consoldate
these 2 circuits they NEED there own circuits imho
1.Smoke detectors
2.Workshop lights. don't want to be in the dark
with spinning blades!!!!

Upgrading a service should not cost $1000...
Buy the same kind of panel so that you can reuse
the 20 breakers you have should save $100...last time I check the Home Despot 200amp panel was less than $200...so unless you get an electrician
that charges you $700 in labor for a 4 hour job you should be able to do it for less than $500

10-15-2004, 07:40 PM
Here is what I think I'm going to do. I will replace the 20A 110V circuit that I currently run the bandsaw on with a 15A 220V circuit and will run both tools on it. I'll only put one outlet on is such that both tools can't be run simultaneously and blow the circuit breaker. I think that should be safe.

Question: Can I use a 15A twin breaker (which takes up 1 slot) on this if I tie the two separate breakers together, or do I want an 8 amp twin to provide the curren I want? I believe that the former is correct. Thanks for all your input. I think that this will be safe and easy.


Gordon Bartlett
10-16-2004, 10:36 AM
A tandem breaker that only takes up one space on your panel will not get you a 240 volt circuit. It is generally used to add a circuit to an already-full panel. It is simply two breakers connected to a single pole. You will need a two-pole breaker; the kind that takes up two spaces in your panel and has a single handle or tied-together handles. Sounds like you'll need a tandem or two to gain space plus a two-pole to create the new 240 circuit.
By the way, before you buy the parts check your panel to see if it will accept the tandem breakers. Many do. Many don't. And many, many accept them only in certain positions in the panel. Often there is a small tab that prevents their installation where they don't belong.

George Roberts
10-16-2004, 11:25 AM
The double pole half-width breakers will give you 220 - The same as a standard double pole full-width breaker.

Double pole half-width breakers only fit in pairs of positions where they contact both buss bars. This raises some issues as you then have a half-width slot above and below that full-width breakers will not fit into.

You will need to remove 2 single pole full-width breakers and replace with 2 single pole half-width and 1 double pole half-width breaker.

10-16-2004, 03:49 PM
Is there a limit to how many tandem single pole breakers you can put in a pannel? I think I remember someone telling me to not put more than one in a single panel. Does anyone know? Also, do any of you know where I can get a half-width double pole breaker for a cutler-hammer BR panel? I can't locate anything using a google search.

If there are any sympathetic electricians out there I'd love speak on the phone (particularly if you're near Lansing, MI :D ). Email me your phone number and I'll call or call me at (617) 548-7481. I am having a difficult time picturing what I need to do here and definately don't want to involve the fire department or waranty dept. at Grizzly!

What if I just tell Courtney that we're getting rid of the drier and replacing it with a table saw? :D


[ 10-16-2004, 05:12 PM: Message edited by: guillemot ]

Bruce Hooke
10-16-2004, 03:58 PM
Originally posted by guillemot:
Also, do any of you know where I can get a half-width double pole breaker for a cutler-hammer BR panel? I can't locate anything using a google search.Have you checked with a local electrical supply company? A place that specializes in supplies for electricians should have or be able to get the breakers you need. They may also be able to answer some of the questions you are running into.

10-16-2004, 04:10 PM
The limiting factor to useing 1/2 pole breakers is the current draw from the entire panel...also the get hotter than normal breakers when high loads are connected to them. I would try to identify some low load circuits to connet to them and I would not put 2 of them next to each other.
might be overkill but a little effort now mgith save you from having nusance tripping later.
Good luck.