Most of those stories come from people NOT using spring compressors. I've used them before. They are safe if you use them right, just a pita. O'Reillys will rent them out for a deposit that you get back when you return them (essentially) free.
You could also pay some parts stores to throw the struts together.
Also not all trim levels come with stock sway bars and those cars need mounting brackets for the svt rear sway to work.