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Table saws and panel saws are great precision electric saws for cutting small and large workpieces. Unfortunately, moving them from one job site to another can be hectic. This is where a track saw comes in handy.
A track saw is a type of circular saw that rides on a rail to make quality cuts. It is an alternative to a panel saw because it cuts large sheet goods to size with equally great precision.
You can also call it a ‘portable table saw’ because it takes the table saw precision to your workpiece. In other words, instead of bringing your workpiece to the saw, a track saw takes its precision-cutting to your workpiece. This makes rail saws or plunge-cut circular saws very convenient for builders and contractors.
Tracksaws are versatile tools and unbelievably useful. They bring the portability of a circular saw, the accuracy of a table saw, and the capacity of a panel saw right in your hands.
You can use them to make any type of straight cut or angled cut. Additionally, if you install the right type of blade, you can use a track saw to cut in different materials.
Unfortunately, selecting the best track saw for your project is not the easiest of tasks. The saws from different manufacturers look similar and promise almost the same things. This is why you need to be extremely meticulous when picking the best one for your needs.
Luckily, I have done the hard work for you by carefully and thoughtfully picking and separating the 5 best track saw kits on the market. This will make it easier for you to choose the best rail saw for your project.
Some of the factors I have put into consideration to come up with this selection include build quality, versatility, brand reputation, price, users’ feedback, and dust collection mechanism. I have also specified the best application for each track saw kit.
A quick track saw comparison table
Detailed Reviews of Best Track Saws
Festool Track Saw TS 75 – Best overall
The Festool plunge cut track saw is our favorite. This German-made rail saw boasts a solid construction, glides smoothly on the track, and offers great features to help you make accurate cuts every time.
With an 8-1/4 inch cutting blade, which is the largest among the competition, this saw cuts easily through materials without whining. The saw’s 1600 Watt brushed motor provides enough power to the blade so that you can complete most cuts in just one pass.
Festool TS 75 outstanding features and accessories
There is everything to like about the Festool TS 75 plunge cut saw from its sturdy construction to the ease of use. But these are the features that make it stand out.
Extremely smooth plunging action
The Festol TS 75 has a very smooth plunged action. It allows you to make accurate plunge cuts into lumber without applying so much force. As a result, you get more work done before catching a break.
Any feature that prevents kickback is welcome on a track saw. It increases the safety of the tool.
The anti-kickback feature on the Festool TS 75 includes a spring-loaded riving knife and an integrated slip clutch. The riving knife on the blade assembly prevents kickback by ensuring that the kerf remains open throughout the cut.
The slip clutch, on the other hand, allows the blade to slip when it encounters a hard object. This not only prevents kickback but also protects the motor.
A track saw is a precision tool for making clean and splinter-free cuts. To this end, the TS 75 Festool track saw comes with a plastic splinter guard.
The splinter or chip guard goes on the outer side of the blade to reduce splintering on the outside of the cut. The festool guide rail also has a replaceable splinter guard to prevent splintering on the inside of the cut.
The TS 75 offers you amazing speed control both automatically and manually.
The automatic speed control provides a smooth start-up and a constant speed during the cut.
The speed selector dial, on the other hand, allows you to manually select the speed range to suit your workpiece.
The Festool Plunge Cut Track Saw TS 75 offers great cutting capacity for sheet goods and other materials.
When you set the blade at 90 degrees, you can crosscut workpieces as thick as 75mm. At 45 degrees, the blade cuts through workpieces as thick as 56mm.
This saw has a bevel capacity of -1° to 47° degrees. This means you can make any standard bevel cut between 0 and 45 degrees as well as a 43° and 91° angle on the workpiece.
Another advantage of cutting bevels with the Festool is that it has a positive stop at 45 degrees, making it easy for you to set the saw at 45° more accurately.
Festool TS 75 cut-depth scale is in inches and spans from 0 to 3 inches. It allows you to make crosscuts as deep as 2-15/16″ off the track and up to 2-13/16″ on the track.
The pointer on the gauge provides both on-the-rail and off-the-rail readings and has a fine adjustment knob that allows you to dial-in any depth with great precision.
The Festool Track Saw TS 75 corded is a great precision electric saw for making various types of cuts including plunge cuts, bevel cuts, and rip cuts.
You can use it to cut large sheet goods and other types of materials. It makes a perfect tool for jointing large boards and hardwood for your cabinet-making and furniture projects.
Although you can use this plunge saw without guide rails, you will only get the best results on the track.
The saw has a very effective dust collection system that catches almost all the dust and channels it to your shop vacuum through the dust port. This helps to keep your work area clean and free of debris.
Lastly, the Festool Trask saw makes clean and accurate cuts without splintered edges and brings speed to your projects. This makes it the ultimate complementary tool for your table saw and a perfect substitute for a panel saw.
Unfortunately, the saw kit is quite expensive but worth every penny. It is a great addition to your arsenal of electric saws!
Side note: Piggy-backing two saw tracks could affect the accuracy of the saw. Ideally, it is good to use a single track for the best results. Also, be sure to hold down the base plate with one hand when making angled cuts to stop the saw from tipping off the track. Finally, there is a cordless version of the Festool track saw kit if you like cordless tools.
If you are unsure on whether to go corded or cordless, read this article: Corded or cordless
Makita SP6000 Track Saw – Best value for money
Makita track saw SP6000 is our second choice. This tool is without doubt modeled from the Festool plunge cut saw and therefore does almost everything the Festool does.
However, there are some features that make it a little different. For example, the Makita SP6000 features a smaller circular blade of 6-1/2″ diameter, 1.75″ smaller than Festool’s TS 75 blade. It does not have a riving knife to prevent kickbacks but has splinter guards to prevent chipping.
The Makita corded plunge track saw is powered by a powerful 12A brushed motor with a variable speed of 2000 – 5200 rpm. This variable speed allows the saw to power through different materials without a problem. However, the saw cuts noticeably lauder that the Festool.
Makita track saw accessories & features
Makita SP6000J1 plunge track saw has some very unique features that make it one of the best track saws on the market.
Top of the list is the tip lock feature on the saw’s base plate. This feature allows you to lock the saw on the track to prevent it from tipping over when making bevel cuts. This feature only works with Makita saw tracks because they have special grooves where the anti-tip pins lock.
Makita plunge saw offers a scoring feature, which allows you to make score cuts of 2mm depth into your workpiece. This is a very useful feature because it allows you to cut very delicate materials such as laminate and melamine without chipping or splintering. The scoring function also makes up for the lack of splinter guard accessories.
Speed control and soft start features
The Makita track saw has electronic speed control, a soft-start feature, and a manual speed adjustment dial. The electronic speed control ensures you get constant speed throughout your cuts and shuts down the motor when you overload it. This overload protection feature helps extend the life of your saw.
The soft-start feature prevents excess start-up torque or shock, which increases the safety of the tool. However, not everyone likes the smooth start of the motor. Some tradesmen prefer tracksaws that jerk-up on start-up.
Lastly, the Makita track circular saw has a speed adjustment dial. This dial allows you to select from 6-speed settings, giving you full control of the saw. Like the Festool, the manual speed setting allows you to optimize your saw speed for your workpiece.
Makita plunge cut saw cutting capacity
Makita track saw allows you to make cuts of various depths with the blade straight or tilted.
With the blade at 90 degrees, you can make any square cut you can think of including rip cuts, dado cuts, and crosscut.
The only limitation is that you can only cut through materials not thicker than 2-3/16 inches.
As far as angled cuts are concerned, this saw allows you to make bevel cuts of up to 48 degrees.
You can also set a 1° degree back bevel on this tool. The makita plunge cut saw tool also has a plunge feature that allows you to make plunge cuts into materials.
While the cutting depth of this saw is limited, there is no limit to the length of material you can cut. You are only limited by the length of your saw tracks. But even so, you can spline together guide rails to extend the length or use the saw without the rails. However, the accuracy of a track saw without the guide rails is limited by the stability of your hands and the workpiece.
The Makita SP6000J plunge cut track saw offers all the features you would expect from a track saw. However, it has superb scoring function and bevel cutting accuracy. This makes it the best track saw for cutting delicate sheet goods such as melamine and laminate boards.
Makita tracksaw kit is also our favorite for making bevel cuts because of its anti-tipping feature that keeps the saw on the track when making angled cuts. This allows you to place one hand on the tool and the other on the workpiece instead of the track when cutting bevels.
The makita track saw is excellent job trimming doors, bevelling table edges, and making fascia boards.
Side note: For best results, stick to Makita blades and do not use thin kerf blades. Such will wobble and may cut the side of your saw and track. Also, the cordless version uses a brushless motor hence quieter.
Wen Track Saw – Best for beginners
The Wen CT1065 plunge cut saw is one of the most affordable track saws on the market. It features a 10 amp brushed motor, generating a maximum no-load speed of 5500 rpm. The saw hood is made with durable, sturdy plastic that can withstand workshop beatings.
The Wen track saw uses a 6.5-inch saw blade just like the Makita saw. However, compared with Festool, this saw does not have a riving knife to prevent kickbacks. It has anti-kickback cams on the shoe, nonetheless.
Wen track saw accessories and features
Given its price, the Wen plunge saw does not have extraordinary features. However, it has features and accessories that make it a functional budget track saw.
3 operation modes
The Wen rail saw has three modes of operation, namely plunge mode, blade change mode, and scoring mode. The plunge mode is the normal cutting mode that allows you to cut through a workpiece at various depths.
The blade change mode setting lets you access the saw arbor to change the blade.
Lastly, the scoring mode sets the circular blade for score cuts of 1/8 inches into the workpiece. You choose any of the three settings for the blade by simply shifting the mode selector switch.
The base plate of the saw is equipped with plastic anti-kickback knobs. When engaged, the cams prevent backward movement of the saw along the track, and therefore kickback that may result from the movement.
Although these anti-kickback cams are meant to increase the tool’s safety, sometimes they can be frustrating because they will kick the saw out of the track even with the slightest backward movement. So, this safety feature might not be very useful.
Other accessories on the Wen track saw include an onboard allen wrench for blade removal, plastic saw track clamps, and an aluminum wen saw track.
The hex wrench attaches to the power cord while in both Makita and Festool track saws, the wrench is hidden in the handle.
Unfortunately, rail clamps and the wen saw track are sold separately. They are however not the best. The clamps don’t provide the tightest grip and the rail does not guarantee zero clearance for splinter-free cuts either. Plus, you don’t get a carry case with the kit.
Cutting capacity and angle
Like other track saws, the Wen rail saw has both a bevel scale and a depth scale. The bevel scale is for setting the saw angle when making bevel cuts and spans from 0 to 45°. The depth scale sets the depth of cut and the maximum cut capacity is 2-1/3 inches.
The Wen Track Saw kit is generating a lot of buzz among tradesmen because of its amazingly low price compared to the competition. But not only is it cheap, but this saw also puts up a good show on the job site or shop.
So, if you are tight on budget and want to take a plunge into a good track saw (pun intended), the Wen plunge cut circular track saw is an excellent choice. It is a perfect beginner track saw for cutting sheets of wood and plywood in home and DIY projects.
But if you want a saw for all types of projects including professional tasks, I would challenge you to bite the bullet and go for Festool or any other of the 5 best tracksaws.
Upcoming Best: Dewalt Tracksaw Kit
The DeWalt DWS520SK Tracksaw boasts a 12-ampere brushed motor rated at 1300 Watts. This plunge cut saw takes after the Festool in many aspects and is a workhorse in the shop.
It powers through workpieces with a 6-1/2″ blade, which spins variably from 1750 rpm to 4000 rpm. The saw has a non-detachable 8-ft long power cord, which is long enough to let you move the tool around without unplugging it from the socket.
Dewalt tracksaw accessories & features
The Dewalt DWS520 plunge saw has very useful features and accessories that make it stand out among other plunge saws. Some features improve the saw’s safety while others improve its effectiveness.
On the base plate of the saw, there is an anti-kickback knob just like on the Wen Saw. When engaged, the knob pushes a metal tab that locks the saw onto the rail and prevents it from moving backward on the track. This safety feature also prevents the saw from jerking out of the rail.
The importance of a riving knife in saws that use circular blades cannot be overemphasized. This crucial safety piece of the metal blade sits behind the saw blade to keep the kerf open so that the workpiece does not pinch the cutting blade at the back resulting in a dangerous kickback.
This saw has an adjustable riving knife that moves with the saw blade. The spring-loaded riving knife retracts freely when making plunge cuts so you do not need to remove it.
Saw track and clamps
A complete DeWalt plunge saw kit includes the saw, saw tracks, and 2 clamps. The saw rails are made of solid aluminum and have rubber on the underside. The rubber increases friction with the workpiece and minimizes the need to clamp down the track.
However, the rubber does not do a great job like in the Festool saw tracks. You must clamp it down when you need accuracy.
The DeWalt clamps are well-built and hold the guide rails in place perfectly so that you can make accurate cuts all the time. When cutting large panels and sheet goods or long wood planks, you can spline two or more saw tracks using Dewalt track connectors.
Similar to any other tracksaw, the dewalt electric tracksaw can square-cut workpieces as thick as 2-1/8 inches and 1-5/8 inches with the saw at 45°.
You can tilt the saw up to 47° to make bevels but unfortunately, there is no positive stop at 45°.
The saw has bevel wingnut locks in the front and rear of the blade hood to hold the saw tightly to the set bevel angle. The depth scale is in inches and is easy to set.
The dust collection of this saw is superb, except when making edge cuts. You can attach 1-1/4″ dust hose into the tools dust port or 1-7/8″ hose over the dust port. Like the Festool and Makita, the Dewalt’s dust port swivels 360 degrees to allow you to move the hose out of the way but remains tight enough to stay in the position you set it.
The Dewalt track saw kit DWS520SK is an amazing plunge cut saw for making through and non-through plunge cuts into large and small materials. It has a unique parallel plunge mechanism that allows you to plunge the saw by pushing instead of pivoting your wrist, hence reducing fatigue on your wrist.
This saw has great safety features and is easy to control through cuts. It makes very clean rip cuts, cross cuts, and bevel cuts on virtually any material you take it to. It is good for professional and home projects.
The only drawbacks about the DeWalt corded plunge saw kit is the lack of a positive stop at 45 degrees on the bevel scale, the need to use a wrench to set the saw on the track, and the skidding saw tracks.
Other than that, this saw is a perfect tool for cabinet makers, kitchen fitters, carpenters, woodworkers, and any other tradesman who needs to cut large and small materials without using a table saw.
Side note: There is a Dewalt cordless track saw that performs exactly like this corded version. It uses the 60V Flexvolt Dewalt battery lineup and has a brushless motor.
Bosch Track Saw Review
The Bosch corded tracksaw kit is another great track saw system. Its design is inspired by the highly-regarded Mafell track saw and boasts some top-of-the-line features such as an effective dust collection and a powerful brushed motor.
This saw spins a 6-1/2″ saw blade at a maximum no-load speed of 6250 rpm while drawing 13 A of current. It is the fastest on our list. This saw has a solid construction, very comfortable grip, and is easy to use. Now let us look at its features more closely.
Bosch GKT13-225L accessories and features
The Bosch GKT13-225L has a lot of useful features that make it a perfect tool for cutting sheets of wood and wood composites on site and offsite.
The bosch track saw does not have anti-kickback features such as a riving knife and backward movement stops. This means that you need to be more careful when using this saw to avoid incidents that may cause kickbacks. I consider the lack of features to prevent kickbacks on such a powerful circular saw a serious setback.
This saw uses advanced electronics to control power consumption and to produce constant blade speed throughout the cut.
A speed adjustment dial gives you more control over the speed of the saw by allowing you to select from 6-speed settings between 3600 rpm and 6250 rpm.
The bosch track saw system has a thermal overload circuitry that protects the motor from overheating when you push it beyond the limits. It extends the life of the motor and the saw.
A chip guard is a useful piece of plastic that prevents tear-outs on the edges of cuts. It provides zero clearance to your blade so that you can end up with quality cuts that have very smooth edges.
The Bosch track saw has a chip guard window that allows you to insert a chip guard or splinter guard. Unfortunately, an auxiliary chip guard is not included in the kit. You have to buy it separately.
Cut quality and cut capacity
This corded bosch tracksaw produces very high quality angled and square cuts. It has plenty of power to make the most cuts in just one pass.
With the saw on the rail, you can cut 2-1/8 inches into the material with the blade at 90 degrees and 1-7/16 inches at 45 degrees.
This saw bevels from 0° to 47° and also has a 1° back bevel. There is a bevel lock on the front and rear to hold the saw at an angle precisely.
Both the depth and bevel scale are easy to read and easy to set.
The bevel scale has a positive stop art 45 degrees whereas the cut depth gauge has both imperial and metric scales. Moreover, the pointer on the depth gauge shows both off-rail and on-rail measurements but you have to turn it 180 degrees to read the second measurement.
How do you change the blade? Changing the blade on the dewalt track saw is quick and easy. You only need to lock the blade in plunged mode using a plunge lock lever and engage the spindle lock to prevent blade rotation. Then, use the onboard hex wrench to remove the saw blade. You do not necessarily need to use Bosch saw blades. You can replace it with your favorite saw brand or saw type.
The Bosch GKT13-225L tracksaw system is a great shop saw for cabinet makers, carpenters, and woodworkers. It delivers the power and versatility you need to make different types of cuts on small and very large workpieces. It does a perfect job of cutting large sheets of plywood and MDF boards. That said, this saw lacks useful safety features such as a riving knife and anti-kickback knobs, which is the main reason we placed it fifth. Also, its track system does not stick on the workpiece as good as the Festool and does not provide the smoothest glide when the saw is very tight on the rail.
Track saw Buying Guide
Now that you know about the five best track saws in the market, the most difficult job is to decide which track saw is best for you. But do not worry. This section is a comprehensive track saw buying guide that will help you spend your money on the tool that best meets your needs.
10 Factors to consider when buying a track saw kit
The following are the most important factors to consider when choosing the best tracksaw for your trade.
1. Safety features
Although a track saw is inherently safer than a table saw or a circular saw, more safety is still important. In that regard, a track saw kit with extra safety features such as a riving knife and/or anti-kickback knobs to prevent kickbacks is better than the one without. For instance, the Dewalt track saw kit has the most safety features than the competition. So, if you were looking for the safest tool, the DeWalt would be a perfect choice. The Festool and Wen rail saws also have significant safety features to prevent kickback. Bosch is the only rail saw among the five best without an anti-kickback feature.
2. Quality of the track saw guide rail
The main difference between a track saw and a circular saw is the saw track guide. The guide or rail is also a key element that differentiates different rail saw kits. A good guide rail should sit flush with the surface to provide zero clearance. It should also hold the tool firmly to prevent wobbling while making a cut and should not travel even without clamps.
The Festool saw track is the best example of a good guide rail. It provides zero clearance, has a splinter guard for splinter-free cuts on both sides of the blade, and is compatible with most other tracksaws. You can also spline together several rails to extend the length. A track saw guide rail determines the quality of the cut you end up with. So, make sure you have a good rail for your track saw.
3. Users feedback
Feedback from other users is very important when buying everything, not only tools. That is why you are reading this review. Users’ feedback about a tool gives you valuable insight that helps you make a more informed buying decision. You can read feedbacks from review articles like this one, forums, and on retail websites such as Amazon. People share their good and bad experiences with tools and even provide a rating. Generally, a five-star rated track saw is better than a one-star tool.
Track saws are not cheap but some are cheaper than others. The Wen track saw, for instance, is arguably the cheapest track saw on the market today. It will cost you about a third of what you would pay for Festool. However, that does not mean it is the best value for money. It is just a good budget track saw. Otherwise, it is good to pay attention to other factors, not just the price when there is room in your budget.
5. Power and Performance
The power and performance you get from a tool are what determine how much you can do with that tool. When buying a track saw, you should pay attention to the power and ampere rating of the motor. This is what determines the amount of power the tool provides.
The bosch track saw features the most powerful motor with 13amps followed by Makita, Dewalt, and Festool each with a 12Amp motor.Speed is also an important performance metric of a plunge cut saw. The faster the blade spins, the quicker you can make cuts.
That being said, speed should go hand in hand with power. A good track saw must have both power and speed. Anything above 4000rpm is good speed.
6. Corded or cordless
Electric or battery-powered is another talking point when it comes to buying power tools. Some people prefer corded tools others choose to go cordless. Here, the decision mostly depends on personal preference. But, a cordless track saw is more expensive than a corded one, albeit more versatile. If you are afraid of making the wrong decision between a corded and cordless track saw kit, this corded vs cordless tools guide will help you make a better decision.
7. Dust collection system
Rail saws have some of the best dust collection systems among power saws. Unfortunately, they are not all the same. Some are more effective than others and that is why you have to pay close attention when buying one. One of the features of the track saw dust collection system you have to look at is the size of the port. Make sure the size of the dust port is standard for you to fit your shop vacuum hose.
Some track saws have dust hoses that come in your way while moving the saw on the track. This can be upsetting and can affect your productivity. The good news is that some rail saws such as the Makita, DeWalt, and Festool have a dust port that swivels around to allow you to keep the hose out of the way. Some even swivel and lock, keeping the dust hose in a fixed position out of the way.
8. Ease of use
Rail saws are generally easy to use but a good user manual makes it even easier. Therefore, ensure the user manual is straight forward and at least easy to remove and reinstall the blade.
Track saws are not cheap! So, choose the saw kit that offers a reasonable amount of warranty cover. Festool and DeWalt track saws offer the most warranty period of 3 years while the rest only offer a 1-year liability cover. Bottom line, avoid a tool that does not offer at least 6 months of warranty.
10. Overall build quality
Finally, do not settle for poor quality or accept to pay through the nose for a brand name. Take your time, do the tradeoffs, and eventually spend your dollar on a track saw kit that meets your needs. If you are a cabinet maker or a professional woodworker, do not compromise on quality. You can even spend extra because a good tool will definitely pay off. For a DIY person, a little compromise on quality for the price is understandable. The Wen plunge cut saw makes a very good DIY or beginner track saw.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are track saws better than circular saws?
In terms of performance, track saws are much better than circular saws because they cut accurately with minimal effort and have a dust collection system. However, in terms of cost, circular saws carry the day. You can get a decent circular saw for as low as $100 whereas a good track saw kit goes for at least $300. Check out this article to learn more about track saws vs circular saws
Can you make a track saw from a circular saw?
You might not make a perfect track saw out of a circular saw because circular saws do not have any dust collection system at all. So you will still have to deal with the mess from wood dust. However, you can make the circular saw as accurate as a track saw by using jigs such as a fence or guide rail. Here is a video demo of a homemade circular saw guide rail in use.