Table of Contents
- View The Best Track Saw Below
- 1. Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Circular Saw Kit
- 2. DEWALT DWS520CK TrackSaw Kit
- 3. WEN CT1065 Plunge Cut Sidewinder Circular Track Saw
- 4. Kreg ACS2000 Adaptive Cutting System Saw
- 5. Festool 575389 Plunge Cut Track Saw
- 6. SHOP FOX W1835 Track Saw
- 7. Evolution Power Tools R185CCSX Multi-Material Circular Track Saw Kit
- 8. Triton TTS1400 1400W Plunge Track Saw
- Track Saw Buyer’s Guide
- What to Look for When Buying a Track Saw
- Which is the best track saw?
- Will Makita track saw work on a Festool track?
- Is a track saw better than a table saw?
- How Does a Track Saw Work?
- How Does a Track Saw Compare with a Circular Saw?
- Why are Guide Rails Important?
- What Do You Look for When Buying a Replacement Blade?
- Which is the Best Tool for Splinter Protection?
Woodworkers working on sheet goods look for ways to get the sheets ripped down to manageable sizes. Naturally, when cutting large pieces of wood, you first need to use a circular saw to cut the larger wood, then use a table saw to cut the smaller pieces. This process is cumbersome.
Track saws are a go-to option as they shorten this process, provide good cut quality, are portable, and make unique cuts. This would not have been possible when using a circular saw. Also known as a plunge-cut saw or plunge saw, it’s equipped with a track, which eliminates the need for making measurements and keeps the material steady when cutting. What’s more, the blades fitted on track saws retract into the shrouded guard to avoid cutting into the sheet until you’re ready. Our experts reviewed track saws from eight brands and created this informative guide.
View The Best Track Saw Below
1. Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Circular Saw Kit
Its incredible performance, vast speed range, enormous cutting capacity, and powerful motor makes the Makita SP6000J1 our best pick. First, it’s equipped with a 12 Amp motor, which delivers enough power to slice through wood, flooring, melamine, and other materials. The motor maintains a constant speed throughout the project, so you’re sure to get a more finished, splinter-free look.
Once you switch the device on it starts at a low speed, then peaks to your desired speed setting depending on the application. With its variable speed setting (2000-2500 RPM), you can choose the ideal rate for working on different materials.
Its vast cutting capacity of 19/16’’ at 45 degrees and 2 3/16 at 90 degrees makes this track saw perfect for any cutting job. What’s more, the 55-inch anodized aluminum rail guide system enhances the tool’s cutting accuracy. It allows the user to make a preliminary cut of 1/16-inch before cutting the entire material for splinter-free cutting. The close-to-wall cutting feature also comes in handy for other cutting applications.
+ Vast cutting capacity
+ Allows cuts as small as -1 degrees
+ Variable speed control
+ Accurate cutting
+ Equipped with twin handles with rubber over mold
Why We Like It – This tool’s bevel capacity also makes it stand out as the best. It is set at -1 to 48 degrees, and you can make positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees making this track saw incredibly versatile. In fact, the Makita SP6000J1 is the only saw that allows -1 degree cuts.
2. DEWALT DWS520CK TrackSaw Kit
This saw makes the best premium-grade device for professionals and avid DIYers. First, because it comes with two tracks: a 59-inch and a 102-inch track. The tracks are dual-edged hence reliable for cutting from both directions. Secondly, the track saw features a zero-clearance system that ensures you make splinter-free cuts on your lumber pieces and sheet surfaces.
Additionally, the device is equipped with a low-profile guard for use in tight spaces where other track saw models would not reach. Its 12 amp motor provides ample power to support this tool’s variable speed of 1750-4000 RPM, making this track saw the best buy for making quick cuts, plunges, and long straight cuts as well as heavy-duty cutting applications.
The cutting edge can work on through materials as thick as 1 5/8 inches at 45 degrees and 2 1/8 inches at 90 degrees. Dewalt also has a universal 1.25-inch dust port that makes your work less messy. You just need to connect a shop vacuum or a dust collection system to the port. Even without a dust port, Dewalt’s DWS520CK Track saw produces minimal waste.
+ Has a continuous, anti-kickback mechanism
+ Has a blade-changing mechanism
+ Zero-clearance cutting system
+ Universal dust port
+ Equipped with anti-slip aluminum track
Why We Like It – We loved the fact that the track saw is equipped with a depth scale, which made it easy to get consistent results. Many customers also loved its anti-slip aluminum track equipped with four low-friction glide strips, as they made it easy to glide the tool on the guide rail.
3. WEN CT1065 Plunge Cut Sidewinder Circular Track Saw
The Wen CT1065 is the best buy if you are shopping on a budget. It has a 10 amp motor that delivers some pretty decent power to cut even the hardest wood. The amp is equipped with a 6-1 2-inch blade that rotates 5500 times per minute, which is enough to cut into sheet surfaces.
The track saw is designed to make bevels on boards measuring 1-5/8 inches thick, and you can set the depth of the cut from 0 to 2-1/3 inches. The tool can also work as a mere plunge saw by relying on a flat base for stability and accuracy. The saw is compatible with WEN CT992F track saw clamp and WEN CT9502 100-Inch track.
+ Value for money
+ Compatible with other track saws
+ Can function alone as a plunge saw
Why We Like It – The Wen CT1065 track saw makes the best buy for woodworkers looking for a simple and functional device. Despite its price, it does not compromise on functionality, as it can cut through boards as thick as 2.33 inches.
4. Kreg ACS2000 Adaptive Cutting System Saw
If looking for a track saw kit that includes a project table, guide track, and the plunge saw, Kreg’s ACS2000 is the best buy. The saw comes with all the three main cutting components and several other accessories hence the name Adaptive Cutting System.
The system allows users to dial in the desired accuracy using two tracking controller knobs fitted on the saw base. As such, you can decide how loose or tight the saw fits on the track. Another benefit of Kreg’s ACS system is that it enhances efficiency.
You can set up stops when making repetitive cuts and set their width accurately using its built-in scales. The guide track is also well-integrated, so you don’t need to lift it when loading and unloading workpieces.
The saw is also equipped with an anti-kickback mechanism to prevent the saw from getting pushed back on the track when cutting. For the accessories, the kit includes Rip Guides, Parallel Guides, and a Table Extension Bracket. Rip Guides help make repetitive cuts of up to 13 inches wide while Parallel Guides allow you to make wider cuts, i.e., 12’’-96’’. The extension bracket is useful when cutting large wood pieces, letting you attach a 2×4 framed extension table to the ACS.
+ All-in-one device
+ Equipped with an extension table
+ Can make repetitive cuts
+ Safety interlock system
+ Adjustable accuracy
Why We Like It – We found Kreg’s safety interlock system pretty handy. In fact, this was another feature that set Kreg’s tack saw apart from other models we have reviewed. The system prevents turning on or plunging the saw before pressing the interlock button.
5. Festool 575389 Plunge Cut Track Saw
You may find this Plunge Track saw a little pricey, but it’s worth the buck. First, it is powered by a soft start MMC electronic motor that delivers 1600 watts, which is adequate for heavy-duty cutting applications. The 13 Amp motor supports a variable speed of 1350-3550 RPM hence ideal for varying cutting uses. And with its built-in current and thermal protection, the device does not cause overload or malfunction even at the highest speed.
Additionally, the tool has a unique guide rail system that enables users to achieve accurate and splinter-free finishes. Festool track saw allows a cutting depth of 2-3/4 inches at 90 degrees and 2-1/8 inches at 45 degrees useful for beveling.
Its FastFix system makes it easy to change blades. When cutting into materials, the system locks the power switch and the arbor simultaneously. The kit also comes with a splinter guard to provide a splinter-free cutting on all the sides of the blade and chip deflectors to protect you from flying chips.
+ Easy to change blades
+ Equipped with a splinter guard
+ Variable speed
+ Riving knife is spring-loaded
Why We Like It – Unlike other models we have reviewed, Festool track saw is equipped with a spring-loaded riving knife. This means the knife retracts into the housing when making plunge cuts and keeps the cut kerf open to prevent the material from pinching the blade.
6. SHOP FOX W1835 Track Saw
Shop Fox w1835 is the best saw for simple DIY jobs. With a 9Amp motor that ramps up 5500 RPM, Shop Fox track saw provides decent power for trimming door bottoms and ripping sheet goods. It has a unique plunge-action that eliminates dangers associated with flip-up blade guards.
Another safety feature is the riving knife, which minimizes the risk of kickbacks and blade pinching. It also has a bevel gauge equipped with a lock to allow users to perform bevel cuts of up to 45 degrees. Its secondary front handle makes it easy to grasp the tool when cutting for extended periods.
You will also find the continuous cutting depth limiter pretty handy as it scores the material to help you make clean cuts. Its 1-1/2 adjustable dust port keeps your working area clean.
+ Built-in dust port
+ Compatible with other tracks from Shop Fox
Why We Like It – Even without a guide rail, Shop Fox w1835 makes some pretty accurate cuts. However, you can use this saw with Shop Fox D436 guide rail as they achieve precise and accurate cuts with minimal tears.
7. Evolution Power Tools R185CCSX Multi-Material Circular Track Saw Kit
This track saw is the best for heavy-duty professional applications. It features Evolution’s patented multi-material cutting technology that works along with this saw’s powerful 1600 watt motor for long cutting hours.
The saw is equipped with a premium Japanese tungsten carbide tip blade that makes it easy to work on plywood, checker plates, Oriented strand boards as well as 3mm thick mild steel. What’s more, its adjustable cut depth allows for more accurate cutting. You can fine-tune it to 59 mm or 64 mm when using the track for a plunge or trench cutting.
It also has an adjustable bevel tilt that enhances the cutting capacity of the tool. This feature allows you to tilt it 0-45 degrees using levels fitted on the sides. You will also find the straight edge guide pretty handy when making long straight cuts on sheet materials.
The saw is also compatible with other tracks, e.g., the st 2880 eight-meter track from Evolution, making it versatile enough to work on thicker materials like 8×4 sheet materials.
+ Powerful 15 amp motors
+ Has a replaceable splinter-guard to reduce tear-out
+ Can secure workpieces using track clamps
+ Compatible with other tracks
Why We Like It – Its 1020 millimeter track that comes with three 340 millimeter pieces and connectors that make this circular and track saw combo extremely versatile for professional applications.
8. Triton TTS1400 1400W Plunge Track Saw
Though little is known about this brand, it does not disappoint when it comes to performance. The track saw is equipped with a 1400-watt 12-amp motor that delivers variable speed ranging from 2000-5300 RPM.
Once switched on, this power tool ramps up a soft start before peaking to the set speed. The saw allows a bevel tilt range of 0-48 degrees letting you perform a variety of cutting applications. The tilt has a dual front and rear bevel quadrant that improves its stability when bevelling.
Triton TTS1400 saw’s compact frame allows users to work on materials in spaces as small as 5/8 inches away from the wall. The track saw also has an anti-kickback mechanism to keep you safe when operating the saw. Its universal vacuum system adapter is pretty handy as it can be rotated 360 degrees and can fit most extractor vacuums in the market.
+ Comfortable grip
+ Easy to change blades
+ Adjustable plunge action
+ Vast bevel tilt range
Why We Like It – We found the shaftlock feature a unique addition to Triton TTS1400 as it allows users to choose between scoring and cutting. The feature also enables users to change blades, enhancing this tool’s versatility.
Track Saw Buyer’s Guide
What to Look for When Buying a Track Saw
Apart from the brand, many factors come into play when buying a track saw. They include:
The Motor Power
The motor power determines the effectiveness of a track saw. As such, the more powerful a motor is, the faster it cuts through wood pieces. The vice versa is true. Motor power is measured in amps, hence you to check the amp rating when buying a track saw. Ensure the track saw has a minimum rating of 9 amps as anything lower won’t provide ample cutting power.
The motor speed shows the maximum number of spins a blade makes per minute. It’s measured in RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), and it determines the type of material and thickness that track saw can cut. On average most commercial track saws have an RPM of 2000. You may choose devices with a higher RPM depending on your cutting applications. Also, consider looking for a tool with adjustable speeds if working on a diverse selection of materials.
Size of the Blade
The feature determines the size of wood a track saw can cut through. The larger the blade, the deeper the cut into the wood piece. Most saws have blade sizes measuring 6-1 2-inch to 7-1/2 inches. WEN CT1065 Saw is a good buy if looking for plunge saws equipped with 6-1 2-inch blades.
Beveling wood pieces is one essential woodworking technique. Performing the method using a table or miter saw is cumbersome and time-consuming as both tools are not portable. When using a power tool, such as a track saw, the process is a breeze as woodworkers only need to fine-tune the device to the desired angle. The feature not only enables users to make accurate bevels but also make compound and miter cuts. Check the maximum angle you can tilt the base depending on the axis of the blade.
The blade teeth determine the type of cut the track saw makes. Saws with more teeth, e.g., 48 teeth, make smooth and clean cuts than those with fewer teeth. When examining the number of teeth, also look at the type of material used to construct them. Blade teeth made from steel are sturdy, but a tool that has carbide-tipped blades is more durable and reliable.
The Length of the Track
The track length provides stability and guidance to the wood piece you are working on. It’s this feature that makes track saws work better than circular saws. Longer track lengths come in handy when cutting long wooden planks, while shorter ones are restrictive on the length of wood you can work on unless you integrate the tool with an extension.
The track lengths usually vary based on brands. Dewalt, for example, sell saws with lengths measuring 49’’, 56’’ and 102 inches while Makita offers those measuring 55’’ and 118.’’ Festool, the leading manufacturer of plunge cut track saws, is known for selling guide rails measuring 32-197 inches.
The feature indicates the amount of depth a track saw plunges into the wood piece. Thus, you want to purchase a track saw that shows the exact depth of the cut while accounting for the thickness of the piece. The depth setting is particularly important when making shallow cuts.
Dust Extraction Port
It’s essential to use a plunge saw equipped with a dust collection port. The feature saves time and prolongs the life of the track saw. Also, you get to protect yourself and people around you from inhaling harmful dust particles.
Look for essential safety features like an electric brake, which helps stop the track saw immediately in the event of an emergency. Another essential safety feature is a riving knife to prevent kickback. You may find this feature unnecessary because the blade retracts into the saw once the tool is lifted from the guide rail. However, woodworkers should not overlook the fact that a kickback is still bound to happen, and a riving knife prevents this action.
This feature sometimes seems insignificant, but it plays a critical role for professional woodworkers. This is because you will use the track saw to work on a range of surfaces, including floors, sheet materials along walls as well guard rails. A tool with a long cord is less likely to run out in the middle of the cut.
Which is the best track saw?
The Festool TS makes the best track saw for woodworkers looking for a tool that functions as a track saw exclusively. With a motor that delivers up to 1600 watts, it is suitable for heavy-duty and straightforward woodworking applications. Also, its vast speed range means you can use Festool ts 55 req saw to plunge cut different sheet goods and wood pieces.
Will Makita track saw work on a Festool track?
Yes, a Makita Track saw can work on a Festool track. This is because Festool ts 55 saw and the Makita track saw have similar track or guide rail designs that make fastening and aligning them on either track easy. Both companies make the best track saws and are known to use lightweight aluminum tracks equipped with a groove that holds the clamp from below to propel the saw above. The bottoms have a slip-resistant rubber padding to avoid marring the surface of the workpiece beneath.
For Makita and Festool ts 55 req, the offset between the edge and the clamp is 5.25 inches. Festool’s eight tracks come in varying lengths of 32-197 inches while Makita’s two tracks are 55 inches and 118 inches long. Since tracks from both brands can be used interchangeably, it is easy to connect tracks of different lengths to make extra-long but accurate cuts. Additionally, the guide rails are compatible with other devices like routers, and each brand sells a miter guide for making angled cuts.
Is a track saw better than a table saw?
Yes, because a table saw is not as mobile as a track saw. This makes the latter tool ideal for cutting large and heavy boards that are difficult to load on a table saw or when cutting immobile workpieces, e.g., a heavy workpiece.
A table saw, on the other hand, has a fence hence suitable for making a higher dimensional accuracy. As such, table saws are the best power tool for milling applications like dados and rabbets as track saws can’t work on them accurately.
How Does a Track Saw Work?
The track saw works the same way as the conventional circular saw, but it stabilizes the tool, so you don’t have to worry about saw slipping away from the marked line. Also, the blade spinning on the arbor is concealed within the machine to allow you to make a plunge cut anywhere the wood piece. Track saws also enable users to attach a long guide rail or track which clamps on the workpiece to make precise cuts and trims on plywood, doors, particle boards, MDF, hardboards, and melamine. Other applications of track saws include:
- Making long rip cuts, angular cuts and crosscuts accurately
- Cut large wood pieces into small rectangular sections
- Make smooth and clean cuts that don’t need sanding prior use
- Make splinter-free edges in a single pass thanks to this saw’s ability to be mounted to a guide rail
How Does a Track Saw Compare with a Circular Saw?
The conventional circular saw has a basic design that consists of a blade, a motor, a blade-guard, and a base. When adjusting the depth of the cut, you need to loosen the thumb nut and fine-tune the base to the depth you are cutting. When cutting, the blade retracts to allow the saw to cut into the workpiece. Some notable drawbacks of the circular saw include:
- Inability to make splinter-free cuts
- Need to start cutting at the end of the material
- Does not deliver consistent and accurate cut from a side fence
- Not equipped with efficient dust collection device because the blade side is open
The plunge or track saw helps solve the drawbacks, thanks to its unique design. Unlike the circular saw whose cutting edge is retractable, that of the plunge saw is enclosed within the machine. Thus the obvious advantage of a track saw over a circular saw is its ability to cut accurately along a straight line.
This is because it’s easy to set up a straight edge on the workpiece to increase accuracy. Also, a track saw alleviates the likelihood of making errors that arise from the sideways movement as it uses a guide rail. Other differences between a plunge saw and a circular saw include:
- Users can plunge cut into the material at any point
- The enclosed cutting edge is safer and improves dust extraction efficiency
- Ability to adjust the depth of the cut using a simple sliding mechanism in front of the saw
Why are Guide Rails Important?
Guide rails are available in different lengths and can be joined seamlessly using connecting pieces. The underside of the tracks has a non-slip material strip that stops the guide from sliding or moving around during use to enhance accuracy.
In fact, some woodworkers opt to use rail clamps to keep the workpiece stable when cutting. Furthermore, the rails are equipped with a plastic splinter-guard on the cutting edges to help work on materials like worktops and laminated boards as they are likely to splinter.
When paired with the right blade, you can achieve a finished edge, which you don’t need to sand down to get a smooth finish.
What Do You Look for When Buying a Replacement Blade?
The process is as simple as buying one for the traditional circular saw. First, find out the size your track saw uses. Many tools use the 6-1 2-inch plunge stock blade, but some large models use blades as large as 8.5 inches. Also, look for the material the blade is made from. The most common type is the carbide-tipped alloy known to withstand heavy use without wearing out. Carbide-tipped blades are also heat-resistant. Another critical feature is the number of blade teeth.
Blades with fewer teeth are ideal for cutting through lumber. However, they don’t cut as quickly and don’t provide smooth finishes when cutting sheet materials like melamine and plywood, leaving the 48-teeth blades more efficient.
Which is the Best Tool for Splinter Protection?
Most of the tools reviewed provide splinter-free cuts, but the Festool ts 55 has a unique construction that protects both sides of the blade. It has an adjustable plastic secondary splinter guard fitted on the housing to enable the blade to cut through the wood piece to create zero-clearance. The result is an incredibly smooth finish.
This detailed insight should help you choose the best track saws for your woodworking needs. The motor speed and power are two critical factors that should guide you when choosing the saw amid other features such as the size of the blade, safety features, cord length, or depth setting. And since track saws are almost similar to circular saws, you want to choose a tool that provides both advantages.
Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Circular Saw Kit and Evolution Power Tools R185CCSX Multi-Material Circular Track Saw Kit are the best track saws that function as such. However, if looking for a device that provides value for money WEN CT1065 Plunge Cut Sidewinder Circular Track Saw and Shop Fox w1835 track saw are good buys. The saws may be a little restrictive when it comes to the woodworking projects you can work on, but they deliver some decent power for simple DIY tasks.