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Every woodworker knows the importance of track saws, as they are a vital tool in the trade.
While a track saw and a circular saw may look alike, they have some vast differences.
Track saws can be a little pricey sometimes, and you don’t want to lose out on money by choosing the wrong one.
Your wallet will suffer and so will your craftsmanship.
We’ve chosen some of the best saws on the market to assist you in your search.
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In a Rush?
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Track Saw with Reviews
Here’s a list of the best track saws we found on the market today:
1. Festool 575389 Plunge Cut Track Saw
- When used with Festool guide rails, you can achieve perfectly straight and splinter-free cuts.
- Spring-loaded riving knife (splitter) keeps the cut kerf open so that the material does not pinch the blade.
- This reduces the chance of kickback.
- The slip clutch helps to minimize the risk of a kickback and minimizes wear on the blade, gear case, and motor.
- Blade changes are easier and safer using the fastfix system which locks switch and arbor simultaneously for easy arbor bolt removal.
- Lives up to the quality of the Festool range.
- One of the most accurate track saws on the market.
- Makes light work of long pieces of lumbar.
Not so Good
- Like most Festool tools, it's expensive.
- Measurements are in imperial only (if you are used to metric)
If you’re familiar with Festool tools, then you already know what they offer – Superior quality tools that are highly accurate and built to last.
This saw is a solid purchase that will last you through any project, no matter the length or complexity. You will retire the rest of your cutting tools once you use The Plunge Cat. Make sure to get the tracks for optimal performance.
2. Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Track Saw
- Powerful 12.0 AMP motor for optimum performance in a wide variety of materials
- Precision accurate cutting delivers a splinter-free mirror finish
- Electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load for smooth cutting
- Variable speed control dial (2,000-5,200 RPM) enables user to match the speed to the application
- Large cutting capacity (2-3/16" at 90 and 1-9/16" at 45)
- Many users have noted it has lasted the test of time
- Great alternative to more expensive track saws
- Excellent dust collection
- A good but if you're a small business carpenter
Not so Good
- Only metric units are displayed (if you're used to imperial measurements)
- Some experienced users noted the guard rail is not perfect compared to say a Festool one.
If you’re not a contractor then this is a great alternative track saw for the money.
Top end track saws easily cost $600+ but with the Makita you can get a trusted brand for much less!
The Makita SP6000J1 is a popular model with a lot of positive reviews from users who have stated that it has lasted the test of time.
3. Shop Fox W1835 Track Saw
Not so Good
If you want to save time and money, then check out this saw. It’s a useful tool for household and workshop applications alike. Plus, with the extra safety features and lower price tag, you will feel confident in this purchase.
4. Triton TTS1400 Plunge Track Saw
Not so Good
This saw will greatly improve your toolkit. It allows high accuracy cutting most of the time, and it’s got the power to get through tough jobs. When you need an affordable saw that delivers, it’s right here.
5. WEN 36055 Plunge Cut Circular Track Saw
Not so Good
This is the choice for the handyman who needs a general use saw at a reasonable price. It’s a good choice for beginners too, as it’s very simple to get learn and is versatile enough to fit most household projects efficiently.
6. DeWalt DCS520B 60V MAX Cordless Track Saw
Not so Good
This saw is a solid pick for builders looking for smooth finishes and solid power. It doesn’t require in-depth knowledge for use. If you want to purchase a saw that will live past paying for itself several times over, this one’s for you.
7. Festool 575387 Plunge Cut Track Saw
Not so Good
This saw will do wonders for beginners yet is still precise enough to impress experts. If you’re looking for a powerful and sturdy saw to invest in, this one will make you glad you did.
8. Festool TS 55 REQ Track Saw
Not so Good
This track saw is an investment any level woodworker will value. While it commands a higher price, it is money very well invested. It allows for the paring down of other tools and allows you to focus on the project at hand.
For all skill levels wanting extreme quality and a tool that makes the job faster and easier, the Festool track saw is paramount.
What to Consider When Buying a Track Saw
When you are looking to buy a track saw, there are certain factors you may want to consider. For example, maximum speed, bevel capacity, the power of the motor, and more.
The speed of a track saw is measured in revolutions per minute, or RPM. This will help you determine what it can cut through. The smaller the RPM, the harder it will be to cut through thicker materials.
While a track saw is versatile, you will want to choose a saw that has a high RPM so that you can cut with no issues. Most standard models will come with 2,000 RPM, but you can find some that go up to 5,000.
With most saws, you can even control the speed, which is a great feature to consider. Controlling the speed can help you manage the cut and move the saw if needed. Controlling the speed will also help your saw cut through thicker materials.
A bevel is the angle at which your saw can cut. The most basic models will only do straight cuts or 90-degree angles. If you choose a saw with a bevel adjuster, you’ll be able to do more projects.
Not only that, but it will also make many of your projects easier by reducing the number of saws used.
Power of the Motor
Just like with any tool you buy, you want the power to be strong enough to handle the projects you are doing. Typically, a 9-amp motor is enough for most woodworkers.
This should be one of the most important things to consider when choosing a saw. Although you may want one with a higher amp than 9, the price of the saw may increase drastically.
If you plan on using your saw for big projects and often enough, it may be a good investment for you.
Corded or Cordless?
This may seem strange, but some people won’t factor in the cord length when buying a saw. Many people will use their track saws in a house, and it would be quite unfortunate to run out of cord during a project.
Some track saws will come with a 14-foot cord, while most only have an 8-foot cord. If you’re concerned about running out of cord during a project and you don’t mind possibly spending a little more, you may want to consider a cordless model.
While a cordless model gets rid of the cord length issue, there are some cons to it as well. You must make sure it is charged before you’re going to do a project. You may also need to replace the battery every few years, depending on how often you use it.
While most power tools are built to last, some won’t last that long. Just because a track saw is expensive doesn’t mean it is more durable. You will want the overall tool to be durable as well as the blade.
The blade may need to be sharpened or replaced at least once in its lifetime. However, you don’t want to have to replace or sharpen it constantly. Try to choose a brand you trust.
While the shroud will help collect dust, choosing a saw that has a dust system will make cleaning up a lot easier. The less dust that flies around during your project, the less you will need to clean later.
Some saws may even have the option for you to attach the hose from a vacuum.
Track lengths differ with each saw, which determines how long your cut will be. You can usually buy extensions for your track if you need it. However, you want to make sure it will also work with your guard rail, which will keep your cut straight and on track.
You will want a premium blade with your track saw, but you may also want to choose a saw with a blade that is easy to replace. If you need to replace your blade, it would be more convenient for you to go to the hardware store and buy one, rather than buy online.
Buying a blade online can save you the hassle of going to the store, but you may have to search for that specific blade and then wait for it to ship to you.
Benefits of Using a Track Saw
The saw usually comes with a track, which is very helpful for you to make a precise alignment without the need to make a wild guess. To use the track well, all you need to do is align the track with the mark before you cut.
This trick will get you a nice, straight cut. Sometimes, using this feature might also reduce the frequency of taking measurements.
When comparing a track saw and a circular saw, a track saw is a better tool to make sharp, clean cuts. If you use a track saw for materials such as solid wood, MDF and plywood, you should not have any problems with chip bits.
When you consider buying a track saw, there are a lot of different length tracks available on the market. The longest possible track saw can be as long as 144 cm in length. The end of the tracks is usually in squares, which is convenient if you want to connect multiple tracks.
If you do not want to purchase a long track saw, you can also make use of a connector to make some long cuts.
Easy to Carry
A track saw is very compact, and it fits well in the back of a work van. When operating a track saw, you can run it with one hand and hold the tracks under your arm. Regarding storage, a track saw does not take up much space, so you can easily keep it in your garage or workshop.
A track saw usually has a non-slip rubber strip on the base to keep you safe. With those non-slip rubber strips, you do not have to worry about clamping your equipment. You will see that the strips will fix your tracks firmly and will make cutting much more natural.
Cutting usually takes up much space, but it is possible to make big cuts in a small area when you use track saws. It makes cutting manageable, and you can do your work anywhere you want.
Every piece cut by a track saw is nice and smooth. When you use a table saw, you usually do the cut multiple times. You would first use a circular saw to break the large piece of materials into smaller pieces, then use a table saw for finishing.
However, if you use a track saw, you don’t have to worry about all of these.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between a Track Saw and a Circular Saw?
When you see a track saw and a circular saw in a store, you might find them similar. They are designed to serve a different purpose and should not be used interchangeably.
Design of Circular Saws
For circular saws, it has a few components, including the blade, base, motor and blade guard. When cutting the materials, the blade will come close to the object as you adjust the depth of the cut with a knob, in which the knob controls the base of the tool accordingly.
At the same time, the guard will also be retracted for the blade to cut through the material. Working with a circular saw could be tricky. First, it is necessary to perform the cutting from the end of the piece.
Furthermore, using a circular saw will produce a lot of dust and debris because the blade is not covered.
Design of Track Saws
A track saw, also known as a plunge saw, is a versatile tool that comes with a retractable blade guard. This design makes it convenient for the machine to plunge into different types of materials.
The design of a track saw makes it easy to adjust the cutting depth. Also, since the blade is covered in the tool, it is much safer than a circular saw.
What does a track saw cost?
A track saw is usually more expensive, but it can do a lot more. It can perform tasks that a circular saw cannot is the top choice among professional woodworkers and DIY lovers.
Can Track Saws Be a Replacement for Your Table Saw?
Many people love track saws because they are portable tools that give smooth cuts. A track saw may perform a similar function as your table saw. For example, they can both cut large sheets of material.
However, it may not be a good idea to assume that a track saw can do everything that a table saw can. If you have to cut small pieces of wood, using a track saw is not ideal. On the other hand, the table saw can perform this task efficiently.
Also, track saws usually make cuts that are less than 2 inches in depth. It is also not as convenient if you want to cut things into similar sizes. In general, a table saw could be great for making cross cuts or miter cuts.
On the other hand, a track saw would be perfect for cutting any full-size sheets.
Using a track saw has many benefits. For example, it gives you a precise and smooth cut, and it keeps your workplace clean.
It is crucial for you to assess your needs and understand the materials that you are going to work with before you pick your tool.
Our top pick is the Triton TTS1400 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Track Saw 1400W for the best power, durability, and value for your money. It will improve the craftsmanship of beginners and professionals alike.