Also known as a plunge saws, track saws cost more than conventional circular saws. It is for a very good reason: versatility. This makes a track saw ideal for plywood, MDF, and challenging Formica cuts that are highly susceptible to chipping.
The plunge saw allows you to simply release a lever and “plunge” the saw into your material, enabling convenient cuts in the middle of the board. Better, a track saw takes up less space than a table saw, and can do cuts that table saws cannot. This has made track saws increasingly popular among contractors looking to unlock cleaner, faster, and longer cuts.
We have noticed the track saw market is highly populated with substandard products and imitations. To save you from this, we have reviewed some of the most reliable track saws within different price brackets. You will also find a comprehensive buying guide that highlights the essential features to consider when buying a track saw.
Festool’s most powerful plunge saw, the TS 75 EQ offers pinpoint accuracy and versatility. This is what makes it better than many advanced panel saws, miter saws, and table saws.
The unit comes with a 13-amp motor that gives it enough power to rip through tough material with no burn marks or swirls. Besides offering accurate and straight cuts, this corded saw rips through all material without splintering. This, combined with its portability and ease of use, makes the saw is a handy tool to most DIYers and skilled professionals.
A unique guide rail has been included to create an accurate cut line and give you complete control over the cuts. Irrespective of the angle you choose to make bevel cuts at, the guide rail will keep your track saw above the cut line. This allows a cutting depth of up to 2 ¾ inches at 90 degrees and 2 ⅛ inches at 45 degrees.
The rail has a rubber lip that presses onto the workpiece to prevent splintering. As a result, it will be unnecessary to clamp the guide rail. However, you can purchase additional connectors to join rail sections if you intend to cut larger pieces of material.
The Festool TS 75 EQ Plunge saw has a 36-tooth blade carbide that comes with a diameter of 8 ¼ inches for better cutting. You can vary the speed from 1350 to 3550 RPM depending on your cutting needs.
With the saw’s FastFix system, changing the blade is safer and easier. Once engaged, both the power switch and the arbor get locked simultaneously to prevent injuries.
A replaceable splinter guard on both sides of the blade makes it possible for splinter-free cutting. Chip deflectors keep you safe from errant material shards, while a riving knife ensures that the space behind the blade is clear.
This unit’s riving knife is spring-loaded and retracts into the housing once plunge cuts are made. This maintains the cut kerf open to keep the material from pinching the blade. As a result, you can have full control of all your operations with minimal kickbacks.
Another great feature of the Festool TS 75 EQ Plunge is easy-to-use depth adjustments. This allows you to only expose the part of the blade that will be important for the cut you will be making. With the plunge action, you can get placement anywhere on the cut line.
The unique thing about this plunge-action is that the saw does not have a rotating guard like many circular saws have. Instead, it pivots through the bottom shoe. This makes the unit safer than most competing models.
If you have used DEWALT tools before, you most probably know what to expect from their DWS520CK track saw.
This rugged, yet lightweight, unit is a mid-range priced corded saw kit that gives splinter-free straight cuts which are perfectly precise. The shipped box comes packed with a heavy duty-track saw, an arbor of 6 ½ inches (20mm) with a 48-tooth finishing blade, a blade wrench, a 102-inch track, a 59-inch track, and a kit box.
Like most track saws in its league, this unit has a 12- amp motor with a smart start feature to ensure that the saw does not jump upon switching on. This feature also makes the saw wind down and stop quickly without making noise. A riving knife adds to the saw’s safety features, while a blade fully retracts to the guard to make the saw sit flat on the base when you are not using it.
On both sides of the track, there is a zero-clearance splinter guard. This ensures you do not need to flip the track constantly, which is a good thing if you are working in tight quarters.
The DEWALT DWS520CK cuts smoothly like a table saw and is an excellent option if you want angle cuts. It gives razor-sharp cuts with insignificant splintering on almost all materials. The saw is also able to maintain straight cuts to as much as 96 inches at a time. Bevel adjustment goes up to 47 degrees to help you make customized cuts.
This track saw is capable of making spot-on angle cuts and conveniently lines up 45-degree corner cuts. At 90 degrees, you will get an on-track cutting depth of 2 ⅛, and 1 ⅝ inches at 45 degrees.
A variable speed control dial adds to the saw’s functionality by enabling you to match the blade speed with your cutting requirements.
An easy and smooth plunge action in the saw makes clean cuts on rough materials. You can easily set the plunge depth. This track saw uses a linkage connection instead of a single pivot point. It implies that to cut, you will have to push the handle forward and down.
The DEWALT DWS520CK has a better dust collection feature than many circular saws. A universal 1 ¼ inch dust port can be connected to a shop vacuum, which makes dust collection easy. Even without connecting to a vacuum system, this track saw will still leave minimal dust behind.
Although Shop Fox is a relatively new brand in the field of electronic tools, it has managed to make one of the best and most versatile track saws in the market - Shop Fox W1835.
The Shop Fox W1835 helps you achieve plunge cuts through positioning the saw directly on the work material. The blade starts its cutting operation once lowered on to the area. This kind of cut works well when there is a need to rip off a piece without disturbing the other part of the material.
This corded track saw is powered by a 9-amp, 120-volt motor that’s capable of providing up to 5,500 RPM. This makes it perfect for sheet cutting, trimming, and plunge cutting. The saw’s ability to cut both at 90 degrees and 45 degrees means that you can use the unit on several household and jobsite applications.
It comes with a low profile blade that enables you to cut as close as 5/8 inches from a wall. The saw offers a maximum cut depth of 2 5/32 inches at 90 degrees and 1 5/8 inches at 45 degrees. This is more than enough to make standard plywood cuts. A bevel gauge along a lock is included to level cuts up to a 45 degrees angle.
Another convenient feature is a 1 ½ inches dust collection port to keep the tool clean to deliver precise results. You can easily adjust this dust port to suit your collection needs.
The Shop Fox W1835 has a reliable anti-kickback technology that eliminates the dangers associated with blade pinching. A cut indicator arrow shows you where the plunge cut should start and where it will end in full blade extension.
To give you additional stability and control, the track saw has primary and secondary level handles. A spring-loaded riving knife is also included to reduce risks associated with cutting with the sharp blades.
Overall, this compact powerhouse is reliable option for jobsite and regular uses. It meets the needs of furniture remodelers, craftsmen, woodworkers, and professional technicians.
The compact and lightweight SP6000J1 from Makita is a powerful and precise track saw that will definitely get the job done. This track saw works well with a 55-inch guard rail to produce precision cutting and straight cuts with negligible tear-out.
Compared to many saws on the market, this plunge saw is user-friendly, quiet, and offers an array of nifty features. One is the plunge gauge that helps you cut through different depths that go as much as 56 mm. You can lay the guard rail down right on the cut mark to know exactly where the cut will be.
The unit’s small form factor makes it easy to hold and operate. Rubber soles attached to the bottom keep the saw firmly on track. With this and the guide edge, you will not have to use any extra clamps. Another convenient feature is a dust collector that you can pair with a shop vacuum to keep your workstation clean.
This saw gives the user the precision and power required for any job. A powerful 12-amp motor offers the horsepower needed for ripping through thick pieces of almost all material with the track saw’s powerful 5,200 RPM blades.
The blade speed is adjustable. You can dial anywhere between 2,000 RPM to 5,200 RPM depending on the material you are cutting and the depth you intend to rip through. Variable speed also helps you to keep the saw’s motor from overheating.
A soft start feature on this saw keeps it from jumping on start-up torque. Splinter guards allow you to cut boards conveniently without splintering the edges. With the clean splinter-free technology, you will save time as you will not have to go back to clean your workpiece afterward.
When working with materials that are prone to chipping, a score-cutting setting comes handy. The tool features a 3mm scoring setting that is capable of scoring before you do a full depth cut. With this, you will get splinter-free cuts on all sides of the kerf.
Like many high-end track saws, the Makita SP6000J1 comes with a beveling capacity of -1 degree to 48 degrees. The saw’s bevel shoe is easily adjustable to a maximum of 49 degrees. This allows you to make custom angle cuts.
The unit also has a simple and effective anti-tip locking feature. This feature keeps the saw from tipping off when set for bevel cutting.
For some projects, the saw cord might be too short. However, you can fix the problem with an extender cord. Other minor problems are the lack of a riving blade and the rails’ failure to connect smoothly.
Upon looking at the Triton TTS1400 track saw, you can instantly see a unit with a serious build quality and expedient features.
This plunge track saw comes loaded with an array of desirable features. One of these convenient features is the mode selection. This helps you quickly change between scribing, plunge cuts, and changing blades. The scribe mode cuts a groove in the blade’s first pass, effectively eliminating tear-out and splintering.
The Triton TTS1400 saw is powered by 1,400W, 12-amp motor with soft start and variable speed capabilities. You can vary the cutting speed from 2000 RPM to 5,300 RPM to suit the nature of your cutting. This also makes the track saw suitable for cutting a variety of materials.
The saw offers dual bevel quadrants, (on the front and another on back) to help you customize your cuts. To add stability when handling bevel cuts, this track saw comes packed with a track lock. Dual alignment cams fine-tune the fit between the track and the saw.
The Triton TTS1400 has a smooth plunge designed with an easy to reach release above its trigger. The high plunging capacity also allows you to commence and stop your cutting in the middle of the sheet. This plunge lock offers additional safety.
Like many track saws, the Triton TTS1400 has an anti-kickback safety feature to prevent the saw from jolting when you are doing plunge cuts. It also has an efficient dust extraction system with a universal vacuum adapter that has a 360-degree outlet. This fits most of the dust extractor vacuums in the market.
Although the unit is quite heavy, the blade housing has a flat design that allows you to work right up against an obstacle like a wall. On other material, the saw can make as much as 48-degrees bevel cuts.
This compact and versatile saw offers smooth and straight cuts with minimal chipping on both sides. A 59-inch guide rail is included, and you get 3/32 inch deep scoring. For easy and accessible blade changing, a shaft lock has been added.
Now that you have an idea on what’s best in the market, below are factors to consider that will help you identify the perfect features in a track saw.
The speed of a plunge saw is measured by the revolutions it makes per minute, RPM.
Although track saws are versatile, you will need to get a saw with a high speed so you can cut conveniently. Most standard track saw models have a 2,000 RPM. Such a saw would be suitable for medium to less-complex cutting, or for cutting moderately thick materials.
To cut thicker material, you can go for a track saw with a higher maximum speed like 5000 RPM.
With most high-end saws, you can easily control speed. A speed control feature helps you manage your cut and move the saw where needed. With such a feature, you will be able to tune the track saw to cut materials of different thicknesses.
A bevel refers to the angle at which a saw is capable of cutting. Most basic models only cut at 90-degree angles to produce straight cuts.
However, a good number of track saw models have a bevel adjustor to allow you to make more customized cuts and do more projects. Such a saw would add convenience and make your cutting easier by reducing the number of saws you need to complete your project.
Like is the case with any other tool, you will need to have a track saw that is strong enough to handle all your cutting. Typically, a track saw with a 9-amp motor works well for most woodworkers.
A higher amp than 9 would suit bigger projects and professional woodcutters. However, prices increase as the power of the motor increases.
While it might sound strange, many people do not factor in cord length as they look for a track saw. This is because most use their saws in houses where power outlets are abundantly available. However, you could easily run out of cord on your project if you don’t put this factor into account.
Some plunge saws are made with an up to 14-foot long cord, while others have an 8-foot long cord. If you are concerned about running out of your track saw cord and probably are okay with spending some more money, you can go for a cordless model.
Nevertheless, a cordless model has its drawbacks. While this kind of track saw will not restrict you in terms of the location of use, you will need to adequately charge it before going out to do a project. You might also need to replace the saw’s batteries after some years based on your frequency of use. This would be an added expense.
The shroud of a track saw will assist in collecting dust. However, a saw with a dust system makes cleaning much easier.
Some saws come with an option that enables you to attach the track’s hose from a vacuum. With such a saw, dust flies less around as you do the project and makes your workplace clean and easy to work from.
The track length of a saw determines how long its cut will be. When needed, you can always buy extensions. However, you should ensure that the length works with your guard rail as this will help you maintain straight cuts.
Even the most experienced woodworker risks getting injured by a track saw. The best way for mitigating this risk is through investing in a tool that has ample safety features. Components such as blade guards, slow start mechanisms, and dust ports are all great ways of ensuring that your tool is safe.
A track saw with a riving knife that rides behind the cutting blade can significantly reduce kickback potential and therefore prevent the material from pinching your blade. Such an anti-kickback feature enhances your safety and improves the quality of the cuts you make.
Like circular saws, decent track saws come with blade guards to enhance safety. A saw equipped with a low profile blade guard would help improve visibility. It would help you see what you are cutting, and in turn, facilitate a smooth cut while keeping you safe.
The rail is the track that your saw will operate upon. Naturally, the rail length of your saw will dictate the nature of the jobs your saw will handle. While you use a long rail for short rips, but it would be difficult to use a short rail to handle long rips.
Hence, starting with a little bit more rail length offers more versatility in your task. That said, long rails require more space and are less affordable as compared to short rails. This is a crucial consideration to keep in mind.
The good news is, many manufacturers have rails in an array of sizes. This means that you can buy supplementary accessories later when you need them.
In our review, we have noted that it might be difficult to make clean cuts with some track saws. Although this might mean a lot of issues, one problem encountered even with good track saws is shattering around the edges.
Features such as a splinter guard can significantly help in keeping your cuts pretty and nice.
It is also crucial to understand the limitations of your track saw. Getting a tool that has the ability to handle what you exactly need will go a long way in helping you avoid nasty and slippery cuts. Of course, you should be willing to spend some more to get the best quality.
There may be things you might need to acquire even after making your track saw purchase. For example, most track saws rarely include a track.
Basically, a track saw that does not come with a track is simply an overpriced circular saw. This is probably not what you are looking for.
You don’t have to get a track saw with everything in it, however. Some accessories, like the rail, are best when purchased separately. This way, you will have the freedom to get the rail that suits your cutting needs perfectly.
Easy-to replace premium spare blades and clamps are other accessories you need to consider in your track saw.
Pay enough attention to the available warranty for the track saw you are looking for.
Why? There are many parts and pieces in a track saw. If one of them gets a little funky, it can significantly disrupt the way that your saw works and lead to a costly replacement or repair. Getting a tool with a reasonable warranty can save you a lot of frustration and money in the long run.
The first thing you need to find out when buying a blade for your track saw is what size of blade your tool is designed for. Many track saw models use 6.5 inch blades, while others use larger blades such as 8.5 inches.
Many blades are made of a metallic alloy that features a carbide tip.
Such blades are designed to withstand heavy use without wearing off. Carbide blades are also heat-resistant, and you will not have to worry about burns along the cutting line of your workpiece.
Another factor to consider when looking for a blade for your track saw is the material you plan on cutting. Some blades come with as little as 14 teeth, and are therefore good for cutting through wood or lumber pieces. However, although such blades can cut through quickly, the edge of your workpiece will not be well finished.
If you are looking for a smooth finished cut, it would be best that you go for a blade that has more teeth, such as 48. The same applies if you will be working with sheet materials like melamine and plywood.
A track saw looks similar to a circular saw. However, this does not mean they are interchangeable. The two tools are designed differently, and this allows a track saw to carry out tasks that a conventional circular saw cannot handle. Here are a few distinguishing factors.
A circular saw comprises a motor, a base, a blade, and a blade guard. When cutting a workpiece, you bring the blade close to the end of your object and adjust the depth of cut by turning a knob to adjust the base of the tool. When cut, the blade guard retracts back out of the way to allow the blade to do the cutting.
Track saws do not have a retractable blade guard because the blade is usually concealed within the machine. Although this might seem to be of little difference, this design feature enables users to enjoy many additional benefits.
Because the blade of a track saw is concealed within the tool, you can use the saw to plunge into any part of the material, as opposed to just at the end. Additionally, this tool has a flat smooth side and can be guided flush against the floor or a wall.
On the other hand, a circular saw forces you to cut your material from the end. This limits the applications you can use it for. Since a circular saw works while the side of the blade is open, it is likely to litter your workplace with more dust than a track saw.
Track saws have great safety features, and most have good dust collection technology for cleaner results. Because the blade is concealed within the saw, accidents are less prone to happen compared to what is the case with circular saws.
Since you can easily adjust a sliding mechanism at the front of the tool, track saws are designed for easier cutting depth adjustments. Track saws are also made to make accurate, precise material cuts that do not need much finishing. The final product does not have splinters and jagged edges like circular saws produce.
The most significant difference is that track saws run along a guide rail or a track. These rails are made in a variety of lengths and feature a non-slip underside that keeps the guide away from moving on your material.
Since the rails have splinter guards on cutting edges, they keep your workpiece firmly in place. With this, you can move a track saw along even the longest material and get a smooth, straight cut that needs no finishing.
Track saws are preferred since they are portable and provide smooth cuts. To a large extent, your track saw can carry out similar functions of a table saw, such as cutting large sheets of material.
However, you cannot assume that your track saw will perform all tasks that a table saw is capable of doing. If you intend to cut small-sized pieces of wood, a plunge saw would not be ideal. Conversely, a table saw can handle such a task flawlessly.
Track saws generally make cuts whose depth is less than 2 inches. A track saw would not be suitable if you intend to cut material in similar sizes.
A table saw would work well when making miter cuts or crosscuts. On the other hand, track saws are good at cutting full-size sheets.
A track saw is an excellent addition to a workshop, and one of the most useful power saws to have. However, you should not just settle on the first product you come across.
If you have no problem with spending a little bit more to get a premium product, the Festool TS 75 EQ Plunge is a great choice. The Dewalt DWS520CK will give you a high return on investment, while the Shop Fox W1835 will suit you if you are a budget buyer looking for a functional track saw.