When it comes to woodworking projects, a great deal of cutting is involved. Much of that will be done on a table saw, but lugging full sheets to the cutting location, positioning them across the table, and then cutting them down multiple times is huge waste of energy and time. A track saw can save you a lot of that effort, allowing you to make rough cuts first, trim down larger pieces of wood, and then more easily and accurately use your table saw. Of course, finding the best tool can be challenging – there are tons of different options on the market, all with their own list of features and benefits. Maybe you are looking for variable speed options, the ability to cut through certain materials, or to make certain cuts. We’ve taken the struggle out of the process for you, and compiled a list of the top track saws for home and professional users.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Track Saw
- 2 Makita SP6000J1
- 3 DeWalt DWS520K
- 4 Worx WX430L
- 5 DeWalt DCS520T1
- 6 SHOP FOX W1835
- 7 Bosch Tools Track Saw GKT13-225L
- 8 Festool 575387
- 9 DeWalt DWS520SK
- 10 Makita XPS02ZU
- 11 Track Saw Buying Guide
- 12 What Is a Track Saw?
- 13 Is a Track Saw the Same Thing as a Circular Saw?
- 14 What Benefits Can a Track Saw Offer?
- 15 What Is a Rail/Track?
- 16 Choosing the Right Track Saw Blade(s)
- 17 Corded or Battery Powered Track Saws?
- 18 What Features Matter Most When Buying a Track Saw?
- 19 Conclusion
The Best Track Saw
|Name||Power Type||Motor Capacity||RPM Range||Rail Length|
|Makita SP6000J1||Corded||12 amps||2,000 to 5,200||55 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|DeWalt DWS520K||Corded||12 amps||1,750 to 4,000||N/A – rails not included||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Worx WX430L||20V battery||20 volt/1 AH||Not listed||N/A – rails not included||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|DeWalt DCS520T1||60 V battery||60 volt/2 AH||Not listed||N/A – rails not included||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|SHOP FOX W1835||Corded||9 amps||Max 5,500||N/A – rails not included||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Bosch Tools Track Saw GKT13-225L||Corded||Not listed||Not listed||N/A – rails not included||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Festool 575387||Corded||Not listed||Not listed||N/A – rails not included||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|DeWalt DWS520SK||Corded||12 amps||Not listed||59 inches||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Makita XPS02ZU||18 V battery||18 V/5 AH||2,500 to 6,300||N/A – rails not included||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
Now that we’ve looked at a head-to-head comparison chart of the best saws, we’ll dive into in-depth reviews on each track saw model we’ve listed. The goal is to help ensure that you can make an informed, accurate decision regarding your purchase based on the variety and design of the options seen here. There are plenty of great options that can work for woodworkers.
The DeWalt DWS520K is an excellent track saw for a wide range of uses. Powerful and durable enough for carpenters and contracting professionals, it is also well suited for home use. It features 12 amps of power with a maximum of 4,000 RPM. It weighs less than the Makita that tops our list, coming in at 11.5 pounds. That ensures excellent portability and also eases arm strain during use. Note that this is the bare tool only and comes with no accessories at all. It does not include any saw blades, nor does it include a rail. It fits 6.5-inch blades, and has a maximum bevel capacity of 47 degrees. It’s important to mention in this DeWalt track saw review that the tool is only designed to work with a zero-clearance track system, and it also features dual anti-splinter edges for straight, worry-free cutting. It’s one of the best options for the money.
Worx is becoming a name to contend with in the power tools segment, and the WX430L is a worthwhile addition to our list. The saw is easily one of the best choices available. It uses standard 6.5-inch blades, and is light enough to alleviate muscle strain and ensure good portability. This is one of only a few battery-powered models to make our list, and the 20V system is designed so that you can share batteries across multiple Worx tools (battery capable, of course). The saw comes with one wood-cutting blade, and features a flush-mount blade design to increase visibility and accuracy. The bevel gauge helps you reach the perfect angle with every cut. The blade guard is also a nice addition. Note that this tool does not come with a rail. The track saw kit includes a 6.5-inch wood-cutting blade, a single 20V battery, and a five-hour charger, plus the saw itself.
SHOP FOX W1835
Bosch Tools Track Saw GKT13-225L
Track Saw Buying Guide
Not sure how to choose the best track saw? Not sure what a track saw even is? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a professional replacing your trusted saw that’s on its way out, our buying guide has something to offer. We will explore a wide range of topics that impact your overall experience and will help ensure that you’re able to make an informed buying decision and get the best in 2020.
What Is a Track Saw?
First, let’s address perhaps the most basic question out there. What is a track saw? The answer is surprisingly simple it is a saw designed to be used with a track or rail to ensure the straightest possible cuts. It can be used to replace a table saw in some cases, or to make it easier to use a table saw for more precise cuts after trimming a piece of wood down before moving it to the table saw.
Is a Track Saw the Same Thing as a Circular Saw?
At first glance, you might think that there is very little difference between a track saw and a circular saw. It’s true that they do have a very similar appearance with what amounts to the same form factor. However, the functions are very different. The track saw is designed to be mounted to, you guessed it, a track. It also lacks the cumbersome blade guard found with circular saws.
There are quite a few other differences between a circular saw and a track saw, as well. For instance, with a circular saw, it is designed to be started at the end of a piece of material, turned on (blade spinning), and then moved forward into the area to be cut. That in itself is very limiting. There is also the fact that circular saws spread sawdust and debris, and that these saws often create splinters and result in a less than smooth cut surface.
With a track saw, the situation is different. These saws feature a very different construction than their similar-looking cousins. Unlike circular saws, the blade is not open. It remains tucked inside the body until you activate it. Then, it descends to the work area. This allows you to create “plunge” cuts rather than only end cuts, although a track saw can certainly be used to cut from the outside in. The saw also features technology that allows it to create smooth cuts free of splinters.
What Benefits Can a Track Saw Offer?
A track saw can offer quite a few benefits that make it a must-have option for your tool set, even if you already own a circular saw and a table saw. Some of the most important benefits to understand include the following:
- Reduced splinters/smoother cuts.
- Ability to work in tight spaces where a table saw cannot be set up.
- Ability to create straight cuts without the need for clamps or a straightedge.
- Dust ports for dust collection capabilities (with specific models).
- Make any kind of cut necessary at any location, from the edges of the material to the center.
- Ability to cut many types of material, including wood, MDF, laminate, and more.
- With the track, all you need to do is line it up and cut. That streamlines and simplifies your process.Some of the best options have a plunge track.
- No test cuts – the track shows you exactly where your blade will cut with no risk.
- You get improved portability over table saws.
- No re-cutting plywood – you get a final cut each and every time with no need to go back and re-cut.
What Is a Rail/Track?
The track, or rail as it is sometimes called, is one of the secrets to the track saw’s success. Simply put, it is a track that the saw rides in. Made of metal, each track is made to unique specifications and most are not usable with saws from another manufacturer. What that means is if you have a Makita track saw, you’ll need a Makita track. If you have a DeWalt track saw, then a rail made by Worx won’t do the trick.
Tracks, or rails if you prefer, are made with unique clearances designed specifically for the body of the saw in question. Most of them are zero-clearance affairs and they are usually made from aluminum for durability but also to reduce weight. Some have measurements marked along the edge of the rail, but most don’t.
Choosing the Right Track Saw Blade(s)
It’s important to note several things about track saw blades. First, they’re not the same size as the blade a circular saw uses. Most track saw blades are 6.5 inches, although some are larger, coming in at over 8 inches. You’ll want to make sure of the manufacturer specifications before buying replacement blades for your saw.
Most track saws come with a single blade, but some come with two. The default blade is a wood-working type that is relatively versatile. The second blade (if so equipped) is often finer, with more teeth. However, you will find that there are numerous types of blades on the market, as your track saw can be used to cut a wide range of materials. Some of the best blade types on offer allow you to cut:
- Solid wood
Note that while many track saws do use a 6.5-inch blade, that does not necessarily mean that all 6.5-inch blades are usable. Blade thickness also plays a role, and you’ll need to consult your owner’s manual to determine what is true for your specific saw.
Corded or Battery Powered Track Saws?
As with other power tools, batteries have come to play a role in the track saw segment. That means in addition to brand considerations, you also need to think about the power source that you want. Battery-powered and corded models both have their pros and cons, and neither is a clear winner over the other.
You’ll find more corded models on the market than battery-powered options. That means you are more likely to find the right mix of features and price for your specific needs. You’ll also find that corded models generally have more power and better performance, and there’s never a need to stop and swap a battery (or recharge if you only have a single batter). Finally, corded models are usually less expensive than their battery-powered counterparts. In terms of drawbacks, corded models really only have one – they’re tied to an outlet. That limits your ability to work in locations that don’t have access to the power grid.
Battery powered track saws are very convenient. They’re also highly portable. They can go anywhere you might need, even areas where there is no direct access to the power grid. However, they do tend to cost more than corded models, so you will need to spend more at the outset. The price of the thing should not be the most important factor, of course.
There are also fewer options on the market, so your choices will be more limited. Of course, you always need to make sure that your batteries are charged and ready to go, and because most units only come with a single battery, you’ll usually need to purchase a spare for additional cutting performance. Battery-powered track saws are often somewhat less powerful than their corded brethren, but that is not always a deal breaker, and as battery technology improves, it becomes less and less of an issue.
What Features Matter Most When Buying a Track Saw?
Choosing the best track saw means having an idea of what the various features mean and which ones matter most to you. To that end, we’ll run through some of the most important features to look for when considering a track saw, whether it is battery powered or corded. Buyers should look at facts, along with pros and cons, to find the best track saw.
RPM – RPM is often a measure of power, but in a way that differs from amps or watts. RPM, or revolutions per minute, is a measure of how many times the blade can turn within 60 seconds. The higher the number, the faster the blade can turn, and the harder and/or thicker the material it can cut (when combined with the right blade, of course). However, high RPM does not immediately equate to a more capable track saw. You also need to consider amps. Also, the more powerful a saw is, the higher the price tag will be.
Bevel Capacity – Bevel capacity is a term used to describe the angle range at which you can set the blade. With low-priced, budget track saws, you may have no bevel, or may be limited to 90 degrees. However, with higher priced models, you’ll find greater range. Some offer incremental adjustability down to fractions of a degree so you can always get the right angle for the project, whether you’re cutting plywood or MDF.
Cutting Capacity – Cutting capacity in this instance refers to the ability to cut through thicker or thinner materials and is a function of blade size. Most track saws use a 6.5-inch blade, but some can be equipped with larger blades. The larger the blade, the thicker the material you can cut through, or the thicker the stack of materials, such as two sheets of plywood. The saw form factor and body size also impact this capability, as well, though.
Variable Speed – Variable speed models allow you to adjust the speed of your blade to match the needs of the moment. In the simplest example, a trigger would allow you to adjust the speed of the blade based on finger pressure on the trigger. More pressure would increase the blade speed, while less pressure would decrease the speed. Note that many track saws offer variable speed control, but this is not true across the board, so if you value the ability to control blade speed, make sure this feature is available on the model you purchase.
Anti-Kickback – Power saws have the potential to kick back when in use. This is a safety issue, and it can also cause damage to the material being cut. Higher-quality track saws use what’s called a riving knife that rides just behind the main cutting blade to reduce kickback potential, prevent the material from pinching the blade, and increase both your safety and the quality of the cuts you make. Theriving knife can make a big difference with quality cutting, providing clean cuts.
Blade Guard – Like circular saws, track saws have a blade guard. However, make sure that your saw is equipped with a low-profile blade guard so that in addition to protecting you, it also helps improve visibility in front of the saw.
Dust Collection System – Most track saws on the market today have a dust collection system, but this is not true for all models that you will find. A good dust collection system allows you to connect a shop vac to the back of the track saw and automatically vacuum up sawdust and debris while in use.
In the end, there is a track saw out there for every budget and every need. Whether you’re a professional or a home user, you’ll find a tracksaw that fits your needs, your budget, and your feature requirements. From DeWalt to Worx, Makita to SHOP FOX, finding a high-quality cutting solution in 2020 has never been simpler. The best saw, with the power and look you need, is out there. Do your research, put your money in the right place, and reduce the risk of getting the wrong saw.
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