The 5 Best Track Saws – Reviews & Buying Guide
Power saws are one of the handiest and also most crucial power tools in any workshop. They are also one of the tools that most woodworkers will use for almost all their projects.
The track saw is one of those that will be very useful for different projects, and so it is vital to know what it is all about.
A track saw is a reliable power tool for cutting sheet materials and when you want to make long, precise and accurate cuts.
Most of the reputable power tool brands like DeWalt, Makita, Shop Fox and Festool make these saws. And so you can always be sure of getting something reliable for your projects.
Understanding some of the essential elements to look for when buying a track saw such as a bevel capacity, motor power and RPM should make it easy to pick the best one.
In this piece, we highlight some of the vital things that you need to know about track saws and review some of the top models in the market.
Table of Contents
- What is a Track Saw?
- Benefits of a Track Saw
- Can Track Saws Replace Table Saws?
- 5 Best Track Saws Reviews
- How to Buy Track Saws
What is a Track Saw?
There are many power saw types that you need to have in the workshop, and if you want something for making long and accurate cuts on sheet material the track saw is one of the best.
While the track saw might look like a circular saw its functionality goes beyond that of a circular saw, and it makes some cuts that will be impossible to achieve with the latter.
Also, like the table saw the track saw also features a fast spinning blade. But unlike the table saw you take it to the material instead of bringing the workpiece to the blade.
One of the unique elements that set the track saw apart from the other is the presence of a track. This track not only helps to keep the material in place but also eliminates the need for measurements or making guesses as it guides you on where to cut.
The blade on the track saw also retracts into a shrouded guard to ensure that you do not cut the material until you are ready.
Benefits of a Track Saw
Even if you own many other power saws such as the circular and table saws, the track saw still comes with many benefits which are the reasons why you need to buy one. And they include the following 4.
#1. Clean Cuts
One of the biggest advantages of the track saw over other types is that it produces some clean cuts. Whether you are cutting MDF, plywood, solid wood and any other sheet materials, this saw will deliver a cut without unsightly bits on the edges or tear-outs.
#2. Exact Track Alignment
The track that comes with this saw is another big benefit as it eradicates guesswork by providing an exact alignment with the cut line. And this also minimizes the measuring tasks to some extent.
With this saw, you will only need to align the track with the marks for your cut, and you will end up with an ultra-straight cut.
#3. Long Cuts
Track saws make it possible to make some super longs cuts that would be hard to achieve with the same level of precision when using other power saws.
The only things that will limit the length of the cut that you can make are the track and cord length of the saw. But you can increase the length of the tracks by using connectors.
#4. Relatively Compact and Highly Portable
Few woodworkers will have unlimited workshop space and so almost every inch of space counts. And so the fact that the track saw does not take up a lot of space and does not require you to dedicate permanent space to it is a huge benefit.
Also, this saw is highly portable, and you can move it from one job site to the other with ease. All you need to do is tack the track under one arm and carry the lightweight saw on the other.
Can Track Saws Replace Table Saws?
The track saw comes with many benefits and so it is always a great addition to the workshop. But it will also perform some similar roles as the table saw (to some extent) such as cutting large sheet material.
Its versatility and the fact that it produces some clean, smooth cuts is what make some woodworkers view it as a portable, cheaper and safer alternative to the table saw.
However, as handy as a track saw might be it will not replace your table saw as it also has some limitations. For example, most track saws will not make cuts that are deeper than 2 inches and will not be very useful for cutting a lot of material into similar sizes.
Also, the track saw feels a little clumsy when dealing with smaller pieces of wood. The table saw can cut into almost any lumber size and do it with ease.
And so the bottom line is that a track saw will not replace your table saw, but it will mean that you will end up using it less often.
Read more: Track Saw vs. Table Saw: Pros/Cons
5 Best Track Saws Reviews
#1. DeWalt DWS520K 6-1/2-Inch TrackSaw Kit
The DeWalt DWS520K tops our track saw reviews as it is one of the best overall track saws. And one of the first things that catch your attention (besides the bright yellow DeWalt branding) is just how robust, and tough the track saw looks.
But besides from the robust look that should assure you that the track saw can withstand regular use, it is also a high-performing track saw.
This track saw features a zero clearance cutting system that ensures that you always get some accurate, straight and splinter-free cuts on your sheet materials and other lumber pieces.
And it uses some dual edges tracks that also make it a more reliable and accurate track saw by providing some perfectly straight cuts from both directions.
For this impressive performance to be possible, the track saw needs a powerful motor and DeWalt gives it a 12A, 1300W motor that will cut even through the toughest hardwoods with ease.
With the DeWalt DWS520K, you will also never have to worry about kickback as it has a continuous anti-kickback mechanism. This mechanism combines with the riving knife to prevent kickback when you engage it.
The low profile blade is also a great addition to the track saw as it makes it possible to use it in confined spaces.
The only thing that DeWalt needs to improve on this track saw is the blade-changing system because the eight-step level locking and unlocking process are not very user-friendly.
#2. Festool TS 55 REQ Track Saw
Festool is a reputable brand in the manufacture of power tools and their TS 55 REQ track also does not disappoint. And although it is one of the priciest saws on our reviews it is worth the extra cost.
This highly reliable track saw has a riving knife and a bevel capacity of -1 to 47 degrees and with some positive stops at 0 and 45 degrees for more cutting versatility.
The plastic splinter guard on the TS 55 REQ will provide a zero-clearance slot around the leading edge of the saw’s blade to ensure that you always get some clean cuts.
And changing the blade on this track saw is easier and safer than most others on our reviews. All you need to do is flip a lever, plunge the tool and unscrew the arbor bolt.
Depth adjustment is also straightforward, and this is because the design of this track saw will allow you to expose just the part of the blade that is necessary for the cut you want to make.
Festool TS 55 REQ runs on a 10A, 1200W motor which might not be the most powerful, but it still delivers enough power to cut into almost anything. And it also has an efficient dust collection system that will help to keep your worksite clean.
#3 Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Circular Saw with Guide Rail
Makita is another famous power tool brand, and if you are a seasoned woodworker or hobbyists, the chances are that you already have one or more of their tools.
The Makita SP6000J1 is powerful and highly reliable track saw that runs on a 12A motor that will deliver enough power to cut into a wide variety of materials.
But the slow speed start of the motor is one of the elements that most Makita track saw reviews highlight as one of the best features of this saw. However, it also has a built-in torque limiter that helps to prevent burnouts.
This track saw uses an electronic speed control system that maintains a constant speed throughout the cut to make it smooth. And it also has a variable speed control dial that lets you pick any speed between 2,000 and 5,200 RPM to match the application.
The bevel capability is also a great addition to this Makita track saw, and it ranges between -1 and 48 degrees and with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees.
Makita SP6000J1 is a compact track saw, and it is the lightest model on our list. Also, it has some rubber overmolds on the twin handles to make it more comfortable to use.
#4. Shop Fox W1835 Track Saw
Shop Fox makes their model W185 track saw for woodworkers shopping for an affordable model for cutting sheet materials accurately.
The handy power saw has the smallest motor on our track saw reviews, but it is also the most affordable unit. However, the 9A, 1100W motor still delivers enough power to help you perform a wide variety of cuts.
Like most other high-performing track saws, the Shop Fox W1835 also comes with a riving knife that will help to lower the risk of blade pinching and also minimize the resultant kickback.
The low profile blade guard is another great addition to this track saw because it makes it possible to cut very close to the wall (up to 5.8inches).
This lightweight and portable saw also has a built-in dust port that will be very useful in keeping your work area clean. But, it is also important to note that this track saw will not come with the necessary track guides.
#5 Festool TS 75 EQ Plunge Cut Circular Saw
Festool TS 75 EQ is the priciest item on our track saw reviews, but it is also one of the best performing and reliable. Hence it will be worth every buck you spend on it.
The track saw runs on a soft start MMC electronic motor. This 13A, 1600W motor is the most powerful on our reviews, and it gives the saw the ability to handle almost any cut.
Also, this track saw provides variable speed operation, and you get to choose speeds ranging between 1,350 and 3,550 RPM, and you will get a constant speed under load.
There is a built-in current and thermal overload protection that Festool uses to prevent heat-pressure malfunction or overload.
With the spring-loaded riving knife on this track saw you never have to worry about kickback, but it also helps to keep the cut kerf open to ensure the materials does not pinch the table.
The slip clutch also helps to minimize kickback, but it is more useful for minimizing wear on everything from the motor to the gear case and blade.
Festool uses the FastFix system on this track saw to make blade change easy and safer. There is no chance of accidental start-ups when changing the blade
How to Buy Track Saws
When on the market for a new track saw you will be surprised at the huge variety of options available. And whether you are buying one for the first time or replacing your old ones these many options can make things a little confusing.
However, if you have the right information or know what to look for in a track saw, you should have an easier time picking the right brand and model.
Here are a few points to consider when buying track saw.
#1. Motor Power
The motor is one of the most crucial features of any power tool, and so it should also be one of the primary factors that you consider when choosing between the many track saws in the market.
The larger the motor, the more powerful the track saw will be and also the more efficient and fast it will make cuts. But also note that the track saws with large and more powerful motors also tend to be the priciest.
While the motor power varies from one brand and model to the other, anything with at least a 9amp motor and from reputable companies like DeWalt, Shop Fox, and Makita will offer enough power.
#2. Bevel Capacity
Bevel capacity is the track saw's ability to cut at an angle. Some track saw models only cut straight down or at 90 degrees, but many others will allow you to make angled cuts.
Track saws that allow you make angled cuts are always the best because they are more versatile as you can use them to complete various projects. And they also eliminate the need to have a different power saw for making angled cuts.
If you intend to use your track saw for a variety of projects the wise idea is always to get one with at least a 45-degree bevel capacity as you can use it for a variety of woodworking projects.
#3. Maximum Speed
The maximum speed or RPM that the saw’s blade spins is an important factor to consider when shopping for a track saw as it determines the type and thickness of materials that you can cut.
On average the leading track saw brands have an RPM of around 2,000 which should be enough for cutting through most thin materials in the workshop.
However, the best track saws are those that have an adjustable and wide range RPM because they make it possible to cut through various materials. Also, an adjustable RPM means that you get to choose between slow and fast cutting depending on the workpiece.
#4. The Cord Length
Cord length is one of the features that many beginner woodworkers are likely to overlook as it does not look significant. However, this is a mistake as it affects both the convenience and performance of the track saw.
A track saw is a cutting tool that you are going to use when cutting sheet materials along walls, floors and guard rails. And so the last thing you want is to run out of cord in the middle of a cut.
It is vital to make sure that the track saw model that you choose comes with a cord that is long enough for your usual projects.
A track saw is an excellent addition to your workshop, and it is one of the most useful power saws to have around, and this is more so for those that cut sheet material a lot.
However, like with any other power tool, you should never just settle on the first track saw that you get. Instead, you should focus on getting the best track saws from the reputable brands.
Our reviews above and shopping guide aim to make it easy to pick a high performing, durable and affordable track saw to add to your tool collection.