The power tool market in the US, in 2016, was worth an estimated $4.6 billion (1). It shows that America is in love with power tools.
And track saws are no exception. Sometimes you need extra cutting capacity but don’t want to lose accuracy. Track saws are the ideal tool to use in this situation. Plus, they are multi-functional, because they are equally capable for use as plunge saws too.
So which is the best track saw and why should you buy one? Let’s give you the lowdown on track saws.
- Large cutting capacity
- Torque control
- Electronic speed control
- Guide rail precision
- Zero tearout cutting
- Spring-loaded riving knife
- Plunge mechanism for precise cuts
- Powerful brushless motor
- Integrated vac adaptor
- Continuous anti-kickback
- Dual edged tracks
- Has anti-kickback feature
- Straight plunge feature
- Great price
- High-speed motor
- Ideal for plunge cuts & ripping
- 1,400-watt motor
- Quick blade change
- Dust extractor
What Is a Track Saw Used For?
As the name suggests, a track saw runs along a fixed track, giving you the ability to make extended cuts accurately. It is ideal for trimming doors, plywood, and larger sheet materials.
Many professional carpenters and woodworkers like track saws for this reason, as well as their versatility. Track saws are multi-functional and can adapt to different tasks.
Benefits of a Track Saw
Unlike heavy table saws, track saws are so portable you can carry them under one arm.
Keeps on Cutting
Table saws have a finite capacity, so you are limited to the size of the cuts you make. Circular saws are less accurate because cutting along an extended line takes supreme concentration. Track saws will keep on cutting for as long as you have track and the material.
They are super-accurate and give a neat finish.
The backs of the tracks have rubber strips, so you lay it down, and it doesn’t slip. This makes them accurate and fast.
Collects the Dust
The saw dust collection system keeps excess sawdust safely inside the shroud. This is crucial if you want to avoid showering your surroundings in harmful pollutants like medium density fiberglass (MDF) dust.
Easy Set Up
Lay the track down, line it up with the marks on the board, and the edge shows you exactly where the cut will be. It removes the guesswork and means that there is no need to perform test cuts.
Works in Confined Spaces
Unlike a table saw that needs infeed and outfeed space, a track saw can cut extensive sheet material in the smallest room.
Makes the Best Quality Cuts
Track saws have the finest finish of any saws. Compared to a table saw and a circular saw, a track saw will cut so accurately that there is no need to do a clean-up of the cut.
No Limit Miters
There are limits to the miters on table saws that restrict what you can achieve. There are no such barriers with a track saw. The miter can be as long as you want and at any angle. Again, this speeds up the work progress while keeping accuracy.
Safe to Use
Because the saw sits on a track, there is a minimal chance of slippage, and the track is rubber-backed, so it stays in place.
How to Choose the Best Track Saw
There are many things to consider when choosing a track saw. Get it right, and it will be your favorite power tool.
Track saw speeds are measured in RPM (revolutions per minute). This helps determine the saws cutting ability. The higher the RPM, the better suited the saw is to cut harder and more dense material.
The standard RPM of most track saws is 2,000, but you can get more powerful models that have 5,000 RPM. Some top-end models have variable speed control, enabling you to adjust the speed to cater to different materials.
It’s not all about speed. Torque is equally as important. Torque describes the force a tool uses to turn an object. Imagine a supercar without torque. Sure it has the speed, but how is that speed controlled and how does it translate to movement. A fast car without torque would be undrivable. The same is true for your power tool.
The most basic models cut 90-degree angles, but choosing a saw with a bevel adjuster opens a whole new world of angles and cuts. It makes the saw extremely versatile.
The power of your motor is the difference between you cutting harder or softer material. Get an underpowered tool, and you will limit your capabilities. Look for a 9 amp motor if you want the saw to tackle most jobs with ease.
Keep In Mind
Soft start describes the way the saw gradually warms up, increasing speed as it does. It makes the experience a lot more comfortable and stops your saw from jumping into life rapidly, which could cause a serious injury. It also increases your accuracy.
Corded or Cordless
Which option you choose depends on how often you travel with your tools and how far from a power source the job site is. Corded track saws don’t lose power, and you don’t have to fret about charging a battery.
But they do have distance limitations, and you need to be near a power source at all times.
Cordless track saws have no such worries. They are the go-anywhere saws that can operate in the remotest parts. However, you are constantly constrained by battery life and if you have enough juice. As the battery fades, so too does the performance of the saw.
Choose a brand you know and trust. Look around your tool collection. Is there a name that stands out? DeWALT, Makita, and Shop Fox are all brands that have a reputation to protect, so they will likely build saws that last.
The dust collector is a must because these saws create a lot of debris, which contains harmful pollutants. MDF is especially dangerous if inhaled.
Track length differs with each brand, but try and buy a saw with a track you can extend. Just make sure the additional track is compatible with your guard rail.
Get a track saw with the best quality blade. If you have to replace the blade, choose a model that has an easy blade removal system. You don’t want to take longer than necessary to swap out the blades.
The Best Track Saws of 2022
Not all track saws are created equal, which is why doing the research to find the pick of the bunch was crucial. We assigned a winner in each category to make it easier to see the strength of each choice.
1. Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Saw
Best Track Saw for Woodworking
Makita is a trusted brand in the power tool world and rightly features at the top of our review. This model has electronic speed control that maintains speed under load. This means it keeps the accuracy without losing any power.
It has a powerful 12 amp motor and is capable of delivering between 2,000 and 5,200 RPM. It also has a variable speed dial, so you can manually adjust the speed to cater to each type of material.
Large Cutting Capacity
This saw cuts 2-3/16 inches at 90 degrees and 1-9/16 inches at 45 degrees. It means that it has a larger cutting capacity.
This Makita has a built-in torque control limiter to avoid burnout. It preserves the life of the motor, saving it from malfunction and repair.
Electronic Speed Control
This feature maintains the speed when the tool encounters tougher material and provides constant speed and accuracy.
Build Quality Issues
The track on this set is prone to warping, and some reviews have suggested that the materials used in constructing the saw are on the cheap side.
2. Festool 575387 Plunge Cut Track Saw
Best Premium Track Saw
The Festool Plunge Cut track saw is a DIY king’s dream. It provides straight and splinter-free cuts thanks to the guide rails and the spring-loaded riving knife.
With this track saw, you can enjoy efficient and precise usability with zero-tearout cuts. It’s also a very versatile product with nine different blade types.
Overall, this is a premium choice that customers absolutely love.
Guide Rail Precision
No faffing around with this track saw. Each time you use it, you’ll get a perfect cut that’s laser-straight and splinter-free. The micro-adjustable depth controls allow you to get a super precise cut using the two cursor lines.
Zero Tearout Cutting
You can say goodbye to material waste with this track saw. The guide rail Splinterguard has an integrated guard to ensure zero tearout cuts and less material waste.
Spring-Loaded Riving Knife
This handy feature ensures the kerf remains open and keeps the material far from the rear end of the blade. This minimizes kickback so that you have a safe and efficient experience, keeping you in control.
This is one of the more expensive options on the market. Keep in mind you’ll be spending a bit extra on this option. While it’s a premium choice, some cheaper options do almost just as good a job. So if you’re on a budget, this may not be for you.
|Blade size||Not specified|
3. Bosch ProFactor Track Saw Kit
Best Cordless Track Saw
Bosch is a top name in the power tool industry, and this cordless track saw kit had to make it onto our list. Enjoy the freedom of a cordless product. It uses an 8.0 Ah Profactor performance battery that lasts 30 percent longer on the eco mode.
This cordless design lets you transport the saw kit wherever you’re going for work without worrying about a nearby power supply. If you’re worried about power, don’t be. This delivers corded-level power in a corded design.
Plunge Mechanism for Precise Cuts
Customers love the plunge mechanism on this track saw kit. The plunge feature gives you super precise cuts with an accurate depth of each cut. The front and back marker shows you where the saw plunges into the material on either side of the base plate.
Powerful Brushless Motor
Like we said, don’t worry about the power. The Biturbo brushless technology provides high power using a drive-train system. This takes advantage of every bit of the 8.0 Ah power. You can even buy a separate 12.0 Ah battery if you need the extra force.
Integrated Vac Adaptor
This comes with its own vac adapter that rotates 360 degrees. It moves well with the attached vacuum hose, ensuring that it works precisely for dust bag attachments.
Some Handy Elements Sold Separately
If you want to utilize the single bevel pivot point, you will need to buy a track separately. If you want more power, you will need to buy a more powerful battery separately. This can be a bit frustrating, especially considering the product’s high price.
|Guide rail||Sold separately|
4. DeWALT DWS520K Track Saw Kit
Best Track Saw for the Money
Once more, we feature a DeWALT track saw. We felt this was the best overall value for money. That doesn’t mean it is the cheapest, just the best overall price package.
It has a maximum cutting depth of 2-⅛ inches and weighs just 11.5 pounds. It has a 6-½ inch blade and a zero load speed of 4,000 RPM. It is excellent for plunge cuts, trimming, gang cutting, and lots more.
DeWALT is a quality brand, and this saw is no exception. There is a downside to this saw. The track has to be purchased separately, but you can buy the Powertec 55” Track for a fraction of the cost of other branded tracks. That’s why this saw is still the best value for money.
It is a versatile saw, making bevel cuts, trim cuts, gang cuts, plunge cuts, and many more. Remove the rail, and you have a powerful circular saw.
This saw is still half the price of the Festool. Add in that for just over $100, you can purchase a universal track system, and you have a nice saw package for the money.
With the continuous anti-kickback control engaged, the saw will only move forwards and reduces the chance of a kickback.
We’ve chosen this as a stand-alone saw that is good value. And if you add in a cheaper universal track, you have a premium track saw kit for not a lot of money. However, if you try and buy the DeWALT dedicated track, you will be spending a lot more.
Build Quality Issues
The lock and blade plunge switch is made of plastic and feels cheap.
|Guide rail||Sold separately|
5. DeWALT FlexVolt Cordless TrackSaw Kit
Best Track Saw for Beginners
If you’re new to the world of track saws, this might be a good place to start. Customers specifically love how easy it is to use. But it’s also very accurate.
This is a zero clearance track saw which is designed to give you super accurate and precise cuts.
Another great feature is that this is cordless, so you don’t need to worry about an extra wire getting in the way of your work.
Dual Edged Tracks
The handy dual edged tracks mean that you can get super accurate and straight cuts in both directions.
This unit comes with a continuous Anti-Kickback mechanism. This prevents kickback when you’re using the product to ensure that everything remains steady and secure.
Straight Plunge Feature
Customers love the straight plunge feature which provides the best and smoothest cut. It also reduces dust from getting everywhere. In fact, this has a low profile guard to reduce dust extraction by 90 percent anyway.
Track Not Included
Bummer! The track isn’t included. You must purchase this separately. Quite inconvenient if you’re looking for the whole kit. We recommend it as the saw works much better with the track.
|Guide rail||Sold separately|
6. WEN CT1065 10-Amp Plunge Cut Track Saw
Best Budget Track Saw
We did a double-take when we saw the price of this saw. It had to feature as our budget option. It has a maximum cutting depth of 2-⅓ inches, so it is ideal for cutting large sheet material. The blade supplied with the saw is a 24-tooth carbide-tipped variety, and it has a 20 mm arbor.
This saw is ideal for plunge cuts and ripping, and when you purchase the track, you can make 100-inch cuts with ease.
For a budget choice, this is a great track saw, as long as you remember that you get what you pay for.
First and foremost, it made the list because of the price. We are not suggesting this is the best you can get, but it probably is for the budget.
It is equipped with a 10 amp motor capable of delivering a maximum no-load speed of 5,500 RPM.
Something has to give for the price, and that usually means inferior quality materials. There is a lot of plastic in this saw, so it may not be as robust as the others on the list.
Okay, this isn’t a significant minus point given the saw price, but it is still a pain that you have to purchase the track separately.
|Guide rail||Sold separately|
7. Triton TTS1400 Plunge Track Saw
Best Track Saw for Dust Collection
This track saw packs a punch. It has a powerful 1,400-watt motor that generates 5,300 RPM. It has a fast blade change facility, and soft-grip handles for increased comfort and control. There is a plunge lock, variable speed control, and soft-start mode.
What sets this saw apart is the universal dust adaptor. It removes dust better than most of its rivals, making your workspace a safer environment.
The track is sold separately, so factor that into the budget, and it is a quiet track saw as far as saws can be. This generates 95 dB, which is the equivalent of a motorcycle engine running. When you compare that to the 107 dB of some of the models featured, you get what we mean.
The 1,400-watt motor generates 5,300 RPM. It means that it is capable of ripping through all wood-types.
Quick Blade Change
Why spend hours trying to change the blade, when in a few minutes the job is done. It comes with a free plunge, scribe, and blade change mode.
Dust extraction is the reason this track saw has featured on the list. It has a universal adaptor that removes almost all the debris.
It seems odd that so many track saws get sold without the track. Surely you need a track to call them track saws. This Triton is no exception. The track needs to be purchased separately.
Build Quality Issues
Some people have reported that the saw is packaged poorly, leading to damage in transit. Others have said that the angle guide settings are inaccurate, leading to poor quality outcomes.
|Guide rail||Sold separately|
|Product||Best||Weight||RPM||Blade size||Cord/Cordless||Guide rail||Warranty|
|Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Saw||Woodworking||28 lbs||5,200||6-½”||Corded||55”||1-year|
|Festool 575387 Plunge Cut||Premium Saw||7.69 lbs||N/A||N/A||Corded||55”||3-year|
|Bosch ProFactor Track Saw Kit||Cordless Saw||12 lbs||5,500||5-½”||Cordless||Separate||1-year|
|DeWALT DWS520K Track Saw Kit||For the Money||18.25 lbs||4,000||6-½”||Corded||Separate||3-year limited|
|DeWALT FlexVolt Cordless||Beginners||12.5 lbs||4,000||6-½”||Cordless||Separate||3-year limited|
|WEN CT1065 10-Amp Plunge Cut||Budget Pick||13.58 lbs||5,500||6-½”||Corded||Separate||2-years|
|Triton TTS1400 Plunge Track Saw||Dust Collection||6.5 lbs||5,300||6-½”||Corded||Separate||1-year limited|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Track Saw Better Than a Table Saw?
It depends what you are using it for. A table saw is great if you have space, and you want to make faster bulk cuts. So, imagine that you are cutting the frame for an extension, and have a pile of lumber to cut, a table saw will deal with this efficiently.
Track saws have their limitations because they don’t handle smaller pieces of wood as well as table saws. And track saws aren’t effective at cutting thicker workpieces.
But a table saw has limits on capacity and area. A track saw has no limitations. You can cut sheet material in any space and any angle. They are quick to set up and swift in their execution. Plus, there is no limit on the size of material a track saw can cut.
How Deep Can a Track Saw Cut?
Track saws have a maximum cutting depth of about two inches, so they aren’t suited to cutting thicker materials. This makes them better for cutting sheet material.
Track Saws vs. Circular Saws. What’s the Difference?
Track saws and circular saws look the same, but there are subtle differences. A track saw has an enclosed blade, which makes dust collection a lot easier. A track saw operates along a track that controls the accuracy and line of the cut.
Track saws are also better for making fine cuts that require minimal sanding. This means they are suited to fine detail work like trimming large sheet material. Track saws are limited to cutting large sheets of wood, so they are not usable when chopping small bits of wood.
Circular saws have an exposed blade, so they are a lot messier to operate. However, they are more versatile in that they can cut different workpieces, including small ones. They are also not limited to a track, so they are better for free-hand cutting.
Circular saws are lighter and more agile but do not cope with long straight lines because you need Herculean concentration levels to keep the cut accurate. Plus, the quality of the cut is less refined, meaning it requires rework.
How to Use a Track Saw
1. Select the Wood
Track saws are capable of cutting hard and softwood, as well as plyboard and MDF.
2. Select Your Blade
The type of material determines the blade you use. In this instance, for general wood cutting, a blade with 14 teeth will suffice. If you were cutting melamine or plywood, which tends to splinter easily, switch to a 48-tooth blade.
3. Set the Cutting Depth
Set the depth of the cut by adjusting your blade. Track saws don’t cut anything over two inches, so if you want to avoid kickback, try and stick to the thinnest sheet material and allow the blade to penetrate through the wood.
4. Set the Track
For anyone who had a model railway as a kid, this is almost as satisfying as laying a train track. The track comes in several parts and needs to be slotted together to reach the desired length. Place the track on your workpiece and line it up where you want the cut to go.
5. Place Your Saw on the Track
Slide your saw on to the guard rail and line it up to the edge of the sheet wood. Now you’re ready to start cutting.
6. Power Up
You will need to release the plunge switch and the power trigger at the same time. This drops the blade from the housing and starts it turning. Slide the saw towards the stock, taking care to let the blade work up to maximum speed as it makes the first incision.
7. Power Down
Allow the saw to progress along the rail, as you work towards the end of the cut. Apply steady, but gentle pressure and never force the saw to move faster than it should because this will affect the quality of the cut. When you reach the end, release the power trigger and allow the saw to come to a halt.
Let’s Get Back on Track
Track saws are worth every penny. They are versatile, lightweight, easy to transport, and above all, give you extended cutting options a table saw can’t deliver.
They are a woodworker’s best friend and an essential tool in their arsenal.