Do you just want to know what is the best circular saw guide rail you can buy right now? Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Guide is your best choice.
Making a straight cut is not as easy as it first appears. This is the case, even with products that are made to cut straight like a circular saw. This is where the best circular saw track system will aid you.
What follows is a closer look at what makes the best circular saw guide rail as well as six products that could keep you cutting straight for years to come.
Choosing the Best Circular Saw Guide
The most obvious feature at first glance is the length of the guide itself. Some products come as one piece while others will come in sections. Most manufacturers design their products so that you can add additional components if necessary.
One thing to keep in mind with the overall length will be where you use the guide. If you work in an open area where size is not an issue, buy a longer guide to cover making rip cuts in panels or other materials eight feet in length or more.
Conversely, if you have a limited space you will be working in, it will be necessary to scale down to a size that you can comfortably use in your work area without compromising safety.
You might be surprised how important this can be. A wider track will offer you more stability as you cut. The only time that a wider guide could be a problem is if you find yourself making rips cuts on a stock that is thin.
Remember to look for a width that can hold your circular saw base plate as well. Some products might be too thin (or too thick) to properly accommodate the saw’s base.
Usually, this will be a balance between durability and weight. Stronger materials will stand up to heavy-duty use for long periods of time, but will often weigh more. Lightweight guides are often made from materials that can wear out or become damaged easily.
If you are a casual woodworker, I think you can get away with a lighter design made from less durable materials. Those of you planning on using the guide often or on a job site might consider going with something a bit heavier.
Some products make use of a clamping mechanism to stay in place, while others will use a base designed to offer resistance to movement. Clearance is something to consider, and I would suggest finding a guide that provides zero clearance to help with splintering.
Examine the guide to determine how it keeps the circular saw in place. Some guides can be used on a variety of saws, while other products are intended for specific brands. Finally, look for a circular saw guide that is easy to set up, allowing you to see marks easily for quick alignment.
The 6 Best Circular Saw Guide Rails: The Reviews
Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Guide
- Make rip cuts and crosscuts up to 24" Wide
- Cut multiple pieces to the same size With just one setup
- Use the oversize edge guide for precise control throughout the cut
This product from Kreg is designed to make repeatable rip cuts quickly and efficiently. It would prove ideal for shops making multiple builds of the same item or out in the field where similar cuts are needed throughout the day. It is designed to provide rip cuts up to 24-inches in width, allowing you to work on panels and wider boards without issue.
Bora WTX Clamp Edge And Straight Cut Guide For Circular Saws
- GET IT STRAIGHT – This rigid aluminum guide rail is a must-have accessory for keeping your cutting on track. Its long 100 inch length allows you to saw with precision and skill
- CONTRACTOR’S COMPANION - This tool is made for use with the Bora WTX Saw Plate (sold separately), and can be conveniently paired with your own circular saws, routers, jig saws, and other power tools
- LOCKED IN - The adjustable clamp end slides up and down the saw guide to fit any material being cut, especially sheets of plywood. The locking handle grabs surfaces for a secure edge that won't budge
This particular contractor-grade cutting guide provides 100-inches of straight cutting. It is broken down into a 50-inch piece along with an extension of the same length. You can use a mounting plate to fit almost any circular saw to it and the components are designed to handle professional workloads without fatigue to overall strength.
Kreg KMA3700 ACCU-Cut XL
- Break down panels and plywood easily and quickly with cutting capacity up to 100"
- Splinter-free cuts with tear-out protection from anti-chip guide strips
- Make the cuts you need – anywhere – by taking your saw to the workpiece instead of bringing the workpiece to a fixed saw location
This second entry from Kreg represents a more traditional track guide. It is able to guide a circular saw for up to 100-inches, making it a great choice for woodworkers who work with large panel materials on a regular basis.
True Trac 105TPC Universal Track Saw Guide
- Standard kit includes everything needed to mount virtually any circular saw 6.25" - 8.25" (Specialty plate for 10"+)
- Universal Adapter Plate is machined to precisely fit the double-bevel design of the track
- Anti-Chip Strips prevent tear-out on the top surface of your cut, provide line-of-cut indication, and anti-slip capability
This product from True Trac comes at a very high price point, but its metal design is meant to stand up to heavy use in a busy workshop or out in the field. It makes use of an adaptor plate that is machined to fit onto the guide system and move freely.
Festool FS-1400/2 55″ Guide Rail
- Straight guidance: Easily create straight, splinter-free, glue ready joints when paired with TS Saws, or perfectly guided dados, flutes, or ploughs, with OF Routers.
- System integration: A fully integrated system, use your Festool routers or jigsaw with the guide rail for expanded capability.
- Non-skid, self-clamping strips: Dual clamping strips on the bottom prevent movement during the cutting operation, less setup time and better results.
This system from Festool provides users with 55-inches of straight cuts. It can also be used with a router to make dados, flutes, or even plow cuts.
You will want to make sure that your saw will sit properly on the guide or make sure you have Festool products to take advantage of this system. Multiple lengths can be attached quickly so that you can create a guide of the exact size that you need for your job.
E. Emerson Tool Co. C12
- Straight Edge - E. Emerson’s Contractor Series self-clamping straight edge patented design has integral tubes running the length of the wide body construction, making it ultra rigid and light to...
- No C-clamping - No more C-clamping! Achieve that truly straight cut using this self-clamping straight edge to guide your tools.
- Extra Wide - This self clamping straight edge is extra wide for exceptional rigidity and has a low profile for obstruction-free cuts.
This product does not require separate C-clamps in order to be fastened to your project. The self-clamping mechanisms used are easy to operate and provide enough power to hold it into place while you work. The levers do not sit in the way of your saw as you cut either, and the low profile of the entire guide will allow circular saws to move over it as you cut.
Why buy a Circular Saw Guide?
If you have ever made a long rip cut with your circular saw, you are probably aware of how easy it can be to drift off of the marked cut line. While these saws have advanced over the years, they can still make crooked cuts no matter how many laser pointers or LED lights are attached to the tool.
This is why a saw guide is so crucial, especially for those who have limited experience or are just starting out in woodworking. A guide will hold the saw in place as you make the cut, providing a straight edge to the project you are working on.
Why not just make one?
Those who use circular saws with any regularity know that drifting cuts and frayed edges can become frustrating. One way to combat both is to make a DIY guide that not only directs the saw path but provides zero clearance that will help prevent the wood from splintering as the blade cuts up through the surface.
However, building a DIY circular saw guide rail can be problematic for reasons such as:
- Building a circular saw guide rail may be beyond the skill level of novice woodworkers;
- Homemade saw guides can introduce drift if they are not cut properly, to begin with;
- Wooden jigs, including saw guides, will wear out quickly with use.
Tool manufacturers can create circular saw guides rails that are highly accurate, that are built to last, and offer features that a homemade jig cannot provide.
Why not get a track saw?
While a track saw will provide you with the benefit of a straight cut, as well as easier plunge-cutting capabilities, there are limitations to think about.
First off, the best track saws are more expensive than circular saws. They usually come in the 6.5-inch blade size, which cannot cut as deeply as a standard 7.5-inch circular saw blade. Track saws will also struggle when working on surfaces that are rough or offer a bowed profile.
Simply purchasing the best circular saw track system can save you money and allow you to take full advantage of the features that your circular saw offers you.
The Best Circular Saw Guide Rail
I am confident that among the products reviewed above, you will be able to choose a circular saw guide rail that is suitable for your specific needs. However, I do think that the best circular saw track system we looked at is the Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Guide.
It may not be the most rigid guide on the list, but that will not be an issue as long as you properly support workpieces that you are cutting. While you might need to use extra caution when starting your cut using a straight edge design, you will be able to use this guide on other tools such as your router.
It is a self-clamping system that is easy to align and fasten. Its aluminum construction also makes it lightweight, a feature that will also allow you to handle it with little effort compared to heavy-duty designs.