Are you in a hurry and simply want to know what is the best track saw right now? Makita SP6000J1 is your #1 option. Keep on reading to find out why.
Accuracy is critical in woodworking. It was surprising to learn how difficult it can be to create straight cuts in the shop, even when I used tools like a circular saw that are designed to make them. Fortunately, I discovered the track saw.
This power tool may resemble a circular saw in many ways, but the added guide allows you to make very precise cuts without having to worry about drift as you move the saw. Another consideration is plunge cuts, a feature that provides this design with another name: Plunge cut saw.
The fact is, these products will improve your accuracy as well as speed up your workflow. Let’s take a closer look at these tools and follow that up with a closer look at eight of the best track saw models out there at the moment.
The best track saws compared:
All You Need To Know About Track Saws
What’s a track saw and do you need one?
To begin with, you might be asking, “What is a track saw?” I had never seen one myself, including in my grandfather’s well-stocked shop. Track saws, also known as plunge saws or rail saws, were something that I first came across when watching a home-improvement show.
These power tools resemble a circular saw in many ways. They use a spinning blade to cut through the material you are working on. It can be held with one or two hands and is designed to make straight cuts.
Two design elements stand out with track saws, however.
For one thing, these saws house the blade inside of the saw body. That allows you to place it anywhere on your project before activating it for a plunge cut. You can make these difficult cuts far more easily with a track saw.
Secondly, this saw is designed to be used with a saw guide. A saw guide will let you make straight cuts without having to worry about drifting off of your cut-line. You will save material and time when using this feature.
Are there drawbacks to track saw design?
One drawback of these types of power tools is the material thickness it is capable of cutting. You will probably not cut material thicker than two-inches with most track saw models. These saws are not as effective with thin materials as well, so you might avoid using a track saw on materials that are 1/8-inch thick or thinner.
It uses clamping mechanisms or anti-slip surfaces to hold the guide in place. These can move and cause the guide to be out of alignment if you are not careful. You will also need room for the guide so it might not be the best tool in tight spaces.
Finally, keep in mind that a track saw is designed for long straight cuts. That makes it a fantastic tool for cutting panels. It may prove less convenient when making quick crosscuts on framing timbers or shorter rip cuts where drift will not be a concern.
Who would benefit from having a track saw?
While anyone can benefit from the features of a good track saw, those new to construction, DIY projects, or general woodworking will appreciate this power tool the most.
If you are looking for precise cuts on sheets for carpentry projects or furniture, this tool will help. Those looking to learn and master plunge cuts will also appreciate this product.
Track Saws vs Other Power Saws
Track saw vs circular saw
A track saw offers advantages that include:
- Easier set up – You can just align and cut after marking your project;
- Cleaner cuts – The edges of your projects will have less chipping;
- Straighter cuts – You won’t have drift when using the guide.
A circular saw would probably stand out with:
- Tight spaces – You will need room for the guide on a track saw;
- Uneven surfaces – The guide will struggle to sit flat with unsupported sheets or rough surfaces;
- Small cuts – You will find that the best circular saws are faster and plenty accurate for crosscuts and short rip cuts where drift won’t be an issue.
Track saw vs table saw
Advantages for track saws here include:
- Portability – You can take a track saw to the work;
- Easier to cut sheets – The saw fits on the material, not the material on the saw;
- Cuts on material that cannot move – This includes wall components or heavy objects.
Table saws can perform some tasks better:
- Repeatability – A table saw fence will allow you to make repeatable cuts quickly;
- Milling cuts – Dado and Rabbet cuts can be done on a table saw and not on a track saw.
Read more about table saw vs track saw.
Consider This When Buying A Track Saw
- Depth settings – Look for product features that allow you to make fine adjustments for super-accurate depths. Also, keep in mind the locking mechanism and get a saw with a solid design.
- Motor – Look for at least nine amps of power here. Remember, the more power, the faster the saw will cut and the less it will bog down
- Speed (RPM) – Higher numbers here also indicate more power. RPMs are sometimes listed as no-load. Variable speeds give a track saw more versatility as well.
- Safety features – Electric brakes will stop a blade quickly. Riving knives help to prevent kickback. Safety buttons and even dust collection can make for safer operations.
- Track length – Guides come in a variety of lengths, and some products can include guide extensions. Shop for a range that will cover most of your foreseeable project sizes.
- Bevel cuts – A bevel adjustment will allow you to place the blade at an angle when making your cut.
Best Track Saw Reviews
- Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
- Powerful 12.0 AMP motor for optimum performance in a wide variety of materials
- Precision accurate cutting delivers a splinter free mirror finish
This list starts with a track saw that employs a 12 amp motor. That type of power will get you through most wood that you are working with as well as other materials.
That motor can generate RPMs ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 as well. It is another factor to consider, especially since you can adjust the speed to meet the demands you are placing on the blade as it cuts.
- It has a bevel capacity that reaches 48-degrees. That would put it past the typical 45-degree angle that many bevel adjustments stop at;
- You will be able to get within 11/16 of an inch from the wall with the blade. That provides you with a fairly close contact point for flooring and such;
- A torque limiter is built into the design, providing extra protection against the motor wearing out with consistent use.
- The power cord on this unit is just a bit under eight feet. That may seem like I am nitpicking, but I would expect at least eight feet of cord at minimum for the prices we pay on these power tools;
- It comes with only a one-year limited warranty. Makita makes quality tools so I am not sure why they don’t offer two years at the minimum.
- Zero clearance track saw cutting system delivers precise, straight, splinter-free cuts
- For use with track saw dual-edged tracks for perfectly straight cuts in both directions
- 12A, 1300W motor effortlessly powers through hard woods up to 2-1/8-inch thick.
One thing that DeWALT is known for is the quality of the products that it offers. This track saw kit is no exception with a housing made from quality metals as well as impact-resistant plastics that can take abuse in professional settings. You might find this important, especially if you will be using this as a professional on the job.
- As always, this product comes with the manufacturer’s industry-leading three-year limited warranty. This helps to inspire confidence for consumers as it shows DeWALT’s confidence in its power tools.
- This track system offers zero clearance cutting. With little to no gap present, your cuts are provided with extra protection against splintering as the blade moves up through the cut;
- DeWALT designed the blade guard to provide a lower profile. That could allow you to reach into places other plunge-cut saws would find impossible;
- One knock many, including myself, have with the manufacturer is the higher price range their power tools are offered at. While you pay for quality, it seems that often we also pay for the color of the tool and the name slapped on the side;
- It comes with two tracks. This is a nice addition for more versatility, but it is also overkill that is unnecessary in either professional or hobby settings.
- When used with Festool guide rails, you can achieve perfectly straight and splinter-free cuts.
- Spring-loaded riving knife (splitter) keeps the cut kerf open so that the material does not pinch the blade.
- This reduces the chance of kickback.
Festool produces many different plunge-cut saws and this model represents one of the easiest to handle. That is great news, especially if you are new to using these types of power tools, as easy controls and added safety features provide users with confidence as they work.
- The top range of the RPMs generated can reach 3,550. That is plenty of rotation for the blade to cut through your project;
- It includes a spring-loaded riving knife. That design will help to keep the cut kerf open as you move the saw, something that will help to reduce potential kickbacks caused by the blade binding on a kerf that is closing behind it;
- Festool uses a fast fix design on this product. That will make blade changes quicker and safer in your shop by locking the arbor and switch while you work.
- One knock I have with this track saw is the lower end of the variable speeds that it offers. 1,350 RPMs will rarely be used on projects, so I am not sure why it was added to the design;
- While the dust port is conveniently located at the top of the body, the attachment point includes a rotating tip. This may offer a gap for air to escape from during use.
- The most expensive item on this list.
- Ditch the table saw: rip boards up to 2-1/3 inches thick with clean, splinter-free cuts
- Create 45-degree bevel cuts in boards up to 1-5/8 inches thick
- Perfect for ripping boards or for performing internal plunge cuts
Designed with the DIY homeowner or casual woodworker in mind, this affordable track saw provides speeds designed to make blades work efficiently. A top RPM range of 5,500 can be reached under no load, helping to make up for a lower level of amps the motor generates.
- The price point on this system is low. That is due to the fact that WEN has designed this product for entry-level work, something a beginner will appreciate;
- A 6 5/8 inch base provides plenty of support on the material being cut. That extra stability will help users maintain proper contact as the saw moves with or without a track.
- The manufacturer has designed the base of the saw with groves that allow it to run smoothly on a saw track. This will aid with clean cuts and keep projects ends from splintering;
- 10 amps of power is within range of most plunge-cut saws. With that being said, this lower rating takes away from the top end RPMs this saw can create;
- Its levers and knobs are made with a lower grade plastic. My concern here is that these will strip and break with use and will need to be replaced often.
SHOP FOX W1835
- 120-Volt, 9A, 1.1 kW, 5500 RPM
- Blade rim speed is 9070 feet per minute
- Blade size is 160mm diameter and 20mm arbor
If you are looking to purchase just the track saw itself, SHOP FOX offers this model with you in mind. A lower price point may allow you to purchase a plunge cut saw without requiring an expensive bill. An entry-level price does not mean that you cannot get track saw performance out of this unit, however.
- The dust port adaptor is located on the handle. That should keep it out of the way as you cut while still providing plenty of suction power for grabbing sawdust;
- This product weighs roughly 11-pounds. That is a lower weight than many other saws of this type and can allow you to operate for longer periods without fatigue;
- You will be able to hold and operate the track saw with a natural hand position thanks to the ergonomic design. This can become an important design feature if you make a lot of cuts with your power tool.
- While I can appreciate the lower price point, a lack of saw guide in this purchase is negative overall. This is especially true if you do not own a saw guide, to begin with;
- The lower price point does come at the cost of lower grade materials being used in parts of the saw build. That could become an issue, especially if you find yourself using the track saw a lot.
- When used with Festool guide rails, you can achieve perfectly straight and splinter-free cuts.
- Spring-loaded riving knife (splitter) keeps the cut kerf open so that the material does not pinch the blade.
- This reduces the chance of kickback. Antistatic function
This is the second model from Festool on the review list, and this product stands out due to the power that it provides. It will generate no-load speeds ranging from 2,000 to 5,200 RPMs from the 1,200-watt electric motor.
- The base on plunge-cut saw provides groves that allow it to sit securely in the saw guide. This will help to improve the accuracy of cuts using this product;
- A wide bevel range of -1 to 47-degrees is greater than most products can match. This increases the versatility of the cut it can make without sacrificing operation;
- A micro-adjustment knob provides users with the ability to make very small adjustments to depth. This can be crucial, especially in shops making fine furniture or specialty jigs.
- The adaptor used on the dust collection port has a tendency to force the hose upwards. This may keep it off the project surface, but it will also place the hose in your way as you cut;
- Festool offers a wide variety of accessories for this model. Sadly, these proprietary components come at a high price point that may limit some user’s experience.
- Requires either the TTSTP track and/or the TTST1500 track for Saw operation. Tracks sold separately.
- Easily accessible shaft lock for fast blade-change
- Soft-grip handles for comfort & control and a Plunge lock for safety
This product is all about power. 1,400 watts power consumption will generate 12 amps of power from the electric motor. Add to this a variable speed that ranges from 2,000 to 5,300 RPMs and you have one of the more powerful track-saw models I review on this list.
- It has a well-built design. That will allow it to run efficiently for longer periods as well as allow it to take a beating in heavy-use settings found in commercial manufacturing or construction;
- A bevel adjustment that offers 48-degrees maximum angle represents plenty of adjustment for a woodworking project. The controls used to make those adjustments are easy to use and lock in place;
- An opening on the blade guard provides you with easy access to the blade. Blade changes can be made quickly, which saves time on the job.
- This product does not come with any accessories. That is not unique on this review list, but it has a larger price tag than other models that are sold as a stand-alone saw;
- I feel that this model is ideal for the tradesman who will be using it on the job site. However, those starting out with woodworking can probably get away with a little less power and include a saw guide with their purchase.
Evolution Power Tools R185CCSX
- Designed to cut a wide range of materials without changing blades
- Powerful 15 amp, hi-torque motor accurately cuts with an adjustable 2 - 1/2 inch depth
- Includes 40 inch track, ergonomic soft grip handles, dust extraction port & adaptor, and premium 7-1/4 inch blade
This product represents a more traditional circular saw and makes this list due to the track saw components included with its purchase. It will allow you to perform clean cuts with the saw guide system, but you will struggle with the blade guard a bit when attempting plunge-cuts.
- A sectional track allows you to build to the length that you need. This can be an advantage where the guide is needed but a full-length track would not fit;
- It comes with a three-year limited warranty. This is similar to that offered by DeWALT, but the lower price point on this model allows the warranty to stand out.
- A 7.25-inch blade allows you to reach a cut depth of 2.5-inches when making 90-degree cuts. This represents a deeper cut than some of the 6.5-inch blades reviewed here can reach;
- It has a plastic blade guard lever used to lock it in place. This may come loose so you will want to check it regularly;
- This product includes a 40-inch saw guide track. The potential issue is that it comes in sections and that may generate less precise cuts.
DeWalt DCS520T1 6.5-Inch Cordless Track Saw
- Zero clearance TrackSaw(TM) cutting system delivers straight, splinter-free, precise cuts
- For use with TrackSaw(TM) dual edged tracks for perfectly straight cuts
- Continuous Anti-Kickback mechanism and riving knife prevent kickback when engaged
This offering from DEWALT includes a complete cordless saw kit. Your purchase includes the saw, a battery pack, and a charger. The guide rail must be bought separately, though.
With a 6-1/2-inch blade design, this track saw will cut 1 5/8 inch at 45-degrees and 2 1/8 inch deep at 90-degrees. This capacity should typically be enough to cut 2×4 framing lumber with a single pass.
What I specifically like on this track saw model is DEWALT’s trademark Zero Clearance TrackSaw cutting design which allows for splinter-free straight cuts. This is a nice feature since most cuts require cleanup afterward. The precision of this track saw compares to that on a table saw.
The dust collection system on this one was designed by DEWALT to work at angles up to 90-degrees. You may find that this track saw is easier to control due to its lower profile. However, this can also be a drawback if the hose drags along the guide rail or the angle generates more clogging at the elbow.
- This one offers slightly deeper cuts than the Makita SP6000J1. You can match the RPMs with the blade, materials, and cut depth.
- This model uses the DEWALT MAX 60V battery platform. This system provides with adequate maximum power for long periods of time.
- The battery design increases versatility. You will find this useful working in tight spaces and construction sites.
- The guide rails must be purchased separately for this track saw. This will add to your expenses.
- The shop vac hose can drag behind along the rail during a cut since it is angled down.
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 standalone circular saw guide from Kreg is a great choice for those of you who already have a circular saw. This guide rail system will allow you to transform your circular saw into a track saw.
This product from Kreg is reasonably priced. It will allow you to make cuts up to 100-inches in length.
The strip on this circular saw guide is designed in a way that supports the edges of the cut and reduces tear-out. This will help you achieve smoother cuts with your circular saw
If you ready have a circular saw, this rip-cut will help you save money because you won’t have to buy any of the aforementioned track saws, some of which are quite expensive
- The way how this guide rail system is designed helps reduce chipping. This will allow you to achieve smoother cuts.
- Anti-slip strips are used along the bottom of the guide. This eliminates the need for clamps to hold the guide on top of the surface of your project.
- This circular saw guide rail system can be used with both right and left-handed circular saws.
- This offering only includes the guide rail system. Your purchase will not include a saw.
- This saw guide system comes in two pieces that must be connected together. This type of design may create cut inconsistencies at the point where the tracks connect.
The Best Track Saw To Take The Plunge With
Each model reviewed above will provide you with features you can use in a variety of scenarios. With that being said, I feel that the Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Circular Saw Kit represents the best track saw we have looked at.
To begin with, this model provides 12 amps of power with a decent RPMs range. That will allow you to cut through most wood projects a beginning or intermediate woodworker will be creating. Being able to get 11/16-inches away from a wall also makes this a nice choice for a lot of DIY projects such as flooring.
It may only come with a one-year limited warranty, but it also has design features that include a torque limiter that should reduce motor wear. It comes at a medium-price point that puts it within range of all but those who are on a very limited budget, making it an option for most readers.