Recently, Madison and I were cutting out the lumber for our super awesome built-in bookcase, and I taught Madison how to use my Festool track saw. I bought my track saw a little while ago and have been loving it ever since. There are quite a few companies that make track saws. While I was doing my research, I realized that many of you may not know what to look for when buying a track saw, so I decided to make a short guide to help you through the process. Of course, everyone will have different preferences when it comes to which saw is right for your purposes, but hopefully I can help you narrow down what you’re looking for.
5 Things to Watch for When Purchasing a Track Saw
- Ease of Use
1. Ease of Use
One of the most important things to look for (if not the most important thing) is the track saw’s ease of use. How easily does it glide down the track? How much power does it hold, and how does that affect it’s gliding down the track. Are there any safety features?
Make sure when you are holding the track saw, it feels like you have a comfortable yet secure grip. In addition, how easy it to assemble/disassemble? What about battery life and storage? There are both corded and cordless track saws. Will batteries provide enough power to do what a corded saw would do?
The ability to cut different depths and angles is incredibly important for a track saw. See how many options the ones you are looking at have, and if they are the right options for what you are going to be using the track saw for. In addition, how many tracks do they offer? What lengths are they, and how expensive are they? Are they easy to get around to different areas?
Personally, I like to keep my workshop as clean as possible. Even though I have more space than the average DIY-er, I still have times where there are freshly painted items drying, and I don’t want a bunch of sawdust flying around. One of the most important features of a track saw in my opinion, is it’s ability to capture and prevent sawdust from getting all over your shop when you are cutting.
Unfortunately, we often have to balance price with value when looking at tools. Sometimes the cheaper option seems like the best choice, even though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the fancier options. However, keep in mind that a most of the time, you are paying for quality as well as those extra nice features with that higher price tag. Even though one brand may be cheaper right now, in the long run, you may end up spending much more because your track saw breaks or doesn’t function well enough for you continue to use as your skills increase. Sometimes, splurging on a better brand may be the best option for you long-term.
When looking at prices, keep in mind what all comes with the track saw. Sometimes there are bundled deals to help get you started, with multiple tracks or extra tools. If you are just starting your tool collection, sometimes these bundles can be very helpful to help get you off your feet!
The Best Track Saw for Your Buck in 2021
I did a lot of research, but in the end I decided to buy the Festool track saw. I am so glad I did, as it has become one of my most used tools! It saves me a ton of time, collects dust as I cut and gives me really clean cuts. Now that you know what you should look for when buying a track saw, let me share with you why I decided the Festool track saw was the best option for me.
Festool Track Saw Review 2021
The price tag is not for the faint of heart– but it’s definitely an investment I’m glad I made. When you build as many built-ins and as much cabinetry as I do, investing in good tools that allow you to do precise work on the job-site is a huge time saver. I can create beautiful cabinetry with more rudimentary tools but it takes a lot longer. So at some point you have to weigh time and money on the scale and see if the time saved would justify the cost.
Three things I LOVE about my Festool track saw:
- It cuts exactly on the cut line. So, if I want a 42″ board, I mark both sides of my plywood at 42″, lay my track down, put my saw on the track and cut!
- The track has a grippy underside so it stays put without the need of clamps.
- It has a rubber piece on the edge that kisses the blade which holds the wood down, preventing tear out.
- It also has a guide on the opposite side of the blade that prevents tear out on the outside of the cut so both pieces of wood come away from the cut clean.
Depth of cut is super easy to control with this green slide button thing. Festool is a German company so everything is metric — which is difficult for me as my brain doesn’t speak Metric! But I deal…
I can rip beveled cuts too by setting the angle. (photo to the right)
The CT 26 dust collection is amazing. It doesn’t collect everything but my work station is so much cleaner than with a regular circular saw and I don’t have the fine dust all up in my face and all over the place.
I have two tracks so I can cut full sheets of lumber or anything smaller. I can put stops on the track, to control my cut. I can also use a router or jigsaw with these same tracks.
As with any power tool, safety is key.
This is a plunge saw so the blade is completely recessed up in the saw assembly until I plunge it into the wood. I don’t let Madison use my table saw yet but I feel completely comfortable letting her power the track saw.
She even liked it — a little bit.
No matter what kind of saw you use to cut your lumber, making sure the whole piece of wood is supported is important. If you don’t have a giant work table, you can set up sawhorses, lay a piece of plywood or MDF on that and I used to lay down a piece of Styrofoam insulation and then place my lumber on top of that.
So that’s the skinny on my Festool Track Saw. It was definitely a big CHUNK of money but totally worth the investment — for me.
See my other tool reviews.
I have a TS55 and love it too. Bought it with a CT36. Used the saw to remodel my staircase and put down wood floors. It was well worth the money. My track saw came with an imperial numbering sticker that you stick over the top of the metric one on your saw. Check you manual to see if it is in there. That is where mine was. Found it a week later while reading the manual. If you don’t have it I bet Festool customer service would be happy to send one to you.
I don’t remember seeing a sticker in my manual but I bet I could track one down, now that I know. I wonder if there is a sticker for my miter saw…
I honestly hate table saws and feel in love with track saws because they fit my small house reno needs. Question for you – I want to recreate your plank wall project and was curious why you didn’t use your track saw for cutting your boards? I wanted to use mine and just wondering if there was something I was thinking about that I should consider.
Thanks for your help!
I used my track saw to rip the sheets into manageable pieces, then used the table saw to complete the cuts. The table saw is faster when making multiple cuts of the same width. It’s also easier for making beveled cuts. The track saw can work, especially if you have guides that allow you to make the same width cut, over and over without measuring for each cut. I bought some of those…but haven’t used them yet. You could definitely do it all with the track saw. It would just take longer.
Thanks so much for the quick reply! I guess I’ve got to stop being such a wimp when it comes to table saws (smile) – I’ve got a behemoth of a miter saw that I love and will use all day but I’ve just never been able to get a level of comfort in regards to safety for the table saws that fall in my price range.
Thanks again for the feedback – I appreciate your time and response!
The other really nifty accessory for the track saw is something like the TSO rail guide square. Like everything associated with Festool, the price is up there, but for true 90 degree cuts it is worth it, for me anyway. I have some parallel guides as well that I haven’t used yet. Maybe when I retire…
Thanks Mark. I did purchase one parallel guide or another for my track but I had forgotten about it until reading your comment. I must have packed it away somewhere. I’m gonna have to go look for that. now. 🙂