You wouldnt think that a tool that was introduced so long ago by Festool, yet remained ignored by other power tool developers for so long. But that's what occurred. But it happened, the competition woke up, and the Festool TS55 sharing market share with DeWalts DWS520, Makitas SP6000K, and EurekaZones EZSmartGuide (for use with any brand circular saw).
How Much do Track Saws Cost?
The EurekaZone goes from $160 - $472, depending on how many track sections you want. The Makita will set you back between $380 and up, DeWalt is in the $500 ballpark, Festool in on the high end around $562.
Carpenters and woodworkers are debating whether the outlay of cash for these saws (also called plunge saws) is justified. And no wonder since the price seems a bit steep. But since these are contractor-grade tools, you get what you pay for.
So Lets Look at the DeWalt
This is the one Im reviewing since I own it. I havent used the other ones. The DeWalt marketers state, table saw precision, panel saw capacity, hand saw portability. Here the features I like:
It will cut parallel to the floor (as in cutting doors), Im told the Festool wont.
Anti-kickback. Any carpenter whos ever wielded a Skil saw understands the frustration possible waste of material when the blade binds in the lumber and the saw kicks like a mule with an attitude. The DWS520 has a feature that eliminates the resulting travel-back.
Blade depth setting. This saw takes the track into consideration when you set the depth and Festool doesnt; yes, it is a little detail, but a handy one.
The DeWalt is compatible with the Festool rail or track but the opposite is not true.
Bevel-Cutting Made Easy
I use a router table for cutting fancy corners but when I just need a simple bevel, the track saw is fast and avoids wood-burns that sometimes happen with dense wood and a hot router bit.
It Comes in a Cordless Flavor as Well
A cordless version is available for those job sites that arent hot yet. Expect to pay more for it because of expensive batteries and the fact that a battery charger must be included in the package.
In the final analysis, this is a great saw to have in the shop. For building contractors, it sometimes avoids the chore of taking material back to the shop from the work site for alteration. And for garage woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts, it will take the place of multiple power tools and make the most of available shop space.