The 8 Best Track Saws of 2023. Circular saw track system

The 8 Best Track Saws of 2023

Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like and Better Homes Gardens, among others.

Rich Scherr is a seasoned technology and financial journalist who spent nearly two decades as the editor of Potomac and Bay Area Tech Wire. The Baltimore native also covered the technology scene for and has been a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.

A good track saw—often called a plunge saw, thanks to its ability to “plunge” into the material being cut without having to start at an edge—lets you make precise cuts down long pieces of lumbar, including plywood boards. These saws are similar to circular saws, but have a track, or guide, to keep the saw moving in a perfectly straight line.

Ben Kuhl, home remodeler and CEO of Shelf Expression, says, “A track saw is a great tool to have for a few different reasons. It is especially useful for breaking down large sheets of plywood or cutting large wood slabs that don’t have a straight edge to reference against when using a table saw. It’s also great for cutting up large pieces of lumber that won’t fit on a table saw. The saw runs along a guide rail, which ensures that the cuts are straight and uniform, making it ideal for precision cuts that traditional circular saws can’t replicate. Its portability is also a plus, allowing for easy transport to job sites or different work areas.”

We researched and evaluated track saws based on their power, accuracy, features such as variable speed and the ability to cut bevels, the user-friendliness of the tool, and its overall value.

Best Overall

Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Saw With Guide Rail

We love the precise, splinter-free cuts you can achieve with this corded track saw from Makita. It has the standard 6 1/2-inch blade and 12-amp motor, but also has variable speed control that you can set from 2,000 rpm to 5,200 rpm; turn it down slow when cutting through hard woods or crank it up high when slicing through softer materials. Either way, you’ll appreciate the tool’s soft-start function, which eases into the speed setting to make it easier for you to maintain control. Once at the full speed, the saw’s electronic speed control keeps it steady even while cutting through boards. And with magnesium components, this track saw only weighs 9.7 pounds, making it easy to carry with you to a job site when desired.

You can cut bevels with the saw from.1 to 48 degrees, and there are positive stops set at 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees, so it’s very quick to set these common angles. We also appreciate the saw’s bigger-than-average cutting abilities—you can make cuts as shallow as 1/16-inch or as deep as 2 3/16-inch when the saw is at 90 degrees or 1 9/16-inch with the saw at a 45-degree angle. Plus, it can cut as close as 11/16-inch to a wall or other edge, allowing you more versatility when cutting flooring, doors, and other large materials. One potential downside, however, is that the depth-adjustment gauge only shows metric measurements, not imperial, so if you aren’t fluent in metric, you’ll need to do some minor calculations to set the depth.

There’s a swiveling, 1 1/2-inch dust port that can be connected to your shop vac to keep sawdust under control; a welcome feature, as these types of saws can create a lot of dust. A few buyers felt that the 7.9-foot electrical cord was a bit too short—some other brands have cords that are 12 feet long—but that might not be an issue for you, depending on the size of materials you normally cut and the placement of electrical outlets in your workshop. The saw comes with a 55-inch guide rail. If you need longer rails, Makita sells a connector separately that lets you connect multiple rails together. You also get a sturdy plastic carrying case for the saw.

Price at time of publish: 774

Blade Size: 6-1/2 inch | Power: 12 amps | Bevel Degrees:.1 to 48 degrees | Track Size: 55 inches

Best Budget

WEN CT1065 Plunge Cut Sidewinder Circular Track Saw

Track saws can be undeniably expensive. That’s why we like the WEN CT1065. If you are trying to keep your budget under control, and don’t need a saw with the utmost in power or extra features, this is a fine plunge saw that does a great job of making accurate cuts across plyboard and similar materials. The saw has a 10-amp engine and a 6.5-inch blade. It does not have variable speed control; the maximum speed of the tool is 5,500 rpm. Nor does it have a soft-start features. Still, customers for the most part felt that this is a fantastic entry-level saw for those who don’t want to pay for bell-and-whistles they might not need.

The saw can bevel up to 45 degrees and cut to a depth of 1 5/8-inches thick at that angle. When at a 90-degree angle, you can cut materials up to 2 1/3-inch thick; an impressive depth for such an inexpensive saw. A few buyers said the plastic control knobs felt flimsy, but the design of the tool does keep its weight to a reasonable 12 pounds. Its cord is only 6 feet long, which is definitely on the short side, so you’ll want to consider the distance to electrical outlets before getting started on your projects. Note that this saw does not come with any guide rails; those must be purchased separately. However, even when you add the cost of the saw and the additional cost of the rails, it’s still far less expensive than most other track saws on the market, and the majority of buyers are very pleased with its performance.

Price at time of publish: 98

Blade Size: 6-1/2 inch | Power: 10 amps | Bevel Degrees: 0 to 45 degrees | Track Size: Not included

Best Splurge

Festool TS 55 FEQ-F-Plus-FS Plunge Cut Track Saw With Rails

While widely considered to be the top brand when it comes to track saws, Festool’s products are not cheap. However, if you want a plunge saw that delivers the ultimate in precise, splinter-free cuts, is easy to adjust, and comes with a 6 1/4-inch, thin-kerf blade. Kerf refers to the width of the groove cut by a blade, and this beauty from Festool has a mere 1.8-mm kerf. That means not only does the blade create a more precise cut with less sawdust; it also means that the strain on the 10-amp motor is reduced, allowing the saw to cut faster and cleaner. And even when the blade is at an angle, its cutting edge remains in full contact with the material being cut, so your control and your results are unaffected.

The variable speed control of the TS 55 sets from 2,000 rpm to 5,800 rpm. It bevels from minus-1 to 47 degrees, with a maximum depth of 1 11/16-inch when at a 45-degree angle, and up to 2 1/8-inch at a 90-degree angle. The depth of cut adjusts in micro-measurements, so you can be as precise as you need. The design of the rail lets you cut as close as 1/2-inch to a wall or other vertical surfaces. The 9.5-pound saw has a 13-foot power cord, allowing you more freedom to maneuver around your worktable. And it comes with a 55-inch guide rail, a sturdy carrying box, and a dust port that can be connected to your shop vacuum. You can purchase other lengths of guide rail separately.

Price at time of publish: 699

Blade Size: 6-1/4 inch | Power: 10 amps | Bevel Degrees:.1 to 45 degrees | Track Size: 55 inch

Best Cordless

Makita XPS01PTJ 36-Volt Brushless Cordless Track Saw

  • No need for a nearby electrical outlet
  • Variable speed and automatic speed change
  • Wide bevel range
  • Good range of cutting depth

This battery-powered plunge saw from Makita runs off two 18-volt batteries for a total of 36 volts of power, meaning that this is no weakling when it comes to slicing through plywood and other materials. While the manufacturer doesn’t give an expected runtime for the batteries, many buyers specifically mentioned that even after multiple cuts, the battery charge was still at more than 50 percent. When the batteries do finally run down, it only takes around 45 minutes to recharge them. The saw has a 6 1/2-inch blade and variable speeds of 2,500 rpm to 6,300 rpm with a soft-start that lets you ease into cutting. It also has Makita’s Automatic Speed Change Technology, which automatically adjusts the saw’s speed and torque to best suit the performance of the tool. You can even use this plunge saw to cut through aluminum, man-made countertop materials such as Corian, and melamine, but you’ll need to swap out the blade for an optional, material-specific blade to do so.

The track saw can bevel from minus-1 to 48 degrees and has positive stops at 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees. When at a 45-degree angle, its maximum depth of cut is 1 9/16-inch, and at 90 degrees it can cut up to 2 3/16-inch deep. However, some buyers were annoyed by the metric-only measurements on the depth lever. You can cut as close as 11/16-inch to the wall or other vertical surfaces, and you’ll still get highly clean, precise cuts every time. You can make an initial scoring cut of as little as 2mm; that’s precision.

On the downside, this is an expensive saw, considering that it does not come with a guide rail, which you’ll have to purchase separately. Still, if you want a plunge saw that can go anywhere, is powerful and precise, and has great features, it’s worth the extra expense. It comes with two batteries, a charger, and a case.

Price at time of publish: 539

Blade Size: 6-1/2 inch | Power: 36 volts | Bevel Degrees:.1 to 48 degrees | Track Size: Not included

Best Corded

Kreg ACS2000 Adaptive Cutting System Track Saw

Kreg’s ACS2000 is a powerful, 12-amp plunge saw that is designed to make supremely precise cuts without splintering, tearing, or chipping the edges of the material you are cutting. The 6 1/2-inch blade can bevel from minus-1 to 47 degrees, and can cut to a depth of 1 1/2-inch at a 45-degree angle and 2 1/8-inch at a 90-degree angle. The variable speed motor runs from 2,000 rpm to 6,000 rpm and compensates for load so you don’t get annoying bog-down or undesired slowing. It has a riving knife and anti-kickback technology, as well, which minimize the chances of the saw “kicking back” towards you should it get stuck on a wood knot or other obstruction.

The plunge saw comes with a 62-inch guide track, which is longer than most other brands supply with their track saws. Plus, you can purchase separate connectors and additional lengths of guide rail to go even longer, if desired. The guide rails have anti-slip strips on the back that keep them in place without the need for clamps. That makes this saw ideal for cutting very large boards, doors, or pieces of plywood down to size. It also includes a carrying bag for toting the 18-pound saw and track to your worksite, and a dust collection bag, which most brands leave out. While a few buyers did complain that the saw was hard to set up or hard to adjust, most praised its power, precision, and performance.

Price at time of publish: 398

best, track, saws, 2023

Blade Size: 6-1/2 inch | Power: 12 amps | Bevel Degrees:.1 to 47 degrees | Track Size: 62 inch

Best Heavy-Duty

DeWALT DWS520CK Track Saw Kit

Not everyone needs a heavy-duty track saw that can tirelessly slice through even the hardest and largest wood boards, but if you make cabinets or do other professional carpentry, then it can be worth the extra expense to purchase this powerful plunge saw kit. The saw has a 12-amp motor and DeWALT’s Zero clearance TrackSaw cutting system that delivers precise, straight, splinter-free cuts whether you are cutting straight through the material or working on an angle. The 6 1/2-inch blade can bevel 0 to 47 degrees. At 45 degrees, the maximum cutting depth is 1 5/8-inch, while at 90 degrees, you have up to 2 1/8-inch of cutting depth. And its low-profile blade guard makes it easy to use even in confined spaces.

The saw has variable speed control from 1,750 rpm to 4,000 rpm. There’s a riving knife and anti-kickback mechanisms for extra safety, and you can easily connect the large dust port to your shop vacuum. Best of all, this rugged plunge saw comes with not one, but two extra-long guide rails: one 59-inch rail and one 102-inch rail. That makes it easy to cut the longest materials. DeWALT sells an optional connector that even allows you to join the two pieces of track for the longest guide rail possible. The kit comes with a storage box for holding your saw when not in use.

Price at time of publish: 700

Blade Size: 6-1/2 inch | Power: 12 amps | Bevel Degrees: 0 to 47 degrees | Track Size: 59 inch and 102 inch

Best Multi-Material

Evolution R185CCSX Multi-Material Track Saw Kit

Most track saws are designed to only cut wood, and require a change of blades to cut other materials, if that’s even advised by the manufacturer. But not the Evolution R185CCSX: This multi-material track saw can muscle through not only wood—even wood studded with nails—but also composite materials, laminates, plastics, and metals both magnetic and nonmagnetic. All without a change of blade, because the included 7 1/4-inch blade can smoothly and cleanly chew through any of those materials without leaving splinters or rough edges. That makes it a very versatile addition to any DIYers workshop. It bevels from 0 to 45 degrees, and has a 1 13/16-inch cutting depth at 45 degrees and a 2 1/2-inch cutting depth at 90 degrees. However, note that this is more of a circular saw that can run on a track; it is not a pure track saw with plunge ability.

The saw has a powerful 15-amp motor with lots of torque, so it won’t bog down when cutting through metal or other hard materials. However, it does not have variable speeds, but just a maximum speed of 3,700 rpm. It has comfortable easy-grip handles for better control, and you can hook it to your shop vacuum to keep the dust under control. The saw comes with three short pieces of track, along with connectors, for a maximum guide rail length of 40 inches. You can purchase more tracks separately if desired. Considering the reasonable price of this saw, it’s a bargain even after purchasing an extra track.

Price at time of publish: 160

Blade Size: 7-1/4 inch | Power: 15 amps | Bevel Degrees: 0 to 45 degrees | Track Size: 40 inch

Best Complete Kit

Bosch GKT13-225L Track Saw With Tracks and Carry Bag

It’s not inexpensive, but this complete kit from Bosch includes not only an excellent track saw, but also two lengths of 63-inch track, a connector so you can hook them together if desired, and a carrying bag. The plunge saw has a 13-amp motor and 6 1/2-inch blade that makes extremely precise cuts in wood, plywood, and similar sheet goods. The tool’s track guidance system helps keep it exactly on line for the most accurate results possible. You can cut bevels from minus-1 to 47 degrees. The maximum depth of cut at 45 degrees is 1 13/20-inch and 2 1/4-inch at 90 degrees.

The tool is variable speed, with settings ranging from 3,600 rpm to 6,250 rpm. It’s exceptionally easy to use it to plunge into materials, and unlike some other brands, it has both metric and imperial measurements on the depth-control gauge. The swiveling hose port is easy to hook to your shop vacuum to contain dust, and the 12.5-foot power cord gives you plenty of room to maneuver. The saw weighs only 10.4 pounds and comes with a tote box, so it’s easy to take with you to a worksite.

Price at time of publish: 914

Blade Size: 6-1/2 inch | Power: 13 amps | Bevel Degrees:.1 to 47 degrees | Track Size: 63 inch (2 included)

If you want a track saw that’s powerful, extremely accurate, creates splinter-free cuts, has variable speed, cuts materials up to 2 3/16 inches thick, and bevels to 48 degrees, then our top recommendation, the Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Saw, is the pick for you. But if budget is a primary concern, then the WEN CT1065 Track Saw is a great choice, although it does not come with a guide rail, nor does it have variable speed or the kind of power our top choice offers. Still, it’s a good saw for those who only need a track saw occasionally.

What to Look for In a Track Saw

Ben Kuhl, home remodeler and CEO of Shelf Expression, offers some guidance on choosing a track saw, “Putting budget and price aside, as track saws can be quite expensive, there are a few things to consider when purchasing one. First, consider the size and weight of the tool. If you plan to use it for large or heavy materials, a lighter option might be more comfortable to handle. Second, consider the power of the tool and its ability to handle thicker and harder materials. Some models may not be powerful enough for certain types of cuts. Third, consider the length of the track or guide rail. A longer track will allow you to cut larger materials with more precision. Fourth, consider the compatibility of the tool with different guide rail systems, as some may not be compatible with certain guide rails.”

He continues, “Another factor to consider when buying a track saw is the brand and its reputation for quality and reliability. Some brands may have a better reputation than others for producing high-quality tools that last longer and require less maintenance. As the saying goes, ‘cry once, buy once,’ meaning that it’s better to spend more upfront on a high-quality tool that will last, rather than purchasing a lower-quality tool that will need to be replaced sooner.”

Finally, he recommends you think about what you might need along with your track saw, “In addition to the track saw itself, there are a few accessories that can be useful when making precise cuts, like clamps and right angle gauges. Clamps can be used to secure the guide rail to the material being cut, which can help prevent movement and improve accuracy. Right angle gauges can also be helpful for making precise cuts at specific angles.”

Power Source

Like many tools today, there are both corded track saws that plug into an electrical outlet and cordless track saws that run off a battery. Both have their pros and cons. Corded saws generally have more power, but of course tether you to a nearby outlet. Cordless tools can go anywhere, but you’ll need to keep an eye on the battery charge. We recommend the Makita XPS01PTJ 36-Volt Brushless Cordless Track Saw if you prefer a battery-powered saw.

If you mostly use your track saw in your workshop for large projects, a corded tool is your best choice. We especially like the Kreg ACS2000 Adaptive Cutting System for a corded option. But if you like a saw that can travel with you, or you just use it occasionally for quick cuts, then a cordless saw will suit you better.


Corded track saws measure motor power in amps, with a range of 10-amp saws up to beasts with 20-amp motors. Most commonly, though, track saws used by the average DIYer have a 12-amp motor, with up to 15 amps for heavy-duty models. The Evolution R185CCSX Multi-Material Track Saw Kit has a 15-amp motor and can cut through a variety of material types.

Cordless track saws measure power in battery voltage. Most run off 18-volt or 20-volt batteries, although some more powerful tools use two 18-volt batteries for a total of 36 volts. The most powerful of all have 40- to 60-volt batteries, but most DIYers don’t need to spend the extra money for these elite models.


Lower-priced track saws often have just one speed setting, usually around 5,000 rpm. But many higher-priced models offer you a choice of speed settings, or have variable speed control. Typically, these track saws have speeds that range from a low of around 2,000 rpm to a high speed of 5,000 rpm or more. This is a helpful feature if you cut a lot of different types of wood or cut other materials. You can go more slowly when cutting through hard wood and speed up the saw when slicing through softer woods. The Bosch GKT13-225L Track Saw With Tracks and Carry Bag has a top speed of 6,250 rpm.

Track Length

It might be surprising that many track saws do not include the track, but it’s fairly common to have to purchase the track separately. When it comes to track length, 55 inches is common, but there are tracks that are just a couple of feet long and tracks as long as 8 feet. It’s helpful to have a range of track sizes so you can use the one that best suits your project. Many have adapters that let you connect two pieces of track together to extend the length. The DeWALT DWS520CK Track Saw Kit includes both a 59-inch and 102-inch guide rail.

While some brands of track saw can only be used on their own tracks, many have a universal design that lets you use the saw on a variety of different track brands. If purchasing track separately from your saw, be sure the saw can work on the track.

Blade Size

The standard track saw blade is 6.5 inches in diameter. These can generally slice through materials up to 2 inches or so in thickness. Larger 8.5-inch blades can cut through larger materials, of course. There are also smaller track saw blades that are helpful when working with correspondingly smaller thicknesses of wood. Note that you cannot swap out blade sizes on a track saw, though; you can only use the size of blade that the saw was designed for.


Some basic track saws can only make straight, 90-degree cuts. However, most have the ability to cut bevels, which are angled cuts often used to soften the edge of a piece of wood or to create angles that fit together neatly in a finished project. Track saws with adjustable bevels usually let you set an angle up to 45 degrees. The Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Saw With Guide Rail can cut bevels up to 48 degrees.

Plunge saw is another name for a track saw. With these saws, you don’t have to start your cut from an edge of the board; you can “plunge” your saw into the middle of the board to start your cut if necessary, thus giving the tool its alternate name.

  • The blades are more concealed on track saws than on circular saws, making them a little safer
  • Track saws normally have built-in dust collectors, making them much neater than circular saws, which tend to get sawdust everywhere
  • Circular saws give you the freedom to make curved cuts; track saws are for very straight, long cuts
  • Track saws are usually heavier than circular saws
  • Circular saws generally cost less than track saws
  • Circular saws can generally cut much more deeply than track saws
  • Track saws have anti-kick back safety features that circular saws lack

While a 55-inch track is a common size, you might need a shorter track or a longer track, depending on your project. That’s why it is helpful to have a few different tracks of varying sizes, or to choose tracks that can be connected together so you can lengthen or shorten them as needed.

You can use your track saw without the track, if desired, which essentially turns it into a circular saw.

best, track, saws, 2023

Why Trust The Spruce?

Michelle Ullman is the home improvement/tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs around the house and yard.

For this roundup, she considered dozens of track saws of various types, evaluating each for accuracy, cleanness of cut, power, ability to bevel and adjust speed, ease of use, and overall value. She also considered feedback from customers, both positive and negative, as well as reviews and information on landscaping websites. Ben Kuhl, home remodeler and CEO of Shelf Expression, also provided expert input.

The Best Track Saw for Smooth and Precise Cuts

If you are in the woodworking trade, power saws are the companion you need to cut through various materials. Saws consist of different kinds of blades or chains that are sharp enough to cut through numerous materials, and the motor inside them allows for a much faster operation, as well as greater precision and less chance for error.

There are so many types of saws to choose from, such as a table saw, circular saw, miter saw, chop saw, chainsaw, and many others. Each one of them has been designed for specific purposes, and if you are looking for a saw that cuts through sheets of wood or longer pieces of lumber, a track saw is a perfect choice for you. A circular saw, miter saw, or some other saw just can’t compete with a track saw for this purpose.

Track saws have become largely popular in the past decade, mainly due to the DIY movement. They are fast, easy to operate, and are suitable for a wide range of materials, such as plywood, fiberboard, and lumber. If you are also looking for the best track saw in 2023 for your woodworking or DIY projects, then we have the best options for you to choose from

Best Track Saws Buying Guide

How To Choose the Best Track Saw

By now, you have a clear picture of which track saw you should be considering for your woodworking and DIY projects at home or at the job site. But how did we handpick these options? There are a number of factors that come into play when you are considering a track saw for yourself. Let’s have a look at these features.

Blade size

Naturally, the blade is the most useful part of the saw, and its size determines how thick of a material you can cut easily. Most of the track saws feature 6 ½” blades that can cut through materials that are up to 2” thick. A track saw with a larger blade enables you to cut through thicker materials.


The blade is only as good as the speed with which it is rotated. Most of the track saws offer speed control options, which enable you to prevent dulling the blade or cutting more than you need to. A track saw that has variable speeds between 2000 RPM and 5000 RPM is generally favorable for your requirements.

Bevel capacity

Having a track saw that can make bevel cuts is quite useful, as they can enhance your woodworking experience and allow you to work on numerous projects. A track saw that offers a bevel capacity between 0° and 45° is good enough for you.


The power rating is another important aspect that you need to consider. When it comes to corded track saws, you can find a track saw with a 10A to 20A output. On the other hand, when you have a cordless track saw, having a 20V battery provides you with sufficient power to operate the blade efficiently.

Corded or cordless

This is another major factor that comes into play when you are considering the best track saw. While corded track saws provide you with more power, cordless track saws are more portable and easy to operate. Goodell David, Founder of WoodWorking Clarity, says, “ If you do a lot of quick jobs or work mainly from your shop, you don’t need a cord.” However, you will have to change the batteries from time to time, which can be cumbersome, especially if the track saw dies down in between a cutting job.

Final Thoughts

Among the best track saws that we have mentioned above, our topmost pick would be the DeWALT FLEXVOLT Cordless TrackSaw Kit. Not only does it have a powerful motor, a sharp blade, and a cordless feature, but it also provides the best value for money. Plus, it also offers you maximum versatility and a smooth cutting experience.

best, track, saws, 2023

If you want to learn why a track saw can be so beneficial, watch this video from WoodWorker’s Guild Of America:

And that is all we have for you regarding the best track saws of 2023. By reading the product reviews we have gathered, you will be able to take the right pick easily. Plus, if you have any other options insight, you can make use of our buying guide to make the right decision.

Track Saw vs Circular Saw. Which Should You Get?

A track saw and a circular saw are both incredibly useful, and I’ve used both extensively over the course of my woodworking journey. However, depending on the jobs you need to do, one might be a better option than the other. This article will help you decide which one to buy!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please visit my disclosures page for more information.

What’s the Difference Between a Track Saw and a Circular Saw?

Here’s a list of differences between the track saw and circular saw:

  • Track saws are essentially circular saws that run along a track. However, track saws have several added features (scoring, full blade cover, dust collection, riving knife).
  • Circular saws are much cheaper than track saws.
  • Track saws are traditionally used for cutting down large sheets of plywood with a clean edge that is ready for assembly. Circular saws can leave splinters and tear out along the cut.
  • With modification and jigs, you can use circular saws similarly to track saws.
  • You can use track saws without their tracks. Also, if needed, you can buy track extensions to make extra long cuts.

What is a Track Saw?

A track saw is essentially a circular saw that runs along a track. This track makes it super easy to get perfectly straight cuts. Just line up the edge of the track with your cut line and start cutting! Honestly, once I bought a track saw, I gave away my circular saw and never looked back!

A track saw can be battery-powered or corded. I’ve had both versions, and I prefer the battery powered one. I’ve had a few instances where the cord got caught on the end of the track, pulling it out of alignment and ruining the cut.

Here are several features that come standard with most track saws:

  • Track. The track guides the saw in a straight line. It has a grippy but non-marring underside to keep the track in place without clamps in the way. However, I sometimes use these Bessey track saw clamps to lock the track down tight so I don’t mess up a crucial cut.
  • Splinter guard. The edge of the track has a clear rubber material attached, that is perfectly sized to your particular saw. This allows you to align the track with your marks for exact placement, and also prevents tear out.
  • Vacuumor dust bag. Most track saws have a port to attach a shop vac or a dust bag, keeping your workspace clean. The enclosed blade cover allows for much better dust collection.
  • Blade. The blade of a track saw is usually around 6.5 inches, just slightly smaller than a traditional circular saw. Like a table saw, some track saws come with a riving knife. This knife follows the blade and prevents the saw from kicking back and causing injury.
  • Depth Stop. You should always set the depth of the cut to just below the surface of the wood you’re cutting when making a through cut. But you can also cut grooves that don’t go all the way through the board by adjusting the blade to a shallower depth.

When Should I Use a Track Saw?

Use a track saw when you have large sheets of material that you need to cut down to smaller pieces. For instance, if you need to cut a 4ft x 8ft sheet of plywood down into smaller parts of a cabinet.

You can also use a track saw to rip down large boards. For example, if you need to turn a 2×12 into a 2×6, you could use the track saw to rip the board in half lengthwise. Or position the track at an angle to cut off a corner, like for this kids bookshelf I made.

The track saw is also great for establishing a straight edge on an irregular board, such as rough lumber or live edge slabs. The flat back of these live edge floating shelves was created with a track saw.

In a small workshop, a track saw can replace the need for a larger table saw, or even replace the table saw altogether! You can find out more about the difference between a track saw vs table saw here. You don’t need to account for infeed and outfeed space on either side of the saw, so you can work in a much smaller area.

How Do I Use a Track Saw?

Each track saw may operate in slightly different ways. Get to know your track saw before you operate the tool!

best, track, saws, 2023

Here are several guidelines for using your track saw:

  • Safety. Wear safety glasses and ear protection. Make sure you have enough space to make the cut and check that your material is stable.
  • Set up your work area. I place a sheet of 2″ thick rigid foam insulation on top of my workbench whenever I’m using the track saw. This protects the surface from getting cut up, and also supports the board and prevents it from pinching the blade. It’s also stiff enough to use as a work surface across two sawhorses if I’m outside.
  • Mark your cut line. Measure the desired width of the board, and mark your cut line on the board. Keep in mind that the rough side of the cut will be on top of the wood. The splinter guard will keep the fibers in place on the keep side of the cut, but if you’re planning to use the offcut for another piece, you may want to lay down a strip of painter’s tape along the cut line to prevent tear out on the waste side.
  • Align the track. Mark your cut line on the board and place the track on the keepside of the line. The blade will cut away some of the material (called the kerf) and you’ll make the board slightly too short if you cut from the wrong side!
  • Check for square. If you’re making a 90 degree cut, check that the track is square to your reference edge with a speed square. You can attach a track saw square to the guide rail to speed up this process and make your cuts faster!
  • Set your bladedepth. Set the plunge depth of the blade so it just clears the material. Some track saws have a button you can press to make a score cut. The score cut is a shallow first pass that breaks the wood fibers. The score cut can ensure you get the cleanest possible cut!
  • Make your cut. Place the saw onto the track, making sure it’s properly seated in the groove. Using a steady motion, bring the saw to full power and make the cut.

To learn more about how to use a track saw, check out the video below!

If you’re worried about the track slipping, especially on slick surfaces like prefinished plywood or melamine, you can use special clamps to hold the track in place without interfering with the cut. These ones from Bessey slip into the groove in the underside of the track and clamp it down tight with a few quick squeezes.

Are Track Saws Safer than Table Saws?

Yes, track saws are safer than table saws. Though still dangerous, the blade is much less exposed in a track saw than it is in a table saw. You can see in this side view that the blade is completely encased inside the housing, until it’s plunged down into the wood during the cut.

Many track saws also have some sort of anti-kickback technology. Older models of the Festool track saw have a riving knife behind the blade. The newer model has anti-kickback sensors that stop the blade instantly if the saw leaves the track unexpectedly.

What is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw can be used for all the same functions as a track saw, but doesn’t necessarily do them quite as well.

If you’re on a budget, you can turn your circular saw into a makeshift track saw with straight edge guide. You can make your own circular saw jig, or buy one instead.

Here are several parts of the circular saw and how they differ from the track saw:

  • Blade. A circular blade comes in many sizes and types, depending on what you plan to cut. It is always exposed in the front, unlike a track saw where the blade retracts inside.
  • Deck. The deck or base plate of the circular saw will glide across the wood; the track saw glides across a track. You raise or lower the deck of the circular saw to alter the blade’s depth, instead of adjusting the plunge depth of a track saw blade.
  • Dust collection. Most circular saws don’t have any! The blade throws all the sawdust back at you, creating a huge mess and a potential health hazard. Always wear a dust mask to prevent sawdust from getting into your lungs when cutting with a circular saw. This is the one I use!

When Should I Use a Circular Saw?

A circular saw works great for making long rip cuts, beveled cuts, plunge cuts, and cross-cuts. However, it’s better suited for construction rather than building furniture.

The price for a good circular saw will be around 150. The track saw can cost 500 or more. A circular saw is a much more cost-effective tool, which is great for a beginning woodworker. If you don’t need the ultra-precision of a track saw, then your money will probably be better spent on a quality circular saw.

However, a track saw can potentially replace a circular saw, a miter saw, and a table saw! If you’re short on space, this is a great option. If you’re curious, check out my article on the differences between a circular saw and a miter saw.

How Do I Use a Circular Saw?

Here are some guidelines to follow when operating your circular saws. Circular saws are dangerous tools if misused. Be sure to understand your saw and practice your cut before you begin.

  • Safety. Remember safety goggles and ear protection. You’ll also need a dust mask, especially if you’re cutting indoors. Circular saws create a ton of sawdust!
  • Plan your cut. Whether using a jig or not, be meticulous about planning your cut. Remember to measure and account for the thickness of the blade. The blade should cut on the waste side of the cut line.
  • Choose the right blade and settings. Do you need a blade for rip cuts? Cross-cuts? You should match the type of blade to the type of cut you plan to make for the best results. Also, before the cut, set your blade depth so it just clears the thickness of the material.
  • Secure your material. Nothing should be sliding around! Also consider where your material will go after you’ve made the cut. If your board is across two sawhorses and you cut down the middle, the two sides may pinch the blade and cause dangerous kickback. Support the board throughout the cut.
  • Make your cut. Following the guide marks on the deck of your circular saw, start the saw to full power and begin your cut. Keep a firm grip and move at a steady pace. let the saw do the work!

To learn more about how to use a circular saw, check out the video below!

Overall, track saws are basically just high-precision circular saws. I’d recommend starting with a circular saw, then upgrading to a track saw if you’re becoming frustrated with your results. I know plenty of woodworkers who create beautiful projects with just a circular saw, but I’m not one of them! A track saw gives me the professional results I’m looking for, and is quicker, easier and safer to use.

Check out these other woodworking tutorials!

Track vs Circular Saw. Is Plunge Saw Better?

A common pondering echoed in forums and lumber aisles is whether one should buy a circular saw or a track saw. A question for the ages, both are versatile, powerful additions to any woodworker’s or DIYer’s arsenal. So if your significant other asks you to choose, you have my permission to tell them that you need both.

However, if you are intent on only choosing one, this article may help you decide.

What is a Plunge Saw (Track Saw)?

A track saw, also known as a plunge saw or plunge-cut saw, is a type of circular saw that cuts along a dedicated guide. As its name suggests, it does so by plunging into the working surface from above and moving on a precision guide track. The blade of a track saw is fully enclosed – a characteristic that provides an added layer of safety and increased dust control.

Advantages of a Track Saw

A plunge cut saw has several advantages over a handheld circular saw. Following are the major pros of a track saw.

Perfect Straight Cuts

The track saw “shoe” is designed with runners that smoothly slide along corresponding grooves of a matching track guide, creating precise, straight lines and allowing for smooth cuts with exceptional performance in terms of minimizing splintering along the cut-line.

No Clamps Required

The tracks, themselves, typically come equipped with rubber footings that keep the track in place without requiring clamps to secure the track. This small but important detail helps reduce the cut-line setup time that is typically required of circular saw edge guides.

Quick and Easy Set-up

Apart from doing away with clamps, measuring is simply easier and faster with plunge saws because you merely have to mark your line, place the guide, and cut. The track will set your track saw blade exactly on your marked cut-line. This is a much different experience than using a circular saw because you don’t need to take into consideration the difference between the shoe edge and the saw blade/cut-line, which can sometimes be a frustrating aspect when using circular saws with edge guides. This is especially helpful when you have to make multiple, identical cuts.

Ability to Plunge Cut

Also, unlike a circular saw, a plunge saw is not designed to only cut from the edge of a board, but it can also cut to precise depths from any point along the cut-line by making a plunge cut. This makes this type of saw a great option for projects like cutting out an area on a countertop in order to place a sink or even creating a dado effect.


Many track saws are equipped with anti-kickback systems. The simplest anti-kickback mechanism is a riving knife that follows the blade. This works much like a riving knife on a table saw, preventing the cut edges from closing together and pinching the blade.

Depending on the model of your saw, it could also be an anti-kickback sensor that stops the blade motor as soon as a kickback is detected.

Dust Collection

Most plunge saws are designed with enclosed covers and dust collection ports. The enclosed design facilitates better dust control. All you need to do is to hook the saw to your shop vac and you have a much cleaner working environment.

Disadvantages of a Track Saw (Plunge Saw)

When choosing a track saw over a circular saw, there really aren’t many disadvantages. However, a few clear disadvantages do exist, and the most important to note is that the cost of these machines can be quite prohibitive.

  • Circular saws are about 3 times more affordable, and that’s a conservative estimate that considers only the most affordable track saw packages (that include the track) that are currently on the market.
  • On a similar note, your cut length is limited by the amount of track you have. You can typically connect multiple tracks together for a longer cut-line, but this means buying additional accessories, thereby making this purchase even more expensive.
  • The additional track requirement also adds to the space required to store the saw while reducing the portability of the saw further.

Circular Saw

A circular saw is a versatile handheld saw that allows for quick, straight or beveled cuts. These tools can make cross-cuts (across the grain) or rip-cuts (with the grain) with or without an optional dedicated track, though cutting guides can generally be made from a variety of spare material or tools that you might have laying around, like a leftover piece of plywood or a box level and a couple of clamps.

Very Versatile

In addition to wood products and depending on the blade, circular saws can be used on a variety of other materials as well, including metal and tile. Related Read: How to Cut Tile with a Circular Saw They can also be used to cut material in various positions and locations and are not limited to use on a flat, horizontal surface. They also do not require the item being cut to be moveable. In other words, you aren’t limited to what you can move and fit onto your workbench and you can cut things to size even if they are stationary or vertical, like a fence post or a framing stud, without ever having to set up much of a work area unless more accuracy is important for the job.

Highly Portable

This versatility and portability are what tool-lovers tend to appreciate most about circular saws. Simply put, they are a tool dedicated to user autonomy. You can easily take a circular saw from job site to job site and switch tasks quite easily, from cutting a piece of trim down to size to demoing through a layer of drywall. Additionally, you aren’t limited to the length of a track when using a circular saw. You’re only limited to how long your cutting guide is, and only if you choose to use one.

Theoretically, you could make a mile-long cut without any additional supplies and without having to reset anything along the way if you had a large enough battery or long enough power cord.

Better for Quick Cuts

When you need to quickly trim a 2×4 or 4×4 lumber, a circular saw is the better option. Setting the track on a small piece of wood for crosscutting is more of a hassle.

Disadvantages of a Circular Saw

Inability to cut perfectly straight cuts especially when it comes to ripping, unless you take the time to set up a straight edge guide or invest in guide tracks.

When using a circular saw, some might view the required cut-line starting point to be a disadvantage, as you must start from the very edge of your piece in order to disengage the safety cover mechanism. This, of course, could be seen as an advantage for safety reasons, but it has the potential to limit functionality. This differs from the plunge saw, which is aptly named for its ability to start a cut from any position along its track rather than the edge as the saw plunges into the working surface from above.

Additionally, many circular saw brands are not designed to have a dust collection system, meaning you are more limited, in some ways, in terms of your work location and will need to stick with where making a dusty woody mess is safe and acceptable.

A more serious drawback to using a circular saw is that cuts will inevitably experience more splintering than a table saw or a plunge saw. It’s also not meant for precision and accuracy, and though guides can help improve these, it’s not the best option for finish-work.

Track Saw vs Circular Saw With a Guide Track

When viewed on their own, the differences between a track saw and a circular saw are pretty clear.

But what if you were to add a dedicated track to your circular saw so that it behaved like a track saw? This is where things get a little squirrely in terms of which is the obvious choice for a particular job.

So, let’s analyze the job where this would be most beneficial: ripping plywood.

Guides very quickly improve the performance of circular saws in terms of ensuring straight, accurate cuts and minimizing splintering along your cut-line, and many modifications can be made to double down on this effort. In this way, you get much closer to the type of effortlessly smooth cuts possible with a track saw, as a dedicated guide or track greatly reduces the side-to-side motion of your saw as you cut while also adding support to the wood fibers along the cut-line.

Additionally, using a track comes closer to eliminating the tedious tasks of measuring, calculating your cut-line distance from your shoe edge, setting your straight edge guide, cutting, then doing it all over again for additional cuts. When using a track, your setup time is much quicker and more comparable to the setup of a track saw cut.

Though you can come close to the performance of a track saw with a modified circular saw setup, you still won’t quite meet the precision and clean cuts that a track saw affords its users, simply because a track saw was designed for that exact application.

  • The guide track of a track saw is precisely machined to match the saw base. On the other hand, your circular saw may not fit and/or move perfectly in a generic guide track.
  • You also can’t beat the dust collection system that comes with most track saws.

So, Which is Better? A Track Saw or a Circular Saw?

As with most tool comparisons, this almost completely depends on you, your budget, and the task at hand!

Many woodworkers feel that their track saw has completely eliminated the need for their circular saw, as most of their circular saw needs had previously revolved around ripping and cross-cutting sheets of plywood in a controlled environment, like a shop. The track saw provides exceptionally precise, accurate cuts with very little splintering or tearout for this exact purpose.

If you are mainly cutting sheet goods or 3/4 plywood, a track saw would definitely be the better choice for you over a circular saw.

However, when utility is the goal and absolute precision isn’t the most important component of a project or task, circular saws really shine in their versatility, portability, and affordability when compared to a track saw.

If you are someone who moves from location to location often while working on projects (backyard to garage, house to house, home to work, etc.), if you aren’t only cutting moveable material, or if you make a lot of quick, short cuts rather than longer cuts (like cutting many 2×4’s down to size), or if you simply already have a circular saw but not a track saw and you aren’t convinced that a new tool is really worth the investment based on what you’ve learned in this article, sticking with a circular saw may be the better choice for you.