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Track Saw Guide: Choosing The Right Cordless Or Corded Model

Updated: September 9, 2023
Track saws have quickly become a staple in most woodworking shops. By pairing table-saw accuracy with portability and plunge action this saw allows for maximum portability and safety. Learn what’s best for your shop in this hands-on guide.
Best Track Saws and Plunge Saws
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Track Saw Guide: Choosing The Right Cordless Or Corded Model

Makita Cordless Track Saw

Accuracy and Power In a Compact Form








While brand preference may factor into most tool purchases, a track saw might tempt woodworkers to switch things up. When I looked for the best track saw for my workshop, I figured it would be a Festool or Milwaukee. 

But after much research, I ended up with a cordless Makita.

After cutting dozens of sheets of plywood, thick bench tops, and trimming doors, I have no regrets. 

When buying this saw, be sure to consider:

  • Invest in track saw accessories. The proper clamps, tracks, and other gadgets make using a track saw easier.
  • Most woodworkers use a dust extractor with their track saw. Going cordless saves tangling two cords.
  • That most track saw rails are compatible across Festool, Makita, and POWERTEC brands. POWERTEC brands are a replica of Makita at a reduced price

While there are several brands, in my research, I kept returning to Festool and Makita as the best range in price and compatibility across the saws.


Festool track saw

Professionals Choice (corded)

Festool is known for innovative and high-performing tools. Similar to the DOMINO and Kapex miter saw quality, their saw does what you expect: straight, splinter-free cuts. 

Are you looking for a larger cut capacity? The TS75 features an 8-1/4 inch blade.

Also available from internationaltool.com

After using this saw for the first time, any experienced woodworker will wonder why they didn’t have one ten years ago. And for professionals who already know Festool is the pinnacle of tool quality, their models hit all the essential features you need:

  • Spring-loaded riving knife
  • Fast blade changes
  • High-quality dust collection
  • Micro-adjustment
  • Zero tear-out cuts


Makita track saw

Budget Friendly (corded)

Coming down a price tier, the Makita has all the features you need. It also has the tracks, brand reputation, and performance that make it a solid pick for professionals and serious hobbyists.

New woodworkers may need to become familiar with Makita as a top woodworking and tool brand. While Milwaukee and Dewalt spend marketing dollars freely, the Makita brand is built on decades of reliability. This saw is built to last with features similar to the Festool (minus the riving knife). Key features:

  • Electronic speed control
  • Soft start
  • Variable speed dial
  • 2-3/16 inch cut capacity at 90 degrees


Makita cordless track saw

Cordless Freedom

Most woodworkers who own a track saw will connect to a dust extractor. Combining a dust hose, power cord, and tracks makes for a tangle, which is why many opt for the feature-equivalent freedom of a cordless model, including me.

Also available from internationaltool.com

While I am a dozen tools into the Milwaukee brand, they don’t have the tracks and reputation in track saws to make a brand-only decision. So, even with the expense of picking up another battery line, I opted for the Makita, as it has all of the critical features of the corded version. And has performed incredibly well in thick and thin cuts.

Track Saw Overview

It’s best to consider these saws in two categories to help split budget vs. features and capability. Because, for many, a Festool 75 is out of reach, and a comparison to entry-level toolmakers like WEN would be unfair.

Premium Brand Models

For serious woodworkers who demand a perfect cut, high amperage motors, and years of durability, three saw brands rise to the top:

Budget for these top saws? Expect to pay between $700-900 for a fully equipped track saw and track. 

Mid-Range Models

Because a track saw isn’t an everyday tool for some woodworkers, there are better choices than a professional saw. This is were turning to one of the following saws is best:

And with a range from $300-700 for a saw and track, there’s a quality saw for every budget.

Battery Powered Plunge Cut Saws

With almost all tools now offering a cordless option, track saws are no exception. And with more saws each year bringing Lithium cutting capability, these brands are where to start:

  • Makita XPS01Z
  • Bosch GKT18V-20GCL
  • Festool TSC 55
  • Dewalt DWS520K
  • Metabo KT18 LTX 66

From the high-end Festool to popular cordless brands like Dewalt, expect to pay a $100 to $200 premium for portability, though.

Budget Plunge Saws

In the fourth category of track saws, you’ll find a few traditional track saws as well as combining a more traditional circular saw with a track:

  • WEN CT1065
  • Evolution 027-0004C

While expensive compared to their circular saw cousins, these saws are generally between $125-250 for a saw and track and a fraction of the heavier-duty saws.

Key Features

  • Safety features like spring-loaded riving knives
  • Splinter guard on the track and saw to prevent tear out, scoring tool built in to slice grain or melamine before the blade hits
  • Dust control 
  • Motor features like soft start, variable speed, electronic speed control, and anti-slip clutches to prevent kickback
  • Cordless and corded track saws
  • Blade sizes ranging from 6.25″ to 8-1/2″ 
  • Setup capabilities including easy blade change, adjustable plunge depth, rail tightening to reduce play, blade tilt with preset setups, Dust extraction port
  • Accessories like varying lengths of (optional) rail, a carrying case, and dust extractors

Required Accessories

Track Saw Accessories

After deciding on a saw, you’ll need to pick out at least three accessories to make the saw truly useful:

  1. Guide rails that form the track for the saw (I use both Makita and Powertec).
  2. Table clamps that fit the guide rails and clamp the rails to the material. Bessey Ratcheting were my choice for speed and clamping power.
  3. Dust extractor to connect to the dust port. Yes, you can skip this. But you’ll sacrifice cut quality and have a constant dust cleanup chore.
  4. Portable table like the one from Bora Centipede to have an instant 4×8 support system for your 2″ foam backer.

Corded vs. Cordless Track Saws

For almost all woodworkers, the biggest question in hand tools is whether they should opt for cordless.

And with track saws, the time has come to make the switch. While initially more expensive if you are not invested in Festool or Makita batteries, these saws are fully feature and power capable.

Cordless Advantages:

  • One less cord to tangle
  • Work off-grid
  • Easier cutting 
  • Most saws support same size blades and features
  • Compatible with brand track guides

Corded Advantages:

  • Typically lower cost
  • 10-year test: doesn’t depend on old batteries from a brand

Cordless Saws Pair Better With Dust Extractors

With investments in your dust collection system and dust extractors, there is no reason to shoot dust from a saw back into the shop.

This means this type of saw needs to be connected to at least one accessory.

And, you guessed it, you’ll be managing TWO cords with a traditional saw. By cutting the cord on the track saw, you’ll free your cutting concerns to the placement of the dust hose (only).

Track Saw Reviews

You know that space is at a premium for woodworkers living from their garage. Track saws let you set up that foam-topped bench and quickly make plywood cuts or trim live edge slabs.

And then, fold everything back up and use the space for your other tools.

Makita SP6000J1

Makita SP6000J1


Makita vs. Dewalt and Makita vs. Milwaukee is a standard brand comparison. 

Are you new to woodworking and need clarification on Makita? Well, they are among the top 3 brands you’ll find on big box and specialty tool supplier shelves. 

And the Makita saw it keeps up its quality reputation with a highly rated saw, has all of the top features in this category of tool, and is a tool most professionals would start with if Festool weren’t around. 

But we’ll get to Festool in a bit.

Key Features

Since features are the name of the game, here’s what the Makita SP6000J offers up:

  • Motor: 12 AMP motor with 2,000 to 5,200 RPM (adjustable) and electronic speed control for constant RPM
  • 2-3/16″ cut capacity
  • Bevel cuts with a range from -1 degree to 48 degrees (with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees)
  • Can cut as close as 11/16″ of an inch from the wall
  • Dust port with 1-1/2″ outside diameter for connection to dust extractors
  • Soft start feature like you’d find in similar high-end routers
  • Plunge operated
  • …and many more that you can find on the Makita site.

Be sure to check around for a bundle, but if you want to start with just the saw and a guide rail, you can always buy other accessories later.

Dewalt DWS520K Plunge Saw

Dewalt DWS520K


The Dewalt is very comparable to the Makita but lacks a couple of essential features:

  • Electronic speed control
  • Adjustable speed
  • Soft start that prevents the saw from “jumping” when engage 

Otherwise, the general features are similar, with the Dewalt generally running slightly higher in cost.

Key Features

The Dewalt includes all the key features of a high-quality track saw:

  • Motor: 12 AMP motor (minus the Makita advantages)
  • Universal 1-1/4″ dust control
  • Cut depth of 2-1/8″, 1-5/8″ at 45-degrees
  • Continuous anti-kickback only allows forward motion of the saw
  • 6-1/2″ blade (48-tooth ultra fine)

Kreg Adaptive Cutting System



While Kreg has not ventured into too many tools, their plunge saw is worth a look. And, since Kreg is a #1 supplier of jigs for woodworkers, it’s not surprising this saw is both a great value and well priced.

Most importantly, it also features one of my favorite features of a circular saw: a blade-left design that allows right-handed users to see the blade and action without leaning over sideways during the cut.

And like the Dewalt and Makita, you’ll find this saw as a bare tool or bundled with accessories.

This is one of Kreg's first adventures into tools, but so far reviews are pointing to it paying off. If you're afraid of that new-to-the-trade brand you might head back to the Makita.

Key Features

Even at a lower price point, the Kreg has a number of the key features found in the Makita:

  • Motor: 12 AMP with adjustable speed, load compensation, and electronic brake
  • Integrated dust collection
  • Cut depth of 2-1/8″, 1-1/2″ at 45-degrees
  • Retractable riving knives, splinter guards
  • 6-1/2″ blade (48-tooth)
  • Carrying bag

Professional Track Saws

When investing in tools you use daily, a few extra dollars upfront is almost always worth it. And, with track saws, this holds as the well-known Festool has a complete line-up to cover carpentry to heavy-duty hardwood jobs.

Festool TS55

Festool TS 55


It’s worth knowing that Festool has the most variations in track saws of any manufacturer. And they also feature a top-notch reputation and distribution channel (read: warranty and repairs).

But first, for some metric clarity, the 55 vs. 75 models are simply the maximum depth of cut (2-1/8″ vs. 3″). 

So, with that in mind, the 6-1/4″ blade on the Festool 55 will cut just about all the plywood and hardwood you can throw at it. And, with Festool’s long history of being a top tool provider, you’ll gain all the features noted below.

Key Features

As you’d expect in the professional category, Festool will give you all the features of the top DIY track saw and then some:

  • 1200-watt motor with variable speed and electronic speed management for constant speed
  • Cut depth of 2-1/8″ (55mm)
  • Retractable riving knives, splinter guards, plunge operation
  • 6-1/4″ blade (48 teeth, ATB)
  • Systainer carrying case
  • FastFix system for blade changing that locks the arbor and switch at the same time

Festool TS75

Festool TS 75

The TS 75 is almost identical to the TS 55 except for a larger blade (up to 8-1/4″) and a 1600-watt motor to power deeper cuts.

When would you need that type of depth?  

While I’ve trimmed countless full-size oak doors with a smaller circular saw, now and then, I’ve run into a full-size exterior door that tops the 2-1/8″ of the standard TS 55. So, trim carpenters looking for a do-everything saw may justify the extra cost and weight.

Mafell MT 55 cc Professional

Based on reviews and user reports, Mafell is another German-made saw, arguably better than the Festool. However, where Festool has significant distribution channels and thus better parts availability, you’ll have to go to a few specialty dealers like Timberwolf Tools or other sources. 

Cordless Track Saws

Regarding cordless track saws, you can take your saw on the road and do creative things like cut that sheet of plywood down before transporting it. And with these saws featuring dust collection bags vs. attached dust collectors, you can be free of two cords, not just one.

Festool TSC 55 Cordless Saw

Festool TSC 55 Cordless

The Festool TSC 55 is almost identical to its corded counterpart, except for a dual 18/36V  battery system powering the blade. You’ll have the same track, splinter guard, and accuracy of the Festool lineup, just in a cord-free design.

And, since your dust extractor will only sometimes be around, you can use the supplied dust bag to catch the dust you’ll generate. While less slick than the dust extractor, it is a viable option.

Makita XPS01PTJ Cordless


At $350-400 at most retailers for just the tool and around $500 MSRP with two batteries, finding a better-rated and reviewed cordless track saw is impossible.

Features, as expected, are overall very close to the corded Makita saw. However, if you are debating a corded vs. cordless saw at this price point, you’re very close to the base Festool price. Which, by all reviews and specifications, is the superior tool.

Dewalt FlexVolt Cordless Plunge Saw

Dewalt Cordless

Regarding cordless tools, the first decision is: Do you already own the battery ecosystem? Since these cordless saws will use batteries you already own, the $150-200 savings can override overall tool performance.

Besides the battery power, you’ll find the Dewalt FlexVolt track saw comparable. 

And like most cordless saws, the blade can be thinner kerf and reduce cut quality. So, many users have upgraded to a standard track saw blade (48 teeth, ultra-fine ATB).

Budget Track Saws

All of this sounds great, but maybe you think I don’t have $400 to spend on another saw.

Well, there are two options to consider:

  • A budget track saw
  • Converting your existing circular saw to a track saw

WEN CT1065

WEN CT1065

For about 25% of the cost of other track saws, WEN offers up an entry-level saw that is, for many, an alternative to a table saw and circular saw all in one.

With the same track system (costing almost as much as the saw, of note) and plunge capability, you’ll have a way to start breaking down plywood and even doing edge cuts.

While this saw is less well-built than a Makita or Festool, overall reports are good.

A few things of note:

  • Check into other tracks – Powertec or even Makita are reported to work better than the WEN track.
  • The blade makes the saw. And Makita or Festool have premium blades. So, rather than let an inferior blade ruin your cut, you’ll want to consider a Makita 6-1/2 inch blade after you try out the WEN’s stock blade.

Circular Saw Tracks

Kreg Accu-cut Track Saw Conversion

Circular saw track

Almost all woodworkers own a circular saw.

So why can’t I convert my saw to a track saw, you might be asking?

Well, you can. But you won’t have the design and features of a higher-grade track saw like the anti-kickback, riving knife, or splinter guards. But here’s what you can get with a saw track conversion kit:

  • Support for almost any saw – left or right-handed
  • Rip up to 48″ sheets of plywood
  • Clamp-free with duel gripping edges
  • Reduced splintering

Guide Tracks

What is a Track Saw

As you likely know, a track saw is not helpful without a track.

And the track quality is as important to a significant cut as the saw. Which requires purchasing a saw with the following:

  • Compatible tracks 
  • Track length in a variety of sizes
  • Brand name for future upgrades
For my Makita, I opted for both a Makita brand track and a Powertec track. Surprisingly, the Powertec track was a replica of the Makita. 

Alternatives to a Track Saw

Alternative to a track saw is the circular saw

Maybe you’re thinking this saw is just a fancy circular saw that is pre-made to be paired with a track. Well, you’re partially correct, and while a track saw is a valuable saw, there are two track saw alternatives you could consider (or probably own):

  • A circular saw with an edge guide is a viable alternative, but you’ll lose the quality controls of a track saw (splinter guards, plunge), and the saw won’t be “locked in” to the track. 
  • And the table saw is the old standard in ripping and crosscutting boards and plywood. But, you will need to supply more muscle, and safety issues increase on a table saw when crosscutting bulky sheets of heavy plywood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a track saw replace a table saw?

A track saw is an excellent replacement for a table saw when cutting large sheets of plywood. However, a table saw is still preferred for ripping wood.

What's the best track saw to buy?

The best track saw is based on your use. For professionals, a Festool is considered the premium saw due to its anti-splinter and kickback technology. However, a Makita is a top pick for home woodworkers, and a few entry-level saws are good for small jobs and occasional use.

Is a track saw better than a circular saw?

A circular is better than a track saw at making rapid cross-gain cuts in dimensional lumber. A track saw is far superior in producing high-quality rips and crosscuts in plywood sheets due to its splinter-free blade and built-in straightedge.

Can I use my track saw without a track?

Yes – you can use a track saw without a track, but you will lose the precision cuts, and it will function similarly to a circular saw.

  • About the Author
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( Woodworker )

Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.

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