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Best bang for the buck track saw 2021?

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Forum topic by SMP posted 02-03-2021 09:07 PM 1525 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SMP

4746 posts in 1124 days


02-03-2021 09:07 PM

I have been wanting a track saw for a while now, and thinking of finally taking the plunge(sorry i’m a dad). Looking at “reviews” online, i noticed most review sites have affiliate links etc. I also see most brands have corded and cordless versions now. And it seems the cordless models don’t come with tracks in order to keep their “price” down. There seems to be so many pluses and minuses of the various brands and models, some have better dust collection, some have riving knifes, or pre scoring, chip guards, yadda yadda yadda. Its hard to make sense of what features matter for a hobbyist woodworker. I’m sure some features are important for a pro cabinet shop etc, but what is the best bang for the buck for a hobbyist woodworker?


44 replies so far

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brtech

1163 posts in 4141 days


#1 posted 02-03-2021 10:44 PM

Best bang for the buck has to be the low end (Wen for example). You get 75-85% of the performance for 30% of the price of a Festool. But, you can’t option your way up to something that works as well, so once you reach the limit, it’s a total loss and start again. The low end track saws really work. The track works pretty much the same way, you get pretty much the same set of functions in the saw, the cut quality is nearly the same, and all the basic things you do with the saw can be done with the low end units. What you don’t get is things like the riving knife, the accessories for MFT, etc. The low end tracks aren’t made as well so they slide around more, the separate sections are sometimes tricky to get assembled so the saw slides smoothly across the joint, the splinter guard doesn’t hold up as well and the dust collection isn’t as good. Lots of plastic parts that can break.

I have one, and I use it to break down sheet goods. Works like a champ. I usually don’t try to get finished sized pieces out of that, but I could on most materials if I wanted to. If you get a cheap one, upgrade the blade.

View Rich's profile

Rich

7384 posts in 1808 days


#2 posted 02-03-2021 10:51 PM


You get 75-85% of the performance for 30% of the price of a Festool.

- brtech

How do you quantify performance like that? Based on what?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Andybb

3329 posts in 1822 days


#3 posted 02-03-2021 10:59 PM

I say with ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE that the new (upgrade from their 6.5” 10amp) WEN 7.25” 12 amp was well worth the $. About $250 including 100” of track and 7” clamps. Ordered from Home Depot. Very happy with it. Did a better job than my jointer on 8’x8”x 8/4 boards and just as well as my buddies Festool.

Love that saw.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Loren's profile

Loren

11254 posts in 4866 days


#4 posted 02-03-2021 11:35 PM

I reckon it depends on how much precision you need. Some saws/track combos can arguably rip glue joints while others have undependably straight tracks and may have less precise manufacturing that affects the quality of cut. It’s the same question as whether a higher end circular saw cuts the same as a Black and Decker… and the answer would be it depends on closely you look.

I’ve had 3 track saws and 3 brands of track. I like the Festool HK because I like not having to plunge on a straight cut. It does plunge but it also locks down which most plungers do not. The dust collection isn’t as good as the other Festool saws and it lacks the right side chip out control feature. Resale value on Festools is excellent while most brands will have you taking a serious hit if you decide to upgrade or get out of woodworking.

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Andybb

3329 posts in 1822 days


#5 posted 02-03-2021 11:42 PM

^+1 Loren is correct. The WEN gave me glue joint quality. I even bought a 60 tooth blade but never put it on. The blade that came on the saw did what it was supposed to do. Ripped one edge with the WEN and the other on my table saw so basically, the WEN did the job of the jointer on S4S boards.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View pottz's profile

pottz

20224 posts in 2203 days


#6 posted 02-03-2021 11:58 PM

ill give a pitch for the dewalt,have the corded model with long and short track for about 6 years now and love it.you’ll need to do your homework and decide what gives you the best bang for your buck.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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ras61

129 posts in 2739 days


#7 posted 02-04-2021 12:42 AM

Wen – very interesting, not a name I think of when looking for a quality tool. Maybe they’ve up’d their game, stuff I’ve seen in the past was quite underwhelming to say the least

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

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jkm312

106 posts in 622 days


#8 posted 02-04-2021 01:27 AM

Depends on your intent. If just breaking 4×8’s down for the TS, then a top of the line saw is more than you need for the job at hand. If you are going for final dimension accuracy then one of the better saws with a good blade is justified from my point of view.

View JRAP's profile

JRAP

142 posts in 3168 days


#9 posted 02-04-2021 02:35 AM

Thanks for that info Andy. I’ve been toying with buying a “cheaper” track saw for a while now. I think I’ll pull the trigger based on your recommendation. I did look at it on the HD website too, and it looks good to me.

-- -- Jim, Cumberland,RI -- Life is all the other stuff you do when you're not in the shop. - http://www.woodshopshed.com

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3329 posts in 1822 days


#10 posted 02-04-2021 02:46 AM


Thanks for that info Andy. I ve been toying with buying a “cheaper” track saw for a while now. I think I ll pull the trigger based on your recommendation. I did look at it on the HD website too, and it looks good to me.

- JRAP


I thought it was broken when I first got it. I tried to hog through all 8/4 at one time and it kept cutting off. Silly me. Then I realized from listening closely to the vids that guys were making those cuts in 2 or 3 passes. Even my friend with the Festool said he can’t do one pass. Once I realized that I was a happy camper and happy with my purchase. The edge was just as smooth as a jointer or table saw with the stock blade that came with it. Never took the 60 toothe out of the wrapper. The WEN tracks fit other brands inc. Festool. Get the tracks and clamps. Like I said, less then $250 for everything.

PS The other benefit of the track saw is that you don’t have to muscle big boards on the jointer. The boards stay put. The saw moves.

It’s basically a light-duty skill saw that plunges.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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SMP

4746 posts in 1124 days


#11 posted 02-04-2021 02:56 AM

Hmm never considered Wen. Tbh, i had kind of been considering Dewalt or makita corded, but also curious how the Kreg stacks up against those 2. I am also not opposed to paying for Festool if it is really worth it for some reason that i hadn’t thought of. I sometimes build cabinets or cabinet like furniture, so would like to cut down 3/4 sheets. But I also normally buy s2s as my local lumberyard carries mostly s2s and s3s. So sometimes i need to make a flat side before running through the TS. Though, the more i could use it in place of the TS the better, for various reasons.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3329 posts in 1822 days


#12 posted 02-04-2021 04:34 AM


Best bang for the buck has to be the low end (Wen for example). You get 75-85% of the performance for 30% of the price of a Festool. But, you can t option your way up to something that works as well, so once you reach the limit, it s a total loss and start again. The low end track saws really work. The track works pretty much the same way, you get pretty much the same set of functions in the saw, the cut quality is nearly the same, and all the basic things you do with the saw can be done with the low end units. What you don t get is things like the riving knife, the accessories for MFT, etc. The low end tracks aren t made as well so they slide around more, the separate sections are sometimes tricky to get assembled so the saw slides smoothly across the joint, the splinter guard doesn t hold up as well and the dust collection isn t as good. Lots of plastic parts that can break.

I have one, and I use it to break down sheet goods. Works like a champ. I usually don t try to get finished sized pieces out of that, but I could on most materials if I wanted to. If you get a cheap one, upgrade the blade.

- brtech

I’m sure there are a few saws rebranded as other makes made in the same Asian factory. WEN has an anti-kickback mechanism that seems to work well. Tracks are solid and my 8’ straight edge says they are straight. They don’t slide. I’m sure the Festool is a better made tool but as a weekend warrior, I just can’t justify the additional cost. The stock 45 tooth blade works just fine. Same reason I bought the Bosch instead of the Festool Rotex. Cut this chamfer just like the guy on youtube did with his Festool.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View gtrgeo's profile

gtrgeo

185 posts in 1649 days


#13 posted 02-04-2021 07:45 AM

I picked up the Makita cordless a couple years back and have been very pleased with it. I was looking for a quality tool but am still unwilling to dive into Festool. At he time I bought there were the low end like Wen’s previous models, the Dewalt or Makita, or Festool. Bosch had not come out with there’s in the American market. I looked at the Triton but felt it was over priced for what it is. The current Wen saw is probably on par with the Triton but at less cost. I looked seriously at the Dewalt which seems to be a good saw. What tipped the scales for me was the compatibility of the Makita with available accessories. As most accessories are built for the Festool, they generally work with the Makita as well.

I currently have 2 – 55” tracks and one 39”. They have handled everything I have neede so far. It would be nice to have the 118” track but I have gotten by with joining the 2-55” tracks for now. Recently I even added on the 39” track for straight edging some 10’ 8/4 oak. I keep the 39” track hanging conveniently in the shop for quick cuts and have now found it to be indispensable.

By the way, I have found the Triton track connector kit to be a bargain over the Makita connectors. The screws in the Triton kit are kind of soft so I replaced them with some from the local hardware store. Even adding the minimal extra cost for the hardware, they are half the price of the Makita. Especially if you get them when rockler has the Triton products on sale.

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

650 posts in 4965 days


#14 posted 02-04-2021 02:39 PM

If you measure carefully or use parallel guides there is no need to use a track saw to break down sheets and then further process them on a table saw. A track saw will replace a table saw for cutting sheet goods. It will give you the same straight cut with a smooth finish and with no tear out.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

6032 posts in 3570 days


#15 posted 02-04-2021 02:54 PM

I recently bought a Makita track saw and tracks, and after using it for a few months I am very pleased with it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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