Cordless Track Saws

I’m pulling the trigger this week on a cordless track saw. I used the corded Festool in the woodshop a few years ago and loved it. The Milwaukee saw is getting good coverage. Has anyone used both and have a preference if you didn’t already have regular access to one or the other? I’m starting from scratch without already being in either tool system. I considered the Milescrft adaptor, but you can’t bevel with it, and by the time I buy more tracks, I just figured I should go all-in.

Thanks for your feedback.

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It totally depends on your objective. Personally I use a cordless Festool, but I also require a very high-end finish. If you are primarily breaking down sheet goods any of the saws will get the job done. The battery platform would be the deciding factor. These saw are not remotely the same outside of cutting in a straight line.

If you are planning on doing fine finish work, cabinetry, or furniture, Festool does not have a competitor.

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@SWA Thank you. Wouldn’t the finish be more attributable to the blade? If it is cutting straight and square, what about the individual saw affects the cut finish? I get a Ryobi or Wen being underpowered or wobbly. But Festool vs Makita vs Milwaukee, what the difference beside conveniences?

I would have thought that as long as the saw slides fine, the track is true, and it has enough power to get through to be material, then the blade would be the deciding factor on finish.

It’s interesting to consider. Thanks for the thoughts.

Not really. A professional blade with the proper geometry for the wood and cut is assumed. I routinely process pre-finished UV Birch plywood. My concern is tear-out. No wood putty allowed for stain grade.

One of the features that makes this possible on the Festool is the dual splinter guard system. Since a circular saw’s blade cut from the bottom to the top, you can see why the splinter guard setup is so killer. I have no qualms cutting expensive veneer panels with my saw.

It also doubles as a straight line rip saw. I have straight lined ripped 8/4 rough Red Oak with it.

If I have my choice between my Festool and the $8K Saw Stop for processing plywood, Festool every time.

This is just one aspect that has been engineered into the saw. Festool invented the track saw platform decades ago, so they keep improving. This is really for someone that is demanding the absolute best in a portable system. Next step is a sliding table saw with a scoring blade. This very short video demonstrates the system much better than I could ever explain.

@SWA I did not know about the double splinter guard. That is good to know.

By chance have you tried out the Milwaukee?

I was set on the Milwaukee, but the lack of info against the Milwaukee has me considering it’s a little too early to drop this much money on a hobby item until some constructive reviews are published. No one’s brought up the anti-splinter guard. So that is helpful.

I have not used it, although I have watched a couple of reviews.
This is one of the channels that I watch. Spencer does finish work on multi-million dollar new homes. He balances between production speed and quality. He uses the same tools as the rest of us in the high-end game. But, he typically gets them first. If you have any questions regarding his perspective, demands, and level of expected quality, just peruse through his videos. After tracking his channel for a long time, I wouldn’t hesitate to act upon his recommendations. With that said, I am very picky regarding tools.

@SWA those were good videos. Looks like the Milwaukee has the double splinter guard, and the other guy also liked it. Looks like I’ll need to sit down with spreadsheet now and look at TCO with accessories…

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dang, I’m glad I started off trying to use less accurate “tracks”, which frustrated me, because they were so sloppy.

So I started making my own tracks out of 1/2"plywood, Tack a strip of 1/2" ply on top, (using a straight-edge", run the Makita skilsaw over it, sharp (80tooth, 8 1/4" blade), set it over my line/marks, and cut 7-8’ finished panels from the top with no tear umpteen kitchens. Did the same with small makita diamond saw to cut down metal doors or larger tiles that couldn’t be cut on the tile track saw. Made special ones for tapered column miters

AND ALL OUT OF SCRAPS lying around the shop!

The fella in that video has likely over 1k$ invested is saw and tracks, and to me, never was a need to spend that kind of cash when I had a perfectly adequate solution.

But maybe OHSA regs over dust control in the USA might have forced me to change my perspective if I was south of our border (and I am aware of some of the massive fines levied against Granite ctop shops in Texas for ignoring their requirements)

Eric in Calgary

I have also build guides out of hardboard scraps. But make no mistake, this isn’t remotely a cabinet-grade track saw replacement. This is more realistically compared to the Kreg “track” saw. Note: Due to the way a circular saw operates, always place your finished side of the panel down. Most of the tear-out will be on the top surface. This is due to the rotation direction of the blade. You will notice all the of crutches being used on the top. A could of popular ones are using blue tape and pre-scoring the cut line with a knife.