So just why does a Plunge Saw or Track Saw make the cleanest, straightest, longest, and most accurate cuts? More so than a circular saw, table saw, any saw? There are a few reasons.
First, specialised replaceable blades with the correct size, shape, and configuration of teeth ensure the cleanest possible cut – rip cut, cross-cut, any cut – for the material in question to the extent that only a single quick sanding-down is necessary (and sometimes not even that). A powerful motor and high RPM also help on this score. Second, as the Plunge Saw’s housing (and not the blade itself) slots into and travels along a guide rail the cut is in a true straight line. Third, as long sections of these guide rails can be attached or joined together, a cut can be very long. Finally, the preceding three characteristics combine to maximise accuracy regardless of the material, type, or length of cut, and this characteristic is very important for certain woodwork tasks like trimming.
The synonyms Plunge Saw and Track Saw identify two defining characteristics of this power tool. Unlike other saws, it does not need to start cutting a workpiece from an end; it can ‘plunge’ into any point in the middle of the workpiece’s surface and begin cutting. Unlike other saws, this power tool runs along a track (or guide rail) and thus makes very long perfectly straight cuts.
A Plunge Saw is not a versatile saw but is a highly-specialised saw that does only one thing, and does it best and perfectly. Therefore, it is not an optional tool, an advanced tool, or a nice-to-have – either you need it and had better not do without it, or you don’t need it and will have no real use for it.
In addition, Plunge Saws have a depth guide pointer or knob that allow you to set the cutting depth. Apart from setting this to cut to the full depth of the workpiece, it can also be used to make shallow cuts or to cut only partially into the workpiece. Also, because the entire blade is shrouded and the guard does not retract, dust collection is most efficient in Plunge Saws and their usage results in the least amount of sawdust in the work area. Finally, unlike a table saw, a Plunge Saw is quite portable – you can grab and go.
Last update on 2020-04-07 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
Let’s take a look firstly at our top pick –
Highly adjustable, excellent features, ergonomic design, and unmatched cutting performance – Bosch’s ‘deluxe’ pro-level plunge saw is virtually flawless.
Bosch’s professional-grade plunge saw weighs 4.7 kilogrammes. It has a 1400-watt motor that rotates the blade at 3,600 to 6,250 RPMs no-load, maintaining constant speed under varying loads. The speed, however, is adjustable and is set via a conveniently-placed thumbwheel. It can be adjusted even when the saw is running.
It accepts blades of 165 millimetres diameter and 20 millimetres bore.
The saw’s bevel angle ranges up to 45 degrees and it has a cutting depth of up to 57 millimetres at vertical and up to 42 millimetres at 45 degrees. Cutting depth can be set easily and precisely, and the cutting angle is settable in an advanced and precise fashion.
The GKT 55 GCE makes the longest and cleanest of cuts, allowing chip-free and splinter-free cutting of even laminates.
The ‘noise-reduced blade’ really does bring about a comparatively low-noise plunge saw performance. Another point on which this saw compares favourably with the competition is its near-perfect dust capture. This means you can achieve near-perfect dust extraction, leaving your work area as clean as it was before beginning your task.
The handles are not only comfortable in and of themselves, their relative positioning also make them very comfortable and make gripping very easy. The build-quality is top-class. Not only is it rugged and durable, it is equally well finished and precisely machined.
This saw comes with a stackable, plastic carry case.
It is compatible with Festool and Maxell guide rail systems as-is. But psst! here’s a secret: the base plate can be adjusted using the two knurled screws to adapt its fit to many another guide rail system.
Bosch provides a 3-year warranty if the purchase is registered within 28 days.
- Unmatched on criterion #1: the straightest, longest, and cleanest of cuts.
- Ease-and-convenience features, such as the handles and dust extraction, are among the best.
- Highly adjustable, feature-packed, durable build quality, first-class finishing – if ever a saw could be called ‘deluxe,’ this one’s it.
- The only chance of giving it a ‘con’ would have been the absence of a carry case but Bosch leaves us with nothing.
Although Evolution’s rig is either a plunge saw or a track saw but not both, its cutting performance and cutting depth are so excellent that it’s a top deal.
The R185CCSX weighs 5.1 kilograms. It has a 1600-watt motor which drives the blade at 3,700 RPMs no-load. It takes 185-millimetre blades and a Japanese 16-tooth TCT blade is supplied.
It has a cutting depth of up to an impressive 64 millimetres and a blade angle of up to 45 degrees.
The flaw in this plunge saw is that the track has to project ahead of the edge of the workpiece otherwise the saw cannot be slotted into the track; as a result doing a plunge cut (i.e. from the middle of a workpiece) is not possible unless you do not use the track, which would mean you would not get a perfect straight line cut. As such, Evolution’s rig can be either a plunge saw or a track saw at any given time but not both at the same time.
For a bargain-priced saw, it has a smooth glide in the track. It makes clean, straight cuts on aluminium and other soft metals, ply, chipboard, etc. and this at a bargain-basement price. On this point, it is as good as plunge saws costing twice as much.
It has a quick-acting electric brake.
Dust collection is not a strong point of the R185CCSX; it leaves behind more dust than other saws.
The build quality is quite good and tough, and the cast-alloy base deserves a nod. The supplied blade is a very good all-rounder.
The kit includes 3 pieces of 340-millimetre track, connector bars, a parallel edge guide, a dust hose connector and a hex key. You can opt for the same kit with a second TCT blade or an additional wood blade.
The three pieces of the track are a lottery. You may get three pieces that are cut well and align near-perfectly or you may get pieces cut so poorly that if you can’t fit them together, you’d be more fortunate than if you can! Moreover, it is not uncommon for one or two sections of the supplied track to be warped or bent.
The power cord is 3 metres.
Evolution’s saw is compatible with Festool, Titan, Makita, Triton, Erbauer, Mettabo, and Scheppach guide rail systems.
At its price point, this overall very good saw is an absolute bargain and a great value for money.
Evolution provides a 3-year limited warranty.
- Epic cutting depth of 64 millimetres, and that in an inexpensive rig.
- Very clean and very straight cuts out of all proportion to its price point.
- Compatible with the widest range of guide rail systems (tracks); at least seven.
- This funny beast is either a plunge saw or a track saw at any given time but not both at the same time.
- The included pieces of track should not be used for any serious tasks.
VonHaus’s inexpensive rig is not adjustable but it boasts a very high speed, is a true-blue plunge-cum-track saw, and comes with a load of goodies – value!
VonHaus’s plunge saw has a 1050-watt motor and sports a 12,000 rpm no-load speed. It accepts blades of 110 millimetres diameter and 22.2 millimetres bore.
It has a maximum cutting depth of 28 millimetres not including track. This saw cannot make bevel cuts and it is not a very adjustable saw.
VonHaus’s saw does not offer the smoothest of glides but it’s still reasonably smooth. It has a perfect ‘plunge;’ begin your cut from any point on the workpiece. This saw, especially with its supplied blade, is not meant to cut metal but it does an excellent job on all woods, boards, polymers, etc. and cuts veneered materials without ripping and tear-out.
If the dust connector is connected to at least a bag, you’ll get acceptable-to-good dust collection; attach it to a vacuum and you get very good dust collection.
The supplied 4 pieces of 340 millimetres of track should not be construed as being useful for any serious cutting; view them as a mere starter kit for you to do a few dry runs. Also, attaching the pieces with the supplied grub screws does not do the track saw any favours because it introduces warpage and bumps into the track.
This kit comes with a 40-tooth TCT blade, a 20-tooth TCT blade, a 9-tooth diamond blade, a dust connector, a pair of carbon brushes, 4 340 x 100-millimetre pieces of track, 3 track connectors, and 2 clamps. Sometimes a carry bag is thrown in as well.
All said, this kist is quite an amazing value for money and is a top deal for the DIYer.
VonHaus provides a 2-year warranty.
- Honest-to-goodness plunge saw cuts even laminates cleanly without tear-outs.
- The accessories bundled with this kit are outstanding value and are not matched by other makers.
- The eye-catching speed of 12,000 RPMs.
- Is not meant to cut metals.
- Does not have the smoothest of glides.
- Cutting depth of only 28 millimetres and no bevel cuts.
One of the most comfortable-to-use of plunge saws, Dewalt’s rig is very adjustable, delivers excellent cutting performance, and is suitable for indy pros.
Dewalt’s plunge saw weighs 5 kilogrammes and has a 1300-watt motor. It accepts blades of 165 millimetres diameter and 20 millimetres bore and is supplied with a 48-tooth blade.
This highly-adjustable saw can be set at five different speeds varying from 1,750 to 4,000 RPMs, as best suited to different materials ranging from paper and cardboard goods to softwoods and hardwoods. It maintains constant speed under changing load. It has an anti-kickback mechanism.
This saw has a cutting depth up to 55 millimetres and a bevel angle of up to 47 degrees. The bevel adjustment has no hard stops and goes to only 2 degrees above the very common and useful 45 degree so it would have been a better design for the maximum angle to have been 45 degrees.
The DWS520KT makes long cuts cleanly and smoothly with minimal tearing or splintering, even with laminates. It has an integrated anti-kickback device which is one of the best in actual working conditions.
The handles and grips are softish, well-moulded and among the most ergonomic, allowing the user to saw for long stretches without any discomfort.
This is a medium-to-high-end plunge saw that is suitable for pros who cannot afford high-end prices.
Besides the blade, it comes with a very useful rugged TSTAK box which is another plus point for this kit and is a welcome extra.
Dewalt’s plunge saw is compatible with Festool guide rail systems.
Dewalt provides one year of free service and also provides a one-year warranty.
- Makes straight, long, clean cuts on a variety of materials with minimal splintering/tearing.
- Very adjustable saw with five speeds, bevelling angles, and healthy cutting depth.
- Good enough for the practising tradesman who wants a near-pro outfit without the near-pro price.
- Peculiar bevelling design means you cannot precisely achieve the all-important 45° angle.
- Has extremely limited guide rail system (track) compatibility.
Triton’s attractively-priced saw gets high marks on all counts and has no weak points, making this kit an all-rounder of a plunge saw and a solid bargain.
Triton’s 5.5-kilo saw has a 1400-watt motor. It has 6-speed settings ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 RPMs no-load. It maintains constant speed under load and has a soft start.
It accepts blades of 165 millimetres diameter and 20 millimetres bore. A 60-tooth TCT blade is included.
This plunge saw can cut up to 54 millimetres at 90 degrees and up to 38 millimetres at 45 degrees, with the bevel angle going out to 48 degrees. The depth scale is particularly simple to use. The bevel angle setting is also not difficult and the setting is very secure; unfortunately, no hard stops are provided in view of which lapse it would have been better to have had a 45-degree maximum angle.
The mode selection switch, apart from a setting for blade change, has one setting for (standard) plunge cutting and another for scribe cutting; as such, in a pinch it can do – and is designed to do – double duty.
The TTS1400 cuts cleanly through different kinds of woods, hardboards, chipboards, plywoods, and does just as well with laminates too.
Safety features include a plunge lock and an anti-kickback device. The ‘soft-grip handles’ are another ‘pro,’ allowing for a vibration-reduced comfortable grip that will facilitate extended cutting.
The dust collection outlet rotates 360 degrees to optimise user comfort when a vacuum is attached via the universal vacuum adaptor.
This is quite an excellent kit at an affordable price, rendering it a great value for money. It may be the ideal kit for freelance tradesmen who are starting out.
It is compatible with Dewalt and Makita guide rail systems.
This kit comes with a pair of carbon brushes; optional add-ons from Triton are available.
Triton provides a 3-year guarantee, provided the saw is not used for commercial purposes, if the purchase is registered within 30 days.
- Outstanding adjustability in speed, depth, and bevel angle, especially for a budget kit.
- Long, clean, and straight cutting through a variety of materials.
- For a plunge saw of this calibre, the price may be the biggest ‘pro.’
- No hard stop for 45-degree bevel angle.
- No carry case or carry bag with the bare-bones kit.
What Is A Plunge Saw Used For?
Fundamentally, a Plunge Saw is used to cut wood and a wide variety of materials – plywood, acrylic, laminates, plasterboard, PVC, soft metals, sheet goods, etc. – where the needs of the hour are a cut that is perfectly straight, so clean as to be nearly finished, very long, and accurate. These characteristics are requirements when cutting floorboards and wall panels, and for cutting sheet goods into sizes that can be attacked by other saws. Plunge saws are also useful for cabinetry, joinery, and trim. Therefore, they are used mostly by woodworking specialists.
When you use a Plunge Saw, your first cut is the final cut. No need to make a rough cut and then make the final cut. And the final cut may be so clean and smooth that you may not even need to finish it.
How To Use A Plunge Saw
When using a Plunge Saw, you do not need a worktable. Yes, if your workpiece can be laid on a table or bench, by all means do so, but one of the advantages of a Plunge Saw is that you can do your cutting there on the ground, and, in fact, can even trim a ‘workpiece’ that is installed or attached. You just need to be able to affix or ‘stick’ the guard rails to the ‘workpiece,’ such as it is, and, if the work is vertical or at an angle, you need to be strong enough to hold the Plunge Saw.
For a very specialised and precise power tool the Plunge Saw is relatively simple and easy to use; more so than other kinds of specialised saws.
Guide rails or tracks are not standardised in any way; moreover, some manufacturer’s rails have one guide track, others two, and some others even three. For best results use guide rails from the same manufacturer as your Plunge Saw, even if your kit slots into tracks made by another manufacturer. (Some manufacturers state in their materials which rails their Plunge Saws are compatible with.)
Affix the guide rail or track to the surface you intend to cut. You may need to use T-squares, set squares, or other means to ensure that you are laying the guide rail parallel to an edge, if it is meant to be parallel. You may also need to attach multiple sections of track if the cut will exceed the length of a single section. Make sure the track is perfectly clean and free of any dust or debris.
Affixing tracks is easy – they have ‘temporary-sticky’ adhesive strips at the bottom surface that hold them securely to the workpiece. Just lay them down firmly. However, if the workpiece is an attached or installed piece that is at any significant angle to the horizontal then you should secure it with special rail clamps.
Put on a dust mask and earmuffs.
Slot the Plunge Saw into the track at the desired position, and, if possible, lock it in. If your Plunge Saw does not allow this, then you will have to slide it into the track from one end.
Use the depth pointer or knob to set the appropriate depth; while you will not set too shallow a depth, also do not set a depth greater than two or three millimetres of the depth of the workpiece plus depth of the track. If your Plunge Saw has a depth scale, guide yourself by it. Then choose the speed using the dial.
Take a good, well-balanced stance, take a two-handed grip on the handle(s), and switch on the Plunge Saw. Allow it to reach full speed and pivot the saw forward so that it plunges to the required depth. Lock the plunge lock if there is one. Then firmly guide it forward, always keeping both hands on the handle(s), but without exerting overdue force or pressure, to the end-point. Then switch it off and let the blade come to a complete stop.
If the cut is to be long, be sure you have sufficient clearance to move along the Plunge Saw as you push it through workpiece until the end of the cut.
Do not under any circumstances pull the saw backwards.
Most Plunge Saws also allow you to make bevel cuts.
They can also be used with a parallel guide, without the guide rail or track.
Finally, be aware that each plunge saw and track combination have a ‘first time’ in which the saw leaves a cut through the sealing strip aka kerf strip aka ‘lip’ of the track, ‘marrying’ the two and dedicating the track to the saw for the latter’s cutting accuracy and protection. As a general rule, a plunge saw should not be used on a track ‘married’ to another saw.