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Why are track saws so expensive?
Personally, I think it’s simply because they are more complexly built compared to ordinary circular saws.
The new Milwaukee M18 cordless track saw just started to ship, and there are already numerous discussions floating around the internet and social media where tool users are complaining about the price.
Similar conversations follow nearly every every new track saw launch or announcement.
Some tool users will always bring up how franken-saws – circular saws with bolt-on parts or guide plate attachments – are so much less expensive.
It seems immutable. Track saw? $$$$$
There are a couple of lower-priced models by value tool brands, but they still cost more than standard circular saws.
Many brands also ship track saws in pricey modular tool boxes, usually with customized inserts. This surely contributes a bit to the premium pricing.
Track saws are absolutely worth it – IF you understand and weigh the benefits and can justify the price.
Although some models are considerably less expensive, just one glance at their largely plastic construction tells the whole story.
Competition should have brought pricing down, but it hasn’t, which leads me to believe their premium pricing is tied to the greater number of parts and need for high precision.
The fact of the matter is that track saws carry a steep premium compared to like-powered circular saws. It’s just the nature of such tools.
I think that, rather than asking why track saws are so expensive, it might be interesting to ask why this question comes up so often.
When stepping up from a circular saw to a worm-drive (or rear handle) saw, the latter’s higher pricing is almost always attributed to a more powerful motor and beefier gearing, and sometimes the changeover to magnesium components (such as the guard or shoe).
When comparing a circular to a track saw, the physical differences are obvious but don’t seem proportional to the pricing increase.
What are you getting for the extra money? Plunge-action cutting, better dust control or collection, a flush-cutting design, adjustable guide rail slots, clear markings, precision cutting, a premium blade (usually), and a custom tool box. Did I miss anything?
There’s overlap between what circular saws and plunge-cutting track saws can do, but they’re are very different tools.
Speaking about the new Milwaukee M18 cordless track saw in particular, it’s $399 for the tool-only, or $639 for the kit with an XC HO battery, rapid charger, and Packout tool box.
Makita’s XGT 40V Max model is $429 for the tool-only, and their 18V X2 model is $389 for tool-only. (Both are still eligible for ongoing holiday season battery bonus offers.)
Bosch’s 18V cordless track saw is $519 for just the tool and a tool box, or $649 for the 1-battery kit.
Festool’s similarly sized corded track saw is $599, or $549 for the tool-only cordless model.
Dewalt’s FlexVolt cordless track saw is $490 for the tool-only with a track, or $619 for the kit and a 59″ track.
Ryobi’s is $289 for the tool with a track, or $399 for the kit.
Mafell’s is $860 for tool-only, or $1360 for the 2-battery kit.
If you want a track saw but your budget is tight, look at corded models. I still use my corded saw on occasion when doing repetitive cuts on smaller panels. Personally, I strongly prefer cordless, as I almost always bring my saw to my work, and it’s easier to do so without having to worry about plugging in and taming a power cord.
See Also: Is Festool’s Track Saw Now Obsolete? Corded vs. Cordless in 2020
But if you go cordless, brushless motors, high capacity and high output batteries, and fast chargers add significantly to the price.
I wish that good track saws didn’t cost so much, but they do. If it was possible for tool brands to cut costs without compromises or sacrifices to track saws’ precision or performance, wouldn’t they?