As with many of Festool’s other power tool designs, there is a lot of hype building behind their new Carvex jigsaw. Festool’s marketers masterfully describe the saw as being revolutionary, redefining, unparalleled, and unmistakably the best jigsaw.
In general, I like Festool’s products, and have purchased a couple of their tools and products over the years. I feel that, quite often, the hype behind Festool tools is well-deserved. However, I am also very heavily pro-Bosch when it comes to jigsaws. I only use Bosch jigsaws and Bosch jigsaw blades. The only exception is when I can find Bosch-made Craftsman jigsaw blades at incredible pricing.
Thus, I might be colored in my opinions about the saw. As always I will try to be as objective as possible in discussing the new product, but I know that subconsciously I am full of subjective bias. There’s a tug o’ war going on inside my mind to see if my pro-Festool or pro-Bosch jigsaw feelings win out.
I had not heard good things about Festool jigsaws in the past. To be more precise, I don’t recall ever hearing about how Festool’s jigsaws bested competing products. From what I have read and heard, Festool’s jigsaws did not really stand above the competition.
In conducting research for this post, I started off at Festool’s product page for the Carvex. While I am not easily overwhelmed by information, there is a lot to process here. One thing is for certain – Festool crammed a lot of interesting and appealing features into their new saw. Hype aside, it might very well be revolutionary.
Triple Blade Guidance – carbide blade guides serve to virtually eliminate blade deflection, which results in straighter cuts, even in thicker materials.
Plastic Splinter Guard – a replaceable splinter guard prevents chipping and leads to cleaner better-looking cuts.
Stroboscopic LED Lights – 4 high intensity LEDs surrounding the blade are timed to synchronize with the saw blade’s oscillations, giving the appearance of a motionless blade. This is said to help with cut line visibility and tracking. The LEDs can be set to strobe mode, always-on, or off.
Interchangeable Base Plate System – the Carvex 420’s base plates can be swapped out tool-free. There are 6 options:
- Angle base – can be adjusted ±45° for beveled cuts on inside and outside corners.
- StickFix felt base plate – replaceable hook-and-loop felt lining protects delicate worksurfaces
- Low-friction dimpled base plate – glides easily over most materials and especially rough surfaces such as OSB
- Metal cutting base plate – more durable than the standard base for when pushed over metal surfaces
- Hard fiber base plate – low-friction phenolic surface that is best used on wood and similar materials
- Guide rail and trammel base – allows the saw to be used with Festool guide rails
FastFix Blade Chuck – a new tool-free blade chuck that makes blade insertion and removal quick and easy.
Adjustable Chip Guard – it can be adjusted vertically and provides for high visibility, excellent dust extraction, and user protection. If removed, an integrated blower clears the dust from the cut line.
Speed Adjustment – an adjustment knob controls stroke speed, from fine to aggressive (3,800 SPM) with a total of 4 settings.
Variable Speed Trigger – the D-handle model (there is also a barrel-grip design), has an auxiliary trigger and lock-on button in addition to the speed control adjustment knob.
Dust Extraction Port – can be used with a Festool CT dust extractor or other dust collection systems (including shop vacuums).
Brushless Motor – less noise, longer service life, extended battery life (the Li-ion cordless model will follow the corded models to market).
Carvex 420 Technical Specifications
- 400W (3.64A at 110V)
- Accepts T-shank blades
- 1″ Stroke length
- 500-3,800 strokes per minute (varies depending on model)
- 4-3/4″ maximum cutting depth in wood
- 3/4″ maximum cutting depth in non-ferrous materials
- 3/8″ maximum cutting depth in steel
- Weight: 4.2 lbs (corded), 5.1 lbs (cordless)
- Removable power cord
- Kit comes with systainer storage, (2) jigsaw blades for wood, chip guard, splinter guard
- Corded barrel grip, model 561 593
- Corded D-handle, model 561 608
- Cordless barrel grip, model 561 633
- Cordless D-handle, model 561 651
- Cordless kits come with 18V 3.0Ah Li-ion battery and charger
- Optional bases are available separately or via accessory kit
- Accessory kit, model 497709, includes all of the base plates and inserts, a circle cutter, and replacement splinter guards and felt.
Price: $350 for the D-handle or barrel-grip corded models, $200 for the base plate and adapter accessory kit.
Buy Now(via Festool Products)
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Buy Now(via Woodcraft)
I think that the strobe lighting is what gets people most hot and bothered about the new Carvex 420:
The complete system will cost you $350 plus $200, plus $75 or $115 more if you want to use the accessory adapter with a guide rail. The base plates are available separately for about $22 and up.
Wow, wow, wow. The Carvex 420 is a brushless multi-based jigsaw with strobe LED lighting that can freeze a blade’s motion for easier cutline tracking. Not to mention Festool’s standard treatment, which includes a splinter guard, chip guard, superb dust extraction, and removable power cord.
But in all of the promotional videos I watched, and all the marketing materials I read, I didn’t see anything to suggest that the Carvex will perform better in practice than the less expensive and higher-amperage Bosch jigsaws I use and love.
I am really torn here. Just looking at the Carvex 420 features and specs, it looks like a very versatile and capable jigsaw. It could very well be revolutionary even, but I am not convinced that it is the best jigsaw on the market. Competing models, such as by Bosch, are very competitively featured and aren’t really lacking.
I do really like the idea of different bases – especially the hook-and-loop (Velcro-esque) felt-lined one for use on delicate materials.
Perhaps I feel underwhelmed by the saw’s design in order to balance the pro-Festool hype I often share in, but it’s hard to say.
Umm is it just me wondering why Festool chose the “420” moniker? Looks like a great tool but not sure I’d have put those #s on it. If you’re not sure what I am talking about do a search for “420” online and you will quickly see why April 20th is a very popular day for junk food sales around the country.
I am sure there is very logical reasoning behind it. Technically, the full model numbers are PS 420 EQB and PSB 420 EQB.
Ressurecting a zombie here, but for posterity:
PS/B/C 400 version 2.0
It’s their fourth jigsaw (400)
But the initial model had issues and they revised the blade guidance system (actually regressed to that found on the PS/B 300).
I can’t help but think that there will be some moron that decides to touch the blade not realizing that it’s moving. I guess either way, I didn’t realize that it was all that difficult to cut with blade that appears to be moving.
There’s probably a big warning in the manual about this, or mention that the strobe lighting mode shouldn’t be used without the chip [and blade] guard securely in place.
The “moron” would have to be deaf and blind to the noise and vibration
Didn’t you know? !
Morons ARE deaf and blind to noise and vibration! I’ve seen it in action.
Sounds very impressive. Did I read somewhere that Festool had pulled back on the release of this saw some time ago in order to get it right? This would fit well with the Festool-Protool ethic.
There is also some buzz out there that some of their new track saws are subject to a problem (hang-up) in retracting. Its got me holding off on buying one for my own use – having used a Dewalt track saw in the past – but thinking that the new Festool is a “cut above”.
I remember hearing something about delays as well. Some of the marketing videos are from 2011, so there some delays.
I also read recently that there was a major problem with the latest track saws, prompting an informal recall. A formal recall will probably follow.
I purchased the previous model tracksaw, and although I don’t use it very frequently these days, I feel it was worth the extra expense.
Some, if not all, Festool dealers participate in offering Festool’s risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee trial period.
I know that mafell also has a super-high priced jigsaw ($500?)… How do you think this compares to theirs?
The price I saw for the Mafell P1cc is $680, via Timberwolf Tools. I’m not sure how it would compare in practice, but the Mafell has a 900W motor, compared to the Carvex’s 300W one.
The Mafell also comes with separate easy-change base plates and a bunch of guide rail accessories.
LORDDiESEL (GJ Forum)
I have a top of the line Bosch for one reason… It’s the best jigsaw out there.
End of story.
Which Bosch jigsaws are the go-to recommendations? I’d be interested in doing a side-by-side with the Festool PS300 I got recently.
The Bosch JS572E is my pick at the moment, with the older 1590EVSL being the former champ.
I would definitely recommend the Bosch 572, but I am curious to how it compares side by side.
My JS572EN came out of the box in sore need of adjustment. The blade did not sit at 90 degrees to the baseplate. After consulting the owner’s manual – I was able to use the anti-splinter insert and a second (reference) blade to re-set the saw with a screwdriver. Not terribly inconvenient – but a bit of a surprise for me since I’ve found most Bosch tools to be good right out of the box. Once reset – the Bosch saw works very well – but I I might still look one of the new Festools in barrel grip – for its added features. BTW – in my commercial career we had long ago settled on Bosch as our jigsaws of choice – and had converted some older (1584VS) barrel grip saws to dedicated use for coping with a Collins coping foot. My experience with Mafell tools has been limited to timber-framing – where we had used one of their 230V beam saws and 230V beam planes – finding them to be much more capable (and costly too) than their Makita equivalents. We did only a few timber-framing jobs (the market in our area seemed to go as fast as it came) – so ended up selling our Mafell tools – hanging on to the Makita 5204NA (16-5/16 inch) saw and our smaller Makita 1806B (6-3/4 inch) planer – which we thought to have more general application
LORDDiESEL (GJ Forum)
Here’s my take. If you use the saw all day long, buy the best. I use the hell out of my bosch, but it’s not in my hands 8 hours a day. It might be a different story if that were the case. But in the video, it shows them cut a long miter with it. Who the hell does that? This tool isn’t a ‘do all saw’ for some home handy hacker. Any pro would use a table saw or a skill saw with a cut guide.
I don’t get the part about brushless motor if it is a corded too…. technically an AC motor is brushless but its technical name is induction motor. unless I’m missing something.
I thought it was odd as well, but that’s the language Festool uses. You can have brushes in corded motors. The takeaway for me was that the Carvex’s brushless AC motor should provide for lower noise and reduced maintenance.
I’m a little rusty on my motor knowledge. After going to wiki to refresh my memory a bit, both AC and DC brushless are technically the same motors. An induction motor is mainly used in appliances because it lacks magnets and cheaper to make. So i get it now…hope that in the near future all corded tool brands offer a premium AC brushless option just like the DC brushless we are currently transitioning too 🙂
festools latest innovations leave me unispired
The Carvex I’m sure is a quality saw however not worth the additional cost over Bosh.
A freind of mine who works for a dealer in Festool products had this to say
” I asked the festool rep why this is better than my Bosh?
His reply..It’s no better in performance,only dust collection’
Festool rep also said he has bosh at home.
The CMS router table is a bad joke at 1600.00
They also came out with some nice flashlight cube for $175.0 apiece
To top it off they offered a work stool/storage for 350.00
Seems to me they try to reinvent products and charge sky high prices for their efforts.
Am I the only one who expects an “in depth look” to include actually using the tool in question? I suppose Stuart’s opinions about what he read and saw on the Festool website does have some value, but I’m disappointed that the article didn’t really provide what the title promises. Even worse, the the section titled “First Impression” is even more deceiving IMO wihtout hands-on contact.
At the time of the preview I didn’t have a test unit in-hand and was unsure as to whether I would be able to get my hands on one.
I often add First Impression sections to new product previews to create clear separation between what I know about an upcoming product and what I think about it. That way facts and opinions are muddied together as little as possible.
well, i used to love bosch and stood by them completely. until recently i sent my jigsaw to get fixed which i figured was just a trigger even though it was only a year old and comparatively rarely used. low and behold they just called and told me it was beyond economical repair. it needed just about everything i assume could even fit inside the housing. so they said i could use the 31 dollars that i put towards the repair which they told me not to do, towards a new bosch jigsaw. now i failed to mention that my bosch orbital sander ate it too and it was also pretty new and not used all that often…so i said no. I’m done with bosch tools. yeah they work great until they don’t. if your a homeowner sure…but if you make a living with tools, ill never buy another one. taking my chances with festal
Do Bosch come with a 3 year warranty, let alone if stolen replaced with an excess, I think not. Perfection comes with a price and a view on a tool not even used by a person isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Look, Festool has and deserves a grand reputation for building top quality tools. This is not debatable. What is debatable is whether it warrants a two to three times price hike over the standard bearer, Bosch. There comes a point when you are simply building a better mouse trap. Bosch INVENTED the jigsaw. And perfected its function some decades ago. Anything beyond it is feature driven only.
I have model 1587VS that is over a decade old. It still works flawlessly. Super straight cuts, smooth as glass operation, etc. What more do I need? I cannot speak to the newer generation of models like the 572 that do not have the “Clik’ blade change system that my model does. They should be faster with their one motion blade changing lever but as to operation and durability I cannot comment since I have not even come close to needing to replace my 1587VS. If I see a decade plus of reviewers telling me the Festool Carvex is the best thing since…well, a Bosch jigsaw then I may consider it. Until then I will be sticking with big blue.
Not Bosch, Scintilla AG, a Swiss company. They produced their own jigsaws as Lesto, etc. Bosch later bought the company as they did and still do with other small inventive companies.
I have two Bosch jigsaw both are used a lot sadly they don’t have a long life span .poor design with one as switch is only on light pins and falls off inside 6 months. Other has bad guides and grinds back off blade plus has now been in repair shop four 6 month while they try to find out y it will only run on slow ps Bosch multi saw in shop also being repaired
I have the mafell p1cc jigsaw and many other mafell tools, I’ve also had pretty much every festool jigsaw made in for the last 12-15 years which have all had a limited life span, mafell build quality, engineering & innovation is incredible, here in europe mafell are the choice for those that want the absolute best, whilst the cost is considerably more than anything else available, in the long run mafell are the most cost effective tools you will ever buy, I have mafell tools that are 25+ years old, festool were of a comparable quality before they became part of the tts group, i still have some old festo tools made when they were really good which are still going strong, whereas their recent offerings struggle to last beyond their 3 year warranty period, so now i just buy mafell. its sad the way festool have gone, you could liken the situation to Elu/Dewalt. Truth is festool, dewalt, makita, bosch etc are now all much of a much, if flashing strobe lights are your thing on a jigsaw then go ahead and buy the festool, however if you want the best jigsaw money can buy then buy the mafell.
I have a cordless barel grip Carvex + the accessory kit . I’ve had it for a couple of months now . I’m very pleased wit it . I’ve owned high end jig saws , ( Bosch , Metabo , and vintage Holzher , and Lesto models ) .
When I was on the road , all I carried was a Jigsaw , and a recip . With the right blades , I never felt the need for a Circ. Saw .
Of all the iterations I’ve used , I like the Trion and Carvex best .
The price stung a bit , but I’m happy .
BTW , I wouldn’t call myself a Festool fan boy . At the time I got the Carvex , I only had a CSX – for accurate small caliber drilling in tight spots .
In a more positive light: I love my Bosch, but must admit (ageing, cataracts) I’d love to give that stop-action blade strobe a try…..
Had the pleasure of trying the Festool Carvex 420 and the new Bosch js572eb.The Bosch is a great saw.But cannot be compared To the 420 it’s in a class of its own.Its like comparing a corvette with a Ferrari.No comparison.The Festool is the better saw.Try them both and you will agree.The 420 is amazing.
I have the carvex for some time, and it isn’t worth it. It is EXTREMELY noisey. Deafening. The blade guides don’t work thick material and you’ll see lots of sparks most of the time. Yes, adjusted properly. The dust kicks up when the light is on and the shroud down so it’s very hard to see. I so desperately wanted to love this jigsaw. Selling it and getting the cordless BL Makita.
I’ve been on a lot of sites to compare Bosch vs festool. The one thing I don’t see on all these comparisons is proper adjustment of guides-am I missing something? If you get sparks something is wrong. If you’re dumb enough to put your fingers by a moving blade you deserve a crayon because you’ll hurt yourself with a pencil. Figure your tool out or quit using them