Festool has announced a new 18V cordless track saw, model TSC 55K, that they say delivers top-of-the-line precision and innovation, as well as unparalleled accuracy cut after cut.
The new Festool TSC 55K features first-of-its-kind integrated kickback-stop technology.
Track saws are already often used when for tricky cutting tasks, as their plunge-cutting capabilities can provide more control and a safer cut compared to trying to cut into the middle of a board or sheet with a traditional circular saw. Added anti-kickback measures seems like another step forward.
With the new kickback-stop technology, the Festool TSC 55K can detect the moment kickback occurs during a cut, and as the saw begins to lurch backward towards its user, the saw will seize motor rotation, halting the blade. After the kickback stop activates, the saw is immediately ready to use with zero downtime.
The new TSC 55K features a similar 18V battery power system as its predecessor, and it can be operated using one or two batteries. Generally, you’ll want to use two batteries for the best performance.
Festool is also launching new thinner kerf saw blades that also feature new tooth geometries for improved cutting performance and longer blade life.
The saw can be used with a dust collection bag or separate dust extractor vacuum. Using Bluetooth-equipped batteries will allow for wireless activation of Bluetooth-equipped (or retrofitted) vacuums.
Pricing and Availability
There will be 3 purchasing options.
Cordless Track Saw TSC 55 KEB-F-Basic (576717): $499
Cordless Track Saw TSC 55 5,2 KEBI-F-Plus (576718): $699
Cordless Track Saw TSC 55 5,2 KEBI-F-Plus-FS (577008): $799
The Basic configuration is the “bare tool” option, as shown above. The Plus option is the full kit, adding in (1) rapid charger and (2) 18V Bluetooth-equipped 5.2Ah batteries. The Plus-FS option is the full kit bundled with a 55″ guide rail (FS 1400).
Buy Now: Bare Tool via Tool Nut
Buy Now: Kit via Tool Nut
Buy Now: Kit + Track via Tool Nut
ETA: June 15, 2021
Questions and Answers
Is the depth scale in metric or imperial units?
The cutting depth scale is in imperial units in North America versions, and metric for countries outside of North America.
Are there any other differences aside from the anti-kickback tech?
Comparing the new TSC 55 KEB with the previous version, TSC 5 REB, there are two major differences. First, the Festool TSC 55 KEB has the “Kickback Stop” anti-kickback technology as discussed above. But also, it forgoes the riving knife of the older TSC 55 REB model.
There are other benefits as well- thanks to the new thin kerf saw blades, Festool has realized up to 50% longer runtime per charge.
On their website, Festool says that the new saws cut up to twice as fast. This is due to the new blades not only cutting with a thinner kerf, but the tooth profiles have been updated with a new cutting geometry.
Thanks to our new generation of saw blades and the concentrated torque of our cordless track saws, you will be able to work up to twice as fast with an extended battery range. Maximum cutting performance meets perfect cutting quality.
Festool also says that the brushless motor delivers as much power as their AC-powered track saw [when powered by two batteries].
What is the kerf size?
The TSC 55 REB blades cut with a 2.2mm kerf, and the new saw blades for the TSC 55 KEB have a 1.8mm kerf.
Are there other blade differences?
The new blades provide a longer overall life of up to 40% compared to the previous version.
Festool TSC 55 KEB Saw Blades
Since the previous model had a riving knife designed around a 2.2mm kerf, the new 1.8mm thin kerf blades are NOT recommended for use with previous machines (TS 55, TSC 55). For a riving knife to function properly, it needs to closely match the saw blade diameter. If your kerf width is thinner than your riving knife width, that’s going to be a problem.
Here are the new SKUs:
WOOD RIP CUT HW 160×1,8×20 PW16 (205559)
WOOD UNIVERSAL HW 160×1,8×20 W28 (205560)
WOOD FINE CUT HW 160×1,8×20 WD42 (205561)
LAMINATE/HPL HW 160×1,8×20 TF52 L (205562)
ALUMINIUM/PLASTICS HW 160×1,8×20 TF52 A (205563)
Diamond saw blade ABRASIVE MATERIALS DIA 160×1,8×20 F4 (205564)
This seems to be another benefit of the Kickback Stop feature – it will function independently of saw blade thickness, type, or material.
Sounds like Festool are taking a few leaves out or Mafell’s playbook.
These are interesting changes, but one of the big selling points for Festool before, compared to Makita, was the riving knife. Anti-kickback would help, but almost seems regressive. Sort of like buying a SawStop then taking the riving knife off. Seems odd to me, but maybe the reduced friction helps the speed and battery life? I’m not sure, but it’s something to consider, I suppose. All in all, why buy this over Makita, Bosch, or even DeWalt?
One of Festool’s appeals is that they have an entire system of tools and accessories surrounding their guide rail system. Makita has a track saw, and that’s pretty much it (correct me if this is wrong). Festool has routers, an MFT table, and a whole lot of other compatible tools and accessories. Plus, they emphasize dust extraction, and the Bluetooth batteries should make for easier wireless activation.
My feeling is that this saw’s predecessor was designed around giving users a cordless track saw experience comparable to that of the corded saw. Now, perhaps after reflecting upon sales trends over the past few years, Festool decided to create a different and improved cordless experience that also justified the design and production of a new series of blades.
The Bosch saw doesn’t have appealing specs – https://toolguyd.com/bosch-cordless-track-saw-profactor-2021/ .
The Dewalt saw has its own guide rail system and it doesn’t really have an ecosystem surrounding it like this saw. It’s competitive and a great choice for Dewalt FlexVolt cordless power tool users. But for users who can choose any system, I prefer the other options.
The Makita is cheaper, and convenient to use, but accessories aren’t as plentiful and don’t seem as available as Festool.
The Makita is cheaper, and convenient to use, and although there are some attachments for select tools, they don’t seem to be as widely available as Festool.
I was of the impression that the Makita is good enough. But, I also wouldn’t buy the Makita right now until it’s clear whether there’s a 40V Max XGT replacement. Even then, a track saw powered by a single 10-cell XGT battery would not provide anywhere near as much runtime as this saw will with 2x 5.2Ah batteries.
Compared to the older Festool, the Makita had a pricing advantage. This new model gives Festool a leg-up with respect to the Kickback Stop feature and also the potential for performance and runtime advantages. It will be interesting to see if or how Makita counters with any of their own improvements.
When you have a thinner blade, it removes less material than a thicker blade. The wider the kerf, the more effort the saw exerts in making the cut.
Plus, it takes a little less effort to spin that thinner and lighter blade at the same speed.
So, there are inherent benefits when it comes to runtime and the amount of power needed to make a cut. Optimize the tooth geometry, and it can further add to the benefits.
Consider shoveling a driveway. If your goal is to clear one pass down the driveway, working with a 12″ shovel will be easier and less fatiguing than with a 15″shovel.
Too bad that they don’t or can’t make a retrofit kit to allow use of the thinner blades on the old TS55 REQ corded saw – which can use some help in the power area.
I completely agree.
While Makita doesn’t advertise it well, they have a number of accessories to pair with their tracks. Quickly, top of mind:
1. Guide for Router
2. Guide for Jigsaw
3. Guide for Circular saws
4. At least two models of Circular saw with track compatible bases
But are they available in the USA? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of these accessories before.
1. Guide for Router
2. Guide for Jigsaw
Looking at the jigsaw adapter, it doesn’t look to be available at any regular dealers. It’s available on ebay, and a dealer I’ve heard of but never shopped at with a 4-5 week leadtime, and a Canadian dealer. Interesting. Thanks!
I have the router guide, it works wonderfully.
The circular saw guides are available, but I have the track saw and not the circular saws.
Makita and what they bring (or don’t bring)to the USA are a bit of an enigma to me. The same can be said for Bosch. For Makita items that are not available in the USA – I have sometimes shopped at this Canadian Store:
I’ve tried looking into it, but not many Makita dealers seem to carry these attachments.
It could be worse – try searching for different types of angle grinder wheel guards. Most brands have Type 1 guards as an option, but it’s a process in finding the right one for different tools.
They are as Roy pointed out. With the exception of the jigsaw adapter, all others are on Amazon
Good to know!
You have to look closely through, some of those only ship from Amazon UK. They (Amazon) seems to have been doing that a lot lately with a lot of misc. tools and accessories.
No-brainer that it will cut longer but the quality of cut will suffer.
Thinner blade wobbles and flexes. It’s just a marketing gimmick to fool customers into thinking that saw is more efficient. I suspect the new saw isn’t going to cut as well as the old one; I hope I’m wrong.
I’ve bought enough Festool products to know that product changes are never “gimmicks” to “fool” people. I have the new saw and the cut quality is the same. Faster cuts, longer battery life and increased blade life? I’m in………
ADMIN NOTE: This commentor is affiliated with Festool USA.
Check out kt 18 ltx bl from metabo 😉
It sounds like Festool haven’t really changed much in this new model , and called it a new model, It would be good if Festool had a one battery system like Makita’s XGT 40 volt, that two battery system I think is a pain,
I’ve been thinking about this.
If Makita cloned the 18V X2 model and made a 40V Max XGT model without any improvements or added features, I’d rather have the 18V, battery hassle and all.
If comparing between brands, at least the Festool allows for single battery mode, but you’re going to be limited as to what you can cut efficiently.
Agree that the single battery is a differentiator. I like the X2 platform, I know they refused to upgrade the batteries in the cell and were losing ground to red and yellow brands….. they truly could’ve went with the 21000 cells in their packs and stayed super competitive
21700 are the latest battery technology I think.
Metabo uses these in there LiHD batteries.
the have a new kick arse plunge saw with a class leading 66mm cut depth.
did the old machine have a 2 battery setup – that’s interesting.
better blades – would help some but just more power is a nice add. did the RPM happen to change too.
Yes. Their “turtle and hare” modes are unforgettable.
I have 5 festool saws. 2 corded 55’s, a 75, a hkc55 and the previous version tsc55. Save for the 75 the cordless 55 with 2 batteries is by far the most powerful and easiest to use. If you are thinking about a festool TS buy the cordless. It’s just better. I use a track saw more than most people and have taught numerous people how to use them also. I don’t understand the move away from the riving knife toward the antikickback. When cutting solid wood the riving knife is very helpful. I also don’t see how one could get injured from a kickback incident. It is not flesh detection, it is kickback protection. I have had a few kickbacks and while suprising they have never led to an injury or near injury.
I’ve learned not to make assumptions when it comes to injuries. The last time I looked at injury reports, there were so many “standing still with saw at user’s side” types of lacerations to their legs.
I get your point, but this technology won’t mitigate that type of injury.
No, it won’t. My point is that this could *potentially* be a way to prevent further kickback injuries. Speaking for myself, I don’t have the data to make that conclusion.
From what I can tell, the Kickback Stop looks to be another way to stop kickback, and one that doesn’t care which blade you use.
Are there any downsides to using sensor-based anti-kickback tech over a riving knife? Possibly, but I’d think Festool would have thoroughly tested it to ensure it’s an upgrade with no downsides.
I agree with the comments about the Festool saws – I’ve used the corded and cordless 55, and cordless is WAY more useful. The reason is not just the power source, but the dust bag which is surprisingly effective, and makes it so much easier to do what a track saw does best: bring the saw to the work. With the corded model I would work in the basement tethered to a cord and dust extractor – a nice setup and in absolute terms this results in less dust for sure. But if I wanted to break down plywood (one of the best uses of a track saw) in the garage, my choice was don’t use your dust extractor and generate a huge amount of dust (not good) or move your dust extractor (a pain). Cordless all the way for a track saw.
On the injury issue – I also don’t understand the removal of the riving knife. It can’t possibly make a difference on power use unless I’m missing something. Could it interfere with the kickback detection somehow? IDK. The kickback detection is a nice feature assuming it works well – I like that the saw is immediately useable right after, unlike Sawstop where it’s a major project and investment to get up and running again. I’ve had a couple of track saw kickbacks and they are unsettling – would be good to feel protected against that.
I thought I understood how it works, but now I’m not so sure given that the “Kickbackstop lever” looks like it could serve as a small splitter.
I’ll look into this further.
Does the new thin kerf blade still hit the same guide edge line as the 2.2mm blades? If not, you’d need to install new rubber splinter strip along your guide rails and dedicate them to use only with the cordless saw… (or tolerate ~0.2mm inaccuracy?).
Good question, I’ll see what I can find out.
I am under the impression that it was generally advised to check or replace the alignment/splinter guard strip with different blades.
I’ll look into this, and will post an update when I learn more.
@Stuart – Off subject but did you know that after an almost 2 year absence Porter Cable has started posting on Instagram again this year?
They have kinda let them just die out, but maybe they are trying to find an exclusive store now?
This was posted a month ago:
As Kane mentioned, I noticed that they resumed activity, but I have no idea what it means. A big push for Father’s Day promotions?
Nothing new here, Mafell had the corded MT55cc as a riving knife free saw and you could use a really thin kerf Tenryu blade with it and it’d do a full depth cut like a hot knife through a thick block of butter when it came to stacked plywood.
Just there’s a lot more marketing behind this one and the cordless variant.
Are you sure the riving knife is removed? What’s the riving knife like looking thing sticking out the bottom of the guard behind the blade in the photo ?!?
That’s the “Kickbackstop lever.” It does look like a smaller riving knife.
Stuart, Festool are so sure of it, that they allow their demonstrators to show the function in action:
Not trying to pick a fight, but you have come off as very biased against Makita recently. I have read your posts and recognize that their PR department is apparently not the best. However, I would argue that everything that a Festool tracksaw does there is a Makita equivalent either readily available through Amazon or a third party company providing something with equivalent function. They definitely make a rail adapter for their routers, circular saws, and jigsaws, and you can even use other brands routers on their rail. I think the only thing Festool has which I envy is the cabinet shelf drilling system.
“Biased”? I think just critical. Those aren’t the same thing.
– won’t share details except through social media,
– pumps out a brand new battery platform without explaining why,
– refuses to answer questions about apparently contradictory marketing messages and product releases, and
– releases a mishmash of the tools available globally,
They might merit a little criticism.
None of that means Makita is a “bad” power tool brand.
Stuart is hardly bias against the whole brand though. He just published an article praising one of their battery-tech ideas: https://toolguyd.com/makita-xgt-replacement-batteries/
Makita was also the subject of five of the last twenty articles. That’s a lot of attention for a brand he is “biased” against… unless you meant his “bias” was too much interest and enthusiasm. 🤔
No, this was me never seeing any Makita guide rail attachments before, not even knowing they exist, whereas Festool’s selection is vast, visible, and easily available.
Respectfully, you’re over-analyzing.
I can go to the local lumberyard and can buy Festool accessories same-day. I can go to Amazon and order Festool components to be delivered next-day.
Does Home Depot, Acme, Tool Nut, or other common Makita dealers have any of these track saw products I have never seen or heard of before? No.
Does Makita have parallel guides? A track-compatible work table?
I’m well-informed of what I can buy at a moment’s notice if the task came up. With some brands, you have to dig deep to see what special order accessories might be available via very specific dealers. Out of sight, out of mind.
Looking at their cordless jigsaw, https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/XVJ03 , there’s no image of the jigsaw being used with a track saw. There’s no mention of any such accessory at all. To their credit they *do* show it under “you might also be interested in.” Outside of this post I have NEVER known Makita to make any track saw attachments. Amazon has it, but it’s only delivered from Amazon UK. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001U3XC9W/?tag=toolguyd-20
I’ve made the correction.
I’ve never seen these accessories before, and why have I never actively searched for them? Well, I don’t use Makita jigsaws or routers…
I agree that Makita is probably close to Bosch USA in terms of doing a very poor job communicating anything about their products. However, I still don’t think it’s fair to say Makita doesn’t have anywhere near the availability of useful accessories available for their track saw compared to the other brands, especially when it comes to fine woodworking/cabinet making. Most Festool users are probably supplementing with improved aftermarket accessories anyway.
Will you find it in a big box store on the shelf? Probably not.
Is it impossibly hard to source for anyone with the specialty knowledge needed to get the most out of a track saw? Definitely not
Makita Rail Adapter
Makita Miter Adapter
It’s true Makita doesn’t have the MFT table, however you can use it on an MFT table or easily fabricate your own equivalent.
I’m bringing all of this up because I got into the Makita system thanks to a deal I found on your wonderful website. I haven’t had any problems sourcing accessories for it even though you rarely cover them on here.
Knowing Makita does have some attachments, albeit with mixed availability, raises their competitiveness a little. While I’m frustrated that I was never aware of their attachments, I’m glad they exist.
I do know they have guide rail connectors, although I skipped Makita’s and Festool’s and ordered TSO’s recently.
Still, you must admit, it seems that Makita treats their guide rail and attachments as discrete products whereas for Festool they treat it as an interconnected ecosystem.
Consider Festool’s cordless lineup – they didn’t really start promoting their 18V cordless power tools as part of a system until a little more than a year ago. https://toolguyd.com/festool-cordless-power-tools-2020-launch/ Personally, I still don’t see it as a coherent system in the same way as I view other brands’. This comes down to a matter of opinion, exposure, and familiarity.
If there’s any tool, brand, or product aspect I’m not familiar with or exposed to, and readers aren’t asking questions about it, I’ll be in the dark until one of those three things happen. I’m not omniscient.
The Makita 18V X2 track saw is still a solid buy independent of any cordless system considerations. Outside of select power tool accessories, it’s the *only* Makita tool I keep in my workshop full-time. I tried to put it away once or twice, and brought it back within a week each time.
The new Festool could upset the balance a little bit – I use Festool dust extractors with a Bluetooth remote and really like the idea of Bluetooth batteries for automatic activation, and I like the idea of thinner blades for better performance since I’ve started to use my corded track saw on thicker boards.
I completely agree that Makita does a absolutely terrible job of selling it as a connected system. It’s nowhere near as cohesive as what Festool offers.
However, I wanted to point out what is available as part of general knowledge sharing for someone interested in track saws because I do think you can get the most bang for your tracksaw buck with Makita and aftermarket compared to Festool and Festool branded accessories. Or, go Festool tracksaw and consider some of the other accessories.
I absolutely appreciate it!
Maybe this is just an area of insufficient exposure. With Festool, I can very quickly identify and order a guide rail adapter for their routers. For Makita, I don’t/didn’t even know they have a guide rail accessory for their trim router (or at least not that I could have recalled), and I’d have to look up if they have any current full-size routers, let alone attachments for them.
Here’s what Makita says about the compatibility of their track – router guide:
“Allows use of guide rails with select Routers including models RP0900K, RP1800, RP2301FC and Compact Router models XTR01 and RT0701 with required plunge base 196094-2”
I believe that the XTR01 is the compact cordless router.
Toolnut and others – beoynd Amzon carry it
Two thoughts –
It’s surprisingly inexpensive for a Festool product. $800 for the saw, batteries and track.
The inability to change the markings for the depth scale (fractions in N.A. and metric elsewhere) is dumb. There’s plenty of us who work in metric, but we apparently can’t buy the metric version?
Once the pandemic is over, the Festool Roadshow will likely be at one, if not more, of the paint stores, lumber yards, or woodworking stores within 2 hours of my residence. Any questions I have will be answered and there will be multiple demonstrations that show the tools’ capabilities and full line of accessories.
Makita does not provide this service so it is understandable how the capabilities of its track system are not well known, especially in the US.
For full disclosure, I do not own any Festool or Makita power tools. If my needs progress beyond the DIY/hobby level, I would like to have some Festool in my toolbox, especially a domino joiner.
Festool usa shows the tool in the plus version with two chargers but in the description it says one charger.
Toolnut also shows just one charger for the plus version.
46 comments and not one “…but Festool is too expensive…” comment. Well done guys! Lets do the same for SawStop.
Ha ha. This made me smile.
Same thing seems to happen whenever there’s a new power tool announcement – folks compare the MSRP to the “street price” of a similar product that’s been on the market months or years earlier (or what their roommate’s uncle bought on “clearance” a decade ago) and complain about how much the new one costs.
I am interested in the battery platform. Because this would be my only Festool battery tool I am interested in battery charge time. There is nothing worse than having the benefit of no cord then running short on battery to finish the job. Because I cannot just swap the batteries from another tool I will need to wait for a re-charge. How long will this take? Also, the article of review states the full kit comes with (2) rapid chargers. Am I reading that as 2 chargers or does the charger charge 2 batteries at the same time? Or maybe I am just misunderstanding something. Because the Festool site only pictures 1 charger in the kit. And it looks to only be able to charge 1 battery.
Sorry – at the time of this posting, Festool images showed (2) chargers included in the kits, but the description mentioned (1) charger. I asked for clarification but have not yet heard back.
Seeing as how the product images have been updated to now only show (1) charger, I’d assume that’s what you get in the kit.
I’d like them to offer 2 chargers for a tool that uses 2 batteries. I do appreciate that the tool could run on 1 battery in a pinch.