Festool TSC 55 REB Plunge Cut Track Saw Review
It’s always great when you see something new, and the TSC 55 REB plunge cut saw is a new release in America from Festool that promises all of the power of corded, but with a cordless form factor. Similar to the Makita X2 cordless circular saw, the new Festool TSC 55 REB saw uses two battery packs to give it both power and run-time. The difference is (aside from this being a plunge cut saw designed for use with dust extraction), Festool’s new circular plunge cut saw can run with either one or two batteries. The speed of the plunge cut track saw is reduced when you use only one battery pack. With two 5.2 Ah battery packs the TSC operates at the same ~5200 RPMs as their corded TS 55 REQ plunge cut saw.
Festool TSC 55 REB Plunge Cut Saw Features
The Festool TSC 55 REB plunge cut saw also uses the same 2.3mm thick blades as opposed to special thin kerf blades. In fact, using a thin kerf blade in this saw is actually not recommended as the riving knife would then be too thick for the cut and quite possibly cause binding issues—particularly on rip cuts across sheet goods or cross cuts in thicker 2x material. The idea with blade symmetry is that all of the same accessories can be used on both tools. Festool really is looking at this to be the cordless version of the TS 55 REQ. The 6.3-inch plunge cut blade that comes with this saw is also unique in that it features a creative, staggered blade geometry specifically designed to minimize noise during use—and it works.
The use of twin 18V 5.2 Ah battery packs actually comes with some more flexibility. Festool told us that you can technically run this tool with a pair of 14.4V batteries as well (though I doubt that would be recommended). In fact, all of Festool’s cordless tools can use 18V and 14.4V li-ion batteries interchangeably. In terms of the reduced speed on the TSC 55 REB track saw, the system works where you get full speed with both packs loaded into the tool. If you load just the left pack, you get a slower speed range between 2650-3800 RPMs (if you load just the right side you get nothing—the tool needs at least one battery in the left port in order to run). In testing, with two 5.2 Ah battery packs installed, the Festool TSC 55 REB track saw will cut approximately 100 meters of 3-ply 3/4″ plywood before requiring a recharge. That is some seriously long run-time.
Festool TSC 55 REB Track Saw Specifications
- Battery voltage 18/36 V
- Blade speed (no load): 2650-3800/5200 rpm
- Saw blade diameter: 6.3 in. (160mm)
- Bevel range: -1 to 47º
- Cutting depth (0º): 0-2.2 in.
- Cutting depth (45º): 0-1.7 in.
- Battery capacity: 18V 5.2 Ah x 2
- Weight (1 battery/2 batteries): 10.1 lbs/11.7 lbs
Festool Power Select Choices
Festool is offering these systems under their new “Power Select” branding, which essentially means you can purchase them in Basic (tool/Systainer only) packaging, Energy (with batteries and charger), and/or Starter-sets with all that plus accessories. Since even the Basic model comes with the tool in a Festool Systainer you get the same level of commitment the company has to making sure your tools are easily organized and well-protected.
Using the Festool TSC 55 REB Plunge Cut Saw
Festool includes a dust collector bag with this saw—something that really makes sense since a cordless model stops being cordless when you add a tethered CT Series extractor. The thing is, this dust collection bag attached catches around 90-95% of chips and dust. We did some cuts on plywood with the saw at Festool, and it was impressive how much dust was taken up. I repeated this test at home on some composite decking and you can see for yourself the difference between allowing the dust to eject from the port, and attaching the dust collection bag. There was almost nothing on either the plywood or my Decorators composite decking. It was amazing how much dust was collected from just a single pass on 3-ply 3/4-inch plywood.
The TSC 55 REB plunge cut saw also has a back stop that can be positioned and clamped into the track. It keeps the saw from coming backwards or up during a plunge cut. Combined with the front and rear full plunge cut line indicators, you can really make a very accurate plunge cut. Plus, by using the optional FS Rapid Clamp you make easily reproducible cuts over and over. The FS Rapid Clamp easily secures track to workpiece using a simple and familiar trigger mechanism. It even folds over for storage and transport.