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DeWalt has entered the plunge-cut circular-saw arena with the introduction of its DWS520K. Working in conjunction with a track, this saw makes straight, clean cuts with a minimum of fuss. Festool introduced this class of tool a few years ago and I soon wondered how I managed to get along without one.
Tracks for the DeWalt are sold separately and are available in three lengths: 46 in., 59 in., and 102 in. The saw also has a riving knife that retracts when you need to plunge the saw.
Accurate cuts with kickback insurance. There are zero-clearance plastic inserts on both edges, for near-splinter-free cuts, and the riving knife reduces the chance of kickback.
There are a few key differences between the DeWalt and the Festool. The plunge-action is fussier on the DeWalt: You have to place both hands on the back handle and apply pressure directly over the blade. On the other hand, the DeWalt can cut on both sides of its track, meaning you won’t have to spin the long assembly around when working. Both saws make very clean cuts.
Forced to pick between the Festool and DeWalt, which are both excellent tools, I’d choose the Festool. It’s lighter, easier to plunge, and has a better blade-changing mechanism.
The DWS520K sells for $480, about the same price as the Festool T55EQ. For about $500 you can purchase a kit, part no. DWS520SK, that includes the saw and a 59-in. length of track. Another kit, part no. DWS520CK, sells for around $600 and gets you the saw plus two lengths of track; 59-in. and 102 in. Purchased separately, the track costs $80 for a 46-in. length, $100 for a 59-in. length, and $230 for a 102-in. length. Go to www.dewalt.com/tracksaw for more information.
-Editor’s Note: Updated 4/23/09
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