Fresh out of the gate, DeWalt’s new 12-amp TrackSaw proved to be a powerful competitor. It’ll cut to 2-1⁄8" deep at 90° or 1-5⁄8" at a 45° tip. At 11.2 lbs., it’s heavier than the others, but the weight is nicely balanced and really a non-issue for horizontal cutting. The depth scale has good-old Imperial markings, and the tool locks in those depth and bevel-tilt settings securely. Unlike its competition, this saw has two lines of defense against kickback: a spring-loaded riving knife and a tiny catch on the base that prevents backward movement on the rail.
All this said, I had a few little problems with this saw. The plunge mechanism is a parallel link, which requires pushing the grip slightly forward and then down, similar to a handsaw motion. Until I got used to it, the plunge action didn’t feel fluid, and occasionally the saw would creep forward on the slippery rail as I plunged it. The saw could also use a splinterguard on the blade’s waste side to neaten up that edge.
The TrackSaw is priced neck-and-neck with Festool at $499 as of 2009, with a 59" rail included and a pair of really nice quick-action clamps. Here’s a feature-loaded machine I’m sure will just keep improving over time.