Handle and Trigger Comfort
A power saw user’s comfort greatly depends on the design and qualities of the tool’s grip, On/Off trigger and safety interlock. The grips on most saws are either vertically or horizontally oriented. Which is better is largely a matter of personal preference; some woodworkers like vertical grips that are in-line with the saw blade, as found on the Festool and Hitachi, claiming that there’s less of a tendency to torque the blade out of alignment during sliding and cutting. Others prefer horizontal handles, as found on the Craftsman and Metabo, which, some say, reduce wrist fatigue during long cutting sessions. The Bosch 4410L offers the most user flexibility, with a hand grip that adjusts to four different positions: horizontal, vertical or slanted. I liked this handle the best overall. The Metabo, Makita and Craftsman have wide triggers (the Craftsman’s is good for right-handed operation only), and the latter two feature rubber overmolds like the Bosch.
The safety interlock buttons (which prevent accidental triggering) on the Bosch and Makita are well placed and very easy to operate. The Bosch features two buttons, to accommodate righties and lefties. The Craftsman and Metabo both lack an interlock button. I’m not a fan of Festool’s two-stage safety interlock system, which requires you to depress a button atop the grip AND partially press the trigger before you can pivot the saw head down, lift the guard and switch the trigger on. I also didn’t care for the Hitachi’s small single-finger trigger and interlock button. The grips on both the Festool and Hitachi are positioned to be most user-friendly when the saw is on a low bench, worktable or the ground.