I am a fine woodworker and in 2004 I bought a several-thousand-dollar table saw. In 2005, I bought this Festool plunge cut circular saw that runs along a rail instead of being stationary like a table saw. While the Festool doesn’t replace my table saw, if I were a home hobbyist or a contractor considering a table saw I think the Festool would be a cheaper and far better substitute.
Though it is on rails, it is fearsomely and effortlessly accurate. I can always get within 1/32″ of where I want to be, and the cut is always square. Really square. It fits in a small box and weighs just a few pounds which makes it easy to transport to and from job sites. It has great electronics, and a riving knife. It is way safer than a table saw, especially for less experienced users. It really shines in cutting down sheet goods. Dead accurate, no tearout. If you want to rip cut lots of lumber it’s not the right tool. But every once in a while it can pull that off, too.
This Festool saw is part of a larger system that includes a dust catchment system, expandable rails, and other accessories. As such, it can get expensive, but you only have to buy what you need. I don’t always think much of Festool stuff- it is generally way overpriced for what it does. This tool, though, for 5 or 600 bucks can easily replace a table saw of twice the cost. Other circular-saw-on-a-guide-rail setups are not in the same class. The Festool is about the details. If I were contemplating a really low-end contractors table saw, the Festool would still be my choice.
The Festool plunge saw comes in two models and this video details the differences between the two. Festool has also put together a short video of the saws in use, the second video below. --OH