New Bosch Cordless Track Saw, But is it the One You Want?
According to Bosch USA, new 18V cordless track saws are coming soon, as part of their new line of “Profactor” cordless power tools.
The new Bosch 18V cordless track saw will be launching as both a bare tool (GKT18V-20GCL) and in a kit (GKT18V-20GCL14).
Unlike other brands’ high-performance cordless track saws, the new Bosch Profactor 18V cordless track saw will be a one-battery tool.
The new Bosch cordless track saw has a 5-1/2″ saw blade size, and Bosch says the saw delivers the performance of a corded track saw.
In comparison, Festool’s 18V TSC55 2-battery cordless track saw has a 160mm (6-1/4″) saw blade size, Makita’s 18V X2 cordless track saw (XPS01PTJ) has a 6-1/2″ blade size, and Dewalt’s FlexVolt 60V Max 1-battery cordless track saw (DCS520T1) has a 6-1/2″ blade size.
Festool’s TS55 series of track saws have a 6-1/4″ blade size as with their cordless model. Bosch’s most recent corded track saw has a 6-1/2″ blade size.
It is uncertain as to why Bosch went with the smaller blade size, but this could have been done for performance reasons.
Festool’s cordless track saw can be powered by one or two batteries, but it works best with two. Makita’s 18V X2 is a two-battery tool, and while Dewalt’s FlexVolt track saw only needs one-battery, it’s a higher-voltage 60V Max device.
The new Bosch Profactor cordless track saw will be “Connected Ready,” where you can add an optional module (sold separately) for Bluetooth connectivity. Bosch does not describe what this provides for, apart from being able to customize settings and receive detailed feedback.
Features and Specs
5-1/2″ blade size (20mm arbor)
Motor speed: 2800-5500 RPM
Max cutting capacity: 2″ at 90°, 1-1/4″ at 45°
BiTurbo brushless motor
Optimized for Profactor Core18V batteries
Adjustable plunge settings
Weighs 9.0 lbs (without battery)
Weighs 11.1 lbs with 8.0Ah battery (calculated)
9″ H x 14.5″ L x 7.9″ W
ECO mode seems interesting – Bosch says that this extends battery life by up to 30%. It’s not clear how this is achieved. If this slows down the tool, won’t it take longer to complete the same task?
We’ve seen something similar before, in Hitachi/Metabo HPT cordless power tools. Their 18V brushless grinder, for example, has an auto-mode that slows down the motor when the tool is not under load.
Bosch says this about the motor and battery tech:
This saw is part of the PROFACTOR System, which pairs BITURBO Brushless Technology with a CORE18V PROFACTOR battery.
BITURBO Brushless Technology is a high-performance motor and drive-train system designed to deliver power comparable to high-demand corded tools. The kit includes a CORE18V PROFACTOR Performance Battery, which provides the wattage to take advantage of BITURBO tool technology.
This suggests that you won’t see maximum performance unless you use Bosch’s Core18V Profactor cordless power tool batteries.
The power comparable to high-demand corded tools might require some interpretation. As mentioned above, this Bosch cordless track saw has a 5-1/2″ blade size while popular corded and cordless track saws have 6-1/4″ and 6-1/2″ blade sizes.
The bare tool (GKT18V-20GCL) comes with a VAC024 vacuum hose adapter, dust bag, and L-Boxx-3 carrying case. The kit (GKT18V-20GCL14) also comes with (1) 8Ah Profactor CORE18V battery and a charger.
Price: TBA for the bare tool, $749 for the kit, guide rail sold separately
We asked Bosch USA for pricing information, but they have not yet responded.
Update: Ohio Power Tool has a preorder listing, with the kit priced at $749.
Buy Now via Ohio Power Tool
Compare: Makita Bundle via Tool Nut
As a one-battery tool, the Bosch Profactor track saw might be simpler to manage than two-battery tools.
Smaller blade size – lower cutting capacity.
Concern over replacement blade availability.
Limited breadth of Bosch Profactor cordless power tool lineup.
Our Stance – Causes for Hesitation
While initially excited about the idea that Bosch is FINALLY bringing a corded track saw to North America, I got over that sentiment quite fast.
Bosch’s new Profactor cordless track saw seems like it will be most compelling to Bosch 18V users, specifically those that plan to fully buy into their Profactor system of BiTurbo batteries and higher capacity Core18V batteries.
Bosch announced their “Misfit Crew” of next-generation cordless power tools two years ago, and most of those tools have never seen the light of day. Those tools are to be announced again in two months, as part of the Bosch “Profactor” cordless power tool series.
Although Bosch might be releasing their cordless 12V axial glide miter saw here in the USA, what about a 10″ miter saw? Cordless table saw? Dust extractor? I wouldn’t commit to Bosch’s Profactor lineup of 18V cordless power tools until their commitment is known.
For users who might be okay shopping outside of Bosch’s 18V system, the new Bosch track saw has a couple of compromises that seem to stem from its blade size and 1-battery design. They’re not deal-breakers, but their potential ramifications need to considered.
If the Bosch cordless track saw was engineered with a typical 6-1/4″ or 6-1/2″ track saw blade size, I would potentially be concerned over how it might perform, especially compared to other cordless track saws that operate at higher voltages. But with a smaller 5-1/2″ saw blade, this is less of a concern.
However, while the 2″ max cutting depth at 90° might be enough, the cutting capacity is reduced to 1-1/4″ at 45°.
Additionally, that 1-1/4″ seems to be for without a guide rail, which the saw would ride on top of.
Compared to the competition, namely cordless track saws from Dewalt, Festool, and Makita, this Bosch saw has the lowest cutting capacity. In my opinion, this is not much of a concern when making 90° cuts, but it could be limiting when making 45° cuts.
Speaking as someone who has used corded and cordless track saws on countertops and 2x construction lumber, the saw blade size and its cutting capacity might be a limitation.
Although not regularly, there are times when I would need more cutting capacity than this saw would provide.
Additionally, application speeds might also be a potential downside. I would expect that, due to its smaller blade size and max motor speed rating (taken from the online user manual), the Bosch saw should be easily bested by the Makita saw in terms of application cutting speeds.
Compared to Bosch’s saw, Dewalt’s maximum (on-paper) cutting speed is lower (surprisingly), and Festool’s is higher, although not by as much of a lead as Makita’s saw.
Makita’s 18V X2 cordless track saw (bare tool via Amazon) operates at 2500 – 6300 RPM with a 6-1/2″ blade size, while this Bosch 5-1/2″ saw has a max speed of 5500 RPM.
With a 6-1/2″ blade cutting at 6300 RPM, the linear cutting speed at the edge is ~179 ft/s, and with a 5-1/2″ blade cutting at 5500 RPM, the linear cutting speed at the edge is ~132 ft/s. If my math is correct, and assuming that actual under-load motor speeds are close to on-paper no-load values, the Makita saw blade has a 35.6% faster linear cutting velocity.
If it helps, here is another way to think about it. You have two wheels, one 5-1/2″ in diameter, and the other 6-1/2″ in diameter. Roll each wheel one complete turn. The larger wheel rolls a longer distance. Now roll the larger blade 6300 times, and the smaller blade 5500 times. The larger wheel covers a much greater distance. Simplifying things, the larger wheel that rotates at a faster rate is going to get to any destination faster.
Real-world results could – and likely will – vary. Still, I would spend less and go with Makita’s proven and very well-regarded 18V X2 cordless track saw, or Festool’s 18V TSC 55 track saw. Spend a little more, and you get the Festool kit with a guide rail as well.
Buy Now: Makita Track Saw Kit via Acme Tools
While I can appreciate the saw potentially being more compact with only one battery, it weighs in at ~11.1 lbs with an 8Ah battery. Plus, a track saw is likely to be used with a guide rail and probably also a dust extractor vac. Track saws are hardly ever compact in practice.
I would have been more excited if Bosch designed their new cordless track saw with a larger blade size, although that might have required more power than a single battery could deliver.
With that in mind, do you think that the smaller blade size and lower cutting capacity is tied to Bosch Core18V Profactor battery performance limits, or the possibility that Bosch 18V users might try to power the saw with their existing lower capacity and lower output non-Core18V and non-Profactor batteries?
Would I Buy This?
I would say NO, at least based on what I know about Bosch’s new Profactor cordless track saw thus far.
I might be more open-minded if it had a larger blade size, or I didn’t think the 45° cutting capacity could be a potential limitation. In theory, a one-battery track saw that performs as well as competing saws could be nice. But can this Bosch saw perform as well as competing saws?
Would I buy this if it had a 6-1/4″ or 6-1/2″ blade instead of a 5-1/2″ blade? Probably not – my experiences with Makita’s 18V X2 cordless track saw have been stellar so far, and I have also had very good experiences with my corded Festool track saw.
What does this saw offer that competing models don’t? Bosch has had several years to study competing models – what does their Profactor cordless track saw do better? Anything? And that’s why I would not buy this at this time.
Should You Buy This?
I’d like to be open-minded, and so I would advise checking back in a couple of months.
Compared to Festool TSC 55
Festool’s TS/TSC 55 track saws have been very popular, and so replacement blades and accessories are widely available.
This saw can be powered by one or two 18V batteries, with limited speeds when only powered by a single battery. The saw weighs 8.2 lbs without any batteries.
It has max cutting depths of 2-1/8″ at 0° and 1-11/16″ at 45°. This could mean the difference between being able to cut thicker workpieces, or having to either flip your work and risk an uneven edge or grab a second saw with a larger blade.
The Makita and Dewalt saws have larger blade sizes – 6-1/2″ compared to the 6-1/4″ on the Festool.
Festool’s kit is less expensive than Bosch’s, at $699 vs. $749, and for only $50 more, the $799 kit also comes with a 55″ guide rail.
Buy Now: Festool Kit via Tool Nut
Buy Now: Festool Kit w/ 55″ Track via Tool Nut
Read About Bosch’s Corded Track Saw:
New Bosch Plunge-Cutting Track Saw, Now Available in the USA
Read More About Bosch Profactor Cordless Power Tools:
Bosch Profactor Cordless Power Tools Teaser
Bosch Profactor “Hitman” Rotary Hammer w/ Biturbo Tech & Powered by Core18V
First Glimpse: Bosch “Strong Arm” Brushless Circular Saw
New Bosch Cordless Axial-Glide Miter Saw, USA Launch Uncertain
Is Festool’s Track Saw Now Obsolete? Corded vs. Cordless in 2020
#TrackSaws #Cordless #Bosch18V #BoschGKT18V-20GCL #Woodworking