Roger Bisby tries out the cordless plunge saw from DeWalt.
I have tried a number of cordless plunge saws (or tracksaws) over the past 12 months from every manufacturer selling in the UK and this DeWalt stands out among them, being one of the few that could be driven like a corded machine straight through a worktop in a single pass. You might say that it jolly well ought to at over £700.00, but when you look at top end cordless models across the various manufacturers they are all commanding a hefty price. You will be the best judge of whether the cordless premium is worth paying, but if you are working on sites where they don’t like trailing leads you may have no choice but to go the cordless route.
If you haven’t yet come across the Flexvolt system it is a dual configuration of the battery to run the cells either in series or parallel. You can have a lot of runtime on the 18V and, if you are using an 18V tool but if you put it in a 54V machine, it automatically changes the output. It follows that the higher the voltage the less runtime, but if it cuts faster you end up at the same place in terms of power consumed per cut – you just get there quicker with no tendency to stall. DeWalt says you can cut 78 linear metres of 18mm plywood cut on one charge. I tested it in 40mm worktop and got 24 metres linear. That was with a new blade, so it will obviously diminish.
The plunge action on this saw is unique because it has a parallel plunge rather than pivoting from the back. To be honest I can’t really work out if this makes a whole lot of difference, but the fact that this allows the riving knife to follow in behind the blade is a major safety feature. If you have ever had one of these saws kick back you will know it is not pleasant. There is an anti-kickback knob which you can switch off, but it is probably the best mechanism I have seen of this type.
As good as the battery system is a lot of the extended performance is due to the blade. The XR Flexvolt blades have a raker tooth on every third tooth to clear the kerf or cut. Like all cordless optimised blades it is also thin kerf. DeWalt says that this gives you up to 63 per cent more length of cut. As I didn’t try the constructor blade I can’t vouch for this but I would advise against using anything but the thin kerf blade in any cordless saw. Tracksaws are for plunge cutting and precision work and the thin kerf blade does that job perfectly.
I really like this saw but I think it could be refined a little in terms of the adjustments to depth and angle. A micro adjustment similar to the Mafell would be nice for the price but it is good for series 1.