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August 3, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Festool TSC 55 REB Track Saw Review

Festool TSC 55 REB decking

It’s always great when you see something new. The Festool TSC 55 REB plunge cut saw promises all of the power of corded, but with a battery. Similar to the Makita X2 cordless circular saw, the Festool TSC 55 REB saw uses two battery packs, but still runs at 18V. Festool’s new circular plunge cut saw can also run with either one or two batteries. Festool reduces the speed of the plunge cut track saw when using just one battery pack. With two 5.2 Ah batteries installed, the TSC operates at ~5200 RPM. That matches their corded TS 55 REQ plunge cut saw.


Festool TSC 55 REB Plunge Cut Saw Features

The Festool TSC 55 REB plunge cut saw also uses 2.3mm thick blades as opposed to special thin kerf blades. In fact, Festool recommends not using a thin kerf blade in this saw. The riving knife would be too thick for the cut and quite possibly cause binding issues. This particularly affects rip cuts across sheet goods or cross cuts in thicker 2x material. The idea with blade symmetry is that all of the same accessories can be used on both tools. Festool bills this saw as the cordless version of the TS 55 REQ. The included 6.3-inch plunge cut blade features a creative, staggered blade geometry. Festool specifically designed it to minimize noise during use—and it works.

Festool TSC 55 REB plunge cut saw front

Festool TSC 55 REB Battery Usage

The use of twin 18V 5.2 Ah battery packs actually comes with some more flexibility. Festool told us that you can technically run this tool with a pair of 14.4V batteries as well (though we don’t recommend it). In fact, all of Festool’s cordless tools can use 18V and 14.4V li-ion batteries interchangeably. The TSC 55 REB track saw only operates at full speed with two batteries loaded into the tool.

Festool TSC 55 REB track saw batteries

If you load just the left pack, you get a slower speed range between 2650-3800 RPMs (if you load just the right side you get nothing—the tool needs at least one battery in the left port in order to run). In testing, with two 5.2 Ah battery packs installed, the Festool TSC 55 REB track saw will cut approximately 100 meters of 3-ply 3/4″ plywood before requiring a recharge. That is some seriously long run-time.

Festool Power Select Choices

Festool is offering these systems under their new “Power Select” branding, which essentially means you can purchase them in Basic (tool/Systainer only) packaging, Energy (with batteries and charger), and/or Starter-sets with all that plus accessories. Since even the Basic model comes with the tool in a Festool Systainer you get the same level of commitment the company has to making sure your tools are easily organized and well-protected.

Festool TSC 55 REB cutting

Using the Festool TSC 55 REB Plunge Cut Saw

Festool includes a dust collector bag with this saw—something that really makes sense since a cordless model stops being cordless when you add a tethered CT Series extractor. The thing is, this dust collection bag attached catches around 90-95% of chips and dust. We did some cuts on plywood with the saw at Festool, and it was impressive how much dust was taken up. I repeated this test at home on some composite decking and you can see for yourself the difference between allowing the dust to eject from the port, and attaching the dust collection bag. There was almost nothing on either the plywood or my Decorators composite decking. It was amazing how much dust was collected from just a  single pass on 3-ply 3/4-inch plywood.


Festool TSC 55 REB dust trail
You can see where we started by leaving the dust exhaust open—but once we placed the bag onto the port the Festool TSC 55 REB collected nearly every last speck of composite decking dust.

The TSC 55 REB plunge cut saw also has a back stop that can be positioned and clamped into the track. It keeps the saw from coming backwards or up during a plunge cut. Combined with the front and rear full plunge cut line indicators, you can really make a very accurate plunge cut. Plus, by using the optional FS Rapid Clamp you make easily reproducible cuts over and over. The FS Rapid Clamp easily secures track to workpiece using a simple and familiar trigger mechanism. It even folds over for storage and transport.

Festool FS Rapid Clamp

Conclusion

The Festool TSC 55 REB Track Saw clearly leads the pack in providing consistent, accurate, dust-free cuts. The integrated riving knife lends a safety to each cut that we appreciate. We also continue to love the way Festool does such a fantastic job integrating their tools with both storage and dust extractors for a truly reliable system. At around $699 for the Plus kit ($499 for the bare tool kit), this saw doesn’t come cheap—but woodworkers should find it well worth the expenditure.

Festool TSC 55 REB Track Saw Specifications

  • Battery voltage 18/36 V
  • Blade speed (no load): 2650-3800/5200 rpm
  • Saw blade diameter: 6.3 in. (160mm)
  • Bevel range: -1 to 47º
  • Cutting depth (0º): 0-2.2 in.
  • Cutting depth (45º): 0-1.7 in.
  • Battery capacity: 18V 5.2 Ah x 2
  • Weight (1 battery/2 batteries): 10.1 lbs/11.7 lbs

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