Full-size table saw accuracy in a pint-size portable package
When I first saw the track that comes with the Ryobi PTS01 brushless track saw, I thought “why did they do that?” The track is only 27.5-inches long. However, you get two of them, and they attach together to become one 55-inch track. I thought I would just leave it assembled in one long track, ready to cut full-size sheets of plywood.
Then I went on vacation and took the Ryobi cordless track saw with me! This saw and the tracks fit in my suitcase! Try that with a Festool or Makita!
- Track packs down into smaller packages than other saws
- Excellent cut quality and precision
- Easier to cut large sheets of plywood with a track saw than with a table saw
- Good power and performance
- Easy to use with good ergonomics
- Can tilt the saw 45 degrees without it falling out of the track
- Additional tracks will be available which will allow ripping the full length of plywood
- The dust port fits common dust extractors out of the box
- The dust port does not fit standard wet/dry vacumes without an aftermarket adapter
- At the time of this writing, additional tracks are not available for purchase (they are coming)
The Case for Using a Track Saw
If I had to choose between a table saw vs a track saw, I would choose a track saw. I own both. I use my track saw to cut down large sheets of plywood to more manageable sizes before I start cutting them on my table saw. The Ryobi PTS01 track saw makes quick work of this common task. Track saws will also give you cleaner cuts than a table saw, especially in plywood which is prone to splinter when cut across the grain.
If you have never used a track saw before, the first thing you need to do is cut through the excess black plastic material on the track. This makes it so the track lines up EXACTLY where the saw is going to cut. This is what makes a track saw so precise, especially for large sheets of plywood.
Ryobi PTS01 Track Saw Performance
When I started using the Ryobi PTS01 track saw, I tried to push it hard to see what it would take to bog it down. It has an 18V brushless motor and provides plenty of power. If you really try, you can stop the blade—but only by pushing at a ridiculously fast rate of speed in 1.5-inch thick material. Even when I did this, the cut remained clean.
The Ryobi track saw feels great in the hand and all the controls are exactly where you would expect them. My only issue with the ergonomics is that there is no thumb rest for guiding the saw from the front left base like some models have. (See photos below).
I find this technique very helpful in keeping the saw firmly on the track, especially when tilting the saw at an angle. My saw has a divot for your thumb and makes it more comfortable than the Ryobi which has sharp edges in that spot.
Pro Tip: Use blue or pink styrofoam sheets under the wood you are cutting and set your track saw to cut 1/8-in through the wood. The syrofoam supports the wood while you cut into it without worring about damaging your sawhorse, workbench, or in my case, a truck tailgate. It also give you a smoother cut and helps with dust control when using a dust collector or shop vacuum.
Ryobi Track Saw Design Notes
The Ryobi track saw track is made of two 27.5-inch sections that are combined by using a pair of track connection bars. Once connected, the tracks form a near-seamless 55-inch track. When making cuts, you do not even notice the seam.
The Allen wrench stored on the saw fits these track clamps.
One cool trick the Ryobi PTS01 track saw has up its sleeve is you can let go of the saw when it is at a 45-degree bevel and it will not fall out of the track. Many of Ryobi’s competitors can’t do that, even with saws costing twice as much!
When you first look at the Ryobi PTS01 you will see about half a dozen screws that look like they need to be removed to change the blade. This is not the case. Instead, you flip the lever pictured below to the lock/wrench icon. Next, plunge down the saw. The saw arbor automatically locks at a small window. From there you can reach the arbor nut (after removing the battery of course). Overall, I found it very simple to change the blade on this Ryobi track saw.
To make a cut, you have to press a plunge release lever with your thumb, then pull the trigger.
The blade is entirely hidden within the body of the saw until you release it and make a plunge down. The blade springs back up in the body of the saw once the cut is made. This makes track saws one of the safest types of circular saws to use.
One of my only major complaints about the saw is that the dust port is the exact same diameter as a standard wet/dry-vac hose. You can’t connect them together without buying an aftermarket coupler…or using duct tape. On a positive note, you can use common dust extractors.
Ryobi Track Saw Price
The Ryobi track saw comes either as a bare tool or as a kit. Model PTS01B (the bare tool) retails for $329 and includes the plunge saw, a 40 tool ultra-thin kerf blade, two 27.5-inch tracks, and a track clamp. The Ryobi PTS01K kit adds a charger and 4Ah battery and retails for $399. Additional sections of tracks are available according to Ryobi.
The Bottom Line
Track saws give you table saw performance with everything except making the smallest cuts. The Ryobi track saw is for anyone who needs a good, well-made track saw that doesn’t break the bank. I own several of the premium competitors’ track saws and would be perfectly happy with this one once additional tracks are available (so that I can rip 96 inches). Ryobi claims that should happen by the end of Q3 2022.
Where this saw really shines though is with anyone who is traveling or has limited space in a vehicle. This is the perfect saw for building or storm recovery teams. Having a reasonably-priced track saw that you can pack into a suitcase or luggage when on mission trips makes this tool particularly ideal for churches and other non-profits.
Ryobi PTS01 Specifications
- Blade size: 6-1/2 in.
- Arbor: 5/8 in.
- Track: 2 x 27.5 in (included)
- Cut capacity w/track (90°): 1-15/16 in.
- Cut capacity w/track (45°): 1-7/16 in.
- 90° cut capacity (no track): 2-1/8 in.
- 45° cut capacity (no track): 1-9/16 in.
- Bevel capacity: -1° to 48°
- Track adjust and anti-tip adjustments
- Adjustable depth control knob
- Speed: 4,300 RPM
- Dust port: 1-1/4 and 1-7/8 in.
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- PTS01B includes: 6-1/2″ track saw, 40T carbide-tipped blade, (2) 27.5-in. tracks, (2) track connection bars, riving knife, track clamp, blade wrench, track wrench, and operator’s manual
- PTS01K includes: 6-1/2″ track saw, 40T carbide-tipped blade, (2) 27.5-in. tracks, (2) track connection bars, riving knife, track clamp, blade wrench, track wrench, 18V 4Ah HP battery, charger, and operator’s manuals