Bosch Track Saw Corded Tool Reviews

Bosch Track Saw with Plunge Action GKT13-225L Review


The Robert Bosch Tool Corporation in North America was formed in January 2003. Sixteen years later the first Bosch track saw hit North America. While the GKT 55 GCE track saw has been available in Europe for many years, they’re coming a little late to this party.

Now, in a market with sharp competition and a slightly higher price tag, the GKT13-225L will need to prove its worth. Fortunately for Bosch, this saw delivers a truckload of smart and useful features aimed at Pros, plus the quality of German engineering that all make it worth the wait.

Pros

  • Excellent cut quality, even with the stock blade
  • Intelligent rail design
  • Feature set that promotes precision
  • Helpful blade change system
  • Includes an L-Boxx for storage

Cons

  • Higher price point than most brands except Festool

Recommendation

Well, it was a long wait, but I think we benefited greatly from the GKT 55 GCE pedigree and its field service in Europe. The Bosch track saw is an excellent saw that produces repeatable, reliable, high-quality results across many applications. The only question left to ask is when will we see the cordless version?

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Track Saws 101

For the uninitiated, let me walk you through the basic concept of a track saw. It has all the same functionality of a normal circular saw, but it combines two features that put it in a class all its own, (with a price tag to match).

First, it’s designed to plunge. Track saws start inside a blade guard then plunge precisely down on a solid base for drastically increased accuracy over a standard circular saw.

Second, they’re designed to ride along accompanying rail systems that allow you to make very straight cuts anywhere you can lay the track. The ability to make straight line cuts without having to reference a fence or a wrestle an oversized or immobile workpiece through a table saw is critical to every discipline that works with wood.

So now that you get the basic idea, let’s take a look at what Bosch is bringing to the table. Spoiler alert, it’s a lot.

Get to Know the Bosch Track Saw

Key Design Features

The Bosch track saw comes equipped with a litany of Pro features. It has a soft start to reduce wear on the motor. While running, the GKT13-225L’s electronics help maintain speed even under a heavy load.

The plunging feature takes some getting used to since there is a standard trigger for the motor and separate release the plunge lock. The natural feeling is to pull down on the saw like a standard plunge saw, but you actually push forward. It’s just a different motion, but it didn’t take me long to get the hang of it and I’m sure it’s a safer way to take the plunge since it encourages two-hand operation.

 

The indicator for the plunge depth rotates to account for the thickness of the track so you can switch back and forth without doing the math. I found the gauge to be very precise.

Bosch Track Saw

The saw has a single bevel point with dual locks that give me confidence that my bevel cut is where I want it. It has a positive stop at 45 degrees. With the push of a button, you can go 2 degrees over to get that seamless miter joint.

The Bosch GKT13-225L sits on a magnesium baseplate to reduce weight.

Bosch Track Saw

It has a variable speed dial to adjust for different material, and an electric blade brake stops the blade in seconds and reduces downtime.

Bosch Track Saw

The dust port swivels to keep the hose of your extractor out of the way. According to Bosch, you can achieve a 90% dust collection rate with an appropriate dust extractor or shop vac. I don’t have a way to test that, but based on my use I’m inclined to believe them.

Cleverly Precise

Bosch includes a feature that I think is very clever. On the blade guard is a marking that shows exactly where the back of the blade kerf will be when you make a plunge cut. On the front, there’s a window with a red hairline that indicates where the front of the blade kerf will end. When your cut needs to be precise, these markers are invaluable and demonstrate to me that this saw gives Pros who need precise cuts the confidence and speed they need on the jobsite.

Oh, and the window drops down past the edge of the workpiece improving dust collection. Very useful.

Blade Runner

Every craftsman knows that a saw is only as good as the blade. Normally the first order of business in my shop for any new saw out of the box is to familiarize myself with the blade changing process by promptly yanking off the stock blade and tossing it in with the rest of the garbage. So if that’s you, listen up to this next part.

 

The Bosch Group includes two other notable brands. One is Dremel, the other is a little Italian blade manufacturer you may have heard of named Freud. This saw ships with a blade that says “made in Germany” but I’m suspicious that might not be its true heritage. Either way, it’s a 48T blade specifically engineered for the saw with the intent of providing a clean, quiet, and vibration free cut. And they nailed it.

Using the Bosch Track Saw

Making the Cut

I took this saw through 1-1/2 inches of Baltic birch plywood and it produced a glue line edge in a single pass. Now plywood is not the most grueling of tests, but I had laminated two pieces of ¾-inch sheets.

Bosch Track Saw

Every piece of Baltic birch is 11 plys, so that’s 22 plys with a thick layer of wood glue sandwiched in there. It’s enough to expose a poor quality blade that is susceptible to rapid heat build up, causing deflection and producing a beveled edge and a lot of curse words.

Bosch Track Saw

The 6-1/2 inch “German” blade performed admirably. It left a super clean edge with zero tear-out on the plywood. No binding or bogging down. As you expect from a premium blade, it has carbide teeth and has a coating on it to help it resist heat while it slices through resins and glue. It also has very Freud-like anti-vibration slots that provide a quiet and comfortable cut, and in general, makes this saw very nice to use. Regardless of where the blade actually comes from I tip my hat to Bosch for including a nice blade from the factory.

Guidance, Please

Bosch Track Saw

The Bosch GKT13-225L pairs with the FSN track guidance system that takes a somewhat different approach to a track system. Rather than two standard sizes like most others, the FSN track guidance system consists of single piece rails available in four lengths from 31-1/2 inches to 82-1/2 inches.

The idea is avoiding the need for frequent connection of rails and downtime during cut setup. Plus, a solid rail always provides straighter cuts than a rail with joinery. If you do need to connect the rails (which you will to get a full rip on a 4×8 sheet of plywood) connectors are available.

Each rail comes with a little plastic cover for the ends which is more clever than it seems. Sure, it protects the end of the aluminum rail from dents and dings, but it also rounds off the edge of the rail which allows the 12-foot power cord or dust extraction hose to slide more easily over the rail, reducing interference and distractions for you.

By the way, if a tool isn’t going to be cordless, I greatly prefer a long power cord that Bosch is good about including. It’s a small touch that shows that Bosch isn’t cutting corners. I’m always surprised at the number of times that “feature” comes in handy.

Riding the Rails

The first cut on the FSN rail trims the splinter protection strip for a zero clearance strip that really helps to eliminate tear out. You can replace it later if it wears out.

With Bosch’s single bevel point, the splinter strip works both square and bevel cuts with no issues. On the underside of the rail are two anti-slip strips that do a very respectable job of keeping the rail in place when clamping is not an option such as on flooring applications. However, for those cuts that just have to be in the right place, Bosch has quick clamps that are easy to install and quick to manipulate.

Bosch Track Saw

The Bosch GKT13-225L also has tension adjusters in the base plate that allow you to apply some tension to the track which can be helpful when making very precise cuts by controlling the rate. Bosch offers all sorts of other accessories for the track such as a miter gauge and a travel stop so you can completely trick it out.

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Final Thoughts

A few final thoughts on ergonomics and convenience. The Bosch track saw comes in a Bosch L Boxx which is a complete system that helps with stacking and mobility with your other Bosch tools.

The front stability handle on the saw is wide open and oversized for a good positive control feeling all the way through a long cut.

Blade changes are quick thanks to the plunge lock and spindle lock in the handle. The saw even has a flat motor housing so you can stand it up on the side making it quick and easy to change out the blade with the onboard hex key.

It really is those little touches that make a tool nice to live with long term.

The Bottom Line

Well, it was a long wait, but I think we benefited greatly from the GKT 55 GCE pedigree and its field service in Europe. The Bosch track saw is an excellent saw that produces repeatable, reliable, high-quality results across many applications. The only question left to ask is when will we see the cordless version?

Bosch Track Saw Specifications

  • Model: Bosch GKT13-225L
  • Motor: 13 amps
  • No Load Speed: 3,600–6,250 RPM
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Cutting Depth: 2.25″ at 90°
  • Bevel Angle: -1° – 47°
  • Height: 9.45″
  • Length: 14.4″
  • Weight: 10.4 lbs
  • Price: $599.00
  • Warranty: 1 year

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Kamloops
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Kamloops

I bought this saw about 2 months ago – when it came the baseplate was about 40 thous out of flat on the diagonal. Have ordered the tracks From Tool Nut but they are on backorder – Not sure how serious Bosch is about the business but they need to do better. A track saw without track is not worth the money . . .

Chuck
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Chuck

I think maybe they shot themselves in the foot by not doing what Makita did and made their track compatible with Festool. I love Bosch tools but I would be more likely to buy one if it matched up to Festool which seems to be the industry standard in my area. I own a Makita plunge saw and like that it plays with the Festool tracks and accessories.

tim boehm
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tim boehm

I have many quality bosch tools that have served me well over my 45 years in the construction field. But as you said it’s still a little pricey right now.

Steve Wagner
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Steve Wagner

The saw looks quite similar to the Mafell MT 55cc (style, layout, specific knobs, track), which is a compliment, the Mafell is an awesome saw. Bosch added the forward handle, something Mafell users have wished for.

Jeremy Vistica
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When and where can we buy this?