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Make Precision Cuts With Ease: A Bosch Track Saw Review

Whether you need to cut composite decking or red oak, this well-designed tool smoothly cuts through just about anything.
Bosch Track Saw Review

Photo: Mark Clement for Bob Vila

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A track saw is a must-have for many contractors and DIY woodworkers. Its claim to fame is its ability to make cuts as straight as those of a table saw—without having to lug a table saw around. It’s a star at making precise on-site plunge cuts. In essence, it’s a circular saw that mounts to a guide rail, and for projects such as deck building and making bevels and crosscuts, it’s a time- and labor-saving tool. Track saws have been around for decades, but recent design advances have made them more popular and affordable, so it was time to test. Along with four other track saws, I tested the Bosch GKT13-255L Professional Track Saw, breaking down sheet goods like birch plywood and cutting wood and composite decking for picture frame and breaker board details. I assessed saw-to-track engagement, ease of plunge action, adjustments, dust management, storage, track length, and blade change. The Bosch came out ahead of all other track saws as a result of its superior design, ease of use, and performance.

A Bosch track saw rests on plywood before testing.
Photo: Mark Clement for Bob Vila

Bosch GKT13-255L Professional Track Saw, At a Glance

Rating: 9.9/10

SPECS

  • Track saw type: corded, 13 amps
  • Cord length: 12½ feet
  • Weight: 10.4 pounds
  • Blade diameter: 6½ inches
  • Bevel range: -1 to +47 degrees
  • Max depth of cut at 90 degrees: 2¼ inches
  • Max depth of cut at 45 degrees: 1.65 inches

PROS

  • Outstanding saw-to-track engagement for smooth operation
  • Generous 13-amp power for cutting a variety of materials
  • Simple, intuitive plunge mechanism for greater ease of use
  • Long, flexible cord allows for greater portability and continuous power
  • Compatible with long tracks to make it suitable for larger jobs
  • Sensibly designed dust ejection port angled away from user

CONS

  • Tracks are usually sold separately
  • Proprietary arbor size so only Bosch or Bosch-compatible blades can be used
  • L-BOXX handle has to snap into a tab to lay flat, and users have to unsnap it to use

Get the Bosch track saw at:

What is the Bosch GKT13-255L Professional Track Saw?

This is a premium unit intended to deliver professional, high-quality, dependable results in a wide spectrum of remodeling and woodworking projects. It’s built with stout electronic feedback control (EFC), which keeps the blade moving at a consistent, clean-cutting rotation. Unlike other track saws that ride on a square rail, the Bosch rides on a thin, low-friction bead (a protrusion) that runs the length of the track. The Bosch corded track saw includes a 48-tooth 6½-inch blade and an L-BOXX storage box. The swiveling dust port can either connect to a dust collection system or simply eject sawdust away from the work and the user when not using a dust collection system. The saw bevels from -1 degree to +47 degrees, so a slight back-bevel can be achieved. This is ideal for detailing old wood doors, for example. (I mainly used it at 90 degrees on sheet goods and decks.) The Bosch track and connector kit is sold separately at some retailers and with the saw at others. This kit includes two 63-inch tracks, a connector, and a nylon bag that makes traveling and storage much easier.

How easy is it to use?

The Bosch corded track saw is a premium tool with creatively designed features that remove many pain points of using typical tracks saws. For me and the work I do (remodeling and deck building), two things in particular set the Bosch apart from some of the best track saws I’ve used. First, the plunge release is a simple, intuitive thumb switch at the top of the saw’s rear handle. There are no secondary releases or other hidden buttons to have to figure out. Second is the track. The unit rides on a thin bead, rather than the more typical approximately ½-inch tall by ¾-inch wide rectangular, raised rail. As a result, the Bosch saw’s base locks in with fewer wiggles and adjustments than other saws. It’s a little thing, but I like it. In addition to the track’s precise design, just a single length of it is plenty long for many types of cuts, including long cuts. The longest ones I make are about 16 feet for breaker (or parting) boards and picture frames in wood and composite decks. While I can connect the two 63-inch sections, one is long enough to get a decent push. Then I move the track and the saw and cut again. Working alone, it is easier to keep the saw on the cut line while still making good progress with a single section of track. Additionally, this smooth, quiet saw ejects dust away from me and the cut line to the rear of the saw.

Mark Clement testing the Bosch Track Saw on plywood

Is the Bosch track saw worth the money?

All in, the Bosch track saw and rail kit total nearly $1,000. Similar—similar—results are possible for less, using an old-school site- or shop-made “shoot board” and worm-drive circular saw with a decent blade. However, the same quality of cut, dependability, convenience of deployability, efficiency of storage, and ease of use across multiple tasks is directly proportional to the price tag. This is especially true with expensive sheet goods like birch plywood where the veneer layer can chip out without a splinter guard.

Also proportional to the price tag is the track length and stability. For something I use on can’t-be-wrong cuts, I prefer a tool I don’t have to fuss around with, even a little, to engage the track. Even a tiny wiggle to get the saw set on the track can nudge it off the line. It’s hard to emphasize how important being careful and double- or triple-checking is before pulling the trigger and plunging the saw. Sure, if I mess up a piece of birch plywood, it’s inconvenient and I’m out $100, and maybe it means another trip to get a new piece. But if I mess up all the boards on a deck, we’re talking extra days of labor and thousands of dollars in the trash.

What I like about the Bosch track in particular is that, while all track saw tracks have rubber strips and splinter guards on the bottom to help them stick to the work and protect it from chip-out, some tracks are too short for what I need them to do. The Bosch 63-inch track hits a sweet spot for me. It’s easy to transport and store. It delivers enough length to get a suitable amount of work done without unnecessary resets. Plus, it’s small enough for shorter cuts like those across plywood or doors. (This Bosch track saw is also compatible with 31.5-inch, 43.3-inch, and 82.5-inch tracks.)

Is the Bosch GKT13-255L right for you?

Even for busy woodworkers, deck builders, and remodelers, a track saw is not usually an everyday tool. So, is the Bosch track saw right for you? For me and a colleague who also owns the saw, the answer is unabashedly yes. And while the Bosch decidedly skews to the professional user, this tool would also be a good addition for serious hobbyists who turn out outstanding woodworking and other projects. For moderate use and a more modest price tag, the Makita 6.5-Inch Plunge Circular Saw is a good alternative and also made our list of best track saws.

Price notwithstanding, I think the Bosch track saw is top drawer and its few downsides—a proprietary blade arbor and a storage box handle that the user has to snap into place and unsnap to use—are minor. The fit and finish are plush. The adjustments work smoothly. Even the blade-depth gauge, something I find to be finicky across the category, is easy to suss out. The blade-change lever and arbor lock are sweet. Blade changes are a snap. Again, a small thing, but it results in a finely executed tool whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that the cord is actually an asset. There’s a subjective but real correlation, oddly enough, that many of us tool reviewers have noticed: Good tools have long cords. Better tools have long, flexible cords. At 12.5 feet, the Bosch has both. For cuts like breaker boards and picture frames on decks, I want to spend zero extra seconds worrying about a battery—of which you really need two, so there’s extra cost involved, too. I’d rather focus on the work at hand, relying on uninterrupted power so I can leave my decks and other work with primo cuts. I want cuts that also make my customers’ eyes light up when they walk out on their decks for the first time. On that metric, the Bosch track saw delivers across the board.

Where to Buy the Bosch GKT13-255L Professional Track Saw

Get the Bosch track saw at:

Meet the Tester

Mark Clement is a carpenter and professional remodeler who loves telling stories about tools and how-to’s in any way he can. As an editor of Tools of the Trade Magazine, he “learned about as much about building—and life—as is possible to learn” and got paid to interview carpenters from all over the country. That insight became the bedrock for his novel, The Carpenter’s Notebook. With his wife, Theresa Clement, he is the co-principle of the blog MyFixitUpLife.

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