Ryobi Releases Cordless 18V Track Saw
Ryobi has released their version of the cordless track saw which is fully compatible with their 18V batteries. After months of fulfillment issues, they are finally readily available at Home Depot department stores and online at Home Depot's website. If you are already invested in the Ryboi 18V line, then you can be out the door with the track saw and guide rail at $329. As of writing this article, you can purchase the bundle with two 18V batteries and a charger for $399. We aren't affiliated with Home Depot or Ryobi in any way, but if you are looking to purchase one you can purchase them here online.
The Ryobi 18V Track Saw offers the ONE+ HP Technology which combines a powerful brushless motor, advanced electronics and Lithium-ion High Performance batteries to deliver up to 260 linear feet of cutting per charge, when paired with their 18V batteries.
The included track that comes with the Ryobi 18V Track Saw is split into two 27.5" halves for up to 55" of controlled, accurate cutting. One thing to note is that most other manufacturer's guide rails are 55". However, other manufacturers are not split into two halves. This can be inconvenient for setup and accuracy, but more on that later.
The track saw delivers up to 1-15/16" depth of cut at 90 degrees with the included track. This is close to the depth of cut of our most used track saw, the Festool TSC55, which offers 2-1/8" depth of cut. The Ryobi Track Saw offers a standard range of degrees from -1 degree to 48-degree bevel capacity with full adjustable depth. For cutting at a multitude of angles and for precise score and plunge cuts.
There are a few other features that are worth mentioning such as - rack adjustments and anti-tipping adjustments which will ensure smooth and accurate cuts. The dust port is compatible with 1-1/4" and 1-7/8" dust collections out of the box.
What We Like
The Ryobi Track Saw is packed full of features, and on paper competes with most of the well-established track saws on the market. We expect most people will be using the Ryobi Track Saw to rip through sheets of plywood, and our experience showed us that this track saw is able to fly through plywood. In testing, the cutting on softwood was a great experience. We also tried some thicker hardwood, but admittedly it wasn't as smooth as some of the competition.
In our testing, we primarily used the Ryobi Track Saw to rip plywood and the cuts were clean and accurate after setting up the guide rail properly. If this is your primary use for the saw, then you will be happy with the results.
The best part of the track saw, in our opinion, is that it uses the Ryobi 18V battery line. If you're already invested in the Ryobi line of tools then this could be a very easy pickup for the avid DIY homeowner. We wouldn't be surprised to see this going for less than $300 once we get closer to the holidays.
The dust collection was great, and it was on par with the other track saws on the market. We used a normal 1-7/8" Ridgid hose for testing and did not have any problems keeping up with dust collection. We also tested using Festool's 36mm hose and it also had great results. From our testing, it seems like the dust collection is going to be reliant on how good the dust extractor is.
At first glance the track left a sour taste in my mouth when I first heard that it was a split track. The split track has it's disadvantages, which we will get into later, but I have to admit that it has it's advantages. By splitting the track in half, it allows for easy transportation and storage. Ryobi claims that there will be longer tracks in the future, but they are not available yet as of writing this article. If longer trackers become available then I would highly recommend them if you are able to store them easily.
The Ryobi Track Saw has a full range bevel capacity, and one of the biggest advantages of their proprietary track is that it keeps the track saw locked in and prevents the track saw from tipping. Most track saws on the market do not have a built in anti-tipping feature, and they will topple over when put in the 45-degree position. The Ryobi does not have this problem. We were pleased to see that they were paying attention to some of the smaller details.
What We Don't Like
The biggest complaint about the Ryobi Track Saw is the guide rail track. Ryobi decided to go with a completely proprietary guide rail system, which means that it is not compatible with other track saws or other standard accessories, such as ratchet clamps. The track saw does come with a single proprietary clamp, but it would have been nice to use our Bessey ratcheting clamps like most other guide rails allow.
The track comes split into two pieces of 27.5" and when they are put together make a 55" track. The advantage of this is that it saves on shipping, makes it easier to haul around and makes it easier to store. The disadvantage is that you need to join the two pieces of the track together and ensure that you have a straight edge. If you take your time setting it up, then you won't have an issue. However, it is an unnecessary step that adds variance, and it could have been avoided if Ryobi made a full one-piece 55" track like all of the other popular manufacturers. As stated earlier, Ryobi has stated that they plan to come out with longer tracks, and if they do it will be a great addition.
The last complaint about the track is that the splinter guard that Ryobi uses is very underwhelming. The adhesive is not very good which leaves the rubber falling off and flopping around. When initially cutting through the rubber, it chipped away rather than leaving a clean edge. We had some leftover replacement Makita splinter guard strips that we used, and it was a much needed upgrade. We are hopeful that Ryobi will fix this issue in the future when they come out with the longer tracks.
Aside from the guide rail, we found an issue with the riving knife. The riving knife is designed to prevent binding of the saw blade when making long rips. The problem with the Ryobi Track Saw is that the riving knife extends below the blade when plunging, which means that you cannot make plunge cuts with the riving knife attached. If you want to make a cut with the riving knife installed, then you need to start on the outside of the workpiece. This is a major design flaw.
Ryobi is marketed for at-home and DIY construction projects and we feel that the the Ryobi Track Saw falls directly in line. If you are already heavily invested in the Ryobi 18V tool line and you are primarily doing DIY projects at home, then this track saw will be a great addition. This track saw will have no problem ripping through plywood and other softwoods for at home projects.
We wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone that needs an accurate track saw for at-home projects. It is priced affordably, and it gets the job done.
If you are a professional woodworker (or just a tool snob), then you might be better served looking at Festool or Makita. We have links to our favorite models below.
Festool and Makita track saws will be able to handle hardwood and thicker material much easier than the Ryobi. In our experience, they produce cleaner cuts with less tear out. The Makita and Festool tracks are also interchangeable, which also allows for future upgrading (or side-grading). Lastly, most aftermarket accessories are made to work with the Festool and Makita style tracks, which might not be available for the proprietary Ryobi tracks.
|Track Size (Additional Tracks Available)||(2) 27.5"|
|90° Cut Capacity With Track||1-15/16"|
|90° Cut Capacity Without Track||2-1/8"|
|45° Cut Capacity With Track||1-7/16"|
|45° Cut Capacity Without Track||1-9/16"|
|Bevel Capacity||-1° to 48°|
|Dust Port||1-1/4", 1-7/8"|
3-Year Limited Warranty