Looking to find the best plunge saw available to handle your heavy-duty cutting requirements? These robust saws offer unique features you won’t find with similar circular saws, with high levels of control and more precise cutting action the name of the game. We’ve put together a go-to guide to help you make the best possible buying decision when shopping around for the best plunge saw for your needs.
Plunge Saws Explained
In short, plunge saws are a distinct type of circular saw. In the case of a plunge saw, a spring mounted component is used to house the blade itself. Another key feature of this design is a blade guard made from robust metal. This is always found at the right-hand side of the system trigger. In order to work correctly, the blade of this type of circular saw needs to be plunged down to a desired depth within the piece of material you are working with. Once this plunging action has been carried out, you can then begin to make further cuts into your workpiece.
Once you have reached the desired plunge depth you wish to work with, the plunge saw can then pushed into the edge of the workpiece material. Another option is for you to trigger the plunging motion down directly into the workpiece itself. This latter option is the best way to go if you’re looking to carry out cut outs. Once you have released pressure via the handle, the plunge saw blade will retract into the main housing. The best plunge saw models out there provide you with bevelling functionality, as well as adjustable settings for both depth stop and gauge. With this, you are able to be precise when it comes to blade descent, allowing you to properly tally with the material thickness of your workpiece.
Plunge saws are alternatively known as track saws. Unlike conventional circular saws, plunge saws integrate tracks, or guard rails, into their design. However, this isn’t a general rule. Not every plunge saw will include tracks or consider them in their design, especially when it comes to smaller options on the markets. That being said, if you are just starting out with a plunge saw and want to ensure the best levels of control and precision, you should definitely invest in one that offers a track system as a standard.
Plunge Saw Perks
First and foremost, plunge saws allow the user to enjoy very clean cuts with high levels of accuracy. This is certainly the case for plunge saws that utilise a track system when it comes to cutting. You can use a single guard rail or combine multiple ones to provide a larger track to work on, giving you an easy-glide cut along lengthier pieces of material. High levels of cutting accuracy and control are maintained throughout the length of the cut. The best track systems also incorporate anti-splintering functionality, further adding to the overall levels of precision and clean cutting results.
You can also look forward to better cut capacity with a plunge saw. If you anticipate that you’ll be working with much larger workpieces, a plunge saw is fit for task. When used properly, a plunge saw that provide you with a safe option for cutting and trimming much larger workpieces, like sheet materials and boards to more manageable sizes.
Many users find that a plunge saw provides similar cutting prowess to a conventional table saw, but benefits from being a lot more portable and versatile in nature. You can disassemble cutting tracks and store them away when you’re strapped for space to work in, making them a more ideal alternative to cumbersome table saw units. This level of portability makes them a very popular choice with contractors who need to take their power tools to job sites, yet don’t have the transport facilities to move complete sawing units from A to B easily.
Another major benefit of quality plunge saws is the inclusion of integrated dust extraction units. These are essential safety elements for when you are cutting materials likely to generate high volumes of dust, especially when you’re making continuous cuts and working with large volumes of workpieces. Dust extraction is facilitated by the enclosed design of the blade guard of a plunge saw, keeping your workspace free from excess levels of dust in the air and the workpieces you’re handling more free of debris.
Key Factors to Consider
We’ve now outlined the major design features to consider when buying a new plunge saw. Whatever option you decide to go for, you’ll want to ensure all of the above comes as standard. However, there are many other features and areas of functionality you will want to bear in mind to best meet your individual requirements.
Power and Performance
Like most electric tools, plunge saws require plenty of power. In most cases, plunge saws will utilise 1200W motors as a minimum. Older models will almost certainly be of the corded variety in order to facilitate such powerful motors. To ensure you get the most out of your saw in terms of reliability and cutting performance, you will probably benefit most from a corded model. However, in more recent years, a wide raft of cordless models have entered the market, giving you plenty of food for thought.
Corded models are all well and good if you don’t need to move freely around your workspace. If you’re simply going to be stuck in one place cutting through large stacks of material, they’re fit for task. However, if you require the flexibility to move around a job site or travel between locations with your cutting tools to hand, a cordless model is the way to go. While they generally offer less power than corded models, cordless plunge saws are becoming more and more proficient in what they can do. Not having to contend with the restrictions of power cord length is move freeing in terms of mobility and provides peace of mind if you’re worried about accidentally slicing through a live wire. However, bear in mind that plunge saws require plenty of power. They can drain a full battery relatively quickly if used intensively, so if you’ll be using your power tool for long sessions, invest in one with a good battery recharge time and ensure you’ve a stock of replacement battery units to allow you to continue to work with no interruption.
Variable Speed Control
Another key feature you want to be looking out for when purchasing a plunge saw is variable speed control. If you intend to work with a wide range of materials, then variable speed control is an absolute must. Not only will it ensure the best cutting results across a variety of material workpieces, it allows for maximum versatility and better levels of control as you work.
Other Handy Features
A soft start feature will definitely appeal to those less experienced with plunge saws. A soft start feature will help ensure better levels of cutting accuracy when you begin to work with material, but it also makes the machine you’re using more user-friendly in a general sense. The best plunge saws on the market will include a soft start motor and can be enhanced by utilising guide rail clamps to ensure you maintain optimal levels of control as you work.
An electric brake is also worth keeping an eye out for. Admittedly, plunge saws don’t come with the same risks and potential hazards you might normally encounter when working with other types of power saws. As such, the inclusion of an electric brake is more a bonus than a critical requirement. However, if you want to maintain high levels of safety while working, picking a mode that boasts an electric brake as standard will give you the peace of mind you’re after. With this type of saw, an electric brake is usually activated by the release of a special trigger. In addition to ensuring safe operation of your machine, an electric brake can have broader applications. In particular, they can be effectively utilised to ensure higher levels of accuracy for when you making precision cuts into workpieces.
Additional Safety Features
Although they’re altogether safer than other types of power saw, a quality plunge saw may include specific safety features you won’t commonly find elsewhere. One such feature is a riving knife. If you are working with more robust cuts of wood, picking out a plunge saw that boasts such a feature is worth considering. A riving knife helps eliminate kickback, ensuring a consistent distance is maintained either side of the cut. This helps reduce the chance of the blade becoming jammed as you work, saving you the hassle of potential downtime as you adjust or replace the blade.
If kickback is something you’re concerned about, you can of course find plunge saw models with features specifically designed to combat it. The most common types of anti-kickback systems will prevent the saw itself from moving backwards along the track. It’s worth bearing in mind that such safety features are dependent on the guide rail being used with your plunge saw of choice. As such, you need to ascertain whether or not different tracks can be used with your plunge saw and its specific kickback systems.
Features for Cleaner Cuts
Scoring facilities are a very handy feature to look out for if you’re looking to ensure smoother, cleaner cuts and less waste. If you opt for a plunge saw with a scoring facility, you can make a shallow score across materials before you begin with actual cuts. If you are working with materials that are prone to splintering, such a feature helps minimise the risk of you damaging a workpiece in the cut. The more professional user will almost certainly want to invest in a plunge saw with this feature as standard.
Plunge Saw Extras
Provided you have the budget at your disposal, consider buying a complete plunge saw system that includes all the accessories you might require from the off. In addition to track systems, other plunge saw essentials include clamps and heavy-duty cases for transporting your equipment from A to B. If you’re worried about cross-compatibility of guide rail systems, you can also invest in an adaptor so that rails can be used with other makes and even other varieties of saw. While these extras can of course be purchased at a later date, it’s far more cost-effective to buy everything outright in one package. This also makes life easier when it comes to things like warranties and returns.
Ready to take your DIY credentials up a notch? We’ve put together a premier pick of quality plunge saws for you to consider. You’ll find top-tier models from the best manufacturers around, with options to suit every budget.
If you’re seeking a budget-friendly choice, this Triton TTS1400 is worth a second look. Key features here include a powerful 1400W motor that offers variable speed control, with soft start as standard and constant speed electronics to ensure consistent performance. Expertly designed to provide you with the straight cuts and cleaner finishes you’re after, this plunge saw is easy to handle thanks to the non-slip rubber grip and makes an ideal choice for those after a more compact model that can be put to use in more awkward spaces. Other standout details include an anti-kickback safety and powerful dust extractor with a 360-degree outlet.
Makita DSP601ZJU (36V) Twin 18V Li-ion LXT Brushless 165mm Plunge Cut Saw Supplied in a Makpac Case – Batteries and Charger Not Included
This DSP601ZJU plunge saw from Makita ticks all the right boxes. Powered by two 18V lithium-ion batteries that supply a 36V DC motor, this cordless model gives you the precise and accurate cutting performance you want. This design dispenses with carbon brushes, ensuring the motor runs at a lower temperature and delivers more effective performance. The other benefit of this brushless design means that the battery is optimised for efficiency. This plunge saw offers user-friendly depth settings and adjustment, as well as a preliminary scoring facility so you can eliminate the occurrence of splintering with delicate workpieces.
Bosch Professional GOP 18 V-28 Cordless Multi-Cutter + PAIZ 32 APB StarlockPlus BIM Plunge Cut Saw Blade (Without Battery and Charger) – Carton
If you’re after a cordless plunge saw option, the Bosch Professional GOP might be worth looking into. The 3D interface of this cordless plunge saw means there’s less loss when it comes to power transfer from the tool to accessory, with LED lighting integrating into the overall design so you can look forward to better levels of visibility as you work. When it comes to adding and removing accessories, the innovative StarlockPlus technology makes quick work of changes, saving you precious time on busy jobs. A very user-friendly design with plenty of premium features, this Bosch Professional cordless plunge saw is still a relatively affordable option.