I recently purchased the CSC SYS 50 (basic saw with the energy set) and felt like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for it to arrive.
Why was I so excited for this saw? For my work the deciding factors are: 1. Portability, 2. Versatility (variable speed, sliding table), 3. Accessory storage, 4. Cordless and 5. Integration with my workflow. I’m going to offer my perspective after having this saw for 6 weeks on whether it meet the expectations I had for these factors and some other learnings since acquiring and using the saw.
Portability & Weight: I have see a lot of descriptions of the saw being “lightweight”. Personally, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is lightweight as around 50 lbs it’s not far off from the weight of other tables saws I’ve owned including the Dewalt DWE7485. In fact I think this saw is harder to carry, in some aspects, than the DWE7485. The smaller footprint means the weight is centrally concentrated and if you’re carrying the saw in the sustainer by the handle, well that is not comfortable by any stretch of the imagination. However, carrying this saw with two hands through a doorway, for example, is a pleasant experience. And that is a key aspect of the design (Festool also offers a well engineered cart for the saw and although I didn’t purchase it, the cart will improve the portability), this saw is designed for finished work where transport and portability is an important consideration so as to get into and out of the job quickly while also not being intrusive or destructive in a clients finished/nearly finished space. On this factor, the saw has met my expectations.
Versatility: It’s surprising that in 2023 there aren’t more table saw, or miter saws, with variable speed. Our track saws have them, routers, etc., and having this option to adjust for cutting various materials like laminates, polycarbonates, soft and hardwoods, etc… seems almost like a no brainer. Festool nailed this and its easy and intuitive to adjust the speed.
The sliding table was another feature that stood out prior to my purchase and it is a great* (note this asterisk) feature that all saw manufacturers should adopt. With the miter gauge installed, largely eliminates the need for a “parts” or “cross cut sled” whilst improving safety over saws without them. I am coming back to the sliding table later……
A surprise feature and one Festool has done a disservice in advertising is the interchangeability of the rip and miter fences. Thats right, for long miter cuts, you can swap the fences by loosening 1 knob on each. Further, the rip fence can be flipped around. In the “lower configuration” users to rip miters on smaller pieces without the risk/interference of the fence. And the built in T-Slot on the rip fence increasing the versatility of the saw. The onboard push stick storage has been done for years but it is still handy and a nice inclusion.
Accessory Storage: Everything you need, with the exception of a gripper block (and stop is self contained within one systainer. This includes the ability to store additional blades right inside the sustainer. No loose parts and pieces to keep track of is hugely beneficial to users. I love organization and Festool has improved my workflow by making it all inclusive in the design.
Cordless & workflow integration: Being cordless isn’t new, almost all the major OEMS (uhhem Makita) have a cordless saw. However, what is massively innovative is the use of bluetooth, via the batteries, to connect tools. No separate chip, no need to drive up individual tool prices by integrating bluetooth into everyone. Festool enabled bluetooth across their entire line of tools and while not specific to this saw is a MASSIVE upgrade. For me, connecting the batteries in use on my saw to a dust extractor is a great feature that saves me time and improved my workflow. So many times I would forget to separately turn on the extractor when starting a cut. Also, talk about ultimate convenience when you can place the saw in its systainer on top of a Festool vac and role it onto a site. Or combine it with the Festool Cordless CTC SYS Vac and carry the whole thing up a flight of stairs. No second trips in and out of the site. And for those criticizing the run time on the Festool Cordless CTC SYS Vac…… yes its doesn’t have unlimited run tome. Thats not its design. But when I pair both of these cordless tools together, I can go well into the afternoon on a given day without running out of battery life on either.
Dust collection: Decent, not great. It’s better when the blade guard is on. From a design perspective, there is not a ton you can do as with all table saws the blade spins towards the user, with the the blade opening under the piece being ripped which results in the direction the dust is being pulled being blocked by the material. Some “overhead” boom arm would work but thats not portable and the dust collection is above average when connected to an extractor.
Cutting capacity/blade size: No you cannot rip full size sheets on this saw, and I wouldn’t use a table saw for that anyway as IMO a track saw is the better tool for cutting materials to rough size. Its simply not designed for that and while criticizing a tool for not doing something it is designed to do is a favorite pastime, it doesn’t resonate with me and makes me wonder about those offering those criticisms. All tools are designed with specific limitations and even the beloved Dewalt job site table saws went to smaller blade sizes when they went cordless. Sure, this blade is smaller than the Dewalt, but again the saw was designed for finish work and you can rip up to 2x material which is what most are mostly working with.
Power: I have cut hard and soft woods, engineered materials and even polycarbonate, I haven’t found the power lacking. You can stall the saw if you force materials through and you will end up with burn marks in hardwoods if you don’t let the saw do the cutting. Every saw I have ever used will do the same.
Fence: I wish this saw had a rack and pinion or some sort of micro adjustment feature. Festool, bring us v2.
Festool Work App: The ability to update firmware, software and preset through the Festool work app are novel and new features. I’m not sure how useful they will really be with the 4 available presets and ease in which the blade height, angle and speed are adjusted. I did like the product registration being accomplished through the use of a QR code.
Flip stop: DGC has made a flip space for the rip fence. I bought it, it’s a nice fit and finish and the seller ships promptly. https://dgc-0.square.site/s/shop
Featherboard: Bow Products featherboard (not exclusively designed for this saw) fits without a miter slot adapter in the T slot. You can also the weatherboard in the miter slot with an adapter. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0973P6686?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details
Rip Fence Extension: Bow Products also makes several aftermarket fences (not exclusively designed for this saw) that not only can extend the length of the rip fence, without affixing anything permanently, but also can be paired with in/out feed work supports. Amazon.com
Miter Fence Alternatives: Benchdogs UK is making a alternative miter gauge with graduations and the ability to mount a stop. Keep in mind, the saw won’t fit back in the systainer with this or the Bow products extension fence mounted.
So what about that asterisk:* When my saw arrived, the sliding table was a touch lower the fixed rip table. Festool instructions (terrible btw) show how to make adjustments by loosening two screws, adjusting two others and then retightenign everything. These adjustments also serve if the sliding table is not flat front to back. After making the adjustment, I checked for flatness on the saw. This is when I noticed that the sliding table “dipped”, “fell off”, “was unloved” at the very left edge (when viewing from the control panel). It turned out my saw wasn’t the only one with this issue. Two others reported on FOG of the same problem with their saw and I saw a YouTube video in the past week reporting the same. Without rehashing the entire experience and fix for the out of plane/level issue here, you can read it on FOG if interested, the short of it is 1. The sliding table is not level side to side (as much as .7 degrees) and 2. Due to the manufacturing process the table is slightly concave in the center. Festool should’ve designed a solution for getting the sliding table on plane with the fixed rip table similar to the solution for getting the sliding flat front to back and aligned with the rip table. The fix that has been employed is to add a ‘shim’ to the “shims” that serve to adjust the height and flatness of the sliding table front to back.
Conclusion: Its been a long read, so I will keep this short. Overall, I am disappointed in Festool’ Quality Assurance with this saw. I understand the design choice for the sliding table resulting in it being cupped in the center. But I am having a hard time with the sliding table not being flat on the left edge and requiring a shim and there not being a built in adjustment to this. I’m also not thrilled with Festool not acknowledging and offering an engineered fix as opposed to leaving it to owners. All that said, I was able to ‘level’ my sliding table, and know what type of cuts require a little more setup to account for the cupping. I also do like the features that led to my initial purchase and so I am keeping the saw.