DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520

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DEWALT FLEXVOLT Track Saw Review

The first question you might ask yourself is what is the difference between the New Dewalt Flexvolt track saw and the 12-year old, Dewalt DWS520 track saw. The answer is that one is cordless and the other is not, and everything else is exactly the same.

You may remember, Dewalt offered 28-volt track saw, but it did not fare well. This time, Dewalt felt that they could improve their track saw by making it cordless and used Flexvolt technology to do it.


DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2" Track Saw DCS520

4/5
Manufacturer: Dewalt
Model number: DCS520
Price: 475.00
Power source: 60V FlexVolt
Motor size: Brushless 2400-4200 rams
Weight: 12.5 lbs

Flexvolt Track Saw – First Impression

This track saw has a robust feel with its thick magnesium base, sturdy and easy-to-adjust tilt controls and a pair of comfortable, rubberized grips. The battery is located on the top-rear of the tool.

T-Stak case

The tool came in a T-Stak with molded Styrofoam like material on the bottom. We liked that every item in the T-Stak has a spot and there’s room for extra blades and a few clamps.

Flexvolt Tool Technology

Dewalt is currently the only manufacturer that offers a cordless table saw and a 12-inch cordless miter saw. Both tools are jobsite staples and indispensable to contractors who demand portability.

The trade off with Flexvolt is that it does not and WILL NOT have the breath to cover every tool.  There’s a simple reason for this, the Flexvolt power is not for every tool, and Dewalt will only invest in a Flexvolt tool if it makes sense. The DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 is one of those exceptions.

Precision and Portability Combine

The DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 has an efficient brushless motor, and specially designed transmission. This motor, as you may have guessed, is also the same motor as in the Flexvolt DCS575 circular saw.

Depth of Cut

The DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 has a 6-1/2” blade, and is capable of an on-track, cut depth of 2-1/8” at 90° and 1-5/8” at 45°.

On Track Cut Depth

  • 2-1/8” deep at 90°
  • 1-5/8” deep at 45°

The depth scale accounts for the thickness of the track from the bottom of the track down to 1/16” in order to indicate exact depth of cut.

A plastic knob with a locking a pointer on a scale, beside the blade guard makes that easy to gauge,  we also liked the  Imperial scale. This knob is also recessed to protect it from damage.

Bevel Adjustment

The bevel adjustment can be set from 0 and 47-degrees.  The knob is located at the nose of the tool and is easily operated. There is no positive stop at 45-degrees.

The DeWalt track saw features a bevel knob that locks front and back of the blade housing allowing for a very solid lock.

Dual Edge Track

A dual-edge track allows for cutting on either side of the track. If desired, you can designate one side of the track for 90-degree cuts and the other side for 45-degree cuts.

A rail adjustment feature on the saw, allows the saw to be accurately adjusted to the track. This saw will also work on the Festools tracks, I tested it on my track.

One complaint I have with this saw, as we did with the older corded version, was that the track adjustment knob requires an Allen wrench to unlock, and adjust.

Variable Speed Setting

A variable speed dial allows the user to change the speed of cut that’s best for the material type. The dial allows the motor rpm to be changed from 2500 to 4200 rpms. This is higher than the corded version which is 1750-4000 rpms.

Dewalt Variable Speed Recommendations:

  • 3-7 Solid wood [hard, soft]
  • 4-7 Chipboards
  • 2-7 Laminated woods, block-boards, veneer coated boards
  • 1-3 Paper / carton materials

Parallel-link Plunge Mechanism

The parallel linkage on this saw requires you to push the saw carriage forward slightly on the base before plunging it down at an angle. It feels a bit awkward, because the other saws pivot down into their bases with one wrist motion. It took me a bit to get used to this movement, but I eventually got used to it.

When I asked Dewalt to comment on the Parallel-Link Plunge Mechanism they responded with:

The mechanical linkage in the plunge mechanism provides a smooth plunge into the work surface. Track saws without this feature aren’t as easy to articulate and therefor require greater force from the user to engage. Typically, they enter the wood with more user force or bias, slapping the track and work surface.

Anti-Kickback Function

Similar to the older track saw version, the DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 features a mechanical safety feature that locks the saw into the track and prevents it from moving backwards along the rail or from climbing out of the work piece when making plunge cuts.

To engage this feature, you simply turn the anti-kickback function knob on the base of the saw. This knob engages a small metal tab that prevents the saw from leaving the track or sliding backwards. It works!

Riving Knife

The adjustable riving knife, sits behind the blade, and moves with the saw blade to help eliminate kickback and stock distortion.

Even with the anti-kickback feature, having a riving knife is a redundant PLUS,  in our book.

Dust Collection

Dewalt tests and develops their dust collection in Weihnachten, Germany, where they follow European standard for dust.

The track saw has excellent dust collection. An enclosed guard has a 90% dust extraction capability when connected to a dust extraction device designed in accordance with the relevant regulations regarding dust emission.

The 1-1/4” dust port, located at the rear of the tool,  swivels 360-degrees, but is stiff enough to stay in on position when set. We’d like to see Dewalt offer this tool with a hose and connector as part of the kit.

The port accepts a 1-¼” hose snugly and without any adapters needed. Also a 1-⅞” vac hose will fit over the outside of the dust port.

Runtime

The DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 has achieved the following runtime metrics:

  • 290 lf. of ¾” birch plywood ripped 48” at one time, and then resetting the fence before cutting again. [test was with a 6.0 Ah battery.
  • 465 lf. Of ¾” birch plywood ripped 48” at a time, and then resetting the fence before cutting again. [test was with a 9.0 ah battery]

The testing criteria for this testing was:

  • 3 users
  • 3 track saws
  • 3 sets of batteries

Using the Dewalt Flexvolt Track Saw

Besides having to get used to the plunge mechanism, this saw cuts well!  We recently used it to cut a kitchen cabinet down. The cabinet came with 2” filler strips glued and screwed to the sides. Why, we’re not sure, but the Dewalt track saw made quick work of removing an inch from each side. The cuts were clean and crisp.

We’ve also used it on the jobsite sizing Birch plywood to make a laundry shelf system for a client and here in the shop testing and panel sizing.

Being cordless is the game changer here, this saw will definitely find a place in one of our trucks.

Cutting Doors In Place

The DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 has anti-drag strips applied to the outer blade guard. These strips allow the saw to be slid along the floor for cutting doors.

We tested this feature and it works great as long as the floor is clean and flat. When cutting, the top edge of the saw blade will cut 7/16” off the floor.

Dewalt Precision Woodworking Blades

Dewalt offers two types of Flexvolt precision woodworking blades for 6-1/2” saws:

  • 42 tooth blade
  • 48 tooth blade

Both of these woodworking blades have their grinds and angles optimized and precision ground to minimize deflection.

One thing you’ll notice is that these blades have a slightly thicker kerf, and that so the blades will perform more like a table saw. The goal with these blades, is to achieve cuts similar to a table saw.

Dewalt Track Saw Accessories

Accessories sold separately for the Track Saw include:

  • 46” Track (DWS5020)
  • 59” Track (DWS5022)
  • 103” Track (DWS5023)
  • Track Connector (DWS5033)
  • Miter Gauge (DWS5028)
  • Track Clamps (DWS5026) I liked that these clamps allow for one-handed operation and had removable pressure pads.
  • TSTAK® Kit Boxes.

Dewalt Flexvolt Track Saw Cost

The Flexvolt 60V 6-1/2″ Track Saw comes in the following configurations:

  • Kitted with one DCB606, T-Stak, for $499 (DCS520T1)
  • Kitted with a 59” Track, T-Stak and one DCB606 $579 (DCS520ST1)
  • Bare tool and T-Stak for MSRP $379 (DCS520B).

The DEWALT DWS520SK Track Saw Kit With 59-Inch Track, 6-1/2-Inch sells for $475.00 online here:

DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2" Track Saw DCS520
475.00

Overall Impression of the Dewalt Flexvolt Track Saw

The beauty of track saws is that you simply line up the track with where you want to cut, and as long as the track is on the finish side of the work piece, the cut will run precisely along the edge of the track, with almost no splintering or tear out.

This Track Saw is a perfect tool for cabinet makers, kitchen fitters, general carpenters, and woodworkers for ripping, cross cutting, and installation applications. It’s also invaluable for solo-carpenters not wanting to wrestle full sheets of plywood on a table saw.

The DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 is well worth the street price and compares well against higher end/more expensive models.

DEWALT FLEXVOLT 6-1/2″ Track Saw DCS520 Video Review

 

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is also the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and the editor of the blog, A Concord Carpenter and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. As a carpenter and web editor, Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals. He is the carpenter correspondence for and writes a Q&A column, in the Sunday Boston Globe, called "Ask the Carpenter."He hosts the Concord Carpenter Cable TV Show,, offering the do-it-yourself audience in Boston’s Metro West region expert advice on home repairs and maintenance. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, where we post all of our tool reviews and video editorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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8 Comments

  1. Jaret

    Does it use the same track as the corded dewalt track saw?

  2. The main thing you did not test was its functionality cordless. I.e. Hooked up to a bag only. Does it come with a dust bag ? If so is it affective? I mean what’s the point of a cordless saw that is plugged into a corded dust extractor. I have found the biggest pain of these track saws is the tether catching up or just having to manage the cord and hose on the job site on such a mobile tool as the saw goes with the cut unlike the chop box and table saw.

    1. Hi Ben – no it doesn’t come with a bag.

  3. Dan Schwetz Services

    I have been really itching to get a track saw. I see that Ron Paulk uses his quite often. Of course the brand he uses is quite expensive. I’m definitely looking for a cheaper way. I found a Kreg Jig rip cut guide on Craigslist and it definitely helps out but I can definitely find a track saw being a lot nicer. Thank you for the heads up on the DeWalt flexvolt track saw. On a different note I’m looking to find a domino jig. I have a calling for a custom screen doors and garage French style Carriage House garage doors. What is the best affordable Domino jig

    1. Todd Fratzel

      As far as the Domino goes you’ll be buying a Festool as that’s the only real option. There are some knock off ideas out there if you do a search, but nothing quite the same.

  4. Why no direct comparison with the festool tsc55 which you have used for months ?
    Which has more power? Which has better runtime ? Dust collection ? Quality of cut ? Ease of use? Which do you like better? Does the dust bag from the twc fit on the dewalt. Price comparison. Thank you in advance.

    1. Good point I did not think of doing a comparison with them.

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