Festool Kapex Miter Saw Review
Festool's Kapex 120: True Love
I am not a master carpenter by any means. But when it came time for me to buy my first mitre saw (chop saw), I didn't want to mess around. I have heard from many experienced cabinetmakers and contractors that a chop saw's cost and the number of accurate cuts it will make before becoming a wobbly mess, are tightly and directly correlated. As an amateur, I wanted to be sure that any inaccuracies were my fault, not my equipment's.
At the time of my purchase, I had to choose between a DeWalt chop saw and the Festool Kapex 120. The DeWalt was half the price, at about $700. But the Festool came highly recommended, and I liked the features...and the warranty. It occurred to me, that with items such as miter saws, the warranty offered says a lot about what a company thinks of its product's durability.
Using my Kapex has been pure joy. I use the miter gauge with confidence and get the same accurate cut every time. I even built a backstop fence for mine, to make repeated cuts a breeze. Recently, I had the opportunity to try the DeWalt saw I passed over, as well as a $99 Riyobi and a $300 Ridgid saw. It was then that I knew I had made the right choice. The Kapex feels like a precision machine, with zero play in any of its joints and rails. Every other saw I tried, however, felt sloppy in comparison. Even the $700 DeWalt.
Killer Features Unique to Kapex
The Kapex has a number of unique features that take it beyond every other compact mitre saw on the market.
- FastFix Blade Changes make changing the blade very fast and easy
- You have to use a Festool blade with the Kapex. But it's a great blade - as good as any Freud or Forrest - and has a thinner kerf than most other blades. The cost for a Kapex blade is similar to any other high-end blade.
- Rails make the ten inch blade act more like a twelve. Big sweeping cuts are no problem. and unlike other saws with rails I've tried, there is no play at all in the rails and the motion is butter-smooth from end to end.
- The Bevel lock knob makes setting the bevel on the Kapex easy, and you can trust the gauge on the saw itself (at least for now, it's cutting true, even at 45 degrees). Flip up the lock, set the type of bevel you want to set, then move the saw. Depending on the type of bevel you select on the knob, the saw will stop-up at certain points along the compass. Sweet.
Conclusion: Worth the $1,400
The Festool Kapex 120 is worth the money, hands down. I haven't yet owned the saw for a year, but if what the warranty implies is any guide, this saw will see three or more years of daily heavy use before it starts to show signs of wear. That's a long time for a table saw. A roofer friend of mine told me yesterday about a one-week remodel job he helped out on, and the $250 chop saw they were using was junk by the end of the job.
If you make a lot of cuts beyond the abilities of your table saw, it makes sense to invest in the Kapex. It's the most expensive tool in my shop. More than my table saw, more than my joiner. But it is totally worth it!
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