TSC 55 Cordless Plunge Cut Saw review

31st August, 2016

Author: Marcus Hucker - What Tradies Want

TSC 55 36V cordless plunge cut saw is German engineering at its best

I’ve only owned a German car once. It was a 2003 Mercedes Vito; we bought it second hand as we could never have afforded a brand new one. As soon as we drove it you could tell there was something superior about it. It was solid, not tinny and the safety features that came standard were not seen in the Japanese or Korean equivalents for years to come. The engineering and design was in a whole new ballpark, even with the little things like cup holders and wiper blade function were next level. So when Pagey and I get the opportunity to test products in the Festool range we see a distinct parallel in German design, innovation and importantly their manufacturing as in the example above. Festool, like a Merc or Beemer are at the higher end of the professional tool price bracket and as such bring with them a certain high-end level of quality, finish and reliability that you’d expect, which make them a pleasure to operate.

So you can understand our excitement as we grabbed the latest Festool offering, the TSC 55 Cordless plunge-cut saw and Tough Tested it. Before you get disappointed that there will be no arbitrary tool destruction in this Tough Test, it’s worth reading on to see how this tool, designed for precision cutting and finish really did perform and why Festool owners wheel out their Festool tool kits like a badge of honour. Sure, we could have driven over it with a car, dunked it in water or something else crazy like we normally do (and I’m sure it’d handle it with ease), such is the pleasure of operating this saw, that it just wasn’t warranted.


The new German-manufactured Festool TSC 55 is the world’s first 36V cordless plunge cut saw and is based off their tried and tested mains-operated plunge cut saw the TS 55 R, but with the addition of a plethora of new features that improve upon the TS 55 R platform. Festool’s Plunge cut saws are designed for precise, quick, guided cuts utilising the renowned Festool Guide Rail, which is incidentally, the first of its kind and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. One of the most impressive things about the TSC 55 is the versatility in materials that it can cut, with cement sheet, blueboard, plaster board, hardipanel, villaboard, particleboard, aluminium, mdf and flooring all capable with the appropriate blade. The TSC 55 is designed upon a dual-battery 18V lithium Ion platform, which feeds 36V to the new brushless EC-TEC motor. However, unlike other dual 18V platforms new to the market, the TSC 55 can be used with just one of the 4.2Ah lithium-Ion battery packs, which makes incredible sense. (See what I mean by that extra thought and design!) So, if you are doing smaller cuts and don’t need the hefty power and extra weight of the dual batteries then you can simply cut it back to one 18V and double your run time with a spare battery pack in the waiting. The battery capacity can be read via the two integrated LED state-of-charge displays. I should note that the TSC 55 can be used with any of the Festool lithium-Ion batteries, which includes their lighter 15v packs and that is in any combination I.E 18V/18V or 18V/15V or 15V/15V.


Clamping the Festool Guiderail with their unique trigger clamping system to a 20mm piece of ply, we wanted to test the claims of the “near perfect cut”. Spinning at 5200 rpm with the dual battery 36V set up, the saw slid along the rail and effortlessly sliced through the ply. We made sure that the viewing window was closed, which inturn provides a splinter free cut on both sides of the wood, making breaking down sheets a dream. Festool have also thought about dust free work in a cordless environment, providing a highly effective dust bag that captured at least 90% of the dust and mitigated the need for a powered mobile dust extractor.


Sublime, the cuts produced were remarkable. Completely without splinter, jagged edge or machine marks. Precision being the leading feature of this saw, there was adjustment available for depth, angle, undercuts and a 0 stop at the front. The spring mounted guide wedge protrudes behind the blade and prevents jamming and simplifies positioning in existing joints. (Run with Guide pic) Blade removal is made easy with a newly designed handle lock-out or Fast Fix system (Run with Fast FIX Pic) that lowers the blade and locks off power for safety. What’s also impressive and typical of German design is the Festool TSC 55 is compatible with all previous system accessories of the mains operated TS 55 R. This includes guide rails, guide rail accessories, parallel stop and saw blades. The stacking and stowing system is also a great Festool feature.


The Festool TSC 55 is a professional’s machine and for the tradie that demands superior quality in their cutting and finishing. TSC 55 REB Battery voltage 1x15V-2x18V (36V) Idling speed (2x18V) 2650-5200 rpm Idling speed (1x18V) 2650-3800 rpm Saw blade diameter 160 mm Cutting depth 0-55 mm Cutting depth at 45° 0-43 mm Angle range -1-47° Connection Ø d/e 27/36 mm Lithium-ion battery capacity 4.2 Ah Weight (with 1x18V/2x18V battery pack) 4.6 kg/5.3 kg


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