Festool Kapex KS 120 Miter Saw
Festool has become synonymous for precision tools, offering unparalleled functionality, kick-ass accessories, and dust collection.
I recently had the opportunity to review and use the Festool Kapex KS 120EB miter saw. What impressed me most about the Kapex was its compact footprint, and how easy it was to transport. Once set up, I found the saw powerful, incredibly precise, and perfect for those money cuts, that count!
Weighing 47-pounds, this saw measures 29.5 x 22.8 x 20 inches. It’s easily transported to the job site, but don’t be fooled, it is a precision machine, that any woodworker or mill shop would be happy to have in their wood-shop.
Add to that a host of functionality such as; advanced electronics, dual laser guides, micro-bevel adjustments, quick-release fences, kick-ass dust collection, and easy-to-reference scales. We broke a few of them down below:
The Kapex K 120 has a sturdy, space saving, rail forward design and a magnesium-alloy base, resulting in a rigid, durable, extremely light 10-inch miter saw.
A two handle location at the saws base allow the saw to be carried close to your body [core strength] reducing risk of injury.
I absolutely love that Festool designed an on-board, power cord wrap, no one does that on their saws. The deck height on this saw was also designed to match the height of the Festool “Systainer 1″ storage containers. This means you can use the containers as a support of longer stock.
Power and Smart Electronics:
The Kapex KS 20 has a 1,600-watt direct-drive motor, and features a magnetic brake that reduces the amount of time that the blade takes to spin down. A safety feature I appreciate.
A two-stage safety trigger and soft start motor with constant speed monitoring, allows the saw to maintain consistent blade speeds under different cutting loads. The best part of a soft-start motor is that “JOLT” the user normally feels, from a non soft-start tool, is eliminated, allowing you to make cleaner more precise cuts. On lesser quality saws that jolt can cause you to move your work piece slightly, or worse, scar your work piece. I know I’ve done it!
This saw is powerful, a variable speed control also allows the saw to operate from 1,400 to 3,400 rpm.
Dual Laser Design:
The saw has a button that powers dual lasers. These lasers define and outline both the left and right side of the blade. These lasers are powered electronically and do not require batteries. A three-axis adjustment controls allow you to adjust the laser.
Miter Scale, and Saw Adjustments:
The Kapex KS 120’s has an etched, stainless steel miter scale with easy-to-read angles. The scale allows cutting angles up to 50-degrees on the left and 60-degrees on the right.
One very cool accessory is the “MiterFast” angle-transfer device. This accessory allows you to quickly duplicate inside and outside angles and quickly and accurately transfer them to the saw.
The Kapex KS 120 allows for both left and right bevels, and a fine-adjustment knob controls the bevel of each cut within fractions of a degree. This bevel knob features three settings: positive detents at 0 and -45 degrees, free movement between -45 and +45 degrees, and free movement up to +/-47 degrees. We absolutely loved this feature. Not only is it super conveniently located, but also it allows micro adjustments and held them securely. Well-done Festool!
To bevel the saw, a knob rotates and engages a rack and pinion to move the head, which is counter spring balanced. This fine-adjustment knob to controls the bevel of the cut to fractions of a degree with extreme precision. The knob rotates and engages a rack and pinion to move the head.
Easy, fast and accurate!
I don’t think I’ve ever used a material clamp in my life, the Kapex KS 120 clamp may change that. The clamp is a sturdy, nonslip clamp, which is keyed to make insertion and removal of materials quick and easy. A single, lever-actuated cam-lock secures the clamp in place and a rubber pad protects your work piece, while holding your material securely.
Versatile Blade and Unique Cutting Positions:
The Kapex KS 120 uses specially designed thin kerf blades for less noise and vibration. This thinner blade means they have you locked in to buy their blades. Not a huge fan of that, but recently there have been some blade companies, like Tenryu, that make similar thin kerf blades. I hate when manufacturer don’t.
The Kapex has a “special cutting position” provides a taller than usual cutting capacity by using the back portion of the blade more effectively. By flipping a lever, the saw is put in a position, that can cut 6-5/8-inch crown molding or cut vertical materials that measure up to 4-3/4-inches by 3/4-inch.
Another feature on the Kapex KS 120 allows the saw to cut trenches, such as notches for pipes, or lap joints.
Outstanding Dust Extraction:
A swiveling dust port, accepts both 27-millimeter and 36-millimeter hoses. A pliable, rubber dust hood directs sawdust from the blade into the dust collection port as you work, improving dust rate of capture.
When coupled with a Festool CT dust extractor this saw can collect 91-percent of the sawdust.
Using The Saw:
The Kapex KS 120 is compact, durable and precise. When you have to make that money cut, you know the one you can afford to screw up, this is the saw to do it. We noticed that the rail-forward design are set wide apart and have no head play at all. The result were clean, precise and accurate cutting in all applications.
This rail-forward design also allows the saw to be placed against a wall during use, which saves workspace, a real nice feature for a shop saw.
We found this saw to be powerful and accurate. Plowing through LVL stock or pine – this saw was unfazed, it undauntedly cut everything we put in front of it.
In my line of work precision cuts matter. This is an incredibly well designed saw and ahead of its time when compared to other miter saws. From someone who has a small shop, I really like the rail forward design, not only does it increase precision by preventing head play it creates a compact footprint and allows me to easily transport as wall as place the saw against a wall.
The micro-adjustable bevel angle with up-front rotary knob, is awesome and another really nice feature. Lastly, this saw, like many Festool tools, was designed to excel in dust extraction. Today’s contractors need to be thinking about not only delivering a quality product but also providing what we call “livable remodeling.”
The Festool Kapex gives you a quality product at production speed!
What’s in the Box:
- Festool Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- Angle transfer device
- 60-tooth carbide thin-kerf blade
- Hold down clamp
How Much and Where To Buy:
The Festool Kapex KS 120 Miter Saw is not cheap but it does give you mill shop precision in the field. You can purchase this saw online for $1400.00 here: Festool-KS-120-Sliding-Compound Saw