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Festool Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Review of the Festool Kapex KS 120

Unparalleled Performance In A Compact Design

If I were to win the lottery tonight, one of the first things I would buy with my winnings is a Festool Kapex KS 120 – one of the most impressive miter saws I have ever come across. It has several innovative design features for making precision cuts and it’s a well-made, professional grade machine. I would say the Festool Kapex KS 120 is the stuff that miter saw dreams are made of. If price was not an issue, this miter saw would already be in my workshop and I would have a permanent smile on my face.

The KS 120 is built for professionals and is ideal for serious woodworkers who regularly take on heavy-duty woodworking jobs. If you are a casual DIYer or if you only do occasional woodwork, the KS 120 is not likely to be a miter saw that would make your short list, only because of its hefty price tag which most likely puts it out of range for many casual woodworkers. The Festool Kapex KS 120 is a superior miter saw that many woodworkers like myself can only dream of owning.

Dual Lasers Double Your Accuracy

Move over, lesser miter saws with only one laser! The Festool Kapex KS 120 has two lasers for even more precision cutting. The dual lasers on this miter saw allow you to align your cuts from both sides of the blade. The lasers are easy to fine-tune by using the saw’s three-axl adjustment controls and, as a safety measure, there is a button you can use to turn them on or off without having to turn the saw on or off as well.

The effectiveness of the laser guide systems on most miter saws is debatable, but the dual lasers on the KS 120 are said to work and work well. Apart from being very effective, they also don’t require any batteries, as they are electrically powered. Many miter saws have lasers that are battery operated. The last thing I would want is to be making cuts with a laser, have the battery die on me, and then realize I have no replacement batteries handy. Needless to say, having a laser guide system that’s not battery operated has its advantages.

So Precise

In addition to the dual lasers that help you to make precision cuts, the KS 120 also has a very precise miter scale. This miter scale has clear angles that are easy to read and set, and angles can be accurately set within a fraction of a degree. After you set your desired angle, you can lock it in with the Festool Kapex KS 120’s miter lock for an aggressive hold that won’t allow the angle to shift and ruin your cuts.

Compact and Portable

The Festool Kapex KS 120 was professionally German engineered to be lightweight and compact. It weighs 47 pounds and, while it may not be the lightest miter saw in its class, it is certainly very portable. I was very impressed with how they designed it for carrying. There are two handles at either end of the miter saw so when you are carrying it the center of gravity will be close to your body. This positions the saw in such a way that makes it easy to carry and easy on your back.

When not in use, the head of the Festool Kapex KS 120 locks down. This not only makes it easier to carry, but it also makes the saw size smaller so it can be stored in more places. Its compact footprint and rail forward design even let you store it against walls – freeing up more space in your workshop in the process.

Effective Dust Extraction

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the useless dust bags miter saws usually come with. With that being said, however, the dust extraction and collection system on the Festool Kapex KS 120 blows the competition away by getting rid of an impressive 91% of the sawdust generated by your work. The better miter saws on the market usually claim to collect 75%, but the reality is that many of them fail to achieve anywhere near that figure.

The KS 120 directs dust away from your work surface with its swiveling dust port, and it has an integrated dust hood which sends dust from the blade directly into the dust collection port while you are working. Both 27 mm and 36 mm hoses can be used with the Festool Kapex KS 120’s integrated port, although the word around the workshop is that 36 mm hoses are more effective. To get the full 91% sawdust collection from this model you will need to use it with a Festool CT dust extractor. When you do, you will have a cleaner work environment that’s safer to work in when you use the Festool Kapex KS 120.

Not So Hard

The Festool Kapex KS 120 is designed to cut through wood and soft plastics. When it comes to cutting thicker woods and hard plastic, it does not work as well as you would want. Being on the higher end of the miter saw price scale, I expected it to be able to cut through virtually anything. Whether this limitation will affect you or not depends entirely on the types of materials you usually use your miter saw with. The materials I use most frequently are definitely within the cutting range of this miter saw.

The Verdict

With so many innovative features on the Festool Kapex KS 120, I’m afraid I’ll have to force myself to thoroughly read the entire manual when I purchase one with my lottery winnings. Its ambidextrous design makes it comfortable for a lefty like me to use it, it has a dust collection system that actually works, and it was designed to make perfect cuts over and over again. What more could I ask for in a miter saw? Not much, I say, not much at all.