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One of the benefits of operating Toolmonger is that I get to hear what a whole lot of people think about tools — especially the tools that people want as opposed to simply need. And one of the most drool-worthy tools for years was — if my email box was to be believed — Festool’s Kapex KS 120 sliding compound mitre saw. (No, I didn’t misspell that. They’re a European company, so they like to spell miter a little differently than we do in the States.) Recently, however, it seems to me that Bosch has stolen a lot of Festool’s thunder.

I think it’s important to mention that if all you’re going to do is miter a few pieces of trim for a home project or occasionally chop-saw a few 2x4s, you simply do not need to spend the asking price of either of these saws to get the job done. You can just as easily pick up the store-brand model from the local big box and go along your merry way. Hell, lesser saws would probably handle most pro jobs, too. Outside of shops with space issues or very, very special needs, either of these saws would pretty much qualify as a luxury item. That’s just it, though. The Festool saw was the kind of thing people put on their when-I-win-the-lottery lists.

So my question to you is: if you had lotto-style cash, would you buy the Bosch or the Festool? I realize that the Festool runs about $1,700 ($1,300, see update below) vs. the Bosch’s $800, so please don’t answer with “I’d buy two Bosch Glides.” I would, too. I’m interested in how they compare in your mind as cost-is-no-object saws.

My take? I’d go for the Bosch. Having put a little time in with one, I’m pretty sold on the almost infinitely-adjustable, smooth-flowing arm mechanism, and I don’t see a whole lot of additional features on the Festool. I admittedly have little or no experience seeking support from Festool in the U.S., but I wonder if I’d have the same kind of luck getting parts and service here that I would with Bosch. (I do have experience with Bosch, and I’d rank them at least as reasonable as other manufacturers when it comes to parts and repair.)

Let me know what you think in comments. I’m definitely interested to hear from you, and I’m betting the folks at Bosch and Festool are as well.

Update: I received a rather short email from a Festool employee this morning pointing out that the catalog price for the Kapex is actually $1,300 and firmly requesting a correction. I pulled my number (as I always do, incidentally) from a rough, eyeballed average of prices obtained via a Google shopping search. (We do this because so often the MSRP isn’t representative of true street prince — hence our chosen use of the phrase “street price” and our search method. Incidentally, it’s also our internal policy to round up to the nearest dollar, avoiding all the 99 cent mess.) With the Kapex, I missed, however, that most of the returned results include packaged equipment like a stand and/or work clamp, blades, etc.  I should also point out though that I went back and looked again at the Bosch’s price and discovered that it’s often sold in packaged deals, too, and can be had for (today, at least) as little as $625 and somewhat regularly for $700.

Update 2: This got me thinking about tool companies and PR in general.

 

63 Responses to Has Bosch Unseated the Kapex?

  1. cronin says:

    I have lot of experiences with innacurate Bosch tools. I would definitely get Festool.

  2. Jason says:

    I have both.

    To answer your title question: No.

    The Bosch gets used for framing, rough cutting, and anything that doesn’t have to be spot-on. The Kapex is used when the cut matters – interior trim, cabinet moulding, etc. The Bosch is a nice unit, but it’s not the saw the Kapex is.

    And don’t even think about using the Bosch in a finished space.

    Still, the Bosch is a nice saw, and if we weren’t doing finish work and cabinetry it would be a tough choice between the two. And $1700? Where’d that price come from?

  3. Shopmonger says:

    AS for the 1st response, saying any company make an inaccurate tool, when not adjusted is going to hold true for all….Even the HF sliding compound can be made accurate if you adjust it correctly.

    Now to answer the question, for one i think i like the bosch here in the US because it used standard blades, the rating on the Kapex are based on the Metric blade usage…
    Another is serviceability here in the US would eb much easier with Bosch. And if im spending that much money i want to touch and feel the tool and see if it feels natural to me.
    That being said, Bosch makes a nice tool and i have seen their other miter saws and the fit and finish is very nice. I have onyl seen in person a hand full of Festool tools, and yes they are very nice, but i think are still a tad pricey.
    I would not say i woudl buy 2 , but i can say that for the price difference, I would be able to buy 2 blades of my favorite brand (insert your favorite here) and maybe a nice stand for it.

    ShopMonger

    • Jason says:

      Festool products are serviced in Indiana. And IIRC, Festool’s warranty covers shipping for the first year if you have problems. Never needed it, so I’m not sure if that’s correct, but I’m pretty sure that’s right.

  4. Rick says:

    I really like the Bosch’s articulation mechanism but I would still go with Festool. The high quality of their tools is a known factor. More importantly, they take dust collection seriously. It is only an afterthought with Bosch.

    • chad says:

      I agree with you Rick, I own a cabinet shop, and I bought the 12″ Bosch back in 2007. It’s the messiest piece of equipment I own, and I hate cleaning up after it. We own a 16″ Oliver Jointer built in 1923 that we upgraded with a Shelix cutting head,and it sucks up almost it’s dust. If they could do it well over 90 years ago, they sould be able to do it better now.

  5. Billy says:

    Festool is a name unsurpassed by others. If I was space limited, I would get the Bosch. But Festool makes people drool for a reason. Festool all the way.

  6. Rob says:

    I prefer the Bosch after handing both of them. I feel it will handle more abuse and stay accurate. I’ve used many tube slider saws and they always seem to warp over time.
    If price was no object, and I couldn’t sell the thing, I would choose the Bosch. The reality though is that price is an object for most people.

  7. Mike Lee says:

    I will go with the festool,because of the price. You get what you pay. Both of mind miter saws cost less-than $200 a piece.

  8. Chris Murray says:

    I love the smoothness of the Bosch glide system, its like silk. But, I don’t know about the dust collection on the Bosch first hand, but Festool’s Kapex is awesome, and for that reason alone, I would choose Festool. I mostly do furniture, cabinetry and interior finishing, and the idea of being able to take my mitre saw and CT into the house and not have to spend weeks cleaning up dust is very appealing.

  9. Dave says:

    I also own both. The only thing the bosch can do which makes it better is capacity. The kapex is far better in every way and form. You would have to be a tool noob or a fanboy to pick the Bosch over the Kapex even at twice the cost. But really the only people who would say they would buy the bosch are people who have never used the kapex. Bosch saw is nice but its not a kapex. No where near.

  10. fred says:

    We don’t have either – but do have 6 older Bosch sliders and 7 newer Makita sliders. Both have their plusses and minuses – with neither being perfect. Dus collection for both is a bit of a joke – so I’m interested in the comments about the Kapex. On residential jobsites we often set up miter (aka mitre) saws in garages or out on the lawn under a portable canopy- but a lower-dust saw might still mean less cleanup time and better productivity. Unfortunately price is always a consideration – and while a 10-20% premium might entice us to try a Kapex – its hard to justify the big premium for the sort of work (no fine furniture) we do.

  11. Phil says:

    I have the Bosch and love it. It came to me needing only a couple slight tweaks to be spot on accuracy wise, and the glide system makes using the saw a delight. I paid $700 for mine, which included both the Bosch GTA 3800 saw stand and a Bosch 96 tooth ATB fine finish blade. I could not pass up that deal. Only having played with the Kapex at the local Woodcraft store a few times it’s tough for me to make an informed comparison. Both are terrific saws, but the premium for the Festool is just too tough for me to consider it.

    As for dust collection, the provided dust bag on the Bosch is weak. If I use a powerful vac, it’s pretty effective. I’m in the market for a true HEPA dust collector, and I think that would help even more.

  12. craig says:

    Not to throw a wrench in the works.
    Isn’t one a 10″ saw and the other a 12″.

    In terms of accuracy of cut I would take
    and 10″ over a 12″. (Kapex)
    In fact, for accuracy, I would take an 8 1/4″ over a 10″.(Hitachi)

    Maybe I’m crazy but I think all of the 12″ miter saws have a “flex” in them. Especially if you use a thin kerf blade.

    • stateartcab says:

      Easy to correct . . . use a full 1/8″ kerf Forrest sawblade with 0.001 runout which will cost about $180

  13. ambush27 says:

    I haven’t used either of these saws, but I have noticed that even some expensive mitre saws have more than 90 degrees between the fence and the base, an angle which is not adjustable. I’m not a woodworking guy generally so maybe there’s an obvious reason for this that I’m missing but it seems like you have to line up all your cuts with the base instead of against the fence. Which is less than ideal for trim because the blade only tilts 45 degrees one way instead of 45-50 both ways.

  14. alan woodard says:

    above should read ” in europe we spell mitre properly”, much the same as we spell centre properly !!!!

  15. Lu says:

    Wow… a lot of delusional festool fanboys here. You think the bosch is innacurate? It’s your money i guess…

    • dave says:

      So how long did you own the Kapex for? I know about 13 people with the kapex and only 1 of them sold it to buy a bosch. He said he liked the bosch better but it was really because he couldnt afford the saw as he also sold many of his other tools along with the kapex. I bet you have not even seen the saw let alone used one. Typical

  16. Brian Dey says:

    I have used both, and own a Kapex, and while the Bosch has a nice feel with the gliding arm, the Kapex has far and away better dust collection, and to me, just a better “feel” than the Bosch does. In fact, all Festool tools do. And for that reason alone I would be ok with the price premium, as feeling comfortable with the tools is very important to me.

    And one more thing, the weight of the Bosch is like 20lbs more than the Kapex, which makes the trip moving the Kapex around without a mobile stand much more pleasurable.

  17. Fong says:

    Festool…Here’s why.

    I have a Bosch 4410L. Used it for rough and finish work. Only issue I have with accuracy is bevels can’t be dialed in within 0.2º perfectly (Dodecahedron miters). Other than that, I have no complaints. Why Festool then?

    After nearly 4 decades of consuming, I have to figure a company that charges a premium for a product can demand it. Their reputation is built on history. Sure, not everyone will agree it’s “worth” it but we’re talking about lotto money here. If money were no object, you’d buy the best of what life has to offer regardless of how marginally superior it might be.

    The Bosch is very innovative and plenty accurate for 99% of my work. Given my own money, I’d buy that. I simply don’t “need” the Festool but definitely WANT it.

  18. fred says:

    While we are speaking about Festool – I note that their most recent consumer poll (I got my invite to participate via email) is about Finish sprayers. I’m not sure what they are thinking about – but from some of the questions they may be aiming at competing with Kremlin, Asturo and other high-end sprayers

  19. Brau says:

    I’d buy the Festool over the Bosch. I’ve used Bosch mitres and I’m not a fan. I’ll have to echo the first poster about accuracy ( perhaps we’re both too anal) and the ergonomics of the controls. I bought a Makita for the bigger table platform, accuracy, lack of a “D handle”, and its ability to resist being erroneously pushed off the mark by the user during the pull down stroke. Price was not a big consideration in my choice, the Makita did everything I felt was important.

  20. Mrten says:

    For Festool, you won’t see any other prices on the market than the MSRP, because if Festool discovers you sell tools below the MSRP you won’t be getting any new tools to sell.

    And they *will* discover this one way or the other, as all Festools have serial numbers that are religiously tracked.

    The “discounts” you see are always packaged tools + accessories, and are usually Festool-originated (you’ll notice that all stores have the same discount when you look for it).

    I thought this was common knowledge.

    I’ve spoken with a small store owner that told me this was so after I pointed out that his prices were *exactly* (to the cent) the same as the prices in the superstore, for all tools, *and* all supplies.

    • dave says:

      The great thing about keeping the prices the same across the board is it keeps used values high and you dont get internet based sales companys under cutting everyone and not giving good customer service plus it helps keep local buisness running.it’s a plus for everyone involved with the tools.

      • Shopmonger says:

        Dave, Why is market value after the fact matter, are you buying tools as some sort of investment? Resale value like on a car is never a consideration for most tool consumers, unless we are talking about a large business operation.

        ShopMonger

        • Dave says:

          I’m not someone who keeps tools for ever. If a new better model comes out then I will sell the older model and upgrade. As an example I sold a dewalt belt sander not so long ago. I got less than 1/3rd of its retail after just 2 years. It’s still a current model. I sold my ro125 and lost $55 from the new price I paid for it after 2 years. Not only do they give you great results for quality of work but they also hold their value extremely well. It’s the same reason to buy ford trucks over a Chevy or dodge because of how much better they hold their value.

      • yorgo says:

        should we cue the music and wave the flags…shaaadaaap.

  21. John M says:

    Bosch shipping weight. 88lb
    Kapex shipping weight, 40lb
    Bosch right hand vertical cut capacity, 4″ !@!!!!
    Kapex 4 3/4″ which pretty effectively negates any 12″ v 10″ advantage.

  22. AKJOHN says:

    I have checked them both out and would love to have either saw. They are both beautiful machines and well engineered. I do think the Bosch glide mechanism is superior to the tube slide style. They have a unique smooth design. The significant issue to me with Festool is their price margins. It much more than a little extra. Their products are typically 40% higher.

  23. Toni Watson says:

    Having been a committed bosch tool user for the past 8 years I was genuinely impressed by the performance difference with the Kapex 120. Space consideration or not, this saw brings accuracy of cut and repeatability to a whole new level. I make a lot of custom interior furniture and really appreciate the quality difference this saw makes. And yes the dust extraction is far superior as well, with hardly any mess making this a great site tool. If you don’t have the money the Bosch is still a great tool but if quality is what you are aiming for this saw delivers.

  24. Kelvin Sawyer says:

    I bought a Kapex in 2006. It was stolen with most of my Festool kit a year later. After having owned one I bought the same again. Incredibly accurate saw. I have not seen the Bosch so wont bag it, but just a comment on the Kapex. Fit a blade in it and give the blade a tap. It does not ring at all. Just a thud. This because it is rubber mounted and has fancy laser cuts in the blade. These two things keep the blade running true even if the blade get hot. Also it never gets any sort of RING in the blade as it will not support any acoustic vibration. This deadness of the blade lets it run so true. When I am working in the UK I use quite a bit of the engineered American white oak. The kapex will cut a 75x75mm slice you can easily see through! Try it. I have never been able to do this with any other saw in my 30yrs of joinery. My work involves jobs in nice home near London and setting up shop in the house is not a problem due to the superb dust extraction. The hoses are a bit of hassle but it is worth.

  25. Ken says:

    It is obvious that the reviewer did not really use the kapex saw, so how can he give a review on something that he never used? Go figure. As in most tools you get what you pay for, that is why I am now biting the bullet and buying the kapex this week. It is because accuracy and dust collection are important to me, the things that was not mentioned at all in this so called review. What a joke.

    • Hi Ken,

      This post, as Chuck wrote in the lede, was written as a response to interest in the Festool Kapex (as indicated in a variety of reader emails he received). He goes on to opine a bit and ask for reader feedback. I am uncertain at what point this came across as a review in any way, but regret that your bilious and myopic view led you to conclude it is nothing but a “joke.” May you find the reviews you seek at a website more suited to your disposition.

      Sincerely,

      The Editor

    • yorgo says:

      you get what you pay for…you get what you pay for, cos like Apple Festool Rolex love buffoons like you.

  26. ryan says:

    The kapex for sure. I dont have either but I do own a Festool CT26 shop vac, ts55 track saw, and domino. Based on my experience with those tools I will choose Festool in the majority of my tool purchasing decisions.

    Rob do the tubes really warp? I have seen many Hitatchi 8 1/4 inch chop saws with decades of abuse and still slide smooth and cut acurate.

  27. Douglas Urquhart says:

    I am a festool man, with over 40 festool power tools, but on this occasion i was convinced into buying the bosch, this is day two with two faults, contacted bosch to say i was not happy, complete waste of space, might as well talk to my 3yr old.
    So it looks nice, glides nice, but it is a long way to go before it even comes close to festal, the perfect tool for all those diy cowboys. And is it surprising that trying to get your money back is nearly impossible, even after reporting a fault four hours from it’s box.

  28. Allen says:

    I have owned the Kapex for 2 years. 4 months in we noticed about a 1-1.5 mm difference between the left and right fences. We may have caused it by knocking the saw off a stand 4 ft onto the floor one day with a joist on top of it. Took it in where I bought it and 2 days later they returned the saw with new fence dead accurate and no charge from Festool. 2 years later I replaced the blade first time this week. I am in Norway and the 80 tooth cost around $400 in US money. Ouch! It would have cost around $120 in the US. My bad for needing it in a hurry. Everything in Norway is high not just Festool.

    • Max says:

      Allen – Next time you need a blade, I will send you one from the USA. $400 for a blade is simply criminal. Hooked1 fdorefiref at erofiref hotmail.com

  29. Allen says:

    Forgot to mention dust collection..Coupled with the Festool E36 Vac I have we cut inside for over a month and ended up with a light cleanup and about a 6″ high by 2′ diameter pile. Look at the article picture and you will clearly see which saws dust collection will work and which will not..
    Here in Norway the Bosch does cost as much as the Festool.
    I have a $600 Bosch GEX150 6″ sander that I think was worth every penny but I can’t comment on the miter.

  30. Tony Jones says:

    I think it has come down to a question of dust collection here. If most of your work is in high rises and finished enclosed space then you have to think Festool. Otherwise like the 99% of the rest of us you have to get a Bosch or Dewalt. They are the only practical choices in this market. Some models are definitely better than others. The Dewalt 716 is way ahead of the 715. Most of my tools are Bosch and have had much better than average service with only the most basic care. Parts are easy to order online.

  31. Allen says:

    I tried the Bosch out a few days ago at a local store. It was a new one never used. I do see an issue with it on the particular saw I tried. The joints in the sliding arm had loose play in them. I did not measure but I would say .5 to 1mm or more when you tilt the head. The fact that it has multiple joints I feel is a potential problem.
    I think anyone who tried them both would decide on the Kapex. Like Tony above said though you could buy 2 of the Bosch saws for the price of one Kapex not to mention Festool blades cost more.

  32. Mark says:

    Meanwhile back in reality…

    1st) none of you are as detail oriented or picky as I, can guarantee that.

    Own and love the Kapex. But my brand loyalty varies from tool to tool.
    We left the Kapex on a job with an employee where it’s ease of use would be better served.
    I pulled out of storage a very old 12″ Makita chop saw (LS1220)for a crown job on lumpy quiet rock on top of 18 ga. steel stud – you know what that means for corners.
    Long story short it was operator skill and not the saw that provided accuracy. Period.
    Example – give Phil Mickelson a set of cheap golf clubs with ladies flex shafts & he will shoot below par. Give a fool the finest blades & best shafts, a caddie & a golf cart, a swing coach and he will shoot over 100.
    The Kapex is a fine power tool but installer skill is all you really need.

  33. yorgo says:

    This site features a bunch of comments by a whole lot of uninformed “Tools”! Ya Lappers!

  34. Reitz says:

    An easy way to figure out if the Festool is worth the money is to add up the money you’ll save by owning one.
    So if you are needing to cut outside or on the lawn because of dust(Bosch), or cut in the house with 92% dust collection(Festool), you would save quite a bit of walking time having the saw & Vacuum right there with you.
    I.E.
    2 minutes to and from the saw-15 trips per day =
    30 minutes
    260 working days per year on average X 30 min. =
    7,800 minutes per year or 130 hours
    35$ per hourly rate of work (which is very low) X 130 hrs
    =$4500
    annually spent walking to and from the outside saw. If you do a lot of interior trim and dust isn’t an issue for you, it should be; and even if you split the time in half you are making money on it yearly.

  35. Brad in Aus says:

    I have always wanted a Festool Kapex, but had almost decided to buy a cheaper mitre saw of another brand. Lots of research later, both on line and in person examining all the availabilities, I am back still wanting the Kapex. I note that De Walt compare their saw with Bosch as described and they canned Bosch on youtube. I have some Bosch tools and quite happy with them, but the work I will be doing is very fine and it has led me to the conclusion that tomorrow I will get the Kapex KS120.

  36. Charlie says:

    With dust collection as a concern, I get why a pro contractor would opt for the Festool over the Bosch. But is there any reason why an avid DIY’er or hobbyist should pick the Festool? Is there some feature that I am missing that really justifies the price delta?

  37. John says:

    Festool all the way,what price a new pair of lunges

  38. Shane says:

    I am a very fussy cabinet maker with high standards that tend to drive some people I know a bit crazy.I have a 12″ Milwaukee slidind mitre saw that I bought 2 years ago for working with 4″ to 5″ Australian hardwood.I was seriously looking at the Bosch but to me it has a lot of flex in the body,more than any other scms I have seen or worked with.I also looked at the Kapex and would have bought it if it had a larger cutting capacity.2 years on and I about to buy a Kapex to replace my Hitachi 10″ that will be my main go to saw except for larger timber,the Kapex looks like a very well built solid saw.

  39. Gary says:

    Had fun reading all these “opinions”
    The most helpful feedback to me in my quest for a new chop, however, was the comment that reminded me building beautiful stuf with wood takes more skill than fancy tools… There’s more better, “fine furniture” out there that was built before there even were chop saws.. So thanks for the advise, I’ll buy a quality made tool for $3-500 and keep doing my high end finish work and spend my lotto money floatin on my surfboard in Fiji… Sorry festool…

  40. Hi there everyone, it’s my first go to see at this web page, and article is
    truly fruitful for me, keep up posting these types of posts.

  41. lv8pv says:

    I bought the that Bosch saw Jun last year for 1428$ + taxes (9998 Norwegian kr + taxes) Used it mainly for molding and finishing in 4 new houses. I sold it used a few weeks ago at a 30% discount.

    The reason for selling it was because the following.

    Its to heavy and to big.
    The accuracy is not good enough.

    I bought the kapex 120 and solved both shortcomings of the Bosch saw

  42. Dave says:

    I was at the woodworking store checking out the Bosch glide compared to other slide models including Kapex 120. I was very surprised to find that if you hold the base of any of them steady you can wobble the head of the saw from side to side. You can actually see the blade moving sideways in relation to the blade track if you apply moderate pressure to the saw handle in either direction. To me this says no sliding/gliding saw is totally accurate. Bosch and Festool were the best of all the saws I tested in this way. Since no sliding miter saw is totally accurate then 1400 is too much for any sliding/gliding saw including Kapex 120. My choice is the Bosch. Super accurate cuts still go to the table saw with a miter sled when possible.

  43. Curt says:

    Just bought the Kapex. Nice saw until I went through calibrating it. Table to platten is not planar. Checked one on dealer’s floor and found same problem. Waiting on another attempt from Festool. I’m not optimistic. Table surface is as-cast, not machined. Buyer beware.
    I hope they can make it right. It seems to be a nicely thought-out tool.

  44. Leonard Skinard says:

    Yorgo, just save those nickles you are collecting outside the Apple store, and maybe someday you will be able to afford a really quality saw. In the meantime, close up your cricket phone and get back inside your box.

  45. Woodworker says:

    The Festool Kapex is an awesome saw, I am able to make accurate repeatable cuts that I was unable to do with my Bosch 4410. I find that the micro adjust on my 4410 also just takes far to long to dial in compared to the Kapex. Dust control on the Kapex is also far superior. The cuts on the Kapex looked perfectly polished with no visible blade deflection. For me the amount of time that I save on job sites using Festool justifies the cost.

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