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Best Circular Saw Guide Rails – Top Picks, Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2020

a circular saw guide rail

A circular saw guide rail is a critical tool for making straight cuts on large boards, but choosing the best one for your workshop is not easy because there are many brands available, and a lot of newer woodworkers aren’t sure how to tell the difference from one brand to the next.

We’ve chosen eight different brands of circular saw guide rails to review for you. We’ll go over each brand and discuss why we like one brand more than the next, and we’ll also point out any special features one brand might offer that another doesn’t. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide where we take a close look at what a circular saw guide rail does and what you should look for before buying.

Keep reading while we take an in-depth look at circular saw guide rails and discuss length, strength, durability, sleds, ease of use, and more to help you make an informed purchase.


A Quick Comparison of our Favorites in 2020:

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Kreg KMA2700 Circular Saw Guide Rail Kreg KMA2700 Circular Saw Guide Rail
  • 48” of track
  • No clamps needed
  • Anti-chip strips
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Kreg KMA2685 Circular Saw Guide Rails Kreg KMA2685 Circular Saw Guide Rails
  • Oversize edge guide
  • No need for measuring
  • Easy setup
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    WoodRiver Guide Rail 4′ x 8′ Kit WoodRiver Guide Rail 4′ x 8′ Kit
  • Clamps for secure cuts
  • 56” rails
  • Can use in any direction
  • Bora WTX Clamp Edge & Straight Cut Guide for Circular Saws Bora WTX Clamp Edge & Straight Cut Guide for Circular Saws
  • Rigid aluminum
  • 100″ length
  • Adjustable clamp end
  • POWERTEC 71387 55″ Guide Rail Joining Set POWERTEC 71387 55″ Guide Rail Joining Set
  • 55″ guide rail
  • Saw connector kit
  • Professional-grade aluminum
  • The 8 Best Circular Saw Guide Rails:

    1. Kreg KMA2700 Circular Saw Guide Rail – Best Overall

    Kreg KMA2700

    The Kreg KMA2700 is a great choice for anyone who wants to take their precision cutting to the next level. This kit comes with 48 inches of track in two sections, which means you can use the shorter length for smaller projects or connect the two halves for four feet of accurate cutting. These tracks come with anti-slip feet, so you won’t need to use clamps to get high-quality results.

    This high-quality guide rail allows you to make rip, crosscut, and angled cuts with a high degree of accuracy. It can cut plywood up to 50-inches long, and it remains stable with the help of its anti-slip guide strips. The guide rail helps prevent splintering, and the starting block helps you begin confidently.

    The only downside to the Kreg KMA2700 Circular Saw Guide Rail is a slight amount of play between the sled and the guide track that can lead to inaccurate angles in some cases.

    All in all, we think that these are the best circular saw guide rails of 2020.

    Pros
    • 48” of track
    • No clamps needed
    • Anti-chip strips
    • Starting block
    Cons
    • Some play in track

    2. Kreg KMA2685 Circular Saw Guide Rails – Best Value

    Kreg KMA2685

    Tricked out with several great features, the Kreg KMA2685 is our choice for best circular saw guide rail for the money. This model works a bit differently from tracked circular saw guide rails, as it uses a ruler affixed to a guide that runs along the outside of your stock. That means you can make rips and crosscuts up to 24 inches away from the board’s edge. There’s no need for marking required – set the ruler to the correct distance and cut. It’s also compatible with most circular saws and easy to set up.

    The straightness of your cut will be dependent on your stock, which can be bad sometimes. Overall, this model can’t do all cuts, but it’s really good at the ones it can do.

    Pros
    • Rips and crosscuts up to 24” wide
    • Oversize edge guide
    • No need for measuring
    • Easy setup
    Cons
    • Small maximum range
    • Dependent on straight edge

    3. WoodRiver Guide Rail 4′ x 8′ Kit – Premium Choice

    WoodRiver circular saw guide rail

    Unlike the previous two models, the WoodRiver 4′ x 8′ Guide Rail isn’t limited to just cutting parallel to the edge of the board. This model includes two 56” guide rails to crosscut most sheets of plywood. It’s made from aluminum, which is nicer than the plastics found in other models and makes it lightweight but very strong. It also comes with a clamp that you can use to secure it in place while you cut.

    However, this model lacks instructions, which complicates the assembly of the kit. It also lacks a base for the circular saw to sit on, as you find in the other kits on our list. That means you have to use this as a true guide rail, keeping the circular saw parallel to the edge while you cut, and hope that your hand doesn’t slip and push the saw out of alignment. That means you’re not getting a cut that’s as precise as it is with the other models.

    This kit is considerably more expensive than others but experienced users tend to be satisfied with its results.

    Pros
    • Clamps for secure cuts
    • 56” rails
    • Can use in any direction
    Cons
    • Lacks instructions
    • Lacks base for circular saw
    • Expensive

    4. Bora WTX Clamp Edge & Straight Cut Guide for Circular Saws

    Bora WTX guide rail

    The Bora WTX Clamp Edge and Straight Cut Guide for Circular Saws is a heavy-duty rigid aluminum guide. The set comes with a 50-inch clamp and a 50-inch extension, so It can cut boards up to 100 inches wide, and the adjustable clamp holds the guide firmly to any surface. Also, this rail set is for exclusive use with the Bora 544006 WTX Saw Plate (sold separately).

    The trouble we had with the Bora WTX was that it only locks on one end, and sometimes the saw can travel a few degrees off-axis on the longer cuts. Another problem was the sled didn’t glide easily over the guide as we were making cuts, and it felt rough.

    Pros
    • Rigid aluminum
    • 100″ length
    • Adjustable clamp end
    Cons
    • Only locks on one end
    • Doesn’t glide smooth

    5. POWERTEC 71387 55″ Guide Rail Joining Set

    POWERTEC 71387 55" Guide Rail Joining Set

    The POWERTEC 71387 55″ Guide Rail Joining Set features a pair of two 55-inch guide rails that you can connect for a longer cutting reach. A saw connector kit helps you attach our saw easily and reduces set-up time. The guide is professional-grade aluminum that won’t bend or warp over time and remains lightweight.

    We liked using the POWERTEC set and it worked well. However, we didn’t like the ratcheting system that clamped the guide to the cutting material. It never seemed to work properly, costing lots of resetting time.

    Pros
    • 55″ guide rail
    • Saw connector kit
    • Professional-grade aluminum
    • Connectable
    Cons
    • Clamp ratchet malfunction

    6. Festool FS-800/2 32″ Circular Saw Guide Rail

    Festool FS-800/2 32" Circular Saw Guide Rail

    The Festool FS-800/2 Guide Rail features a 32-inch cutting width, but there are several sizes available at a higher cost. You can purchase a Festool guide up to 197 inches long, which should be more than enough for most applications. This model also includes a handy splinter guard that helps reduce the number of fragments created while cutting. Professional-grade aluminum allows for a durable yet lightweight guide rail that you can transport anywhere.

    The biggest downside to the Festool FS-800/2 is that it’s short for the price, and the larger models can get quite pricey.

    Pros
    • Multiple sizes
    • Splinter guard
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • 32″ cutting width
    • Pricey upgrades

    7. SHOP FOX D4362 Guide Rail for W1835

    SHOP FOX D4362 Guide Rail for W1835

     

    The SHOP FOX D4362 Guide Rail for W1835 is a 55-inch long guide rail that features a smooth sliding surface on top and an anti-slip surface underneath to help keep the guide in place while making cuts. It’s a lightweight guide that allows for beveled cuts as well as precision straight cuts.

    The problem with the SHOP FOX D4362 Guide Rail for W1835 is that it’s about as bare-bones as you can get. This model does not include a sled or clamps to hold it firmly to the surface, which means it could slide in some instances. Also, we tried two of these, and both models had damage to the corners, and when we looked up other reviews of this brand, we noticed lots of other complaints concerning bent corners as well.

    Pros
    • 55″ width
    • Sliding surface
    • Anti-slip underside surface
    • Allows bevel and straight cuts
    Cons
    • Damaged corners
    • No sled
    • No clamps

    8. Bora 543056K Circular Saw Plate and Straight Edge Guide System

    Bora 543056K Circular Saw Plate and Straight Edge Guide System

    Bora 543056K Circular Saw Plate and Straight Edge Guide System is a 50-inch straight edge system that helps you make more precise cuts by clamps to both sides of the material you are cutting, for less drifting. The high-quality aluminum is durable and lightweight, and the included sled fits most circular saws.

    The biggest problem we had while reviewing the Bora 543056K Circular Saw Plate and Straight Edge Guide System was that the included sled was very flimsy. It didn’t hold the saw firm, and it didn’t slide smoothly, increasing the work required to cut. While pushing the sled, we noticed it makes a loud squeaking sound, and on occasion, we experienced some flex in the guide, which threw off the angles slightly.

    Pros
    • 50″ cut width
    • Clamps both ends
    • High-quality aluminum
    • Fit most saws
    Cons
    • Flimsy sled
    • Sled squeaks
    • Track flexing

    Buyer’s Guide

    Let’s discuss some of the most important things to consider before you purchase your circular saw guide rail.

    using a circular saw to cut wood

    Advantages

    There are three main advantages associated with using a circular saw guide rail.

    Straight Cuts

    Guide rails help keep your circular saw on a straight path, which enables you to make straighter cuts more consistently on large boards. It’s tough to make straight cuts in larger pieces of wood without one and angles, and other detailed cuts are nearly impossible. Guide rails are very accurate and work much better than line drawings.

    Reduced Splinters

    The guide rail applies extra pressure to the board, which helps reduce the splintering that occurs as the saw cuts through the wood and moves across the board. It also helps prevent the saw from scratching the wood or causing other unsightly markings that are common when working with a heavy table saw.

    Portability

    Unlike the guides built-in to your workbench and table saw, these circular saw guide rails are portable, and you can take them with you on the job. Many of these guides weigh less than ten pounds, and some weigh as little as a single pound.

    A circular saw guide rail on a tableLength

    One of the most important things to consider when choosing your circular saw guide rail is the length. The guide rail will need to be as long as the wood you intend to cut. Most guide rails are between 36 and 50-inches in length, but they can be virtually any size, and we have more than one that can reach over 100 inches on our list.

    Material

    The material used to make the guide is also of special importance. Most high-quality guides are steel or aluminum. Steel is much more durable, accurate, and sturdy, but is also much heavier. Aluminum is less expensive, lightweight, and suitable for most projects.

    Most of the guide rails on our list are aluminum and meant for the home woodworker. Steel guide rails are typically for commercial use.

    a circular saw guide rail (up close)

    Grip

    Many guides have a type of gripping material that helps prevent the guide from sliding while you are making cuts with your circular saw. Foam rubber is the best type of gripping material available. Clamps work much better, though, and many brands allow you to clamp at least one end of the guide to your material for increased stability and precision. Brands that allow you to clamp the guide at both ends will provide the straightest cuts and are usually the most expensive.

    Clamps can also introduce a new set of problems as we had several brands that experienced issues with the clamps ratcheting system and others that were hard to use.

    Conclusion

    When choosing the best circular saw guide rail for your woodshop, the most essential thing to consider is the length. The guide needs to help you cut wood large enough for your project. Too much guide length can lead to bending, which can throw off your angles. Once you have the length, you need high-quality construction and a smooth moving sled. It should be easy to attach your saw to the sled, and it should lock in tight.

    The Kreg KMA2700 Circular Saw Guide Rail is our top choice and is a perfect example of a circular saw guide rai with all the right features. It’s durable and lightweight. It has a smooth moving sled, and it lets you perform advanced cuts. The Kreg KMA2685 Circular Saw Guide Rails is our best value, and though it’s short, it has all of the features as the top model and is perfect for smaller shops and projects.

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