Kreg Adaptive System Review — Is it Worth Buying This 2024?

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I recently had the opportunity to test out Kreg’s Adaptive Cutting System, the brand’s take on a track saw. Before using this, Kreg’s Rip-Cut circular saw attachment was my main tool for cutting sheets of plywood. I’ve also used other guides, but the only “track saw” I’ve used was the homemade kind that people make to use with their circular saw. 

That DIY tool has always worked well for me, which made me question the need to pay a lot of money for a track saw system. Let’s just say that Kreg has succeeded in changing my opinion. So, let’s explore the features of this product and see if it will change your mind as well.

Components of the Kreg Adaptive Cutting System

The Kreg Adaptive Cutting System consists of three major components which are shipped in four cartons. They are designed to be used together, although the saw and track can be used without the table. 

However, the table is what I would consider to be a fairly normal track saw system. It raises it to another order of magnitude, allowing it to do things that no normal track saw can do.

The Saw

Before talking about the table and what it does for the system, let’s take a moment to talk about the saw itself. If you think that a track saw—or at least this track saw—is just a circular saw, think again. Knowing how to use a circular saw doesn’t prepare you for using this saw.

I used to be an engineer. As such, I lived by the engineer’s adage that owner’s manuals and instructions were made for lesser mortals. Engineers can figure things out for themselves. Having said that, let me say that I am glad that I took the time to read the manuals for Kreg’s saw and system. 

Assembly and Instructions

Not only did I need that information to assemble and set things up properly, but I also needed it to understand how to use the saw properly. Had I skipped reading the instructions and just tried to use the saw, I may have damaged it.

The one word that would best sum up the saw itself is “precision.” This saw has been designed and manufactured to produce precision cuts, each time, every time. It is factory set to exacting specifications for such things as perpendicularity, cutting angle (for 45-degree cuts), and toe-in. 

Even so, they provide full instructions on how to make those adjustments yourself, as well as basic repairs, should you ever need to. They also recommend checking those adjustments and verifying the factory settings for yourself. Personally, I found nothing that needed to be adjusted.

The track has a blue strip along the cutting edge, which is cut as part of the setup process. This “anti-chip strip” is there to prevent the typical chips that the sawblade will raise off the face veneer when cutting plywood cross-grain. 

It works in conjunction with a splinter guard installed on the saw, that protects the other side of the cut. In my testing, crosscuts made on both lauan plywood and weathered plywood came out perfect, without any chips or splintering along the edge.

This saw is a plunge saw, meaning that the first part of any cut is to plunge it to depth. There is a very accurate, easy to set depth of cut gauge, just inboard of the blade. Setting this is especially important when cutting on the table, to prevent cutting through the table. 

Cutting Performance and Capacity

In normal operation, the saw cuts a ¼” deep groove alongside the track, which the blade rides in for every cut. Should the blade plunge through the tabletop, which is made of MDF, there is a risk of the table warping, especially in a humid work climate.

The stock blade for the saw is a 6.5-inch diameter, carbide-tipped blade, with 48 teeth. The cuts it produces are smooth enough for edge-gluing, without any further jointing. I could see almost no tooth marks on the edges of the cuts I made. Unlike many other saw blades that come factory-installed on saws, I can see no reason to replace this blade.

You will find that there are many more controls on the saw than the typical circular saw, in addition to the depth of cut adjustment. To make the straightest cuts possible, the saw must ride cleanly along the track, without any side-to-side wobble. 

This is accomplished by adjusting two “track adjustment knobs” located on the front and rear of the shoe. They should ride snug up against the side of the track, without being so tight that they impede the saw’s movement. Once adjusted, the “anti-kickback control” is engaged. These adjustments need to be made every time the saw is used.

As with most circular saws, the Kreg saw has the capability of making bevel cuts. However, unlike typical circular saws, zero (perpendicular to the face of the board) and 45 degrees are factory set positive stops, eliminating the worry about if that 45-degree bevel is actually 45 degrees or whether the saw is giving a cut square to the surface of the material being cut. 

There is a +47° override for bevel and a -1° bevel for zero available, but they are overrides that must be engaged. Tilting the saw to 45 degrees or returning it to zero are positive stops, every time.

Blade Change

The Kreg Adaptive System has made changing the blade easy, but creating a maintenance mode. This disables the motor and allows the blade to be plunged down, giving access to the blade retainer screw. A blade lock makes it easy to loosen and tighten the blade, without having problems keeping it from turning.

Dust Collection

Finally, the saw has onboard dust-collecting capability, either through a vacuum hose or in the supplied collection bag. What is different, is that roughly 98% of the sawdust that the saw makes is actually caught by the bag, making the need for a vacuum hose somewhat redundant, unless you are making a lot of cuts.

The Table

As I mentioned earlier, it is the table that sets this system apart from other track saws—something I’m sure that other manufacturers will be copying, as soon as they realize how valuable it is. 

A typical track saw can only make straight cuts along the edge of the track—granted they are very accurate and make very clean cuts. However, the track doesn’t help with any other alignment, other than being straight.

Allow me to also mention here that one of the benefits of any track saw is that the edge of the track is the cutting line. This applies to both factory-made tracks and homemade ones. This makes the process of aligning and cutting easy, as the edge of the track can be put directly onto the measurement marks that the user makes on the board they are going to cut. But what if you didn’t have to make those measurements?


The table is laid out with a series of ¾” dog holes, forming a grid. The location of these dog holes is exact, set in a perfectly square grid. Used with Kreg’s “Versa-Stops” (their version of bench dogs), this allows for setting up stops parallel to the cutting edge, perpendicular to the cutting edge, and at a perfect 45-degree angle to the cutting edge. The Versa-Stops come in two heights so that they can even be used in dog holes under the track.

In addition to this positive location of the material to be cut, the table comes with a repetitive stop system, which mounts to two tracks embedded into the table surface. Each track comes with two scales, which are user set for narrow and wide depths of cut. With this, it is unnecessary to measure and mark where the cut needs to be, much of the time.

These stops not only allow a cut to be made without having to dig out the tape measure but also allow easy repetitive cutting. This is the way the system is designed to be used: the part of the board that is being cut to be used is on the table, with the excess hanging off. 

This means that if you need to cut several 12” deep shelves for a bookcase, you just need to set the depth stops to 12” and then cut as many shelves as you need, with no further measuring required.

As I mentioned earlier, accurate 45-degree angles can be cut simply by putting Versa-Stops in two holes at a diagonal, eliminating the need for measuring. 

Other Features

In addition, like a table saw, this system comes with a miter gauge, allowing for cutting any angle desired. The form is slightly different so that it can go with the tracks built into the table. However, this miter has a larger protractor than those included on table saw miter gauges, making it easier to set an accurate angle.

Finally, the table legs are folding, with built-in wheels, allowing the table to be wheeled off and loaded in the back of a truck or SUV, like a hand truck. This makes it an excellent job site saw for construction and remodeling work.

Performance of the System

While everything I’ve talked about above gave me a favorable impression of the Kreg Adaptive Cutting System, I always want to see how a product works in action. More than that, I want to try and take the product to its limits, seeing just what I can make it do, even things that go beyond what the manufacturer says it will do. So, I ran a series of tests with the Adaptive Cutting system, to see just how well it would do.

Precision in Straight and Repetitive Cuts

The first test was an easy one, straightening the edge of a partial sheet of plywood. I had a weathered sheet of plywood that I had brought home from my mother-in-law’s house. To get it into the back of our SUV, I had to cut it in half, which I did with a cordless circular saw, thinking that I had gotten a pretty straight cut, for a freehand cut.

To square it up, I put a couple of the Versa-Stops into bench dog holes, perpendicular to the cut line. This allowed me to square up the piece of plywood quickly and easily, without having to measure. The edge of the plywood was clean and straight and there was no splintering, even though it was weathered wood.

Since I had the Versa-Stops in place, I went on to cut off a piece of 1” thick dimensional lumber. Not surprisingly, it was extremely easy, giving a nice, clean cut there as well.

I next moved on to trying to do a repetitive cut, setting the Repetitive stop to six inches. While the system can do that, it is primarily intended to do cuts wider than eight inches. Nevertheless, there was no problem making several repetitive cuts, which came out clean, even in particle board.

I then moved the Versa-Stops to make two miter cuts at opposite angles, at the same time using the pieces of particle board that I had just cut. Since the system comes with four Versa-Stops, this was no problem. 

Neither was making both cuts sequentially. The Anti-Slip Strips on the bottom of the track held the pieces in place, allowing for a perfect miter, as I was able to verify by putting the two pieces together and checking them with a square.


Since I was already dealing with miters, I decided to test the saw for bevel cutting. As advertised the positive stop 45-degree for the bevel cut gave me a perfect, almost “knife-edge” cut, even in particle board. 

The only drawback of using the saw in this mode is that the weight is off-center. It takes a conscious effort to keep the saw’s shoe engaged with the track so that the cut comes out straight and clean.

Stepping it Up a Notch

Up to this point, all I’ve done is try to do things that the saw is supposed to do. Nothing challenging. That wasn’t enough for me. It took some thinking, but I came up with two tests that I could do with the Adaptive Cutting System, which I don’t think the designers had in mind.

First, I tried thin ripping a 1”x 4”. It is possible to rip material this thin, but the system isn’t designed for it. The track itself is eight inches wide, so to cut this material, I put another board behind it, supporting the other side of the track. Set up this way, I was first able to cut a perfectly straight strip 5/16” wide, then another that was about 3/32” wide, without a problem.

My second off-the-wall test was to try and make an outside cut, as one would for crown molding; one of the hardest cuts a carpenter has to deal with. As best I know, this was outside the design parameters for this say. But since it can cut perfect miters and can do a perfect 45-degree bevel cut, I thought if I put the two together, I would have what I was looking for.

In order to do this particular test, I turned back to a couple of 4” strips of particle board, as I didn’t have any crown molding in my shop. Granted, those strips aren’t properly mitered at the top and bottom, to meet up with the ceiling and wall; but that’s not what I was concerned about. 

I was concerned with cutting a compound miter. As I had with my previous miter cuts, I set it up to make both cuts at the same time. When removed from under the track, the two pieces mated up perfectly to make that outside miter.

Review Conclusion: Kreg Adaptive System

I was very impressed with the Kreg Adaptive Cutting System. As I mentioned earlier, adding the specially designed table to the track saw takes it up a huge notch, allowing it to do much more. It handled everything I threw at it as if it was just another day at the office.

Would I use this system as my only shop saw? No. There are some cuts I just can’t see making on this system, especially with small pieces of wood. considering that a fair percentage of my projects involve small pieces, I think it would be dangerous if this were the only saw I was doing. Nevertheless, it has earned a permanent place in my workshop, for the things that it can do.

On the other hand, I can see this as an excellent replacement for a jobsite table saw. The only thing I can think of that a table saw can do but this saw isn’t designed to do is to is to rip long boards. It also cannot do curved cuts, but then, neither can a table saw. When it comes to making and installing cabinetry, either free-standing or built-in on a job site, this saw would be ideal.

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Rich is a second-generation woodworker, having grown up in his dad’s workshop, “making sawdust.” Fifty years later, he’s still studying and working on improving his own woodworking skills, while also helping new woodworkers “catch the bug” for the smell of fresh sawdust. While Rich has done some custom woodworking projects, his greatest thrill is helping the next generation of woodworkers along, regardless of their age. His background as an engineer and a writer just adds to his ability to teach his true passion, woodworking.

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