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Metabo KGSV 72 Xact SYM - Mitre Saw Magic

Aimed at: Professional and demanding amateurs

Pros: New and genius design is accurate, easy to set and adjust and saves a lot of time on angles and mitres.

A quick look at Metabo’s mitre saw line up – everything from a cordless 18v to the massive saws capable of mitring 150mm thick roofing beams - will convince you that Metabo engineers understand what constitutes a good mitre saw. And now, at a stroke, the revolution has been advanced by the use of two new features on the Metabo KGSV 72 Xact SYM.

The first innovation is the motor head and guide rail set up. The rails are now fixed instead of moving and the head slides on them. The result is that the whole footprint of the machine is much reduced and there is no need to allow space at the back of the machine to accommodate the rails as the head is pushed through the workpiece. It is possible to work with the machine almost flush against a wall – handy in a workshop or on site.

The addition of a foldable carry handle where the “old” rail system would have had a bearing enables this saw to be carried easily. Someone tall and strong enough would indeed be able to carry it one-handed – although I doubt this is recommended.

The SYM model of the KGSV 72 has the second innovation added to it and will be of greatest interest to second fix chippies, shop and kitchen fitters and the like. By a clever bit of turntable technology the side fences operate like a pair of geared dividers. Release the fence catches and if you pull one side of the fence towards you, the other side will move exactly the same amount. So what, you might say. But if you are a tradesman constantly having to bisect angles to fit skirting on the inevitable out-of-square walls that are found in most houses, then this saw will provide an incredibly time-saving solution. It works like this: - simply use the sliding bevel (supplied) to make an accurate reflection of the angle of the corner where the skirting is to be fitted. Offer up the sliding bevel to the adjustable side fences until they fit the angle on it and then tighten the fences. The resulting cut through the skirting will automatically bisect the angle correctly for a perfect mitre fit. Trust me, I tried it and it works. It takes a bit of care to be 100% accurate – like ensuring that the skirting is firmly held during the cut - but experienced mitre saw users will get the hang of it very quickly.

Secondly, this system also cures the problem I have when I make mirror frame mitres for example. It helps to have only one registering surface when making frames and the adjustable side fences mean that one can cut mitres without having to work (in my case) left-handed as each registering surface has to be swapped from one side of the turntable to the other. A small point maybe, but an indication that many end users will find their own shortcuts and handy tips when using the facilities offered by the SYM version’s moving side fences.

Sophisticated innovations aside, the KGSV 72 is still the classically well-made Metabo mitre saw with the kind of specs that make it very useful both onsite and in the workshop. A quick examination will convince you that it is robustly and neatly made, with compactness a priority in the design. All the systems and controls are logically laid out and the machine works smoothly, with adjustments easy to do and secure for accurate and repeatable end results.

The 1.5kW motor is belt driven and is adjustable for speed via a toothed wheel on the front of the motor housing. With the correct blade fitted and correct speed selected, wood, plastics and non-ferrous metal are all within the remit of this saw.

The soft start on the motor is a good idea and noise from it is well controlled especially at slower speeds.

The KGSV is no monster – but at at 90 degrees it will still cut 305mm x 72 mm, reduced to 215mm x 72mm at 45 degrees. The great thing about the SYM system is that while the width of the workpiece is necessarily reduced by the angled side fences, a thickness of 72mm can still be cut so the target market should be more than well catered for.

We are all used to the fact that on Metabo tools the red bits are the controls. On the KGSV SYM we have to get used to quite a few more red bits because there are more moving parts. For example, the side fences each have two locks that need to be secured before cutting safely.

What really struck me about the controls was that the Metabo engineers have excelled themselves not only in placing the controls logically, but making them all act so positively. When a lock is locked, it stays locked and you can feel it locking. This adds a lot to the feeling of safety and efficiency that is needed for a safe mitre saw operation.

For speedy working it is great to have fixed detents for angles like 45 degrees. But at the same time selecting and securing custom angles is made a lot easier by having easily readable scales and quick, lockable adjustments. The inevitable knocks of site use will eventually require the saw to be zeroed again, but this is made as quick and logical as possible too.    

It may be a function of my age but I really like the fact that the saw has two switches near the main trigger handle. The first controls the excellent LED light that illuminates the workpiece well and the second controls the double line laser that I found even more useful for accurate cutting. The double laser indicates the cutting kerf so all the user needs to do is line up the relevant line on the pencil mark and accuracy is assured.

There is so much to like about the KGSV 72 Xact SYM that I could go on for hours- but I won’t. I will simply say that this is one of the best pieces of kit I have used for a while and one that I found easy to acclimatise to and very accurate. Now I need to get back to the workshop and find some more jobs to do with it. 

Metabo KGS 305 Mitre Saw- Accurate, Adjustable and Powerful.

Metabo makes a wide range of mitre saws – from the excellent cordless KGS 18LTX cordless reviewed a few months ago to the powerful mains powered KGS 305 M in this review.

Mitre saws are now an absolute staple tool for both first and second fix carpenters and shop fitters for example. And I, and many other woodworkers, wouldn’t be without one in our workshops either!

The KGS 305 M is BIG – the box it was delivered in filled up most of the boot of my medium hatchback. It is easy to unpack and there is actually nothing needing doing to it other than setting the saw head to right angles and preparing the hold down in order to start work. It weighs a tad under 20 Kgs so it is still possible to carry around reasonably easily via the carry handle or base. The sliding arm needs to be locked tight and it also helps to make the saw more compact if the saw table is locked at a 45-degree angle.

To show how big the capacity of the saw here are some specs that will help readers: - at 90 degrees the cutting capacity is 305mm by 105mm and even at 45 degrees bevel it will still cut a healthy 215mm by 105mm. Add a 45 degree angled cut to the bevel cut and the capacity is still 215mm by 62mm, so it is clear that the Metabo will handle a good range of jobs. There are mitre saws with bigger capacities out there, but they do not necessarily have the portability and simplicity of the KGS 305.

My ideal mitre saw combines accuracy as well as capacity. Accuracy also means that it has to be easily adjusted because the angle readings can slip out of true during transit in the back of the van or if it takes a knock. This is normal.

When I checked it straight out of the box, both cross and vertical cuts were spot on. Adjustment of both bevel and mitre functions is easy using an engineers’ square and the hex key provided.

Consistent accuracy also depends on the quality of the sliding arm and the slide rails. I found that there was no play in either the saw head or the sliding rails (which, by the way, slid very smoothly on their smooth chrome). It helps that the saw head, upper blade guard and sawhead hinge is made from a meaty alloy casting. The lower blade guard is of transparent plastic with a roller on the bottom to help it run smoothly as it retracts over the cut – definitely a good safety feature.

Another thing I liked was that the power cord is fed through one of the slider rails so it is kept out of the way of the blade and workpieces. Plastic cleats are supplied on each end of the slider so that the cord can be wound around them for transit.

Fixing the sliding head is via a sprung screw knob on the left side of the rails. A pin on the right side locks the saw head down. They are both easy to find, because they follow the Metabo pattern of controls picked out in red. A horizontal pull handle with motor trigger and safety paddle switch is nicely placed for easy working. On the handle too, are the laser and worklight switches. Both of these lights are improvements on previous models because they are placed where they are less likely to pick up excess dust and are much easier to clean. Both lights are bright enough to be useful in indoor working conditions and I particularly liked the light spread of the worklight – it helped my aging eyes!

Dust collection on mitre saws tends to be an imperfect science because of the way they work, but this function has also been improved on by directing the dust via a flexible rubber port. The smallish dust bag fills up very quickly, so it shows that much dust is being collected, but for better performance the saw needs to be connected to a vacuum extractor pipe that is fitted onto the top of the sawhead. This will prevent clouds of dust in the workshop or worksite, but there will still be dust in the air – so a dust mask is definitely needed.

Standard movements like mitre and angle cutting are quick and easy to achieve using the required adjustment levers. I recommend that the bevel adjustment is always double checked for tightness because the saw head can be dangerous if it slips sideways during use.

There are two table extensions – one on each side of the saw blade. The right hand side one has a built-in stop for repeat cuts. They are easy to slide into place by simply undoing the tightening knobs on the base. They do provide a greater level of support for the workpiece, but for users consistently handling pieces longer than a metre or so I would suggest a solid mitre saw stand, or, at the least, a couple of robust trestles and a thick piece of ply to make a table on which to secure the saw.

The KGS 305 M comes equipped with a 56 tooth TCT blade that is good for general purpose use – it leaves a very smooth, almost planed finish when used with care on both hard and soft wood. Plastics and non-ferrous metals will need specialist blades fitted.

Although the motor has a goodly 1.6kW output of power, it runs smoothly once started. The motor advertises its power by starting with a bit of a roar and a jolt. If I could suggest one improvement it would be a soft start option.  

In the past I have cut big softwood beams up to 220mm wide and 100mm thick on the KGS 305 M and I couldn’t help but be impressed by the ease with which the job was done. Many buildings on the continent use big laminated beams on their roofing structures, so there is no need to guess why Metabo has the KGS 305 M in its saw line up.

In my workshop all I could find that would even vaguely test the cutting power and accuracy was a 150mm wide 70mm thick lump of hard Indonesian hardwood. The blade powered through with ease and accuracy and left a pretty smooth planed finish, despite some sparks from some silica trapped in the grain of the timber.

Aimed at pro users, this saw will deliver in spades. It is, perhaps, not as sophisticated as some on the market, and the price tag reflects that, but it sure delivers on capacity, accuracy and power. 

Aimed at: Pro site chippies, would be useful in a workshop too.

Pros: - Powerful and practical with good specs for cutting big workpieces.

 

Metabo Cordless Mitre Saw KGS18 LTX - Flexible + Cordless + Cutting

Aimed at: Professional and enthusiast users who need cordless versatility.

Pros: Accurate, cordless with decent crosscut and mitre capabilities.

An accurate mitre saw is essential for the work that I do – it is easily within the top ten of my tool necessities. Accordingly, I have a big and powerful corded mitre saw that I can and do take on site occasionally, but I also had a 36v cordless chopsaw that I took onsite more often, until it died….. NiCads don’t last forever!Time to think about getting another. Fortunately, to help my research, Metabo has recently launched the Metabo KGS18LTX 216 that I had the good luck to preview last year at Nuertingen, Metabo’s HQ in Germany.

Getting started with the KGS18 LTX is simple because nearly everything is attached and adjusted at the factory. Pretty well all you have to do is set the saw arm from the transit position to 90 degrees, attach the dust collection bag and insert a fully charged 5.2Ah battery pack.

I used an engineer’s square to test the accuracy of the factory settings and I found them spot on both in vertical and horizontal. A set of mitre cuts on a small picture frame proved the accuracy – which to me is an absolute necessity in a mitre saw. However, as we all know, the saw will lose its settings due to bumps and knocks and general use, so it is important that the factory settings can be restored easily. The Metabo doesn’t disappoint in this either – an onboard hex key is always available to reset the fences etc. so that accurate work can be maintained.

The specs are also generous given that the KGS has a relatively small 216mm diameter blade. At 90 degrees vertical and horizontal, a 305mm width and 65mm depth is easily achievable. At 45 degrees vertical and horizontal this is reduced to 215mm width and 36mm depth. But think about it – for most on-site general second fix work, these capacities are more than enough. I use mostly hardwood, and I found that there was more than enough oomph to cut it – so to speak. There is a technique to learn – because it is easy to stall the motor by attacking a cut too quickly. The way that worked best for me was to start the cut quite slowly and increase the feed rate as the cut advances across the workpiece, listening to the motor for any signs of overload. I regularly cut through 45mm thick beech and oak and the standard 40-tooth thin kerf sawblade supplied left a very smooth, almost planed surface.

What makes this and other Metabo mitre saws easier to use is that all the controls are marked out in bright red and all major controls can be accessed easily from the front even at arm’s length in the case of the vertical bevel adjustment. The adjustments are all positive with standard “click” stops at commonly used angles. The scales are easy to read in one-degree increments so users can set the “odd” angles that are needed – I have never come across a perfect right angle so far when I have been fitting skirtings!

The motor appears to have a direct drive to the blade and the battery pack is mounted right onto the operating handle on the right hand side of the blade housing. The battery pack mount is a standard Metabo slide that is easy to fix and release. Also on the control handle are a couple of red switches for the red laser cutter guide and the white LED worklight mounted onto the bladeguard. This lights up the workpiece very well and is very easy to clean by simply wiping away collected dust with your fingers – but do watch that your other hand is nowhere near the start switch!

The control handle is horizontal with a large trigger inside the loop and a press button on each side. Suitable for left and right-handed use, one of these side buttons must be pressed and the trigger switch squeezed before the motor will start. Each battery pack has a red button to press to ascertain the amount of charge still remaining.

There is a sawhead lock to hold it down for safe transit, as well as a lock nut on the slide mechanism so that it can be centred for equal weight distribution when being carried. Right on the centre of balance on the sliding arm is a big rubberized loop handle that enables one-handed carrying. Trenching cuts are possible by using the red-topped screw to the left of the dust extraction duct. Unusually, there is a depth of trench indicator, so that repeatedly accurate cuts can be made.

Dust extraction from mitre saws is generally quite difficult because of their design. Metabo has actually maximized dust collection by adding a flexible “shute” behind the blade. Proof of effective dust collection is that the dust bag fills quite quickly. However, there will always be some escaped dust around after use. Indoors, especially the use of a dust mask is necessary

This situation can be improved by inserting a dust extraction hose into the dust port and the amount of dust will be reduced to very little indeed. Using a vac extractor is much more feasible with a mains-powered saw since it can be directly plugged in to the auto-start. With a cordless saw the main advantage is its independence of AC power, so I guess a dust mask will remain a necessity until the launch of a really efficient cordless vac extractor.

I have used the KGS18 for several weeks now and I am thoroughly chuffed with it. It has proved to be accurate, powerful enough to cut dense hardwood and with capacities that enable me a much more flexible approach to onsite and workshop operations. In short, it is so much better than my old 36v chopsaw that the Metabo has replaced it in my affections completely. I can’t really think about any downsides of my uses of the KGS18. Some pernicketies might complain about dust collection, but I am relaxed about it. The KGS is a fine tool and I am sure that it will gain many fans.

Time to think about getting another. Fortunately, to help my research, Metabo has recently launched the Metabo KGS18LTX 216 that I had the good luck to preview last year at Nuertingen, Metabo’s HQ in Germany.

Getting started with the KGS18 LTX is simple because nearly everything is attached and adjusted at the factory. Pretty well all you have to do is set the saw arm from the transit position to 90 degrees, attach the dust collection bag and insert a fully charged 5.2Ah battery pack.

I used an engineer’s square to test the accuracy of the factory settings and I found them spot on both in vertical and horizontal. A set of mitre cuts on a small picture frame proved the accuracy – which to me is an absolute necessity in a mitre saw. However, as we all know, the saw will lose its settings due to bumps and knocks and general use, so it is important that the factory settings can be restored easily. The Metabo doesn’t disappoint in this either – an onboard hex key is always available to reset the fences etc. so that accurate work can be maintained.

The specs are also generous given that the KGS has a relatively small 216mm diameter blade. At 90 degrees vertical and horizontal, a 305mm width and 65mm depth is easily achievable. At 45 degrees vertical and horizontal this is reduced to 215mm width and 36mm depth. But think about it – for most on-site general second fix work, these capacities are more than enough. I use mostly hardwood, and I found that there was more than enough oomph to cut it – so to speak. There is a technique to learn – because it is easy to stall the motor by attacking a cut too quickly. The way that worked best for me was to start the cut quite slowly and increase the feed rate as the cut advances across the workpiece, listening to the motor for any signs of overload. I regularly cut through 45mm thick beech and oak and the standard 40-tooth thin kerf sawblade supplied left a very smooth, almost planed surface.

What makes this and other Metabo mitre saws easier to use is that all the controls are marked out in bright red and all major controls can be accessed easily from the front even at arm’s length in the case of the vertical bevel adjustment. The adjustments are all positive with standard “click” stops at commonly used angles. The scales are easy to read in one-degree increments so users can set the “odd” angles that are needed – I have never come across a perfect right angle so far when I have been fitting skirtings!

The motor appears to have a direct drive to the blade and the battery pack is mounted right onto the operating handle on the right hand side of the blade housing. The battery pack mount is a standard Metabo slide that is easy to fix and release. Also on the control handle are a couple of red switches for the red laser cutter guide and the white LED worklight mounted onto the bladeguard. This lights up the workpiece very well and is very easy to clean by simply wiping away collected dust with your fingers – but do watch that your other hand is nowhere near the start switch!

The control handle is horizontal with a large trigger inside the loop and a press button on each side. Suitable for left and right-handed use, one of these side buttons must be pressed and the trigger switch squeezed before the motor will start. Each battery pack has a red button to press to ascertain the amount of charge still remaining.

There is a sawhead lock to hold it down for safe transit, as well as a lock nut on the slide mechanism so that it can be centred for equal weight distribution when being carried. Right on the centre of balance on the sliding arm is a big rubberized loop handle that enables one-handed carrying. Trenching cuts are possible by using the red-topped screw to the left of the dust extraction duct. Unusually, there is a depth of trench indicator, so that repeatedly accurate cuts can be made.

Dust extraction from mitre saws is generally quite difficult because of their design. Metabo has actually maximized dust collection by adding a flexible “shute” behind the blade. Proof of effective dust collection is that the dust bag fills quite quickly. However, there will always be some escaped dust around after use. Indoors, especially the use of a dust mask is necessary

This situation can be improved by inserting a dust extraction hose into the dust port and the amount of dust will be reduced to very little indeed. Using a vac extractor is much more feasible with a mains-powered saw since it can be directly plugged in to the auto-start. With a cordless saw the main advantage is its independence of AC power, so I guess a dust mask will remain a necessity until the launch of a really efficient cordless vac extractor.

I have used the KGS18 for several weeks now and I am thoroughly chuffed with it. It has proved to be accurate, powerful enough to cut dense hardwood and with capacities that enable me a much more flexible approach to onsite and workshop operations. In short, it is so much better than my old 36v chopsaw that the Metabo has replaced it in my affections completely. I can’t really think about any downsides of my uses of the KGS18. Some pernicketies might complain about dust collection, but I am relaxed about it. The KGS is a fine tool and I am sure that it will gain many fans.

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