If you are someone who works with any sort of woodworking or DIY projects, a miter saw could be high on your list of things to add to your work area. Miter saws allow you to do many different types of cuts, like angled cuts along the edge of wood, cross cuts, and angled cuts along the face of the wood. You can do things like cut lap joints, rabbets, and dadoes with this handy tool. These are extremely handy tools to have.
However, there are some things about a miter saw that could make it less useful to you. For example, non-sliding miter saws can’t cut very wide materials. Choosing the best miter saw is important to make sure you get the best use out of this tool. That is why we’ve reviewed some of the top miter saws on the market and put together this guide for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Miter Saw
- 1.1 DeWalt DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw
- 1.2 Bosch 120-Volt 12-Inch Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw
- 1.3 Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10-Inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
- 1.4 DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- 1.5 Skil 3821-01 12-inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser
- 1.6 Makita LS1040 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
- 1.7 Hitachi C12RSH2 15-Amp 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw with Laser Marker
- 1.8 Makita LS1221 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw
- 1.9 DeWalt DCS361B Sliding Miter Saw
- 1.10 Craftsman 10-Inch Single Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- 1.11 Delta 26-2250 12-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Cruzer Miter Saw
- 2 Who Needs a Miter Saw?
- 3 Anatomy of a Compound Miter Saw
- 4 Which Type of Miter Saw to Choose
The Best Miter Saw
Here’s a quick look at the best miter saws we found on the market today, before we get into an in-depth look at all of them.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these saws. These are the top miter saws on the market today, and to test each of them, we put them all to the test. Each offers something unique to the handyman, DIY warrior, or woodworking professional.
DeWalt DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw
DeWalt is a leading name in the world of power tools, saws especially. This one in particular is perfect if you need to take your woodworking on the go. It is one of the most portable saws on our list, weighing less than 50 pounds, and having an easy-to-carry design. It is a precise saw, with an adjustable lock miter system that allows you to do all kinds of angles and precision cuts with ease. You can make bevel cuts of 48 degrees left, and three degrees right. This allows you to do quite a lot of bigger jobs.
If you prefer a compound miter saw over a sliding model, this one has one of the biggest ranges you’ll get for cutting different angles, from a compound saw. It’s a fast and powerful saw as well, allowing you to get 4,000 RPM from the 15-amp motor. It has plenty of safety features, such as a transparent blade guard that automatically lifts out of the way when you cut, and then returns to place when you aren’t cutting.
There is no laser on this model, and that may be the only downside. However, if you don’t like using the laser guide, or you have no preference, this may not be a downside for you at all.
Bosch 120-Volt 12-Inch Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw
If you need a miter saw that gives you very exact precision for cutting, you can’t go wrong with this Bosch saw. It features a patented axial glide system that Bosch is known for, which not only allows you to perfect control when cutting, it also takes up far less space in your work area than other sliding miter saws. Despite being very compact, it does offer you a lot of cutting capacity. It can cut 16 inches horizontally, 6.5 inches vertically, and 6.5 inches of crown. That’s a lot of space to make plenty of cuts, more than a standards 12-inch saw would offer.
It does offer an ambidextrous grip so anyone can use it with either hand, and it has an ergonomic design for more comfort. Bosch also equipped this saw with a dust collection system that includes a chute, a vacuum adaptor, and a bag. This means you can keep your space cleaner while you work.
This is not a portable saw, despite its compact size. It weighs nearly 90 pounds and doesn’t have an easy handle. It also does not have a laser guide.
Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10-Inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
If you are a beginner to the world of DIY projects or handyman tasks, this saw is where you should start. It’s easy to use, well-designed, and should last you for years. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy bells and whistles, and a more experienced carpenter may find it limiting, but the price and the features are perfect for entry-level woodworking.
It is made of lightweight, but durable steel and aluminum, and it has a very accurate calibration. It doesn’t have a laser guide, and the safety features are very basic, but the saw gets nothing but good reviews from beginners.
This isn’t the tool to use for larger projects, because it doesn’t have that wide of a range. However, it’s a very affordable option to get started with.
DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
If you need to be able to make professional, precise cuts that are smooth and perfect every single time, this saw is a great place to start. It tilts in both directions a full 45 degrees, so it can easily tackle crown molding and more. The miter base is very well-designed to work for professional use and is perfect calibrated.
This saw does lack a laser system, and the safety features are a bit lack luster – both things are indicative of the fact that this saw is really meant for professionals. It is one of the most lightweight professional miter saws out there, weighing only 56 pounds, and the high-quality materials mean this saw will last. It also has a great dust collection set up, and DeWalt actually guarantees that 75% of the dust will be collected by the system.
This is an affordable option for a professional.
Skil 3821-01 12-inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser
If you need a saw that practically does the work for you, this one from Skil is ideal. It has a variety of very user-friendly features, such as a laser guide to keep your cuts accurate, a clamp to keep your materials in place, and nine positive stops that make it very stable. The design, performance, quality, and price on this saw are all perfect compared to similar saws. It also is designed to help reduce vibration while you work.
This is a great tool for a more advanced hobbyist, or someone who wants a single saw to go from hobby work to professional work. The only real downside is that it’s a fairly simple design and lacks those cutting-edge features like an LCD screen.
Makita LS1040 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
Need a saw that won’t budge once you put it in place? This is the model for you. It has a powerful motor and an awesome safety fence to keep you out of harm’s way, but the non-sliding arm is extremely stable while you are working. If you are looking for a great 10-inch saw, this is our top choice. It has lots of power, and the stability makes you more accurate. Power and accuracy are the two most important things, after all.
The only downsides are that you can’t get a stand for this saw, and that it doesn’t collect dust well at all. But beyond that, it has everything going for it. At under 30 pounds, it can be easily hauled around to jobs or other parts of a work area.
Hitachi C12RSH2 15-Amp 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw with Laser Marker
Do you want all the features of the most expensive saws out there, but need to keep your budget in check? This saw is one of the better options you could choose. It features extremely high quality materials, with a design that is meant to help you with accuracy. From the laser guide system to the sturdy and reliable body design, this saw is perfect for someone that is looking for a way to get the best of both worlds. Get the power and precision you need without breaking the bank.
It does have a sliding fence that keeps you safe while you work, and the handle is cushioned to help block out vibrations. This saw does suffer from a lack of great dust collecting, but beyond that, it’s an excellent choice when you’re looking to invest in something you can afford.
Makita LS1221 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw
Do you need a saw that offers a little bit more flexibility than other miter saws on the market? Check out this one from Makita. It can cut both wood and aluminum, and it has a very large capacity. It can cut through material that is four by six inches, which is exceptional for such a lightweight and small saw. The powerful motor rotates the blade at 4,000 rpm, so you can get through pieces faster.
This is also one of the safest models we reviewed. It features a blade guard, a lock button, an automatic brake, and both a vertical and a horizontal vice to keep the saw in place during use. It weighs only 37 pounds, so you could carry it with you.
DeWalt DCS361B Sliding Miter Saw
Need a miter saw that can go with you anywhere? This is a cordless saw that runs on a rechargeable battery, similar to a power drill. It doesn’t have a long run time, but it’s great for powering through jobs that take you away from electricity. It’s easy to use, and features a lot of great characteristics. For example, it has a smooth lever action, which a lot of miter saws struggle with, and it has tons of great safety features.
This model is only 36 pounds. The dust collecting system is not impressive, but otherwise, this saw is perfect for a professional or serious hobbyist that wants to be able to take their saw to the project.
Craftsman 10-Inch Single Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
If you are tired of replacing power tools, look no further. This saw may be one of the more affordable options on our list, but it offers great durability. It’s a lightweight option that can be carried with you to other work areas, but it doesn’t sacrifice on a great build or awesome precision. It does have a laser light, and it can be used in a variety of ways.
This saw’s primary draw is that it will last a long time, and it is affordable. It isn’t the largest saw in the world, so it doesn’t slice all the way through thick wood. If you often do big jobs, you may need a different saw.
This saw is ideal for a homeowner that wants a saw they can trust will be around for years.
Delta 26-2250 12-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Cruzer Miter Saw
The final saw on our list is ideal for people who do carpentry or woodworking for a living. This saw offers a ton of capabilities and has one of the largest crosscutting capabilities in any sliding miter saw. You can adjust the front bevel, you can set the machine closer to walls because of the guide system, and it features a smooth articulating system of guide arms that are very easy to adjust. Unlike other saws we reviewed, this one has decent dust collection as well.
However, it doesn’t come with many safety features, so keep that in mind.
Who Needs a Miter Saw?
While not every person needs a miter saw to use in their home, it makes a great addition to a workshop if you frequently work on wood projects. If you take part in any carpentry projects, this type of saw is your best bet. You’ll need to do angling at some point, regardless of whether you are putting up trim or framing a new shed. While a miter box is an option, it isn’t as capable or quick as a miter saw will be.
This tool is also versatile and can do many of the same functions as a circular saw or chop saw when it comes to materials that require straight cuts. Anything from 2x4s to 4x4s can be cut quickly and easily if you use a 10” or 12” blade. The reality is that most things related to carpentry will be easier with a this type of saw. You can do the typical quick cuts, as well as other cuts, depending on the saw that you choose.
However, if you are looking to largely rip apart large sheets of wood, this might be better done by a table saw. If that’s the case, be sure you choose an option with a tilt function, so you can also get your angling work completed with the same tool.
Anatomy of a Compound Miter Saw
If you aren’t familiar with a compound miter saw, you may be wondering what all of its components are and what they offer. The main parts of it include the on/off trigger, sliding rails, fence, miter adjustment, and bevel adjustment. We’ll go over exactly what every part is there for and how to use them to the best effect while woodworking.
The trigger or handle for the miter saw might seem fairly self-explanatory but there are a few things you should think about. The handle is exactly what it says on the tin while also offering a way for you to pull the saw blade down onto the material you are using. This is also where you’ll find the trigger, which is how you are able to turn the saw on or off. Depending on the placement of the saw’s handle, it may mean the saw is better for someone who is right or left-handed. However, some miter saws place the handle in the middle, so anyone can use it with ease. It’s also worth noting that some saws have a vertical grip while others have a horizontal one.
You will only find sliding rails on a sliding miter saw and their purpose can be easily determined. Essentially, sliding rails offer a way for the handle, motor housing, and blade to move away from their set position and extend farther out. When you consider the size of the rails, you’ll want to select based on the width of the material that you intend to cut. It’s also important to look at the space needed behind the saw for the rails to properly retract.
The fence is the part of the miter saw which your material is pressed against to ensure a level and flush cut. You want a reasonably tell fence that will help ensure your saw is set at the relevant angle for whatever project you happen to be working on. The taller the fence is, the more stability you will have if you tend to work with tall materials. Having a quality fence is especially important when cutting things like base boards or large piece of crown molding. The best fence is a sliding one that extends away from the cutting area.
The miter adjustment is crucial, since it’s literally why the tool gets its name. The adjustment on the saw allows you to change the direction of the blade and motor housing so you can do whatever type of cutting you need. However, the amount of adjustment will vary, with some moving up to 60 degrees in both directions. With a simple adjustment system, it will be much easier to work with different materials. It can save you a decent amount of time. The most important thing to look for is a system that offers multiple preset locking points, so you can adjust and move on.
The second component of a compound miter saw that makes it what it is would be the bevel adjustment. While the miter adjustment makes it a miter saw, the adjustment for the bevel turns it into a compound miter saw. In most cases, you’ll find that this adjustment is found on the back of the saw. What it does is provide the opportunity for you to change the vertical angle of the saw’s blade. If there is only a single bevel, you can tilt the blade either left or right, but a dual bevel gives you the option to do both. If you expect to be adjusting the bevel on a regular basis, you’ll want to look for a display that is simple to read.
Which Type of Miter Saw to Choose
There are two major types of miter saws: sliding compound and traditional compound. These are the two best types of miter saws that you will find on the market today. This has been true for over a decade at this point. While you may find plain miter saw or chop saw, there aren’t a ton of them out there. Even if you do manage to scrounge one up, the cost difference usually doesn’t justify choosing one. That is because with a compound miter saw, you can cut bevels, miters, or each both at the exact same time.
- Compound Miter Saw – With a compound miter saw, you can make bevel cuts, which are essentially titled cuts. You can choose from a dual or single bevel saw with the former being more versatile than the latter. A dual compound miter saw is fantastic for those who need its features along with a good dose of accuracy when making cuts.
- Sliding Compound Miter Saw – The versatility is even more enhanced with this saw option. However, it also tends to be the most expensive miter saw available. You get everything found in a compound miter saw along with a sliding arm to cut thicker and wider pieces of wood. The most common reason to choose this type of saw is due to the larger cutting capacity available from it.
You’ll also want to think about the blade size you need. Most of the time a 10” blade is going to be less expensive, but it does have limitations in terms of wide cuts. However, they are inexpensive and the saws that use them are often light and small, which is great for travel. A 12” blade is more expensive but is also going to be capable of more substantial work. If you plan to work on large materials, this might be the way to go. The great thing about miter saw blades is that regardless of size, they still offer the same level of precision.
No matter which saw you choose, there are a few features you will want to have. Some are common and will be found on every saw, while others may not be. We’ll share some information on what the importance of them are and let you decide which are the most important while making a purchase decision for a high-quality miter saw.
- Laser Guide System – A laser guide will allow you to make the most accurate cuts, but not every system is of the same quality. It’s always best to read reviews and get an idea of what to expect before banking on it being the right miter saw for your needs.
- Dust Collection System – This is sometimes just a dirt bag, which isn’t super effective. Other times you may find an actual collection system. This can help keep the area where you are cutting clean and prevent dust from entering your saw to keep it working well for a long time.
- Motor Type – Making sure the motor is robust enough for your needs is another must. Most saws will have 10 amps or more of power, but you want the larger option if you plan to use the saw on a regular basis. Smooth start technology can also be a helpful addition to your saw.
The miter saw is fantastic as a tool since it offers the ability to make many unique types of cuts. This includes cuts perpendicular to the grain (cross cuts), cuts angled across the edge of your material (bevel cuts), and cuts angled across the face of your wood (miter cuts). With a sliding miter saw you also get additional depth control which allows you to cut material away for lap joints, dadoes, and rabbets when doing multiple passes. As such, there are tons of options with a high-quality miter saw.
However, it’s worth knowing that a miter saw cannot do absolutely everything. You won’t be able to make curved cuts or rip cuts, for instance. This tool also has limitations based on the width of the material that you use. This is also why sliding miter saws are so popular, as they offer more versatility in this case. With the non-sliding version, you are limited based on the blade size on what width of material you can work with. But when all is said and done, what a miter saw does, it does with a higher-quality and more quickly than other tools
Focus on Safety
While you may not enjoy reading about miter saw safety, it’s still an extremely important factor to think about. All of the fun of working with a power tool can be ended forever if you get into an accident. This is also what leads some woodworkers to become fanatical about safety while doing work. While the basic safety practices are the same for most power tools, the more you hear about it and put it into practice, the better off you will be.
The biggest safety factor when using a miter saw or another other power tool is yourself. You are the person who is operating the tool and you are the person who makes decisions before, during, and after using it. If you are someone who doesn’t put safety as a priority, having the best safety features isn’t enough to ensure you don’t end up injured while using it. However, those who make safety a crucial part of their use will have a better experience, regardless of extra safety features on the saw.
The basic safety precautions involve wearing protective eyewear, avoiding articles of clothing and jewelry that are loose, and doing a onceover of the material you will be cutting to find any screws, nails, staples, or other items. It is also recommended that you wear some sort of hearing protection to protect your ears. Those are the things you can do to keep yourself safe without even considering the features on the miter saw you choose.
When you do select a saw, you want one that has a blade guard at a minimum. This guard should be transparent and you should have no issues seeing through it. The reason for this is if it isn’t easy to see through, you might find yourself moving it out of the way to look at what is happening. This is the exact situation that a blade guard is made to prevent so it’s better to choose the right option from the start, rather than having a protective measure that you do not use.
Most modern miter saws will also include an electric brake, which is a fantastic safety feature. Basically, this brake is used to stop the blade quickly, so you don’t get injured before it completely shuts off. When you leave your blade in what you are cutting after the cut is complete, this adds to the quickness of the blade slowing and coming to a stop. On top of that, it also provides a higher level of safety and offers the best finish for the cut you made
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