Best Miter Saw Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the best value miter saw requires careful consideration. A comprehensive array of key factors determine the ideal choice of a miter saw. These include durability, accessories, type of blade, the availability of a dust collection bag and more. The best unit allows users to make accurate cuts and has a long working life.
To make the right choice, it is vital to familiarize with the wide range of features offered by different types of saws and models. Some of the extra benefits include laser functionality and dust extraction. These tools usually come with a blade guard designed to provide safety. The blade is only exposed as it approaches the wood. The sawdust and the blade typically move away from the position of the user.
Common miter saw types
Buyers can choose the ideal miter saw from four types, including basic, compound, sliding compound and the cordless miter saw.
- Sliding Compound
The basic variant is well suited for projects involving cross cuts, trimming and miter cuts. However, this type of saw places limitations when it comes to cutting capacity owing to the lack of a bevel option. On the upside, these units are affordable and can handle precision cuts. They are a good choice for beginners and casual users — It’s basically a chop saw.
This option can be used to make both miter and bevel cuts and allows further adjustments to suit specific project requirements. The units come in two basic models: dual bevel and single bevel. Dual units are designed to make bevel cuts to the left and right while the single models only cut in one direction.
The best sliding compound miter saw provides equal parts versatility and superior performance. They provide increased cutting capacity thanks to the sliding arm, which allows the unit to cut wider and thicker materials. It comes as no surprise that these variants feature prominently in miter saw reviews. However, sliding compound miter saws do not come cheap. Buyers must be prepared to make a significant investment.
The cordless units are undoubtedly the best portable miter saw that DIYers and professional users can buy. These lightweight saws rely on lithium ion batteries and feature a compact motor. They provide versatility when working at jobsites without power supply. However, users can expect slower cuts due to fewer revolutions per minute (rpm).
Compare Top Rated Miter Saws from Each Category
Dewalt DWS780 Miter Saw
This unit offers a re-designed precision miter system and support for a machined base that makes it easier to maintain accuracy. Its new handle design allows users to move around freely. It provides optimal saw capacities, including miter 0 to 60 degree left and 0 to 50 degree to right side. This 12-inch double bevel sliding compound saw is a durable tool that is rugged but still capable of fine precision.
It is the best miter saw for fine woodwork that can handle deck building and heavy-duty framing. The product is ideal for framers, cabinetmakers, contractors, installers and trim carpenters. It achieves precision cutting without re-calibration.
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Question and answers
Q: What are the cutting capacities for this unit?
A: The Dewalt DWS780 Miter Saw offers 13-7/8-inch horizontal capacity, 6-3/4-inch vertical capacity and more.
Q: Does this unit fall under the DeWalt’s Built in USA program?
A: Yes, this model is part of the program
Q: Does the DWS780 feature a rail lock latch?
A: Yes, it comes with the latch for separating the head away from the fence.
Q: What’s the difference between the DWS779 VS DWS780
A: The main difference between the two, is the price. You get everything that the DWS780 has except for the laser guide. The DW779 is also much cheaper. If you can live without having a laser, I jump on getting this miter saw.
My take on the Dewalt DWS780 Miter Saw
Hitachi C10FCE2 Miter Saw
The C10FCE2 is the best 10-inch miter saw for beginners. It can handle accurate miters and crosscuts to achieve fine cuts when working on a wide variety of materials, including wood, aluminum sashes and decorative panels. Users can take advantage of compound cutting and flexible miter angles to enjoy maximum versatility.
The product is one the lightest in its class, thus maximizing portability. Woodworkers, framers and trim carpenters will find the tool ideal for a wide variety of projects. It comes with a vise assembly, extended fence, box wrench and a dust collection bag. All accessories included in the package are made to the highest industry standards. In addition, they undergo extensive tests to ensure quality workmanship.
Question and answers
Q: How do I ensure that the bevel moves to a true 45 degrees?
A: Simply adjust one of two bolts at the base of the tilt until it reaches 45 degrees.
Q: What is the largest lumber size that one can properly miter at an angle of 45 degrees?
A: You can miter up to 6 inches wide at a 45 degree angle.
Q: Does this unit come with a detent override?
A: Yes, you can use a knob located at the front of the saw for the purpose.
My take on the Hitachi C10FCE2 Miter Saw
DEWALT DW715 Compound Miter Saw
This 15-amp, 12-inch single-bevel unit is a good choice for buyers seeking the best compact miter saw. It has an adjustable stainless detent plate that is coupled by 11 positive stops. The product is designed to provide repeatable accuracy and durability. Its sliding fence has the capacity to work with a crown molding of up to 5-1/4 inches.
Additionally, it can slide out to allow bevel cuts of 0-3 degrees to the right and 0-48 degrees to the left. This is aimed at boosting the unit’s capacity. On the other hand, the miter detent override and cam lock handle enable users to achieve quick, effortless and accurate miter angles.
Question and answers
Q: How many bevel stops are provided by the product?
A: It offers for hardened steel bevel stops, which helps improve versatility.
Q: Is the stainless steel miter detent plate adjustable?
A: Yes, the detent plate is fully adjustable and comes with 11 positive stops.
Q: How fast can this tool cut?
A: Its 15-amp motor is capable of delivering no-load speeds of up to 4,000 rpm.
Q: How long is the period of coverage for the DW715 Compound Miter Saw manufacturer’s warranty?
A: Dewalt offers a three-year limited warranty in addition to a three months money-back guarantee and free service for one year.
My take on the DEWALT DW715 Compound Miter Saw
Makita LS1040 Compound Miter Saw
The Makita’s LS1040 is fitted with an aluminum base, which ensures accurate cuts. This miter saw has the capacity to handle compound cutting and features a well-designed dual post compound pivoting arm. It provides ease of use, high performance and impressive power.
With a total weight of just 27.3 pounds, the unit is portable. The LS1040’s direct drive motor is dynamically balanced and capable of delivering up to 4,600 rpm. The motor, which has a 15-amp rating is engineered to never slip. Additionally, it does not bog down like the majority of belt drive units.
Questions and answers
Q: Can this miter saw cut 4×4 wooden material?
A: Yes, it can cut 4×4 timber on a straight cut.
Q: Can the unit’s the electronic speed control maintain a constant speed when working on demanding projects under load?
A: Yes, the LS1040 can maintain a constant speed under load.
Q: What is the purpose of the soft-start technology?
A: Its designed to ensure smooth start-ups.
My take on the Makita LS1040 Compound Miter Saw
The Makita LS1040 offers a wider variety of settings and boasts impressive cutting power for users looking for high performance and precision cuts. The unit’s handle feels good in the hand. The product is well suited to professionals involved in a number of trades, These include professional woodworkers, general contractors, carpenters, siding installers and more.It demonstrates Makita’s quality workmanship and cutting edge technology. All the miter saws are well-designed and thoroughly tested. Buyers of these products, including the LS1040 Compound Miter Saw are given a decent warranty of not less than one year. This provides a surefire way to gain confidence and peace of mind about investing in the LS1040.
Dewalt DCS361M1 Cordless Miter Saw
This cordless miter saw comes with a 20-volt max battery pack capable of handling 183 cuts of 2×4 pine. In addition, it can cut up to 275 cuts of 3-1/4 pine baseboard. It has an XPS positioning system that is designed to make it easier to achieve better visibility and accuracy. Users can take advantage of adjustment-free cut line indication.
The saw also boasts a compact design that promotes portability around the jobsite. Accurate miter angles can be performed quickly and easily thanks to the cam lock miter handle. Meanwhile, the Dewalt DCS361M1 features a detent plate made of stainless steel. The plate is adjustable and has 10 positive stops, which contribute to improved productivity and precision cutting.
The package includes a number of accessories: a 20-volt max charger, a well-designed material clamp, a carbide blade, a max battery and a blade wrench.
Questions and answers
Q: Can this miter saw handle heavy-duty, daily use for installing trim?
A: This unit is best used for occasional projects or quick deployments when there is no power.
Q: Does the Dewalt DCS361M1 collect sawdust well when hooked to the extractor?
A: The dust collector performs relatively well but some particles may spill.
Q: What is the unit’s cross cut capacity when applying the entire sliding action.
A: The capacity is determined by the thickness material but 7-7.5 inches should work just fine.
My take on the Dewalt DCS361M1 Cordless Miter Saw
Finding The Best Miter Saw For Your Money – Buyer’s Guide
Compound Miter Saw
This type of saw enables users to make standard cross and square cuts without compromising on precision. The units operate in the same way as a basic miter saw. The blade is pulled down by an integrated motor. However, compound units are not well suited to cutting wider stock and materials. Occasional users can rely on a basic miter saw.
Users can take advantage of the capacity to rotate the blade at wide-ranging angles. This can be carried out from the board, which makes it easier to cut the wood from any angle other than 90 degrees. A ramp is created on the side of the target material to achieve the desired angle. This is aimed at handling more complex cuts that are typically done in trim work.
With compound miter saws, the user needs to flip the board to reach multiple sides since the head only rotates on one side. The tool is commonly used by molding cutters, carpenters and flooring contractors, among others. It provides a viable way to save time when working on projects that involve cutting materials.
Wider cuts enable users to complete the process faster even when cutting larger pieces. The automatic blade is driven by powerful motors capable of reaching impressive revolutions per minute (rpm). Higher rpm translates to finer cuts and superior workmanship. A sliding miter saw is much slower when compared to the compound unit.
This type of miter saw eliminates the need to use accessories for making precision crosscuts at varying angles. It becomes easier to cut simple wooden frames and crown moldings. The majority of professional users rely on this saw to ensure smooth, high-quality cuts. This can be achieved on a wide variety of materials.
Sliding compound miter saw
The sliding feature brings much-needed versatility to the cutting. It adds a radial arm, which allows the saw head to move from one side to another. This is aimed at expanding the board size and simplifying the crosscut operations. Cabinet makers and professional framers will find this unit highly useful
Non-sliding units come with a blade that is attached to a fixed arm, which only pivots up and down. This undermines flexibility and limits the saw’s cutting capacity. Blades fitted onto a fixed arm often lead to bad cuts. Sliding units, on the other hand, move in a fixed arc and slide outwards. They are undoubtedly one of the best miter saws available to professionals and DIYers.
However, the sliding compound miter saw comes at a higher price. It is the ideal choice for buyers that need to cut wide or thick materials. Some of the projects commonly handled using a sliding unit include cutting floorboards, preparing fence posts and cutting timber widths that exceed 200 millimeters.
A number of manufacturers incorporate a laser cutting guide, which enables users to position materials accurately in a timely fashion. This makes the units perfect for hip roof work, crown moldings and cutting custom joints and stiles. Sliding compound variants are reliable when working on angular cuts and other precision projects.
While table saws are designed to make long cuts and rip wood, sliding saws provide a practical way to approach the material from tricky angles.
Cordless miter saw
Cordless saws typically offer single or dual bevel options. They come with batteries which power ratings vary between 18 and 24 volts. More powerful batteries allow users to handle more cuts before recharging. These units are perfect for working in areas without access to power. They also come in a compact build that ensures portability.
A 20-volt battery pack has the capacity to handle up to 183 cuts of 2×4 pine. More powerful batteries can deliver enough power to handle 400 crosscuts with ease.
Some of the manufacturers of cordless miter saws fit the units with an XPS positioning system that allows users to enjoy improved visibility and accuracy. This is coupled with adjustment-free cut line indication. The number of positive stops that a unit offers varies by model.
The stops are linked to a detent plate, which is usually adjustable and made of stainless steel. They play a key role in improving productivity and precision cutting. Meanwhile, the cam lock miter handle is designed to enhance the ability to perform accurate miter angles. These functions can be performed relatively easily and in a timeous fashion.
Buyers can expect to find a wide variety of accessories included in the cordless miter saw package. These incorporate a carbide blade, a charger, a blade wrench, material clamp and more. The variety and number of accessories vary by brand and model.
The blade guard is a key component of any miter saw, including cordless variants. However, some guard tend to loosen up with usage. The carbide blade is popular with trim carpenters. Manufacturers use a wide range of techniques and features to extend horizontal and vertical cuts.
How To Use a Miter Saw
Whether seasoned professionals or determined do-it-yourselfers, anyone interested in repeatedly making precise cuts needs a miter saw. The challenge lies in ensuring you are getting the best one for your needs and budget.
When it comes to miter saws, one of your main concerns should be safety. Although most of the models available can be considered fairly safe, there are saws that are not as harmless as expected to be. When you are unsure of the level of safety, the blade guard is the first thing you should examine. The materials used to manufacture the saw are essential as well. Saws made of weak materials will, most likely, jeopardize your safety.
If not properly used, these saws can be tremendously dangerous. A number of individuals tend to start using their saw as soon as it is delivered but this is an immense mistake. Reading the user manual is the first thing that should be done upon the arrival of your saw.
Accuracy With or Without a Laser
There are miter saws that feature incorporated laser systems and for the ones that do not, an add-on accessory can often be purchased. This feature is designed to ensure more accurate cuts. However, lasers must be calibrated perfectly or this could cause their line positions to be off, which would throw off the accuracy of your cut.
To safeguard against this, there are saw that use a module to project LED light along the two sides of the blade. This forms a shadow of the saw blade on the piece of material. The lowered blade sharpens the width of the shadow, darkens and matches the width of the kerf of the saw blade. You can achieve perfect alignment consistently by positioning the cut-line to the shadow
Positive stops are necessary mainly because they allow you to easily adjust the angles. Cutting materials like wood is not merely a one-sided direction. Typically, it requires particular angles to make the craft flawless. To ensure the right angles are acquired, it is quite beneficial to have easily adjustable positive stops. It is important to make sure the miter saw you ultimately chose has positive stops. This feature varies among manufacturers; therefore it is important that the right ones are available for your convenience.
It can be challenging to work on complex furniture. Miter saws have a sliding fence feature that makes the cutting process much easier. It delivers full-height support to cut wider pieces of materials. Choosing a durable miter saw with this feature will make it faster and easier to work on the material. The fence essentially minimizes hassles to make the cutting experience more pleasant
The blade is clearly among the most vital parts of every saw. Fortunately, this part can be easily replaced, when necessary. Therefore, even if the wrong choice is made, it will be easy to fix the issue. However, to avoid unnecessary spending, it is important to buy a proper blade.
The blade determines the height and depth of the cut. Typically, miter saws are available with an 8-inch, 10-inch or 12-inch blade. Different blades can be used for different applications; however, the most commonly used ones cut wood, steel and aluminum. Usually, the blade that has more teeth will cut finer.
When it comes to the motor of your saw, power should always be in the forefront of your mind. Simply put, the more power the saw can deliver, the better it will be. Even though this is a simplified perspective, it pretty much works all the time. If you need your saw to undertake special projects and need it to meet certain demands, researching the power ratios of today’s models would be a great idea. For cordless models, get as many cuts with a single charge as possible. On average, the value is approximately 200 cuts per charge.
The stand goes a far way in making the miter saw a stable and valuable tool. Even the greatest great miter saw will not deliver remarkable results on a substandard stand. Without optimal stability, cutting on a miter saw can become an exercise in frustration and deliver work that looks unprofessional.
This makes the stand one of the most vital miter saw accessories. These powerful tools are useful for making angle cuts in materials like wood and plastic. However, if the stand is unstable, the cuts will not be precise and your work will suffer.
Blade Height and Bevel Adjustments
To adjust the angle of the bevel, your square should be placed on edge. One edge should be flat on the table, while the other should go right up from the table. Raise the blade guard, lower the saw and slide the square along until the edge that is vertical is aligned with the blade. Use a piece of paper or visually check for gaps between the square and the blade. If any is present, the bevel adjustment knob should be loosened and the bevel adjusted until the blade of the saw is aligned with the square.
Side Extension Adjustments
To adjust the blade on some miter saws, the bevel handle located at the back of the saw should be loosened. Next, the bevel of the blade should be adjusted until full contact is made with the square and then the handle should be tightened. The bolt should be adjusted until it meets the stop. The blade is now square to the table. Whenever the bevel is adjusted and returned to 0, this will stop the bolt at the right position.
Sawdust has a way of getting into everything, including the saw, your mouth, nose and eyes. Obtaining a miter saw that has a reliable dust collection system will assist in keeping dust under control. It will also prolong the lifespan of the saw and keep your work site clean. If your preferred saw is only available with a dust bag, you should consider getting a shop vacuum to assist with dust collection. Only a few miter saws have effective dust collection systems. Therefore, you should not be too frustrated if you have to end up getting a shop vacuum as well. Besides, a decent shop vacuum will come in handy for all kinds of things around the work area.
If you are planning on frequently using your saw, a vacuum or dust extractor is a must-have. Several of the newer models do a remarkable job at collecting dust; however, a vacuum is typically the safest way to get rid of dust.
Usage and Maintenance Tips
• Blade Upgrade
Most miter saws are outfitted with a general-purpose 24-tooth to 40-tooth blade. This is suitable to cutting decking or framing lumber as clean cuts are not that important. However, for sharp cuts in hardwoods, a high-performance blade that has a low-degree hook angle is necessary.
• Stop Before You Lift
When using your miter saw, always ensure the blade has stopped spinning before the saw is lifted. Premature lifting could score the end of the material. Additionally, the spinning blade could snag the cutoff and propel it dangerously at a high speed.
• Fine-tune Cuts
For a tight fit, the blade angle should be slightly adjusted to fine tune miter cuts. Next, the blade adjuster should be nudged and held in position until the locking handle is tightened.
• Using a Jig for Crown Molding
You can build a jig to grip crown moldings and keep them at the right angle. To accomplish this, a scrap of the molding should be set in the jig upside down and the position of the stop marked. The stop to the jig should be screwed and all fasteners placed away from the blade path.
• Keep it Clean
To rid your tool of debris like sawdust, use a blower or compressed air to blow them off. In addition, the dust and debris can also be sucked out with a vacuum cleaner. About once per week, you should consider giving your miter saw a more comprehensive cleaning. This would involve using a dry dust rag to get rid of the dust off the miter saw.
This should be followed up by using a specialty blade brush to clean the blade. Close attention must be paid to the teeth of the saw. If no exclusive blade brush is available, some bathroom detergent and a regular soft-bristle wire brush can be used to clean the saw. Ensure the blade is wiped dry after cleaning to prevent rusting.
• Keep it Lubricated
The gears of your miter saw should be kept well lubricated for the tool to work optimally. If it is kept oiled, the saw will run smoothly and deliver quicker, more efficient and more professional woodworking results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What’s the best miter saw for crown molding?
Answer: The DEWALT DW713 10-Inch saw cuts with accuracy and power. It is designed to make it easy to cut crown molding and baseboards.
Question: What are the benefits of dual bevel?
Answer: The dual bevel eliminates the need to flip the material to make bevel cuts on the two sides. This makes it much faster and easier to complete matching multiple cuts.
Question: Do I need a sliding compound miter saw?
Answer: Non-sliding miter saws take care of roughly 90 percent of trim work for interior spaces. If your budget is tight and you can do without the wide-cutting capacity sliding saws deliver, a non-sliding compound miter will definitely work for you.
Question: Do I need a laser guide?
Answer: This largely depends on the purpose for which the saw will be used. With the laser guide, you will find it to be extremely convenient when working on DIY projects. When doing fine work, the blade can be used to line it up.
Question: Do all miter saws have electric brakes?
Answer: No. There are some saws that come with electric brakes, while others do not. For heightened safety, miter saws with electric brakes would be the better option. This is because the electric brake automatically prevents the blade from rotating when the trigger is released.
Question: What type of blade should I buy?
Answer: The blade that will work the greatest for you will depend on the types of materials you will be cutting, the kinds of cuts you wish to make and the sort of saw you are planning on using. Three of the most popular kinds of blades are high-speed steel blades, steel blades and carbide-tipped blades.
High-speed steel blades are sturdier than regular steel blades and can be utilized for a broader range of cutting tasks. Steel blades are the most reasonably priced and they are ideal for cutting most softwood because they tend to very quickly become dull when used on hardwoods. Carbide-tipped blades are your best option for fine woodworking jobs. They are the costliest; however, they stay sharper for a lot longer and produce extremely smooth and accurate cuts.
Question: What size saw should I buy – the 10inch or 12inch?
Answer: In addition to the clear difference in size, both versions have different uses and capacities for which they are best. One noteworthy advantage of the 10-inch miter saw over its 12-inch counterpart is that they normally spin faster. A 12-inch model is typically slower as the blades have a bigger radius.
Higher speeds make for smoother cuts; therefore, this should be carefully considered when determining the saw you really need. Its capacity to cut larger pieces makes the 12-inch miter saw more versatile
Miter saws are portable and most suitable for individuals who wish to cut boards in different sizes. When you have selected the best saw for your requirements, be sure to read the instruction manual and adhere to the safety guidelines. For example, it is extremely important to wear safety eye wear while using any power saw. Doing so will allow you to remain safe while sawdust flies around your work area.