miter saw buying guide

5 Best Miter Saws 2019

A miter saw is a woodworking tool that allows you to cut in a range of angles using a blade that is mounted to a swing arm. There is a variety of miter saw types to choose from that are suitable for both beginners and professionals.

The best miter saw is the DEWALT DWS780, which is a double bevel sliding compound miter saw with a powerful 15 amp, 3,800 RPM motor for maximum performance.

Choosing between a sliding and stationary compound miter saw is based upon your own personal preference. Both offer benefits but it is dependent upon the type of woodworking you plan on completing.

Best Miter Saws To Buy

Miter SawWeightSize
DEWALT DWS78056.0 LBS12 Inch
Bosch GCM12SD65.0 LBS12 Inch
Makita LS1216L58.2 LBS12 Inch
DEWALT DCS361M131.6 LBS7 1/4 Inch
Hitachi C10FCG24.2 LBS10 Inch

For precise crosscuts or angled cuts to your specification, the miter saw is the tool you should use. They are the most accurate at this type of woodworking due to the stability of the arm ensuring precision of the cut is perfect.

Miter saws come in their basic form, cordless, compound and as a sliding compound saw with each providing their owns pros and cons. It is recommended that you choose the miter saw that suits the types of woodworking you will be doing.

There is a huge variety of miter saws available and owning one can make a huge difference to your woodworking abilities. Below is a list of the best miter saws that are a mix of compound, sliding compound and bevel glide types.

DEWALT DWS780 Sliding Compound Miter Saw


The DWS780 is one of many miter saws produced by Dewalt but this model in particular is the most rated thanks to the powerful 15 amp, 3,800 RPM motor. The intuitive design allows you to bevel from 0 to 49 degrees in both left and right directions. This means you are able to carry out a range of cuts from crown molding to base molding as well as a range of other cuts.

It is a 12 inch compound miter saw that is backed by Dewalt’s reputable 3 year warranty and one year free service contract as well as a 90 day guarantee. It is an expensive tool but warranties and guarantees provide peace of mind.

Unlike many cheap miter saws, the power cord used to power the DWS780 is routed via the rail at the back to prevent interference with the slide. Other clever features include the dust collection system that will collect 75% of all dust.

In terms of the cutting capacities, it will vertically cut to 6 3/4 inch, has a nested down capacity of 7 1/2 inch and horizontally cut to 13 7/8 inch.

Weighing at just 56 LBS and constructed of a durable stainless steel frame, it is fairly compact too for transportation. Overall, it is the best compound miter saw you can buy and as its made by one of the most reputable machinery brands, you can trust it to work trouble-free for years to come.

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Bosch Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw


The 12 inch GCM12SD by Bosch is a highly rated miter saw that uses a similarly powered motor as the Dewalt alternative at 15 amp, 3,800 RPM. In terms of the left and right movement, it will angle in both directions to 48 degrees.

A unique selling point of this Bosch miter saw is the Axial Glide system that folds the articulated arm flush with the back of the saw. The main benefits of this is that is reduces the workspace by 12 inches and this prevent the need for clearance behind the saw, which is highly desirable for small workshops.

The cutting capacity includes a 6-1/2-inch vertical capacity and a 6-1/2-inch crown capacity, which is ideal for a range of cuts.

Although it has the same powerful motor as the Dewalt alternative, it does lack the portability as it weighs 65 LBS and 1 less degree of left to right movements (although this is minor for the majority of users).

Overall, the smaller footprint of the Bosch GCM12SD is a big selling point and its the best miter saw for small workspaces because of this. If it was lighter and included a similar power cord setup to the Dewalt, it would be the ultimate tool.

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Makita LS1216L Miter Saw with Laser


Makita is an upcoming machinary brand that is winning the hearts of many professional carpenters worldwide. The LS1216L is a reasonably priced compound milter saw with a large cutting capacity for crown molding with a 8 inch capacity and a 6 1/2 inch vertical cutting capacity.

It uses a 15 amp motor that delivers 3,200 RPM, which is slightly lower than the Dewalt and Bosch alternatives but ideal for woodworking. It also features a “soft start” system and uses a electronic speed control to maintain a constant speed.

Included with the Makita miter saw is a built-in laser that will indicate the line of cut for even more accuracy. This is a feature that is not found on many of the more expensive alternatives and is a feature that makes a huge difference.

Other clever features integrated into the Makita LS1216L saw include the linear ball bearings to deliver smooth and accurate cuts, retractable rear guard for an increased cutting capacity and many other features.

For woodworking DIY’ers that require a large cutting capacity, this miter saw is ideal. It is also much cheaper than the Bosch and Dewalt alternatives with very similar features and performance statistics. The Makita LS1216L is a great all rounder that is ideal for both beginners and professional to use on a daily basis.

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DEWALT DCS361M1 Cordless Miter Saw


For those wanting maximum portability or may not always have access to an outlet, a cordless miter saw is the only option. The DCS361M1 model produced by Dewalt is a lightweight example at just 31.6 LBS that uses a 20V battery as a power source.

As it is a cordless miter saw, battery life is the biggest concern. However, Dewalt claim that on average, the battery is good for 183 cuts of 2 x 4 pine or 275 cuts of 3 1/4 inch pine baseboard. This is more than enough battery life and even if you do run out of juice, there is a charger for restoring battery life quickly.

As it is a more compact miter saw, the cutting capacity is far less than the alternatives. It has a nested crown cutting capacity of 3 5/8 inches and base vertically capacity of 3 1/2 inches.

However, the lack of cutting capacity and power is something that is expected of a cordless miter saw but in return, you have a lightweight and highly portable tool.

Overall, the Dewalt DCS361M1 is the best cordless miter saw you can buy and backed by their 3 year limited warranty and 1 year free service contract.

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Hitachi C10FCG Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw


The Hitachi C10FCG is a budget miter saw that packs an impressive specification and feature list considering its low cost. Like the others, it has a 15 amp motor that delivers speeds up to 5,000 RPM for easy miter cuts.

It is a 10 inch miter saw that offers a miter angle range of 52 degrees in both directions for maximum flexibility for your cuts. It is also very lightweight at just 24.2 LBS but this is due to the smaller size compared to the others.

Overall, it is the best budget miter saw for the money with excellent performance and cutting abilities for the low purchase cost. Obviously there are rooms for improvements but if you are a beginner, this saw would be ideal to get used to things.

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Miter Saw Buying Guide

Miter saws are one of the most popular types of versatile saws on the market today. They are flexible and can be used for a good number of projects and are used by professional contractors, carpenters, furniture makers, DIY’ers, woodworkers, and craftsmen. Miter saws are used on wood but some can also cut other materials such as plastics, aluminium or concrete.

The type of miter saw a professional contractors need is not the same as the one that will work best for a casual DIY’er. With that in mind, this handy Miter Saw Buying Guide will help you find the best tool for your needs.

This power tool has an oscillating swing arm that can be adjusted to aim the blade left or right to produce a desired angled cut. If you’re looking to make flawlessly straight, splinter-free cuts this tool is essential.

Miter saws can also make straight cuts for general woodworking projects. But when faced with buying your first saw you’ll encounter a number of options and price points. Here’s a quick guide to finding the right miter saw for you.

Types of Miter Saws

There are different types of miter saws that you can choose from when looking for the best option to buy. There are three main types of miter saws which include:

  • Basic
  • Compound
  • Sliding compound

Each type has different benefits and downfalls. Below are some of the descriptions of each type.

Basic Miter Saws

Basic miter saws can be used for cut trimming and making cross cuts or miter/angled cuts. Their cutting capability is limited to making miter cuts, as there is no bevel option. Therefore you won’t be able to make a wide variety of cuts. The basic miter is very accurate and is great for simple cutting tasks. This saw is very affordable, thus ideal for beginners and casual woodworkers.

Compound Miter Saws

A compound miter saw differs from a basic miter saw in that it can be used to make bevel cuts as well, which is basically a tilted cut. Compound miter saws can be adjusted to make both miter and bevel cuts, and even with that, there are a couple of different options.

There are two types of compound miter saws:

Single bevel, this saw will make bevel cuts in only one direction to the work piece has to be moved in order to make a bevel cut in the opposite direction. Dual bevel, this saw will make both left and right bevel cuts, so you don’t have to move your work piece in order to make the second cut.

Its recommended to use the compound miter saw when cutting things like crown molding since it makes the job much easier as well as increasing the accuracy in making the bevel cuts match.

Sliding compound miters saws

This is the most versatile type of miter saw that you can get. It is also the most expensive one as well. This saw has all the features of a compound miter saw and a sliding arm which allows the saw to cut wider as well as thicker pieces of material.

This increased cutting capability is what makes a sliding compound saw very versatile. Purchasing this saw is a monetary investment, I advise purchasing this type of miter saw if you regularly work with larger stock.

using a compound miter saw

Sliding Vs Non-Sliding

The sliding compound miter saw has the radial arm feature while the non-sliding one does not. The radial arm saw feature helps to move the circular saw head to and fro across the width of the board. To use the sliding feature, you have to pull the saw head all the way forward, switch on the saw and push the saw back across the width of the workpiece to cut it in two.

So with the sliding compound miter saw, you can crosscut boards that are larger in size using the radial arm feature. The non-sliding compound miter saw cannot crosscut large boards because it does not have the radial arm feature which slides the circular saw head across the width of the board.

Laser guide system

It may not be that necessary, but having a laser guide on your miter saw can be very useful. An effective laser can make the miter saw much easier to use and can help you make accurate cuts. Some laser guide systems, are not very effective so you will want to really check out the system your miter saw uses.

Dust Collection System

The dust collection systems that come on miter saws normally consists of just a dust bag which, in most cases, is not very effective. There are some laws that have an effective dust collection system.

The best way to tell if a miter saw has good dust collection abilities is to read product reviews. An effective dust collection system will help keep your work area clean and it will also increase the lifespan of your saw by preventing dust from getting inside it.

If dust is not being collected properly, the dust might actually settle in the different parts of the miter saw, which as a result can alter the accuracy of the whole machine. Dust collection is a very important issue when it comes to a compound miter saw.

A really good compound miter saw must be designed in such a way that much of the dust created can be collected. You should keep in mind that there is no compound miter saw that is 100 percent efficient when it comes to dust collection.

Power

The miter saw you choose should have enough power to do your cutting jobs and miter saws typically have between 10 and 15 amps of power. It is not always necessary to have a really powerful motor, but if you will be using your saw regularly you will want to choose the most powerful option for your needs.

You will also want to take into account the maximum RPMs the motor will provide, as that will affect how smooth your cuts are and direct drive motors tend to last longer and provide more power than belt driven motors.

If you plan to do a lot of heavy cutting or need particular smooth fine cuts, you might also want to consider a motor with smooth start technology, which significantly lessens the burst of power you feel when the motor starts.

The miter saw must be powerful enough such that it requires the smallest application of force or pressure on the part of the operator for the blade to slice through the wood.

When you lower the blade, it should just slide through as a hot knife slides through butter, effortlessly. Note that you should not base your decision only on this when choosing a compound miter saw. Clearly, there are other factors you must consider, which you’ll see as you read on.

sliding miter saw

The Blade

Most miter saws come with a standard blade that’s fine for rougher cuts, but won’t be suitable for fine woodworking projects, so if you are going to need fine finishes be prepared to purchase an additional, higher quality blade. In situations where you know you will have to change the blade often, for different jobs, you will want to take note of how easy it is to change the blade. On some models, the blade can be a major pain to change and you could even end up having to ask someone for assistance.

Safety

A miter saw is a dangerous tool to operate and it’s a good idea to look for one with adequate safety features. I recommend that you look at miter saws that have safety features like electric brakes and fence guards. While most miter saws will have these features, you should always make sure you read several reviews to see how effective they are.

Precision

Personally, I think the most desirable feature or characteristic any miter saw should have is precision or accuracy. If you are a professional woodworker, then you know why precision of your compound miter saw important. Whether you’re framing a building or carrying out finished carpentry on a home, precision is paramount. It is very important that all the cuts you carry out are flush and as accurate as possible. If your miter saw is not cutting precisely, your overall design will come out defective.

Capacity

One thing you definitely want to check out is the capacity of the compound miter saw you want to purchase. The horizontal capacity will determine how wide a baseboard you can cut with the miter saw while the vertical capacity/size of the fences will determine how tall the crown molding you can cut with the miter saw or even the thickness of the baseboards you can cut with it.

If you are just a homeowner or a simple DIYer trying out some DIY projects at home, you will mostly be crosscutting baseboards with your miter saw. So, what you should worry about is what width of baseboard can the compound miter saw cut. However, for a professional woodworker who installs lots of crown and base moldings, you should be concerned about the size of crown moldings you can cut with your miter saw and you should choose one that matches your needs.

Ease of Use

For the miter saw to be easy to use, it should be clearly marked and visible. This will make it very easy to make miter and bevel cuts. The miter detent stops should also be clearly marked as well. The blades should be easy to change as well. If the blades are not easy to change, this might actually cause you some headache. Therefore, you have to consider how user-friendly, the saw is.

Mobility

Depending on where you want to use your compound miter saw, one factor you might need to take very seriously is the mobility of your saw. If what you are looking for is a saw that will majorly be used in your workshop, then it’s not going to require you to move it a lot. It’s just going to stay stationary in your workshop.

If you are looking for a job site saw, then you definitely need to consider things like the weight of the miter saw and the handle design, especially the weight, in order to determine how mobile that compound miter saw is. You are going to be taking this tool from job to job, so you need to consider how easy it will be for you to carry the miter saw from your workshop to your truck and from your truck to the job site.

Conclusion

There are different types of miter saws and therefore it is very important to carry out some research to find the one that will fit your needs. Don’t focus much on the price or popularity of the miter saw as a determining factor when you are purchasing a saw.

Despite the detailed information provided above, it is also advisable to carry out some research on your own to narrow down your best choices. Ensure to put some good thought into what you will use your miter saw to do and then go about finding one that meets your needs.

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