A miter saw is a woodworker’s dream to perfect cuts without any guesswork. That’s why it is preferred for crown molding, framing photos, fabrications, and the like.
But purchasing the best miter saw isn’t that straightforward. This guide compiles the best options to pick from the market.
We’ve also included a brief buying guide to set you in the right direction. Whether you are a contractor or new to carpentry, there’s the miter saw for you.
Different Miter Saw Reviews of 2020
1. DEWALT DWS780 – Best miter saw for the money
It’s time to add a miter saw to your woodworking arsenal. One that is tough and built to high standards. We are talking the powerful DEWALT DWS780 Double-Bevel. Designed for the professional contractor, this tool can meet your complex cuts requirements.
The DWS780 is a 12-inch miter saw. It can make crosscuts in wood and plastics. As well as materials like aluminum when used with the right blade. This model has an impressive cut capacity. It will cut boards that are up to 14 inches wide, and 4.4 inches thick when set at the 0-degree mark. You can also extend to 16-inch boards when used with a back fence.
It is all about professional accuracy. It features an integrated CUTLINE Blade Positioning System. This feature improves accuracy since you don’t need to keep adjusting the cut line. It also comes with tall sliding fences that can support molding fences that are up to 7-1/2 inches.
We like that this miter saw is super-efficient. It gives you 10 detent stops plus an oversized bevel scale. you also get dual horizontal steel rails. The rails are equipped with clamps and linear ball bearings. Its cam-lock miter handle has a detent-override. It allows you to make quick miter angles that are accurate each time.
Overall, the DEWALT DWS780 is a superior model. It facilitates productivity, accuracy, and efficiency for professional crown molding.
- High cutting capacity
- Rugged design for durability
- 75%-efficient dust collection system
- Includes vertical material clamp
- Not made to cut metal
2. Makita LS1018 – Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw
At 43.7 pounds, Makita LS1018 is a compact miter saw in its class. It is an intuitive model that is straightforward for most woodworkers. Its miter controls and bevel lock are handy when changing miter and bevel angles.
The sliding rails increase the cut capacity of this miter saw. When set at 90 degrees, it can cut boards up to 12 inches wide. At 45 degrees it can make cuts up to 8½ inches wide. This model comes with positive stops ranging from 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, and 45 degrees. It won’t be a hassle to set and make accurate cuts.
And since it is a dual-bevel design, it means you don’t need to flip your material.
Makita LS1018 comes with a 13-amp motor. It is capable of spinning at a rate of up to 4300RPM. It has a soft start feature which ensures your board never shifts as you start to cut. And because it produces powerful revolutions, it is capable of cutting fine finishes.
Not to mention, it is not unwieldy meaning your work will go finely 90% of the time. When it comes to the dust collection, it comes with a bag. The bag is not the largest as it fills within 20-30 cuts. To make it more efficient, the port can connect to a shop vac. This should take care of 70% of the dust produced.
For safety, Makita LS1018 includes an electric brake and oversized triggers. It is designed to cover every aspect of safe, accurate, and fine working.
- Ergonomic D-handle
- Soft start key
- Transparent blade guard system
- 3-year warranty
- Does not have a laser guide
3. Hitachi C10FCE2 – Best for Homeowners
Hitachi C10FCE2 is made for homeowners. It is the kind you pick to tackle most hobby projects. The saw is affordable, compact, and versatile, but not cheaply made. From its 15-amp motor to the padded handle, it is built for performance.
The Hitachi C10FCE2 has a miter scale that extends from 0-52 degrees left and right. The bevel angle goes left up to 45 degrees. It has miter stops positioned at 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, 50 degrees. As you can see, it covers both standard and compound cuts. As such, it can make complex cuts as any other compound miter saw.
The horizontal handle features an elastomer grip for shock absorption. You will like that the positive stops are thumb-activated for quick and accurate angle adjustments.
It boasts an efficient built-in camping system. You also get a large flip fence that can rise to 4 inches. This feature allows it to support high vertical cuts. And the miter table is larger to accommodate longer pieces. To make it all better, it is possible to choose this miter saw with a laser guide and saw stand.
These additional features can greatly improve your accuracy.
- Large flip fence raises to 4 inches
- Works on a variety of materials
- Weighs only 26.7 pounds
- Comes with a large table
- Low-tooth count makes rough cuts only
4. Black + Decker M1850BD – Best miter Saw for Beginners
Make repeatable, accurate cuts with the Black + Decker M1850BD Compound Miter Saw. This is a beginner’s tool to making complex cuts. It has a durable design combined with customized features that make it an intuitive tool.
Black + Decker M1850BD is for light to medium tasks. It can make crosscuts of up to 2×4 inches at 90 degrees. When set at 45 degrees, it can cut pieces that are up to 2×3 inches. You don’t want to subject it to tough cutting jobs. It comes with nine positive stops such that you can set and adjust angles fast and accurately.
Black + Decker M1850BD gives you versatility. The 24-tooth, carbide blade is ideal for trimming and framing. It comes with a built-in clamp as well as blade wrench. The 9amp ball bearing motor can produce up to 5000 revolutions. This feature is ideal when dealing with some hard materials.
Another likable attribute is the inclusion of a dust bag. Though it is small, you won’t go looking for most add-on accessories. You will also find its platform very stable such that you can make cuts from the floor or a bench.
Black + Decker M1850BD is a compact tool that does not skimp on performance features.
- Nine regular cutting angles
- Durable carbide blade
- Die-cast aluminum frame
- Fast and easy to learn
- The dust bag is not sufficient
5. Bosch GCM12SD – best sliding compound miter saw
It’s hard to beat the Bosch GCM12SD in terms of performance, accuracy, and safety. Equipped with an axial-glide system, we’ve not seen a miter saw working smoother than this model.
We start with the 15-amp motor with a 3800RPM. It boasts a miter capacity of 60 degrees right and 52 degrees left. Its bevel capacity is 47 degrees left and right. It comes with adjustable miter detents from 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, 45, and 60 degrees. These stops provide super accuracy since you’ll always make quick repeatable cuts.
The hinged arms do not need rails for sliding. This means you don’t need all that clearance that is required with other sliding miter saws. It can support up to 6.5 inches of vertical baseboard plus horizontal 10-1/2 inches of crown molding.
Bosch GCM12SD is anything like the traditional sliding miter saw. Apart from saving on space, the bevel and miter controls are at the front. The saw includes sliding board support located on each side of the miter table. It can support a frame up to 40 inches.
It also comes with an automatic electric brake. It stops the blade within five seconds after releasing the trigger. With the soft-grip, ambidextrous handle, it provides working comfort at all times.
- Space-saving axial-glide system
- Combines vacuum adaptor and dust chute
- Stainless steel miter scales
- Has detent override
- Heavy to move
6. Evolution Power Tools RAGE3 – Ideal for Metal
Many are times you have to forego working with materials that could damage your miter saw blade. But no worries with the Evolution Power Tools RAGE3. This saw can work with mild steel and aluminum among other materials.
Evolution Power Tools RAGE3 is a multipurpose tool. At 90 degrees, it can make miter cuts of up to 11-13/16 inches wide. At 45 degrees, it is capable of up to 8-1/4 cuts. The saw also comes with a laser guide which is perfect in making accurate cuts.
It has a soft start and you can also adjust the cutting depth.
Evolution Power Tools RAGE3 shines in metal cutting. Its hi-torque gearbox is to thank. This is because it reduces stress to the motor. It, in turn, improves metal-cutting performance. It produces minimal heat and sparks hence it can cut wood, mild steel, aluminum, and plastic.
The saw includes stops for the regular angles as well as a miter lock. Fabricators and framers will be happy since the slight play in the design won’t affect their pieces. It revolutionizes saws that can cut metal by ensuring it can cut metal and wood using the same blade.
- Makes long, angled cuts
- Minimal sparks and burrs
- Laser guide system
- Tungsten carbide blade
- It lacks a fence clamp
A miter saw is a staple workshop item. More so for woodworkers who want to make products in a variety of styles. From picture frames to crown moldings, It is a must-have tool for the home DIYer and a skilled woodworker.
Before purchasing a miter saw, you should know the different type of miter saws.
Types of Miter Saws
A miter saw simply makes miter cuts. It sits on a base and has a blade on an arm. The blade can be pivoted to make -45, 0, and +45-degree cuts horizontally.
Standard Miter Saws
The simplest form of miter saw is the standard design. It makes 45 to 45-degree miter cuts. Since it is the simplest. It is also the lightest and most affordable. Standard miter saws offer functionality. Newbies will feel comfortable handling this type of miter saw.
Compound Miter Saws
These saws are designed to cut angled crosscuts and sloped/bevel cuts. Unlike a standard options, a compound miter saw has a blade tilt feature. The blade can tilt up to 45 degrees right or left to make bevel cuts. Some of them can tilt to the left only. These are called single bevel compound miter saws. Those that tilt in both directions are double bevel compound miter saws.
They are ideal for framing and crown molding.
Sliding Compound Miter Saws
In standard and compound miter saws, the arm is fixed to a base. A sliding, compound miter saw has rails which means the arm is no longer fixed to the base. The saw can slide back and forward. It, in turn, allows you to make cuts on wider, longer, materials. This type of saw increases the cutting capacity since you are not limited to the length of the blade.
10 vs 12-Inch
Though they come in blade sizes as small as 7¼ inches, the most common sizes are 10 and 12-inch miter saws. First, 10-inch miter saws are cheaper than 12-inch miter saws. This is because they are not unwieldy as the 12-inch and cover most molding and trim boards that are up to 6 inches wide.
But that’s not all, 10-inch miter saws make smooth precise cuts. Because of the small blade size, they spin faster than 12-inch models. They provide fine finishes because of the high RPM that they yield from the small blades.
10-inch blades are also great when it comes to making intricate pieces. They do not suffer from wobble and deflection. This is important when working on detailed trim pieces.
As much as we love 10-inch miter saws they also have their downsides. This is where 12-inch option shine. The cutting capacity increases with a 12-inch saw. They can cut wider and thicker pieces. They are ideal for professional contractors on large projects. 12-inch miter saws are also better at handling hard materials like plywood.
And, they are built to be rugged hence can last longer than 10-inch miter saws. The downside to 12-inch saws is the price. These saws come with strong motors and heavy-duty cutting capacity. They are a real workhorse; no wonder they have steep price tags.
High Tooth Count vs Low Tooth Count
When looking at miter saw blades, you will find that the effectiveness of a cut is determined by the tooth count. A high tooth count yields a smoother finish with cleaner cuts while a low tooth count will yield a rough cut. Few teeth are desirable when dealing with thick materials or plastic. Many teeth have a high RPM which can melt the plastic.
The size of the blade also determines how high you should go to get a fine finish. For example, in large blades, say a 12-inch, a high tooth count is in the 80-100 range. While in small miter saws, say 10-inch, a high tooth count is in the 60-70 range.
Standard miter saws are in the compact category and may not need much clearance. But sliding miter saws can require as much as 4ft clearance behind them. The space you will need is important. It helps to decide the type of miter saw to pick for your particular workshop.
How To Choose a Miter Saw? (Buying Guide)
Clearly Marked Scale
It ensures you will always make accurate cuts. Some scales have the usual angles that woodworkers use. That is -45, 30, and 45 degrees. Others are more detailed and include 31.5, 22.5, and 33.5 degrees.
Sturdy and Flexible Fence Support
Check to see that the fence support is good for your material. A flexible one keeps your material steady whether it is small or large. You may also want to consider sliding and flip fences. These provide additional support to taller pieces when making miter cuts. With a sliding or flip fence, it is easy to switch to bevel cuts and even cut longer pieces.
These keep your materials from jumping around. You can look for miter saws that have clamps that are attached to the saw. Such clamps will hold the material against the fence without fail. High-end miter saws tend to have better built-in clamps than cheap ones.
Miter saws vibrate a lot. Saw handles are there to absorb the vibrations. Like built-in clamps, the quality of the saw handles also compares to the price of the miter saw. Only the best performing miter saws have the best shock absorption capabilities.
It comes with factory set points that help in making quick precise cuts. The more angle stops there is on a miter saw, the shorter the time it takes to set a cut. They are set at common regular intervals such as 45 degrees. This means you’ll be able to quickly add or subtract and angle when setting up the next cut.
Angle stops are important when reproducing cuts. This is because the saw locks on an angle stop. It makes it easy and quick to repeat a cut.
You will also find miter saws that have come with thumb-activated stops. Others like compound miter saws have both miter and bevel stops. You can make non-standard cuts since you can set the stops on intervals that are not common.
Dust Collection Ports
A dust collection system can be in the form of a dust bag or dust-hook-up-point. Dustbags collect only 30% of the dust while dust hook up points allow you to connect shop vacs. These can collect up to 70% of the dust. Hence your shop will be easier to clean afterward.
A dust collection system is important as it prevents you from breathing sawdust. As well as keeping it from getting into your eyes, mouth, and ears. By now you know that sawdust is a fire and slipping hazard. Your saw should come with the appropriate dust system to meet your needs.
Articulated Blade Guards
The blade guard fits and covers the entire top half of the blade. The bottom part is connected to the hinge. With an articulated blade guard, your hand and face are not only protected. It is also clear of the stock which means your view of the cutting line is not blocked.
Electric brakes stop the blades when you release trigger. This works by reversing the flow of electricity in the saw’s motor. When current is reversed, the blade stops in as little as two seconds. Blades can spin at a rate of three thousand times in a minute. This is extremely dangerous to human flesh. That’s why you should not skimp on electric blades as a safety feature.
A high RPM indicates a powerful miter saw. If you are dealing with hard materials, you have to go with a option with a powerful motor. Otherwise, you are looking at difficult cuts. The faster a blade spins, the easier it cuts. Be sure to match the RPM to the type of materials in your workshop.
You may want to invest in a miter extension table. The flat portion on which the miter saw connects may not be enough for long pieces. A long miter table or an extension comes in handy to prevent pieces from cracking or falling.
With technology, now you can get a cordless/ battery-operated miter saw. If you are a contractor, moving from one construction site to the other is part of the job. As such, a miter saw that is cordless and with handles and wheels is quite appealing.
To improve accuracy, laser guides come in handy to help illuminate the exact point the blade will cut. Some of them use laser technology while others invest in LED technology. Either way, laser guides save time since you don’t need to keep checking if the blade is aligned to the cutting line.
By now, you can tell the difference between a compound and a sliding compound miter saw. With so many varieties of this tool, we hope you’ll be able to pick the specific model for your particular needs.
Professionals will be happy with the DEWALT DWS780. It is not only light for its class but is also powerful for complex cutting jobs. For a bit more, you can pick the space-saving Bosch GCM12SD. Homeowners can comfortably use the Hitachi C10FCE2. It is intuitive and you will easily get the hang of it.