A miter saw is one of the most versatile tools in the workshop of a handyman and is designed to cut angled cuts or miters. This handy and indispensable tool can be used to make virtually any kind of cuts. There is no doubt that learning all the magic that this powerful tool can do will transform your life entirely and forever.
Best Miter Saws
There are several varieties of miter saws in the market today, and they are so numerous that you may end up a bit confused as to which you should go for. However, the best miter saw that offers great value for money, quality, and meets all criteria is the DEWALT DW715. Having this powerful tool as part of your arsenal in your workshop is enough to make you look professional while delivering some of the best cuts you have ever done. More information about the DEWALT DW715 comes up later in this article.
To help you narrow down the variety of options that are available, here is a list of the top 5 miter saws in the market today. You will also get to learn what you need to watch out for when shopping for the best miter saw and other additional but useful information about this powered and highly versatile tool.
Best Miter Saws: The Reviews
Power tools are pretty expensive; so, if you are on a limited budget, the best miter saw for the money is the DeWalt DW715. This highly impressive tool is not only the most economical on this list of the best miter saws on the market but also come loaded with a proportionate amount of super-packed value.
The DeWalt DW715 is a single-bevel compound miter saw that is designed to deliver quick and accurate 45-degree bevel cuts through multidimensional lumber with an adjustable stainless-steel detent plate and 11 positive stops. This tool – which is the perfect option for homeowners – delivers recurring accuracy as well as durability on the worksite. Its compact size and lightweight – which is not more than 42 pounds on average – makes it easy for you to stow the tool away nicely in your shed or garage.
The DeWalt DW715 miter saw is equipped with a 12-inch carbide blade and is powered by a 15-amp motor which can run up to 4,000 revolutions per minute. This power is more than enough to ensure that you breeze through those weekend projects like a champ. It is the perfect tool for molding, cross-cutting, miter cutting, etc. It is lightweight and also sports a built-in carrying handle to enhance portability.
The DeWalt DW715 can cut pieces of crown molding that is 5¼-inches thick and nested molding 6½ inches against the tall sliding fence. The power tool also has a cross-cutting capacity that is up to 2×8 for lumber.
The cutting tool can only bevel 3 degrees to the right but up to 48 degrees to the left, thus allowing you to make a good number of cuts. Since the bevel stops are easy to find, users can change positions quickly, almost in a heartbeat.
The DeWalt DW715 is a highly durable saw for the average handyman – which means you do not need to worry about it breaking down any time soon – though you should not expect the saw to hold up too well on a job site. However, most people do not require the tremendous power that comes with an industrial miter saw.
This particular saw, therefore, offers the best price, durability, and highest quality. The saw also comes with a one-year free service contract as well as a 3-year limited warranty in addition to a 90-day money-back guarantee.
The only seeming drawback this power saw has is that it does not come with a laser guide and it is also not compatible with one. This means you cannot add one later on. This is not an absolute essential, seeing that the DeWalt DW715 is a budget miter saw, but it should be mentioned.
- Bevels up to 3-degrees and 48 degrees to the right and left respectively
- Adjustable detent plate
- Powerful 15-amp motor, 4,000 revolutions per minute
- Tall, sliding fence
- Good value for the money
- Highly durable and accurate
- Three-year warranty
- Includes dust bag, carbide blade, and blade wrench
- Effortless and quiet operation
- Laser not included
The Bosch GCM12SD is a 12-inch dual-bevel glide miter saw which is equipped with a powerful 15-amp motor that delivers highly accurate and smooth cutting performance along with a space-saving design that is exclusive to none other than the Bosch Axial-Glide System.
This powered cutting tool comes with pre-aligned square lock fences, which helps to maintain lasting accurate cutting. It comes with a soft-grip handle as well as a combination of vacuum adaptor and dust chute for clean operation and best user comfort.
The no-load speed of the Bosch GCM12SD delivers quick cuts in different materials, and it is also compatible with a variety of 12-inch blades with a transparent lower guard to provide crystal clear, cut-line visibility.
The performance of the Bosch GCM12SD is practically off the charts, and this has endeared the cutting tool to a vast majority of handymen, professional contractors, carpenters, and DIYers.
- Compact workspace
- Powerful motor
- Patented Axial-Glide System which increases controllability
- Durable precision
- Designed to make an impressive display of cuts and versatile
- Great reputation
- Robust features and excellent user-friendly design
- Accuracy is topnotch
- Lacks a laser guide system
- It is not pocket-friendly, i.e. it is costly
- Weighs a huge 88 pounds
Makita has also shown to the world that they can make professional-grade products, and this is clearly proven by the impressive performance of the Makita LS1018.
The Makita LS1018 delivers extensive cutting, accurate performance along with everything you have ever wanted in a miter saw. The powered, versatile cutting tool looks compact and incredibly lightweight. It is powered by a 13-amp direct-drive motor equipped with a soft start, meaning a smooth startup.
The Makita LS1018 is a corded model which provides consistent power with no parts to replace. Designed to perform like a champ, this versatile tool is ideal for carpentry, general construction, more exceptional woodworking, and so much more.
The Makita LS1018 – which is a sliding compound miter saw – has a linear ball bearing system for astounding accuracy as well as electric brakes, ten positive stops, bevel lock, etc. It is as tough as they come, and undoubtedly one of the best miter saws in the market today.
- Lightweight and portable
- Highly accurate
- Sliding arm for more flexibility
- Smooth direct-drive motor
- Miter stops up to 47 degrees
- Linear ball bearing mechanism for improved accuracy
- Rear-handle bevel lock
- 13-amp capacity
- Double bevel saw
- Lacks laser guidance
- Dust collection port is below average
- Not easy to operate
The Craftsman 21237 is a miter saw that is equipped with all the critical specs and features that enable users to handle a wide variety of workpieces, cutting as well as cross-cutting through them with speed, ease, and extraordinary accuracy.
This innovative miter saw features a relatively strong motor with a 15-amp power rating that delivers a maximum no-load speed of 4,800 revolutions per minute. It provides smooth and precise cutting, thanks to laser-guided protection. The motor-powered miter saw also makes use of smaller blades which delivers the incredible capacity to cut through 12-inch boards, yet small enough for easy maintenance.
The Craftsman 21237 has 0-50-degree miter adjustment, which includes common positive stops while the blade guard protects the tool from accidental bumps when in operation.
The Craftsman 21237 weighs just 39.38 pounds, one of the lightest miters saw on this list. This is a big plus when you consider mobility or portability. It features a dust bag which helps to keep your workshop in pristine condition – or something close to it – by trapping and containing all the sawdust that your project is creating.
- Seamless cutting
- Portable and incredibly lightweight
- Long-lasting and sturdy construction
- Equipped with useful laser guide system for surgical accuracy
- Powered by an impressive 15-amp motor that delivers astonishing speeds up to 4,800
- Great pricing
- More stable and easier to set up than previous models
- Comes with a sliding arm
- Better butting support
- Single bevel
- Average surface finish
- The dust collection system is not too effective
- Supplied work clamp is difficult to use or handle, i.e. cumbersome
- Depth of cut is nearly always not enough
- Mixed customer reviews
The Hitachi C10FCE2 is a single bevel compound miter saw and is equipped with several features. This 10-inch motor-powered tool can be upgraded and features such as lasers, etc. can be added to enhance its performance. It provides precise cutting capabilities, thanks to its 15-amp motor, which powers the tool with an intense amount of output such that users can breeze through tough jobs.
The Hitachi C10FCE2 compound miter saw is compact and weighs just 26.3 pounds, the lightest motor-powered cutting tool on this list. It is portable, which means it can be carried to and from job sites. The machine comes with a dust collector that helps to minimize the number of dust particles that remain and attempt to float in the air after cutting, thus making your clean-up exercise easier after your work is done.
The Hitachi C10FCE2 compound miter saw also comes with several cutting features and is enhanced with a 0 – 52-degree miter angle cutting range. The cutting tool also features a 0 – 45-degree range to the left which allows users to make the most beveled cuts. It also has a number of adjustable stops which gives room for precision cuts irrespective of the angle.
This innovative miter saw – with its factory-installed clamping system and a maximum speed of 5,000 rotations per minute – comes with a whopping five-year professional warranty. That is a 60-month warranty to cater to the replacement or repair of a malfunctioning or defective part.
- Brilliant build quality from Hitachi
- Cuts reliably and precisely all the time
- Powered by a 15-amp motor that delivers a maximum speed of 5,000 revolutions per minute
- Double Bevel
- Robust 60-month or five-year warranty
- Exceptional blade quality
- Comes along with useful accessories
- Works exceptionally well with small or large workpieces
- Manual or user guide is quite tricky to follow
- No sliding arm
- Dust collection chute is highly ineffective
- Vice clamp gives annoying issues
Miter Saw: What It Does
A power miter saw – which is sometimes referred to as a drop saw or chop saw – is a special saw that is designed in such a way that it makes cuts at more than a few varieties of angles. The tool was created in 1964 by Ed Niehaus for Rockwell.
The miter saw comes with a blade that is attached to a pivoting swing arm which moves right or left to create angled cuts. The machine is a fast saw which can be used for cutting for picture frames, crown molding, casings, door frames, etc.
But Rockwell never patented the design, and this gave birth to a variety of innovations and different state-of-the-art technology applied to the miter saw by manufacturers. These new designs – which include blade brakes, dust collecting, radial arc spring action, etc. – are in the market today.
The miter saw is available in several, distinct variations but works via one principle. The tool generally makes cuts by pulling a high-speed, circular miter saw blade down onto steel or wood, but in short, controlled motions.
The workpiece, i.e. material is usually held down by a fence which puts up a cutting angle that is measured just between the plane of the miter blade and the plane of the most prolonged or most extended edge of the workpiece. In a standard position, the cutting angle is at a 90-degree angle.
The miter index is a unique feature that permits the angle of the blade to change relative to the fence. Although there are accurate one-degree increments to the index, many miter saws out there can provide what is called “stops” which easily set the miter index to angles are commonly preferred and used.
Different Variations of The Miter Saw
The following are the different variations of miter saws:
Standard Miter Saw
The standard miter saw cuts straight cross-cuts on wood or lumber at a wide variety of angles. It is commonly used to create straight cuts at 45 degrees for framing.
Laser LED Sliding Dual Compound Miter Saw
This tool comes with a disc-shaped washer, which is actually a laser that is attached to the blade. It illuminates the area where the blade will cut.
Compound Miter Saw
Compound miter saws are tools with blades that can pivot both to the right and the left. The blades can also be tilted in a particular direction for bevel cutting. When the miter saw is controlled at the same time on both axes, it produces a compound cut.
Compound miter saws are perfect for crown molding, picture frames or projects that require dual-plane angles. The most significant advantage that compound miter saws have over others is their ability to produce two angle cuts with only one pass.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Sliding compound miter saws possess all the features that you will find on the regular compound miter saw. However, this variation of the miter saw comes with a radial arm which allows you to move the blade backward and forwards. This unique feature provides the potential for cutting the workpiece at an increased length.
Dual Compound Miter Saw
Dual compound miter saws function just like the regular compound miter saw; however, while the latter can only tilt in one direction, the former tilts both to the right and the left. This allows dual compound miter saws to create bevels at any angle with little or no delay.
Miter Saw: Features
- Amps: Amps measure the power of the miter saw’s motor and the higher the amps, the more the cutting power.
- Depth stops: Depth stops are designed to control the height as well as how deeply the blade will cut into the workpiece.
- Blade size: There are numerous sizes of blades out there, and each of them is vital to both the material and its functionality. The most common blade sizes of a miter saw are 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches. The larger the diameter of a blade, the longer the cut it makes.
- Positive stops: Positive stops are predetermined or preset points where you can make cuts quickly. Some miter saws come with thumb-activated stops which facilitates quick adjusting.
- Electric brakes: Electric brakes are designed to stop the miter saw within seconds by rapidly reversing the flow of the saw’s electricity when the trigger is released. Reversing the electric current stops the momentum of the blade in microseconds.
- Articulated blade guards: These blade guards help to protect the blade when it is in use. When you raise the saw, the articulated guard lowers itself to cover the blade completely.
- Dustbags: Dust bags are usually mounted directly to the miter saw, and their job is to collect sawdust.
- Dust chutes and blowers: These help to get rid of sawdust from the cutting area.
- Laser guides and guide lights: These cast a shadow or shine a beam onto the workpiece, thereby helping you to guide your cuts accurately.
- Table extensions: Table extensions, which are usually connected to the sides of the miter saw, are features that support longer workpieces in order to give accurate cuts.
- Shaft locks or spindle: The shaft locks or spindle help to keep both the blade and the shaft from moving, thereby making it easier for a user to change the blade.
- Sliding and flip fences: Sliding and flip fences provide additional support to the longer workpieces or materials for standard miter cuts.
- Digital display: Digital displays provide easy-to-read miter and bevel setting information.
Criteria for Choosing the Best Miter Saw
Now that you know some of the best miter saws on the market today, there are some measures to take into consideration before you select any of these miter saws as your preferred choice. For instance, one of the most vital factors you should consider is precision.
You will also need to consider other criteria such as performance, ease of use, safety, space, and so on. Therefore, here are the criteria you should follow for choosing the best miter saws you can afford.
The overall performance of this versatile tool depends significantly on the size of the motor it packs. This is why it is crucial for you to choose the best miter saw that matches the power requirement that you need for the projects that you are about to handle.
Investing heavily in a powerful or robust miter saw which is capable of reaching speeds up to 4,500 rotations per minute only to use it to cut soft boards at infrequent or irregular intervals, is a total waste of money.
More often than not, the motors mounted on miter saws can power up to 15 amps. You should also take note of the no-load speeds of the miter saw you are interested in as it has an astronomical influence on both your productivity as well as the extent to which your cut is rough or smooth.
For smooth finishes, miter saws which come with easy or smooth start features should be your target as this distinct attribute reduces power burst significantly.
Size of The Miter Saw
This should, perhaps, be the #1 feature to take into consideration when shopping for the best miter saw you can afford. This is because putting space requirements is very prudent as you take stock of the other machines that are already installed in your workshop. For easy maneuverability and convenience, there must be enough space for the miter saw of your choice.
Most manufacturers of miter saws today go out of their way to ensure that their products are compact and lightweight while packing all the essential features that make the handyman’s job a breeze. Some products, however, are large and heavy, which means they will require a lot of space. A full-sized miter saw is ideal for commercial applications since it is not only appropriate but will also accommodate a much bigger blade which equally translates to higher cutting capability.
If you are going for portability and performance, then what you need is compact, lightweight miter saw which may lack the essential sliding ability to expand the cutting space.
Type of Motor
You need to ensure that the miter saw you end up purchasing has more than enough power to carry out any cutting job you subject it to. Most miter saws in the market today come with 10 – 15 amps of power. It is not all that necessary to have a miter saw that is powered by a robust motor. However, if you are a busy handyman or a carpenter who has lots of jobs to do and using your cutting tool on a regular basis, the best – and wisest thing to do is to go for a miter saw with a motor that is powerful enough to fulfill your everyday needs at your workshop or workspace.
Additionally, it is essential that you also take note of the maximum revolutions per minute that the saw’s powerful motor will provide. This is because it will have a significant impact on how smooth your cuts are.
Direct drive motors are typically designed to last long and provide more power than motors that are driven by belts. If you also need specific smooth fine cuts or you plan to embark on a lot of heavy cutting, it will be prudent of you to consider a motor with smooth start technology. Such a motor significantly minimizes the burst of power that you feel when the motor starts.
Ease of use/ Convenience
Cutting – and cross-cutting – different workpieces – such as a large stock of lumber – can be an energy-draining and time-consuming undertaking. This is why it is highly crucial for you to pay close attention to the several convenience features that your preferred choice is loaded with.
Another significant feature that you should not joke with in any way is the feature known as positive stops which takes both the effort and time away from angling the bevel, thereby allowing you to finish whatever projects you are handling in record time. The more the positive stops, the quicker and more relaxed your work will be.
You also need to ensure that the miter saw gives you the room – in addition to providing preset positive stops – to customize incremental adjustments.
Laser Guide System
Although this is not an all-important feature, a miter saw that is equipped with a laser guide can be incredibly useful. A highly effective laser makes the miter saw much easier to use and can also help users to make more accurate cuts.
But then, not all laser guide systems are that effective; this is why you need to take your time to check the laser guide system that your preferred miter saw uses. The best miter saw on this list does not come with a laser guide system, and there is even no provision for one in case you upgrade the cutting tool.
However, some miter saws highlighted in this article come with laser guide systems, and they are very affordable. So, keep this information at the back of your mind as you shop for the best miter saw.
Dust Collection System
Another crucial feature that you shouldn’t neglect is a system for the collection of dust. When you cut different types of wood, it will lead to the production of overabundant dust and debris which can easily mess up your workspace if left to their own devices. This could also slow you down significantly when the time comes for you to continue on the ongoing project or when you start a new one.
What may even make matters much worse is that debris can quickly work their way into and reach delicate components of the miter saw’s motor, thereby interfering annoyingly with its optimal operation.
However, the availability of a system for collecting debris and dust means you do not have to worry about any worst-case scenario. This is because the dust-collection system gets rid of up to 75 percent of debris and dust, in most cases.
Other features that enhance convenience include LED lights for lighting up the workpiece when you are working tirelessly in a dimly lit workshop or area. A laser guide will give you a clear-cut view of the cut-line so that you can ensure dead-on accuracy.
Safety is a criterion that is also super important and must be taken into consideration before you commit your hard-earned money. You need to find out whether or not your preferred miter saw meets the required safety standards while packing the most recent – and innovative – safety features onboard.
Some of these miter saws can easily reach no-load speeds as high as 5,000 rotations per minute. This means that if your mind drifts for just a brief second, you may lose a finger or two easily.
Some models of miter saws come with guards for blades which enhance protection, and you only get to view the blade briefly before cutting the workpiece. Some miter saws feature fence guards and electric blades, all of which are designed – and aim – to keep users as safe as possible while cutting through a variety of workpieces.
The most significant factor when using miter saws – or any other power tool for that matter – is yourself. You are the person operating this power tool, and that means you are responsible for making decisions before, during, and after using it. You need to put safety as #1 on your list of priorities, especially when you are operating a motor-powered tool like a miter saw.
A power tool that packs the best safety features does not guarantee that its use will not end up getting injured while operating it. As the user, when safety is a vital part of you, you will be able to make use of a miter saw irrespective of whatever additional safety features it comes with.
So, if you must operate the miter saw, make sure you are putting on protective eyewear, set aside jewelry or loose articles of clothing and some sort of hearing protection to shield your ears from damage. Next, do a once-over or a swift cursory examination of the workpiece you will be cutting to find any staples, nails, screws, or any other item.
Doing these any time you need to make use of the miter saw will keep you safe without relying too much on the safety features of the miter you end up choosing.
The majority of the miter saws out there come with a standard blade which is only suitable for rough cuts but entirely unsuitable for fine woodworking projects. Therefore, if you are going to need fine finishes, you need to make sure you have enough money to buy an extra high-quality blade.
There are situations in which, by nature of the different jobs you do in your workshop, you will be required to change the saw’s blade often. It will be to your benefit if you take note of how easy it is to change the blade without the help of a professional. This is important because it is usually a major pain in the neck to change the blades of some models.
The Blade Guards
When choosing the best miter saw, make sure the one you end up buying comes with a transparent blade guard which allows you – or any other user – to see through it. If you can’t see through the blade guard, you will be interrupting yourself from time to time by moving it out of the way to look at the progress you are making as you operate the miter saw.
This is the situation that a blade guard is designed to prevent; therefore, it makes a lot of sense to go for the right option from the start instead of depending on a protective measure that you may end up not using.
There are numerous miter saws in the market today, and this is why it is highly crucial for you to carry out some research in order to find the best miter saw that suits your needs. Do not let popularity or price be the only determining factors you will consider when shopping for a miter saw that fits your budget.
A lot of information about the top 5 miter saws has been provided in this article, and the winner of them all is the DeWalt DW715, which doesn’t come with a laser guide system. But its versatility, user-friendliness, portability, value, and usefulness make it the #1 choice miter saw on this list.
So, pick a miter saw that has excellent power delivery and offers a wide range of miter as well as bevel angle while providing a better surface finish.