Miter saws are one of the best cutting tools you can rely on if you want the best kind of accuracy. Unlike the regular handsaws, miter saws will effortlessly deliver precise cuts without much effort on the end of the user.
If you are looking for one, there are lots of things to consider. This includes the brand. Of course, it is always best to get a product from a well-known brand that has an established reputation. Some of them include Dewalt, Bosch, and Makita.
Beyond that, you should also think about the needs of your woodworking projects. With that, it is important to look for the right size.
Miter saws commonly come in three sizes: 8, 10, and 12 inches. An 8-1/2” like Hitachi C8FSE is often enough to cater to most of your woodworking needs. However, of course, 10 and 12 inches miter saws can also do good in specific situations, especially if you want to have deep cuts for 1 × 12 materials.
Dewalt DWS780 12″ Double Bevel Sliding Compound is a massive unit you can consider. That is, however, if you don’t mind having a piece of huge equipment in your workshop. Despite that, it promises great deep cuts and flexibility given its type. It combines all the movements possible in a miter saw that allows users to do various kinds of cuts. If you think that is overkill, then it will be better if you will study other kinds of miter saws to help you decide which one is best for you.
Types of Miter Saws
A miter saw cuts wood through the use of blades that can be lowered by the operator to create a clean crosscut. However, there are other kinds of cuts that can be performed by a miter saw depending on its type.
Sliding Miter Saw
Regular miter saws have the ability to provide crosscuts and change the position of these cuts through the built-in pivoting table. A sliding miter saw, however, can do more than that. It is equipped with rails allowing the saw blade to slide back and forth. This will benefit projects that need great cutting length.
Compound Miter Saw
A compound miter saw comes in two forms: single-bevel or dual-bevel compound miter saws.
A single-bevel compound miter saw can allow the blade to tilt whether to the left or to the right. Hence, you can only do one-directional angled cuts here. If you need to do the same cut to the other side of the wood, you have to turn the wood around.
Dual-bevel compound miter saw, on the other hand, can tilt in both the left and right directions. This offers better flexibility and saves you time as there is no need to adjust or turn around the wood.
Compound Sliding Miter Saw
This type of miter saw can perform mitering and beveling cuts. Most of all, it is armed with a sliding mechanism that expands its reach.
Dual Compound Sliding Miter Saw
This last type of miter saw possesses all the abilities of the other types mentioned above. It has a sliding capability and can provide a mitering and beveling function to both the left and right direction. Though it is the most complex of all the types, it is also the most versatile one.
5 Best Miter Saws
Once you have already decided on the right type and size of miter saw for you, it is time to find the best option that offers them. With that, here are the five best most reliable choices we rounded up for you.
Best Miter Saws Comparison & Rating
1. DEWALT DWS780 12” Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Laser/LED Guide Lights
DEWALT DWS780 is the extreme upgrade every professional could have. Beginners could also benefit from this model as it has almost ALL the features needed for a miter saw. It is a dual bevel compound sliding miter saw, allowing users to do all the types of cuts including the left and right bevels. Really, really perfect for crown molding, trimming, and framing projects. Very flexible.
It is powered by a 15-amp motor which is powerful enough to handle the thickness of the materials you need to cut. From the very start the motor starts working, you’ll feel that the blade running very smoothly. The 60-tooth blade doesn’t encounter any problems penetrating the wood and its force appears to be very balanced whether you are cutting a regular crosscut or a 16-inch wide bevel cut. There is also less vibration compared to other models resulting in great accuracy of cuts. We also appreciate that it features XPS LED lights in place of a laser and it really does the work excellently!
It also allows cutting of 2 x 12 and 2 x 16 due to its back fence design that allows 45- and 90-degree placement of materials, respectively. There is also no other way to say it but the adjustment and locking mechanisms of the saw are truly impressive, as well. Very precise and efficient! With this, we can’t deny that it is a true masterpiece from DEWALT!
2. Makita LS1019L 10” Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Laser/LED Guide Lights
LS1019L is a 10-inch miter saw and you probably think that it could easily get buried under the pile of other famous 12-inch models. Well, you’re wrong. Besides the fact that it comes from a famous brand that produces powerful power tool lines, it is designed to deliver efficiency, portability, and convenience at the same time.
One of the most prominent features of Makita LS1019L is its ‘Rail System.’ Compared to most miter saws that use rails situated in the back, LS1019L has one that is mounted on the side. This allows the unit to leave a smaller footprint and fit tight spaces.
The bevel adjustment of Makita LS1019L is also a darling. Far from the conventional way of changing the bevel by reaching the back of the saw, it features a knob in the front that you can simply turn. No fuss and less effort and this make us love it more and more.
Also, despite being a 10” miter saw, it offers a huge base. It comes with a 0 to 60° miter capacity from side to side and positive stops with an override feature. It also sports a black knob that is a more secure way of unlocking the rail system and the chop feature of the machine.
The direct-drive motor starts gently until you reach the desired speed for cutting the material. It is very powerful that the blade can cut the material easily like butter and moving up and down the saw is very controlled! As for the dust collection, 5 stars!
3. Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD 12” Sliding Glide Miter Saw
Laser/LED Guide Lights
Bosch GCM12SD is truly one of the best miter saws you can see due to its axial-glide system. This gives users unbeatable accuracy of alignment and impressive cutting action with no struggles at all. Also, compared to saws that frequently encounter problems getting stuck, GCM12SD can work in an extended period of time flawlessly.
The saw offers a great capacity that will suit most of your cutting needs. This includes the bevel with a 48-degree capacity on both sides (45-, 33.9-, and 1-degree right and left bevel stops); the miter with a 60-degree right capacity and 52-degree left capacity (45-, 31.6-, 22.5-, and 15-degree left and right miter stops); and the crosscut with 4 x 14 inches capacity.
It also has a lot of bells and whistles that can make your work much easier and more accurate. For instance, it sports an adjustable fence supported by an unlock button on both sides. It has a square-lock function that makes its 90-degree alignment always possible.
Furthermore, it is a very ideal option for projects that require cutting of long materials. With its table that can be adjusted to a maximum length of 40 inches, everything is perfect. Also, add up the balanced base (BTW, it is pretty heavy at 88 pounds!) and you’ll get a unit that boasts reliability and quality!
4. Bosch CM8S 8-1/2" Single-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Laser/LED Guide Lights
Bosch CM8S is an 8-1/2" sliding miter saw that is portable, but can deliver great cutting capability despite its size.
We love how intelligent its build is. Compared to most 8” miter saws that have tipping problems, this model has a great balance. The end of the slide is supported and can be adjusted which is really handy when doing crosscuts and crowns. The miter saw can also handle pretty large and wide materials since the base extensions can be adjusted as much as 29 inches.
Moreover, it offers a bevel lock lever and the bevel turret stop buttons that are situated on the side of the equipment. This doesn’t just promote safety among users, but so as great convenience.
Lastly, it is capable of cutting both thick (2.75” cutting thickness) materials without any problem and also controlled enough to do precise cuts. At 90 degrees, CM8S can deliver 12-1/4″ cuts and 8-5/8″ at 45 degrees. These cutting capacities are enough to perform cuts to most standard-sized projects. It is also versatile as it has a miter detent override that allows the cutting of materials at unconventional angles through the bypass of the stops.
5. CRAFTSMAN CMCS714M1 7-1/4” Single Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Laser/LED Guide Lights
If you are looking for the best portability in miter saws, this is the model best for you. It is armed nonetheless with the right amount of capacities and the essential features you need. This includes the linear ball bearing slide rail system and a battery that can last up to 2 hours.
It is armed with a 20 V motor delivering 3800 RPM. It can create 8” crosscuts at 90° and 5-1/2" crosscuts at 45°. The added capacity is also quite impressive as it can cut 3-5/8" nested crowns and 3-1/2" baseboards vertically.
We also applaud that the brand worked really well to promote the accuracy of this model. Besides the 9 casted miter detent stops for adjustments, it is also equipped with a LED cut line positioning system which is truly great.
Best Miter Saws - Buyer's Guide
Keep in mind that the size of the blade will determine the clearance in the material. For instance, if you are frequently working on tall trims, it is much more ideal and safer to opt for 12” miter saws as they are more suitable for such cuts. Nonetheless, there are also 10” miter saws that can manage the said cuts against the fence.
The size of the blade also affects the tooth count of the blade. Generally, the larger the blade is, the more teeth you’ll have. A miter saw blade with more blade counts often deliver a smoother finish on the material with less tear-out.
The power of the miter saw is a vital point you really need to properly check in order to get the best kind of cut possible. Of course, a weak power equates to poor quality of cut. With this, you would want to have at least a 15 amp motor with a 3,500 RPM no-load speed. This is very ideal for professionals and medium to heavy-duty projects but it can also be applicable for DIY and light work.
It is always best to decide first among the technology you want for your miter. Belt drive, worm drive, and direct drive excel in their own ways. The last two are more capable of handling thick cuts. Belt drive, on the other hand, delivers the cuts smoothly but expect that there is reduced clearance on the blade. So, this is up to you.
Corded miter saws are always preferred by most users as they are more powerful and offer unlimited hours of usage as long as the unit is connected to a power outlet. However, the long cord can sometimes affect the portability of the equipment. With this, cordless miter saws are more advisable, especially if you want a unit that you can transport easily. This is very ideal for DIY workers who love to work in various locations at home since cordless units are commonly lightweight. CRAFTSMAN CMCS714M1, a 7-1/4” miter saw, is a good example of this unit.
It is always better if your miter saw unit has a laser or guide or LED light to aid you in your cuts. Though they are not a big deal for others, they can be a great addition to make your work more precise, efficient, and faster. Personally, we suggest a LED-style cut line indicator since it provides an exact shadow line that guides you and your blade. Some models that have this feature that we can recommend are the DEWALT DWS780 and CRAFTSMAN CMCS714M1.
Of course, it is also crucial to decide on the right kind of miter saw you need. If you would ask us, it is better to opt for a dual compound sliding miter saw that is capable of handling all types of cuts. Besides seasoned workers, it can also be beneficial for DIY workers who want to make more complicated wood projects in the future.
It will be best to always check on all the features of the miter saw. Currently, there are some innovations made with newer models like the locking mechanisms, new placement of rail systems and bevel adjustment knobs (like Makita LS1019L’s design), supported slides, clear-cutting guards, and more. They won’t just give your miter saw unit a boost, but they will also add value to your purchase.
Best Miter Saws - FAQs
A sliding miter saw expands the cutting length capability of the equipment. As the name implies, a sliding miter saw can slide which allows the blade to move back and forth the material you are cutting without fuss.
Miter saws offer more safety since they are some sort of stationary equipment you can install on a solid elevated surface. This allows the users to have more control and precision over the outcome of the cuts as the machine is stable. Circular saws, while being cheaper, is not for everyone as it needs great experience. As a handheld tool, circular saws can create a variety of cuts in various angles. However, they occasionally produce sloppy angles and can be very dangerous for inexperienced users.
A 12” miter saw has a maximum cutting width of 12 inches which can cut larger stock material faster. It is capable of longer vertical cuts and commonly comes with a 15 amp motor which means a smoother cutting experience.