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To the DIYer, the miter saw occupies a hallowed place in the firmament of power tools. You could have every ratchet known to man, a wall hanging with hammers from around the globe and be able to chair a symposium on the benefits of applying certain Eastern philosophies to the art of soldering, but none of it is complete without the right cordless drill and miter saw. Your friends, colleagues, and neighbors might say they admire your assortment of torque wrenches, but what they’re really looking at is your miter saw. You, my friends, are being judged.
There’s a good reason for this. While your 45-degree angled wrench allows you to loosen bolts in tight spaces, your ability to cut precision angles is the difference between a frame that perfectly complements your sainted Aunt Martha’s portrait and a macabre oddity from a Tim Burton film.
There are lots of 10-inch Miter Saw reviews available, but we think ours is particularly helpful. If you’re not sure that you can sort out which miter saw is right for you we’ve included a handy buyer’s guide at the bottom that tells you how we arrived at our conclusions.
|DEWALT DW713||35 lbs||4.7/5|
(Best for the Money)
|Evolution Power Tools RAGE3||39 lbs||4.2/5|
|Chicago Electric 10 Inch Sliding Compound||30 lbs||4.0/5|
The CM10GD is our top pick because it did exactly what a miter saw is supposed to do. It was ready for out-of-the-box use and cut for long hours without requiring a lot of time adjusting and recalibration. I created clean, smooth cuts and went through our materials like a canoe across a pond on a balmy summer night.
It’s also stable and holds cutting material in place well, and the turntable rotated effortlessly. The Bosch CM10GD did everything that you want a miter saw to do, without the drama and fussiness of an inferior product.
Our only beef is the size. Its stability and smoothness comes with that price. It’s bulky, heavy and not very portable. It’s also bigger than some 12-inch miter saws, which means that if space is an issue in your workshop you might have to move things around to accommodate it. If you want the performance of this saw, however, you’re going to want to do that.
Like the Bosch CM10GD, the DW713 came ready to work. It is well built, sturdy and properly calibrated to deliver quality cuts right away. The word that kept coming to mind in using this saw was “workhorse.” It powered through one thing after another without appreciable falloff in quality or decline in power. The motor is powerful and well designed and we suspect that future civilizations in need of window frames will be pleased to unearth one of these as a still-working artifact.
We dropped this to the number two for one reason: DeWalt has for years had a reputation for sending out warped fences with their saws, and making it tough to correct the issue. Alas, but that we got to experience this firsthand. This left us a little perplexed. Their saw is a great product and worth standing behind. Why worry about sullying its reputation on the back end with employees who make it difficult to make right by customers. We think this says more about DeWalt than this particular model, but unfortunately DeWalt’s name is attached to it. So, rather than making it hard for us to make this number two, DeWalt made it easy.
The tendency for new users of any tool is to start with the cheapest one and buy progressively more expensive ones until the need for use meets what they consider the best value. We’d suggest that you can avoid this by starting with the Hitachi C10FCG. It’s not just what we think of as the best starting miter saw, but the best for-dollar value of the saws we reviewed.
Its 15-amp motor is powerful enough to handle most anything you need to cut and it’s lightweight and highly portable in case your work requires you to move it from room to room. It cuts pretty clean and spot on angles, just not with such precision that experienced users will forget they didn’t pay top dollar.
Our greatest pause, however, is related to that everything in the factory was fastened in by Thor himself. If you need to disassemble for a complete clean or to swap out degraded parts, you run the real risk of stripping nuts. And, if you do that, don’t count on Hitachi customer service to be of much help.
We originally had pretty high hopes for the RAGE3 after taking it out of the box. Its intuitive set up said to us, “These people at Evolution, they know the difference between a great saw and a great saw that people can easily use.” It’s one of those intangibles that really set aside good tools from great ones. We also liked that reviews said that it was great at cutting a wide variety of materials with equal ability.
After using it, however, our attitude melted too, “meh.” It cuts angles into metal, as advertised, just not great. It’s like that one coworker who can do a little of everything, but who is best stuck with mundane assignments because you’ve already forgotten his name 10 minutes into the workday.
The one place buyers should be beware of is that the blade that comes in the box doesn’t pair well with the saw. It rattles and doesn’t do a particularly good job cutting. We considered dropping this in the rankings to dead last but decided that this is punishing the saw for the sins of the blade, and besides the one we ranked worst was far and away a much more terrible experience.
The first thing you notice about this Harbor Freight model when turning it on is that it’s loud. Ye Gods, man, is this thing noisy and in a way that doesn’t inspire the slightest bit of confidence. Our first impression is that Harbor Freight dropped a disposable miter saw into its Chicago tool line, which might be the worst insult possible for a power tool.
That’s just our sad conclusion, based on its construction and also that it is very difficult to zero in bevel cuts outside the prescribed 5-degree increments. Need a 37.5” bevel cut? Best of luck to you, Charlie.
The one nice thing we can say for this is that if you were able to get it properly calibrated after it arrived, if you were able to get it mounted in a way that inspired confidence, if you were able to get your cutting materials locked in and the blade properly angled, if you were able to turn it on without fear that it was about to explode or that the world was coming to an end, this saw delivered the pretty okay, clean cut that you paid for it to do.
Perhaps you’re someone who is less concerned with specific reviews and more with the process by which rankings were arrived. Perhaps you’re someone who has read this and asks how to apply the lessons of this 10-inch miter saw review to a broader range of tools. After all, the available range of 10-inch miter saws is as varied as the materials you have to cut.
The first criteria that you need to ask yourself in buying a 10-inch miter saw are just what and how often you’ll need it. If you’re only ever going to use it to cut occasional window or picture frames, you don’t need to invest in high-dollar blades, overpowered motors or ability to cut outside basic angles. We reviewed Harbor Freight’s Chicago Electric 10-inch sliding miter saw, and while we didn’t much care for it, if you’re just looking for something simple you can pull out once or twice a year that might be as much miter saw as you need. Don’t let our poor review prevent you from pairing your needs with the right saw.
If you need more, you should ask yourself just what features you need and how much you have to spend to get everything you do and nothing you don’t. This is basic savvy consumer behavior, we realize, but it still all applies.
There are some very obvious things to look for in buying the right miter saw for your needs: a powerful motor to help make better, cleaner cuts; easy ability to swap out blades intended to cut different materials; value for dollar; a sturdy construction that won’t break after a few hours of light usage. But, there are things beyond that, that can help guide you to make the right investment of your hard-earned dollars.
The first of these intangibles is the manufacturer. You’re not just buying the saw, you’re also buying the company that made the saw. We dropped DeWalt’s DW713 to the runner-up spot because the company was very hesitant to make right by a warped fence that people have talked about for years. If you buy this saw, you should be aware that while it works great and delivers quality cuts you should check it over as soon as you get it to make swapping out a defective part as hassle-free as possible. We also had a bad experience with Hitachi, after the saw we ranked best-for-value had some initial problems with one of the front legs.
Waste management is another overlooked issue. All of these saws came with dust bags, and all similarly that this didn’t figure too highly into our review process, but beware that heavy use will create waste issues. At the end of a job, when you’re tired and want to go sit in a chair, you might still have considerable work cleaning up after yourself. And at worst, in confined spaces, this can create a human health hazard.
Finally, there’s portability. Bosch’s CM10GD is built like a tank, which is great for stability but if you need to move it to a work site it’s heavy and bulky. The Hitachi C10FCG, on the other hand, we picked it up and moved it around with little more than a, “Thank you, ma’am.” If you’re going working mobile as opposed to in a workshop, you’ll want to consider weight and bulk more highly in how you choose.
We’d call these deal breakers. These aren’t anything that you’d want to factor in too heavily in making a purchase choice, but they are things that if all else is equal that you’d want to maybe use to throw your decision — and your money — to one manufacturer over the other.
You’ll want to ask yourself whether a 10-inch miter saw is designed for user comfort. This is actually a safety feature because fatigue brought on by repetitive motion is a great precursor to lost focus, which itself is the first step towards injuring yourself. We found the Chicago Electric 10-inch sliding miter saw to be a basic, no frills saw with nothing invested in user comfort. If you just need this to make a handful of cuts, that’s probably not a big deal, but if you’ve got a bunch of cuts to make you’ll want to be especially mindful that the saw isn’t helping you stay frosty.
Ease of adjustment and calibration is something else you’ll want to consider. Most of the saws that came with a lot of bells and whistles we reviewed were easy enough to adjust when necessary. The parts stayed in place and we didn’t spend a lot of time fiddling around to get them just right. The Hitachi C10FCG, however, had its parts locked into place hard. This made loosening bolts and dicey proposition that led us to conclude that damaging it through simple maintenance was a real possibility. That’s just not a good look.
And finally, there is noise and rattle. Our lowest-ranked saw, Harbor Freight’s Chicago Electric 10-inch sliding miter saw, sounded like the wrath of God was being unleashed on the planet. This is more than just unsettling. This is the kind of thing that could dissuade someone from using the saw after purchase. If you want a saw that is smooth and quiet, you’ll probably have to pay a little more, but it’s something you’ll want to take into account.
While there are lots of reviews of 10-inch miter saws, for us it came down to customer service. Who’d stand behind what product. Bosch’s CM10GD was a great saw and was matched only by the DeWalt DW713. Both 10-inch miter saws produced excellent miter and beveled cuts right out of the box and continued to do so without an appreciable falloff in quality after long use. The difference-maker was that when we needed DeWalt to stand behind their product and make right a flaw that people have been talking about for years, they didn’t.
We were also chagrined by Hitachi’s customer service, which seemed reluctant to stand behind the C10FCG, but not enough to not think that it’s the perfect saw for people starting out or looking for an immediate for-dollar return on investment. Despite customer service, it still mostly performed as expected and was the lightest and most portable 10-inch miter saw we reviewed.
It took us swapping out blades for us to really appreciate Evolution’s RAGE3, which can cut ably if not remarkably. As for Harbor Freight’s Chicago Electric 10-inch compound sliding saw, the less said the better for everyone’s rosy outlook.
We hope that you found some value in our experiences and apply what we learned so that you can have a much more satisfactory experience using and impressing your neighbors with your tool.