A miter saw is a great tool to have when you are trying to make angled cuts. It is usually used for making cuts on picture frames, crown molding, window casings and other cuts that you cannot make with a regular saw. Every handyman or contractor knows that a miter saw is an essential tool in their workshop. With that being said, finding the best miter saw to match not only your budget but the tasks at hand can be difficult.
To make your job easier since we have better things we would rather be doing on our weekends then walking through home depot or lowes. We have compared 5 of the best miter saws on the market. These miter saw reviews help save you time and allow you to pick the best saw for all of your angled cutting needs.
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Type: sliding compound
Dewalt is one of those brands that contractors and handymen alike trust, and for a good reason. The Dewalt DWS780 is the best sliding compound miter saw on the market today and will allow you to make precision cuts that are required for the job site and even for the do it your selfers on the weekend.
This is by far the best 12-inch miter saw, as it comes equipped with a new precise miter system, as well as a handle for easy portability on the job site. This saw also has a revolutionary XPS cross cut positioning system that can provide adjustment free cuts, so you can finish your jobs quicker and more efficiently.
As a contractor, I know that power and durability are one of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a tool. If I am remodeling a home, I need to know that my tools are going to last the whole day. The Dewalt DWS780 comes with a powerful 15-amp, 3800 rpm motor that gives me the power and durability that I am looking for in a miter saw. Outside of the motor, the saw itself is built from stainless steel castings and provides you with a solid saw that will last a long time, and it is able to withstand the daily rigors that come with working on a job site.
With it having such great durability, this saw also comes with a number of features that help speed up the cutting process without sacrificing precision. The Dewalt DWS780 provides one of the highest capacities for cutting by allowing you to cut up to 2 x 16 pieces of lumber at 90 degrees, as well as 2 x 12 at 45 degrees. It also allows you to bevel from zero to 49 degrees with stops at 0, 22.5, 33.9, 45, and 49 degrees in both directions. It also has its own dust collection system to reduce dust on the job site. This is hands down the best saw on the market, and an essential tool for any miter saw jobs.
Type: sliding compound
The Makita LS1016L is a close runner-up to the Dewalt DWS780. It is the best 10-inch miter saw available and is only slightly smaller than the Dewalt. While The Makita LS1016L has a smaller blade, it has a lot of features that make it a great saw as well. It has a compact design and only weighs 53.3 lbs which makes it one of the lightest saws in its class. Its lightweight feature makes it easy to move around a job site. It comes with a 15 amp direct drive motor that is capable of pushing over 3200 rpm. Also, it comes with a 4- steel rail sliding system that provides a stable cutting platform.
One of my favorite features on this saw is the 6 linear ball bearings that allow you to make dead-on cuts every time. It also has a see-through blade guard, so you can see exactly where you are making cuts. It also comes equipped with a laser that shows you where your cuts would go and allows you to make precise adjustments to the left or right. Another unique feature that I love about this saw is the one-touch miter lock. This allows the user to make quick adjustments and produces your efficiency.
The Makita has the capacity to cut 6-5/8 crown molding when it is vertically nested, 4 ¾ baseboard and crosscuts at 90 degrees. It also has an easy access bevel lock, that allows you to lock the saw between 0 – 45 degrees. This is an all-around great saw, but it doesn’t quite match the power and cutting ability of the Dewalt, and that is why it is second on our list.
The Dewalt DW715 is a great saw at a lower price. It is one of the best compound miter saws currently available and is great for the homeowner. Not everyone needs the power and capabilities of the first two saws, and this saw provides you with a solid cut for half the price. It is also compact, coming in at 42 pounds, and its smaller size allows you to stow it away nicely in any garage or shed.
The Dewalt DW715 comes with a 12-inch carbide blade, and it is run by a 15-amp motor that can run up to 4000 rpms. It has the power to help make those weekend projects a breeze. It is perfect for cutting framing, molding, cross-cutting and miter cutting. All of these options provide the DIYer with an effective saw at half the price.
The saw has an adjustable stainless-steel detent plate and can use up to 11 positive stops. It can cut pieces of crown molding as thick as 5 ¼ inches and nested molding 6 ½ inches against the fence. It has a cross-cutting capacity up to 2×8 for lumber. It can bevel to the left up to 48 degrees, but only 3 degrees to the right which allows you make a decent amount of cuts for the money. It also allows the user to change positions quickly because the bevel stops are easy to find.
This Dewalt DW715 is the perfect saw for the handyman, while it may not hold up well on the job site, most people do not need the power of an industrial miter saw. This saw offers the best price with the highest quality, and it also comes with a 3-year limited warranty and one-year free service contract as well.
This saw from Hitachi is a 10-inch single bevel compound miter saw. It comes with a number of features and also the ability to purchase upgrades such as a laser to give you precise cutting capabilities or a stand to provide a stable platform for any job site or home improvement project. Its 15-amp motor provides an intense amount of output to help you power through the toughest jobs.
It only weighs 26.3 pounds and its compact size is easy to carry to and from the job site. It also comes with dust collector to help cut down on the number of dust particles that remain after a cut, making your clean up easier. The saw also has a larger table than most miter saws which provides more stable support for anything that you may be cutting on.
This saw comes with a number of cutting features as well; it has a 0 – 52-degree miter angle cutting range. It is also equipped with a 0 – 45-degree bevel range to the left that allows you to make most beveled cuts and has adjustable stops to allow for precision cuts no matter the angle.
This is a good saw that comes with a 5-year professional warranty. One my favorite things about the saw is that it comes with a number of upgrades that you can purchase to make it perform better.
The Black and Decker M1850BD rounds out the bottom of our list, and it takes this spot for a number of reasons. It comes in with one of the lowest amp motors, so the tougher and thicker cutting jobs will be more difficult with this miter saw. It can cut a 2×4 at 90 degrees and up to a 2×3 at 45 degrees, compared to all of the saws above this one lacks in its overall cutting ability.
This saw can be stopped at nine of the most regular cutting angles. It ranges in cuts from 0 -45 degrees to the left as well as the right. It is lightweight because it is made from die-cast aluminum which helps to cut down on overall weight. It also comes with its own stable platform that allows you to make cuts from the floor or on a bench.
Overall this saw is the bare minimum package, it is good for home use but will not have the long-lasting capabilities that other saws have. While it is on the cheaper side of the spectrum, it does come with a 2-year limited warranty.
Above I have labeled what I believe to be the five best miter saws on the market today, you may be asking how I came to this conclusion. As a contractor, I have a great deal of experience in using these saws, so I wanted to look at a number of features, and I have listed what I believe to be the best features to help finish a project as quickly as possible. The first thing I wanted to talk about is the difference between a compound miter saw and sliding compound miter saw. While they may sound and appear similar, they provide you with two different options and depending on the project; you need to know what saw will do the best job.
The difference between compound VS. sliding compound miter saws
A compound miter saw has a blade that can pivot from right to left. This allows the user to make angled cuts that are usually necessary when cutting molding, picture frames and other objects that need to be cut at an angle. Being able to pivot like that allows you to make the beveled cuts. It is meant to cut pieces of wood that require cuts on two planes. That is why the compound miter saw is used to make accurate cuts, with its increased range of motion and its stable platform, the user is able to make cuts that would be difficult on a traditional electric saw.
A sliding compound miter saw is different from the compound miter saw because the slide feature allows the user to cut longer boards. Since the compound miter saw is limited to the space that fits, the sliding compound miter saw has the wood you are cutting move through it. This allows you to work on longer pieces, which sometimes in the construction business is necessary. It also increases the length of the cut, which can be used for larger pieces of crown molding, either saw is a good addition to your workshop, but depending on what you will be doing will depend on whether you need a compound miter saw, or a sliding compound miter saw. As a contractor, I use a sliding compound miter saw, as I am usually required to cut longer and thicker pieces. I want to be ready for any problem, but a compound miter saw is a great tool for a handyman or DIYer that is not making these cuts regularly.
Tool to Match your needs
Not every craftsman needs to have the highest quality tools on the market. It is best to be economical; I usually try to pick my tools based on my needs. Being in the contractor business I need a tool that can easily be transported by one worker, it needs to be powerful, and it must make precision cuts. I do this for a living so if my quality of work is not above the average then I won’t be in business much longer. So, I usually look to buy the top of the line products.
This doesn’t necessarily have to the be the case with everyone else. A lot of people just want to make precision cuts without having the contractor tools, and that is fine. Once you decide how you are going to be using your miter saw you can better gauge the saw you will need to purchase. Below I have labeled a few of the things I look for and what helps me make my decision.
There are few things I can’t stand more than not having the power to finish a project. I want my saws to go through wood like a hot knife through butter. To make sure I get this kind of power I am always going to look for the best motor available. I cannot go out to a job site with some rinky-dink motor and expect it to perform. Often times we will be cutting from the morning to the afternoon, and I need something that performs well.
When I look at purchasing a saw I have found that at the bare minimum you want to have a saw that is at least 15 amps and rotates at 3500 rpm. I have found that with anything less than that you aren’t going to get the power that you want. As a homeowner, you may not need to have this much power, so a smaller version may be appropriate. For me though as someone who is working regularly cutting door frames and molding, I need something that is going to get me through the day.
Either way, you don’t want to buy something that isn’t going to give you the results you want. So I highly recommend you buy a saw that is powerful enough to accomplish any task you may need it for.
Blade size is something that you need to consider. You may not need a twelve-inch blade, but the larger the blade size, the larger cuts that you can make. Most people use a 10 or a 12-inch blade, but I have seen them as small as 4 inches. Either way, you need to know what you will be cutting to understand better the blade size that you need. Also, one thing to note is that if you have a 12-inch miter saw you would only be able to use 12-inch blades, as the other simply won’t work due to mechanics. Most saws restrict the ability to put the blade on in the first place due to safety reasons.
Another thing to consider with the blade is the tooth count. Each saw is going to have its own amount of teeth, with the larger blades having more teeth than, the smaller blades. You may be wondering why this is necessary, and the simple answer is the higher the tooth count, the smoother finish is produced by the saw. When you are cutting through thicker material you want to have a blade that has a lower tooth count, this allows you to power through the material.
Having a strong motor and the right blade is one thing, but most of us are looking for a saw that will make precise cuts at a number of different angles. One thing you want to look for is what we call positive stops. These are predesignated positions. Usually, they are set at the most common cutting angles, that allows you to change your cut quickly. Some saws even have one-touch switches that allow you to transition from one cut to the next. Having more positive stops can cut down on the amount of time that is required when you are transitioning from one cut to the next. You also want to make sure when you lock your saw that it locks firmly. The last thing you want to do is to be making a cut and have the saw move out of place causing a bad cut. Having a quality saw that locks into place is the best way to ensure your saw and the wood you are cutting does not move.
Another thing to consider is the Bevel. A bevel allows the saw to tilt and also allows the saw to rotate the base to change the miter angle that you will be cutting. Considering the bevel is important because some saws can only tilt in one direction while the nicer and more expensive saws can tilt both ways. This helps to cut down on time when trying to make cuts in different directions. If you have a saw that can bevel both ways you don’t have to switch the direction in which you are cutting.
All of these things can seem complex, but they are usually pretty simple to figure out. You want a saw that locks well into position and can tilt to both the left and the right. The higher quality saws usually offer the most options and investing in a better saw will save you from many headaches down the road. They more expensive saws are generally easier to use and give you a wider range of options for cutting.
Dust collection is something that not a lot of people consider but working on a job site can put all kinds of dust and debris in the air. I like to see if I can cut down on as much dust as I can, not only is this better for the worker’s health it also makes cleaning up easier. It also allows you to see the area you are cutting by preventing dust from going all over your wood. A lot of the saws have a dust collection area, so as you are cutting the dust is forced down into a basket that will hold the dust until you are done. This makes for easiest cleanup.
I know a few brands also offer hoses that will blow air. This can create more mess than what I usually like to deal with, but it does clean the area, so you can see where you are cutting. Some even come with an offset dust bag that helps to collect the dust. This dust thing may be a pet peeve of mine, but I do like to make sure I have a clean space, so this is one thing I take into consideration when purchasing a saw.
There are a few neat extras that are added to a saw to make the jobs easier. One of my personal favorites is the laser attachment that comes with most saws. I love being able to see exactly where my blade is going to come down at. I can make more precise cuts with the laser, and therefore I generally will spend extra money to have a laser on my saw.
Clear-cutting guards are another piece that I like to use as well. Being able to see through the cutting guard and using a laser makes this job ten thousand times easier. I like being able to watch the blade go through the wood to ensure that the cutting process is going smoothly. So having the clear cutting guards is a must for my projects.
Anytime I use a saw I want to see that it has a number of safety features to help protect the user. Let’s be honest when you are using a saw there is a chance that something bad might happen. Companies have become a lot better at installing safety features on their saws. The first safety feature that I like is the saw guard. This is a good thing to have on the saw when you are moving it or even when it is in use. It helps protect from any accidental mishaps. Another thing to look for is electric brakes. These breaks help to stop the blade from spinning within two seconds. It works by reversing the flow of electricity bringing the breaks to a quick stop.
It can be a difficult task to pick the right miter saw to match your needs. I hope the reviews of miter saws helps narrow down your choices. To recap the saw that took the number one spot is the Dewalt DWS 780. Its superior cutting ability enhanced by the ability to tilt both left and right coupled with a powerful 15-amp motor makes it the number one choice for contractors and handymen alike.
The Dewalt DW 715 is the best saw for the money, while it is on the cheaper side it is a great saw for the DIYer. It allows you to make excellent cuts without breaking the bank as well. Purchasing this or any other saw is a great addition to your workshop, and you will be able to make accurate cuts at multiple angles in no time.
As with anything, the technology continues to update. So it is good to check back regularly and see what new features are available. I hope this article has helped you decide on the best saw and I wish you happy cutting in the future.
Note: we also have a miter saw stand buying guide found here. This may be of interest since a stand is crucial if you want to take your miter saw to the next level. You could also check out our top 5 jigsaw picks.