A miter saw is an essential tool for cutting angles and bevels. Finding the best miter saw is vital for the do-it-yourself user, the hobby woodworker, and the building trades professionals. The reason is that this power tool turns difficult work into easy work.
The miter saw reviews discuss the need for cutting precise angles and exact bevels. Experienced carpenters have difficulty getting precise cuts by hand. The model has locks that hold the material and sawblade in precise positions; the cut takes only a few seconds. Many difficult projects become fast and easy with the right tool.
Our Pick: Makita LS1019L 10-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser
This versatile Makita 10-inch (Check Price on Amazon.com) model has the ideal combination of power, control, safety for users of all levels of experience. The machine can handle high volume, small details, and precision cuts. The fencing is best in class with four rails, and it can handle high crown molding and similar materials.
The built-in laser refines accuracy, and the speed modulation control offers easy handling and consistent blade power with few surges or lags. It has a comfortable grip and a solid feel. It is lightweight, portable, and nearly all metal.
Should you Buy a Miter Saw?
If you need to cut angles that fit exactly, beveled cuts for corners, and high volume repeat cuts for projects, then you should buy this handy power tool. You will be able to do these things quickly and easily. Miter or “Chop” saws come in three major types single bevel, double bevel, and compound saws.
The compound models also add a sliding arm for ultimate versatility. Single bevel blades tilt only to one side, and the user must turn the wood or other material over to get a bevel cut in the other direction. Single bevel models are among the low-end machines.
Compound saws with sliding arms are the opposite end of the price spectrum. These machines cut angles, bevels in two directions, and at the same time. The sliding arm allows the cut to cover a greater width than the blade, as the arm slides the blade forward in a straight line across the width of the wood or other material.
Tool construction is an important part of well-made models. Plastic parts offer lightweight strength, but in certain areas such as the cutting area, plastic can limit the use of the machine. Some materials, like metal sheets, produce a lot of heat when cutting. A plastic cutting deck may not withstand such applications, and you will need a metal base for those tasks.
Blade size is important to the limits of the material you can cut with a single stroke. Ten-inch and 12-inch blades are standard and the 12-inch blade. The 12-inch format is the best for production work, as it will cut more than 6-inches in a pass.
The Top 5 Models on the Market
The DWS 709 is a high-value professional grade cutting system. It is a simple and user-friendly machine that will do all the essential tasks that you need from a power tool for angles and bevels.
It is an ideal choice for volume tasks like framing, cabinets, and deck boards.
The hobby worker and woodworker will enjoy the solid feel of the machine and the portability. You can move it where needed and store it in a small space when not in use. This machine would pay for itself in a short time of performing DIY home improvements such as molding, paneling, bookcases, and baseboards, and flooring.
The machine weighs 50 lbs. and has handles for carrying and relocating at a job site or workshop.
The Model 709 is a reduced version of the DWS 780 with fewer features and a much lower price. The price point should attract small workshops, homeowners, and hobbyist.
The power plant is a 15-amp motor with electricity from a 15-amp circuit. The motor puts power to the blade with a spin rate of 3,800 rpm. The manufacturer designed it for endurance and durability. It was made for high volume cutting work.
The manufacturer states that the sliding arm extends the blade to cut 2×14 lumber at 90 degrees, and 2×10 dimensional material at 45 degrees.
Users suggest the figure may be wrong and more in line with the cross cut maximum of 9.5 inches up to 11.5. With a tall rear fence, the machine can cut molding up to 4.5 inches high.
This lightweight chop model is truly portable at only 25 lbs. due in part to extensive use of plastic in the frame.
It is a reliable tool that will give you great value for the modest price point.
The plastic casing is heavy duty material meant to last and withstand the rigors of moving to various locations. As a light and easily carried machine, frequent movement is a major advantage.
The ten-inch blade will have a smaller cut than a 12-inch blade; the costs of the larger blades are nearly double the 10-inch type, and the number of teeth is a more important factor in performance than blade size. The bevel system has standard stops and adjustable tops for easy setting and precision in repetitive cuts.
Laser sighting is a helpful feature for accurate cuts. The laser on the Hitachi C10 is not as powerful as some others, but it is bright enough to work well and guide the user when exact placement is critical.
The Hitachi’s 15-amp motor provides a high spin rate for the blade. It has a wide grip soft handle for long-term comfort when operating for extended periods. The 4-inch high fence accommodated molding and other tall materials.
Two negative points to consider on this model that will not affect value. First, the cutting center is made of plastic. Since this is the place where one must cut, one may have to use care with metals. The heat generated by handling metallic materials can be intense and compromise a plastic surface.
One might have to limit this type of material on this machine. The second limitation is the single bevel to the left. The value of this machine and its reachable price point requires users to turn their material to do offside bevels.
The DWS780 has everything you will need in a compound model. It has a large blade, cuts bevels in two directions, and a sliding arm for wide cuts. It has metal where needed but not excessively heavy; it is a portable tool.
It has safety features and bright lights that focus on the cut line for fast, precision cuts on wood or other materials. It has a hefty price tag that would pay for itself with savings from DIY or professional usage.
The miter function with a sliding arm is a versatile combination. This is an easy setup for doing a small or large volume of angle cuts to wood or other material.
Once set, you can dispense with additional marking and measuring as the blade will repeatedly drop in the same depth, angle, and orientation each time. For most board sizes, this is easier than a table saw.
When you need to add bevels to the angle cuts, this tool offers a simple solution. You can set the bevel gauge and drop the blade as with angle cuts.
Angled bevel cuts would be difficult by hand, and even harder to duplicate reliably over a volume. Floors, decks, paneling are tedious jobs that a compound miter can make easy and simple.
The fencing will handle medium heights up 6-5/8 inches which will cover items like crown molding and other tall materials. The tall fencing adds to the variety and size range of materials and extends the jobs and tasks you can perform with this high-powered tool.
The 15-amp motor spins the blade at 3,600 rpm and works with a precision miter system and smooth base fence.
You will get easy gliding cuts, and the sliding arm enables the blade to travel across board width up to 14 inches at 90 degrees and 12 inches at 45 degrees.
This powerful corded power saw has 15 amps of power with a 120v power source. The motor has direct drive gearing which is more reliable than a series belts.
The precision gearing keeps a constant blade speed. It is a lightweight tool that moves easily from place to place by hand. The unit weighs 27.3 lbs., and it has carrying handles for easy movement and placement. It is an ideal machine for the home user that shares space with other activities.
The large 10-inch blade can cut through thick and hardwoods, pressed fiber products, and a range of other materials using specialized blades.
The no-load spin speed is 4600 rpm, and this powerful action will glide through touch wood and materials. The single-sided left bevel cut capacity provides bevels and compound cuts. The bevel cut range is from zero to 45 degrees; the meter cuts go up to 45 degrees on the left side and up to 52 degrees on the right side.
The base is an important feature since the materials must slide across without sticking and provide a flat and even cutting surface. The machined smooth aluminum working surface will keep its shape over years of heavy usage. One drawback is the lack of a laser for accurate cuts.
The benefits of a chop model are that the user can place the blade on the target before starting the motor to ensure an exact cut.
Other features include a dust collection system that will reduce the need for cleanup. In the alternative, you can attach a vacuum to the port and remove the bag.
Milwaukee has been a leader in innovation for power tools for many years. Their power saw entries into the power tool market are true to their tradition of high-quality products.
This digital assist version of the chop model is a welcome sight to hobbyist, part-time woodworkers, and professionals alike.
In most cases, the benefits of the portable qualities of it depend on getting accurate and repeatable measurements.
The sliding arm moves smoothly over the width of the cutting area. It rides on a combination of ball bearings and dual steel rails. The solid arrangement does not rattle or vibrate excessively at the extremes or ends of the slide. The bevel adjustments are easy with a large single lever that only needs one-hand operation.
The miter angle offers a digital readout, and users can set each cut to within.1 degree of accuracy. This innovation is an important change.
Now users at every level of experience can have the same outstanding consistency in angle cuts and compound cuts. The fine angle adjustment feature lets you dial in a setting and have confidence in the accuracy.
The power plant is also impressive. It is a 15-amp motor that delivers 3.3 HP by direct drive gearing. The machine is powerful but runs quietly and operates with little noticeable vibration. The machine adjusts the power output to a consistent level of rpm. It works harder for touch hardwoods and other materials that need a boost.
The machine has a powerful dust and debris collection system. It picks up from the blade tips.
The system can capture as much as 75 percent of the sawdust and pieces from the cutting action, and this reduces the amount of time needed for cleanup.
The Shoppers’ Top Choice
This powerful saw is a compact, quiet machine that performs the work of bigger and much costlier models. The machine functions smoothly, and it offers high levels of control for safety.
The model LS1019L is user-friendly and will take little time to learn and master the features.
The Bargain Pick is…
The Hitachi tests well for precision cuts, accuracy in the miter system, and overall operation. It has an awkward location of the trigger and safety for left-hand use.
The machine cuts well and the fences, miter and bevel gauges provide accurate cuts with plenty of power. The price point is well below the competition.