If you want precision and accuracy when cutting woods for your home improvement projects, you definitely need a miter saw. But because the name “miter” means “angled,” they are ideal for both straight cuts and angled cuts. However, choosing the best miter saw for your needs does not come easy. You can find tons of miter saw reviews online but you might still end up buying the wrong one. So before you waste your money, we strongly suggest you first read our own buying guide below.
Ultimate Miter Saw Comparison and Rating Chart
|Hitachi C10FCE2 10-Inch||4.4||$||#1 Best Seller|
|DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch||4.5||$$||Lightweight and portable. Easy to transport.|
|DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound||4.5||$$$||Have an ultra-bright LED light.|
|Ryobi ZRP551 ONE Plus 18V Cordless 7-1/4-in||4.8||$$||Top rated with reasonable price.|
|DEWALT DW713 10-Inch Compound||4.7||$||Increased bezel capacity. Just 35 pounds.|
|Bosch 5312 12-Inch Dual Bevel||4.5||$$$||Multiple miter detents. Quick and precise cut.|
|DEWALT DW717 10-Inch Double-Bevel Sliding Compound||4.5||$$$||With compact sliding rail and tall fence.|
|DEWALT DW716 15 Amp 12-Inch Double-Bevel||4.5||$$||Big miter capacity. Extremely portable.|
|Makita LS1216LX4 12-Inch Dual with Stand||5.0||$$$||5 Star rating. With Laser and Stand|
|Hitachi C12RSH 15 Amp 12-Inch with Laser||4.4||$$$||Have carbon brushes and a dust bag.|
What Type Should I Buy?
Generally speaking, there are three types you can choose from.
Basic type are lightweight and the cheapest type. Although much better than a handsaw in terms of making precise straight crosscuts, it does not offer any bevel option. Therefore, you can only use this type for simple woodcutting applications that require angled horizontal cut.
Compound Miter Saw is ideal for cutting woods that requires angled cuts in two planes such as for crown molding corners and picture frames. This type allows you to cut straight, miter, and beveled cuts in one pass. Single-bevel compound miter saw tilts in one direction only, while the dual-bevel type saves you time because you don’t need to re-position your work for cutting in the opposite direction. Dual compound one is heavier and more expensive than the single-bevel, but add convenience and produce faster results, and therefore is more practical to use if you are a frequent user.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw with horizontal sliding arms is ideal for cutting much wider boards. The sliding feature provides added comfort and accuracy to your work. Just like a compound saw, it is also available in single-bevel and dual-bevel action. But because the additional sliding feature narrows the range of the pivot mechanism, this limits the ability to cut thicker wood.
They can also be either with power cord or battery-operated. Corded ones are great for stationary work areas. On the other hand, cordless ones provide convenience if you frequently travel with the tool. Most of them use 18 or 24-volt rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries. The main disadvantage of battery-operated ones is the downtime during charging.
Can I Use It for Metal Cutting?
If you will use it to cut metal, use only the appropriate metal blade for the right type of metal. Inappropriate use of it may cause overheating, damage to the tool, and personal injury. Nonetheless, some special compound ones are designed to cut wood, metal, and aluminum using the same blade.
How to Buy the Best Miter Saw
Besides choosing the most appropriate type for the job, you should also consider a lot of important factors before buying one. Below are some of them:
- Blade type – Many saws normally come with 8.5-inch, 10-inch or 12-inch blades. The diameter of the blade determines the cutting power. Larger blades are more powerful and therefore produce higher and deeper cuts. On the other hand, smaller blades are more applicable in cutting small pieces of wood.
- Speed –RPM (Rounds Per Minute) is the unit of measurement of speed. It determines the number of spins a blade can complete in one minute. Obviously, one with higher RPM can finish a job faster than that of a lower RPM, and the longer it will last. The smaller a saw is, the higher the RPM it has. Therefore, some cutting jobs require slower saws.
- Dust management – Some models have their own dust bags, while others have a port where you can easily connect a vacuum cleaner. For safety and health purposes, it should have an efficient and reliable dust collector system, especially if you are working in a confined area. A variable dust blower helps move sawdust from the cutting area.
- Handle style Handles can either be horizontal, vertical, or pistol style. Horizontal handles are best for making long, straight cuts, while the vertical type is easier to maneuver. On the other hand, some of them even have adjustable handles, which is better because you can easily move repeatedly anytime.
Some Special Features
Some manufacturers added special features for safety purposes, user convenience, and to produce better results. Here are some of them:
- Laser guide – helps you in making a more accurate cut by providing a beam, allowing you to have precise visual indication of your work
- Electronic speed control – To provide consistent RPM while cutting
- Blade guard – A curved piece of metal to cover the teeth, keeping you safe during the cutting process. This also helps you have a better view of the cutting line.
- Electric brakes Reverses the flow of electricity of the saw motor once you release the trigger, which quickly stops the blade, much faster than those without this feature. This feature allows faster set up.
- Digital display – Digital LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) provide easy-to-read bevel and miter setting data.
Below are three miter saw reviews that can help you choose:
Ryobi ZRTS1142L Review (Factory-Reconditioned)
First of all, this factory-reconditioned (or refurbish) Ryobi ZRTS1142L sliding compound miter saw might have some cosmetic blemishes. However, you can be sure that it was brought back to its original working condition. This means it still works well for small home projects, as originally intended. You can be sure that the adjustable laser guide can perfectly help you follow cut marks, with the help of the 7.25-in diameter blade. The horizontal handle provides added comfort, besides the fact that it is lightweight at 19 pounds. Its 9-Amp motor is powerful enough to deliver up to 5,800 RPM.
For accurate miter cutting, you can take advantage of the miter angle that stops at 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6 and 45-degrees left. Blade replacement is very easy using its single wrench spindle lock system. Although the small size can be an advantage, this single-bevel saw might be too small for some cutting works such as crown molding. But you can solve this problem by simply holding the wood. Despite being not a new product, the dust bag works fine. You are also protected by a one-year limited warranty. So overall, this corded Ryobi ZRTS1142L is definitely a money-saver.
Craftsman 7-1/4” Compound Miter Saw with Laser Trac Review
This is just one of the most reliable products from Craftsman, a tool company that was once named as “Americas Most Trusted Brand.” It is lightweight at 16 pounds and ideal for beginners who want to cut wood like professionals. Equipped with a 9-amp motor that can generate up to 5,000 rpm, the molded handle is effortless to hold and control, while the motor brushes are easy to clean or replaced. The package comes with a dust bag, clamps, and wrench. This is also one of the cheapest ones in the market today.
But then, you will be surprised to know that it has a lot of amazing features that you can also find in expensive brands. This includes having Laser Trac guide system that provides a laser beam, allowing you to check where the slice will go before you do the cutting. Not to mention its dependable dust collector system, slip-resistant rubber feet, and a project ruler. You can either set the machine to 45 degrees or simple select from any of the nine miter stops. However, you might encounter some inaccurate measurements against the setting. Other than that, this product is worth your money.
Ridgid MS1290LZA Sliding Compound Miter Saw Review
This Ridgid MS1290LZA is probably the most powerful one you will ever use. Equipped with a 15-amp heavy duty motor with a no-load speed of 4,000 RPM, it can go from 0 to 61 degrees for miter cuts and from 0 to 4 degrees for dual bevel cuts. The 12-inch blade is being guided by adjustable laser system, making sure that you will have a perfect cut. 1 3/16 sliding rails are so strong that the blade barely moves no matter how you move the handle. In addition, the expanded table is huge enough and provides excellent support for the wood during cutting.
The Repeat-A-Cut marking surface that allows you to mark fence for repetitive cuts is also a great feature, while the tool-free Blade Depth Adjustment always stays set unless you release it. The work clamp can easily be tightened and is also a great safety feature when cutting small pieces of wood. However, it is pretty heavy at 68 pounds, and the dust bag is not so useful. The price can be surprisingly high. But if you really want to buy high quality products, this is one of them.