Best Miter Saw Reviews: My top picks revealed for 2017
When it comes to the everyday homeowner, looking to do home improvement work- or even a professional woodworker – a good miter saw is a must have. A miter saw is remarkably versatile, for it can make almost any type of cut.
The right miter saw – or chop saw – will transform your ability to work with wood, and make cutting more efficient and accurate. Anyone who is looking to make precise cuts over and over needs to invest in a top-rated miter saw. The challenge is to make sure that you are getting the best saw that fits your budget and meets your needs.
- Miter Saw Reviews 2017
- Which miter saw is best for you?
- Features to consider when selecting a miter saw
Miter Saw Reviews 2017
Dewalt DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound
Weight 56 pounds
Type 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound
Dimensions 33 x 23.8 x 18.8 inches
Best Use Versatile saw that can be used for a variety of projects
Cutting vertical bevels and horizontal miters simultaneously
The Dewalt DWS780 (read my review here) is a very versatile and durable mitre saw with a large capacity. This saw makes complicated cutting jobs faster and easier. It can cut vertical bevels and horizontal miters simultaneously, and cut pieces at a 90-degree angle up to 16 inches.
The DWS780 is very easy to use. The transparent sliding fence enables you to see where you are cutting and guarantees that every cut will be perfectly square. Repeat cuts are also made easier, in that the saw comes with 10 positive stops for easy adjustment.
The DEWALT DWS780 is a dual bevel machine. This means that you don’t have to flip your work piece when cutting bevels. Instead, you can save time by simply flipping the saw to the left or right. One of the best features of the DEWALT DWS780 is the LED guide light. This light casts a shadow of the blade onto the work surface, which allows you to see where you cut, and thus makes cutting a lot more accurate.
Problems with The DEWALT DWS780 include the dust collection bag (which is not the best out there) and the blade that comes standard with the saw. If you are looking for fine finishes on wood, you will have to purchase an additional, higher quality blade.
Related Products: Another great investment will also be some extra Dewalt miter saw blades.
Makita LS1016L 10-Inch Dual Slide Compound with Laser
Another serious contender as one the best sliding compound miter saws on the market, is the Makita LS1016L is an accurate, easy to use unit that is very powerful. The 15 amp motor delivers powerful cutting action and enables the saw to go through pretty much any construction material imaginable, even steel. Just make sure that you have the correct blade for the material that you are cutting. The power of the motor, which can run up to 3 200 RPM, could easily have made for kickbacks. Yet the smooth start guarantees that every cut will be clean.
The 4 rail double sliding guide fence allows for precise and exact cuts, making 12-inch cross cuts at 90 degrees possible. Combined with the proprietary six linear ball bearing mechanism, this makes for dead on accurate cutting. The steel system and the soft start of the saw, guarantee a very smooth cut.
Easy cutting is made possible with the Makita LS1016L. This is the result of features such as the transparent blade guard. This makes life easier by enhancing visibility and keeping you safe. Another feature that makes the cutting process easier is being able to switch the laser from one side to the other quite easily.
The only real problems with the Makita LS1016L are that it is very heavy, and the blade that comes with the saw is not very great. Comments have also been made over alignment issues. This can cause inaccurate and untidy cuts. Keep in mind that you will have to check the alignment before you start cutting.
Related Products: The standard blade that comes with the Makita LS1016L can easily be replaced by a better Makita miter saw blade.
Dewalt DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound
The Dewalt DW715 is an accurate and powerful miter saw that is light enough to make it portable. Accuracy is made possible by the adjustable cam lock miter system. Accurate bevel cuts can be made up to 48 degrees to the left and 3 degrees to the right. The 11 positive stops at the common trim angles ensure further accuracy. The bevel stops are also a great feature as they support the 45-degree angle cut quickly. This speeds the cutting process up and minimises effort. The tall fence is easy to slide out of the way. It can support 6,5-inch base moldings and 5,25-inch moldings in a vertical position.
Not only is the DEWALT DW715 accurate out of the box and very easy to use, it also boasts a lot of safety features. The blade guard completely covers the blade. It moves out of the way as you lower the arm when cutting your material. In addition to this, the DW715 also has an interlocking trigger. This trigger prevents accidental start-ups and perhaps making unwanted cuts.
One problem with the DEWALT DW715 is that it does not come with a built-in laser guide system. Luckily, a laser is not absolutely necessary and you are still able to make accurate cuts without one. As with the DEWALT DWS780, the dust collection system and the standard blade that comes with the saw aren’t too great.
Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-Inch DB Glide
The Bosch GCM12SD is an effective, versatile, accurate mitre saw that does not take up a lot of space. Accuracy is taken one step further with this saw, in that its blade control is maximised. It allows for 47 degrees bevels and 60 degrees miters. You can very easily switch among detents and a simple switch can completely unlock the table, which allows for manual angle control.
The Bosch GCM12SD has a patented axial glide system. This enables you to have more control when making precision cuts. It is perfect for compact workspaces and can save you up to 12 inches by using the articulated arm flush. The Bosch GCM12SD has an ambidextrous design, making it easy for anyone to use. Therefore, making cuts at strange angles is also made much easier, since you are able to turn the saw any way.
A big plus with this saw is the dust collection system. However, there have been a few complaints about broken dust chutes. Other problems with the Bosch GCM12SD include the fact that it is a bit pricey, very heavy and does not come with a laser guide.
Related Products: Since the Bosch GCM12SD, unfortunately, does not come with a laser guide system; it would be a good idea to purchase one like the Bosch LS010 Miter Saw Laser Washer Guide.
Festool Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound
The high price tag of the Festool Kapex KS 120 might be out of range when it comes to the majority of casual woodworkers. However, the Festool is designed for performing heavy-duty jobs that professionals will be able to use on a day- to-day basis.
Whereas some miter saws come without a laser or only one laser, the Festool Kapex KS120 comes with two lasers. This allows cutting to be very precise, since the dual lasers allow you to align cuts from both sides of the blade. They also require no batteries and you can turn them on and off without having to switch the saw on and off. To make cutting even more precise there is also a very accurate miter scale. The miter scale is easy to read and the angles are easy to set within a fraction of a degree.
The Festool Kapex KS 120 has been designed to be easily portable. This compact design makes it easier to store in small spaces and the saw does not take up a lot of space in the workshop. Another big plus is the effective dust extraction system, which works better than most dust bags that come standard with miter saws.
Related Products: In order to make full use of the 91% dust collection, this mitre saw can be used with a Festool CT dust extractor. This will make for a cleaner and safer work environment.
Which miter saw is best for you?
When deciding which miter saw to buy, it is very important to consider your own needs and budget.
For the everyday homeowner or mitre saw buyer with a smaller budget, the DEWALT DWS780, Makita LS1016L, DEWALT DW715 and Bosch GCM12SD are excellent options to consider. Each of these miter saws has specific features that make them different from one another. It will be a good idea to check out these features and make a decision based on what is more important to you.
For someone who is serious about woodwork and has a bit of extra money to spend, the obvious choice would be the Festool Kapex KS 120. This saw is arguably the most advanced sliding compound miter saw on the market today. The Festool Kapex KS 120 will help you to make cuts that can rival the finest trim work.
There may be a lot of miter saws on the market today, but you can easily find the one that is perfect for you.
Features to consider when selecting a miter saw
There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a miter saw. First of all, when it comes to these saws, precision is key. Precision is made possible by features such as clearly marked scales, solid angle presets and good fence support. Moreover, a laser guide system on your miter saw can be very useful for extra precision. Not all miter saws come with laser guide systems, though. It is thus important to decide whether you will need the extra accuracy or not.
Before purchasing a miter saw, you have to determine how much space you have in your workshop. Some miter saws can take up quite a lot of space, whereas a more compact design may better suit your needs. You will also have to determine whether you want the saw to be portable since certain miter saws can be quite heavy.
A new miter saw will usually be packaged with a standard blade that can be used on rougher pieces of wood. If you want finer finishes on your wood, or if you will be working with another type of material, it will be a smart choice to purchase an additional higher quality blade.
Make certain that the miter saw of your choice has enough power to perform your cutting jobs. Usually, miter saws have between 10 and 15 amps of power. You also have to take into account the maximum RPM’s the motor can provide, as this will have an effect on the smoothness of your cuts. If you need to make particularly smooth cuts or do a lot of heavy-duty cutting, you can also consider a motor that has smooth start technology. This minimises the burst of power that you feel when the motor starts.
Positive stops are used to set the bevel angle adjustments quickly. This increases productivity and will speed up your work. It is easier to use a miter saw with more varied stops. Just make sure that your miter saw of choice allows you to make custom incremental adjustments, and not only offers specific positive stops.
Miter saws can produce a good amount of dust when operated. The dust collection system, which typically comes with miter saws, usually consists of a dust bag. These dust bags, however, are not always very effective. If your miter saw comes with a poorly designed dust bag, you can always use a vacuum or dust extractor.
When safety is disregarded, even the best miter saws can be dangerous tools. Miter saws usually have blade guards that expose the blade as it moves towards the wood. Other features such as fence guards and electric brakes also make these saws safer to operate.