If you work with wood, you know a miter saw is an extremely handy tool to have in your workshop. It allows you to create angle cuts with a higher level of precision than other types of tools. There are several features to consider when deciding what is the best 12-inch miter saw for your needs including a stable arm and adjustment and sliding capabilities. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best miter saw and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
Models with single- or dual-bevel designs allow bevel and compound cuts
With no bevel options, a basic miter saw will give you a limited variety of cuts that you can make. Lightweight and easy to use, basic miter saws can efficiently make miter and cross cuts, plus they give you a high level of precision that works well for simple projects. A basic miter saw will cost a lot less than the other types, making it a great choice for the best budget miter saw. It is also a good option if you don’t have to use it a lot or you won’t be using it for bevel cuts.
It's always a good idea to see what the basic functions of a tool are before you buy it. Here is a YouTube video that illustrates the basic uses of a miter saw:
Compound miter saws have two bevel options either the single or dual bevel. This gives you more flexibility with angles, and it can still make the four basic cuts that miter saws are known for including miter cut, bevel cut, crosscut, and compound cut (miter plus bevel cuts). This is a harder to operate models that is also a little more expensive, so it is good for those that plan to use the tool often and need to make bevel cuts.
More advanced than the compound miter saw, the sliding compound miter saws have all the compound features, plus they come equipped with a sliding arm. Used to make crosscuts on larger pieces of materials, they are very versatile as well as the most expensive. This is a great model for a professional that regularly works with wider stock.
Portability is the biggest advantage of a cordless miter saw. With a cordless miter saw, you can take the saw outside of your workshop and out to the job site. Even though this is a model type, the cordless aspect is more of a feature of the saw as it is available in either the basic, compound or sliding compound miter saw models.
A key component of a miter saw is that the blade type varies in size ranging from 8 to 12 inches. Depending on your cutting needs, make sure to check with the manufacturer to find the right blade type for your cutting needs. Different types of blades are used for different cutting styles, so it is important to get the right blades that you will need for your projects.
Miter means angle, and it is important to know how much of an angle you will get from your miter saw. Per you projects design, you will need to cut wood at a specific angle and the saw needs to be flexible enough to perform different angles to give you the best precision. Usually, most miter saws will be able to go up to 60 degrees on either the left or right side for quick use, but there are some models that can only miter on one side.
Making angles can be a tricky and daunting project. Here is a YouTube video that will give you a better idea of how to cut a precise angle.
Allowing you to cut pieces with wider widths, the sliding capability helps with specific designs, and it can also be used to make bigger fencing posts with larger widths. These types of saws also have a larger capacity than the other models.
With the ability to cut an angled bevel into the wood, bevel saws let you cut two angles into a piece of wood at the same time. This only works by tilting the head of the saw to one side and rotating the saw table. Bevel saws will either be able to do single or double bevel, and this is a great tool to have when you are cutting crown molding or complex furniture.
A bevel saw performs a very specific function. To get a better idea of how this saw works, here is a YouTube tutorial on how a double bevel works.
Other features can include LED lights that illuminate your work area and dust collection to keep your work area clean. Additional features include extension arms, adjustable rear fences, and clamps to provide a surface that will support your piece as you work, this is especially helpful for large piece of wood.
A vital part of your miter saw is the speed that will determine how much work you can complete during a specific amount of time. If you prefer a faster machine to handle a large amount of work, you need to look for a saw with a strong motor that can give you the best speeds.
If you want an extremely versatile miter saw that will fit your cutting needs perfectly, the Hitachi C10FCE2 features a strong motor and tons of features that will make powering through projects a lot easier. This flexible miter saw can easily cut through hardboard, plywood, sashes, panels, and soft fireboard. With a 15-Amp motor, this is the ideal saw to cut large boards with smooth and straight cuts.
The Hitachi C10FCE2 is a great saw for professionals or DIYers, for either miter or crosscutting as it is very user-friendly. Ready to work right out of the box, this saw only weighs around 26 pounds, making it easy to move around your shop. The oversized flip fence allows you to cut large pieces of wood without losing precision, plus you can easily make a vertical cut on crown molding.
Adjustments are simple with the Hitachi C10FCE2 that allows you to adjust bevels at any angle as well as miter adjustment from 0 to 52 degrees in either direction. It also features replaceable carbon brushes and a dust bag at the back that will help keep your working area safe and clean. The ergonomically-designed handle reduces vibration and provides a strong grip without worrying about slippage.
A great saw for DIYers, the DeWALT DW715 Miter Saw features a 15-Amp motor with speeds of 4000 rpm. Capable of cutting large boards with smooth and straight cuts, the DW715 is an affordable miter saw that is also used by professionals. Highly portable, this is a great saw to take to the job site weighing only 42 pounds and featuring a locking pin and carrying handle.
Easy to set up, this compound miter saw cuts accurately with very little waste making it a candidate for the best miter saw for homeowners. The DW715 allows you to cut through a wide variety of sizes and materials so you don’t have to stop and switch tools. It also features an adjustable, stainless steel plate with eleven positive stops and a large miter capacity that arranges from 0 to 50 degrees in either direction.
The high sliding fence is a great feature if you work on moldings that can easily slip out to make bevel cuts. Because of its height, the fence is very supportive and will easily slide out of the way. The DW715 also gives you more flexibility with bevel stops at 0, 33.9, 45 and 48 degrees to fill most woodworking needs.
With very good value for the price, the DeWalt DWS709 features a capable and reliable 15-amp motor running at speeds up to 3800 rpm. This sliding compound miter saw easily switches from one task to another increasing your productivity. It can also easily make straight crosscuts up to 14 inches and easily adjust the bevel in either direction for completely different cuts.
Constructed of stainless steel plates with pads with two steel rails for support, this miter saw is a solid tool that stays completely rigid to guarantee precise cuts. The DeWalt DWS709 is also versatile allowing you to cut either aluminum or plastic by simply changing out the blade.
This saw also comes with a carbide blade equipped with 32 teeth, a wrench, a dust bag, and a quick-release clamp. The large back fence allows you the versatility to work with baseboards and moldings, and it also easily slides out of the way for bevel cuts. The detent plate includes positive stops at thirteen common angles allowing you to swiftly adjust your saw and still stay precise. You also get maximum versatility with miter cuts at 50 degrees to the left and 60 degrees to the right.
When you compare the price against the overall functionality of the Makita LS1016L, you realize the high value you are getting for your money. This compound miter saw has the largest capacity in its class and features a 15-amp motor with slower rpm’s that give you better speed control. It also comes with 60 teeth on its blade offsets the slower RPMs, making it perfect for basic cutting.
This is a nice and compact miter saw that comes equipped with large D-handles on its base allowing you to easily move it from project to project. With a 3-stage reduction gear unit, the Makita LS1016L has a first-class cutting capacity. It also features removable rear blade guards allowing you to easily cut baseboards and crown molding making it a nominee for the best miter saw for trim carpentry.
Featuring a miter range between 0 – 52 degrees on the left and 0 – 60 degrees on the right, the miter locks tight and you also get crisp detents. Instead of a belt-driven motor, the Makita LS1016L features a direct-drive motor that requires almost no maintenance but allows you plenty of diversity in your cuts. The integrated laser also helps you make precise cuts and the electric brake and soft start will give you a comfortable cutting experience every time.
With a large capacity, a depth stop, and an LED light cut guide, the DeWalt DWS780 lets you take on big projects and groove cuts with ease. This sliding compound miter saw is a professional piece of equipment that you can easily and quickly power through all types of projects. Covering all types of styles, this is a saw that contractors, cabinetmakers, and carpenters all use for its capacity and precision.
Ready to work right out of the box, the DeWalt DWS780 shouldn’t need any calibration. The design of the back fences allows you to make horizontal, vertical, and nested-crown cuts. Plus, you can cut at an angle of 45 degrees and 90 degrees. Miter cuts can be made 50 degrees to the left and 60 degrees to the right.
The miter detents are solid and precise. It also comes with an override feature to give you complete freedom. With the bright LED light, you can easily guide your saw on both sides of the blade for extreme precision and safety. It also only weighs 56 pounds, so you can take it with you to the job site with ease, making it a contender for the best sliding compound miter saw in its class.
The winner of the best miter saw roundup is the Hitachi C10FCE2. Featuring a strong motor and tons of features, the Hitachi C10FCE2 will power through projects easily and can cut through a variety of materials. This is a user-friendly saw that is ready to work straight out of the box.
Great for either professionals or DIYers, it only weighs around 26 pounds making it very portable, and the oversized flip fence makes it easy to cut large pieces of material with precision. Users have enjoyed the power motor and the straight and accurate buts they get. This is a great saw for beginners that include a long-lasting blade and great dust collection system. Hands down, the Hitachi C10FCE2 is definitely the winner of this miter saw roundup.