Which miter saw is best?
Miter saws are a workshop staple and an essential tool for any craftsperson. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned maker with decades of experience, miter saws are great for making a variety of cuts in your wood. Additionally, unlike most other power saws, you can transport them quite easily.
Miter saws are more accurate than ever before, and many come with precision alignment systems. However, with so many brands and models to choose from, finding the right miter saw for your needs can be difficult. One solid choice is the DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw. It is a high-quality, durable miter saw that can do it all.
What to know before you buy a miter saw
Miter saws come in many blade sizes, but bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Larger blades tend to wobble slightly more than smaller blades, making them less precise in their cuts. If you need a larger blade to handle thick lumber or sheet material, saw blades larger than 12 inches deliver optimal results. They’re especially effective when you use them with a sturdy stand.
Saws with 10-inch blades or less maximize portability over capability and are ideal for anyone who does a lot of trim work. Miter saws with blades that are exactly 10 inches offer a combination of capacity and portability.
Before you buy a miter saw, consider how you plan on using it. This way, you’ll get a saw that works for your needs without paying for features that you don’t want. There are three distinct types of miter saws.
- Standard miter saws, also known as chop saws, rotate from side to side, allowing the user to cut angles from the top of the material. However, they do not tilt from right to left at an angle. Standard miter saws are the most affordable design.
- Compound miter saws turn left to right and also tilt at an angle. Compound miter saws allow you to make bevel cuts, straight cuts and miter cuts. Compound miter saws cost more than a basic miter saw.
- Sliding compound miter saws are the most complex of the three saws. In addition to tilting and turning in both directions, they also include a sliding mechanism that increases the total cut capacity without increasing the size of the blade. Sliding table saws give you maximum control over your cuts, and they are the most expensive design option.
What to look for in a quality miter saw
The blade is the core of any miter saw, and high-quality models include blades made from durable materials. Look for blades made from carbide or blades with carbide-tipped teeth, as these features make more efficient cuts.
The best miter saws tend to include a precision alignment system that increases the accuracy of your cuts. DeWalt uses LED lights to cast a shadow of the cutline, while companies like Bosch often equip their miter saws with a laser that shows the cut line directly onto the material. Some saws also include integrated fences and stop blocks that enhance accuracy and your ability to make repeated cuts.
How much you can expect to spend on a miter saw
Miter saws can be expensive, but you can still get something practical on a budget. Expect to spend between $240-$300 on a high-quality, affordable miter saw. Expect to spend more than $400 on top-of-the-line models.
Miter saw FAQ
Do I need a miter saw stand?
A. You can use your miter saw on any stable, flat surface. Contractors will often use stands because they’re convenient and portable, but you can set up your saw on a sturdy table. Remember to ensure it’s stable and won’t move as you’re cutting, and check that the blade is set to 0 degrees after you move the saw to avoid any mistakes.
Can I cut warped or twisted wood with a miter saw?
A. Ultimately, it’s not a good idea to cut warped or twisted wood with a miter saw. In fact, it’s best to stay away from cutting warped or twisted wood altogether. If the warp is slight and barely noticeable, a clamp will likely be able to hold it flat for the duration of the cut. However, if the warp is severe, it may cause the blade to pinch, sending the material flying.
What’s the best miter saw to buy?
Top miter saw
DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw
What you need to know: This rugged miter saw is designed to withstand tough conditions and comes with plenty of premium features that are perfect for hobbyists and professionals alike.
What you’ll love: Powered by a robust 15 amp motor, this miter saw cuts through various materials, including knotty hardwoods. Plus, it’s incredibly accurate thanks to the unique XPS alignment system, which uses LED lights to cast a cutline shadow onto the material. This miter saw has a double bevel, safely cutting various materials for all kinds of projects.
What you should consider: This miter saw is on the more expensive side, and the large 12-inch blade has a bit more wobble than 10-inch and 8-inch blades.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top miter saw for the money
Craftsman V20 Sliding Miter Saw
What you need to know: If you’re in the market for an affordable, reliable compound sliding miter saw that’s easy to transport, look no further than the Craftsman V20.
What you’ll love: This miter saw is ideal for anyone short on space or needs to be able to transport their saw between job sites. In addition to being cordless, the V20 is only 21 pounds and comes with carrying handles, making it easy to move it around. Although the blade isn’t big, the motor runs at 3,800 RPM and can handle standard hobbyist projects.
What you should consider: Because this saw is cordless and has a rather small blade, it may not have the power to tackle larger contractor-style projects.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Bosch CM8S Single Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
What you need to know: The Bosch CM8S miter saw is the sweet spot between a heavy-duty professional saw and a hobbyist option.
What you’ll love: This saw is well-designed and intuitive to use. It’s packed with convenient features, such as the integrated expanding base extensions and the thumb-activated miter detents. Although the blade is less than 9 inches, the sliding feature gives this saw the same cutting capacity as a standard 10-inch stationary miter saw.
What you should consider: The Bosch CM8S is expensive and lacks an LED or laser alignment system.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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William Briskin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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