If you’re a hobbyist woodworker looking to move on to some slightly more serious projects, you will probably find that your arsenal of tools won’t prove adequate. Still, you might not want to shell out a ton of money on professional-grade products that you might not use that often.
In that case, the miter saw is the type of tool you’re looking for. They are heavy-duty machines that can do a lot, yet don’t cost too much. They are also versatile and able to do cuts from a lot of different angles with supreme precision.
In this article we’ll go over all the benefits the best miter saw can offer you and why you should get one.
Why Buying a Miter Saw?
A miter saw is a tool like no other, allowing you specialized, precise cuts from various angles while having the power to plow through hard wood like it was wrapping paper.
The way they achieve this is by having a circular saw blade mounted on a mechanical arm that can pivot on two different axes, allowing you to manipulate the cut to your liking. With them, you can make complicated compound cuts in just one fell swoop.
Another thing a miter saw offers is supreme stability as well as safety, due to the way it’s designed with a fixed cutting surface below the pivoting arm and the saw. No need to maneuver a dangerous, heavy circular saw in your arms.
Miter saws come in two different variants – compound and sliding compound miter saws. The compound miter saws have a blade that pivots left or right and can be tilted in a single direction – there are also variants that allow the blade to tilt in two different directions. Sliding compound miter saws also allow you to slide the blade backward and forwards, like on a radial arm saw, providing increased cut length.
You can use a miter saw of any kind to do both heavier jobs, like cutting larger chunks of wood to the size and shape you want or for precision work like making crown moldings, window and door frames and so on. It’s an indispensable tool that will help you take your woodwork to the next level.
While miter saws are certainly useful tools not all of them are equal in quality. During our testing process, we came across plenty of products that were just not up to snuff – sometimes because of the poor-quality construction, bad design, flimsy blade or a simple lack of power. However, these are not things you can notice that easily when shopping for one – but we are here to help you do that. In this article, we will feature the three products we picked over all the ones we tested and discuss what makes them good and the faults they have. We will also discuss what to look for in the perfect miter saw and will add in some user reviews too. It’s a ton of info that will help you avoid the bad and pick the good. So, let us check out the three top miter saws.
Meet the Best Miter Saws
The Good: Great saw for a low price, it offers good cutting power and capacity while being easy to use.
The Bad: It’s badly designed with some parts not working well and is difficult to assemble.
The Bottom Line: All in all, this is great value for the price, and despite a few downsides, this saw is more than worth buying.
The Good: It’s a decent saw at a good price, with a great-quality blade and a strong motor.
The Bad: The blade can come loose, and the attachments from the same company don’t fit it.
The Bottom Line: Despite the quality specs, this saw has the issues with it are difficult to overlook, especially since it can be a safety hazard.
The Good: It offers great cutting capacity as well as supreme adjustability, allowing you to make any cut.
The Bad: Incredibly expensive, quite heavy and lacks some expected extra features.
The Bottom Line: It’s a quality miter saw, there’s no doubt about it, but at this price point, it is difficult to recommend.
After this summary, you should also check out the more detailed information we have gathered in the rest of the article.
All of the Factors Considered
When all is said and done, miter saws are complex pieces of machinery with plenty of moving parts, and different variations on the basic design. Some are good but most are not that useful, and it’s difficult to notice that without testing the product. But, after plenty of rigorous testing, we think we have come up with the most important aspects to look for in a miter saw and how to notice if they are up to snuff before buying the product.
The strength of the motor that the saw uses is one of the most important aspects, as it determines how the saw will perform. All the others aspects of it could be great, but if it is powered by a weak motor, it just won’t perform as well as you would want it to. Cutting tough materials is almost impossible when the saw is equipped with an engine that’s not strong enough.
Almost all miter saws use electric motors, and their strength is usually measured by the amperage and voltage – the higher both are, the stronger the motor.
Of course, stronger motors are also bigger, so if you want to do some light work and don’t want your miter saw to take up too much space, you should opt for a slightly weaker motor that will still do the job, instead of buying and overpowered machine. Bigger isn’t always better, especially not in that situation.
Saw Blade Size
The size of the blade is usually expressed in its diameter since miter saws use circular saw blades. The larger the blade, the larger the pieces it can cut, it’s mostly straightforward.
However, it’s not always better to have a larger blade, since there are some precision cuts you can only do with a slightly smaller blade. Ten-inch blades are usually better for more precision while twelve-inch blades are the standard for making larger cuts. It all depends on what you need, and you should consider that carefully before buying a miter saw.
This is the effective range of movement you can have with your saw. The larger the movement range, the more you can tilt it to either side or move it, the more precise and varied cuts you can make.
It’s usually better to have a more maneuverable miter saw and rarely will it ever be bad. Some of the most maneuverable miter saws might be less stable, that is a certainty, but that’s a small price to pay for everything you can do with a saw that versatile.
There are various extra features that miter saws can have; features that will improve the quality of your work or simply help you get done faster.
A dust bag can go a long way since it will remove the dust from the cut allowing you to see it better and be more precise. Adjustable fences or breaks can also help with making better, more precise cuts that you want to make. Inbuilt lights can help you work even when you don’t have a light handy, for example. There are many others, but you get the point.
Now that you know what’s important, here’s how our top products measure up:
In-Depth Reviews of 3 Miter Saws
Powerful Electric Motor
The motor inside this rather small unit has 15 amps of power at 120 volts. This is as powerful as the motors in some larger and more expensive units, and it allows it to cut through anything easily.
10-inch Diameter Blade
This miter saw uses a ten-inch blade that can’t quite perform the large cuts a twelve-inch blade can. However, it does offer a bit more precision than its larger counterparts.
Great Cutting Range
The range of this miter saw is 0 to 52 degrees for the miter angle, and it has a 0 to 45 bevel It is great for making all kinds of cuts, and you can control it well with a good solid grip. The clamp lever tends to malfunction though, so keep an eye on that.
Mostly Great Extra Features
The additional features on this saw work great, for the most part. The adjustable fence can be raised up to four inches for crown molding, and the positive miter stops allow you to adjust your cuts just the way you like them. The dust collector is a sore point here, and it just doesn’t work well.
Who Should Buy This Product
This is a great saw for people on a budget as well as beginners who are looking for a good starter miter saw. It offers some good specs, quality motor and a good saw that is large enough to cut plenty of materials. It’s also easy and comfortable to use, and you can take it anywhere due to its low weight.
What to Watch Out For
There are some design flaws with this saw, like the dust collector not working quite the way it’s supposed to or the clamp lever not loosening as it should. It’s also difficult to assemble out of the box, as it has a lot of parts and poor instructions. Incorrect assembly can lead to further problems when you start using it.
Overall, this is a great product for the price, offering some great cutting power and capacity while being easy to use for anyone, including beginners. The issue is that it’s not well-constructed, which probably led to it being so cheap. Still, for this price, it’s difficult to pass on something like this that is still a quality product despite a few flaws.
Quiet, Strong Motor
It features 15 amps of power which help the blade achieve around 4000 RPM. It’s also a rather quiet motor for its power and size, making it one of the best out there.
Well-made Saw Blade
This unit features a twelve-inch saw blade that is thin but sturdy and able to cut through almost anything with ease. The biggest problem with it is that it can come loose rather easily, leading to messy cuts at times and some safety issues as well.
The miter can move left and right, up to 50 degrees while the bevel range is 0 to 48 degrees to the left, and it can move to the right at 0, 33.9 and 45 degrees. It’s highly adjustable and can make almost any cut you would want.
Almost non-existent Extra Features
This saw should have the option of various attachable extras, like a laser and an LED light. The problem is that those attachments, all from DEWALT, don’t fit this model at all, and that isn’t indicated The dust collector that comes inbuilt is also almost useless. The sliding fence is good though, and it goes up to 5-1/2 inches.
Who Should Buy This Product
People looking for a greatly adjustable miter saw with a twelve-inch blade should look no further as this is their saw of choice. It also comes with a great-quality blade and a good motor while not costing too much. It’s a great package overall, and it’s hard to pass up.
What to Watch Out For
Possibly the largest issue with this miter saw is the fact that the blade can easily just slide out of the machine or come loose during work, leading to massive safety issues. There’s no easy fix to this, and it’s a shame. There’s also the issue of various attachments that the same company produces not being compatible with this saw – but that’s not indicated anywhere.
On the surface, this is a great miter saw for a decent price. It has a blade that’s well-made and cuts well, a strong motor that doesn’t make a lot of noise, and it’s quite adjustable. However, the saw blade can come loose, leading to some serious safety issues, making this saw hard to recommend.
The motor inside this unit has 15 amps of strength, in theory. In practice, it doesn’t quite show as the blade can only reach around 3800 RPM and it doesn’t have as much cutting power as you would expect. It also produces quite a lot of noise. However, it’s also quite large and heavy.
Large Blade and Cutting Capacity
The twelve-inch blade on this sliding miter saw offers great cutting capacity. Fourteen inches horizontal, six-and-a-half vertically and the same for the crown capacity at 45 degrees. Overall, it does the job more than adequately.
Incredible Adjustability for Great Cuts
The bevel can be adjusted from zero to 47 degrees to the left and right, and it features bevel detents for 0, 33.9 as well as 45 degrees on both sides. The gliding action also makes it even more adjustable, so you can make any cuts you want.
A Mixed Bag of Extra Features
It has some decent extra features, and the adjustable fence is good. However, it lacks things like a laser guide or an LED light that you would expect from a machine this expensive. The dust vacuum works fine, but it’s nothing exceptional.
Who Should Buy This Product
People looking for a real heavy-duty miter saw that can do almost anything you would require should check this one out, especially if they are not afraid to drop a large sum for such a machine. It has decent strength and great cutting capacity as well as almost unrivaled adjustability.
What to Watch Out For
It’s quite expensive, that’s for sure, far more than similar models. It’s also a bit underpowered for the price and lacks a lot of the extra features that you might expect. In addition to that, it is not portable at all, due to the fact that it weighs an incredible 88.2 pounds.
Overall, this is a great heavy-duty machine that can cut almost anything in any manner that you would want. The reason we say “almost anything” is because it’s slightly underpowered – something you don’t want, especially considering how much it costs. It also lacks some additional features that are standard for machines this expensive. It’s a hard sell at this price despite the evident quality on display.
The Best Pick – Hitachi C10FCE2
The three miter saws we presented here are all top-of-the-line and managed to survive our harsh testing process where they were pitted against dozens of other products. In the end, they came out on top, and all of them have something exceptional, making it difficult for us to pick one of them as the best. However, after some consideration the choice was clear – it’s the Hitachi C10FCE2. This miter saw is just the best value for the money that you could get; it has great performance and usability while costing next to nothing. It’s also comparable to similar models in quality, with only a few downsides that can be easily tolerated. It gives you the best bang for your buck, and that makes it our best pick.
That’s our best pick overall, and we have no doubt that we picked right. However, while we have come to our conclusion through a lot of work and careful testing, this doesn’t mean the product we picked is the absolute best for sure. The other products we included here are picked for a reason, and they are also quite good. You shouldn’t just blindly follow our advice – carefully consider everything we presented, with healthy skepticism and then pick the best product for you. Our only goal was to help you do that, and we hope we succeeded. If we did, share this article with your friends, family and anyone else who might need the same kind of help. Until next time, have a good day!