There is an old saying when it comes to construction or carpentry work, a craftsman is only as good as his tools. That saying applies more towards some tools than others, including the miter saw. This saw is probably one of the most important tools in your inventory. With the ability to make precision cuts at complex angles, a it can be the difference between a completed project that appears to have been done by a professional craftsman and a completed project that appears to have been done by your five-year-old niece.
However, with many different makes and models available on the market, which is the best one for you? This buyer’s guide will help you make that decision by breaking everything down and reviewing each model. We will discuss the seven top rated models on the market which will give you an idea of what to look for when shopping around.
I have put together a comparison chart of of the top seven different models currently on the market. I have organized a chart below that makes it easy to read and easy to find all of the crucial information about each model. I am hoping that this makes it easier for you to make your buying decision.
|Miter Saw||Blade Size||Motor||Price||Rating||Review|
|Miter Saw||Blade Size||Motor||Price||Rating||Review|
|DEWALT DW715||12 Inches||15 Amp||$$$||4.7||Read the Full DW715 Review Here|
|DEWALT DWS780||12 Inches||15 Amp||$$$$||4.5||Read the Full DWS780 Review Here|
|Hitachi C10FCE2||10 Inches||15 Amp||$$||4.4||Read the Full Hitachi C10FCE2 Review Here|
|DEWALT DW717||10 Inches||15 Amp||$$$||4.5||Read the Full DW717 Review Here|
|DEWALT DW716||12 Inches||15 Amp||$$$||4.5||Read the Full DW716 Review Here|
|Hitachi C12RSH||12 Inches||15 Amp||$$$||4.4||Read the Full Hitachi C12RSH Review Here|
|Bosch 4310||10 inches||15 Amp||$$$||4.5||Read the Full Bosch 4310 Review Here|
What is a Miter Saw Used For?
While it can be used for cutting just about anything, it is traditionally used for making angled cuts in trim work and molding. Its ability to cut complex angles repeatedly with little effort needed for adjustments makes it perfect for that type of cutting.
However, mitre saws are popular with nearly every type of carpenter and is a must have power saw if you want to be a complete wood worker.
How Does a It Work?
It is the combination of two tools; a miter box and a radial arm saw. Precise bevel angles are made easier by having a saw head that sits on an arm that can tilt to the left or right, depending on the model you have. The base plate can be rotated to the left or right allowing for miter cuts without having to guess or constantly measure.
When you combine the two, you can make complex angled cuts without guessing and save on stock by having less waste from botched attempts. Most models have detents that are set at common angles to make it easier for you to find and to ensure precise cuts for that setting. However, uncommon angles are still possible by using a detent override which most models are equipped with.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw Vs. Normal
A sliding compound miter saw is the same thing as a normal model except that the head of the saw rest on a set of rails and can slide back and forth. This feature enables it to be able to cut wider stock than a traditional one. The base is designed so that angled cuts can still be made.
When cutting angles without a miter saw, you more than likely will use a miter box. While they are convenient for traditional angles, most miter boxes are useless when making cuts at uncommon angles. Not only does it help eliminate guess work when making complex cuts, but it is considered a must have tool by professional cabinet makers and trim carpenters.
Another advantage is its diversity and mobility. They can be equipped with various types of circular blades and attachments making it adaptable to not only trim work, but also masonry, tile, and plumbing materials.
Considerations When Buying
When you go to purchase your miter saw, there are a few considerations you need to think about before you buy.
Weight – If your saw is going to be stationary then weight will not be too much of a concern. However, if you’re intending on using it for on-site cutting work, then you need to consider the weight of the tool. Some models are designed for just that purpose and are compact, light weight and portable.
Adaptability – Most models have attachments that increase their uses but some are limited. If you’re planning on completing different types of projects with your miter saw, ensure you check to see the attachment you may need either comes with the saw or can be purchased separately.
Warranty – While most models on the market are soundly built and durable, the occasional accident happens in which either your saw will cease to function or something gets broken. Check to ensure your new saw comes with a warranty and what it will cover.
Price – For many, one of the biggest considerations they will face is price. They range in price from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Make sure you spend according to your budget and your projects. If you are only going to use your saw rarely, you probably don’t need to buy $900.00 setup to build a bird house for your child’s woodshop project. However, if you’re a professional craftsman and will utilize your saw on a regular basis, then maybe the higher priced one is exactly what you need.
The 7 Best Miter Saws
Now for the top seven models currently available on the market. While there numerous models and brands to choose from, this list is composed of top rated models from various sources.
You will notice that some manufactures are listed more than once. That’s because that manufacture has multiple models that made the list. Read the reviews below and find the right one for you!
The DeWalt DW715 12-inch compound model is one of the best-selling saws in its class. Hosting a 15 amp motor that delivers 4,000 rpms, the DW715 can eat its way through the toughest materials while still leaving a clean, precise cut. The stainless steel and adjustable miter detent plate offers 11 positive stop positions; not only assuring accuracy but also increasing productivity.
The equipped sliding fence is able to handle up to 5-1/4-inch crown molding seated at its intended angle, or nested, and base molding up to 6-1/2-inches. Bevel cuts can be made from 0 to 48 degrees to the left or 0 to 3 degrees on the right for increased functionality. Additionally, the DW715 can make cuts from 0 to 50 degrees left or right which increases its versatility.
If you need to add more punch, the DW715 may be just what you are looking for with all of the available attachments. You can add a laser guide to eliminate all guessing from you cuts before even approaching the material. Or perhaps an extension for longer material stock.
DeWalt makes the list again with its DWS780. In addition to many of the features found on the DW715, the DWS780 also boast the XPS cross-cut alignment system that has an ultra-bright LED that casts a shadow on the work surface so the operator will know exactly where the blade will come into contact with the material. The XPS system requires no recalibration after blade changes and extended use.
With cutting capacities of 6-3/4-inches vertically, 1-1/2-inches nested, and nearly 14-inches horizontally, the DWS780 is big enough to handle any cutting job you throw at it.
And even though it’s large, it only weighs 56 pounds, making it an ideal option for projects that require mobility and precision.
The Hitachi C10FCE2 ranks third on our list. It possesses a smaller blade than the leading DeWalt DW715 but do not let the smaller diameter of teeth on this cutting monster fool you. Constructed with a 15 amp motor, this dynamo cuts through material at 5,000 rpms; a 1,000 rpms more than the DW715.
Designed for versatility and convenient use, positive stops are easily found with the thumb-actuated control. Able to make miter cuts from 0 to 52 degrees and bevel cuts up to 45 degrees to the left, the C10FCE2 makes easy work of compound cuts.
I suggest that if this is your first time using a miter saw, make sure you check out this user-friendly model. The elastomer covered handle is designed for both comfort and positive control. With the large table that host a sturdy support and stable guide, your work space will be solid and dependable.
The C10FCE2 is also equipped with a dust collector to help minimize mess and reduce the buildup of dust particles on the saws interior components and your work area. Additionally, at just over 26 pounds, this model is one of the lightest models on the market which makes it very portable.
The DW717 is equipped with nearly every feature you could want on a model. Powered by a 15-amp motor that generated 4,000 rpms, it can handle the toughest material you can through at it.
The sawhead, which holds a 10-inch blade, slides on dual horizontal steel rails and linear ball bearings and can make miter cuts that range from 0 to 60 degrees to the left and 0 to 52 degrees to the right. Bevel cuts can be achieved at 0 to 48 degrees to the left and right.
The equipped fence can support up to 6-1/4-inch nested crown molding vertically and 6-inch base molding. The miter detent plate has 11 positive stops and a detent override for less common cuts while the adjustable cam-lock miter handle prevents slipping.
DeWalt once again makes the listed with its DW716 double-bevel compound model. Equipped with a 12-inch blade and a 15-amp motor, the DW716 is just as the other models list previously.
Even though it is not equipped with the sliding system like DWS780, it does feature a built-in carrying handle to allow for easy mobility. Combined that with a total weight of only 44 pounds, the DW716 is perfect for on-site construction jobs. And even though it is not a sliding model, its large size can handle material up to eight inches wide.
Bevel cuts can range from 0 to 48 degrees to the left and right with detent stops at 0, 33.9, 45, and 48 degrees. Miter cuts can range from 0 to 50 degrees to the left and right as well.
The cam-lock miter handle features a detent override for less common angles that will not slip while making your cuts.
Hitachi’s second entry is the C12RSH. This 12-inch sliding dual compound miter saw features a 15-amp motor that generates nearly 4,000 rpm’s. Also equipped on this model is the laser marking system that ensures the user of precise cuts without the guess work.
The equipped pivoting fence can raise to just under five inches to provide stability when making vertical cuts on crown molding and other large pieces.
One of the main features about the C12RSH is its compact slide system. Hitachi’s fixed rail system eliminates the need for rear clearance like most other models require.
The saw head glides on twin rails that are stationary and do not protrude out of the back of the saw. This compact design still allows for a miter scale of 0 to 46 degrees to the left and 0 to 57 degree cuts to the right.
The final model on our list is the Bosch 4310. This has just about every possible attachment and function you can ever want. Powered by a 15-amp, 3-horsepowered motor, the 4310 can handle tough material while leaving a clean and precise cut.
Equipped with a sliding extension that can reach up to just over 37 inches and a tool-free clamp, larger stock can be handled much more easily.
The 4310 also features an upfront lock level, a range selector knob, and a duel bevel slide allowing for easy access and handling of wider material. In fact, this particular model can cut material up to 12-inches wide at its zero setting and up to 8-1/2-inches wide at the 45 degree miter setting.
I hope this guide helped to shed some light on not only what a miter saw is and how it works, but also helped to point out some of the more popular models to choose from.
With the right saw and a little practice, you can give all of your projects a professional appearance. If you want the absolute best cutting experience then make sure to check out the miter saw stands.
I would suggest checking out our reciprocating saw reviews where we breakdown all of the models and help you find the best one for you.