Updated: June 8, 2015

Miter Saw Reviews:

Miter saws are handy tools to have in any workshop and they come in 3 different models. The traditional miter saw has the motor mounted on a swing arm that pivots right or left to make angled cuts. The compound miter saws motor also swings left or right and they tilt for beveled cuts. When you tilt the saw on both of its axes at once, you get a compound miter cut. Projects that require angled cuts in two planes (like picture frames or crown molding) are perfect for compound miter saws. A compound miter saw is more expensive than a traditional miter saw, but the added convenience of one pass compound cuts is worth the money. Lastly, a sliding compound miter saw gives you the versatility of a compound miter saw with a sliding feature (like a radial arm saw). The sliding feature allows for increased length of cut (crosscuts more than 11"). Added features on a miter saw can sure make life easier and we have gone over them below.

Choosing a Miter Saw - Blade size is important when choosing a miter saw. The basic sizes are 8", 10", and 12" - the larger diameter miter saw blades can make longer cuts. Positive stops refer to factory set points which permit accurate cuts on specific angles. Hence, the more positive stops, the less time to setup the saw and the quicker the job will get done. Self retracting blade guards are a big safety feature to look for - they keep the guard clear of the stock giving you a good view of the cutting line. While the saw is raised the guard covers the blade completely. Electric brakes help stop the saw motor when the trigger is released. Some electric brakes will stop a blade in about 2 seconds (can take up to 12 seconds on saws without this feature). Shaft locks immobilize the blade and shaft making blade changes easy. Dust bags collect sawdust and mount right to the saw. Table extensions mount on the sides of the saw and give longer stock better balance which equates to more accurate cuts. Sliding fences add support to tall stock on basic miter cuts but slide out of the way for bevel cuts. Portable stands create a sturdy base and improve safety. Common blade types are the steel blades (cheap and good for softwood cuts - dull faster in hardwood), high speed steel blades (harder than steel blades) remain sharper longer, carbide tipped blades - expensive, but stay sharpest the longest of all blades. Top brands include Ridgid, DeWalt, Hitachi, Craftsman, Makita, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Delta, and Bosch. You can find them in stores like Sears, Home Depot, and Lowes. Online, stores like Amazon.com carry large inventories of all the top makers. We found several miter saw reviews online, most specifically the owner reviews posted on Amazon.com. We also read the latest Consumer Reports article where they tested over 12 miter saws for accuracy, speed, ease of use, edge finish and for features like laser guide and extensions. Consumersearch.com does a good job of highlighting the best miter saws on their site. There was also an excellent review done a few years back by Wood Magazine on 7 of the top rated 12" sliding compound miter saws which pitted them in a head to head competition. They were rated on things like fences, tables, controls, adjustments, size, portability, left/right bevel, and blades. The miter saws were put through power tests, cut accuracy, and ease of use. The models tested were the Makita LS1212, Bosch 4412, DeWalt DW708, Ridgid MS1290, Hitachi C12FSA, Craftsman 21292, and the General International 50-700. Not all of these models still exist, but some have been improved and renamed with new model #'s. Popular Mechanics did some reviews as well that are posted on their website, and again the models are older versions of current ones, but you can learn a lot from these type of articles on what to look for when buying a miter saw. Amazon has perhaps the largest selection we could find online with Compound Miter Saws and Sliding Miter Saws.

Best Compound Miter Saw:

After reviewing woodworking sites and reading what owners and experts had to say on miter saws, we have compiled a list of the best miter saws on the market. You can find out more details with owner opinions on all these saws at Amazon.com. Consumers recommended the Bosch 5312 12-Inch Dual Bevel Slide Miter Saw with Laser Tracking - Bosch has an excellent name in the saw business and this new miter saw has Arbor Laser Tracking for increased speed and accuracy and the upfront bevel lock level makes bevel cuts effortless. Experts agree with consumers and go on to say the 5312 offers a wide miter range at 52 degrees left and right. The 3 horsepower motor delivers 15 amps of power at 3800 RPMs. The carbon tipped blade lasts a long time and the heavy cast iron base makes for a solid miter saw. Go to Amazon.com and see all the Bosch Miter Saws.

10" Miter Saw:

The DeWalt DW703 10-Inch Compound Miter saw ($230) is lightweight and sturdier than the Hitachi (C10FCE2) 10-inch saw, but most owners say the dust collection could be better. Other reviews noted that the speed on the DeWalt is second to none and it's fairly easy to use. The DeWalt is not the cheapest miter saw on the market, but certainly it's hard to get a better "value" than with the DW703. It does lack a laser guide, so if that is important to you, go with the Ridgid MS1065LZ. Craftsman makes miter saws but we had a hard time finding reviews for them. Another top pick amongst experts and consumers is the Makita LS1013 Dual Slide Compound 10-Inch Miter Saw Kit($540). There is a more updated model available now called the Makita LS1013FL. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive for both models, so be sure to check them out the top rated 10 Inch Miter Saw at Amazon.

Top Rated 12-Inch Miter Saw:

The next size up from the 10" miter saws are the 12 inch models. The Bosch 4212 12-Inch Dual Bevel Compound Miter saw with Laser Tracking ($340) is considered an award winning miter saw with incredible features. The model comes with laser tracking, 52 degrees left/right on the miter range, and a 15 amp 3 HP motor. Users say the saw is sturdy, powerful, easy to use, and works just as well for those right or left handed. Another top pick is the DeWalt DW715 Heavy-Duty 15-Amp 12-Inch Compound Miter saw which sells for less than $300. The DW715 from DeWalt features 11 positive miter stops, a 15 amp motor, and very accurate cuts right out of the box. Consumers are very happy with the performance and the 3 year warranty offered on this model. You can find all the 12 Inch Miter Saws on Amazon.com with reviews so you can make the best choice.

Sliding Miter Saw:

When it comes to sliding compound miter saws, there are 2 products that get top billing in reviews and are the most popular products in their category on Amazon.com. The Bosch 4310 15-Amp 10-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw ($500) is given high marks by consumers and experts agree on woodworking sites. Almost all reviews we read for the 4310 model from Bosch mention that the miter saw "meets or exceeds" their expectations. It has a wide miter range of 52 degrees right and left and the 15 amp, 3 HP motor will provide enough power at 4800 rpm. The other top selling sliding compoung miter saw is the Hitachi C10FSH 10-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser which is priced below the Bosch and is close to $425. The Hitachi C10FSH is very accurate and gives a nice edge finish. The new laser cut guide gives you improved accuracy on cuts, a high flip fence design for extra support, and a frontal bevel scale makes reading angles easy. We also like the 5 year warranty that Hitachi gives on this saw, which is way more than almost any other manufacturer. It's nice to see a company stand behind their saws.