Is the miter saw something that I really need when setting up my home workshop? I keep hearing this question very often from many people, and my answer is yes. The miter saw should be the number one tool for any workshop.
As a homeowner who’s going to be doing lots of home improvement and repair projects, it’s really handy to have a miter saw. Miter saw is often used in rough construction for say cutting posts or pieces for a fence or lattice. Operating the miter saw is a very easy job, you just have to follow the manual instruction. The possibilities for using this tool are limitless. This sounds crazy but if you are an artistic person, there is no limit for you when you buy a good miter saw. A good one?
How to choose the tool which will work best for you? Well, it depends on many factors: what are you planning to do, how much money you are ready to pay, and the most important for miter saw is how much space you have in your workshop?
Here’s the deal: We will help you to make the right choice.
After a lot of research and reading so many reviews and articles, I made a list of the tools which I think will work the best for most of the tasks.
Let’s talk about the benefits of miter saw:
The miter saws are popular for their easy operating properties. Even if you never used it before, you will be able to make your perfect cuts.
You don’t have to be professional to make a small tree or pet house. You can also make cabinets for kitchen or living room.
All you have to do is to follow the instructions, do a couple of tries and you are ready!
It saves your time, gives you accuracy and precision and of course perfect cuts.
The different variations of miter saws
There are different types of miter saws. You might be wondering which one to choose!
You can choose between:
Standard miter saw
Designed for making straight cross-cuts at a wide range of angles, mostly using for 45° straight cuts for framing.
The benefit of this type is the ability of rotation the blade at a variety of angles, the possibility of cutting angles other than 90°. They are the perfect choice for complex cuts. This type is mostly used for homes. Another name for this type is a single compound miter saw – this means that only one head rotates.
Dual compound-miter saw
This type allows the head to rotate, on left or right-hand sides. People mostly use them for decorative work.
Sliding compound miter saw
It gives the opportunity to move the saw head back and forth on a sliding rail. It also allows the locking of the rails to use for straight, pull down cuts.
Laser LED sliding dual compound miter saw
They are using a laser for more precise cuts. Some of them come with LED feature to illuminate the work area.
Now, as I have already mentioned above, the best type for homework is a compound miter saw.
Here are our suggestions.
Makita LS1040 10″
The machine has nine positive stops and large cutting capacity.
This model features a carbide blade tip that slices through wood or other materials easily and with precision.
- Powerful 15.0 AMP motor
- Bevel cuts up to 45°
- Miter cuts 0°-45° to left and 0°-52° to right
- Best in Class for a Range of Applications
Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10″
This is single bevel miter saw. More about single bevel saw find out continuing reading.
It has a miter angle range 0-52 degree to the right and left which increases flexibility. Also has a laser which is an excellent advantage, and you can switch it on or off. The design is good and it works great for framing materials, lumber and hardwood!
It is easy to transport it from job to job because it really lightweight. It has a powerful motor.
This saw is the best choice if you are moving from site to site.
- 15 Amp motor which delivers high power for tough cutting jobs.
- Large table for better material support
- Vice clamping system to secure work piece
- Miter ranges – left 52, right 52
DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch
This is a single-bevel compound miter saw. It will completely satisfy your needs. It is featured with an adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate with 11 positive stops which improves productivity and ensures cutting.
Cam miter lock will provide repeatable accuracy and durability with easy adjustments.
It is featured with tall sliding fences support 6-1/2″ of base molding vertically and 5-1/4″ of crown molding vertically nested.
With a lightweight design and built-in carry handle this tool is very portable.
- 0°-50° left and right miter capacity for greater versatility.
- Lightweight with built-in carry handle for easy portability.
- Blade Diameter 12″
- Smart and powerful design for quick and accurate cuts
- Thin and sharp saw
- Carbide blade, dust bag, blade wrench is included
Hitachi C10FCH2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw with Laser Marker
This is also a single bevel compound miter saw. This saw provides smooth, accurate miters and crosscuts in a variety of workpieces. You can cut many different materials including wood, plywood, decorative panels, soft fiberboard, hardboard, and aluminum.
It has flexible miters which provide versatility on the job. If you are looking for precision and reliability, this is the perfect saw for you.
It is the lightest and the most compound saw in its class.
- 0-52-degree miter angle range, to the right and left for increased flexibility
- 0-45-degree bevel range, to the left with adjustable bevel stops for precision cuts
- Horizontal handle with soft grip will give you comfort and control
- It has large extended flip fence
- Large table, provides better material support
- It has a laser marker
SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch
This is quick mount compound miter saw with laser. It is very solid tool with 9 positive stops for setting common miter angles. This saw is one with the best price, but not so heavy duty like the ones we mentioned above. Laser is very helpful, and the size is perfect for small workshops.
Table extension with left and right extension rails are perfect for long, large workpieces.
It has a dust bag which helps you to keep work area clean and integrated carrying handles for easy transport.
- Laser Cutline Guide for fast and accurate cuts
- 9 Positive stops for setting common miter angles
- 15 Amp Motor with 4,500 RPM
- Table extension with left/right extension rails for long, large work pieces
What Size Miter Saw do I Need?
When we talk about the size of the miter saw you can choose between 10-12 inch. Now, the size that you will choose depends on your needs. But if you don’t mostly need 12 inches, our suggestion will be to buy 10 inches.
You will find different options in stores for 10-inch. They cost less and the smaller number of teeth means that it is less expensive to sharp. Our suggestion will be Makita LS1040 10″.
The 12 inch is better for thicker material. They are better for longer cuts. They have a higher speed which means cleaner and sharper cuts. We really liked DEWALT DW715.
Laser or not?
If you want accurate cuts, the laser is a good idea. The laser essentially shows on the material where the blade will hit.
This way you will know precisely where the blade will cut before contact is made. In this way, you will avoid possible error and is a safer way to use the tool.
The laser is good for indoor work, but outside it will be hard to see it.
The difference between a single and double compound miter saw
When you find out that you can do bevel cuts as well as miter cuts you will know that you are going to start looking for a compound miter saw.
Now get this: You are in trouble again. You can choose between two types; single and double compound miter saw.
For bevel cuts on both sides of the material, you will have to physically flip over the workpiece but you have to be very careful to get the angles correct.
This saw is a cheaper solution and is capable of doing the same jobs as a dual bevel, but with more work and a bit more time to do the job.
Single bevel saw will, for the money you pay, do just perfect on your projects.
On the other hand, a double or dual compound miter saw can cut on both sides. This type will make it easy for you to make matching multiple cuts. This will help you to do your cuts faster than with a single saw.
Do You Need a Sliding Miter Saw?
Well, if you want to cut wider boards than a sliding miter saw is a better choice for you.
On the other hand, if you know you’re going to use the saw 99% of the time to cut 45-degree miters in molding or picture frames, you’ll be just fine going with an inexpensive, non-sliding 10” saw.
One other thing that is also important to know before purchasing is portability.
Sliding Miter saws are bigger and heavier than non-sliding saws. But if you have enough space at your workshop and you don’t have to move it all the time than you don’t have a problem.
Our top choice for sliding miter saw is DeWalt DWS780 12” dual bevel compound sliding miter saw, and if you will rather go with non-sliding our top choice is Hitachi C10FCE2 10” single bevel compound miter saw.
What’s the bottom line? If you don’t cut wide boards you don’t need a sliding saw.
Another Features Worth Looking For
Laser guard system
This is not necessary to have but it is certainly a benefit. With laser installed you can have more accurate cuts.
Dust collecting system
This is something that is really important so before purchasing check what type of dust collecting system it has.
Type of motor
Of course, power is the most important for your job. Miter saws usually have between 10 and 15 amps of power. If you will be using your saw often you will definitely want to buy the most powerful option for your need.
You will also want to check the maximum RPMs the motor will provide. This provides smooth cuts and direct drive motors tend to last longer and provide more power than belt driven motors.
Most miter saws come with a standard/all-purposes blade. But we always advise buying another additional higher quality blade.
Blades are marked with their number of teeth, kerf and hook angle. Check out some of the available blades below.
Safety is our priority! This tool might be dangerous to use, that’s why we suggest taking care of safety features like electric brakes and fence guards. Never use your saw without a blade guard!
Before every cut, make an imaginary cut, so you can be sure that you are cutting at the right place and to see where to put your hands in order to avoid injuries. It will be good to use a clamp, to hold the board while you are cutting.
A blade guard that’s easy to see through
Table saws come with blade guards and it would be highly irresponsible to advise you not to use them so if you have a blade guard-use it!
The good thing is that there are many machines that have blade guard easy to see through, and we advise you to choose that.
It will help you to accommodate any blade angle.
Intuitive controls without gimmicks
You should come to a saw and figure out how to use it without having to study the manual. The single-bevel saws are definitely easy to use. But if you decided to buy dual-bevel saws, Hitachi and DeWalt stand out as the most intuitive.
Easy blade changing
Most of the miter saws have an easy process of blade changing. More about this you can find HERE.
How we tested them
We did different cuts on different materials, thickness, and size. We were testing the setup and the quality of cuts. This is how we ranked the saws, but I must say that choices were not easy.
We definitely don’t recommend single-tilt saws as a primary trim saw for doing top-quality work.
Spending some more money on the quality blade will be an excellent decision for your workshop.
The more expensive dual-tilt saws are fully recommended. They are all capable of top-quality cuts and deserve consideration from even the fussiest carpenter.
If it is time to do some work at your house, this tool is a must-have. Trust us! You won`t regret it. Enjoy in choosing the best miter saw for your home workshop.