If you tackle a lot of carpentry or woodworking projects, a miter saw is a worthwhile investment. These power saws provide perfect crosscuts—cutting straight across the wood’s grain—but where they really shine is with miter or bevel cuts.
A miter cut slices across the width of your board at an angle, creating something like an off-centered point. This is useful for projects such as building picture frames. The sawblade is at a straight 90-degree angle to the board during these cuts. By contrast, the sawblade is at an angle for a beveled cut, which leaves an angled “undercut” edge across the end of the board. Both types of cuts are frequently used when cutting baseboards, crown molding, cabinets, furniture, or decorative trim.
As with many power tools, there are both corded and cordless models of miter saws, but by far the most popular are corded tools with a 10-amp, 12-amp, or 15-amp motor. If you expect to use your saw to cut through thick pieces of wood, or for extended cutting sessions, you’ll be happiest with a 15-amp motor. Likewise, a 12-inch blade is the best choice to tackle large boards, but if you use your saw mostly for detail work, a 10-inch blade will be sufficient.
Your specific needs determine the right miter saw for you, as there are quite a few different types, so we did the research and assembled this list of the best miter saws for various purposes. Here are our favorites.
How Miter Saw Works
Using an electrical motor, a miter saw allows you to cut wood at precise angles. The motor spins a circular blade at a few thousand revolutions per minute to make the cut. The blade connects to an arm and handle that extend vertically above the base of the saw. The wood sits on the base of the saw.
You pull the handle downward while the blade is spinning to cut through the wood. Miter saws will make 90° cuts that are perpendicular to the wood’s face. You can also make cuts at varying angles to the wood’s face (30°, 45°, and so on) with a miter saw.
Miter Saw Types
Your first consideration when looking for the best miter saw will be the type of saw design, which can be:
- Standard Miter Saws – These were the first miter saws to flood the power tool market in the early 1970s. A standard design locks at a predetermined angle to make straight crosscuts. Most of today’s models can angle to the left or right of the saw blade, but there are some designs that you can only adjust on one side of the cut line.
- Compound Miter Saw – An added feature to the standard design is the ability to tilt the circular saw blade. The tilt allows you to make a beveled cut on the edge of your board. Combining a miter cut and a beveled edge makes a compound cut that is more difficult and time-consuming to cut without a compound miter saw.
- Dual Compound Miter Saw – This is the same design as a standard compound miter saw, except that it allows you to tilt the blade in two directions instead of just one. That will allow you to make bevel cuts in both directions, saving you time as you won’t need to continuously flip the wood over.
- Sliding Compound Miter Saws – In recent years, this design has become the favorite of miter saw users. It uses an arm that provides extra reach beyond the width of the circular saw blade. That allows you to cut wide pieces of timber in one pass that a non-sliding miter saw can not.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Miter Saws
When considering a miter saw for your work, you must consider the various factors that will help in getting the work done as soon as possible. Below we discuss some of the features that are vital and must be looked out for when selecting a miter saw for your construction and woodworking activities. these are features that will help prevent wastage of resources and will make you happy with your final decision.
- Blade size: The most common circular blades in miter saws measure 8, 10, or 12 inches in diameter. A larger blade cuts thicker and wider pieces of wood than a smaller blade.
- Motor power: Electrical motor power is measured in amps. In a miter saw, a higher amperage equals more cutting power. Many miter saws use 15 amps.
- Blade speed: Look at a miter saw’s revolutions per minute (RPMs) to determine its speed. Miter saws typically offer between 2,500 and 5,500 RPMs. A fast-spinning blade cuts through tougher and harder wood better than a slow-spinning blade. Fast-spinning blades also tend to stay sharp for longer periods of time than slow-spinning blades.
- Weight: Miter saws may weigh anywhere from 25 to 65 pounds. If you want portability, pick a lightweight model. However, you should be aware that lighter miter saws tend to offer less power than heavier miter saws.
Our Top Picks:
There’s a reason why you’ll find DEWALT tools in the hands of many professionals. Truthfully, there are quite a few reasons, and the DWS779 12-inch sliding compound miter saw displays all of them. This is a beast of a saw that’s capable of everything you can imagine and quite a few things you’ve never thought of. For instance, it can cut through lumber that’s up to 6.75 inches thick. Just as impressive; it can cut through a 16-inch wide piece of lumber thanks to the sliding rails and large 12-inch blade. Add the powerful 15-amp motor into the equation and it’s easy to see why this saw tops our list.
Most miter saws these days can bevel to at least one side. The DWS779 can bevel to both sides beyond 45 degrees. The fence will even slide out of the way to allow the blade plenty of room. While most saws feature some sort of dust containment system, the DEWALT version on this saw actually works and prevented us from having sawdust in our faces or much mess to clean up. The catch is that this is a heavy and expensive saw, but we think it’s well worth the tradeoff.
Tools are one thing that a lot of us can justify spending top dollar on to get a premium device that will safely perform for many years without issue. For those individuals, the GCM12SD 12-inch miter saw from Bosch Power Tools is the Rolls-Royce of miter saws. It’s packed with every feature and extra that you can imagine, but it comes with a premium price tag. This saw is also a heavyweight beast, tipping the scales at 88 pounds. But it’s got the punch of a heavyweight too, with a three-horsepower, 15-amp motor sending nearly-unlimited power to the blade.
While this is a powerful monster of a miter saw, that’s not all that you’re paying for. You also get some great extra features that add up to a top-notch machine. On the back of the saw is a port where you can attach a vacuum to clean up the dust as you cut, eliminating any mess. The table is large to provide support, but it goes a step further with extendable support arms to give you 40 total inches of support. That all sounds nice, but this is a well-built and sturdy machine that you need to use to appreciate.
Metabo HPT is the new name for the well-known tool brand, Hitachi. They’ve been making quality tools for a long time, and their new name and lineup have brought high performance to a more affordable price point. The C12FDHS is a 12-inch saw packed with all the standard features for a reasonable price. It’s got a 15-amp motor that packs 1,950 watts of power spinning the blade. It doesn’t slide, but you can still cut through anything 2×8 and smaller. For trim work and finer carpentry, the blade bevels to both sides. The inside pieces of the fence flip out of the way to allow room so the blade doesn’t hit them when it’s beveled.
Like many saws, the C12FDHS has a laser guide system to help you see where the blade will cut. But also like many saws, the laser was inaccurate, dim, and not very useful overall. Coming in under 60 pounds, this saw was much easier to move than some of the other 12-inch miter saws we were comparing it against. However, the shorter reach means it can’t cut the same size lumber, which is why this saw just missed our top three.
Make way for the Hitachi Miter Saw, the greatest unit ever made and the best miter saw for carpenters all around the world. This is a world class tool developed by its manufacturers as a single bevel compound saw. It features a 15-amp motor that makes all tough cutting jobs easy and quick. For increased flexibility, this miter saw makes use of a 0-52 degree miter angle range to both the left and right. The motor it employs also makes use of a 2.57 horsepower, making it one of the fastest operating saws on the market. Every cut created is very accurate and exceptionally clean, thanks to this product’s 0-45-degree bevel range design. There is also the possibility of quick miter adjustments which is offered by the thumb actuated positive stops included in the design of this unit.
The Hitachi Miter Saw is very easy to move from one place to the other and is also extremely maneuverable mainly because of its lightweight. There is an additional accessory, known as the dust collector which is attached to the unit to ultimately reduce the release of airborne particles which can affect the operator’s health. To secure your workpiece while you cut, place it on this products extra-large table and attach it to the Hitachi saw’s vice clamping system. This is a magnificent compound miter saw produced to make all your cutting jobs a walk in the park.
Our next favorite product is the Makita Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw. Much like its competitors on the market, the Makita saw is a powerful machine made to operate longer and require lesser maintenance checks. This product uses a 13-amp motor with a direct drive characteristic which aids in its delivery of 4,300 RPM. This is a saw that seeks to make all your cutting activities swift and very accurate thus, it features a linear ball bearing system that enhances its accuracy while it cuts at precise 990 and 45-degree angles. For easy adjustment and accessibility, you can make use of the Makita saw and its rear handle bevel lock that comes with positive stops at 0 and 45 degrees on the left and right respectively.
The Makita sliding compound miter saw comes with other accessories, some of which include a wrench, vise, dust bag, blade, triangular rule and extension wings. It has a large cutting capacity and is ready for operation as soon as it comes out of its packaging. It is similar to every slide compound saw, with its major defining feature being how lightweight it is. this lightness also makes it simple to store, since it will not demand a lot of space in your garage or workshop. It is well suited for all your carpentry, woodworking and general construction needs.
Our team of experts came across the Delta Dual Bevel Cruzer Miter Saw and they never looked back. the perfect power tool for all your cutting and construction needs, this is one superb saw made for the industry. This 12-inch Cruzer features a 12-inch blade designed with a versatile flip-down fence feature, making it industry-friendly. the controls of this chop saw are located at the frontage and have been positioned to allow for one-hand operation.
This saw from Delta is also known to feature a patented, cutting-edge load arm that allows for cross cutting of up to 18 inches, without any issues. According to the many miter saw reviews we came across, this is the widest cross cut capacity to ever exist on the market. Move this saw around with ease and enjoy more space within your garage or workshop, as this unit’s compact design makes it easy to fit against the wall with no extra space needed.
It was very hard not to give the Makita XSL08PT the #1 overall spot in our best miter saw reviews article, even over corded models. Price allows the dated Bosch Glide Miter to barely edge it out.
There’s so much to like about this saw, it’s hard to know where to start. For starters, it doesn’t feel like you’re cutting with a cordless miter saw. There’s simply no compromise in power and the direct-drive motor is incredibly confident cutting through all of our test materials.
We found absolutely no blade wobble while cutting. You simply get perfectly consistent cuts on trim, base, and crown every time. It also cuts 5-1/4″ speed base upright at 45 degrees in either direction and miters left and right to 60 degrees.
Finally, you get a ton of convenience features—like front bevel adjustments and a rail design that lets you put this saw right up against a wall. Run-time surprised us as well. We cut an entire day’s worth of crown and base off a single pair of 5Ah batteries!
This Metabo HPT C3610DRA MultiVolt 10-inch miter saw impressed us to no end. The fact that it runs off dual-power (36-volt battery or AC adapter) alone makes for a good selling point. You get integrated “wings” off the table for extended support. The fence measured square out of the box and you get excellent crosscut depth.
All of the slide, bevel, and miter adjustments work smoothly. While the integrated laser had some issues adjusting and staying true to our cut line, we have high praise for this miter saw. The 10-inch blade makes the Metabo C3610DRA quite compact at 45.5 pounds.
We loved plugging it in at the shop and then using the 36V battery pack for the job site. Just keep in mind that the 10-inch saw makes this best-suited for 3-1/2 base and smaller.
The 561287 10-inch sliding miter saw by Festool provides a rail forward design. This particular design features a compact footprint while offering an accurate cut that prevents head play.
Accuracy is offered during the cutting process, as the dual laser features highlight the material that needs to be removed. The bevel angle is also micro-adjustable and features an up-front rotary knob. This features the capability to align all cutting from the left and the right easily.
These single bevel angles can be set precisely with ease due to the fine points and significant bevel scale features.
This Craftsman’s fold-flat design is attractive both for storage and transport. You can carry it with one hand as you move up stairs or through a doorway. You don’t even need tools to fold it up. Also, a separate plastic storage base keeps the CMXEMAR120 standing up in its packed-down state, taking up far less space on a shelf than other saws. As for cutting, its motor shape and location provide enough clearance that you can buzz through three sizes of crown molding standing against its fence.
If we have one small complaint with the saw, it’s that its handle geometry isn’t particularly comfortable. Our hands were fatigued after repeat cuts.
What Size to Buy
Most sliding miter saws come in either 10 or 12-inch sizes. If you don’t need a large 12 inch miter saw then you might as well save money. Go with a smaller 10 inch miter saw blade.
- 10-Inch Miter Saw: You’ll encounter a wider assortment of 10-inch blades than any other size. The 10-inch miter saw is less costly and cheaper to sharpen. The small radius lets the blade spin faster. This uses fewer amps and will save on your energy bill.
- 12-Inch Miter Saw: The bigger blade will make a longer cut. The blade can also drive a great deal of power into the cut. A large blade is great for cutting thicker materials. The higher tooth speed also renders a very clean and sharp finish.
What type of cuts can I make with a miter saw?
In most cases, the blade in a miter saw is mounted on a rotating arm that can pivot from 45° to 90° allowing it to produce straight and angled cuts.
Can I use a miter saw on the ground?
It’s completely safe to use a miter saw on the floor as long as it has a solid surface. However, it can be a lot harder to cut this way, especially if you’re working on a long sheet of wood that requires additional support while cutting.
How to use a sliding miter saw?
Begin by dropping the blade and aligning it with the material you’ll be chopping. Then, return the blade to its original position and switch on the saw. Hold the saw’s head completely and push the blade into the material. Press the trigger but keep the head in place. Elevate the blade after it has come to a complete halt and make the cut.
You can find the best miter saw for your needs if you know what to look for. There are so many various products out there, but now you’re armed with enough information to make a wise choice. From the safety features to the design, the construction, and the size, there’s a lot to consider.
Whether you’re a DIYer, a professional or a homeowner who wants to build good artillery at home, there’s a sliding compound miter saw on the market. We’ve reviewed some of the best products available now, and all you must do is make a choice based on your preferences. No matter which one you choose from the list, you’re guaranteed a superior purchase.