Miter Saw Reviews

Editor's Note:
It's a year later, but experts and owners agree that last year's Best Reviewed compound miter saws are this year's too, and they are all from DeWalt. But while they didn't quite make the "cut," we found some pretty good 10-inch and 12 inch saws, including budget options, from Ridgid, Hitachi and Craftsman, too.
 
DeWalt DW713 Review
Specs that Matter
Blade diameter – 10"Maximum cutting capacity – 4.5" vertical, 6" horizontalBevel type – Single
Best Reviewed

Best 10-inch compound miter saw

DeWalt DW713

Experts say the 10-inch DeWalt DW713 delivers everything you could want from a compound miter saw: power, accuracy, ease of use, and silky-smooth operation. It has a generous cutting capacity for a saw its size, yet weighs just 35 pounds. Its biggest weakness is the lack of a laser guide or work light; DeWalt offers these as optional accessories, but they won't fit most versions of this saw.

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DEWALT DW713 15 Amp 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
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New: $239.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
DeWalt DW717 Review
Specs that Matter
Blade diameter – 10"Maximum cutting capacity – 6.25" vertical, 14" horizontalBevel type – Dual
Best Reviewed

Best 10-inch sliding miter saw

DeWalt DW717

A top performer in comparison tests, the DeWalt DW717 combines solid performance with flexibility. This dual-bevel saw has ample cutting capacity, miter range, and bevel range. Owners describe it as smooth, accurate, and solidly built, and they love the optional LED work light that doubles as a cutting guide. Reviewers are divided over its dust collection, though, with some calling it impressive and others saying it's mediocre at best.

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DEWALT DW717 10-Inch Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
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from Amazon.com
New: $499.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
DeWalt DW715 Review
Specs that Matter
Blade diameter – 12"Maximum cutting capacity – 6.5" vertical, 8" horizontalBevel type – Single
Best Reviewed

Best 12-inch compound miter saw

DeWalt DW715

DeWalt's DW715 has one of the largest capacities in its class, cutting up to 6.5-inch baseboard against the fence. This 12-inch, single-bevel compound miter saw is also extremely precise, thanks to a solid, easy-to-adjust miter lock and detent override. Its sturdy build suits both homeowners and professionals. One downside is the lack of a laser or LED cutting guide; DeWalt sells one, but most versions of the saw can't use it.

DeWalt DWS780 Review
Specs that Matter
Blade diameter – 12"Maximum cutting capacity – 7.5" vertical, 16" horizontalBevel type – dual
Best Reviewed

Best 12-inch sliding miter saw

DeWalt DWS780

The dual-bevel DeWalt DWS780 is a beast of a saw. This 12-inch sliding miter saw boasts impressive cutting capacity, a wide range for both angled and beveled cuts, and controls that are easy to read and adjust. Both professionals and users love the built-in LED work light that lets you use the shadow of the blade as a cutting guide. The main downsides are mixed reviews for dust collection and the sliding mechanism.

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DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
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from Amazon.com
New: $599.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Compound miter saws that are a cut above

According to experts, a compound miter saw is one of the most useful tools you can own for home improvement and remodeling tasks. In addition to vertical cuts, these multitalented tools can cut angles by rotating the saw (miter cuts), cut diagonally through the board's face by tilting the blade (bevel cuts) or do both at the same time (compound cuts). This makes compound miter saws incredibly versatile, capable of cutting anything from studs, rough lumber and baseboards to delicate trim. Timothy Dahl of Popular Mechanics calls the compound miter saw "a must-have tool for a fully functioning workshop."

Compound miter saws are classified according to the size of the blade. Blades range from 7 to 14 inches in diameter, but 10-inch and 12-inch saws are the most common.

Types of Miter Saws
10-Inch Compound Miter Saws

A saw this size is capable of tackling the most common woodshop and homeowner projects: cutting framing lumber, door and window trim, crown molding, and even cabinet and furniture parts. It also costs less, weighs less, and takes up less room than a larger saw, and it's capable of sharing blades with a table saw.

12-Inch Compound Miter Saws

If you routinely cut larger wood stock, opting for the larger blades of a 12-inch miter saw can make sense. These saws can more easily handle stock both standing up against the fence (the small wall used to position the material) and lying flat. However, as a saw's size increases, so does its price, weight and complexity.

Do you want a standard or sliding compound miter saw?

On a standard compound miter saw, the saw head can rotate and swivel, but it doesn't slide back and forth. These saws are often called chop saws for their ability to quickly slice vertical cuts. Standard miter saws range from about $150 to $350.

A sliding compound miter saw uses rails to guide the saw head across the board as it cuts, similar to a radial arm saw. This makes it possible to cut through boards that are wider than the saw blade. A sliding saw can handle boards up to 50 percent wider than a stationary saw, but these models are also considerably pricier – typically between $300 and $600.

Single or dual bevel?

Another difference between compound miter saws is whether they have a single-bevel or dual-bevel design. All compound miter saws can tilt the blade in at least one direction to make a bevel (sloped) cut. Dual-bevel saws, however, can tilt to both the left and the right. This is a handy feature for users who often require compound cuts – for example, for cutting crown molding. Without it, they would have to flip the trim over and make a more complicated upside-down cut.

Corded or cordless?

One of the newer innovations in compound miter saws is the appearance of cordless models. While removing the cord means improved versatility and range for many power tools, it isn't necessarily a huge advantage for a miter saw. These tools tend to spend most of their time on a workbench next to an outlet, rather than being carried around a job site like a drill or a nail gun. We found only one review that features cordless miter saws, and while two models earn high ratings in that test, they're both very expensive compared to similar corded models. As a result, we aren't currently recommending cordless compound miter saws in this report, although that may change in the future as technology for lithium-ion batteries continues to improve.

Two features that most compound miter saws struggle with are the quality of the stock blade and dust collection. Many owners choose to address the first problem by immediately replacing the factory blade with a higher-grade carbide-tipped blade that has 60 or 80-TPI (teeth per inch) to produce cleaner cuts. As for dust collection, most experts say the attached dust bags that come with many saws are virtually useless. Owners find connecting the dust port to a vacuum is the most effective way to reduce sawdust buildup.

Finding The Best Miter Saws
Our Sources1. Woodworker's Journal
10" Sliding Compound Miter Saws Tested and Reviewed2. Popular Woodworking
Miter Saw3. Tools in Action
Miter SawsSee All

To find the best compound miter saws, we looked at performance, of course, but also at how easy a saw is to use and how well it stands up over time. We consulted expert reviews from publications such as Woodworker's Journal, Popular Woodworking, and Popular Mechanics, as well as the opinions of hundreds of users at retail sites like Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and Lowes.com. Based on these sources, we selected the top-rated 10-inch and 12-inch compound miter saws, both standard and sliding.