Best Miter Saw Reviews 2017
Miter saws, often referred to as chop saws are one of the most popular saws that are currently available in the market. They can however easily get mixed up with circular saws. So just before we look at them in detail I would like to be clear on what the differences are between the three names that I have mentioned.
A circular saw is the same as a chop saw and is used to make straight cuts in wood or other materials. A miter saw can also make straight cuts, but can also make angled or miter cuts, and some of them can also make bevel cuts.
Here we will look at the different types of miter saws that are available and what they are actually used for. I will also have some reviews on here on the best ones that are currently available in the market.
Dewalt DW715 Miter Saw
For those who are in a hurry and do not have time to read this all I would simply recommend the best miter saw on the market right now which is the Dewalt DW715.
You can read a full review on the Dewalt DW715 by clicking here. This one is without any shadow of doubt the best one available right now.
Almost always this will be the choice of professionals and contractors. With a powerful brand name behind it you are sure this will last you for many years to come.
This has everything you will ever need in a miter saw and more.
It has a full 15 Amps of power with 4,000 rpm. It uses a 120 Volt motor that has roller bearings and has automatic electric brakes.
Hitachi C10FCE2 Miter Saw
Dewalt tools can be expensive so a popular choice for people on a tighter budget is the Hitachi C10FCE2 which you can read about by clicking here. This is one of the best selling miter saws on the market right now at a very affordable price.
This one is a corded version and is well rated for its accuracy and portability
Ideally if you can afford the Dewalt I have mentioned above that is a better saw, however for anyone who does not want to splash out that type of money, then this Hitachi is much more affordable and good quality as well. You can read my detailed review of this Hitachi miter saw by clicking here.
I have also included a top 10 list of the most popular miter saws below for your convenience.
Top 10 Miter Saws In 2016-2017Please be aware that we use average buyer ratings and also average Retail Prices. These can vary several times a day. Please always check if you are going to make a purchase, for the actual price and rating on the day. On this we check out and compare what we think are the best miter saws.
|Model||Image||Average Rating||Average Price||Type|
|Hitachi C10FCE2 10" Compound Saw||4.4||Around $130||Single Bevel Compound Miter|
|Dewalt DW716 12" Compound Saw||4.6||Around $350||Single Bevel Compound|
|Dewalt DWS780 12" Double Bevel Sliding Compound Saw||4.6||Around $600||Dual Bevel Sliding Compound|
|Dewalt DW717 10" Double Bevel Sliding Compound Saw||4.5||Around $425||Dual Bevel Sliding Compound|
|Bosch GCM12SD 12" Double Bevel Glide Miter Saw||4.5||Around $500||Dual Bevel Sliding Compound|
|Skil 3317-01 10" Compound Saw||4.6||Around $150||Single Bevel Compound|
|Makita LS1018 Slide 10" Compound Saw||4.3||Around $400||Dual Bevel Sliding Compound|
|Homecraft H26-260L 10" Compound Saw||4.6||Around $100||Standard Miter|
|Bosch 5312 12" Dual Bevel Slide Compound Saw||4.5||Around $550||Dual Bevel Sliding Compound|
|Makita LS1016L 10" Slide Compound Saw||3.8||Around $500||Dual Bevel Sliding Compound|
This is the best selling miter saw on the market right now for contractors and professionals. It is also the number one choice for people who do a lot of projects around the home and want something that will cut just about anything.
This one gets great ratings of 4.7 out of 5 and is in my opinion a rating that is very well deserved. The brand any professional will instantly recognise and they do get most things right.
The same can be said for the DWS780 which you can read in more detail by clicking here.
What Are Miter Saws Used For?
First of all the word miter can be spelled as a “miter” or as a “mitre” and both of these spellings are commonly used. I have no idea why, but both exist. I am guessing that “mitre” is the original English spelling and the miter is the American version of that word.
The name of the actual cut is called a miter and the saw is what is used to make the actual cut. Typically this is a join where two pieces of wood are joined together. The most common use is for picture frames for the angles in the corners. Have a look at the picture below and you will see what I mean. You will also see this on door frames and base boards.
The purpose of using a particular saw is to make an accurate cross cut and a perfect miter joint. There are three ways of doing this which are:
- Using a miter box – still a popular and cheap option
- A manual miter saw – used mainly by hobbyists
- A power miter saw – used by serious professionals, keen DIY and contractors
The Miter Box
This is a box into which you place a piece of wood, and on the box are sets of angles. You then use an ordinary saw to make the cut through the wood, using the angles on the box as a guideline.
These boxes are the cheapest method of doing a cut and are ideal for someone who only needs to make this type of joint now and again.
They work perfectly fine, however, the big restriction is the width of the piece of wood that you need to cut. Typically the biggest width that you can cut is around 3″.
These are ideal for the smaller jobs, but please be aware of their width limitations. You do of course manually have to saw through the wood but nonetheless, they provide an accurate means of making a very good miter cut.
A common complaint with these, is that the saw eventually starts to cut through the plastic or wooden box. That does happen but it would take a lot of use to get into that sort of condition. The second option is an actual manual miter saw which also requires you to saw through the wood, but is comes as a single unit. This is shown below.
Manual Miter Saw
The second option is the one that is favoured by many DIY and hobby enthusiasts. Have a look at the picture as that will make it easier to understand. This one works on the basis that you can do a number of different angled cuts. Once again you place the piece of wood to be cut along the saw guide.
The base then swivels to whichever angle you want, and you then bring the saw blade down on top of the wood. This is very similar to the principle of the miter box we described above, but typically these types of saws have more angle choices, and come with a guided and built-in saw.
The one thing I dislike about these, is that they do take up quite a bit of room when being stored. Again you are also restricted by the width of the wood. I have also found from experience that getting replacement blades can be a real pain in the butt.
Power Miter Saws
These are by a very long way the most popular choice for miter saws. The days of manual cutting have all but gone, and these new powered miter saws are used by both DIY enthusiasts and by the professionals. They are very accurate and get the job done very quickly. They are of course more expensive, but that is the price you have to pay for speed and accuracy.
To avoid any confusion these saws can also be called a “drop saw,” or a “chop saw.” As I explained earlier they are not the same thing, though depending on where you live, these names can be used or mis-used. Miter saws are simply a circular saw, which are small and portable, and will usually have a blade size of around 8-12″.
The piece of wood being cut is held against a fence and the spinning wheel is then drawn down across the wood. Many angles are available and these are adjusted by simply swivelling the base. Common angles are provided and on almost all of these power tools, and these are known as stops. This is because as you swivel the base it will automatically click and stop at these set angles.
Types of Power Miter Saws
These basically come in three different types and it is important to understand the differences.
- Standard Miter Saw
- Compound Miter Saw
- Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Let’s have a look at each type so as to fully understand the differences. Check out the video below to get a general understanding. Below the video I have also provided a written explanation.
Standard Miter Saw
This will be the cheapest of the three and will allow you to make a variety of miter angled cuts. The blade will always remain vertical so this type of saw will provide accurate straight miter cuts. The blade can not be tilted so you can not do bevels. The angle is created by pulling out the handle at the bottom, and then turning the base to make the required angle. Many of these come with a laser marker so as you can easily see where the saw is going to cut.
If you were working on a project that required some basic straight miter cuts, then a tool like this is perfectly adequate for most people. These are actually quite difficult to find as they have been replaced with the Compound version, which is more useful and the price difference is very small.
Compound Miter Saw
In addition to being able to make an accurate miter cut, this type of saw will also allow you to introduce a bevel. This is because the actual cutting wheel can be angled. This is used a lot for work such as crown mouldings. The most common compound miter saw is what is termed a single action.
That means simply that the cutting blade can only be tilted to one side. If you see the feature dual action, this means the blade can be tilted in either direction – left or right. That is helpful as it stops you having to move the material around as you simply tilt the saw rather than move the material.
This is something that would be used by contractors of professionals. It does take a bit of practise to learn the angles of the joints etc, so not one for the person who will want to do a few projects around the home. That said, if you can afford the extra little bit of money for this one, then at least you have that extra option of being able to do both miters and bevels.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This is identical to the one above except for one feature. This particular saw can be used for cutting really wide boards and the saw comes with sliding arms. This is right at the top end of miter saws and will set you back quite a few dollars. That said, it will for most people be a one-off lifetime purchase, as you will only ever need to buy one of these.
Blades for cutting different materials are available and there are always plenty of replacement blades available.
So hopefully you now have a better understanding of what miter saws are available. The bottom line is that the more features you want or need, then the more costly the saw is going to be. The other things that impact on price is the brand you prefer and the quality and power of the tool.
Which Miter Saw Should You Buy?
The choice comes down to three main considerations;
- What you are going to use it for?
- How often will it be used
- Your budget
If you are a professional, a contractor then you will need the sliding compound miter saw. If you are a serious DIY person, someone who likes doing bigger projects, the sliding saw is ideal but more than likely a good compound miter saw will do your job just as well. The only decision to make there is the width of the wood you will be cutting.
For someone who will only need to use this type of cut a little I would recommend a simple miter box and then just use your own saw. I would avoid the manual miter saw completely as a box does the same job, and storing one of these manual miters is just a pain.
For most people then a good quality power compound miter saw is the ideal choice. Your available budget will determine which brand you can afford and these start at around $80 and go up to around $250, depending on brand and features. It is also a really good idea to have a miter saw stand as this makes this saw a great deal easier to use.
The best seller on Amazon by some considerable way is the Hitachi 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw and you can read a full review on it right here. It is a great value price and is highly rated.
Main Features of A Compound Miter Saw
The main features you should look at are:
- Do you need a standard, compound or a sliding compound for the job?
- The blade – what it is made of and its size
- The Size of the fence
- Miter range of cuts
- Bevel Angles – Single or Dual
- Size of Motor for power
Picking the right miter saw for your needs comes down to the type of job you need it to do. For straight cuts and miters the standard is all you need. If you need miters and bevels you will need a compound. If you need miters, bevels and also need to work on wide boards then you will need the sliding compound.
Hopefully this article has provided you with enough useful information to find the best miter saw for your needs in the market today.