Best Miter Saw Reviews 2018
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 really the same as a chop saw and is used to make straight cuts in wood or other materials. A miter saw can also make these types of straight cuts, but can also make angled or miter cuts, and some of them can also make either single bevel or double 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.
After the top 10 list and the reviews, you will find a complete buyer's guide for miter saws, which I believe you will find very helpful, and will help narrow down your choices.
Quick Information for Those In a Hurry
This is a long and detailed review page on finding the best miter saw, but we do understand that you may not have the time to read through all of it.
So 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.
Top 10 List of Miter Saws By Buyer Rating
Please note that if you click on any of the product names below, you will be taken to a concise review of each saw.
- DEWALT DWS779 12" Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- Genesis GMS1015LC 15-Amp 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
- DEWALT DW713 15 Amp 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
- DEWALT DCS361B Sliding Miter Saw (Bare),7 1/4in
- DEWALT DW716XPS Compound Miter Saw with XPS, 12-Inch
- DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw
- DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- Tacklife 15-Amp 12-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
- Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10" Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
- Black+Decker M1850BD 7-1/4" Compound Miter Saw
As you can see the Dewalt Brand dominate this list when it comes to quality and high buyer satisfaction rating.
No 1 Choice - DEWALT DWS779 12" Sliding Compound Miter Saw
At number one on our list is this powerful 15 Amp 12" miter saw. This motor can deliver 3,800 rpm motor and that can certainly deliver strong power.
It has a high back fence design which can cut up to 2 x 16 dimensional lumber at 90° and 2 x 12 at 45°. It also has an efficient dust collection system. Finally it is backed by Dewalt's 3 year limited warranty.
Read My Detailed Review
No 2 Choice - Genesis GMS1015LC 15-Amp 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
This affordable 15 amp saw with up to 4,600 rpm can make bevel cuts up to 45 Degrees to the left, and can also do compound miter cuts. That makes it ideal for crown molding, picture frames etc.
It has a laser cutting guide, an electric brake and an arbor lock forquick blade changing. It comes with a 60 tooth carbide tipped blade, a clamp, dust bag, extension wings, and a blade wrench.
There are also 9 position stops.
Read My Detailed Review
No 3 Choice - DEWALT DW713 15 Amp 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
This Dewalt saw has a 15 amp motor that can deliver up to 5,000 rpm of power. It has a stainless steel detent plate with 11 positive stops. The sliding fences are high and can support 4 1/2" crown molding.
It is a 10" saw and comes with a carbide blade and blade wrench. There is an easy to adjust cam-lock miter handle and the saw's big miter capacity-0 to 50 degrees to the left and the right-adds versatility.
This is a lightweight saw with a carrying handle so a good choice if you regularly need to move a saw around.
Read My Detailed Review
No 4 Choice - DEWALT DCS361B Sliding Miter Saw (Bare)
At number 4 on our list is a cordless miter saw. It uses the 20 Volt MAX batteries from Dewalt. It has a cross-cut positioning system that allows for adjustment-free cut line indication, which ensures high accuracy and better visibility of the line to be cut.
The stainless steel steel miter detent plate is adjustable with 11 positive stops. This is a compact, lightweight design (30 lbs.) allows for easy transport and storage. It can cut 3 5/8-in nested crown and 3 1/2 base vertically.
This saw can do bevels and has a cam lock miter handle that delivers quick and accurate miter angle cuts.
Read My Detailed Review
No 5 Choice - DEWALT DW716XPS Compound Miter Saw with XPS - 12"
This Dewalt model has a 5 amp motor that can deliver 3,600 RPM for extended power and durability. There is an integrated XPS Cross Cut Positioning System with LED light.
The bevel scale is easy to read and that makes bevel adjustments fast and easy. 0-50 degrees left and right miter capacity for greater versatility
Largest vertical capacity of 6-1/2" and largest nested crown capacity of 6-5/8"
Read My Detailed Review
No 6 Choice - DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw
This is a very popular choice for many buyers and in fact is the best seller for power miter saws over at Amazon. Like many in the range this one also has a 15 amp motor that delivers 4,000 rpm of power.
The stainless steel miter detent plate has 11-positive stops. The fence can handle crown molding up to 5-1/4" nested and base molding up to 6-1/2"
Bevel cuts. 0-48 degree to the left and 0-3 degree to the right
0-50 degree left and right miter capacity for greater versatility.
No 7 Choice - DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This Dewalt model has been out for a long time and despite the higher end price continues to sell really well. It has a 15 amp motor that delivers 3,800 rpm of power.
The back fence design allows cuts of up to 2 by 16 dimensional lumber at 90-degrees, 2 by 12 at 45 degrees. This one comes with a 90 day money back guarantee
No 8 Choice - Tacklife 15-Amp 12-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
This is yet another 15 amp motor and this time with up to 3,500 rpm of power. The cutting depth can be adjusted for trenching and grooving. With this saw you can do square cuts, bevel cuts and compound cuts.
It has a vertical capacity of 4-1/8" and largest nested crown capacity of 4-3/4"; Comes with laser guidance for optimum accuracy. It comes with two blades a 40 tooth and an 80 tooth for finer cuts.
Read My Detailed Review
No 9 Choice - Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10" Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
At number 9 on our list is this saw from the Hitachi brand. It also has a 15 amp motor and the rpm on this one is up to 5,000 rpm. This saw offers a bevel range of 0-45 degrees to the left only.
It is designed for woodworkers who demand precision, reliability and versatility on the job. It comes with a 24 tooth TCT blade, dust bag, vice assembly and hex wrench.
Read My Detailed Review
No 10 Choice - Black+Decker M1850BD 7-1/4" Compound Miter Saw
And last but not least is this lower end priced Black & Decker model. This is a small and compact miter saw option as it has a much smaller blade. It is a lightweight, portable saw that allows cutting of trim, framing and craft projects, such as crown and base molding jobs.
It has a 9 amp ball bearing motor and can cut up to 2" x 4" (dimensional) at 90° and 2" x 3" (dimensional) at 45°.
The saw has nine positive stops with a range of 0-45° left and right. The saw head tilts to the left up to 45° for bevel and compound cut angles.
Read My Detailed Review
Miter Saw Buying Guide
We have put together this helpful buyer's guide which we believe will help you make a more informed choice.
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 people and professionals and contractors
Our advice is only to buy a mitre saw if you plan on doing wither miter cuts or bevel cuts, or a compound cut which is a combination of a miter and a bevel. If you just need a saw for straight cutting, then a circular saw is a better and a cheaper option.
The Mitre 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.
The 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 and contractors.
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 similar to a circular saw and will usually have a blade size of around 8-12". Many of this type of saw can do straight cuts, miter cuts and bevel cuts.
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 adjusting the saw blade angle, or tilting the blade to make bevel cuts.
Common angles are provided and on almost all of these power miter saws, 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 in these before buying. They are:
- Standard Miter Saw
- Compound Miter Saw
- Sliding Compound Miter Saw
It is worth noting at this point, that around 90% of all miter saws sold are of the corded variety. Recently though there has been an upsurge in cordless miter saws.
Previous to now cordless batteries were not powerful enough to run a miter saw, but thanks to the introduction of Lithium-Ion batteries, these are now powerful and fast to charge.
Now let's have a look at each type of miter saw so as to fully understand the differences. Check out the video above to get a general understanding. Below the video I have also provided a written explanation.
Standard or BasicMiter 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 or how much you are prepared to spend
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.
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.
As you can see if you read any of my short reviews the motors on all of these types of saws are pretty standard at around 15 amps. A motor of that size can generate a no load speed of anything between 3,000-5,000 rpm.
That is simply the speed of the blade when not under any load. As you saw through the wood then the RPM will of course reduce, but the no load speed gives you an idea how quickly your saw can cut.
Sliding vs Non Sliding Saws
If you have a big project to take on then please just get yourself a sliding miter saw. Yes they are slightly more expensive, but the sliding saw allows you to get on with jobs, especially if you have to cut wider materials.
Hopefully this article has provided you with enough useful information to find the best miter saw for your needs in the market