Miter Saw Reviews

A miter saw provides precision and speed for large woodwork projects. For, example, when renovating your man cave, you will definitely need a miter saw given all the pieces of wood you will be cutting. You will be amazed at how much this machine will cut down on the amount of effort and time needed to move your project forward.

The Complete Guide To Choosing The Best Miter Saw For Your Home Improvement Projects

There are a couple of quick, but important questions you need to ask before settling on any one of the available miter saws currently on the market.

  • First, what do you need the saw for; what are your specific project requirements?
  • What type of cuts will you mostly make?
  • How large is your project or how much material will you be cutting?
  • Which one is more appropriate for you, a corded or a cordless miter saw?

The Four Types Of Miter Saws

Overall, miter saws come in four different types. The differentiating factor between each saw is the type of slide, bevel capabilities and the diameter of the blade. So for example, a standard miter saw will not have a bevel or a slide but will come with a smaller blade, while a sliding compound miter saw will have a slide, a single or dual slide and a much larger blade size.

We’d like to emphasize the importance of considering the nature of your present and upcoming projects so you can buy a saw that is versatile enough to accommodate those project requirements. In summary, the four types of miter saws are:

We’d like to emphasize the importance of considering the nature of your present and upcoming projects so you can buy a saw that is versatile enough to accommodate those project requirements. In summary, the four types of miter saws are:

Basic/Standard Miter Saws

These have a blade with a fixed pivot point forcing the saw to take a default vertical position. The position can be changed if the table is placed at a horizontal angle.

Compound Miter Saws

These come with a flexible pivot that can move vertically. The table can also be moved to a horizontal position, allowing you to cut both vertically and horizontally.

Dual Compound Miter Saws

This type of saw works like the regular compound miter saw but the blade and motor can be positioned on a right or left angle position. Dual compound miter saws will come in handy when you are cutting wood at complex angles.

Sliding Compound Miter Saws

These also work like the typical compound miter but feature extra arms for the blade head which can be placed at a horizontal angle. This type of miter is excellent for cutting wider pieces of wood or whichever material you are working with.

Each of these miter saws can be either corded or cordless depending on the reliability of power supply in your workshop. The cordless type is obviously suitable if you cannot easily access a source of power.

However, even a fully charged battery is unlikely to last more than a day; after all, this is a heavy machine that draws up plenty of energy. You might want to stock up on your battery supply and keep them charged if you want to work throughout the day in cordless mode. Another great alternative is to buy a miter saw that is powered by lithium ion; this type is substantially costlier but it will last longer than the battery-powered type.

The 4 Types Of Woodwork Cuts

Remember, one of the factors to think about before going out to buy a miter saw is the type of cuts you will regularly work with. Each saw is designed to make a specific cut, so buying the wrong saw makes it almost impossible to attain the precise cut you need. The cuts include:

Miter Cut

This type of cut is made at an angle across the width of a piece of wood. A miter cut can be done to the left or to the right by placing the blade at a 900 angle along the length of the material. This type of cut is typically done when making joints.

Cross Cut

This basic cut involves cutting pieces of wood to a desired length. This is a typical 900 cut and is applied when framing or decking.

Bevel Cut

This type of cut is made at an angle across the thickness of the piece of wood. You need to use a compound miter saw so the blade can tilt at an angle. If you use a single-bevel compound miter saw, you could tilt the blade to the left to cut at angles lesser than 90o across the width of the material.

A dual–bevel compound miter will let you tilt the blade at a right or left angle so you can make cuts at an angle larger than 90o. This type of cut is mostly used on door and window trims.

Compound Cut

This type of cut is angled across both the thickness and the width of the material simultaneously. You will frequently use this type of cut when doing crown molding.

Below is a table summarizing the types of miter saws and the types of cuts that each saw is suitable for:

Type of SawSuitable CutBevel CapabilityAdvantages
Basic MitersawCross cuts and miter cuts​No, the blade cannot be tilted at an angle​More accurate and faster than a handsaw,Lower investment for smaller DIY projects​
Single Compound Miter SawCrosscuts, miter cuts, bevel cutsSingle bevelHighly versatile as it makes basic cuts as well as the complex ones.
Dual Compound Miter SawCompound cuts which include bevel and miter cuts, crosscuts, miter cuts and bevel cuts.Dual BevelNo need to turn the work piece around as blades can be adjusted horizontally or vertically to make bevel and compound cuts simultaneously
Sliding Compound Miter SawCompound cuts, bevel cuts, miter cuts and crosscutsSingle and dual bevelEasily makes basic and complex cuts.Simultaneously makes bevel and compound cuts without the need to turn around the work piece.Sliding head allows for wide-angled cuts.

What Is Bevel Capability?

Depending on the complexity of your project, you may require a miter saw whose blade could be tilted at an angle. This is especially important for bevel cuts and compound cuts (which include a simultaneous combination of miter and bevel cuts).

Saws that have single bevel capability such as the single compound miter saw can be tilted to one side while those with dual bevel capability can be angled to the right or left. A saw with dual-bevel capability allows you to make angled cuts without needing to turn your work piece around. This type of saw is also excellent for cutting large pieces of wood. The main advantage of saws with a single-bevel capacity is that they are lighter and are less expensive compared to the dual-bevel types.

Why Cutting Capacity Impacts Your Choice Of Miter Saws

Two things will determine the cutting capacity of a miter saw: the blade diameter and the ability to slide the blade. Miter saws typically come with a blade that is either 10 inch or 12 inch in diameter—whether you need a 10” or a 12” will largely depend on the types of projects you usually undertake.

If you are an occasional DIYer who takes up small projects in the house such as making picture frames or cutting small pieces of wood, then a 10” blade would work just fine. On the contrary, professionals who work on big projects and handle larger pieces of material would definitely require a 12” blade.

Sliding capability is equally important because, compared to a non-sliding miter saw, a sliding one allows you to pull the blade forward when you are working with wider pieces of wood.

So, other than the type of saw, the type of cut it makes, the bevel capability and the cutting capacity, are there other things you need to be on the lookout for? Yes. The best miter saws come with these additional features:

  • Miter and bevel indexes that are easy to read as you use the machine.
  • Positive miter and bevel stops that make it easy to adjust the piece, to cut at common angles.
  • Wide enough miter range that can cut pieces that are wider than 60”. The wider the miter range, the more versatile the miter saw will be for your projects.
  • Flexible handle so you can position your grip for comfort and utility.
  • Sliding fence to offer vertical support when making miter cuts.
  • Stands provide the necessary support for your miter saw. Stands that can be extended or adjusted are excellent if you typically work with longer pieces of material. You might also want to buy one that has wheels for easier mobility.
  • An electric brake is essential for safety purposes as it stops the blade from rolling soon as you let go of the trigger. Laser guides allow you to see if the blade is in accurate alignment with the cut line. A miter saw with two lasers allows you to see the whole cut line and blade alignment. Easy blade change allows you to rapidly change blades and to waste less time especially if you frequently change blades.
  • Dust management system allows you to keep your workspace clean by attaching dust bag or vacuum to the saw.

Here you go, forget about handsaws or manual miter boxes. A power miter saw will minimize downtime, allowing you to complete your projects in the shortest time possible.