What To Look For When Buying A Miter Saw

We’ve got news for you: No workshop is complete until it is stocked with a miter saw. To get you up to speed, here is our quick primer in the “mighty” miter saw! For even more miter saw goodness, check out our miter saw reviews post.

In order to make cuts in wood at precise angles, you’ll need the specialized tool called the miter saw. In order to produce these angled cuts, they are equipped with a blade that pivots right or left on the swing arm that it is mounted on.

There are many different types of miter saws including a sliding compound miter saw, a dual compound miter saw, a compound miter saw, and a miter saw. Another category you might be interested in is table saws.

These saws are very useful when making cuts for window casings, door frames, picture frames, crown molding, and more.

There are three major variations.

hitachi c15fb 15

1. The Compound Miter Saw

This sucker has blades that pivot right and left for angled cuts. When beveled cuts are needed, the tilt is in a single direction. A compound miter cut is performed by manipulating the saw on both axes simultaneously.

Any project that requires angled cuts in two planes, such as crown molding and picture frames becomes much easier when a compound miter saw is used. They are capable of executing these compound cuts in a single pass.

dewalt sliding dual compound miter saw

2. The Dual Compound Miter Saw

The Dual Compound Miter Saw is very similar to the compound miter saw. However, it is not limited to tilting is just one direction. It tilts both right and left. Bevels at any angle can be swiftly made.

makita ls1016l miter saw

3. The Sliding Compound Miter Saw

It combines a sliding feature with all the versatility of a compound. The blade can be moved backwards and forwards like the radial arm saw. This sliding feature extends the length of the cut, which is a considerable advantage for large projects. When you are looking for a miter saw, look for features that provide you with greater versatility and that will make your work go easier.

The power of the saw motor is measured in amps. You’ll get more power behind your cuts when your motor has higher amps. Another important thing to consider when you are looking for a miter saw is the size of the blade. These blades are most commonly found at 8, 10, and 12 inches long.

You will get longer cuts with blades that have larger diameters. You can quickly make precise cuts at specific angles if your saw has factory set points known as positive stops. You won’t need as much time to set up your cuts when your saw has these stops.

For quick adjustments, some table saws come with stops that are thumb activated. In order to control how deeply you cut into the wood you are working on, the height of the blade can be adjusted with depth stops.

You will have a better view of the cutting line when you use articulated blade guards. This modification keeps the guard clear of the stock. The blade is completely covered by the guard when the saw is raised. When you release the trigger, the flow of electricity within the motor of the saw is reversed by electric brakes. This reversal rapidly stops the motion of the blade.

The blade motion is stopped in just two seconds on saws that have electric brakes. This is much faster than it is on models that don’t have this added feature. It is much easier to swap out the blade when the shaft or spindle locks hold the blade and shaft in a stationary position.

To move sawdust from the cutting area, blowers and dust chutes are available.The sawdust is collected in dust bags that are mounted on the saw.To get a more accurate cut, there are table extensions that are connected to either side of the saw. These are great for supporting stock that is longer. For additional support for tall stock for standard miter cuts, flip sliding fences are used. In order to make bevel cuts, simply flip or slide them out of the way.

To aid you in accurately guiding your cut, there are guide lights and laser guides available that cast a shadow or project a beam onto the work piece.Miter setting and bevel information is easy to read on the digital displays. 

Need more info? Take a look at our miter saw review post.​