best compound miter saws for woodworking

As a finish carpenter, framer, furniture maker, cabinet maker, or home remodeler, a compound miter saw is surely one of the most important tools in your tool arsenal.

There are other power saws like circular saws, track saws, and table saws, but these cannot replace the compound miter saw (CMS) totally.

That’s because it’s by far the best tool for crosscutting materials and cutting miters both in and outside the workshop.

Our Top Picks

Dewalt Flexvolt

Bosch GCM12SD

Metabo HPT C10FCGS

Best Performance

Best For Workshop Use

Best Budget

  • 10 Inch Blade

  • 1400 - 3400 RPM No Load Speed

  • Sliding Dual Bevel

  • 12 Inch Blade

  • 3800 RPM No Load Speed

  • Axial Glide System - Dual Bevel

  • 10 Inch Blade

  • 5000 RPM No Load Speed

  • Non-Sliding Single-Bevel

If you frame homes for a living, build furniture, install trim like baseboards and crown moldings, or even if you’re a homeowner engaging in simple DIY woodworking projects at home, you likely already have one of these.

On the other hand, if you don’t already have one or if you’re planning to replace or upgrade the one you already have, then continue reading as we’ve put together a list of the 10 best compound miter saws and a guide to help you choose the right one for your project.

The mechanism of a compound miter saw consists of a mounted circular saw blade suspended above a table and used to create quick and accurate crosscuts of a stationary workpiece by pulling the circular saw blade down slowly and steadily into the workpiece, allowing the blade to slice through it just like a hot knife slices through butter.

It is called a compound miter saw because the base of the saw or the table can be rotated both left and right to allow the saw to cut at different angles or miters other than 90.

Also, the head and blade can be beveled in either direction depending on the type of saw so that you can make bevel cuts with it.

Some folks call it a chop saw, but it differs from compound miter saws because it is mainly used for cutting metal and cannot be beveled left and right like a CMS.

Out of all the many brands and types, we’ve reviewed 10 of the best you can choose from.

1. Dewalt DWS780 12-inch Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw Review

dewalt dws780 compound miter saw

Although the sliding rails cause it to take up more space than necessary, the Dewalt DWS780 gets the job done in a quick, clean, and neat fashion, and it’s still one of the best and most popular dual-bevel sliding compound miter saws you can find today. There are many improvements in this model compared to previous ones made by Dewalt.

The power cord and dust tube now move along with the dual slides, making it easier to use.

The power cord no longer hangs down from the motor, which usually causes a lot of mess when cutting extreme angles with it.

The Dewalt DWS780 has a 15 amp motor that spins the blade at a no-load speed of 4000 RPM, allowing you to make quick and precise cuts even through hardwood materials.

It has a lot of cutting capacity because it has tall sliding fences capable of supporting crown moldings up to 7-1/2 inches nested and base moldings up to 6-3/4 inches clamped vertically against the fence.

Miters can be cut easily up to 60 degrees to the right and 50 degrees to the left with 10 positive detents at commonly used angles.

The blade can be beveled up to 45 degrees, both left and right.

Perhaps, one of the most eye-catching features of the DWS780 is the new XPS cutline system. It lights the blades from both sides, casting a shadow of the blade kerf on the workpiece.

So, there’s no guessing where it will cut. You know the exact place your blade is going to shop off. I believe it is handy and far better than a laser which you may have to calibrate frequently. Whether you switch to another blade or not, the XPS cutline system will still work the same without any adjustment.

For those carrying out decorative trimming work, the XPS LED system makes it easy to set the angle when you only know the line you want to cut.

The stops that come with it are pre-aligned, and they’re very accurate. You can check just to be sure using a digital protractor.

The major downside is that it’s pretty heavy. So you need some really good arms to carry this yourself.

However, with a rolling compound miter saw stand, you can get it wherever you want. Apart from that, every other thing about it is excellent.

What I like about it

  • The 12 inch sliding blade provides a very large cut capacity for cutting bigger workpieces and moldings.
  • The sliding action is very smooth.
  • Efficient dust collection. All the dust is directed to the back of the saw for easy collection with a shop vac.
  • The shadow line feature is very useful especially for beginners.

Where it can be improved

  • It’s very heavy, not something one can easily carry around without a mobile stand.

2. Festool Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound Miter Saw – Best 10 Inch

Festool Kapex miter saw

As at the time of writing this review, the Festool Kapex is the most expensive compound miter saw you can ever get for your projects.

It’s like the Rolls-Royce of miter saws.

It surpasses every other model in terms of price. But why is it so expensive? Three reasons. Accuracyeasy angle adjustments, and the best dust extraction.

To me, those are the main reasons why the Festool Kapex eclipses the rest in terms of price.

It’s also very compact when compared to the other ones reviewed here. Just like the Bosch gliding saw and the Delta Cruzer with robotic arms, you can set the Kapex against the wall of your shop, saving almost 2 feet of space for you.

It incorporates a rail forward design where the rails are at the front of the saw instead of the back.

Many other miter saws have rails that protrude out of the back, consuming more shop space which might already be limited.

But with the Festool Kapex 120, that extra space is available for you to work.

Making bevel and miter adjustments is easy, as you can make micro-adjustments to the bevel angle using a rotary knob just at the front of the saw.

The bevel scale is very large, and the pointers are very fine, making it easy to set up angles to make cuts.

The Kapex comes equipped with dual lasers that show the cut’s precise kerf, making it easy to align the blade and workpiece and make the cut as accurately as possible.

With a dust extraction of 91 percent, you get to work in a healthy and comfortable environment instead of a dusty one. No other miter saw is as efficient in dust collection as the Kapex.

Festool Kapex KS 120 sliding compound miter saw

What I like about it

  • It’s one of the most accurate miter saws you’re ever going to find.
  • It’s very easy to adjust.
  • Dust collection is very efficient. Almost all the dust produce can be collected with a shop vac.
  • It’s not very noisy.

Where it can be improved

  • It’s quite expensive compared to other brands.

3. Bosch GCM12SD Double Bevel Gliding Compound Miter Saw | Best For Workshop Use

Bosch GCM12SD double bevel gliding compound miter saw

Bosch brings out one of the best designs and construction with this GCM12SD double-bevel gliding compound miter saw.

Notice it’s not sliding but gliding because it has an axial glide system. The axial glide system does not use the traditional rail setup of other sliding miter saws, which can get messed up and usually requires regular maintenance to keep working perfectly.

Instead, it uses a robotic gliding arm that makes it possible to glide the blade to and fro through the workpiece effortlessly.

This makes it possible to sit it just against the wall of your workshop, helping you save an extra 12″ of space that could have been occupied with the rails of a traditional sliding arm. If you want to use it in a very tight garage, then you will find this feature very useful.

With that out of the way, the Bosch GCM12SD comes equipped with a 12-inch blade powered by a 15 amp motor with a no-load speed of 3800 RPM.

It has one of the largest miter-cutting capacities along with the Dewalt DWS780, with the capacity to cut miters up to 60 degrees to the right and 52 degrees to the left, while bevel cuts can be made 47 degrees both left and right.

Setting up the Bosch GCM12SD is also very easy and intuitive. It requires only minor alignments out of the box.

It comes equipped with a quick-release square lock fence which comes aligned out of the box at 90 degrees to the saw’s table and requires little or no adjustments.

The fence uses an easy lock and unlocks feature, making it easy to slide it perfectly into position for easy and accurate workpiece alignment.

The saw comes with a 60-tooth Bosch carbide blade for smooth and easy cuts.

This blade might not be adequate or may not provide the cut quality and smoothness required by those carrying out cabinet or furniture work. However, if you’re into projects like framing and deck building, you will be fine with it.

If you desire smoother cuts, you can purchase a 96-tooth Freud or Forest blade, which will give you that extra smoothness you desire.

The only feature the Bosch GCM12SD lacks is laser lighting to mark the blade kerf and guide your cuts.

The dust bag that comes with it could be more useful, but you can always hook a shop vac to the dust port for a more efficient dust collection. 

As for size and weight, it’s big and heavy, making it an excellent choice as a workshop miter saw rather than a job site saw.

Overall, the Bosch GCM12SD is a top-notch CMS that will help you get the job done quickly and accurately.

What I like about it

  • Very compact. Takes less space than other sliding miter saws due to its Axial Glide System.
  • It’s very easy to read and adjust.
  • It comes perfectly aligned and accurate right out of the box.
  • Dust collection is very efficient. Easily one of the best.
  • The movement of the axial arm is fluid. It’s very easy to cut with it.

Where it can be improved

  • It comes with a low quality blade. You need to buy a higher quality blade like a Diablo to get the best out of it.

4. Milwaukee 6955-20 12 Inch Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Milwaukee 6955-20

There’re are very few dual-bevel sliding compound miter saws if there’re any that are better than this Milwaukee 6955-20.

It’s quite expensive for the average hobbyist, but every contractor or professional woodworker will likely not think twice before investing on it because of the build quality, capacity and precision you get from using it.

The Milwaukee comes equipped with a large 12 inch blade powered by a 15 amp, 3.3 max hp direct drive motor. That’s a lot of power that will allow you to cut with ease and precision through very hard lumber.

Apart from that, the rotational no-load speed of the blade is 3250 RPM which doesn’t change or reduce like other saws when you start cutting materials with it. This is very important because it ensures that the cuts are quick and with high precision even through very hard lumber pieces.

Another great feature of this Milwaukee saw is that there’re two lights, one each on both sides of the blade which lights the blade, cut line and material, allowing you to clearly see the blade and cut line when making cuts.

This is very useful as it increases your accuracy because you can see the blade and cut line clearly, and you don’t even need to buy additional lights in case your work space is not well lit.

The electronic soft start feature of the blade prevents the saw from jerking instantly once you put it on, and also allows you to ease the blade into the work piece without damaging the material.

The blade can be beveled from 0 to 48 degrees in both directions, with an oversized single bevel adjustment lever.

Making miter cuts is even easier with 9 positive detents and detent-overrides which makes it easy for the user to dial-in precise miter angles without wasting time.

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s quite expensive but the Milwaukee 6955-20 is heads and shoulders above most of the competition.


  • Cuts materials with great precision and accuracy.
  • Increased cut capacity.
  • Efficient dust collection when hooked to a vacuum.
  • Dual inbuilt lights for proper blade and workpiece illumination.


  • Vacuum hook-up attachment does not come with the saw. It has to be bought separately.

5. Craftsman CMCS714M1 Compound Miter Saw

Craftsman CMCS714M1 V20

At first glance, the Craftsman CMCS714M1 miter saw might not look like a battery-powered tool, but if you observe it properly, you’ll find out it is. The CMCS714M1 is actually among the Craftsman V20 system.

Since it’s a battery-powered tool, you can use it anywhere you like as long as you have a fully charged battery. In fact, you can make over 500 cuts with a fully charged V20 battery, ensuring you can use it to complete any small to medium sized project before it runs down.

Over 500 cuts per a single charge is no small feat, and this tool really exceeded my expectation.

The saw makes use of a 7-1/4 inch blade which when compared with a 12 inch or a 10 inch blade is quite small. However, this is a sliding unit, that means you can make wider cuts up to 8 inches at 90 degrees and 5-1/2 inches at 45 degrees by just sliding the blade across the material.

For power, the Craftsman CMCS714M1 sliding miter saw comes equipped with a 3800 RPM motor, which ensures it has the muscle to cut through different kinds of boards, including 2x dimensional lumber, softwood and even hardwood.

Adjusting it is easy and quick, with up to 9 casted miter detents, allowing you to cut commonly used miters without struggling or taking so much time.

The included LED cut line position system improves your accuracy especially if you’re new to using a tool like this, ensuring you make the right cut every time.

When you’re done using the tool, it easily folds away smartly with a very good handle to carry it around. This makes it very portable and a good option for you if you’re a handyman or someone who needs a very mobile or compact unit to use in jobsite conditions.

My favorite thing about this Craftsman miter saw is that, with all the features and capacity it has, it’s still fairly price, making it a very good option for someone with a limited budget.

What I like about it

  • The battery is reliable – lasts very long.
  • It’s quite powerful and performs really well.
  • Lightweight and compact. It folds up and carry easily.
  • You don’t need access to a power outlet to use it. It can be used on a remote jobsite. Very good good for handymen.
  • It’s budget-friendly.

Where it can be improved

  • Quite limited cut capacity, although for a 7-1/4 inch blade, I wasn’t expecting more.

6. Delta 26-2250 10 Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Cruzer Saw

Delta Cruzer 10 inch miter saw

If you want something a little more robotic, then you should look no further than Delta’s revolutionary Cruzer saw with robotic arms that helps you glide the saw effortlessly through cuts.

The robotic Cruzer arm is made of military grade aluminum with heavy duty bearings that allow it move with a smooth fluid motion during cuts.

You can even adjust the tension of the robotic cruzer arm to make it glide just the way you want it.

With the Delta Cruzer miter saw, you can make crosscuts up to 16 inches wide and crown moldings up to 6.25 inches wide.

It’s a dual bevel saw that bevels 45 degrees left and right, and miters 50 degrees left and 60 degrees right, with 10 miter detents to help you make quick adjustments at commonly used angles.

Equipped with a 15 amp motor, the blade spins at a speed of 4000 RPM (no-load), making it easy to cut precisely through both hardwood and softwood.

Every adjustments is easy to make with an easy to read miter scale. The molded handle and full size trigger makes the saw very ergonomic and easy to handle

If you’re thinking about getting one, the latest model of the Delta Cruzer saw is the Delta 26-2250. Although the Cruzer saws are available in 12 and 10 inch blade versions the the Delta 26-2250 is a 12 inch Cruzer saw, so if you’re going for that, you should know beforehand what you’re getting.

7. Skil MS6305-00 10 Inch Dual Bevel Miter Saw

Skil MS6305-00

If you want a very affordable and solid dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw from a trusted tool brand, one of the best ones I’ll recommend is this Skil MS6305-00.

This is a compound miter saw with a 10 inch blade, dual-bevel that will allow you make all the different types of crosscuts you’d like to make on the jobsite or even in your workshop.

Even though it’s got almost all the features you need, it comes at a very affordable price, just below 300 bucks.

Equipped with a 15 amp motor, the 10 inch blade connected to it spins at 4800 RPM no load speed, allowing you to make every cut with great precision and accuracy.

It’s almost impossible to believe, but this cheap Skil 10 inch miter saw also comes an LED shadow line blade positioning system similar to Dewalt’s XPS system that casts a shadow of the blade’s kerf on the cut line, allowing you to see where the blade will cut through when you pull it down.

The Skil MS6305-00 can be used to make bevel cuts to both directions up to 50 degrees, and can be used to cut 2x12s at 90 degrees and 2x8s at 45 degrees.

11 positive miter detents at 0, 15, 22.5 31.6 and 45 degrees respectively both left and right makes it easier to adjust and use the saw for a variety of applications such as crown moldings and trim installation.

All in all, if you want an affordable and top quality dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw with all the features and specs you need to carry out the most complex of cuts on the jobsite, this Skil MS6305-00 is definitely one of the options you might want to consider.


  • Very affordable
  • Has every feature you need, dual-bevel and sliding.
  • Very lightweight and ideal for jobsite operations.
  • Motor has plenty of power – cuts like hot knife through butter.
  • Good construction with machined aluminum components.


  • Being very lightweight, it moves during use, unless you bolt it to a stand or table.

8. Genesis GMS1015LC 10 Inch Compound Miter saw

Genesis GMS1015LC compound miter saw

The Genesis GMS1015LC is for anyone who wants a quality single-bevel non-sliding compound miter saw, but doesn’t want to burn a hole in his/her wallet.

This is a highly accurate saw with a laser marker and all, but it’s just above 100 bucks. I’d recommend this for anyone just starting out as a furniture maker or woodworker, that doesn’t have a lot to spend on tools yet.

This is a single-bevel non-sliding model, so you won’t be getting a lot of cutting capacity to crosscut wider boards, but if you really spend some time and learn more about how to use it, you’ll be able to carry out impressive projects with it.

It comes equipped with a 10 inch blade powered by a 15 amp motor. The blade spins at a no-load speed of 4600 RPM, allowing you to make cuts swiftly and accurately.

With it you can make bevel cuts up to 45 degrees to the left and miter cuts 45 degrees both left and right. There’re 9 positive miter detents for easy repeatable miter cuts.

The laser marker will make it easier for you to align the material with the blade’s kerf and there’s an electric brake that stops the blade from rotating within seconds after the cut is made.

If you ever need to change the blade, the Genesis GMS1015LC comes equipped with an arbor lock that when engaged will stop the arbor from rotating when losing the nut that holds the blade in place.


  • It’s very affordable and ideal for both beginner woodworkers with a small budget for tools.
  • It comes equipped with a laser marker for easy alignment of material.
  • Good design and quality build.
  • Lightweight and easy to transport. Electric brake feature makes it safer to use the saw.


  • The hold down clamps that comes with it are poorly designed.

9. Makita LS1018 – Dual Bevel Sliding

Makita LS1018 dual bevel sliding miter saw review

If you’ve had the Makita LS1013, then you must surely be thrilled with the new Makita LS1018. The Makita LS1018 dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw is an upgraded version of the LS1013 model.

As competitor manufacturers are making major improvements in their tools, Makita also stepped up their game with the LS1018 compound miter saw. The LS1018 is a very good quality saw with a very reasonable cutting capacity.

Compared to the LS1013, this saw is lighter making it suitable as a jobsite saw as it can be easily transported from one position/location to another. The handles in the base of this saw are rounded, large and are very easy on the hands when carrying it around. It just weighs a little over 50lbs.

Equipped with a powerful 13 AMP directed drive motor which delivers up to 4300 RPM of speed, the Makita LS1018 saw cuts through wood like a hot knife through butter.

Also, you’d really have any maintenance problem with it, as direct drive motors require very little maintenance for them to function properly.

The miter table and lock system of the Makita LS1018 works like a dream. All you have to do is set it to the angle you desire and turn the knob anticlockwise, a spring loaded lock pops into place and you have a solid setup right away.

One very important feature that sets this compound miter saw from other miters saws is the characteristic soft start of the blade. The blade does not just start turning at constant speed but it accelerates from rest and quickly into full speed with absolute smoothness. You won’t even notice any recoil on saw as the blade starts to spin.

Another important feature of this saw is that it automatically increases its torque to overcome the resistance of cutting through the material. This means the harder the material, the more torque the saw produces to overcome the resistance.

ls1018 makita miter saw

One other feature you’re absolutely love about the Makita LS1018 is its quietness during operation. Makita were very clever not to use a belt to transfer torque from the motor to the blade. They chose to use a sealed gearbox instead, resulting in a very quiet machine during operation.

Is the cuts produce by this saw smooth? Absolutely. It cuts polish smooth. You just don’t have to force it. Just lower the saw head on the work piece and allow the sharp blade to go through it like a hot knife on butter.

The only downside to the Makita LS1018 compound miter saw is that it doesn’t come with a laser. Not that it’s a necessary feature, but it’s a pretty useful feature especially for newbie woodworkers.

The movement of the rails smooths out after several use, so it’s not really a big problem. As for the shabby dust collector, you can just remove it and connect the machine to your shop vac and you’re good to go.

Overall, the Makita LS1018 dual bevel sliding compound miter saw is up there among the best units we reviewed, and definitely lives up to the hype.

The unit come with a blade, extension wings for long workpieces, triangular rule, a vise and a wrench for assembly.

10. Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10 inch Single Bevel Miter saw

Metabo hpt C10FCGS

The price tag of the Metabo HPT C10FCGS single bevel compound miter saw is very enticing, considering it’s quality and performance when compared to other models.

It doesn’t have a laser guide or any of those fancy features, but yet it’s one of the best units you’ll get for its price.

It is a single bevel compound miter saw you can use to make bevel cuts between 0 and 45 degress to the left of the table, while miter cuts can be made between 0 and 52 degrees.

It’s very easy to maneuver between these angles to make these cuts, thanks to the thumb-actuated miter stops.

This is not the largest CMS you can get, but it’s powered by a powerful 15-amp motor which spins a decent TCT 10 ½ inch saw blade at a no-load speed of 5000 rpm to enable it produce perfect clean cuts.

I will not forget to mention the large extended flip fences that comes with the Metabo HPT C10FCGS compound miter saw. The fences are pretty large which is very good when you’re cutting large work pieces.


  • It cuts square and precise.
  • It’s relatively cheap and budget-friendly compared to similar brands. Performance however is top notch.
  • Perfect saw for DIY project.
  • Setup doesn’t require much time, and it’s quite accurate right out of the box.
  • It comes with cool features like a laser guide.


  • You can tell it’s cheap from the metal used, and dust collection is a bit poor.

How To Choose The Best Compound Miter Saw – Buyer’s Guide

how to choose a compound miter saw

Choosing a compound miter saw today can be quite tricky and confusing, because there’re different brands to choose from. Bosch, Dewalt, Festool, Makita, Festool, you name it.

When you finally jump the huddle of choosing a specific brand, say Bosch, you’re also going to face another huddle.

And that is choosing the type you want. You see, there’re different types of compound miter saws you can choose from.

If you don’t take care to choose carefully, you might choose one that’s too much for the project you have at hand or worse still, you might end up with one that’s inadequate for your project.

So, before you run off to buy a particular one, first learn about your options.

What are these options?

Types of Compound Miter Saws

Before we talk about the different types, note that there’s a difference between a miter saw and a compound miter saw.

A miter saw is just capable of cutting angles up to 45 degrees only by rotating the saw head horizontally. On the other hand, a compound miter saw is capable of making miters or angle cuts and bevel cuts as well.

That means you can rotate the saw head about the base to make miter cuts and you can also bevel the head left and right to make compound cuts, especially useful for cutting trim or mouldings.

So, here are the different types.

  • Sliding
  • Non-sliding
  • Double bevel
  • Single-bevel

The question now is, which one should you choose among these 4 types?

To hit the nail on the head, the four different types of compound miter saws differ from each other mainly in terms of cut capacity and maneuverability.

Sliding double-bevel compound miter saw

sliding compound miter saws

You need the sliding double-bevel compound miter saw if you want a cross-cut saw that offers you a large cutting capacity.

From the name, you can easily tell that you can slide the saw head to-and-fro across the work piece, allowing you to cut much larger work pieces like 4x4s and sidings.

Because it’s double-bevel, you can also bevel the saw head 45 degrees to the right and 45 degrees to the left, allowing you to only maneuver the saw head without lifting the work-piece when making complex compound cuts.

The drawback for sliding compound miter saws is that they occupy a large footprint, due to the sliding rails that protrudes through the back of the saw. When you’re getting one, you need to account for that space and make sure you have enough space to store and operate them

If you don’t have much space in your workshop but you still need a unit, there’s good news for you though, because not all sliding compound miter saws make use of rails that protrudes through the back for the sliding action.

Some of these saws include the Bosch GCM12SD and the Delta Cruzer saw both of which use robotic arms that reduce the overall footprint of the tool.

Another compact one you can go for is the Metabo HPT 12 inch saw which has its rails by the side of the saw head instead of behind it.

Non-sliding compound miter saw

If you think the sliding unit is too much for the project you have at hand, then you can go for a non-sliding compound miter saw.

With this, the saw head cannot be slid to-and-fro across the work-piece, which means less cutting capacity, but it’s ideal for cutting smaller work-pieces like 2x4s and 2x6s.

One advantage it has is that it’s very compact and covers a much smaller footprint in your shop than a sliding unit, and thus it’s ideal for small shop owners with limited space for tools.

Double-bevel compound miter saw

Talking about compound miter saws, you can either get one that’s double-bevel or one that’s single-bevel.

With a double bevel saw, you can bevel or tilt the saw head 45 degrees to the left and 45 degrees to the right.

This comes in handy especially for woodworkers cutting and installing baseboards and crown mouldings. You can cut really complex angles on your work piece without lifting the piece from the saw table and turning it the other way.

Single-bevel compound miter saw

single bevel compound miter saw

The saw head or blade of a single-bevel compound miter saw can only be beveled or tilted 45 degrees in one direction, mainly to the left.

This is ideal for making simple cross cuts and not too complicated compound cuts. You’ll find this useful for framing projects and also for simple DIY projects at home.

These are usually non-sliding, compact and thus occupy a small footprint. Ideal for small shop owners.

Now that you know the different types of compound miter saws and who they’re ideal for, you’re in a better position to choose the one best for your projects.

However, there’re still a few things you need to know before making your selection.

Features To Look For In A Compound Miter Saw

Here are a few important features you should look for when making your choice.

Look for clearly marked scale

look for a clearly marked scale

A clearly marked scale allows you to make measurements quickly and ensures your cuts are as accurate as possible.

Without a clearly marked scale, you’ll find it difficult cutting miters and making bevel cuts. So, make sure the compound miter saw you buy has a clearly marked scale.

You shouldn’t need your reading glasses to read the scale.

Make sure the miter angle have solid detent presets

Cutting miters or angles is one of the important reasons of getting a miter saw. After all, it’s called a miter saw, or in simpler terms, angle saw.

Solid detents presets allow you to set the miter table easily and quickly cut most common angles needed for most projects.

Ensure fence is solid enough to support materials

A very important component or part of a compound miter saw is the fence. It can’t be flimsy. A flimsy or fragile fence will fail and disappoint you.

That’s why I always advice that you go with the well-known brands like Makita, Dewalt, Festool, Bosch, Delta and the rest.

Even if you’re not choosing a saw from a well-known or recognized brand, make sure the saw you choose is backed with a very good warranty, so you can ensure if it fails before you’ve had any use from it you can have it returned and get a better one or get your money back and still get a better one from a well-known brand this time.

Smooth sliding action

What good is a sliding compound miter saw when the sliding action is as rough as a bad ball bearing? I’d say not good at all.

That’s why when you’re getting a sliding compound miter saw, you need to make sure that the sliding action is very smooth…

You don’t need to force the saw to slide through the cut. If you’re forcing it, it’s not worth it. So, if you’re buying offline from your local hardware or tool dealer, make sure you test the saw and check if it slides well.

If you’re buying online, check the reviews to make sure that there’re no complaints regarding how well the saw slides. If there are, move on from that saw and find something better.

Check dust collection and the location of the dust port

check miter saw dust collection

Although they don’t produce as much dust as a wood planer does, miter saws produce a fair amount of sawdust. And unless the dust is properly collected, your shop and the air around you can easily turn into a huge mess.

With proper dust collection however, that can be prevented. So, make sure the one you choose have a simple dust port where you can attach your shop vac to get the sawdust collected and stored for other uses.

Check for good blade guide system

Never operate a compound miter saw without a blade guard. So, if you see one without a blade guard, run.

Trigger locking feature – single and ambidextrous trigger locks

Ensure the one you choose have a trigger lock feature. When the miter saw is not in use, you need to engage the trigger lock.

This will ensure that the saw does not turn on when you or someone else accidentally presses the trigger.

Some saws come with a single trigger lock located at the saw handle, while others features an ambidextrous trigger lock so you can engage the trigger lock no matter which hand you’re using to operate the saw.

Accessories – laser guides and lights

miter saw laser feature

If there’re accessories you’d like it to have, then you should check for them as well. Accessories such as a laser guide and a stand are surely very useful.

Blade size

Blade size is a very important option you need to choose very carefully when buying compound miter saws.

They come in 3 main blade sizes. The 7-1/4 inch blade, 10 inch blade and the 12 inch blade.

If you’re using it for woodworking, then you need not concern yourself with a 7-1/4 inch blade unit because it has a very small cut capacity.

10 inch blade miter saws are usually ideal for most woodworking projects that don’t require a large cut capacity.

A 10 inch blade though will still give you a larger cut capacity that a 7-1/4 inch blade unit.

With a 12 inch blade you have a very large cut capacity, especially when the saw is a sliding 12 inch compound miter saw.

In terms of blade size, keep in mind though that the smaller the blade the cheaper it is. 10 inch blades are far cheaper than 12 inch blades.

That means, if you get a 10 inch unit, you’ll find it cheaper to replace the blade when it gets bad or blunt than when you get a 12 inch blade saw.

The tooth count of the blade is also very important. Although you can always replace or change the blade that comes with your miter saw.

A higher tooth counts means clean neater cuts good for fine woodworking projects like furniture making and finish carpentry.

Low tooth count blades produce less neat or clean cuts and are ideal for cutting framing lumber and for DIY projects.

Space or footprint

I’ve talked about this before. You need to consider the space you have in your shop before making your choice.

Most sliding compound miter saws occupy a large footprint and thus needs more space to operate them.

Non-sliding units however, are more compact and occupy a smaller footprint making them ideal for woodworkers with very limited workshop space.

Corded vs cordless or battery operated

frequently asked questions on miter saws

This is another important option you have to consider before choosing. Do you want a corded unit or a cordless one?

If you’re going to be operating the saw away from your shop most of the time, then you probably need a cordless compound miter saw.

Today there’re units that are both corded and cordless such as the Dewalt Flexvolt, Makita XSL06PT, the Ryobi ONE+ and the Milwaukee M18 fuel compound miter saws, just to name a few.

As a woodworking handyman, you need cordless tools because you may not always have access to electricity.

Having a corded + cordless saw with you will really go a long way to ensure you’re well-equipped and that you do your job easily.

So ensure you take note of these features when choosing one for your projects, and I’m sure you’ll end up with the right one.

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