Best Compound Miter Saws: How To Choose The Best One
No workshop is complete without a miter saw. It’s a specialized machine that lets you cut wood at a variety of miters or angles. With a miter saw, you can do custom cutting of crown molding, a door frame, window casings, and other wooden craft work.
Here is a list of Best Compound Miter Saw
Compound Miter Saw
A miter saw, like a traditional chop saw, uses a circular blade to cut from top to bottom. The difference is that a chop saw is more useful for bigger projects compared to the smaller miter saw.
For simple home improvement projects and general woodworking, the miter saw is the better choice. It’s smaller, is easier to angle, and produces a neater finish on small pieces of material.
Difference Between Sliding Miter Saw and Compound Miter Saw
Miter saws come in two main variations – the stationary compound miter saw and the sliding compound miter saw.
With a stationary compound miter saw, the blades pivot left and right for angled cuts and tilt in a single direction for beveled cuts. Compound miter saws are great for projects that need angled cuts in two planes because these can produce compound cuts in one pass.
A sliding miter saw can do just about every function that a compound miter saw can, except it has an added sliding feature. This allows forward and backward movement of the blade.
One advantage of the sliding miter saw is it can cut longer and thicker materials compared to the stationary compound miter saw. With a 10-inch compound miter saw for instance, you can only cut about 6 inches wide.
If you need more powerful cutting capacity on your saw and you work with heavy-duty materials, opt for a sliding miter saw. Otherwise, a compound miter saw can handle most cutting jobs for DIY projects at home.
How do you find the Best Compound Miter Saws: Important Features to Consider
- Blade size
Blade size determines the length of the cutting. Compound miter saws come in standard sizes of 8, 10 and 12 inches. The larger the blade, the longer its cuts will be.
Amps measure the power of the saw motor, which means that higher amps equal higher cutting power.
There are two kinds of stops: positive stops, which are factory set points preset to specific cutting angles, and depth stops, which let you adjust the blade manually.
- Laser guide
Laser guides or guide lights provide a visual indication of where cuts will be positioned. The beam or shadow on your work piece can help you accurately make the cuts.
- Sliding and flip fences
These provide support if you are working with taller pieces. For bevel cuts and longer materials, these can be flipped out of the way.
- Dust bag
A dust bag is connected directly to the saw to collect the sawdust made during cutting. Some models sell adapters to connect the miter saw to an industrial vacuum cleaner for more efficient dust collection.
- Electric brakes
These are a safety feature for compound miter saws, as they reverse the electric current in the saw motor, stopping the blade faster.
- Shaft locks
Shaft locks or a spindle is used to stop the shaft and the blade, making it easier to change the blade.
- Digital displays
These provide easily accessible information about bevel and miter settings.
Cleaning and Maintenance for Your Compound Miter Saw
Regular cleaning of your miter saw will ensure that the tool will last longer and be reliable for years.
- Vacuum the sawdust
The first step is to get rid of the dust particles and debris from the material you’ve cut. If you have a vacuum cleaner, clear away debris from the saw. Afterwards, use a clean and dry cloth to wipe any remaining dust off the tool.
- Clean the cutting table and fence
Using a scrubbing pad and a cleaning agent, scrub the table and fence using a circular motion to shine the surfaces. Make sure that you remove all dust particles from the work area.
- Keep the blades sharp
The blades are among the most important parts of your saw, because the precision and quality of work lies in its sharpness. When removing debris on the blades, be careful as the blades are quite sharp. Wear work gloves for this. When the blades are clean, apply some cutting oil to the surface. If your blades need sharpening, don’t attempt to do it manually. It’s better (and safer) to pay for professional services.
Top Compound Miter Saws Right Now
Out of all the many brands and models of compound miter saws in the market, below are our top picks of the best ones.
1. DEWALT DWS709 12-inch Single Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
DEWALT is a trusted brand in miter saws, and this model is one of the most popular. The DWS709 has a powerful 15 amp, 3,800 motor that is powerful enough for general woodworking projects. It has 13 different positive stops, which ensures pinpoint accuracy with the miter angles and faster working times. This model also has settings for the bevel angles.
The sliding mechanism on the DWS709 isn’t the smoothest, but overall, it’s still pretty fine. However, it can be a bit tight if you are working up against a wall – the arm needs space to slide out the back of the tool. But since this is the case with every sliding compound miter saw, you’ll just have to put it in a more spacious area.
What’s great about this model is that it has sliding fences that support tall work pieces of up to 5 ½ inches. Holes in the fences are also placed so you can attach a fence to add even more height. Plus, the large angle indicators are very easy to check even when standing in front of the tool. You can make adjustments right away.
The only issue with this is the dust bag, because it doesn’t really collect the dust. And if you usually work with long materials, the cut on this might be too short, as the maximum capacity is 4.5 inches for vertical cuts, and 6.75 inches for horizontal.
Dewalt DWS709 Review
2. Hitachi C10FCG2 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
Hitachi’s C10FCG2 is a great option for beginners. In addition to the great range of angled cuts you can customize, the saw comes with a clear laser guide to accurately mark your piece before making the cut.
This compound miter saw features a 15-amp motor that generates up to 5,000 RPM. Your crosscuts and detailing is fuss-free with such power. It has an adjustable miter head that goes from 0 to 52 degrees, and a bevel range of 0 to 45 degrees. Everything is tight and secure with the clamping system – no vibrations that can affect cutting quality.
The C10FCG2 weighs only about 24 lbs, perfectly compact and lightweight for easy transport.
While it produces precision cuts, the angle measurements aren’t so accurate. Plus, the blade quality could be better. Nonetheless, it’s more affordable than most units out there, so you get a lot for your money’s worth.
Hitachi C10FCG2 Video Review
3. DEWALT DWS780 12-inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This is one of the premium models that DEWALT offers. The DWS780 has 15-amp power that delivers 3,800 RPM. The 10-inch double bevel sliding mechanism has the capacity to reach 0 to 60 degrees to the left, and 0 to 52 degrees to the right. There are 11 positive stops for fast angle setting.
Tall sliding fences are useful for working with crown and base moldings. Its built-in cam lock allows you to secure angles, and the dual bevel system is easy to see thanks to the large scale and angle adjustment feature.
The most innovative feature of this saw is the new XPS led system. It lights the blades from both sides to cast a shadow on where the exact cut should be positioned. It’s far more accurate than a laser guide that has to be calibrated manually.
For added convenience, the power cord is routed through the rail in the back so it won’t interfere with the slide.
The only downside to this machine is the quality of the dust bag, like the previously-mentioned products. It seems that miter saws tend to have less than perfect dust collection systems. Moreover, this model is heavier compared to the other ones reviewed here. The good thing is that it comes with a rolling miter stand, so you can move it a bit easier. Other than that, everything about this model is excellent.
DEWALT DWS780 Video Review
4. Makita LS1040 10-inch Double Bevel Compound Miter Saw
This LS1040 model from Makita is actually one of the most stylish and functional single bevel miter saws available. It features a 15-amp motor that spins at 4,600 RPM, allowing you to work on tough cutting projects. This model has miter angles from 0 to 52 degrees, and a compound pivot arm with bevel cuts from 0 to 45 degrees to the left. There are 9 positive stops at commonly-used angles for fuss-free cutting.What’s great about the LS1040 is its direct-drive motor. Compared to belt-driven motors found in other models, this direct-drive motor is more durable and energy efficient. You won’t have to replace worn-down belts with a direct-drive machine.
This model is also lightweight; at just 27.3 lbs, it is portable and easy to move around your jobsite. The dust collection on this miter saw is also better compared to other machines on this list. Even without a shop vacuum, you can still keep a tidy workspace.
The only issue with the Makita LS1040 is the thin blade guard; it’s flimsy and unreinforced. Plus, it’s less accurate than other saws. It may not be your best bet for precision work. Apart from that, the motor quality, fence and table are of high quality considering the price.
Makita LS1040 Video Review
5. Hitachi CF10FCH12 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
The Hitachi CF10FCH12 may not be the biggest unit out there, but it’s powered by a 15-amp motor that has a no-load speed of 5,000 RPM to produce clean cuts. The miter angles range from 0 to 52 degrees, and bevel cuts can be made between 0 to 45 degrees to the left. The thumb-activated miter stops make angle adjustments quick and easy.
This model has a laser guide to help make each cut precise. And there are large, extended flip fences that are useful when cutting large pieces.
This miter saw produces great cuts, but the main concern is the quality of the base. The metal used for the body is not as sturdy, so extra care is needed when handling it to prevent any damage. Its dust bag isn’t effective as well. These inferior materials might be due to the price, as this saw is a lot less pricey than other brands.
Hitachi CF10FCH12 Video Review
6. DEWALT DW715 12-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
The DEWALT DW715 has a powerful 15-amp motor with a speed of 4,000 RPM. It’s capable of cutting through almost any kind of framing and molding. The miter angle can rotate from 0 to 50 degrees both to the left and right, and bevel cuts can be made from 0 to 48 degrees.
There are 11 positive stops that help you set up the cuts immediately. And you can use 4 hardened 4 bevel stops at angles frequently used (0, 33.9, 45 and 48 degrees) giving you a versatile work option.
This machine has sliding fences that are tall enough to support up to 6 ½ inches vertically. You can slide the fence off totally when doing bevel cuts.
The DW715 features a new handle design that increases stability when cutting. This is perfect for detailing work on moldings and frames. Also, while it’s not the lightest machine on this list, it’s still portable enough to be transported anywhere. The only thing that needs improvement is again, the dust collection. But overall, this is a powerful saw that produces high quality cutting.
DEWALT DW715 Video Review
7. Bosch GCM1SD Double Bevel Gliding Compound Miter Saw
The GCM1SD has a 15-amp motor that delivers 3,800 RPM speed for quick and accurate cuts on various materials. This model has a 14-inch capacity for horizontal cuts, and 6 ½-inches for vertical ones. This unit has great cutting power considering its size.
What Bosch is known for is their Axial-Glide System, which features a smooth cutting motion and accurate performance. Compared to the traditional rail setup of other miter saws that require more upkeep, this model is more durable. In addition, the Axial-Glide takes up to 12 inches less workspace, perfect for tight spaces. You can set it up against the wall and still use it conveniently.
Its pre-aligned squarelock quick-release fences help maintain precision for each project, while the soft grip handle is comfortable enough to be used ambidextrously.
The downside to this model is the lack of a laser guide for cutting, and the dust bag that doesn’t do much in collecting debris. If you need additional lighting for precision, opt for other models.
Bosch GCM1SD Video Review
These 7 compound miter saws have their strengths and weaknesses. Now that we have reviewed each one, it’s time to choose which among these models stands out as the best.
Based on my experience, my pick would be Bosch GCM1SD for its precision and accuracy, user-friendly features and durability. Although it does not have the laser feature that most models presented here have, you will definitely get your money’s worth with its smooth and perfect cutting motion and longer capacity. And for me, precision is the most important factor in judging a compound miter saw.
This is my opinion, of course. You may have a different point of view, especially after reviewing the models shared here. The best thing to do is analyze each type and determine what features are most important for you.