A Miter saw is a special type of saw, engineered to cut accurate crosscuts. There are many different types of miter saw, and we’ll help you find the right one for you! Some of these variations include:
- Manual Miter Saws
- Power Miter Saws
- Compound Miter Saws
- Sliding Miter Saws
These different types of Miter saws are very different, so it’s best to educate yourself on the main differences before purchasing one. This guide will help you find the best miter saw for you. We’ve also featured short miter saw reviews as well.
via Mark Hunter
- 1 Overview of Miter Saws
- 2 When to use a Miter Saw
- 3 Choosing the Best Miter Saw
- 4 Compound Miter Saw
- 5 3 Best Compound Miter Saws of 2016 Reviewed
- 6 Sliding Miter Saw
- 7 3 Best Sliding Miter Saws of 2016 Reviewed
- 8 Portable Miter Saws
- 9 Small Miter Saws
- 10 Cheap Miter Saws
- 11 Manual Miter Saws
- 12 Miter Saw Fence
- 13 Miter Saw Stands
- 14 Conclusion
Overview of Miter Saws
Miter saws are generally used for small woodwork projects, such as cutting corners for door frames, picture frames, and crown moulding.
Compound Miter Saws include blades that will move left and right, in order to make angled cuts. They also tilt in a single direction for bevelled cuts. They are extremely useful for when you require a cut in two planes, as they can make the cut with one pass.
Dual Compound Miter Saws are extremely similar to normal compound Miter saws, however dual compound saws tilt both left and right, allowing for a greater versatility of cuts.
Sliding Compound Miter Saws include the standard versatility of Compound saws, along with a sliding feature that allows the user to yield a larger cut.
When to use a Miter Saw
It’s fairly obvious when you use a miter saw, although you can make angled and bevelled cuts with a standard saw, it is near impossible to yield a clean, accurate cut. This is when the miter saw comes into play, a simple miter saw allows you to effortlessly create clean, accurate angled and bevelled cuts, which is essential for carpentry – such as running base board trim around a room, or creating door frames. They are used fairly often, and are often considered as an essential tool within a woodwork shop.
However, different types of miter saws are designed for different purposes, therefore it is imperative that you purchase the right one, for the job you wish it to perform.
Choosing the Best Miter Saw
Within this article we will be reviewing popular brands, along with our top five miter saws. Don’t always be tempted to go for the most expensive, as more often than not – premium companies will charge more for the same features that you will receive on a lower priced miter saw.
The usual guidelines to follow when purchasing a new miter saw are:
Factor 1 – Amps:
Make sure your potential new tool has enough power for what you will be cutting. More Amps usually means more cutting power. This is imperative, as while you could buy a lower amp miter saw, it will struggle and possibly burn out the motor as soon as you attempt to cut hardwood.
Factor 2 – Blade:
This is incredibly important, depending on the material, density and size of the material you wish to cut, make sure to go for a larger blade if you plan to cut harder/larger materials.
Factor 3 – Blade Guards:
Make sure the miter saw you plan to buy has a quality blade guard, as this is the last line of defence between you and the high-speed spinning blade.
Factor 4 – Dust Bags:
Dust bags are an element of the dust collection system, there are two main material dust bags tend to be manufactured with, cloth or paper. Cloth bags tend to be more “permanent” however occasionally they do let a small amount of dust escape, whereas paper bags are disposable, but tend to let less dust escape. So it’s all down to user preference, and whether you want to be buying new dust bags regularly.
Factor 5 – Laser Guides:
A laser guide is a type of laser guidance system included with many miter saws. This is primarily a premium grade feature, however is featured on a small amount of lower grade tools.
Factor 6 – Blade:
This is also especially important, there are a large variety of blade materials you can use, all with a different density, and designed for different purposes. Make sure the blade included with your miter saw can cope with the material you wish to use it with, or buy an aftermarket blade, providing it will fit.
Factor 7 – Stops:
Stops are pre-set points defined by the manufacturer, to allow the user to quickly set the cutting angle at commonly used angles. The more stops included, the less time you will spend setting the cutting angle.
Factor 8 – Weight:
Weight is also an extremely important factor to consider when in the market for a new miter saw, as this affects the portability of the tool. If you are planning to be transporting the tool between various sites, then portability is a key factor for you. Therefore, you should go for the lightest miter saw which fits all of your other criteria.
Also consider the power source, as many miter saws come in cordless variations, this creates a much larger potential for portability, and also eliminates the expense, and danger of cutting through a cord.
Compound Miter Saw
There are a huge variety of advantages to using a compound miter saw, such as:
Ease of Use: Using a compound miter saw is much easier than using a manual miter saw, as it is powered, it simply blasts through any tasks you throw at it, with little work from the operator. Even more so, they are much easier to use for creating angled cuts compared to standard saws, or other power tools – this is because they are designed to create angled cuts, at any angle the operator pleases. This allows a great amount of versatility, and also a 100% success rate, as more often than not you will be creating various angled cuts in order to join two (or more) pieces of wood together, if the cut is out by a margin of more than 1 degree, this can cause huge problems, and mean the cut needs to be done again, creating more work, which in turn takes up more time.
Safety: Many miter saws feature a retractable blade guard, this allows for a great amount of safety, which is important to everybody. The great thing about this is that it simply doesn’t get in the way, as it will easily retract when you place the saw past a certain angle, so that it will easily, and effortlessly cut your wood. Many miter saws also ship with a large amount of gimmicks and extra safety features, which is especially important, even more so if you plan to use the tool often, or over a prolonged period of time.
Storage: This an important factor to consider if the miter saw won’t be permanently in a woodwork shop, as some miter saws can be delicate, and need to be stored safely. Take this into consideration when purchasing your miter saw, as you don’t want to go get your miter saw out the garage one day, to find out that it is broken.
There are many manufacturers of compound miter saws, however we will be taking a look at a few of the most popular brands:
Evolution: Evolution are currently the #1 manufacturer when it comes to miter saws. They have excellent pricing, and also offer a huge versatility when it comes to cutting. Such as many of their compound miter saws allow cutting of steel, aluminium and wood, all with just one blade.
They also tend to sport more premium features, such as powerful laser guides. The laser guides that Evolution use are excellent, and are bright enough for working outside during the day time.
Evolution also tend to sport the higher RPM motor’s, with many of their miter saws featuring huge 2500RPM motors, and can all cut at least 6mm of steel effortlessly, like a knife through butter. Evolution are excellent at innovating, so it comes to no surprise that they are the industry standard for miter saws, with their Fury line of compound miter saws been some of the most powerful, while being the lightest in their class, and are also easy to store, due to the excellent space saving technology they used during the manufacture of the tool.
Most Evolution tools are more of a “one size fits all” type of tool, this is not a problem – however they may not be suitable for more complicated, sophisticated jobs. They usually can cut between 0 and 45 degrees at a bevel.
Makita: Makita are a great brand when it comes to power tools, from their excellent customer service, to the sublime reliability of their tools. Makita are no different when it comes to miter saws, they are simply amazing. They offer industry grade performance, at consumer level pricing.
Makita have been around for over 100 years, making them one of the oldest names in the industry, primarily focussing on power, and efficiency. This is clearly evident within many of their miter saws, as for instance: The Makita MLS100 features a huge 1500w/4200RPM motor, providing all the power you could ever need.
Makita make quality tools, that will last for years, they have a lot of experience regarding the manufacture of power tools. This is clear, as their tools are excellently balanced, and also include moderate vibration dampening material on the contact points.
Einhell: Einhell are a lesser known company, their main focus is miter saws. They make excellent quality tools, especially their miter saws. They include a huge variety of gimmicks and features, to keep every worksman happy – and to provide the highest quality of work humanly possible.
These included, but are not limited to, integrated lasers, infinitely tiltable saw heads, and aluminium work tables. All these premium features are usually featured on much more expensive miter saws, however you will receive them, in their full glory – within many Einhell tools.
The only problem with Einhell tools is their dust collection systems, they are incredibly inefficient, and the dust bags often fill up within a matter of minutes, meaning after that – dust goes everywhere. This isn’t too much of a problem if you plan to use a workshop vacuum, which many industry professionals and enthusiasts do anyway.
Another great advantage of using Einhell, is their customer support. They offer all replacement parts for all of their tools, meaning if the laser light, or any other part of the saw breaks, you can easily order a replacement direct from Einhell, and fit it yourself using their highly detailed manuals.
VonHaus: VonHaus make a huge variety of workshop tools and other essentials, from vacuums, to window cleaning tools, to tv stands, hedge trimmers and much more. Their tools are excellent for basic general work, however don’t be expecting much performance from their tools for more specialist work.
They do, however, create an excellent small, portable miter saw. While there may not be a huge gap in the market for these, they are especially handy for contractors, as they are infinitely easier to transport between sites, and also take up a lot less space than their full desktop counterparts.
Which brand is better for compound miter saws?
I believe that Evolution are the best brand to purchase, if in the market for a compound miter saw, this is because they offer a great amount of versatility for the price. They also offer a competitive amount of bevel, along with excellent support and warranty.
Along with this, they are suitable for cutting a large amount of materials with only one blade, such as steel, aluminium and wood. This is a great positive, as you don’t need to store multiple blades for different materials, which can be a huge nuisance if you plan to transport the tool between different work sites.
Talking about transporting the tool between different work sites, Evolutions product line up of miter saws are also some of the most powerful, and smallest/lightest in the industry, meaning they are great for portability if you require a full size compound miter saw.
3 Best Compound Miter Saws of 2016 Reviewed
The Vonhaus Mini Handheld Circular Miter saw is an excellent saw for the price, it includes 3 cutting blade sizes, for accurate and appropriate cutting. Along with a 2 year extended warranty, this is a great extra from VonHaus – as it ensures your tool can easily be repaired or replaced should you encounter any problems. While this tool may not be for everyone, it does fill a certain gap in the market, and does it excellently.>>Click Here to See Reviews and Pricing on Amazon.com
The Evolution Rage3 Multi-Purpose Sliding Miter Saw is one of the best miter saws currently on the market, and for an extremely reasonable price, it features excellent, robust, durable and reliable build qualities, along with an abundance of helpful features, allowing you to cut nearly anything. It can easily cut aluminium, steel and wood, making it an excellent tool, it also is supplied with a 28-tooth tungsten carbide multi-purpose blade, along with various angled/bevelling capabilities.>>Click Here to See Reviews and Pricing on Amazon.com
Makita seem to make a great quality tool, regardless of what it is. This case is no different, for an extremely fair price, you receive a quality, reliable and powerful tool. It features a 15 Amp motor, kicking out a total of 3,200RPM for all the cutting capabilities you could ever need. Inside the outer shell of the tool, is an industry grade gearbox, along with patented sliding system technology. It features 6 linear ball bearings to provide deadly accurate precision, regardless of the material size.>>Click Here to See Reviews and Pricing on Amazon.com
Sliding Miter Saw
In my opinion, the best sliding miter saw currently on the market is the Evolution Rage3 Multipurpose Sliding Miter Saw.
This is because it offers great versatility, at an extremely attractive price point. The Rage3 offers all the standard features of a miter saw, but can cut through materials which you would deem impossible, such as steel, aluminium and wood. All of this is achieved using only a single blade. The Evolution Rage3 utilises Rage technology, for excellent, accurate multipurpose cutting.
It will even effortlessly slice through wood with nails, making it an excellent choice if you work with reclaimed timber.
This sliding miter saw features an extensive collection of functional extras, such as:
- Laser Guide: This allows for an effortless, precise cut regardless of the material. This is especially important for important work, or when working with rare materials, as one wrong cut and you might not have any material left. With the enhanced laser guidance system, that will not be a problem.
- Cutting Security: The supplied top clamp, included with the purchase of the Rage3+ sliding miter saw, allows for cutting security by enabling the operator to keep the cutting material firmly in place.
- Bevel/Slide Mechanism: The Rage3+ features a huge 0-45 degree bevel, allowing for even the most demanding of tasks to be effortlessly completed, it also sports a huge 300mm slide mechanism, allowing for huge, deep compound miter cuts.
- Miter Stops: The Rage3+ also features a huge amount of positive and negative stops, at 0, 15, 22.5, 30, and 45 degree positive and negative stops. This allows for more time cutting, and less time setting up your cut.
Overall, the Rage3+ is one of the best power tools on the market right now, and is the best sliding miter saw on the market.
3 Best Sliding Miter Saws of 2016 Reviewed
The Dewalt DW715 is an excellent, stylish compound miter saw. Within the mid-range price bracket, it features a huge amount of features, along with patented technologies – such as Dewalt’s signature precise miter system. The handle was designed with only ergonomics and functionality in mind, allowing for only the most comfortable experience possible. It features 50-degree bevel support, along with an adjustable miter plate with 11 positive stops, to increase workflow.>>Click Here to See Reviews and Pricing on Amazon.com
The Hitachi C12FDH sports an attractively generous 15 Amp motor, providing ample power for even the most strenuous of tasks. When paired with the laser guidance system, these two are a deadly duo for accurate cuts. The handle is layered with elastomer compound, for increased comfort and protection against vibrations, which can cause injuries and bad cuts. The aluminium fence raises high enough for vertical crown moulding, for increased convenience.>>Click Here to See Reviews and Pricing on Amazon.com
Portable Miter Saws
There aren’t too many portable miter saws currently on the market, however VonHaus make an excellent, fairly priced handheld miter saw. It features a huge 500w power input, with an adjustable cutting depth of 2.7cm. You also receive two blades, and replacement blades are very cheap.
While you won’t see full miter saw performance within this small handheld counterpart, what you will see is excellent for the price and size of the tool. It truly is excellent for small work, such as trimming door frames and base boards.
Although it’s competitive pricing, it sports a few excellent features, such as:
- Laser Guide: Allowing for extremely precise cuts.
- Ergonomic Design: The ergonomic design allows for prolonged daily use without fatigue, this is especially important when purchasing a miter saw.
In my opinion the VonHaus Mini Handheld Circular Miter Saw is excellent, you simply cannot fault it. Obviously it will not be able to cut through large pieces of hardwood, as a full size counter top miter saw would, however it is excellent for thin piece of dowel, along with doorframes, window frames and base board. I definitely recommend this tool.
Small Miter Saws
Some small miter saws are as powerful as full size miter saws, however – these are usually at the upper end of the price spectrum. However, you can still get an excellent small miter saw, with reasonable power capabilities for an excellent price.
Firstly, what is classed as a “small” miter saw?
In my opinion, a small miter saw is any miter saw with a blade size of less than 10 inches. However, these can still be fairly large compared to smaller miter saws, such as the VonHaus handheld miter saw, reviewed above.
Firstly, you need to consider if you really need a small miter saw. As as soon as you decide you want to purchase a small miter saw, you are restricting your options. If you are not sure, many miter saws accept multiple size blades, from 8 inches to 12 inches.
For daily use, I wouldn’t recommend anything below eight inches as a blade size, especially for a counter top miter saw. As the smaller blade size you decide to use, the smaller your cutting material has to be. Therefore, it is best to go for the largest miter saw you physically can use, and transport if needs be.
An excellent choice in my opinion is the Ryobi ZRTS1143L, it sports a 7 ¼ inch blade, with a powerful 9 Amp motor. While this machine may be fairly small, it is still an excellent choice, as it has an abundance of power, with a carbide tipped blade, which is currently one of the strongest, most durable blades you can get on the market. It can cut wood up to a 2×4, along with a 3 ½ inch cross cut capacity. This tool is a fraction of the size of full size counterparts, however doesn’t sacrifice performance.
The Ryobi ZRTS1143L features an ergonomic, colourful design for comfort, along with an exactline laser alignment system, to facilitate for accurate, quick cuts. The 9 Amp motor provides up to 5,800RPM for even the most demanding of tasks.
Cheap Miter Saws
If you are on a tight budget, there are a huge amount of cheap miter saws currently available, this is great – especially if you only require a miter saw for a limited time.
Although, before deciding you want a brand new, cheap miter saw. It’s worth giving refurbished units a look, as often you can get a premium miter saw for a fraction of the original sale cost, professionally refurbished, and working like new.
In terms of cheap miter saws, one of the best is the Hitachi C10FCE2 15 Amp model. While it may not be the cheapest you can find, it is certain that this machine is of premium quality, along with a great variety of features. Yes, there are many unbranded miter saws for sale on various sites for much cheaper, however these can be a fire and safety hazard, as they often don’t feature any safety features, which can be life-saving. They also tend to use cheap motors, which will easily burn out and possibly cause a fire.
Due to those reasons, I do not recommend getting a cheap, unbranded power tool, instead get a cheaper model from a reputable brand, such as Hitachi. The Hitachi C10FCE2 sports a huge 10 inch blade, powered by a 15 Amp motor generating a total of 5,000RPM. This motor will easily provide all of the cutting capabilities you require, along with a great suite of safety features, along with features designed to make the tool easier to use, such as:
- 0-52 degree miter angle range, to the left and right for increased versatility.
- Extended Flip Fence: This raises to a maximum height of 4 inches, for cutting crown moulding vertically.
- A huge horizontal handle, with vibration dampening elastomer technology, to provide a comforting, fatigue and injury free experience.
It is for the reasons detailed above that I highly recommend this unit, it’s price to performance ratio simply cannot be matched. Hitachi miter saws tend to last a long time, so even if you plan to buy it to use for a simple project, you can easily sell it on for nearly the full RRP if you need to.
However, if this is still out of budget, take a look at our recommended manual miter saw below.
Manual Miter Saws
Manual miter saws are the cheapest of the range, they don’t feature a motor and instead use a mounted saw for the angled work.
In terms of manual miter saws, I recommend the Stanley 20-600 Clamping Miter Box with Saw. For the price, you can simply not fault this tool. It comes bundled with a high quality 14 inch back saw, which can easily be placed into any of the pre-cut grooves for angled cuts.
In terms of stops, it features 45, 90, and 22 ½ degree, positive and negative, stops. While this may not be much, it is usually enough for basic work such as door frames. The Stanley Miter Box even includes storage compartments for cam pins and a pencil, allowing for increased versatility.
All in all, you cannot fault the Stanley 20-600, it may be basic – but it’s cheap and cheerful, and gets the job done for a fraction of the cost of a powered miter saw.
Miter Saw Fence
You can purchase aftermarket/3rd Party miter saw fences for your shiny, new miter saw. These work alongside other guiding mechanisms such as laser guidance systems, to create the perfect surface for 100% accurate and precise cutting.
While these may not be necessary, they can be a helpful addition, especially if your miter saw doesn’t feature a built in guidance system, they allow you to create your own stops, at any angle for the perfect cut.
Miter Saw Stands
Most miter saws are suitable for using on a counter top, however – if a counter top is not available, or you have no space for your miter saw, you can purchase stands. Many stands include helpful features such as extension arms, or a folding mechanism for space saving storage.
Make sure you read all the features and reviews for the miter saw stand before purchasing one, as this will heavily effect the experience you have with it.
A good quality miter saw stand should be stable, sturdy and feature extension arms, anything else is an added bonus. However, make sure to think of your requirements, as many do include folding capabilities, which can be excellent, but are not always necessary.
By now, you should have found the perfect miter saw for you. If not, please go through the miter saw reviews featured on our site. Let us know if you have found one.