7 1/4-Inch Sliding Miter Saw Reviews: Best Compact Models

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

Who says bigger is always better? I love powerful power tools, but a 10- or 12-inch compound miter saw is sometimes just a step too far. A 7 ¼-inch model can provide similar performance in a more compact and portable format.

I learned that the hard way as a rookie. My boss suggested I take the 8-inch miter saw, but I knew better. What did the old man know, after all? Besides, I had a hot date – I wanted the job done in double-quick time.

In theory, I was right – the 12-inch did make the job faster. Lugging it from the parking lot to the other side of the job site, however, wasn’t fun. That was the last time I decided to play the hero. I listened to my boss after that.

Let’s stop you from making the same mistake by finding the best 7 1/4″-inch sliding miter saw on the market today.

We do love the DeWalt DCS361M1 for all that power and performance packed into such a small saw.

The Best 7 ¼-Inch Sliding Miter Saws Are:

ProductDetails
1. DEWALT 20V MAX 7-1/4-Inch Miter Saw DCS361M1

  • Capacity for 3 5/8-inch nested crown with 3 ½-inch base vertically
  • Single bevel with an adjustable degree of -3° to 45°
  • Carbide blade
  • Charger
  • Battery
  • Three-year limited warranty
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2. DEWALT 20V MAX 7-1/4-Inch Miter Saw DCS361B

  • Capacity for 3 5/8-inch nested crown with 3 ½-inch base vertically
  • An innovative cut line positioning system
  • 11 stop miter detent plate
  • Weighs 30 pounds
  • Compact design
  • Cam lock handle
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3. Kobalt 7-1/4-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • Dual slide system
  • Cuts up to 2 x 8 boards
  • Suitable for framing and molding
  • Weighs 29 pounds
  • Compact design
  • Dual-bevel system
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4. Evolution Power Tools R185SMS+ 7-1/4-Inch Multi-Material Compound Sliding Miter Saw

  • Weighs 19.6 pounds
  • Multi-material blade
  • 10-amp motor
  • Adjustable bevel tilt of 0° to 45°
  • Laser guide
  • 10-foot power cord
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5. CRAFTSMAN 7 ¼-Inch Cordless Miter Saw Kit

  • Fits with other Craftsman V20 models
  • 3,800 rpm motor
  • Capacity for 8-inch crosscut at a 90° angle
  • Will cut up to 5.5-inch materials
  • Can handle 3 5/8-inch nested crown with 3 ½-inch baseboard
  • Weighs 21.8 pounds
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6. 2733-21 M18 Fuel, 7-1/4-Inch, Dual Bevel, Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • Brushless motor
  • Dual beveling
  • Weight 28 pounds
  • 600 cuts on a single charge
  • Extended capacity battery
  • Easy change blades
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1. DEWALT 20V MAX 7-1/4-Inch Miter Saw DCS361M1 — Best 7 ¼” Sliding Miter Saw

This model comes in as the best 7 ¼ miter saw. It was a toss-up between the DCS361B and the DCS361M1. They both offer similar levels of performance and have a lot to love about them. In the end, though, the DCS361M1 won by a hair.

The adjustable bevel angle was what put this model over the top for me. That, and the fact that the battery is included in the price. I was also impressed at the power this little machine has. It’s handy to cut trim on the go and can handle some larger projects as well.

It’s expensive though, especially if you’re just a hobbyist. That said, it’s an investment worth making. The downside is that it’s a little on the heavy side. 36 pounds isn’t a lot for this type of tool, but it’s a little too high for a cordless model. I guess we all have to make sacrifices!

Specs

  • Capacity for 3 5/8-inch nested crown with 3 ½-inch base vertically
  • Single bevel with an adjustable degree of -3° to 45°
  • Carbide blade
  • Charger
  • Battery
  • Three-year limited warranty
  • Weighs 36 pounds
  • Precise measurements

Pros

  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Highly accurate
  • Three-year limited warranty
  • Great on the go
  • Good positioning system

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Heavy

Overall, this is money that I’d be okay with spending. (I’m never glad to spend money.) It’s a great product that is useful and versatile.

Overall Rating – 4.5 out of 5

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2. DEWALT 20V MAX 7-1/4-Inch Miter Saw DCS361B — Runner Up

If it’s beginning to look like I’m partial to DeWalt, it’s because I am. They deliver high-quality, useful tools. The DeWalt DCS361B is no exception. It’s a 7 ¼-inch miter saw that packs a fair amount of punch. It’s a good option for the home DIYer or the handyman on the go.

Thanks to it coming in at a lower weight than my top choice, I’ll give it the title of the best compact miter saw.

The innovative cut line positioning system makes it almost impossible to make an incorrect cut. I say almost because we’ve all got that one friend. You know the one I’m talking about – you love him, but you’d rather he never touched a power tool.

Set your cutting line, position the wood, lock the cam handle, and go. It’s as simple as that. The bevel scale makes it simple to create the correct bevel angle.

Intellectually, I understand why it makes sense to buy the battery and charger separately. If you’ve got six or seven other DeWalt lithium-ion batteries lying around, it’s an excellent way to save money.

Still, I like the feeling of something being able to work out of the box. I feel that every tool should have a battery. Leave the charger out if you must. Does it sound like I’m nitpicking? Maybe a little – I just couldn’t find anything I didn’t like here.

Specs

  • Capacity for 3 5/8-inch nested crown with 3 ½-inch base vertically
  • An innovative cut line positioning system
  • 11 stop miter detent plate
  • Weighs 30 pounds
  • Compact design
  • Cam lock handle
  • Precise measurements
  • Sturdy base fence

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Can use the battery from another DeWalt product
  • Great for newbies
  • Robust design
  • Highly accurate
  • Portable
  • Three-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Range is limited

Dig deep in your pockets, knowing that this model is worth every penny.

Overall Rating – 4.5 out of 5

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3. Kobalt 7-1/4-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw

This is a lightweight model that can be operated with or without the stand. You can clamp it to your workbench, but I’d consider buying the stand. The wheels make it easy to put away later.

It features a 7 ¼-inch blade and is ideal for quick home projects. It cuts well and will even slice through hardwood. There is a port that you can plug your vacuum into. This port is useful for cleaning up the dust.

The dual-bevel sliding system at this price range was a pleasant surprise. I was also surprised at the stability considering the low weight. If you’re a DIYer who likes to work on the go, the Kobalt is ideal.

But the laser guide is too fuzzy to be of much good. Kobalt should have just left it out altogether. Look after your blade guard, too. If you damage it, there’s no way to replace it.

Specs

  • Dual slide system
  • Cuts up to 2 x 8 boards
  • Suitable for framing and molding
  • Weighs 29 pounds
  • Compact design
  • Dual-bevel system
  • Laser guide
  • Three-year limited warranty

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Reasonable price
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Great portability
  • Durable
  • Clean cutting
  • Powerful enough

Cons

  • The laser guide is useless
  • You can’t get a replacement blade guard

Overall, this is a nifty little saw that won’t break your back or the bank. It’s easy to move, cuts well, and is simple to use.

Overall Rating – 4 out of 5

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4. Evolution Power Tools R185SMS+ 7-1/4-Inch Multi-Material Compound Sliding Miter Saw — Most Portable Model

When you first see this, it looks like the ugly duckling. It seems clunky and clumsy. Give it a chance, though; it’s amazingly light on its feet and cuts well.

The machine is very lightweight. That’s why it gets the title of the most portable model. It’s a high-quality build with all the features that you need. It’s not pretty, but it’s suitable for those operating in a cramped space.

For a 7 ¼-inch compact model, the ten-amp motor provides decent power. I’m a little torn here. On the one hand, going cordless would make sense. It would add extra portability.

That said, adding a battery would add weight. Considering the already-low weight, a battery would be a good idea. Playing devil’s advocate, being able to connect to a power supply is useful for longer projects.

But the 20mm arbor means that it’s not compatible with blades from other suppliers. I’m sure that the designers had a reason for this. I just can’t figure out what that reason was.

Specs

  • Weighs 19.6 pounds
  • Multi-material blade
  • 10-amp motor
  • Adjustable bevel tilt of 0° to 45°
  • Laser guide
  • 10-foot power cord
  • Secure clamp
  • Dust bag

Pros

  • Well-designed
  • Compact
  • Very lightweight
  • Accurate
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Suitable for a cramped space
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Can’t use other brand blades
  • Not cordless

Overall, this is a well-designed piece of machinery. Its low overall weight makes it easy to move. It’s got some good moves and is reasonably priced.

Overall Rating – 4 out of 5

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5. CRAFTSMAN 7 ¼-Inch Cordless Miter Saw Kit

I don’t know why, but my first thought when seeing this was that it would be the kind of thing Tony Soprano used. Take a look and tell me you don’t see it’s potential to chop off fingers. On a more serious note, though, this Craftsman model packs a hefty punch.

The 3,800-rpm motor provides enough power for most DIYers’ needs. The fact that it’s cordless and lightweight earns it extra brownie points. It also means that it edges the Evolution Power Tools models out of the fourth position.

The battery life is one of the best I’ve reviewed. Keep in mind, though, that the tougher the job, the more battery power you’ll use. No cordless is every going to go toe to toe with a machine plugged into a power source. This one puts in a pretty good effort, though.

What I don’t like about this product is that you have to clean the rails regularly. I noticed that dust seems to cling. This, in turn, does make the sliding mechanism more prone to sticking. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it was much more noticeable than with other models.

As for the dust bag, I don’t know why they bothered. More ends up outside the bag than in it.

Specs

  • Fits with other Craftsman V20 models
  • 3,800 rpm motor
  • Capacity for 8-inch crosscut at a 90° angle
  • Will cut up to 5.5-inch materials
  • Can handle 3 5/8-inch nested crown with 3 ½-inch baseboard
  • Weighs 21.8 pounds
  • Strong handles
  • Three-year limited warranty

Pros

  • Easy to transport
  • Durable
  • Feels comfortable to use
  • Runs pretty quietly
  • Can lock adjustments
  • Good battery life
  • Battery charges fast

Cons

  • Dust bag not effective
  • Sticks a little when sliding

Well-designed and priced competitively, this Craftsman model should earn its keep.

Overall Rating – 3.5 out of 5

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6. 2733-21 M18 Fuel, 7-1/4-Inch, Dual Bevel, Sliding Compound Miter Saw — Best Battery Life

Fair warning, before I get into the review, this product costs over $500. It’s not for the casual DIYer but aimed more at the professional. I’ve dropped it down to last on my list simply because of the cost. Whether that’s entirely fair or not, I’ll let you decide.

This is about as close in power to a corded model as I’ve seen. This model rips through hardwood easily. It’s lightweight and offers extended battery power. That makes it useful on a job site. The positioning of the dust port makes dust easy to collect.

If it were priced at about half what it is, I would have no qualms in putting this option in the top spot. As it is, though, it’s likely only professionals will find that this high-performance model worth the cost.

However, I’d have like to see the base extend a bit further. I know that keeping it compact helps with the weight. I’d have put up with a little extra weight.

If it weren’t for the price, I’d have scored it at 4.5 out of 5.

Specs

  • Brushless motor
  • Dual beveling
  • Weight 28 pounds
  • 600 cuts on a single charge
  • Extended capacity battery
  • Easy change blades
  • Carbide tipped blades
  • Adjustable fence

Pros

  • High-performance
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Blade stable and cuts well
  • The cut light makes accurate cuts easy
  • Lightweight
  • High accuracy
  • Versatile
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • The base is a little small

It’s costly but could well become an indispensable tool for professional smaller projects. I might even say that it’s the Ferrari of compound miter saws.

Overall Rating – 3.5 out of 5

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Sliding Miter Saw Buying Guide

What are the main things that you should look at when buying a 7 ¼-inch compound miter saw? Let’s take a quick look.

Consider the Weight

In a world where bigger usually better, a 7 ¼-inch compound miter saw might not sound appealing. After all, why not just go for a 10- or 12-inch model instead? Let’s approach this from a different standpoint.

If you’re going to walk a mile or two, would you rather carry a 20-pound or 40-pound backpack? Most would choose the lighter weight because it’d be less tiring.

If you’re at a job site or even finishing off a project in your backyard, you could easily walk a mile laying decking or doing odd jobs. Lugging around a 40-pound ten-inch miter saw could get old fast.

Cordless or Corded?

A cordless model is more convenient, especially if you’re at a site where there’s no power. The downside is that a cordless model can never match the power of a corded one. You also need to ensure that you have backup batteries so that you don’t run out of power.

If you’re just conducting a quick fix, a cordless model could suit you well. For a long-winded project, using a cordless model could mean unnecessary delays.

What Features Do You Need?

More features mean more weight and a higher price. Double beveling, for example, adds significant cost to your machine.

Is the added convenience worth the extra cost? Will you get the full benefit if you only use your tool once a year? Extra features are fun, but the novelty wears off fast.

How Much Power Do You Need?

Consider the types of wood you’re most likely to cut. If you’re cutting hardwood, you’ll need a more powerful motor. If you’re only cutting chipboard, you can get away with something a little less powerful.

Final Thoughts

That rounds out my 7 ¼” miter saw reviews. Each of the models reviewed above should serve you well. The DeWalt DC DCS361M1 scores top honors in terms of utility and performance.

If you’ve got to spend time making decking or finishing off trim outside of your workshop, a smaller model could suit you better. You should leave the weightlifting for the gym — the job site is the place to work, not work out. All the models I reviewed here score highly in terms of portability.

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