The Best Compound Miter Saw Reviews and the Top Sliding Options

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

When I first laid eyes on a compound miter saw as a kid, I remember saying it looked like something out of a Terminator movie. Today, the compound miter saw is one of the most frequently used tools in our shop, although I still do make that Arnold voice whenever I take it for a spin.

Whether it’s for cutting thick lumber, slender door frames, or even ceramic tiles, a compound can make complex cuts on all types of materials with ease.

But because of their intimidating appearance and associated technical jargon, choosing your first saw can be a challenge. So, we took it upon ourselves to do some research and present these best compound miter saw reviews.

Our Top Pick is the DEWALT DCS361M1 20V MAX Cordless. Dewalt came up on top again in the 7 ¼-inch category for its DCS361M1 20V MAX cordless miter saw.

The Best Compound Miter Saws Are:

ProductDetails
1. DEWALT DCS361M1 20V MAX Cordless

  • Integrated XPS cross-cut positioning system
  • Stainless steel miter detent plate
  • Cam lock miter handle
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2. Craftsman CMCS714M1 V20

  • 3,800 RPM motor
  • Sliding saw with an 8-inch maximum capacity
  • Bevel capacity of up to 47 degrees
  • Nine miter detent stops
  • 20V high-performance battery
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3. DEWALT DCS361B MAX Miter Saw

  • An integrated cross-cut positioning system
  • Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate
  • Cam lock miter handle for quick and accurate adjustments
  • Machined base fence for added durability
  • Precise miter system
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4. Kobalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • Lightweight die-cast aluminum construction
  • Integrated laser guide
  • A dual-slide rail system
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5. Metabo HPT C10FCGS

  • Wide miter and bevel range for increased precision for various cutting jobs
  • Large table with a vice clamping system
  • 15-amp motor
  • Thumb-actuated positive stops for quick adjustments
  • Easy-to-access carbon brush
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6. DEWALT DWS715

  • 15-amp 4,000 RPM motor
  • Stainless steel detent plate
  • Extra-long sliding fences
  • Cross-cut capacity
  • Machined base fence
  • Comes with dust bag and ergonomic carrying handle
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7. TACKLIFE PMS03A Double Bevel Compound Miter Saw

  • 15-amp 3800 motor
  • Integrated laser guide for increased accuracy
  • Dual-bevel cutting design that allows for 45-degree angle cuts on both sides
  • Extended platform with two extension rods for greater cutting flexibility and larger cutting width
  • Vice clamping system for added stability
  • Efficient dust collection bag that captures more than 70% of the dust
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8. DEWALT DWS779

  • 15-amp 800 RPM motor
  • Double bevel configuration
  • CUTLINE blade positioning system
  • Efficient dust collection system that captures 75% of the sawdust generated
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9. DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • 15-amp 3800 RPM motor designed for power and reliability
  • Dual-bevel configuration with a sliding mechanism
  • XPS cross-cut LED positioning system for adjustment-free precision
  • Innovative gearbox and drive belt design
  • Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate
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10. SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound

  • 15-amp 4,500 RPM motor
  • Laser cutline guide helps ensure accurate cuts
  • Nine positive stops
  • Table extension with left/right extension rails
  • Quick Mount System compatible with SKIL miter saw stands
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11. Delta 26-2241 Cruzer Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • 15-amp motor
  • Flip-down fence design
  • Shadow Guide cutting system
  • Dual-bevel configuration with seven positive bevel stops and reach lever override
  • One-handed front miter controls with push-button miter override
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12. Makita LS1019L Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • Large cutting capacity similar to that of a 12-inch miter saw
  • Linear ball bearing system for improved accuracy
  • Direct drive gearbox and guard system for improved vertical cutting capacity
  • 2-steel rail sliding system for a more compact design and smoother operation
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13. Genesis GMS1015LC 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw

  • Integrated laser cutting guide for faster alignment and reliable accuracy
  • 60T carbide blade suitable for various materials
  • Hold-down clamps
  • Arbor lock
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1. DEWALT DCS361M1 20V MAX Cordless — Best 7 1/4 Inch Compound Miter Saw

The DEWALT DCS361M1 cordless miter saw offers power and precision in a highly portable package. Its single left bevel configuration and high cut capacity can also handle all common cuts with reliable accuracy.

Thanks to its XPS positioning system, the miter saw has exceptional accuracy with a precise cut line indication without the need for adjustments. It also has an adjustable miter detent plate with ten positive stops to ensure your cut is at the correct angle. We also liked the cam lock miter handle, which helped us make the right miter angle cuts with ease.

However, the battery that came with the saw only has a maximum capacity of four hours, which is a bit short, especially for demanding jobs. It’s also significantly more expensive compared to similar 7 1/4-inch saws from other brands, but the performance features make up for the cost.

Specs

  • Integrated XPS cross-cut positioning system
  • Stainless steel miter detent plate
  • Cam lock miter handle

Pros

  • Highly accurate cuts thanks to its innovative positioning system
  • Large cutting capacity despite its size

Cons

  • Low battery life

The DEWALT DCS361M1 MAX cordless miter saw may cost a premium, but it does come with premium performance and reliability. Even if you already have a larger saw, we still recommend adding this portable tool to your arsenal.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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2. Craftsman CMCS714M1 V20 — Best Compound Sliding Miter Saw

Part of the Craftsman’s V20 line of cordless power tools, the V20 sliding compound miter saw is designed for portability and efficient cutting power. Its slide capacity can cut through up to 8 inches of material, while its carbide-tipped blade can cut through many materials with ease.

Weighing in at around 22 lbs, the V20 is one of the lightest sliding miter saws we’ve encountered. But don’t let the lightness fool you. Its 3,800 RPM motor can cut through baseboards and hardwoods just like a 12-inch saw. The battery is also designed for longevity, with nearly 600 cuts before needing a recharge.

The biggest issue we’ve encountered is that the slide mechanism sticks after a while, although you can fix this with a quick nudge. Also, because the saw only comes with a single battery, you may need to charge it between particularly long tasks.

Specs

  • 3,800 RPM motor
  • Sliding saw with an 8-inch maximum capacity
  • Bevel capacity of up to 47 degrees
  • Nine miter detent stops
  • 20V high-performance battery

Pros

  • Light easy-to-transport design
  • Can handle large cutting tasks despite its size
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Comes with only one battery

While not the best sliding compound miter saw in the market, the Craftsman V20 is certainly a good contender for the title. With its high portability and long battery life, it can get the job done whenever and wherever you need it.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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3. DEWALT DCS361B MAX Miter Saw

The DEWALT DCS361B MAX Miter Saw features a light and compact design for hassle-free transport and storage. This innovative cross-cut positioning system also promises improved accuracy over its predecessors

The cross-cut positioning system can cut planks up to 8 inches wide with pinpoint accuracy and without the need to recalibrate. The detent plate also has 11 positive stops for added versatility, while the extra-large bevel scale makes adjustments a lot easier. And weighing in at just around 30 lbs, carrying this saw from one job site to another won’t be a hassle.

But the thing is, the motor starts up slow, so you’re going to have to wait a bit, especially when cutting thicker material. Also, because of its size, the saw is limited in the dimensions of stock it can accommodate. We also noticed that cutoffs could fall easily into the slots and are a pain to get out.

Specs

  • An integrated cross-cut positioning system
  • Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate
  • Cam lock miter handle for quick and accurate adjustments
  • Machined base fence for added durability
  • Precise miter system

Pros

  • Highly accurate
  • Lots of positive stops based on commonly used angles

Cons

  • The motor is slow to start
  • Does not come with battery and charger

The DEWALT DCS361B is the best compound miter saw for its class, but its compact design also limits the functionality of this saw. While it may not replace a 12-inch miter saw, this tool is still a great one to have for smaller tasks.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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4. Kobalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Kobalt’s entry into the miter saw market is a lightweight, highly portable machine. It’s also got all the trappings that you’ve come to expect from a compound miter saw, including high cross-cut capacity and a dual-slide system.

At 29 pounds, this miter saw is quite easy to move around, which is an advantage if the saw is stored a fair distance from the job site. It also has a maximum cross-cut of 2 inches by 8 inches, helpful for molding and framing jobs.

On the downside, the laser guide does not come pre-adjusted out of the box. In our case, the saw ended up cutting to the left of the actual cut line, so we had to adjust it afterward. We also noticed that the saw does not completely slide back to its original position, so we had to use a leftover board as a rail buffer to compensate.

Specs

  • Lightweight die-cast aluminum construction
  • Integrated laser guide
  • A dual-slide rail system

Pros

  • Die-cast aluminum construction makes it very lightweight and easy to transport
  • Dual-slide rail system with linear bearings allows for smoother, steadier cutting performance

Cons

  • The laser guide is misaligned straight from the box
  • Slide requires a rail buffer to maintain an accurate cut

While it certainly won’t get the best sliding compound miter saw award due to its accuracy issues, the Kobalt miter saw does earn points for its rugged, yet lightweight, design and versatility.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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5. Metabo HPT C10FCGS — Best Compound 10-Inch Miter Saw

The Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10-inch compound miter saw offers the best value for the money in its class. It can handle projects of various sizes with ease and has a light, compact design that makes it easy to handle. Its low entry price also makes it a good choice for DIY beginners.

The Metabo HPT C10FCGS miter saw has a low price but great features. It has an extra-wide table that can handle large items like boards or logs with ease, while its powerful 15-amp motor is sure to make short work of them. And weighing in at just 25 pounds, transport and storage are a breeze.

One particular issue that we noticed is its flimsy base. The feet are made of thin metal, which many users have already pointed out, tends to crack, especially when tightened too hard. Also, this model only has a single-bevel configuration, which can be a hassle, particularly if you’re used to working with dual-bevel saws.

Specs

  • Wide miter and bevel range for increased precision for various cutting jobs
  • Large table with a vice clamping system
  • 15-amp motor
  • Thumb-actuated positive stops for quick adjustments
  • Easy-to-access carbon brush

Pros

  • Low price
  • Large table to work in
  • Capable motor

Cons

  • Fragile feet
  • Limited to a single-bevel configuration

The Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10-inch compound miter saw makes for a great starter saw. But if you’re looking for more durability and flexibility, Metabo offers better options at slightly higher prices.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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6. DEWALT DWS715 — Best 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw

The DEWALT DWS715 offers both power and precision in a compact and durable design. Its signature detent plate ensures accurate cuts in a shorter amount of time.

The key feature of this miter saw is its large adjustable miter detent plate. With up to 14 positive stops, the plate allows for a wide range of precision cuts in less time. It also has a miter detent override mechanism that allows you to adjust the miter stops to your desired setting without causing the saw to slip into the miter detents.

But the saw has a quirky mechanism. If the saw is pushed all the way down while cutting, it locks down in place. It can be easily unlocked by reaching out with the other hand, but it can be a hassle after doing so a couple of times. The saw motor also tends to be loud, especially when starting up.

Specs

  • 15-amp 4,000 RPM motor
  • Stainless steel detent plate
  • Extra-long sliding fences
  • Cross-cut capacity
  • Machined base fence
  • Comes with dust bag and ergonomic carrying handle

Pros

  • Makes highly precise cuts at various angles
  • Tall base fences that slide out of the way for bevel cuts
  • Lightweight design with comfortable carrying handles

Cons

  • Saw tends to lock down when cutting
  • Loud operating noise

The DEWALT DWS715 12-inch compound miter saw is great for large projects that require precision work. It’s also quite lightweight despite its size.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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7. TACKLIFE PMS03A Double Bevel Compound Miter Saw

The TACKLIFE PMS03A compound miter saw offers excellent value for your money with a professional cutting performance at a competitive price.

The motor is strong enough to cut through hardwoods like hickory, maple, and walnut, as well as soft metal. It’s also one of the few 12-inch miter saws that come with a built-in laser guide, unlike models at similar price points.

One negative thing we have observed is that the motor does a bit of a kick when you start it. While it’s not that strong, it can be tiring on the arm after repeated use. The saw also generates a particularly strong hum while running.

Specs

  • 15-amp 3800 motor
  • Integrated laser guide for increased accuracy
  • Dual-bevel cutting design that allows for 45-degree angle cuts on both sides
  • Extended platform with two extension rods for greater cutting flexibility and larger cutting width
  • Vice clamping system for added stability
  • Efficient dust collection bag that captures more than 70% of the dust
  • Soft-grip cutting handle

Pros

  • Dual-bevel and sliding design allows for a lot of flexibility
  • Lots of features
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • The motor tends to kick upon starting
  • Generates a significant amount of noise

The TACKLIFE PMS03A sliding compound miter saw offers the same advanced features you’ll find in professional miter saws but at a significantly lower price. It’s an unquestionably great choice for price-conscious buyers.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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8. DEWALT DWS779

The DEWALT DWS779 sliding compound miter saw has the same strength and reliability we’ve come to expect from DEWALT. But it also comes with even more versatility thanks to its unique dual-bevel design.

The DEWALT DWS779 miter saw comes equipped with the CUTLINE blade position system that increases accuracy without the need for adjustments.

It also comes with a pair of horizontal steel rails with a specialized clamping mechanism for even more precise cuts. We also liked the saw’s unique back fence design that allows for wide miter cuts of up to 45 degrees, critical for more complicated projects.

Something to look out for is that the housing underneath the plate bottoms out when the depth stop is not in use. The clamps also tend to flop around when not secured to the front of the saw. And unlike other DEWALT compound saws of its class, the DWS779 miter saw doesn’t have a built-in laser sight.

Specs

  • 15-amp 800 RPM motor
  • Double bevel configuration
  • CUTLINE blade positioning system
  • Efficient dust collection system that captures 75% of the sawdust generated

Pros

  • Very precise and stable
  • Allows for a wide array of angled and miter cuts

Cons

  • Does not include built-in sights
  • Expensive

While pricey, the versatility and accuracy provided by this miter saw are well worth the cost. We do recommend purchasing a laser sight for it, however.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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9. DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw

The DEWALT 12-Inch sliding compound miter saw is designed with durability and precision in mind. It comes packed with features that make it suitable for a wide variety of tasks.

Instead of a standard laser sight, the XPS alignment system uses a bright LED light to indicate where the blade will contact the material.

This feature makes cuts extremely accurate, without the need for recalibration, which is a common problem with laser-guided saws. The entire saw assembly is also quite durable due to its machine cast-frame and stainless steel detent plate.

But we noticed that the sliding rods that the ball bearings ride on accumulate dust over time. The design of the dust collection system is also a bit unwieldy, which can be an issue in tight workspaces

Specs

  • 15-amp 3800 RPM motor designed for power and reliability
  • Dual-bevel configuration with a sliding mechanism
  • XPS cross-cut LED positioning system for adjustment-free precision
  • Innovative gearbox and drive belt design
  • Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate

Pros

  • Allows for various bevel cuts thanks to its multiple stops
  • Sliding design can accept exceptionally long material
  • Highly durable construction

Cons

  • Dust collection system needs improvement
  • The plastic vacuum tubes tend to get caught on the moving parts

The DEWALT DWS780 is a tremendous all-around compound miter saw, especially for professional use. The saw’s very durable design is suitable for busy workshops, and a reliable positioning system means you won’t have to worry about calibration anytime soon.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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10. SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound

The SKIL 3821-01 compound miter saw offers reliable performance for both DIY and professional use. It comes packed with a powerful motor, extension rails, and a special mounting system to help make cuts easily and accurately.

We tested the motor, and it’s powerful enough to cut through a variety of materials, including hardwoods and tiles. The signature Quick Mount System also allows for quick and sturdy installation, although it is limited to select miter saw stands. We also liked the built-in pair of extension rails as they keep exceptionally long stock, like wood planks, stable while being cut.

One the negative side, the horizontal slide on the left side gets out of alignment when tightened. Although you’ll notice it easily and can correct it thanks to the laser guide, we did have to readjust and make sure not to tighten the locking bolt too much each time.

Specs

  • 15-amp 4,500 RPM motor
  • Laser cutline guide helps ensure accurate cuts
  • Nine positive stops
  • Table extension with left/right extension rails
  • Quick Mount System compatible with SKIL miter saw stands

Pros

  • Fairly powerful motor cuts smoothly on various surfaces
  • Highly accurate laser guide that takes away most of the guesswork

Cons

  • Limited positive stops
  • Quick Mount System only works on specific miter saw stands

The SKIL 3821-01 is a no-nonsense machine that can cut through most materials with ease. While it does not have much in the way of features, it can certainly still get the job done, especially for the price.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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11. Delta 26-2241 Cruzer Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Built to last, the Delta 26-2241 Cruzer sliding compound miter saw is designed for professional construction and woodworking applications. Its military-grade aluminum frame and heavy-duty bearings can withstand years of tough use, while the saw’s compact design makes it easy to store and transport between work sites.

Despite only having a 10-inch blade, the Delta Cruzer miter saw has a large cutting capacity for its size thanks to its extending arms. The arms also minimize lateral movement of the saw blade, which, coupled with the saw’s integrated Shadow Guide cutting system, helps maintain accuracy. The entire saw assembly is also compact enough to be squeezed into tight workspaces, which is a rarity among sliding compound miter saws.

But because the Shadow Guide system relies on the shadow of the blade, getting an accurate cut may not be as reliable under bright sunlight. Also, the extending arms cannot be tightened enough and cause the blade to droop. This issue was eventually fixed with a set of pipe clamps to hold the arm in place.

Specs

  • 15-amp motor
  • Flip-down fence design
  • Shadow Guide cutting system
  • Dual-bevel configuration with seven positive bevel stops and reach lever override
  • One-handed front miter controls with push-button miter override

Pros

  • Tough yet lightweight construction
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Shadow Guide system can be unreliable in sunlight
  • Extending arm tends to come loose
  • Depth stops have a bit of play

The Delta 26-2241 Cruzer sliding compound miter saw is a well-built machine intended for use by professionals. Although it does have its annoyances, these issues are relatively minor and don’t affect its overall great performance and reliability.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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12. Makita LS1019L Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

The Makita LS1019L dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw promises to deliver high accuracy and versatility for both DIY and professional use. It features a large cutting capacity while still retaining a compact size for easy transport. The “dead-on” ball bearings and a transparent blade guard help ensure precise cuts.

The saw starts up smoothly, thanks to its direct-drive motor. The sliding arm is also deceptively small and can sit flush into the wall, making it just right for tight workspaces.

One glaring issue we’ve had with the saw is that it cannot cut a clean square vertically. To be more specific, once you reach the end of the travel, the saw produces a tiny bevel. While this may be okay for general carpentry, this is not acceptable for projects that require precise cuts.

Specs

  • Large cutting capacity similar to that of a 12-inch miter saw
  • Linear ball bearing system for improved accuracy
  • Direct drive gearbox and guard system for improved vertical cutting capacity
  • 2-steel rail sliding system for a more compact design and smoother operation

Pros

  • Small profile makes it suitable for tight workspaces
  • Smooth and quiet operation

Cons

  • Does not cut clean vertically
  • Laser guide fixed only on the left side of the blade
  • Screws have excess grease that attracts dust

The Makita LS1019L dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw is a light and reliable tool to have, especially in workshops cramped for space.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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13. Genesis GMS1015LC 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw

Genesis promises both reliability and portability with this compound miter saw. It features a foldable design for easy storage and comes with several safety features included.

The Genesis GMS1015LC miter saw is certainly one of the lightest saws we’ve encountered for its class. It can also be folded into a compact design so you can wheel it in and out of storage with ease.

And for safety, the saw comes integrated with an electric brake system and a special arbor lock that allows for quick blade changes without compromising the stability of the blade.

One thing we didn’t like was that the clamp often got in the way of the saw motor when moved to the right, which eventually stripped out the clamp after repeated use. We also noticed that the locking mechanism for the hold-down device tends to come loose when the saw is being transported.

Specs

  • Integrated laser cutting guide for faster alignment and reliable accuracy
  • 60T carbide blade suitable for various materials
  • Hold-down clamps
  • Arbor lock

Pros

  • Highly compact and portable
  • Makes precise cuts, thanks to the laser cutting guide

Cons

  • The locking pin on the hold-down device can come loose during transport
  • Heats up easily after prolonged use

Its compact profile and portability make the Genesis GMS1015LC 10-inch compound miter saw suitable for use in small workshops or multiple worksites. It’s also precise enough for use in cutting shadow boxes, crown moldings, and small picture frames.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Buying Guide for Finding the Best Compound Miter Saws

Compound miter saws aren’t exactly hard to find in your local hardware retailer. But if you’re like us, you can easily be overwhelmed by the sizes, variations, and features available in miter saws nowadays.

The last time we purchased our miter saw, we spent more than an hour deciding on blade sizes and whether that fancy built-in laser would make our cuts cleaner than a newly washed dinner plate.

Eventually, we compromised on a 12-inch saw and a smaller cordless model, but if you’re on a tight budget, getting the best value for your purchase is a must.

We used our experience to create some tips on finding and buying that best compound miter saw for your workshop.

Why Buy A Compound Miter Saw?

The miter saw is, in our opinion, mandatory in any serious workshop. Also known as a drop saw or a chop saw, a miter saw can make both straight and angled cuts on wood of various thicknesses. These tools are typically used for cutting door frames, window casings, crown molding, and other tasks that require precise cuts at various angles.

While miter saws have been available in various versions over the decades, the most common is the compound miter saw. As its name suggests, this type of miter saw can make compound cuts in a single pass, thanks to the specially mounted saw. These miter saws can either be wired or cordless, with the same type of saw blades found in your typical table saw.

Because of its versatility and precision, the compound miter saw is often the recommended choice for both DIY and professional work. So, if you see yourself needing to make angled and other advanced cuts for your projects anytime soon, this tool is a must.

Why Choose A Sliding Compound Miter Saw?

Right now, you can find both stationary and sliding versions of the compound miters seen in shops. And, while we can tell you that, along with other compound miter saw reviews on the Internet, sliding miter compound saws are the better choice, each version has its own specific set of advantages and disadvantages, depending on the specific needs for your project.

Also called a bench miter saw, the stationary compound miter saw is the basic version that allows you to cut at more than one angle. The pivoting arm can be adjusted so that the blade can be angled to one side, allowing it to cut at two angles at the same time.

A key advantage of using a stationary compound miter saw is that you’ll be able to achieve a wider cutting arc than a sliding compound saw, which is typically limited by the length of its sliding rails. A wider arc is crucial for cutting different types of moldings, such as crowns and corner cuts.

The disadvantage of stationary miter saws, however, is that they cannot cut through particularly wide pieces of material. Many models, for instance, are limited to cutting through wood less than six inches thick. Stationary saws also need a miter saw stand to achieve a stable and more precise cut.

Sliding compound miter saws, on the other hand, feature a set of rails that allows the saw blade to slide forward and backward while cutting. This sliding version of the miter saw gives it better reach across thicker materials—reach that its stationary counterpart cannot achieve. A sliding miter saw with a 12-inch blade, for example, can cut through 16 inches of wood with ease.

Because of its design, the sliding compound miter saw is best for cutting thick pieces of material, such as fence posts, lumber, or logs. The downside of this version, however, is that they can be more expensive than a basic miter saw. The sliding mechanism can also have several moving parts that require regular maintenance.

Sizes

Compound miter saws come in various sizes, but the most common ones are the 12-inch, 10-inch, and 7 1/4-inch blade models. The 12-inch compound miter is the beast of the bunch, with powerful motors reaching 3,800 RPM or more that are capable of cutting through thick planks of hardwood like they’re butter.

These saws are typically built with a double-bevel configuration because of their sheer size and a sliding arm for even greater reach. These types of miter saws are best suited for professional woodworking as the large size of the saw blade can be too unwieldy for small workshops.

The 10-inch compound miter saw, on the other hand, is said to be the sweet spot for DIY projects. These saws have motors identical to those used for 12-inch saw blades but are cheaper and are easier to carry and maintain.

The 10-inch miter saw blades can also be interchanged with blades used in table saws and similar tools. So, if you’re in a pinch, you can just swap the blades. These saws can also support lots of features, such as dust bags and built-in laser guides.

However, if you are looking for a saw that is even easier to move around, the 7 1/4-inch miter saws offer the best compromise in power and portability. The smaller motor and blade size can limit the size of stock that can be cut, but with models weighing in at 30 lbs or less, its advantage is being easier to carry and transport.

The small motor also means it can be powered by the 18or 20-volt lithium batteries used in cordless drills and other power tools. These models are also more affordable, although the cordless versions can cost more than 12-inch saws.

Another option, if you are really on a tight budget and only need to cut stock at basic 90- to 45-degree angles, is a good old-fashioned miter box.

Usually bundled with a traditional miter saw at around $15, the miter box is much cheaper compared to powered miter saws. But unlike powered saws, miter boxes are very limited in cutting options and stock they can accommodate, so if you are looking at long-term use, a compound miter saw is still your best bet.

Ultimately, the size of the material you expect to cut using the miter saw will determine the ideal size of the model you need to buy.

If you will be cutting through lumber or logs regularly, for example, a miter saw with a 12-inch blade is a must. But if you only need a miter saw to cut through picture frames or moldings most of the time, a 10-inch or a 4 1/4-inch blade would suffice.

Single vs. Dual-Bevel

Another factor to consider when purchasing compound miter saws is whether it can do a single or double bevel cut. Typically, compound miter saws make a bevel cut across the thickness of the board in a single direction.

These models usually pivot to the left but cannot go past 90 degrees vertically. So, to make a similar cut on the opposite side, you will need to flip the board over and cut in the same direction.

However, there are now dual-bevel compound miter saws available that can make a bevel cut in both directions. This type of miter saw is usually designed so that the saw blade can be swung on either side of the wood.

For beginners or those looking for basic cutting tasks, a single-bevel miter saw is a good tool to start. These saws are lighter, more compact, and cheaper than a dual-bevel saw. And, since they have fewer moving parts, single-bevel saws are also less likely to break and easier to maintain.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more precision and flexibility in your compound miter saw, then a dual-bevel model is your best bet.

These machines are highly precise and can make more complicated tasks, such as highly detailed trims and fancy moldings, easier to do. And, since the wood remains stationary, you’ll eliminate the countless pivots and flips needed with a single-bevel saw and the potential for human error that comes along with it.

Features

Compound miter saws now come with a multitude of features that add more versatility, safety, and efficiency. These features range from the essential to the novel and can generally increase the cost of the saw.

When shopping for compound miter saws, here are key features you need to look for:

  • The power of the saw motor is measured in amps. As a rule of thumb, the higher the amp rating on the saw, the more powerful it is.
  • Compound miter saws are usually fitted with several positive and depth stops, which are factory-set points that enable you to control the angle and depth of the cut. These stops are normally placed on frequently used angles and can be set with just one hand for adjustments on the fly.
  • More expensive miter saw models tend to have built-in baser guides and guide lights. These features can be worth the price because they can greatly help in making precise cuts.
  • Blade guards are a standard safety feature in miter saws today, but we recommend getting one with an articulated guard. These types of blade guards adjust automatically to cover the blade when the saw is raised and stay out of the way of the cutting line.
  • Look for models with electric brakes, which reverse the flow of electricity to the saw motor when the switch is released. High-quality compound miter saws have brakes that can stop the blade in as little as two seconds.
  • If the miter saw will be seeing a lot of use, get a model with spindle or shaft locks. These hold the shaft of the saw motor in place when changing the blade.
  • Integrated dust blowers and dust chutes can help move sawdust away from the cutting area, while dust bags that mount directly to the saw can make cleanup a lot easier.
  • If you are willing to splurge for it, miter saws with digital displays are exceptionally easy to read and make setting up the bevel and miter settings more convenient.
  • For long planks of wood and other tall stock, miter saws with sliding and flip fences can make more accurate cuts.

Should I Buy It New or Used?

If buying a brand new miter saw seems to be too much for your wallet to handle, buying a used version instead can be tempting.

Secondhand miter saws usually go for 20 to 30 percent lower than their initial value, although there are cases where you can find one at a fraction of the saw’s original retail price. While it sounds like a bargain, a secondhand miter saw has its pitfalls, not the least of which is whether it is safe to use in the first place.

Should you decide to get a used miter saw, be sure to inspect and test if it is still safe to use and working properly. Look for a frayed or damaged power cord, cracks and other signs of damage, especially on the plastic parts.

Be sure to check whether the guard and other safety mechanisms are functioning normally. You should also have the motor tested to check for any strange odors or grinding, slipping, or rubbing noises that may indicate a worn or misaligned part.

The brand of the miter saws is another thing to look for when buying one used. Models from brands with a reputation for durability are likely to work reliably even after years of use. Some brands also offer transferable lifetime guarantees that allow you to swap the old miter saw for a brand new one free of charge.

Other Considerations

In addition to features and other specifications, here are other important factors that you should also keep in mind when buying a compound miter saw:

Compound miter saws are normally designed for mounting on a workbench for shop use. If the saw will be used at different work sites regularly, a lighter, more compact model may prove to easier to transport.

Regardless of its features, a miter saw is only as good as its blade. Keep in mind that different applications require a specific type of saw blade, so make sure to have one that is compatible with both your miter saw and project.

For wired miter saws, we recommend purchasing an extension cord along with your saw. Make sure that the cord is designed for workshop use and matches the device manufacturer’s recommendations.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for the best sliding compound miter saw that money could buy or just a basic single-bevel model, it’s important to choose one that fits not only the requirements of your project but also your budget.

We’ve put together compound and sliding compound miter saw reviews to help you cut through the multitude of options that you’ll face. Use our shopping tips to help you focus on the important features to compare.

Most of the compound miter saws sold in stores are of decent quality, but if you’re buying your first compound miter saw, we recommend that you get yourself a DEWALT DCS361M1 — it’s cordless, powerful, and versatile. Plus, 7 ¼ inches is just the right blade size for most of your cutting needs.

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