Best Compound Miter Saw | Complete Tool Analysis And Buyers Guide
For hobbyists and professional craftsmen, a compound miter saw is an indispensable tool that really makes work easy and saves a lot of time during your woodworking projects.
Compound miter saws have lots of uses and applications in the workshop. From quickly crosscutting lumber, cutting of crown moldings and decorative trim works, a compound miter saw is the best tool by a distance for the job.
A compound miter saw is a saw which consists of a mounted circulars saw blade used to create quick and accurate crosscuts or trimming of a work piece by pulling a large circular saw blade down in a quick motion onto the work piece being worked on. It is called a compound miter saw because it cuts at different angles to the work piece other than 90 degrees.
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The compound miter saw makes quick cuts on the work piece by the fast spinning motion of the circular saw blade when it is pulled down into the work piece, and saves a lot of time
One very important feature of the compound miter saw, without which the saw would not operate is the fence. The fence provides an accurate and secure working angle between the circular saw blade and the longest edge of the work piece. This angle is usually set at 90 degrees as the standard position.
Types of Compound Miter Saw
- Sliding compound miter saw
- Non-sliding compound miter saw
- Single bevel compound miter saw
- Double bevel compound miter saw
Sliding compound miter saw vs non-sliding
There are sliding compound miter saws and non-sliding ones. The sliding compound miter saw has the radial arm feature while the non-sliding one does not. The radial arm saw feature helps to move the circular saw head to and fro across the width of the board. To use the sliding feature, you have to pull the saw head all the way forward, switch on the saw and push the saw back across the width of the work piece to cut it in two.
So with the sliding compound miter saw, you can crosscut boards that are larger in size using the radial arm feature. The non-sliding compound miter saw cannot crosscut large boards because it does not have the radial arm feature which slides the circular saw head across the width of the board.
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Double bevel and single bevel compound miter saw
A compound miter saw can either be double or single bevel. The single bevel means the saw head can only be rotated in one direction. Whereas in the double bevel compound miter saw, the circular saw head can be rotated both in the left and right direction.
If you need a compound miter saw for a decorative trim work, then you have to go for the double bevel compound miter saw. When using it for decorative trim work, you don’t have to flip the board over to the other side to cut mirror angles, because the saw head rotates to both sides of your work piece.
Best compound miter saw reviews
Having learned some of the basic things you need to know about compound miter saws. We’ll be reviewing some of the best compound miter saws that are out there in the market, in order to help you choose the best one that is fit for your project.
Dewalt DHS790AT2 Flexvolt Compound Miter Saw
It is both corded and cordless. This is perhaps the greatest feature of the DHS790AT2 flexvolt compound miter saw. It is designed to work on both a 120 Volts A.C power supply, and it can also work on 2 x 60 volts battaries.
Unlike other miter saws, this one features a 120 Volts brushless motor. This is very good because a brushless motor is easier to maintain and it lasts longer than brushed motors.
The DHS790AT2 comes with tall sliding fences. This is very useful because they are able to support crown moldings up to 7-1/2 inch and base moldings up to 6-3/4” placed vertically against the tall fences
Cut line blade positioning system that casts a shadow of the blade on the material, showing the exact width of the blade and where the blade will pass through when the cut is made.
The miter detent plate has 11 detents with 60 and 50 degrees to the right and left respectively.
The 60V flexvolt batteries can also power your normal 20V max tools such as your dewalt drills and the rest tools you have that operate on 20V. The 60 volt batteries changes to 20 volts automatically immediately they are plugged into the 20V tools. I don’t know how they did it, but I think it’s very cool.
Who is it for?
The DeWalt DHS790AT2 is the best miter saw I have seen, but it’s more of a worksite saw. If you’re just a hobbyist, who needs a miter saw for little home renovations, then this one is just an overkill for you.
Though you can still get it if you’re looking for flexibility and quality. The freedom to choose between cordless and corded, and to use your miter saw anywhere without worrying about being limited by power, or the thought of dragging cables around. You can use the DHS790AT2 in the middle of nowhere.
While it is too much for hobbyist, it is the perfect miter saw for professional craftsmen looking for total control of their power tool.
What I like about it?
I like a lot of things about this miter saw. First of all, when you’re on the worksite with this saw, you’re really appreciate the cordless feature. Just get it on a rolling miter saw stand, then you can get your miter saw around the worksite. You have it where you want it. You’re never limited by cords dragging along with you.
Secondly, the saw performs the same way both in cordless and corded modes. To be frank, the first time I heard about this saw, I thought that the batteries cannot last long in the cordless mode. I thought it would be powerless and it will require frequent charging. But that’s not the case with the DHS790AT2 compound miter saw.
The fexvolt batteries are just fantastic. You can actually work all day with this tool without the batteries running down. If you’re worried that the batteries will run down because of the volume of your work, then you can get an extra set of batteries just in case.
The precision is another thing I also like about it. It is very accurate right out of the box. You don’t have to make any adjustment to it. Just set it up and start working.
Where it needs improvement?
The shadow of the blade that is usually casted on the material to show the precise position where the cut will take place usually disappears in very bright environment. Though, it’s not a big problem, but I think this is something that Dewalt needs to look into.
Apart from that, this saw is the best example of what any compound miter saw should be like. Precision, power, easy adjustments, just name it. Everything is perfect.
Dewalt DWS780 12-inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw Review
When it comes to woodworking tools, Dewalt are fond of producing the best, and the DWS780 is another one of their best, if you’re talking about compound miter saws. It’s very obvious that Dewalt put a lot of thought into designing this saw for optimal use. The saw is a beast and very reliable just as the DWS718 compound miter saw, but far better.
Although it takes up some space, but it gets the job done in a quick, clean and neat fashion. There are many improvements on this miter saw compared to previous versions of the Dewalt miter saw. Both the power cord and the dust tube now moves along with the dual slides, which makes it more comfortable to work with it. The power cord no longer hangs down from the motor, where it normally cause a lot of mess when you cutting extreme angles with the saw.
Perhaps, the most useful feature of this compound miter saw is the new XPS led system. It is very useful and far better than having to calibrate a laser. It lights the blades from both sides to casts a shadow of the blade on exactly where the cut will take place. So, there’s no guessing. You know the exact place your blade is going to shop off. It’s also very useful for those carrying out decorative trimming work. The XPS led system makes it easy for you 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
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Bosch GCM12SD Double Bevel Gliding Compound Miter Saw
The Bosch GCM12SD double bevel gliding compound miter saw is one saw out of many that will really make your dreams come true in terms of its quality. One important feature of this saw that makes it stand out is the axial glide system. The axial glide system does not use the traditional rail setup of other sliding meter saws which can get messed up and usually requires maintenance to keep working perfectly. The axial glide system also makes it possible to sit saw just against the wall of your shop, making it possible to save an extra 12” of space in your workshop. If you want to use it in a very tight garage, then you will find this feature very useful
The setup of this saw is also very easy and intuitive. It requires only minor alignment out of the box. It’s equipped with quick-release square lock fences which come aligned out of the box at 90 degres to the saw’s table, and requires little or no adjustments. The fences make use of an easy lock and unlock feature which makes it easy to slide the fence perfectly into position for easy and accurate alignment of the work piece.
The saw comes with a 60 tooth Bosh carbide blade which cuts very fast and smooth for a 60 tooth blade. The blade might not be adequate or may not provide the cut quality and smoothness required by those carrying out cabinet or furniture work. But it’s still very smooth, and you won’t have any problems at all with this blade if you’re into framing and deck building. However, you desire more quality in the cuts, then you can purchase 96 tooth Freud or Forest blade which will give you that extra cut-quality you desire.
If you going to use this miter saw then you can do well to connect a vacuum for better dust collection. The saw is also fairly big and heavy, making it an excellent choice as a workshop miter saw rather than a jobsite saw.
Overall, this saw is a top notch saw and will get the job done quickly and with great accuracy. It’s a wise investment.
Makita LS1016L Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw Review
If you’ve had the Makita LS1013, then you will actually be thrilled with the new Makita LS1016L. The Makita LS1016L dual bevel sliding compound miter saw is actually an advance upgraded version of the LS1013 model.
As competitor manufacturers are making major improvements in their tools, Makita also stepped up their game with the LS1016L compound miter saw. The LS1016 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.
One feature that may give you some a reason for concern at first is the slide action of this saw. It is a little bit rough at first because the upper rail does not travel along very well, but it smooths out after several use. So, it’s not something of a big deal.
There’s also a laser that shows you were your cut will take place, which is one feature I really appreciate about this miter saw.
The miter table and lock system of the Makita LS1016L 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.
One other feature you’re absolutely love about the Makita LS1016L compound miter saw 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 on 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 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 LS1016L dual bevel sliding compound miter saw is an excellent choice and will live up to the hype if you happen to purchase it, and it will serve you for a very long time.
Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw Reviews
Single bevel compound miter saws can only be beveled in one direction, but if you want to crosscut or bevel cut your 2”x4” and your 2”x8” baseboards, or you want to cut some crown moldings, they also do a very good job.
They’re relatively low priced when compared to double bevel compound miter saws. Hence, if you’re a hobbyist who is looking for a top notch miter saw, but want to spend little, then a single bevel miter saw will be perfect for you. Most likely, you’ll not need the double bevel feature of more complex saws anyway.
Here are some of the best single bevel compound miter saws.
Dewalt DW715 Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
The Dewalt DW715 is a single bevel compound miter saw and it’s equipped with a 12 inch carbide blade, driven by a powerful 15 amp motor which has a no load speed of 4000 rpm. That is why it is capable of cutting through any kind of framings and moldings.
The blade is large enough and thin, and the motor is very powerful to make any kind of cross cuts and bevel cuts.
It is equipped with a miter detent plate that is made up of stainless steel. The miter detent plate has 11 positive stops which makes it very versatile and setting up your miter cuts very easy.
For easy adjustments of the miter plate, it is fitted with a cam lock miter handle plus a miter detent override which makes it easy to set up miter cuts at angles different from the detent angles.
The fences can slide freely and are tall enough to support large crown moldings up to 5-1/4” and base moldings as tall as 6-1/2” vertically against the saw fence.
Bevel cuts can be made from 0 to 48 degrees to the left and the fences slides out of the way easily when making these bevel cuts. You can even slide the fence off totally when making extreme bevel cuts.
Setting the saw for bevel cuts/making these bevel cuts is very quick and easy because there are 4 hardened bevel stops at the angles which are frequently used viz 0, 33.9, 45 and 48 degrees respectively.
The stainless steel miter plate can rotated from 0 to 50 degrees both left and right.
Additionally, the DW715 compound miter saw is portable and lightweight because it’s just 42 lbs in weight. It is also easy to carry around because it comes equipped with built-in handles.
What I like about it
First of all, this miter saw is tough and it is very clear from the way it looks the first time when you unbox it, that it is something that is built to last for a long time.
Secondly, it is very powerful. Never get a miter saw that has a week motor. The motor that comes with the DW715 is a very powerful 15 amp motor that runs at a speed of 4000 RPM. It cuts through any kind of wood with ease. You don’t need to apply any pressure on the blade, just lower the saw head on the wood, and the blade will go through it like hot knife on butter.
The cuts are very clean and the precision is top notch out of the box. You don’t need to do any tweaking or adjustments to get it working properly.
The blades that come with this bad boy are pretty standard and they produce smooth cuts, but if you really want the glass smooth cuts, then swapping the blades with an 80 tooth Freud blade will do the magic.
Overall, the Dewalt DW715 is the perfect tool for a hobbyist/DIYer who’s looking for a good miter saw that will help him to become more productive and effective in his everyday woodworking tasks. The saw is complete. It’s got a good and powerful motor, it’s got the precision to go with the power, it is tough and sturdy and will stand the test of time, it also user friendly.
I think all this is what makes a good miter saw. So, if you’re a hobbist or a DIYer, and you are in the market shopping for a not-just-any single bevel compound miter saw, this is your best bet.
Where it needs improvement
Even though the saw works so well, the dust collection system is not something to rely on. More than 70% of dust still spills on the grand. Meaning the dust bag that comes with it is kind of useless. However, if you happen to have a shop vac, just hook it to the dust collector, and that will do the trick.
The machine is relatively low price considering all the wonderful features and the quality it boasts, so I don’t expect everything to be perfect.