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Best Miter Saw in 2020 –  Top Picks, Guides and Reviews

Have you ever made a picture frame or fitted baseboards and found your joints have gaps? Miter saws allow you to easily cut through laminate, timber, and some metals — and achieve precise angles — delivering a perfectly flush finish. They incorporate a circular blade that can be positioned to preset angles — providing both accurate and clean cuts. Compact and relatively lightweight — you can position them on work benches or tables.

Our Top Picks 

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Hitachi C10FCE2 Miter Saw
  • Motor: 15 Amp
  • Power Source: Corded
  • Weight: 36 lbs
  • Highlight: The 0-45 degree bevel range allows you to make highly precise cuts without too much hassle
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DEWALT DWS780 Miter Saw
  • Motor: 15 Amp
  • Power Source: Corded
  • Weight: 56 lbs
  • Highlight: Features a powerful 15-amp motor that can deliver up to 3800RPM under full load
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DEWALT DCS361M1 Miter Saw
  • Motor: 20V
  • Power Source: Cordless
  • Weight: 36 lbs
  • Highlight: Utilizes a 20V battery which delivers enough power for 183 cuts of 2x4 pine wood or 275 cuts of 3-1/4-inch pine baseboards
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Categories You Can Choose From

Basic Saws

Dual Compound Saws

Sometimes referred to as dual bevel — these saws give the versatility of both a left and right tilting head. They’re particularly suited to decorative trim work — or when you need to cut intricate bevels. Their attraction is that you don’t have to flip your timber repeatedly to cut an identical angle on the opposite side.

Compound Saws

Compound Saws

The most basic of all miter saws — straightforward to use and therefore ideal for the novice. The circular blade pivots, enabling you to move away from the usual 90-degree cuts and create joints up to 45 degrees. As they only tilt in one direction, they’re sometimes referred to as single compound saws

Sliding Compound Saws

Sliding Compound Saws

Similar to the single compound — these units have one significant difference — the width of the metal, laminate, or timber that the machine can handle. Since the blade arm sits on rails, you can slide the head forward and backward — increasing cutting capacity. Therefore, it’s ideal for more substantial work, such as oversized baseboards and furniture making.

Cordless Saws

Cordless Compound Saws

Powered by rechargeable batteries, these miter saws are ideal for outdoor work, since they don’t require access to a power source. While suitable for light jobs, such as picture frames or small moldings, they lack the heft to cope with thick materials or longer projects.

Top Miter Saws From Each Category

Hitachi C10FCE2


High Quality and Powerful Tool

Our Rating: 4.5

This particular model features a 15-amp motor, with enough power even for the toughest jobs. The miter range of the Hitachi C10FCE2 is 0-52 degrees, both to the left and right. As you can see, versatility is one of this unit’s strongest points. When it comes to precision, the 0-45 degree bevel range allows you to make highly precise cuts with ease.

The neat design features a horizontal handle, coated with a soft grip to improve control and comfort. Also, the level of vibrations is at a bare minimum, thanks to the elastomer grip. A large extended flip fence is integrated into the base for vertical crown molding cuts — this rises to four inches. Adjusting the blade is a piece of cake, even for beginners. Just set the angle by adjusting the built-in gauge.

Dust collection is satisfactory, although far from impressive. It works, there is no question about that, but it could have been better designed by making it a bit bigger. Even though the machine requires some assembly, it’s nothing you can’t handle within an hour or two, especially if you already have some experience with these tools. Always make sure you read the user manual before turning the machine on for the first time, just to make sure you know what to expect.

There aren’t many safety features, but that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. The blade guard is the primary safety mechanism, and it works quite well. Many people have praised its performance and smooth operation. The key is in the decreased vibrations and sheer power of the motor. 

Whether you’re a professional or a DIY-er, you’ll find this particular model useful, trustworthy, and most of all, efficient. The C10FCE2 is quite easy to use and the price is more than acceptable, even if you’re on a tight budget.

DEWALT DWS780


Great and Accurate Saw

Our Rating: 4.7

DeWalt is a famous, well-respected brand among both professionals and hobbyists, manufacturing high-quality tools that are precise, smooth, and affordable. It’s a great addition to your work space. It features a powerful 15-amp motor that can deliver up to 3800RPM under full load. Obviously, you won’t have an issue with the lack of power if you opt for this saw.

The DWS780 is made of durable materials. The design is pretty good. The dual bevel system is not difficult to use, thanks to the great visibility of the measuring scale. Many saws struggle with the measuring components, but this one doesn’t — it’s one of the more precise ones on the market. The safety features include a well-designed blade guard, which keeps you safe during operation.

One of the most notable things about this model is how light it is, which improves the overall portability of the saw. In simpler words, you can carry the unit whenever and wherever you want. The dust-collecting capabilities of this unit are incredible. It features an advanced system for collecting dust, able to eliminate up to 75 percent of the debris. The cam-lock miter button allows you to lock any angle with ease.

The price is what most people like about this model. It’s affordable and accessible to people on a limited budget. The only thing you might not like is the fact that it doesn’t come with an included stand.

DEWALT DWS780


Great and Accurate Saw

Our Rating: 4.7

DeWalt is a famous, well-respected brand among both professionals and hobbyists, manufacturing high-quality tools that are precise, smooth, and affordable. It’s a great addition to your work space. It features a powerful 15-amp motor that can deliver up to 3800RPM under full load. Obviously, you won’t have an issue with the lack of power if you opt for this saw.

The DWS780 is made of durable materials. The design is pretty good. The dual bevel system is not difficult to use, thanks to the great visibility of the measuring scale. Many saws struggle with the measuring components, but this one doesn’t — it’s one of the more precise ones on the market. The safety features include a well-designed blade guard, which keeps you safe during operation.

One of the most notable things about this model is how light it is, which improves the overall portability of the saw. In simpler words, you can carry the unit whenever and wherever you want. The dust-collecting capabilities of this unit are incredible. It features an advanced system for collecting dust, able to eliminate up to 75 percent of the debris. The cam-lock miter button allows you to lock any angle with ease.

The price is what most people like about this model. It’s affordable and accessible to people on a limited budget. The only thing you might not like is the fact that it doesn’t come with an included stand.

DEWALT DCS361M1


Best Portable Miter Saw

Our Rating: 4.8

When portability is important, the DCS361M1 takes the win. In fact, with a weight of around 31 pounds it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a highly portable power tool. It utilizes a 20V battery, which delivers enough power for 183 cuts of 2×4 pine wood or 275 cuts of 3-1/4-inch pine baseboards, for example.

The maximum crosscut capacity is eight inches. It’s a decent number, but far from impressive. However, because it uses a single battery as a power source, it’s a pretty good cut width. The adjustable miter detent plate features 10 positive stops, so that you can adjust and fine tune the unit with ease. Also, it’s made of stainless steel meaning you don’t have to worry too much about the durability. 

As far as the design goes, it’s quite good. Everything is within reach and pretty straightforward, so even if you’re not experienced with power tools, there shouldn’t be any major issues with this one. Remember to read the user manual, and you’ll get a better idea of the working principles of this machine. 

There are no impressive safety mechanisms, but the built-in features are more than enough to keep you as safe as possible. Needless to say, safety should be your primary concern when using any power tools. 

The dust collection feature is well designed, you shouldn’t have any issues with sawdust and debris flying around while you’re working. 

The price is affordable, but slightly higher compared to its competitors. However, it’s a well-made product from a respected brand, with an extendable warranty.Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, this unit will improve your results and speed up your projects.

Finding the Best Miter Saw – Buying Guide 2020

Before you purchase a particular saw, you need to know what to look for. Quality is one thing, but the usefulness of various features is another story. The key is the combination of high quality and functionality. In other words, there is no use in having an expensive, high-quality unit if it doesn’t meet your expectations and needs.

Different Types of Miter Saws

Compound Saw


If you’re looking to cut a variety of angles, the compound type is probably your safest bet. Jobs like cutting crown molding can be quite stressful and exhausting due to the high precision required. However, those projects are easy for a compound miter saw, which is designed for such applications.

man using compound Miter Saw

The main characteristic of compound saws is the tilting upper part of the base. The blade can tilt to a particular angle and cut two or more angles without having to move the material. As you’re probably aware, moving the wood while working on it can affect the overall precision of the cuts you make. 

Some models are single bevel, while others are double bevel. A double bevel unit tilts both to the left and right side, so you don’t have to move the wood. If you’re looking to buy a compound saw, make sure you’re considering a respected brand. These units are less expensive than you might expect and therefore suitable, even if you’re on a tight budget.

Sliding Compound Saw


The main difference between these and regular compound models is — as you may have guessed — the sliding feature. This allows the blade to move forward and back. The main benefit is the fact that you can cut much bigger pieces of wood than with a regular compound unit. Therefore, if you’re a devoted professional with a ton of massive projects in mind, don’t hesitate to check this particular type out.

One of the greatest advantages is the price of these units. Many people expect a hefty price due to the high quality of these machines, but it’s not the case. In fact, they are quite affordable — one of the main reasons why people usually opt for sliding saws is their price.

The three points you should look for are safety, affordability, and usefulness. The units we reviewed have all of these features. So, if you need to find a suitable model for your next project, don’t hesitate to check our reviews out. 

People who work with particularly wide pieces of wood love having a sliding saw in their garage. Even though it is possible to cut these with a regular compound version, the sliding type is a much better solution — this is what it’s designed for.

Avoid cheap and unknown products. They might have an alluring price, but it’s not worth the effort. Once it starts failing and malfunctioning, there’s no going back, and repairs could cost you more than a new machine.

Sliding Compound Type of Miter Saws

Cordless


As the name suggests, these units use a battery as their source of power. It has its benefits, but it also has a few shortcomings. The first and most obvious benefit is its portability. If you’re planning on moving the machine frequently, cordless units are the thing for you.

Cordless Type of Miter Saws

As far as downsides, the lack of power and battery life are the two main issues. Even though some reviewers are happy with the power of these appliances, we feel they fall short in this department. High-end cordless models usually manage around 200 cuts with a single charge, while the cheaper ones will cut significantly fewer. Either way, it’s not a particularly high number, especially if you’re in a hurry.

Cordless models are good for small repairs or quick, easy tasks. If you have a massive project in mind, avoid using battery-powered machines. The reason is quite simple — it will slow down your project. Prices are generally reasonable, however, avoid buying cheap models because they are often unreliable. Buying a spare battery is always a good idea.

Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Miter Saw

There are a few things you need to think about before opting to buy a particular model. Make sure you go through all of them, to ensure you end up with a machine that meets your requirements. Instead of relying on instinct and superficial knowledge, take a look at this guide and our individual reviews, to get a much better idea of what to look for when buying a miter saw.

Blade

The blade determines the depth and height of a cut. Usually, miter saws come with 8, 10, or 12-inch blades. There are several different types of blades, but the most common ones are for cutting wood, aluminum, and steel. The general rule of thumb is that the more teeth a blade has, the finer the cut.

As you would expect, the blade is one of the most important parts of a miter saw. Luckily, it’s an easily replaceable component. Therefore, even if you make the wrong choice, fixing the issue is a piece of cake. However, to avoid spending more money than you should, buying a proper blade is the way to go.

Brand

It is extremely important to find a model made by a respected brand. Getting no-name units is often hit or miss, and it’s simply not worth the gamble, especially because most no-name models are indeed worthless.

Conduct some research beforehand, to find the most respected brand in the industry. Furthermore, read consumer opinions about the said brand. If everything checks out, don’t hesitate to take a look at the available models coming from their factories. 

Contrary to popular belief, not all famous brands put a hefty price on their products. There are several affordable ones available on the market; all you have to do is find them.

Budget

We are all looking for the best possible solution money-wise, but you shouldn’t spare money. The first thing you should do before you even start looking is – determine the budget. Once you have a particular number in mind, the search gets much easier. However, don’t hesitate to go slightly over the budget if you think it’s necessary. 

Remember, it’s always better to invest a few dollars more if it’s a worthy investment. Avoid particularly cheap units and copies of famous brands because you’ll end up with a piece of junk in your garage. If you’re looking for high quality, you’ll have to pay for it.

Important Features to Look For

Here are some of the most important features you should look for:

miter icon

Miter

As you already know, these machines cut miters (angled cuts). Most saws are preset to adjust to different angles, such as 45 degrees. However, the important thing is — are they calibrated well?

The answer is — it depends. The crucial factor in the whole equation is the quality of a model. If it’s made by a well-respected brand, you can rest assured that it’s calibrated correctly. However, some cheaper models tend to deviate somewhat when it comes to the angle precision. 

Overall, when you’re purchasing a miter saw, make sure the angles are calibrated and accurate. It’s no use in having an inaccurate scale at the base of your saw because then you’re dealing with a worthless piece of equipment.

dust extraction icon

Dust extraction

If you’re planning on using the machine frequently, a dust extractor or vacuum is a must-have tool. The principle on which these accessories work is quite simple. All you have to do is connect the extractor to a port on the base of the unit, and that’s it. 

Many newer models do a great job when it comes to collecting dust, but a vacuum is always the safest way. In fact, we’re expecting the law to change soon, making it mandatory to use an extractor. Luckily, these don’t cost much.

motor icon

Motor

Power is something you should always have in mind. In general, the more power a machine has, the better it is. Needless to say, this is a simplified point of view, but it works most of the time. On the other hand, if you have any special demands, you might want to research the power ratios available in today’s models.

When it comes to cordless models, look for as many cuts with one charge as you can. The average value is around 200 cuts per charge.

safety icon

Safety

This should be one of your primary concerns. Even though a vast proportion of available models can be considered quite safe, there are some that aren’t as safe as one would expect. The first thing you should look for with safety in mind is the blade guard. Apart from that, the materials used in the production of the product are also important. If a unit is made with poor quality materials, your safety could be jeopardized.

Miter Saw Injury Prevention – Safety First


As you can assume, these saws can be quite dangerous if not used properly. Many people can’t wait to use their appliance as soon as it’s delivered, which is a huge mistake. The first thing you should do upon its arrival is read the user manual. Even though the majority of these machines work on a similar principle, there may be some minor differences. To avoid accidents and injuries, read the advice below, and you’ll get a much better insight into some of the crucial safety elements.

Stay Focused


One of the main causes of injuries is the loss of concentration. Many people get carried away by an outside influence, such as music or conversation. It’s an extremely dangerous thing to do — losing focus might lead to losing fingers. 

The solution to this issue is quite simple — concentrate on your work. Avoid talking to people while working — this is one of the most dangerous situations. Listening to music is quite popular among DIYers. While it can shorten the project and create a better experience for you, it’s also potentially dangerous. You can listen to music, but don’t shift your focus on it — you’re risking severe injury if you do.

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Equipment


People often recommended using gloves. However, you SHOULDN’T use gloves while working with saws. Gloves cause a slight loss of sensation in your hands, meaning there is a higher risk of injury. On top of that, even if the glove comes in contact with the blade, it won’t help you much; it will get chopped to pieces in a matter of seconds.

Earplugs are a must-have for every devoted professional, especially if you’re using the machine for several hours a day. Apart from reducing noise, earplugs also prevent debris from flying into your ears. 

Another piece of safety gear to wear is a pair of safety goggles or safety glasses. The reason is obvious — sawdust or splinters can get into your eyes without them. If you are distracted while working, the risk of injury increases significantly.

Bosch Miter

Don’t Alter the Mechanisms


Some people mess with the safety mechanisms in order to speed up their tasks. However, this is the worst thing you can do. The most common mistake among inexperienced DIYers is taking the blade guard off. We cannot emphasize enough how dangerous this is. After all, the guard is there for a reason. Removing it might speed up the process a little, but it’s definitely not worth the risk. Don’t gamble with your life for slightly better efficiency; it’s not worth it.

One other thing people tend to do is tamper with the On/Off button. Many saws feature a delay once you press the button. When you turn it on, the blade needs a couple of seconds to start spinning. A lot of novices don’t realize that this delay is intentional. Consequently, they install a switch that turns on the blade instantly. This is very dangerous — don’t do it.

Miter

Off-Hand Injury Prevention


If you thought you could only injure one hand while working, you were wrong. In fact, more often than not, the hand you’re using to move and adjust the wood is the one that’s in danger. For example, if the wood is pulled in by the saw, you can lose a few fingers in a matter of milliseconds. 

Therefore, always keep some distance between the blade and the palm of your hand. However, the more distance you make, the less stable a plank gets. Therefore, you have to find the optimal “sweet spot” for your hand. 

Some other off-hand injuries occur when the On/Off button is activated accidentally while the hand is near the blade. Needless to say, be extra careful not to catch the On/Off button if your hands are near the blade.

Conclusion


It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist; a miter saw is definitely a useful tool for many projects. There are plenty of models to choose from, but you need to know what to look for in order to make an optimal purchase. Luckily, you should have a base understanding of these units after you read our articles and check out the product reviews. Most of them are sufficiently insightful so that you know what to expect from these machines.

As you know, safety should be your primary concern. If you’re an absolute beginner, make sure you read our section about safety and prevention. It takes only a couple of minutes, but it can save your life. 

You can rest assured that all the models we’ve covered are affordable. We cannot say they are cheap, but they are a worthy investment, particularly if you’re planning to use the full potential of these units.

The key is in finding the best miter saw for your personal preferences. It might be a tough task if you’re on a tight budget, but it’s still possible. The main thing you should look for is a good price-to-quality ratio.

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