After putting seven saws through one hundred rounds of cutting we’ve come to the conclusion that the DEWALT DWS779 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw is the best miter saw currently around. There was a lot more to this than met the eye, however, so read on and we’ll show you how we put these saws through the test.
DeWalt is an amazing company and their sliding compound saw allowed for more manuverability, durability, and smoother cutting than anything else on our list by a wide margin.
Table of Contents
How We Selected Products
In order to figure out which saws were going to make the cut we knew that we were going to have to do some serious testing. We also wanted to make sure that we found the right saws to put through the test, because we didn’t want to offer anything which could be mistaken for a Harbor Freight special.
Our first call was to ask our resident handyman. He recommended a DeWalt model.
“Any of ‘em,” he told us, “The sliding one’s are really cool. I’ll show you how to use it.”
That made our first pick easy, but we still had to come up with some others in order to give a fair comparison. We went through online reviews and basically asked everyone and their dad what their favorite brand of saws were.
Afterwards, in order to make sure that we had something for those whose saws weren’t going to see heavy use we took to the internet to find out which of the cheaper brands people were talking about favorably.
We came up with quite a few budget brands and they were cheap enough that we tested several and decided that we’d only recommend the best one. The truth is that budget tools are fine for the most part: if you’re not intending on heavy usage.
Not everyone is just a weekend warrior, so the biggest consideration was whether or not we had saws for both the casual DIYer and the general contractor. We think that we picked the right ones in the end.
We also looked for things like dust collection, fences, and other safety and quality of life improvements. The truth is this though: never go for quality of life over a solid saw.
It’s not worth it to have a bunch of extras and a saw that doesn’t function well.
Our final lineup included:
- Three budget saws, including the Homecraft H26-260L which turned out to be the best of them.
- A single bevel Hitachi C10FCE2
- The DeWalt DWS779 sliding model
- A Bosch sliding model
- The SKIL-3317-01 to round things out with a double bevel
So we took our seven saws, enough plastic and wood to fill the back of a truck, and our resident handyman to the task.
How We Tested The Miter Saws
When it came down to it we knew that there were a couple of things we had to make sure of:
- The saws had to be easy to use
- They had to be sturdy enough to withstand multiple cuts
- They had to be big enough to actually be useful for cutting pieces for contractors
All of our saws fit the bill already so we laid out some more parameters just to be sure.
Portability was a big concern for contractors. The saw needed to be able to move around the jobsite without any real issues.
Accuracy was paramount. Many people use their miter saws at home in order to do trim and molding. That meant the saw had to come down nice and easy and also be accurate with it’s angles.
A couple of degrees off can be a big deal when you’re working with sensitive work like floor trim and crown moulding.
We had one other concern brought to attention by our saw-running maniac: we had to find some way to level the playing field since name brand blades are a lot better than generic junk.
Since we actually wanted to see what the saws were capable of we bought DeWalt precision blades that come in both 10” and 12” variations.
We couldn’t compare 100%, since some of the saws we picked were 10” and others 12” but the tooth spacing was roughly equal and they were close enough to high end blades for us to make a fair assessment.
Once the blades were in, safety goggles were on, and our saws assembled and set up it was time to get cutting.
We had to consult our handyman reviewer to make sure that we were doing things right. Miter saws are mostly used for cutting things smaller than their capacity but we managed to convince him that we also needed to rip some 2x4s.
When all was said and done we went through the following in each saw with a fresh blade:
- 10 straight cuts in plastic trim
- 10 straight cuts in wooden crown molding
- 10 straight cuts in 2x4s
- 30 total 45 degree cuts, with ten in each material
- 20 cuts in the plastic trim and wooden moulding at 30 degrees
- 10 cuts at random angles
That added up to one hundred cuts for each saw and a lot of destroyed material.
This was mostly sufficient for our purposes, but we put the sliding saws through some additional tests by ripping sheets of MDF at a bunch of angles.
At that point, we really didn’t dare get in the way of our saw-wielding maniac in order to count them. We’ll just suffice to say that neither of the sliding saws we tested had any change in accuracy when they were used to cut wider boards.
We also had him put the double-bevel SKIL 3317-01 to the test fully, by swinging the bevel in order to see just how accurate the cuts would end up.
From there we grabbed some grabbed some glue and started sliding pieces together to see how well they worked in the “real world” since our protractor and eye told us nearly all of the cuts made were good. By putting the pieces together against the side of a crate we were table to test their accuracy for both inside and outside curves.
The results were in the DeWalt DWS779 12” Sliding Saw was the best. Every single piece that we glued together fit perfectly with no need for alterations like sanding or shaving with a razor. This was true for both the smaller and larger pieces that were cut.
The best of the single bevel saws was the Hitachi C10FCE2. It was just as accurate as the DeWalt it seemed and didn’t suffer any damage during the numerous cuts that we made.
The SKIL 3317-01 turned out to be a bit inaccurate when the double bevel was used. Nothing that a couple of seconds with a razor on the plastic or sandpaper on the wood couldn’t fix but it was definite.
The Bosch GCM12SD did very well, but honestly just about everything this sliding miter saw could do… the DeWalt did better. We don’t think anyone would be disappointed with it, but it’s not quite as smooth.
Finally, one of our budget saws broke during testing and the other performed so subparly that we won’t mention it by name. You get what you pay for after all.
Of the three the Homecraft H26-260L was undoubtedly the best, and it would make a fine addition to the workshop of someone who didn’t need their miter saw for work.
None of the saws we left on our list had any durability problems despite the strain of the day, so we feel confident recommending that you decide which is best suited to your needs rather than just taking our word for it.
Top 5 Best Miter Saw Reviews
|Name||Saw Type||Maximum Capacity|
|DEWALT DWS779 12″ Sliding||Sliding Compound Miter Saw||16” @ 90°||Check Price|
|Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-Inch||Sliding Compound Miter Saw||14” @ 90°||Check Price|
|Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch||Single Bevel Compound Saw||5 ½” @ 90°||Check Price|
|SKIL 3317-01 10-Inch||Double Bevel Compound Saw||5 ½” @ 90°||Check Price|
|Homecraft H26-260L 10-Inch||Single Bevel Compound Saw||5 ½” @ 90°||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Miter Saw
DEWALT DWS779 12" Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
“You guys are letting me keep this one, right?”
Those were the first words out of our tester’s mouth, shortly after he’d made the second cut.
The nested fence will allow you to make short work of molding tasks up to 7 ½” tall as well, this is truly a beast of a saw.
The first thing our tester noted, once he got over the excitement of unboxing it was how smooth and easy the action works. It’s butter smooth and the high powered motor barely noticed any of the materials which we put through it.
The dust collection system here isn’t a gimmick either, it’ll snag up to 75% of the saw dust created by your cut in ideal conditions and still make a dent in your clean up time when things aren’t perfect.
What most people don’t realize about the DWS779 is that it’s actually a complete version of the best saw that DeWalt produces, the almost legendary DWS780, minus the guide light.
Unfortunately, the newer versions of the DWS779 also lack the attachments for the light, but it’s also a couple of hundred dollars cheaper and an aftermarket laser can make up for the difference at a fraction of the price.
The entire saw is a fantastic piece of work. While the Bosch we reviewed comes close, the difference is readily apparent when the saw is running.
There is one thing: while it wasn’t an issue during our testing this saw is most likely to spend it’s life in a dedicated workbench saw. It’s extremely heavy and we can’t imagine lugging it to job sites on a regular basis.
If you want the absolute top of the line, you won’t be disappointed with the DWS779. The price reflects the value, but it’ll make your DIY life a whole lot easier.
- Smooth sliding mechanism allows you to cut out to 16”
- Double bevel
- Amazing build quality
- 12” blade takes both 5/8” and 1” arbors
- Amazingly smooth cut
- Too heavy to really be considered “mobile”
2. Best Jobsite Miter Saw
Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-Inch DB Glide Miter Saw
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
Combine the incredible power of the DeWalt with a little bit more portability and you’re on the right track for what this Bosch is capable of.
Everyone was impressed with it’s power, it cut through even the thick 2×4 and 2×6 MDF sections we laid in front of it with a surprising amount of ease. It’s also dead-on accurate, possibly more so than even the DeWalt.
The unique Glide ability means that you can move the blade back and forth without anything extending over the back of the footprint of the piece. This makes it great for those limited on space in their workshop or who find themselves in cramped quarters on job sites.
It’s a precise, powerful tool, make no mistakes.
The only area it’s truly lacking in is the fact that it doesn’t come with a laser sight from the factory. If you’re willing to shell out the money to pay for this saw, however, the sight of your choice is probably easily within your reach.
Apart from the unique “arm” for the slide, this saw features a double bevel and a vacuum port to allow you to pick up most of the dust generated during its use. The double bevel here was incredibly accurate.
There’s also a depth stop, so you can use it to make dado cuts if you opt to pick up the blade to do it with. It’s not of much use on job sites but for those who like to fabricate with wood it’s a great idea.
It’s not quite as smooth in action as the DeWalt but the whole setup is a little bit more agile. Whether or not you think that the huge jump in price is worth it, however, is largely going to depend on whether or not you’re planning on taking your saw with you for work.
This is an expensive, professional quality saw that’s ideal for both the jobsite and smaller workshops. Pick it up if you can afford it and the accessories you’ll need to be able to maximize its usage.
- Depth stop
- Great build quality
- 12” sliding blade with a double bevel
- Unique slide allows it to be used anywhere it fits
- Vacuum port
- Quite heavy
3. Best Miter Saw for Lefties
SKIL 3317-01 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
We were pretty excited to see the double bevel here in action, but our handyman wasn’t quite as impressed. When it came down to it, however, it’s a great saw for saving time.
Don’t take us wrong here, it’s a solid piece of work but the main draw for most people is the fact that it’s hard to find a saw at this price that comes with a double bevel.
For lefties and anyone who doesn’t want to spend a bunch of time flipping their workpiece over that’s a double bonus.
It also has a laser guide to keep you on target and it’s designed to be used easily by people with either hand orientation with a dual lock-off switch.
The fence will allow you to clamp pieces to it as well, so you don’t have to get your hands anywhere near the blade as you bring it down. This makes it ideal for molding and trim which have a tendency to move around a bit much.
The build quality is only middling, unfortunately, so you probably shouldn’t pick this one up if you’re planning on cutting 2x4s seven days a week. Our tester described it as a “hobbyist saw” with a slightly disparaging tone.
Be that as it may, it was still working after the extensive tests that we put it through and we think it’s probably the best option for left-handed people. It can save hassle for righties as well, just be prepared to spend a little bit of time making sure the work is 100% on if you’re a perfectionist.
Where this saw absolutely shines is as a cheap and easy way to get the angles you need for trim jobs without any of the hassle you’d have to deal with using a single bevel saw. It’s not robust enough for most job sites however.
- Double bevel
- Made for usage for both left and right handed people
- Fence clamps included
- Laser sight
- Quick mount system
- Middling build quality
- Laser sight is mediocre
4. Best Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
The Hitachi C10FCE2 is a powerful compound miter saw with a single bevel and a great laser guide to ensure that you make accurate and clean cuts.
Our tester noted that while the laser was quite nice the whole saw wasn’t as accurate as our favorite sliding miter saws. We didn’t have any difficulty putting together the pieces during our testing but our handyman has quite a bit of experience using this kind of tool so your results may differ.
He noted it’d make a great jobsite saw since it weighs a little bit over 25lbs and he was able to lug it around pretty easily. That’s definitely not a bad thing for those whose work doesn’t require compound cuts.
The dust bag was… there. That’s about all we can say about it, the dust collection assembly on this saw ended up being fairly worthless.
The center of the table is also plastic, which we were assured would make cutting metal a bad idea.
It’s a horse of a saw and certainly a good start for those who are just building their tool sets up.
This is a solid, dependable saw that will give you the best value for your dollar. For weekend warriors it’ll provide all the value needed for most around the house projects without sacrificing too much in the way of quality.
- Precise laser sight
- Well-built plastic casing
- Extra high fence
- Single bevel
- Great value for the money
- Instructions aren’t great
- Center of the table is plastic
5. Best Budget Miter Saw
Homecraft H26-260L 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
The Homecraft H26-260L is the perfect miter saw for the beginning home handyman who isn’t planning on heavy usage.
It’s cheap and lightweight, and still allows you quite a bit of performance. At least that’s what we gathered in between our tester comparing it to the name brand saws which we tried first.
The 10” saw blade is suitable for most purposes and the single bevel still allows you to make compound cuts although you’ll have to flip the workpiece around on occasion.
It has a cheap laser sight which will make work quite a bit easier, although it’s not as exact as some of the more expensive models out there. This sight takes separate batteries from the main power source of the saw and the AAA batteries weren’t included, much to our dismay.
It has a sawdust collection bag attached which sucks up some of the dust, but don’t expect it to nab everything. It still worked better than the Hitachi’s which seemed mostly for show.
It also features an electric brake which helps to slow the saw blade down more quickly after you’ve let off the trigger. It’s a little safety feature, and your fingers absolutely shouldn’t be anywhere near the blade anyways but every little bit can help if you get forgetful.
We found it suffered from the lower price. While the motor running the saw was powerful the rest of it was of middling-to-okay quality. It’s definitely a budget saw, but it made it through our test of one hundred cuts without slowing down.
The accuracy left some to be desired. We attempted to put together ten pieces of trim which we cut with the saw, and eight of them needed some level of modification to make the fit “good enough” for our tester’s eye.
For a beginner on a budget, this is a great saw to use but experienced DIY craftsmen or those who plan on using it will be better served with something a little bit more expensive. Get a razor knife if you’re planning on using it for trim, you can thank us later.
- Powerful saw chops cleanly
- Light and portable
- Single bevel for compound cuts
- Laser guide
- Mediocre build quality
- Sawdust catch isn’t up to par
Who Needs a Miter Saw?
Not everyone needs a miter saw around the house, but if you frequently work with wood then they’re great to have.
Most carpentry projects involve some amount of angling, whether you’re framing up a shed or putting in trim. Your only real options for precise cuts are a miter box or a miter saw.
We much prefer miter saws for the most part. Our tester revealed that he’ll bring along his for a job anytime he needs to make more than eight cuts, even if he has to dolly it out to the truck and drag the old workhorse up into the bed.
They can also serve the same function as a chop saw or circular saw when it comes to making straight cuts in materials. 2x4s in particular can be handled with either a 10” or a 12” blade and a 12” blade can make short work of 4x4s as well.
Basically, if you fancy doing some serious carpentry then a miter saw will save a lot of time as well as making sure that you’re able to quickly produce cuts.
Our tester is rather practiced due to his line of work, but it was pretty amazing to see in person what a person skilled with a miter saw can do in a short period. Remember that we made over seven hundred cuts with seven different saws.
All of this was done over the course of less than ten hours. While a newbie can’t expect to make that kind of speed, you can expect at best to make around twenty cuts per hour with a miter box in thin material as opposed to many times that with a miter saw.
However, those who are primarily ripping apart larger sheets of wood will be better served with a table saw, especially one which has a tilt function since you’ll still be able to do basic, if less precise, angling with one.
What Am I Looking For?
Like every other tool on the market, it can be hard to decide just what you need to look for in a miter saw. The natural inclination is to just fit things into your budget, but you should instead envision the projects you’ll be performing with it and keep the following qualities in mind.
Single bevel saws are cheap, but they have some drawbacks. Since the blade only tilts to one side you can end up having a hard time working with pieces that need to be flipped over frequently.
For trim and molding, a double bevel saw can save you a lot of time. By allowing you to make the angles you need with each cut instead of having to reposition the piece you’re in good hands.
Compound saws are best for serious lumber work. While they come at a higher cost, they really are best if you’re planning on cutting wide pieces of wood for decks and other actualy construction purposes.
10” blades are cheaper, but they won’t cut as wide. You’ll be able to get about 5 ½” without a slide using a 10” blade. They’re quite a bit cheaper than their bigger cousins, however, and the saws are generally much smaller and lighter.
12” blades should be used for “workhorse” purposes. With one of these you can make short work of much larger material in both dimensions of the cutting surface. This makes them ideal for large products. Unlike with some types of saw, you really don’t lose any precision with a larger blade either.
That said, they are more expensive when it comes time to replace them or if you need to switch them out frequently for different materials.
Tall fencing is ideal for trim and moulding. Really, a taller fence is a good feature in most cases but if you’re planning on mostly working with taller pieces then this might be your go-to feature.
A lower one is fine for cutting lumber, however, since the thicker pieces will generally be laid flat rather than on end.
This is where the differences in a saw can shine.
Laser guides allow for quick and accurate cuts, but they’re not required by any means. If you’re worried about precision, then you can actually pull the saw blade down without engaging the motor and touch it to where you’ve made your mark to make sure you’re positioned correctly.
We were kind of surprised to note that our more expensive options didn’t come with lasers. Whether that’s a ploy to sell more aftermarket lasers or just because those who are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a saw can generally do without is a question we don’t know the answer to.
Depth stops are great for dados, but add a lot of expense to the saw.
If you’re not planning on cutting joinery with your miter saw then they’re really not needed. In any case, routers and table saws are often a much more versatile choice for those who are cutting joinery.
Slides will add a lot to the cost of the saw. Sliding saws are simply much more expensive than simpler ones due to the added mechanisms needed to make them smooth and useful. The fact is, however, if you’re cutting lumber then the slide is indispensable.
Other than that, you’ll want to get the best saw you can afford in most cases, but match it to your needs rather than just your budget for the best results.
Miter saws are a great piece of hardware to add to your home workshop and they’ll make formerly complicated cuts an absolute breeze. Make the investment in the one that you think is right for you, rather than looking too hard at the price tag, and you’re likely to end up with something that’ll help you make formerly frustrating cuts downright enjoyable.