I do understand that I gave up some capacity by not going with a radial arm – but I figured anything that is too big for this saw can be cut on the table saw. DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. Prized by carpenters for its amazing versatility, a sliding compound miter saw is also great to have in a woodworking shop. Top-ranked cuts were perfectly flat, showed no tear-out around the edges and had minimal tooth marks on the faces. Because of their slide mechanisms, these saws occupy a lot of space, on average about 40 in.
Each saw head tilts left and right to make bevel cuts, but the process of operating the bevel controls while supporting the heavy saw head ranges from simple to complicated (Photo 4). Hold-downs help with accuracy and general safety, particularly when you’re cutting large pieces (Photo 6). Every saw has likeable features, but the Makita LS1214F and LS1214L models come closest to getting the whole package right. The other saws are capable, but every one would benefit from a higher-quality blade, which would add at least $70 to the bottom line.
You should also know that locking in precise setups for bevel cuts can be challenging on all these miter saws. Photo 1: We prefer saws that minimize side-to-side play when the head is fully extended, because they make the straightest cuts. Photo 6: A hold-down that securely locks the workpiece to the saw table is a must for safe operation. This saw appears similar to the Bosch 5412L, especially regarding several user-friendly features.
American Woodworker magazine was acquired by F+W Media (parent company of Popular Woodworking) in 2014. Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years.
Any price and availability information displayed on the original websites, as applicable at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of related products.)Offer and use of product information are provided and authorized by Amazon. Compound Miter Saw with Laser features a heavy duty motor that delivers up to 4000 RPM to help you power through hard woods and tough jobs. Will I need to buy another one or rent because some places take weeks and weeks to do some warranty repair. Join us on Instagram and Pinterest to keep up with our most recent projects and sneak peeks!
For example, accurately mitering the end of a long, wide board on your tablesaw is virtually impossible, because the miter gauge is too small and the saw table isn’t big enough to support the angled board during the cut. To see if the cut ends were straight and flat, we stood the test samples on a dead-flat steel plate.

Middle-ranked cuts noticeably rocked or showed daylight between the cut and the steel plate. We prefer the top-mounted lasers (Photo 7) because their guide lines stayed on the mark through each cut. When attached to a shop vacuum, only the Hitachi and Metabo saws collected dust adequately (Photo 8). The detents for commonly used angles are solid but easy to override if you need to shave a quarter-degree.
Blade guards that fit inside the housing were more likely to hang up on the leading edge during compound miter trim cuts.
Fine woodworking demands perfect results, so a saw’s ability to cut cleanly and accurately carried the most weight in our ranking. The Makita saw’s blade consistently made amazingly clean cuts and saves you spending $90 for an upgrade. Although the miter scales are good on every saw, a readable bevel scale, like this one on the Bosch saw, is rare.
They independently switch on and off, so you can position the board without starting the saw. You can make bevel cuts from 3 to 48 degrees and miter cuts from 0 to 50 degrees for versatility for a wide variety of cuts.
With a sliding miter saw, just position the board, swivel the blade, line up the laser guide and go. The Makita saws, which are outfitted with a $90 blade, made the cleanest, smoothest cuts (Photo 2).
However, to make Metabo’s innovative system work, you have to buy a dust-extraction accessory ($35) or use two jury-rigged hoses. All the saws will cut at least several degrees past a 45-degree miter on both sides, and most go to 60 degrees on at least one side. Either the scale is too small to accurately read, the top-heavy saw head is hard to control or both. Front-mounted controls mean you don’t have to support the saw head with one hand while reaching to the back with the other to release the bevel lock.
On most saws, the bevel scales are so small or awkwardly located that it’s tough to dial in fractional degree settings.
Although this saw isn’t engineered as precisely or built as heavily as the expensive saws, it still makes most of the cuts they make, just not as easily or as accurately. I was actually was looking for a 12” Non sliding saw due to my limited space, but with the stand I can move it around to use.Do you think this is a good price for the two units and are you still happy with your saw? Ridgid R4120 12-inch Compound Miter Saw with Laser features ergonomic D-handle for improved grip and handling.
Switching from crosscutting big timbers to cutting compound miters in delicate trim takes only seconds.

Comparing the results from subsequent tests with top-quality blades installed on every saw revealed which imperfections were due to the blade (roughly cut faces and surface tear-out) and which were due to the mechanism (gaps and uneven cuts). The amount depends on a number of factors, including the spacing and location of the slide mechanism’s support rails and the number and location of support bearings (Photo 1).
Switching blades among the saws confirmed our findings: The Makita blade improved the cut quality of every other saw. When the saw isn’t in use, you can limit its intrusion by rotating the miter table to the left or right.
On most saws, the location of the bevel controls isn’t as important as the number of steps needed to make adjustments. Several saws use arbor-mounted laser guides that aren’t adjustable and only come on when the saw is running.
Making 60-degree cuts for an equilateral triangle is simple and cutting exotic compound miters for complex assemblies is no sweat. These extreme cuts tested the merit of the saw’s sliding mechanism as well as its blade. Switching out the DeWalt’s rough-cutting blade transformed that saw into a top performer. The saws from Bosch and Craftsman feature user-friendly bevel controls and adjustable handles. Cutting problems are most likely on wide boards, because the amount of play decreases as the saw head moves toward the fence. Generally, we prefer metal cursors, although some are so wide they make precise settings difficult. Both saws achieved this, in part, by dropping the blade deep into the bed of the saw so it cuts closer to its full diameter. Hitachi is a leader in power…DEWALT DWS782 12-Inch Slide Compound Miter Saw(885911334792) …routed through the rail in the back, eliminating interference with the slide. The downside of this design is that during a sliding cut, the teeth on the blade’s back edge rotate directly up into the board. If the board isn’t firmly clamped in place, especially during wide compound miter and bevel cuts, the blade can violently kick it up. You can eliminate kick-up on the Ridgid saw by adjusting its depth stop to raise the blade and change the exit angle of the teeth.

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