The Best Compound Miter Saw

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Our Top Pick for 2016: DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $597.05*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Our next conquest in the “best of world” is to find the top miter saws in the market. We searched for a wide variety of them and started our testing. We cut different sizes of wood at more angles than we thought were possible. The goal was to find the miter saws that were most accurate, held up to our rigorous testing, and were easy to use. In the end, here is the list we came up with.

Table of contents

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Patented Axial-glide System
Precise Miter System
Laser Cutline Guide
Durable Precision And Compact Workspace
Handle Design For Added Portability
9 Positive Stops For Setting Common Miter Angles
Easy-to-read Uniform Bevel
Integrated XPS Cross Cut Positioning System
Table Extension With Left/right Extension Rails
High-precision Squarelock Fence
Powerful 15 Amp, 3,800 RPM Motor
Powerful 15 Amp Motor With 4,500 RPM
14-inch Horizontal Capacity, 6-1/2-inch Vertical Capacity
2 By 16 Dimensional Lumber At 90-degrees, 2 By 12 At 45 Degrees
Quick-mount System For Quick And Easy Setup

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $597.05*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOur number one gold pick for miter saws is the Dewalt DWS780 12-Inch Double Sliding Compound miter saw. This is a powerful machine that has precision technology. We believe that it will help any carpenter create the most accurate and crisp-lock joints. Here are the main reasons why it is our number one.

First of all, the Dewalt DWS780 has a powerful motor. It comes in at 15amps and 3,600RPM. It is 120 volts. Many machines have power cords that get in the way constantly and carpenters have developed unique and creative ways to secure them out of the way. With this machine, the power cord is conveniently placed through the back rail, which means it will be out of your way as you work. The design of this machine is sturdy and powerful. Any cuts you need to make, the Dewalt DWS780 can handle with ease.

Our gold pick is able to handle accuracy. It can handle cross-cuts 2-by-14 at 90-degrees and miters 2-by-10 at 45-degrees. I t has a miter 0-to-60-degrees left and 0-to-50-degrees right. Its bevel is from 0-to-48-degrees on both sides. It has a crown capacity of 6 5/8-inches and a base capacity of 6 ½-inches right and left. The cutting with this machine is fantastic. We tested out boards and miter cuts that were varying degrees, for different types of wood and the Dewalt DWS780 was easily able to get though the wood with little to no effort on our part, other than normal direction of the board. We loved the results and can definitely see someone who is a serious wood worker benefit from a machine like this one.

It also has a unique back fence that allows for extra-large boards to be cut. This special fence allows the saw blade to cut through the entire board with one stoke due to the space for the blade to continue the cut. This is a huge advantage for any woodworker who creates large furniture pieces and needs the maximum cut-length he or she can possibly get.

The Dewalt DWS780 is 54-pounds. Its body dimensions are 33-inches by 23.8-inches by 18.8-inches it is a workhorse of a machine that can handle pass after pass of detailed angle cuts. In fact, at its size, this miter saw has the largest total cut capacity of any other miter saw on the market. It easily folds down for added portability. Plus, its weight for its power is fantastic. This saw can be moved or loaded/unloaded by one person. For safety, it has a cam lock miter and a detent override system. What we liked the most about this miter saw is that it is durable enough to handle any big job, while still being delicate enough to handle any small variation in miter cut.

When it comes to precision, manufacturers did all they could in terms of implementing the right technologies. The Dewalt DWS780 has an extra-bright LED that creates a line to show the user exactly where the blade will do its cutting. This is a great tool to have to ensure an accurate cut every time. We believe that this precision will end up saving any woodworker money due to minimized issues with cuts.

As our number one pick the Dewalt DWS780 is the ultimate in durability and rugged performance. Still- it is a sleek looking machine and it’s very user-friendly. The scale used to guide cuts are high-visibility and angling the blade is simple. It locks in for safety and accuracy. Included in the package is the Dewalt miter saw, one blade that is carbide, the dust bag for gathering sawdust, a blade wrench and a vertical clamp. This definitely is one of the best machines we have ever reviewed and it is our number one pick for miter saws. If you need a precision job done, this is the machine to do it!

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-Inch DB Glide Miter Saw

Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-Inch DB Glide Miter Saw

View it on Amazon for $616.76*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerOur second place silver pick for miter saws is the Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-inch DB Glide miter saw. It’s compact, powerful and can handle delicate and precise miter cuts. Definitely test out this machine if you are testing out what is available in the market.

This is another machine with a powerful motor. This one is operated via a 15amp, 3,800 RPM. It is 120-volts. This machine was a standout because of its power, but also because of its various featured intended to help users create better quality products. For example, it has a soft-grip handle to steady the blade through cuts. The handle is ambidextrous which is an added bonus. We love convenience and give extra points to manufacturers that think of the end-user and figure out new and innovative ways to make their jobs easier. Bosch definitely accomplished that with this machine. It’s powerful, but precise.

In terms of the cuts this machine is able to handle, they are just as useful as our number one pick, the Dewalt. The Bosch has a low guard to make sure users can easily see the cut-line all the way through. It has a 14-inch capacity horizontally and a 6 ½-inch capacity vertically. The vertical capacity is where wood can ride level against the fence. The nested capacity is 45-degrees against the back fence. It also has integrated slide-out base extensions that again, bring added convenience to the machine. It can extend the supports up to 40-inches long. That’s a true benefit for woodworkers managing larger pieces of lumber and in need of a lot of support as a result. We were considering one worker by himself- this would be a perfect companion to get the one-man job done quickly and efficiently.

The Bosch also comes with special axial-glide. This is a technology that allows for wider cross-cuts and smoother glide. This is another special feature that will make your life easier. It also is very compact and allows the machine to be 12-inches smaller than its counterparts. The fact that you get a tighter machine, with the same amount of power is a huge advantage to any carpenter. In the average workspace, there isn’t always an abundance of room. Also- worksites can be cramped with a lot of things going on in close proximity. There is no issue with running and operating the Bosch in spaces with limited areas. If a manufacturer manages to considerably cut down on equipment space, this is a huge advantage.

This miter saw weighs 88.2-pounds. It is 31-inches by 23.8-inches by 22.5-inches. It is heavier than the Dewalt but its size is equitable for its power. It is silver, blue and red, which give it a stylish and sturdy look to it. It’s easy to maneuver and its measurements are easy to adjust and read. This is a saw that will take two people to carry to and from a worksite and load/unload. Still, once it is stationed where it needs to be, it offers a fantastic result and is a valuable addition to any job.

The all-metal bevel lever lock and selector are at the front of the machine. We found that this made it easier to adjust and safer since it locked in securely. The bevel allows for cuts from 0-to-47 degrees to both the right and the left. The bevel detents are at 0-, 33.9- and 45-degrees. They also are on both sides for right or left facing cuts. The cord runs alongside the cast-aluminum arm so just like the Dewalt, it is safely out of the way of working.

One unique thing about this Bosch model is that there are no rails. By getting rid of them, manufacturers hoped to eliminate deterioration. Recalibrating is also unneeded with this machine. It is precisely calibrated for accuracy and is built to maintain its settings long-term and after a lot of steady use. The entire package includes the saw, a material clamp, a blade wrench, a 60-tooth blade, a dust bag for sawdust and a 90-degree dust chute elbow that can act as a vacuum cleaner adaptor. All pieces that come with the Bosch aid in its overall function and outstanding delivery.

If you are looking for a new miter saw, consider taking a look at our number two pick. The Bosch is one of those machines that is sleek, easy-to-use, powerful and a great aid in any job.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser

SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser

View it on Amazon for $204.27*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardOur number three bronze pick is the SKIL 382-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser. SKIL may not be as well known a brand as Bosch or Dewalt, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a nod or a look. Be sure to test this one out too when you’re in the market for a miter saw- you just may be surprised enough to use it for your next project.

The SKIL 382-01 is another powerful model this one has a 15amp motor that runs at 4,500RPM. Remember that the more RPMs a machine is capable of, the soother the resulting cut will be. With 120 volts, this machine can handle a lot. If you have a small project it is perfect, but if you have a hefty one that requires multiple precision cuts, this also can handle the job. It has a soft-grip rubber handle for ease of use. It comes with two extension arms to steady the machine as you work. We liked the design of this machine a lot. Although to steady it, securing it to either the matching miter saw stand, or your own stand or table is highly recommended for accuracy and safety. Once you get it secured down, it is going to do the job just as good as our first and second pics.

The SKIL 382-01 also has great cutting ability. It has a laser cut-line which will help any user to direct accurate cuts confidently. There are 9 stops on the miter angles so you can easily adjust to your desired cut degree. Since this is a 12-inch miter saw, you are going to see some obvious advantages as opposed to it being a 10-inch saw. The 12-inch miters are more powerful because their blades are larger in diameter. This means that strength is increased and they can handle bigger cuts through thicker pieces of wood. The added blade-teeth cut through the wood easily and allow you to move through a job much faster. Not only is the blade bigger on a 12-inch miter saw, but so is the fence. That means that you’ll be able to maximize the length of your vertical cuts. Finally, a 12-inch miter saw allows you to work with larger projects and larger pieces of wood. If you’re a serious woodworker in need of a precision machine that can handle all of your mitering needs, this is a great machine to test out.

This miter saw can handle a maximum cut thickness of 3.5-inches. It has a maximum miter capacity of 45-degrees, right and left. The number of cuts you can make are less than the Bosch and the Dewalt miter saws. Still, this doesn’t mean you should count out this machine. Think of what jobs you have. If you are a professional carpenter who provides custom-builds then likely you need a top-of-the-line machine to give you the mitered edges you need. On the other hand, if you are in need of a miter saw periodically and want a good one, then this is a machine you should test out.

The SKIL 382-01 is conveniently portable also. It weighs 46.3-pounds, which means that one person can easily manage its transport, load and unload. Its dimensions are 20.5-inches by 28.28-inches by 18.15-inches. With 2-by-4 lumber, it has a left capacity maximum of 45-degrees. With a 4-by-4 or a 2-by-6, it has a maximum right capacity of 90-degrees. Again, everything about this miter saw screams portability. If you go to a worksite often or move around a lot for jobs, this is perfect. It also has a quick-mount system that will let you secure it to a table in a few seconds, and unsecure it when you are done. The entire package includes the SKIL miter saw, an extension railings and a laser for accuracy.

Overall the SKIL 382-01 is a good little machine. Remember that it is smaller than other machines and its cuts are slightly more limited. Still, if you don’t need a miter saw every time you go to work or for every project, this still might be a helpful one to use in your workshop.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

View it on Amazon for $104.21*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickOur final product is our budget buy. This is the product that didn’t make the official top-three cut, but still is worth looking at. Our budget buy in the world of compound miter saws is the Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound miter saw.

The Hitachi C10FCE2 is another powerful machine with a 15-amp motor, 5,000 RPM and 120 volts. It is a fantastic little machine that can easily aid any carpenter with their needs for a miter saw. What we liked about this one was its look. It has a silver table, with a green motor. The handle is durable easy-grip rubber for security, comfort and control. It easily adjusts to the exact cut you need as you are working with your wood.

The Hitachi C10FCE2 boasts a 0 to 52-degree angle range to both the right and left. Its fence can be elevated to a full 4-inches for easily working with crown moldings. The bevel range is 0-to-45-degrees and this allows for them most precise cuts a miter saw of this caliber is able to provide. If you are new to the world of compound miter saws, this is a great place to start. It isn’t difficult to use and you will quickly get the hang of it when you test it out.

At just 35.9-pounds and 23-inches by 19-inches by 16.1-inches, this is the perfect machine to carry from worksite to garage to workshop. It can easily be transported and setup by one person. It has a large table to give a stable guide when moving lumber through the blade for mitering. The large flip-fence was definitely a happy surprise when we were testing this machine out. It also comes with a dust bag to collect particles easily. This was another convenience we appreciated. To us it’s the little things that mean manufacturers are really listening to their potential market. They know what users want and how to provide it.

This machine is definitely a standout. It is perfect for workers who need to create crown moldings, trim, framing and other specialty-crafted wood pieces. What we liked most about the Hitachi was that anyone can easily use it. This is another machine that plays well to professionals who want an easy-to-carry miter saw that is still durable and reliable. This saw definitely fits the bill.

As our budget pick, the Hitachi C10FCE2 is a great pick. It’s small but has the power to take care of a lot of different tasks. If you are looking for a miter saw, this is a great place to start. The best thing about it is its fantastic price for value. Test it out and you just may find that this is the perfect machine for your needs, at the exact right price.


Pre-purchase considerations

When it came to pre-purchase considerations, we thought of what would bring value to our readers. We came up with the motor size, dimensions, weight, types of cuts each miter saw was capable of, ease of use and inclusions in the package. We believe that if a manufacturer was able to focus on all of these successfully, then their product was worth looking at. Here are details on how we came up with the criteria for assessment and what each means to us.

Power

Our primary consideration with miter saws was the power. We looked at the amperage, the volts and the RPM. Remember that RPM is going to dictate how clean the cuts are—the higher the RPM, the better result you get. We are all about results and put each one of our contending miter saws to the test. Repeatedly, we fed boards into the machines—different types of wood, different lengths, different miter cuts, various angles. As usual, we didn’t leave anything to chance. When we do our research, we make it a point to check every little possible outcome. We want to be the reliable source for finding the best of the market. That means that we have to put in the hours of testing. We happily do so for a firm list of bests that we are confident with.

With our miters, we also looked at the weights and dimensions. We wanted machines that were powerful, but were still easy to handle. It won’t do anyone any good if the machines can handle miter cuts, but are too big and bulky to get to the worksite. Our scoring system included power, size, motor, dimensions, weight and weight-to-power delivery.

Types of cuts/Angles

Next, the amount of cuts each machine could make. The purpose of a miter is to be able to cut angles into wood. A compound miter saw not only cuts on that angle, but it also allows the blade to be tipped upward, essentially providing two angled cuts concurrently. The value of a miter saw is its ability to cut while wood is lying flat on the table. In past times before miter saws, think of how difficult it was to come up with angled cuts on the edges of boards! Thankfully, those days of the past are long gone. Now we have a good selection of miter saws that are fully adjustable for a wide variety of miter cuts needed for woodworking.

We wanted the miter saws we chose to be able to handle right- and left-cuts. We also wanted them to have a wide-angle of cuts available. The purpose of finding the best products is to find those that are most universally acceptable. We want products that can serve a variety of needs to a wide variety of people. This is where our due diligence came in once again and we focused on finding the saws with the most amount of settings. We also looked for the saws that could handle different size of lumber. Again- it’s that universal-thing that got us working hard to find the best of the best. We believe that all four of our machines offer enough cuts to make them standouts in the market.

Ease of use

We considered ease of use. The fact is that not everyone is a professional contractor or carpenter. Not everyone has years of training to handle large intricate projects. Some people are weekend carpenters or just working on a honey-do list as best they can. They need the miter saws and what they can do, but they don’t have the time to focus on learning a completely new skill. We tried to look at our miter saws with everyone in mind. We wanted the machines that were easy to use, but not without intricate settings that professionals needed. These are the machines that can grow with a carpenter. As he or she learns more skills, each of these miter saws can serve their needs well and easily keep up with any task they need completed.

Inclusions

Finally, we considered the inclusions in the package. We want to always herald the manufacturers who go that extra step to help customers find exactly what they want and make it as convenient as possible. It’s the little things that let us know when manufacturers are truly thinking about their potential customers. Did they add features? Did they include blades? Did they think of wrenches? What about the dust bag for wood? If customers were required to come up with these things themselves, we quickly ousted that manufacturer and put another one in. We always want to champion the companies that have the buyer’s good in mind, just like we do.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

After our testing, these are the four top compound miter saws that we came up with. We believe that their power, cut adjustments, ease of use and inclusions make them the whole package. If you are looking for a new compound miter saw, take a look at our recommended ones. Likely you are going to find the perfect machine for your needs—whether you’re a professional or a happy wood-working hobbyist. We are dedicated to making our recommended lists a valuable place for you to start your searches for top-of-the-line machinery.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Chris Marshall, 10” Sliding Compound Miter Saws Tested and Reviewed, WoodWorkersJournal.com, June 17, 2015
  2. Find Your Miter Saw with Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-inch DC Glide Miter Saw: A review, MiterSawHub.com, May 24, 2015
  3. Review: Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-inch DB Glide Miter Saw, MiterSawBuzz.com
  4. SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser, ChopSawReviews.com October 18, 2015
  5. Jerry Alonzy, Miter Saw and Circular Saw Comparison Q&A, NaturalHandyman.com
  6. How to Use a Power Miter Saw, FamilyHandyman.com

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