Cutting miter joints can be tricky. When you’re making angled cuts, you want to have the best tool available. So what is the best saw for cutting miter joints? This guide will try to help you narrow things down and find the best one for you.
A miter saw is a specialized tool; it helps you to create miter joints for your angled projects by pivoting its blade on an arm. This allows it to obtain those perfect cuts to your exact specifications.
You might use it to make something with tight angles, like a frame or crown molding. With that in mind, here is a helpful guide for understanding what your options are and what you need to look for.
What You'll Learn...
- 1 No Time to Read? Here are Our Top 5 Picks!
- 2 Miter Saw Types
- 3 Types of Cuts a Miter Saw Can Make
- 4 Features to Look For
- 5 Best Designed Saw for Cutting Miter Joints
- 6 Other Compound Miter Saw Honorable Mentions
- 6.1 1. Metabo HPT C12FDHS Compound Miter Saw
- 6.2 What We Like
- 6.3 What We Don’t Like
- 6.4 2. TACKLIFE PMS03A Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- 6.5 What We Like
- 6.6 What We Don’t Like
- 6.7 3. Bosch GCM12SD Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw
- 6.8 What We Like
- 6.9 What We Don’t Like
- 6.10 4. DEWALT FLEXVOLT Double Bevel Compound Sliding Miter Saw
- 6.11 What We Like
- 6.12 What We Don’t Like
- 7 Wrapping it Up
No Time to Read? Here are Our Top 5 Picks!
*Disclosure: This site earns commission from Amazon for qualifying purchases*
Miter Saw Types
The first thing you need to establish is what the different types of miter saws are.
These saws come in three variations: compound, sliding compound, and stationary.
Which one you choose depends on what kind of work you plan to do and how often you will use it.
The compound saws have the ability to make angular cuts with multidirectional pivoting capabilities. This is most helpful when you need to create something with a lot of tight angles.
You can tilt the blade to make bevel cuts in addition to the miter cuts.
2) Sliding Compound
The sliding compound saw takes the basic abilities of the compact saw and adds a sliding blade.
This means you can make longer cuts across the wood without needing to move the saw. A dual sliding compound saw has a blade that can tilt in any direction.
3) Stationary, or Basic
The stationary saw is not maneuverable and can only handle two directions, so it doesn’t have the versatility of its counterparts. What makes this attractive for people is its low price.
They can usually run you between $100 and $200. If you are more of an “only as needed” user, this might be a better option for you.
Types of Cuts a Miter Saw Can Make
What makes the miter saw so extraordinary is its ability to make a range of cuts. This makes it extremely versatile, especially when your project calls for different types of cuts. There are three cuts these machines can handle well.
The most obvious style is the miter cut. This allows you to cut your wood at an angle, rather than just the standard straight cut.
While the most common angle is 45 degrees, many of the compound miter saws on the market can handle cutting at almost any angle.
Not all miter saws can perform this cut, so this is a feature you will need to explicitly look for. For a bevel cut, the blade needs to enter the wood at an angle.
The result is that the sharp edges of a cut are not perpendicular to its top. This is usually a decorative technique for furniture or moldings, and so it may not be important to everyone.
The standard cut is exactly as it sounds. It creates the perpendicular cut of the wood at a standard 90-degree angle. This is the cut that any saw can perform, miter or not.
Features to Look For
There are certain features you may be looking for when you begin your search, like being able to slide the blade forward and backward.
Or maybe you want to save money and go for something simple and secure.
Having a powerful saw usually means you’re going to have more accuracy and at a faster speed.
The standard amp power for a quality saw is 15 amps. The higher the amps, the more powerful your saw will be.
Especially if you are planning to use your miter saw for big projects, you will want to look for one with the ability to handle the job.
The speed of your blade also plays a part in more accurate cuts. The faster your blade moves, the more likely it is to stay the course.
A saw with a solid rotation rate will usually be around 3,500 RPM.
Once again, the more RPMs you have, the faster the saw’s rotation speed is going to be.
Standard saws typically come with a 10” or 12” blade. The size of your blade will affect how long your cuts will be in one swoop.
It can also handle bigger pieces of wood when it’s a larger size.
You may also want the option to be able to change out the blade to something that is sharper or has finer teeth than the blade it came with.
Certain saws will give you the ability to change out equally-sized blades.
How many teeth your blade should have depends on your project. When you are doing fine woodwork, you want something with more teeth.
These blades can handle precision better than something with fewer teeth.
But if you’re dealing with a project where precision is not as important and you have to cut through thicker pieces of wood, you probably want a blade with fewer teeth.
This issue matters the most when you need a saw that is portable and can go from job to job.
Some of the largest saws can weigh 60+ pounds. If both power and portability matter to you, it’s best to find an in-between compromise.
When your saw weighs less, the power is usually what has to get sacrificed.
If your saw has positive stops, it can stop your machine at preset points to allow you to quickly change out your pieces.
This feature does not come standard, so look out for it if this is important to you.
Almost all miter saws come with some kind of dust collector. As you can imagine, the dust from cutting wood can create a real mess.
Especially if you are constantly using your saw, it might be important to you that the dust collector is available and works well.
And that gives you more time to complete that special weekend project you’ve been dying to work on.
Best Designed Saw for Cutting Miter Joints
Now that you have the key features to look for, you can decide what kind of saw you’ll need for your projects.
Eliminate the miter saws that cost too much or won’t perform the work you will need them for.
The simple process of elimination will quickly cause the best options to rise to the top. We took the liberty of laying the best miter saws out for you below!
One of the best-reviewed saws across the board is the DeWALT DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw.
We found that it made true cuts without needing to be calibrated and was easy to adjust while working.
With its powerful blade, the DWS779 can easily cut through about 6.75 inches of wood.
This 12” saw is powerful with a 3,800 RPM speed rotation and weighs in at 56 pounds.
What We Like
- This saw doesn’t require any calibration, making it ready to be used right out of the box. The work comes out clean and can be easily adjusted at whatever angle you need it at. It’s also able to cut through thick pieces of wood.
- The DWS779 miter saw is beginner-friendly, but has enough bells and whistles, like the (Perfect Depth Stop feature) to please even veteran woodworkers as well.
What We Don’t Like
- If you are doing basic construction work, the DWS779 sliding compound miter saw would work perfectly for you.
But if you are doing any fine woodworking, the standard blade would have to be changed out to something with a finer tooth
- The dust collector also does not capture all of the dust, but it does a decent job.
Other Compound Miter Saw Honorable Mentions
The Metabo HPT C12FDHS compound miter is a smooth and powerful saw. It weighs in at just over 59 pounds and features a 12” saw.
The 15 amp motor has 1,950 watts of power and is designed to be ultra-precise. It has a large base to stay balanced while you are working.
What We Like
- The Metabo HPT C12FDHS is another tool that is easy enough to use for a beginner, but by no means simple. Although slightly heavier than the DeWALT DWS779, it has a powerful motor.
- The HPT C12FDHS is easy to stop and also boasts a dual bevel feature so you can make compound cuts in any direction without having to flip anything over. The micro-adjustment enables you to get extreme accuracy without removing the bevel.
What We Don’t Like
- The HPT C12FDHS can be a little harder to transport from one place to another because of its heavy size. This is often the price you pay with the more powerful machines.
- My guys also found that adjusting the vice clamp on the Metabo HPT C12FDHS can be difficult at times. In all fairness though, a lot of miters have this problem. Just nice not to have to worry about something like that.
The TACKLIFE PMS03A is the lightest compound saw so far at 46 pounds. It has a 12” blade and puts out 1,700 watts of power with a 3,800 RPM speed rotation. The laser marker allows you to make more precise cuts, making it an ideal option for beginners.
What We Like
- The PMS03A comes in at a cheaper value than some of the other saws, but we still found it to be a powerful tool that made pretty accurate cuts
- The sliding feature works well and removes the headache of having to flip your boards. The carrying handle makes it easier to transport the PMS03A compound miter saw from one job to the next
What We Don’t Like
- This machine is still heavy, so it doesn’t have the versatility of a more compact miter saw
- It also needs some adjustments out of the box that other miter saws like the DeWALT 779 didn’t require
The Bosch GCM12SD Sliding Miter Saw, or the “Bosch Glide”, is a monster saw, weighing in at 65 pounds.
It has the same interchangeable 12” saw as its competitors. It has a 15 amp motor and 3,800 RPM speed, so the power is also comparable.
What We Like
- The axial glide system of the GCM12SD miter saw allows you to control your cuts while still staying compact
- The Bosch’s namesake smooth glide is a pleasure to use. Its accuracy and power enable you to handle either home DIY projects or professional contracting jobs with ease
What We Don’t Like
- This is the heaviest machine on this list, weighing in at just over 60 pounds
- It also makes a ton of noise and doesn’t handle dust collection perfectly, but we don’t consider these disqualifying factors by any means
We here at TBSS love power saws that are versatile enough to be used for both personal and professional projects.
Well, the DeWalt FLEXVOLT sliding compound miter saw is not one of those.
However, for the purpose of education and showcasing quality power saws, we still feel the FLEXVOLT is worth an honorable mention.
The DeWalt FLEXVOLT is better suited for toward professional contract work and is not for beginners.
It comes in at 55 pounds and has a 120-volt motor. It can be plugged in or used completely cordless.
What We Like
- The DeWALT FLEXVOLT stands out from the others with its optional cordless design. The AC adapter can be used when you need more power, making it incredibly flexible
- My guys loved using it at one of the local commercial job sites
- It is versatile and powerful with a compound bevel
What We Don’t Like
- The most expensive saw on this list, nearly double the cost of all the other models
- The features and flexibility make it worth the extra money, but it is an investment and not a starter saw by any means
- The time that needs to be spent calibrating it before you start using it for your project
Wrapping it Up
As you can see, each saw is unique and has a range of features, positive aspects, and drawbacks. What works for one person may not make sense for another.
It’s not about getting the objective best saw for cutting miter joints but the best miter saw that will work for you.
Investing money in a new tool can be hard work, especially when there are so many options and each one is beneficial in its own way.
When you have all of the facts and know exactly what to look for, you will have an easier time deciding what truly is the best saw for cutting miter joints, by your standards.
Until next time, keep on sawin’!