With its ability to make highly accurate cuts, the compact power miter saw is now a must-have tool.
These workhorses often are called chop saws because of the motion of the saw carriage when cutting stock. A key advantage of using a miter saw is that you control the motion of the blade while securing the stock, versus having a stationary blade and controlling the motion of the stock, as you do with a table saw.
Here, we highlight the types of miter saws to help you choose the right one for your projects.
Designed for basic crosscuts as well as angle cuts, a standard miter saw pivots left or right from a single point, with the blade cutting square to the table. This tool is able to make miter cuts up to 45 degrees. When using a standard miter saw for bevel cuts, you have to secure a workpiece against the saw fence at the appropriate angle.
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Blade diameter: Common sizes are 8, 10 and 12 inches. Blades that are larger in diameter make wider cuts.
Self-retracting blade guard:
Generally standard on all miter saws, a guard covers the blade when the saw is up, but it will automatically uncover the blade during cuts.
The light improves accuracy by shining where the blade will cut.
It mounts directly onto the saw to collect sawdust.
Motors with more revolutions per minute (rpm) easily cut challenging materials such as hardwood and treated lumber.
1 Skil 10-inch single-bevel compound miter saw (#26170) Motion-activated two-beam laser; two crown moulding stops to support 4-1/2-inch crown moulding in nested position; 15-amp, 4,800-rpm motor
With these tools, the motor swings left and right, and the blade tilts, allowing you to make both miter and bevel cuts at the same time. These saws are perfect for picture frames, crown moulding and any projects requiring angled cuts in two planes. Some compound miter saws can cut dual bevels, which allows you to adjust the saw rather than flip the stock.
2 Hitachi 10-inch single-bevel compound miter saw (#40806) Laser marker system; 26-1/2-pound weight; 15-amp, 5,000-rpm motor
3 Hitachi 12-inch dual-bevel compound miter saw (#157783) Laser marker system; 5-1/8-inch-tall pivoting aluminum fence, allowing for vertical cuts to crown moulding; right and left angle range of 0 to 52 degrees; 15-amp, 4,000-rpm motor
4 DeWalt 12-inch single-bevel compound miter saw (#122210) Right and left miter capacity of 0 to 50 degrees; right and left bevel stops at 45 and 33.9 degrees; 15-amp, 4,000-rpm motor
This type of saw has the same characteristics of other compound miter saws, plus an added sliding feature. It can handle wider stock when making crosscuts, improving the cutting accuracy on large project pieces.
5 DeWalt 12-inch dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw (#122915) Single-lever action, double-bevel design; right and left bevel stops at 0, 22.5, 33.85, and 45 degrees; ability to cut 1 x 16 stock at 90 degrees and 1 x 12 stock at 45 degrees; 15-amp, 3,400-rpm motor