Fresh off our best 12-inch miter saw reviews article, we wanted to get our readers a more comprehensive guide to the best miter saws…period.
While cordless tools may rule the roost in many circles, miter saws largely remain popular as corded solutions. Still, newer cordless models seem like they may start gaining mainstream popularity. They certainly are in our shop!
We’ve reviewed, tested, and “driven” dozens of miter saws over the years. Choosing the best miter saw means looking at performance & power, cut quality, accuracy, features, and value. As usual, we gathered together some of our Pros to do the testing so we could make some solid recommendations.
Unlike your kid’s Little League team, not everybody gets a trophy. If you see a best miter saw recommendation here, it means we really do recommend it. Just pay attention to the applications and purposes we suggest along the way.
Blade Recommendation: If you only plan to cut lumber, the stock blade might be fine. However, for most trim and finish carpentry use, we recommend going with an upgraded miter saw blade. Look for a higher tooth count so you get nice, smooth cut edges.
Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Bosch GCM12SD Axial Glide Miter Saw
The Bosch GSM12SD Axial Glide miter saw provided the smoothest cutting we’d ever experienced thanks in large part to its axial glide system rather than standard rails.
Our best compound miter saw launched way back in 2010. It still beats nearly every other saw we’ve used for tall standing crown cuts and vertical base clearance. Bosch still makes this sliding miter saw and its newest models seem to focus on more maneuverable 8.5-inch saws. Those also come in both corded and cordless models.
When making this recommendation, we took into account our entire catalog of sliding compound miter saw reviews. The Bosch Axial Glide remains one of the most powerful saws with the absolute best cut quality. Since it also allows for some of the highest trim clearances across the back fence it reigns as the best dual compound miter saw.
If you don’t mind shaving some weight and capacity off the Bosch GCM12SD, consider the Bosch CM10GD 10-inch Glide miter saw at $499.99. You can get a lighter model with the same excellent cutting performance.
Best Cordless Miter Saw
The Bosch ProFactor 18V cordless 12-inch miter saw is an attention-grabber thanks to its Axial Glide sliding system. However, its performance and accuracy are what make it a keeper. If you’re in the market for a cordless miter saw, we highly recommend giving Bosch’s ProFactor line a shot.
Without the battery, the saw weighs 59.3 pounds, which isn’t bad at all for a 12-inch dual bevel sliding miter saw. Still, if you’re going to take this to the jobsite (which is why you want a cordless saw in the first place!), we recommend using a rolling stand to make it easier on you. There’s not a great carry system built-in and do you really want to heft that much weight around anyway?
There aren’t a ton of quality cordless 12-inch miter saws on the market and Bosch priced the Surgeon pretty competitively. Without a battery and charger, it runs $749. Adding the charger and 8Ah Core18V ProFactor battery brings it up to $899.
- Milwaukee 12-inch Cordless Miter Saw with One-Key
- DeWalt DHS790AT2 FlexVolt Miter Saw
The Milwaukee 2739-20 cordless miter saw can tackle up to 330 cuts in 3-1/4-inch baseboard on a single 12.0 Ah High Output battery. Thanks to the direct-drive motor, you get excellent clearance. In fact, you can cut 6-3/4 inch speed base and 7-1/2 inch nested crown. All of this works because of the high clearance provided by the direct-drive motor.
Get it for $699
Essentially, the DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw is built on the flagship DWS780 platform. For a ~$200 premium, you’ll upgrade to cordless capability with a pair of batteries, a dual-port quick charger, and an AC adapter for when you’re close to power.
Pick this one up for $799.
Best 12-inch Miter Saw
Bosch 12-inch Axial Glide Miter Saw (GCM12SD)
Considering the Bosch 12-inch Axial Glide Miter Saw is already our #1 pick, it also wins as our best 12-inch miter saw for the reasons we already mentioned. One thing we really want to highlight—the Glide system lets you put this saw right against the wall. That makes this saw perfect for saving precious working space in your shop. Check out the cordless version above if you want a version that operates on a battery.
More Full-Size Sliding Miter Saw Options
- Makita LS1219
- Skilsaw SPT88-10
Another great 12-inch miter saw choice is the Makita LS1219. It possesses all the features of the cordless Makita XSL07Z except that it uses a cord instead of 36V battery power. This miter saw has tons of clearance and keeps you in front of it for all adjustments and cutting.
Also high on our list is the Skilsaw SPT88-01 12-inch worm drive miter saw. This powerful, accurate saw easily moves around the job site. It works great for framers and remodelers and has plenty of power. Carpenters and woodworkers will want to replace the stock blade.
You can pick it up for $649.99.
Best 10-inch Miter Saw
Metabo HPT 36V MultiVolt C3610DRA
This Metabo HPT C3610DRA MultiVolt 10-inch miter saw impressed us to no end. The fact that it runs off dual-power (36-volt battery or AC adapter) alone makes for a good selling point. You get integrated “wings” off the table for extended support. The fence measured square out of the box and you get excellent crosscut depth.
All of the slide, bevel, and miter adjustments work smoothly. While the integrated laser had some issues adjusting and staying true to our cut line, we have high praise for this miter saw. The 10-inch blade makes the Metabo C3610DRA quite compact at 45.5 pounds.
We loved plugging it in at the shop and then using the 36V battery pack for the job site. Just keep in mind that the 10-inch saw makes this best suited for 3-1/2 base and smaller.
- Delta Cruzer 26-2240
The Delta Cruzer miter saw uses “robot” guide arms similar to the Bosch Glide Miter saws. We found the articulating system yielded very smooth and stable cuts save for just a small amount of play at full extension. You also get plenty of power, front bevel controls—and you can cross-cut a 2×16!
Best Miter Saw for the Money for Pros
Metabo HPT C12RSH2
Sometimes you stick with what works. We dub the Metabo HPT C12RSH2 (formerly the Hitachi C12RSH2) the best miter saw for the money and also our best budget miter saw for Pros.
The tool comes with some street cred as well as some big shoes to fill. It’s the second (possibly third with the renaming) iteration of the original Hitachi C12RSH. When Metabo HPT (Hitachi) originally designed the C12RSH, they gained a loyal following of woodworkers by offering forward-thinking features.
Now, this saw continues to deliver. We like the fine adjustment knobs for both bevel and miter settings, the vertical handle, and the zero-clearance rail system that made the original saw a really big deal back in 2006.
That zero clearance rail lets you place this saw very close to the wall. It saves valuable space in a shop space or garage. Finally, it cuts like a dream—smooth and powerful.
It’s also available for just $369.
Best Budget Miter Saw for Homeowners
When you can get a 10-inch sliding compound miter saw for $179—that’s something worth looking into. The 15-amp Ryobi TSS103 miter saw spins the blade at 4,600 RPM and has a 12-inch crosscut capacity. You get handy features like an LED cutline indicator and work light to illuminate your material. You can miter 47° left and right, and a 1-1/4 inch dust port connects to many dust extractors to keep your garage or shop area clean. Lastly, you get a 3-year warranty.
We’ve cut with enough Ryobi saws to know that it won’t power through tough material as well as top-of-the-line products. It will, however, give you the ability to tackle DIY projects without fail. For the occasional users, this gets our nod as the best budget miter saw for homeowners.
Grab it for as low as $219 at Home Depot—no joke!
- DeWalt DWS713
We can’t neglect to mention the capable DeWalt DWS713 as another great option if you want a step up. This 10-inch single bevel miter saw offers up to 4-1/2 inches of vertical crown or base clearance. We also find it an extremely portable miter saw. It weighs less than 31 pounds.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a sliding miter saw. You can crosscut up to 2×6 dimensional lumber at 90° and 2x4s at 45°. If you need more than that, consider a slider.
You can pick up this miter saw for under $218.
Best Miter Saw for Woodworking
Festool Kapex KS 120 REB
We find it hard to overstate the incredible refinement of the Festool Kapex KS 120 REB miter saw. The “REB” model only tweaks minor details on the popular and enduring Kapex KS 120 EB saw.
This 10-1/4 inch miter saw has features you won’t see anywhere else. The rail forward design lets you run the saw against a wall in your workshop. Kapex claims as much as 91% dust collection using the dust hood. You also get incredible clearance off the back fence. Cut crown molding up to 6-5/8 inches in the nested position. Vertically, you can cut trim up to 4-3/4 inches.
Festool also does other things that just make a lot of sense. They give you a dual laser cut line, for example. They also made the base of the saw exactly the height of a Systainer 1. That means you can use your Systainers as material supports when cutting.
Having used this saw, we simply find it smooth, powerful, and unmatched. It’s clearly the best miter saw for woodworking by a long shot unless you want to triple the price and look at commercial solutions.
If you’re serious about your woodworking, buy it for $1500.
- Metabo HPT C3607DRAQ4M (36V cordless)
The Metabo HPT MultiVolt 7-1/4″ dual bevel miter saw is one of the best-built, smoothest, and most accurate miter saws we’ve had the pleasure of testing. It comes with a premium price tag, but definitely makes sense for woodworkers and carpenters who really need portability.
Buy this miter saw if your skill level and reputation lean towards high-end work and you can benefit from portability. Pass if you don’t need that kind of accuracy or you need a deeper cut capacity.
Pick it up for $1249.
Best Metal Cutting Miter Saw
Skilsaw SPT62MTC-22 Dry Cut Metal Saw
We reviewed the Skilsaw SPT62MTC-22 several years ago but it still remains one of our favorites. Technically a chop saw rather than a miter saw (mitering happens at the clamp rather than pivoting the table), this saw quickly proved itself as a massive improvement to an existing metal-cutting setup. We definitely recommend this dry cut metal saw as an upgrade from an abrasive chop saw or an entry-level dry-cut saw.
The capacity you surrender going with the 12-inch blade over a 14-inch model gets compensated for by its light weight. This saw measures 20-45% less than the competition. It also has a more compact frame and runs on more affordable 12-inch blades.
The soft-start motor and smooth blade guard actuation, paired with the hot-knife-through-butter Diablo blade make this a very smooth saw. The SPT62MTC-22 is actually so smooth, in fact, that you have to be careful not to cut too quickly.
Grab this saw for $399.
- Evolution R255SMSDB
If you really need a more traditional miter saw-like solution, consider the Evolution R255SMSDB multi-material saw. This dual bevel sliding miter saw uses Evolution blades to cut through wood, metal…or even wood with nails. IF you want the flexibility or find yourself needing to combines metal and wood-cutting duties, it’s a great solution.
You can get it for $349.
Best Miter Saw Stand
Bosch T4B Gravity Rise Miter Saw Stand
The Bosch T4B Gravity Rise miter saw stand has been our favorite since the first day we used it. This stand also stands the test of time—as evidenced by its 10+ year run.
The Bosch T4B stand has adjustable length and riser supports. The risers make an excellent feature for the fact that, if you set it up correctly, you don’t have to hold the end of the board to make sure you have a true cut.
No one wants to make multiple trips lugging all of the equipment around the house when cleaning up at the end of the day. The Bosch T4B miter saw stand makes this less of a chore.
You can get it for ~$369.
- Ridgid AC9946 Universal Miter Saw Stand
We really can’t neglect to mention the Ridgid AC9946. For $219, you get a very functional rolling miter saw stand that operates in a similar manner to the Bosch Gravity Rise. Though not as refined, we do like the oversized wheels and easily removable clamping mounts. With those, you can pull the saw off the stand as needed just by flipping a couple of levers.
You can get it at Home Depot for $219.
Best Miter Saw Buying Guide
What You Do for a Living Affects Your Choices
We actually wrote a very comprehensive guide on what to look for when buying a miter saw. Things to consider include the type of work you intend to do. Are you a carpenter? Do you work primarily on trim or decking materials? The type of work you do determines the materials likely to hit that miter saw table and fence.
Blade Size Affects Maximum Vertical Cuts
Before much else, look at the expected clearances you want to have when cutting materials like trim—particularly crown and baseboard. If you frequently cut taller trim, you likely want a saw that handles those types of cuts against the fence. Typically, a 12-inch miter saw gives you way more clearance than saws with smaller blades.
Still, we’ve found excellent clearance on some 10-inch miter saws, so it really depends on a number of factors. The biggest one comes next…
Belt Drive, Worm Drive, or Direct Drive
While we can’t say for certain that either of these technologies always beats the others, one thing stands out. Across the board, belt drive saws cut more smoothly in terms of how they feel. They also, however, reduce the clearance on the blade. That means most belt-driven miter saws won’t give you the same amount of impressive cutting height off the back of the blade that you get with gear-driven systems.
On the other hand, the direct and worm drive miter saws we use are more powerful on thick cuts. If you’re cutting 45º miters in 4 x 6 PT for a pergola, you’ll notice you can power through the cut much more confidently.
Sliding Miter or Chop Saw?
The type of miter saw you buy also affects portability and functionality simultaneously. A basic chop saw, for example, can give you miter and bevel cuts in all directions, but may only cut up to a 2×6 at 90-degrees. A sliding miter saw can cut a 2×12 or even a 2×14 depending upon your choice of setup.
That same chop saw also likely weighs a whole lot less than a comparable sliding miter with the same size blade. All these things should come under consideration before you take the plunge.
Corded or Cordless Miter Saw?
The choice of a corded or cordless miter saw gets harder and harder each year. Some manufacturers, like Makita, have released saws in both corded and cordless formats—saws that remain identical in all other features. Other companies, like Metabo HPT and DeWalt, have cordless miter saws with battery adapters that can connect you to 120V AC power.
Believe it or not, the newest cordless miter saws are matching their corded counterparts in power. If you find yourself looking at newer models, you no longer need to worry about premium models having enough power.
No matter what, cordless miter saws cost a lot more than their corded counterparts—often significantly more. But you can’t beat the convenience of battery power when it’s hard to find an outlet. Battery-powered miter saws have also increased run-time significantly in the past 5 years. Using 2x4s as a reference, we’re now seeing hundreds of cuts on a single charge.
Cut Line Indicators
Some saws lack any sort of cut line indicator while others use a laser or LED. The LED-style cut line indicator works better than any other. It uses an LED light (or two) positioned just above the blade. Since it follows the blade down and hits both sides, it produces an exact shadow line where the blade cuts the wood.
The shadow-cut LED works perfectly, never needs to be adjusted, and functions on all blade types. It also works in broad daylight! It doesn’t even matter if you switch to a thin-kerf blade. The shadow never lies, and you always have an accurate “mark” for your cut. Seriously, it’s not our #1 must-have, but we hope all manufacturers switch to an LED shadow cut line system soon.
Front vs Rear Controls and Clearance
Another thing we really love about some miter saws has to do with up-front controls. Up-front controls reduce the need to reach around to bevel a cut. All miter saws include front controls for mitering, of course. Adding a front bevel control steps up the saw to a new level of convenience. Very “worth it” if you do a ton of beveled cuts.
If you find a saw that combines front controls and zero clearance at the back, it’s a big win. There are systems both with and without rails that don’t require any part of the saw to extend behind it as you slide the blade. You can put it right up against the wall and the saw takes up less of your valuable workspace.
Features to Look For
- Soft start motor to avoid that “jump” when you pull the trigger
- LED cut line indicator*
- Adequate miter and bevel crown detents
- Easy-to-use depth stops for cuts requiring sacrificial boards and fences
- Blade brake
- Removable fences
- Dust extraction
- Material clamp(s)
- Front bevel controls*
*We consider these “nice-to-have features but certainly not requirements
To Stand or Not to Stand
Around here, we love keeping our miter saws on stands. We also tend to run with pickup trucks, trailers, and work vans. That makes a wheeled gravity rise-style miter saw stand our top pick. If you need to load and unload into a smaller space, you may find that a smaller saw that removes easily from the stand works even better.
And, of course, for the maximum portability, some forgo a stand altogether. You can always make cuts on a tailgate. You can also whip up a couple of sawhorses and use a piece of 3/4-inch T&G or plywood for a tabletop. Just take a look at your workflow and how you like to move tools on and off the job site.
Disagree With Our Choices?
That’s okay! We know personal preferences take a front seat in determining the best circular saw for you, and every Pro is different. Do Pro Tool Nation a favor and tell us what your top pick is and why you love it. Feel free to put it in the comments below or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
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