No one can argue that a miter saw is a must-have tool for the professional woodworker or carpenter. Whether cross-cutting stair treads or burning through some 8-inch crown molding, a quality miter saw is a money maker. At the shop, we currently have several of (what we feel are) the best miter saws on the market. When the folks at Pro Tool Reviews asked if I wanted to review the new Delta Cruzer miter saw, I was a little skeptical. What could Delta bring to the table that the other guys don’t? (And what kind of a name is “Cruzer” anyway??)
Captain Festool—my son Matt to the uninitiated—brought it to the shop. After several weeks of use, I’m ready to share my findings.
The saw arrived in great condition, well packaged and undamaged. All of the accessories and parts were there and ready to unpack. So far so good.
I installed the saw on a universal stand and began setup. The Delta Cruzer needed several adjustments to true up the cuts. It’s not unusual to need some calibration when you bring home a new saw and periodically throughout its life. You should always start by calibrating your miter saw no matter who makes it.
The miter scale was off about 3 degrees, but using the onboard Torx wrench I adjusted it square. The miter gauge also fell off about 3 degrees—again easily adjusted.
Once set up, I immediately replaced the wood chipper of a blade Delta provides with a quality trim blade. This is another recurring theme with miter saws out of the box, so it’s not a knock against Delta. With the exception of Festool and the Makita 10-inch cordless miter saw, nearly all miter saw blades get an immediate trade-up.
When using the Delta Cruzer, you immediately notice the guide arms. Delta names these “robot” arms. Silly name aside, we found the articulating system really very smooth and stable. You get just a small amount of play at full extension. I especially like the adjustable travel tension – this thing moves when you breathe on it if you want it to.
In addition, the guide system allows the machine to set much closer to the wall than most miter saws in its class.
Another feature that’s pretty handy is the full front adjustable bevel control. A lever at the front of the saw allows you to adjust the bevel without the dreaded reach around that many of the competition favor. The bevel system is easy to use, has just enough friction unlocked to keep the saw head from slipping too easily and locks securely at any angle. With all of the necessary detents in place for repetitive cutting at bevel and miter, this is an effective function-forward design.
The Delta Cruzer boasts one of the longest crosscutting capacities in its class and even has a nifty drop-down fence system that increases your cut capacity even further. To take advantage of this feature you just need a milled piece of lumber.
One item that is lacking with the cruiser is any sort of blade guide. There’s no laser beam or light shadow to guide the blade before the cut. Delta misses the mark on this one as all of the saws in this class have this feature. That will be an easy upgrade for Gen 2. Most of the Pros at PTR prefer the shadow cut line, just in case there’s a project manager listening!
Delta Cruzer Miter Saw Manufacturer’s Key Features
- 10 in. blade with versatile flip-down fence design provides best-in-class 16 in. crosscut capacity
- Dual bevel 45° left/45° right with front bevel release and 7 positive bevel stop at the most popular angles and easy to reach lever override to move between stops
- 50° left miter/60° right miter capacity with 10 miter detents and positive stops
- One-hand front miter controls with push-button miter detent override and front bevel release for quick movement
- Molded handle and full-size trigger is comfortable for right or left-handed users
- 15 amp motor for powerful cuts and blade brake for safety
- Clear retractable blade guard for full view of cutting area during alignment and cutting
- 1.5 in. dust port for vacuum connection and excellent dust collection
- 5 year Delta warranty
There are two things that all great miter saws have in common: power and accuracy. In the field test, I crosscut some two-inch oak for the power test. The Delta Cruzer performed well and has plenty of power to handle even that task. You have to pause momentarily to let the soft-start motor spool up to speed before making a cut. That feature adds life to the motor and helps reduce the torque-jerk you get on many saws. If you let the blade do the cutting you will be fine, even in hardwood.
To be accurate at any angle or bevel, a miter saw needs to be machined to very tight tolerances. At full extension, the Cruzer does exhibit a small amount of play. With a full stroke cut of heavy material at 90 degrees, the variation is about 1/32”. That’s certainly within most user’s tolerances, but it’s not perfect. However, it’s very similar to what the PTR crew found in their Bosch GCM12SD miter saw review.
Dual bevel cuts for crown moulding are also within tolerance and compare well to other upper-tier miter saws. Keep in mind that, as with all miter saws, a sharp blade and patient hand will lend superior results.
- Maximum 1.5 in. X 15.25 in. (2 X 16 lumber)
- Miter 0° / Bevel 0° 3.5 in. X 11.25 in. (4 X 12 lumber)
- Miter 0° / Bevel 45° 1.5 in. X 11.25 in. (2 X 12 lumber)
- Miter 45° / Bevel 0° 3.5 in. X 7.25 in. (4 X 8 lumber)
- Miter 45° / Bevel 45° 1.5 in. X 7.25 in. (2 X 8 lumber)
- Baseboard (Vertical) 5.5 in. (maximum cutting depth)
- Crown (Nested) 6.25 in.
A Quick Note on Dust Collection
Dust collection is pretty average. If you’re used to something on the high end like a Festool Kapro, you’ll be unimpressed. However, it falls in line with what I’ve experienced with my DeWalt DWS709 miter saw.
As the newest addition to the line, the Delta Cruzer miter saw is a solid performer. The almost frictionless guide system and the front adjusting bevel settings make this a saw to contend with. While I personally believe that the cutting capacity of sliding saws tends to sacrifice accuracy, Delta’s unique “Robot” arms keep the play to a tolerable level. As with all new technology, time and wear will tell that tale. Thus far I am impressed with the saw. With the five-year factory warranty and $599 price tag, it is definitely worth a shot to add this beauty to your arsenal.
Delta Cruzer Miter Saw Specifications
- Voltage: 120V
- Amps: 15A
- Blade Size: 10 in. dia.
- Arbor Hole Size: 5/8 in.
- Speed (RPM): 4,000 r/min
- Weight: 55lbs
- Max Cut Thickness: 5.5 in.
- Cord Length: 7 ft.
- Warranty: 5 years
- Depth: 29.5 in.
- Height: 20 in.
- Width: 22.5 in.
- Bevel Type: dual
- Tool Type: Miter Saw
- Dust Collection Type: Port
- Blade Change: Keyed (Torx Wrench)
- Max degree Miter Cuts Left: 50°
- Max Degree Miter Cuts Right: 60°
- Miter Saw Type: Sliding Compound
- Tool Product Type: Power Tool
- Price: $674.90