We’ve teased you with a couple of short videos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but now it’s time to pull back the curtain and give you our full report on the DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw. If you’ve been completely disconnected from the world since June, DeWalt’s FlexVolt system changed the game with a battery platform that can switch between 20V Max and 60V Max performance based on the tool’s requirements.
The question we all had as rumors started to abound was whether or not we’d see a full-size, full-featured miter saw. When it comes to full-size, that’s an obvious answer – the DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw is a 12-inch model. From the name, we can also see that it’s a double bevel, sliding model (a non-sliding model is available as well). But does all the fun stop there?
The DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw is a hybrid tool – it can run on either batteries or AC power. To get to 120 volts, DeWalt needs two FlexVolt battery packs installed behind the motor head. If you’re working near a power source, you can also swap them out for the 120V AC adapter that comes packed in two of the kit options.
Blade Position Indicator
It’s one thing to create a cordless 12-inch, dual bevel, sliding miter saw. It’s another thing to keep all the bells and whistles on it so you don’t feel like you’re losing out. The first feature I look for on every DeWalt miter saw now is their Cutline Blade Positioning System that uses a shadow to show you where the blade will contact your work piece. It’s on the DHS790 and I’m thrilled to see it.
Once I’ve checked the cut line indicator, I move to the more obvious – miter and bevel adjustments. The miter controls are up front where you’d expect to find them. There’s a detent override that you need to press and hold as you adjust along with a standard lock for uncommon angles. DeWalt added a bonus here with a button that holds the detent override for you.
Actually pivoting the saw for miter cuts was a little stiffer than others I’ve used. It may loosen up with time, but is noticeable out of the box. It’s also possible to move fast enough to skip over notches without the detent engaging. Once the detent is in place though, it’s not going anywhere. The miter lock itself is also very solid.
The bevel lock can be found on the back like other DeWalt miter saws. Once loosened, you’re immediately clear to bevel left from 0 – 45 degrees. To override the stop at 0 degrees and bevel right, you’ll need to engage that on the back as well. DeWalt added bevel stops that simply pivot in our out of position for 22.5 and 33.86 degrees.
Overall, the movements are smooth and I really like the bevel stops. The only real negative here is that the controls are on the back, forcing you to reach around the saw or move to the back to make adjustments.
DeWalt draws from their new FlexVolt line of accessories and includes a 60-tooth, 12-inch blade. The new accessories are designed to make the most of cordless tools and I didn’t see any issues with cut speed or quality using the included blade. There are a couple of blades out there you might upgrade to once the stock blade’s useful life is over, but the results are certainly of high enough quality to warrant using it first.
Most miter saws use a belt drive system and the DeWalt DHS790 is no exception. The belt used is a solid Jason Industrial 220J and the ribbing will help restrict how quickly it stretches.
The real intelligence of the design is where the belt drive connects to a second gear drive. This creates a 90-degree angle to the arbor and additional cutting height clearance for crown and other thin vertical cuts.
- Standard vertical clamp
- Sliding, removable fence extensions
- Crown stop lock
- Depth stop
- On board tools
- No integrated side extensions
DeWalt’s 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw comes in three configurations that can be a little confusing to sort through. Here’s what you get in each one.
- DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw
- 120V AC Adapter
- No batteries or charger
- Price: $769
- DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw
- (2) DeWalt FelxVolt Battery Packs
- Dual Port Fast Charger
- 120V AC Adapter
- Price: $799
DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw Specifications
- Model: DeWalt DHS790
- Power Source: (2) DeWalt FlexVolt Battery Packs or 120V AC
- Blade Diameter: 12 inches
- No Load Speed: 3800 RPM
- Miter Capacity: 49 degrees left and right
- Bevel Capacity: 45 degrees left and right
- Max Cross Cut Capacity: 16 inches
- Max 45-Degree Miter Capacity: 8 inches
- Max Cutting Height: 6-3/4 inches
- Nested Crown Capacity: 7-1/2 inches
- Weight: 56 pounds (without batteries)
A Quick Note About Accuracy
Like any miter saw, you need to calibrate the DHS790 before evaluating the accuracy. With that completed, there weren’t any issues to be noted, nor did we expect any. What we really wanted to get to is how much power would be available for cutting.
We can cut case and base all day with other cordless miter saws, so we skipped straight to the tougher stuff. 2x pine and 4x pressure treated pine needed some resizing. If we’re being perfectly honest, there wasn’t any trim work to be done at the moment anyway.
Plugged in using the AC adapter, the DHS790 has a motor rated for 15 amps and performs like we expect from a professional level corded saw. Obviously, you’re not going to change the motor just by switching to battery power, so it’s still a 15-amp motor. It’s only a matter of whether it will be able to draw full power from the new source.
The DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Sawcut just as well and confidently on battery power as it did using the cord. We didn’t go out of our way to try and bog the saw down just for the sake of it. We used solid techniques aimed at getting quality results from the 60-tooth blade – no different than how we use any other corded miter saw on the jobsite. The saw was up to the task with no noticeable reduction in cutting power.
Dust collection is a little rough on this saw. We ended up with quite a bit of leftover saw dust lying around. A dust extractor will help, but it will still rate below the top models in this area.
Essentially, the DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Sliding Miter Saw is built on the flagship DWS780 platform. That’s a good thing given the feature set and performance of the 780. For a $200 premium, you’ll upgrade to cordless capability with a pair of batteries, dual port quick charger, and AC adapter for when you’re close to power.
That $799 price tag may be enough to put off some potential customers. However, it opens up the FlexVolt line of tools that notably includes a table saw among others. From a performance and feature standpoint, it’s pretty safe to say that DeWalt has professional quality dialed in.