Best Compound Miter Saw – Top Picks And Reviews 2017

A miter saw is a specialized tool that lets you make cuts at different angles, based on your needs. The saw is actually a blade mounted on a swing arm that pivots to either side in order to make angled cuts.

For example, you could use a miter saw to easily make cuts for crown molding, picture frames, door frames, and more. It’s extremely versatile, and that’s why a workshop isn't complete without one. But, with the variety of products available on the market right now, it may be hard to make a choice.

What exactly makes a miter saw a compound one, or a dual compound? What’s a sliding compound miter saw? What is the best compound saw to use for wide boards? How about for cutting more pieces at once?

If these are questions you need answered, you’ve come to the right place. We will get into all the details a bit later, first let’s take a look at the list we’ve made.

Best Compound Miter Saw Reviews

 

  
 
Weight
Motor Power
Top Speed
Rating

Hitachi C12RSH2
Hitachi C12RSH2

Weight : 59 pounds
Motor Power : 15 AMP
Top Speed : 4000 RPM
Rating: 4.3/5.0

Ryobi ZRTS1143L
Ryobi ZRTS1143L

Weight : 18.8 pounds
Motor Power : 9 AMP
Top Speed : 5800 RPM
Rating: 4.5/5.0

DEWALT DWS780
DEWALT DWS780

Weight : 56 pounds
Motor Power : 15 AMP
Top Speed : 3800 RPM
Rating: 4.8/5.0

DEWALT DW713
DEWALT DW713

Weight : 24.2 pounds
Motor Power : 15 AMP
Top Speed : 5000 RPM
Rating: 4.6/5.0

SKIL 3821-01
SKIL 3821-01

Weight : 46.4 pounds
Motor Power : 15 AMP
Top Speed : 4500 RPM
Rating: 4.4/5.0

DEWALT DW715
DEWALT DW715

Weight : 24 pounds
Motor Power : 15 AMP
Top Speed : 4000 RPM
Rating: 4.7/5.0

#1 Recommendation: Hitachi C12RSH2 Compound Miter Saw

Hitachi C12RSH2 Compound Miter Saw

Hitachi C12RSH2 is one of the best compound miter saw available in the marketing right now. It is created by Hitachi Power Tools (Hitachi Koki USA, Ltd) produces a variety of tools and accessories for woodworking, metalworking, amongst many other.

Build and technology

Measures: 28 inches x 25 inches x 35 inches, Weighs: 73 pounds, Motor Power: 15 AMP, Top Speed: 4000RPM

This sliding dual compound miter saw is equipped with a compact slide system that requires zero rear clearance. The fixed rail system allows the saw head to smoothly glide along the fixed rails, eliminating the need for rear clearance that other sliding miter saws may have.

The compact slide system on the C12RSH2 enables the saw head to slide along fixed rails, while the Hitachi trademark Laser Marker System increases cutting accuracy. The large sliding fence raises its height to 5-1/8 inches to help cut up to 7-1/2 inch crown molding vertically.

The miter angle is adjustable 0-57 degree to the right and 0-45 to the left for flexibility, as the 0-45 degree bevel angle range to the right and left allows users to flip the saw blade quickly and easily as well as keep the material in place. Features positive stops and indications on the miter as well as on the bevel scale, for easy to read measurements and customizable settings.

The vertical handle comes with a vibration reducing elastomer grip to add comfort and control during use. The compact slide system helps decrease the saw’s footprint by up to 1 ft., and thus saves space in your shop. Comes with: 12" 60T TCT Saw Blade (726100), Vice Assembly (339624), 17mm Box Wrench (333732), Dust Bag.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Accurate cutting
  • Cuts large pieces well
  • Strong

Cons

  • Difficult square cutting
  • Laser difficult to follow in daylight - requires goggles

#2 Recommendation: Ryobi ZRTS1143L Compound Miter Saw

Ryobi ZRTS1143L Compound Miter Saw

As usual, Ryobi delivers a quality tool for an affordable price. While it may not be not the best option for a professional shop, due to its lower amperage compared to others in its class, the Ryobi ZRTS1143L saw is an ideal pick for you if you’re a woodwork DYIer. Best miter saw for the money!

Build and technology

Measures: 13.39 x 10 x 15 inches, Weighs: 19 lbs, Motor: 9 AMP, Top Speed: 5800 RPM

Despite it being extremely compact and of ultra-lightweight design, this compound miter saw by Ryobi does not compromise when it comes to speed - While the horsepower is not amongst the highest, the heavy-duty 9 Amp motor delivers up to 5,800 RPM.

The power helps to make difficult cuts and the trademark exact line laser alignment system can be adjusted in order to properly follow cut marks and keep the saw aligned while in use. It has cutting capacities of up to 2 x 4 and a 4-1/4 in. cross cut capacity.

Features a carbide-tipped 7-1/4 in. blade, while the 9 ball detent stops at the most common miter cutting angles so that you can perform most woodworking tasks easily. Its Horizontal D handle improves grip and comfort. This saw is great for making a variety of small cuts. The miter angle stops at 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6 and 45° left enable you to make accurate miter cuts.

Pros

  • Great for small projects
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Accurate
  • Quiet
  • Easy to use
  • Portable

Cons

  • Not suitable for large projects
  • Limited features

Warranty

  • 3 Years Limited Warranty

#3 Recommendation: DEWALT DWS780 Compound Miter Saw

DEWALT DWS780 Compound Miter Saw

The DEWALT DWS780 compound miter saw is a great option even for the pickiest craftsman. One of the best sliding miter saws available.

Build and technology

Measures: 19 x 23.8 x 17 inches; Weighs: 54 lbs; Motor: 15 AMP; Top Speed: 3800 RPM

Along with its precise miter system and specifically designed handle for added portability, this compound miter saw also features an integrated XPS cross cut positioning system for adjustment-free cut line indication and precise cutting without recalibration.

The powerful 15 amp, 3,800 rpm motor aims to deliver extended power and durability for heavy use on high capacity cutting. The exclusive Dewalt back fence design cuts up to 2 by 16 dimensional lumber at 90-degrees, and 2 by 12 at 45 degrees. The adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate has 10 positive stops to improve productivity, while also ensuring accuracy.

The DWS780 miter saw features extremely solid construction and the new XPS cross-cut alignment system features an improved ultra-bright LED light, which casts a laser-like shadow on the work surface and shows the user precisely where the blade will come in contact with the material.

This unique alignment system requires no recalibration over time or after changing blades, which makes it more accurate and durable than traditional laser guides. Hassle-free operation is ensured by the dual bevel system which is easy to see and use in job site conditions, thanks to its high-visibility scale and easy angle adjustment. Comes with: one carbide blade, one blade wrench, one dust bag, and one vertical material clamp.

Pros

  • Dewalt brand quality
  • Accurate
  • Powerful
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Poor dust collection

Warranty

  • 3 Year Limited Warranty
  • One year free service contract
  • 90 days money back guarantee

#4 Recommendation: DEWALT DW713 Compound Miter Saw

DEWALT DW713 Compound Miter Saw

Another Dewalt entry on our top picks list, this time the DW713 series single compound miter saw.

Build and technology

Measures 17 x 19 x 23.8 inches; Weighs: 39 lbs; Motor: 15 AMP; Top Speed: 5000 RPM

Not only is a powerful tool, this saw also portable! It features a stainless steel detent plate with 11 positive stops, which provides repeatable accuracy as well as it ensures durability.

Its tall sliding fences support crown molding vertically 4-1/2-inch and easily slide out of the way to allow bevel cuts. Features a machined base fence support meant to maintain fence square to blade thus ensuring accuracy when cutting.

Appropriate for cutting baseboards as well as crown molding, the DEWALT 10-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw is able to perform quick and accurate cuts. This compound miter saw can make a wide range of crosscutting and miter-cutting applications.

It is equipped with an easy-to-adjust cam-lock miter handle, convenient miter and bevel stops, and a tall fence for oversized decorative moldings. In addition, it comes with a durable carbide blade, a blade wrench, and a convenient dust bag.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Compact
  • Sturdy
  • Accurate
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Poor line of sight

Warranty

  • 3 years limited warranty
  • One year free service contract
  • 90 days money back guarantee

#5 Recommendation: SKIL 3821-01 Compound Miter Saw

SKIL 3821-01 Compound Miter Saw

While staying true to Skil’s recognized level of quality, the SKIL 3821-01 is a truly affordable saw which will be your long term partner in all your projects.

Build and technology

Measures: W28.3 x 18.1 x 20.5 inches; Weighs: 46.3 pounds; Motor: 15 AMP; Top Speed: 4500RPM

Skil’s entry on our best compound miter saw list is the 3821-01 model, which features a laser cutline guide for fast and accurate cuts, along with 9 Positive stops for setting common miter angles. The table extension with left/right extension rails make for easy handling long, large work pieces.

As advertised by its very name, this saw boasts the trademark Quick-Mount System meant for quick and easy setup on a SKIL miter saw stand. Other features include a laser, extension rails and a powerful motor that combine to make it an ideal miter saw for any intermediate DIYer or woodworker.

Comes with: 40-tooth carbide blade, extension table, 2 extension rails, vertical clamp, stop block, die-cast aluminum sliding fence, dust collection bag, blade guard, and blade wrench.

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Sturdy
  • Good Size & Weight
  • Suitable for Hobbyists
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Laser light not aligned
  • Difficult to adjust

Warranty

  • 3 years limited warranty

#6 Recommendation: DEWALT DW715 Compound Miter Saw

DEWALT DW715 Compound Miter Saw

People who have used this product from all around the world and with different levels of experience, from professionals to hobbyists, has vouched for Dewalt DW715 single-bevel miter saw.

Build and technology

Measures: 18.8 x 27.7 x 20 inches; Weighs: 42 pounds; Motor: 15 AMP; Top Speed: 4000RPM

Introducing Dewalt’s own precise miter system, with detent override that allows you to override the miter stops on the and adjust to the desired setting without the saw slipping into the miter detents, for precise cutting at whatever angle you need.

The miter detent plate is stainless steel and has 11 positive stops. Can cut lumber 2 to 8 inches deep at precise angles up to 45 degrees. The tall sliding fences that support crown molding up to 5-1/4-Inch. Nested and base molding up to 6-1/2-Inch vertically against the fence able to easily slide out of the way for bevel cuts.

This lightweight compound miter saw only weighs 42 pounds and features a built-in carry handle, so you can move it around the jobsite easily and lift it comfortably when it comes time to store away the saw at the end of the day. Comes with: a carbide blade, dust bag, blade wrench and comfortable side handles.

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy to Use
  • Long-Lasting
  • Powerful
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • Not compatible with laser or LED worklight
  • Loud

Warranty

  • 3 years limited warranty
  • One year free service contract
  • 90 days money back guarantee

Now that we’ve shared with you what we consider to be some of the best compound miter saws, please read on to answer the questions we’ve asked in the introduction of this article.

What do all those different kinds of saws mean? What is it that makes them different and how can you benefit from their distinct features? Let’s move on and see what types of miter saws there are.

Types Of Miter Saws

For the purpose of this article we have so far and will focus on compound miter saws and sliding compound miter saws. Nonetheless, here are the variations, starting from a standard one:

Standard miter saw

A standard miter saw relies on a fixed vertical pivot with rotating cutting table to allow angled (or mitered) cuts, with the blade always remaining vertical.

Compound miter saw

The compound kind is defined by a rotating vertical pivot which allows the cutter head and blade to be beveled sideways, aside from the horizontally rotating table.in other words, it features blades that pivot both left and right(angled cuts) but tilt in only one direction (bevel cuts).

It is used for vertical and horizontal angled cuts as well as cuts angled in both planes, for instance in crown molding, picture frames, or anything that requires two-plane cuts.

The majority of compound miter saws are single action, which means they can only be tilted to one side of the vertical.

Others are dual action, which means that they can tilt both ways. Dual compound miter saws can tilt both ways and create bevels at any angle.

Both single and dual saws are used the same way and with the same results; however, as you may expect, a single action saw may require you to flip the work piece between cuts.

Sliding compound miter saw

The sliding compound miter saw will have horizontal sliding arms for the cutter head in order to make cuts on wide boards easy. The added sliding feature brings versatility to compound miter saws, allowing the blade to be moved forward and backward.

The major advantage of the sliding feature is the increased length of cut it provides.

Alike the compound saw, a sliding saw can be single or dual action.

At this point you already have an idea about the types and maybe you’ve already made up your mind on which kind you need to complete your projects successfully. Next up, let’s see what are the main features to focus on in order to further personalize your choice.

How to choose the best miter saw for you?

The greatest thing about a compound miter saw is that so many different things can be built with it: from different frames and other decorative objects to tables and stools. As with everything, the first thing to do before making a purchase or starting to use the tool is to get informed.

Secondly, ask yourself what kind of projects you need the saw for, how strong a material you will be using, etc. With this in mind, when choosing a compound miter saw, keep an eye out for the following factors; they contribute to its versatility and precision:

Amps

Amps describe the power or horsepower of the saw motor. The more amps, the more cutting power. The tougher the material you’re working with, the more power you’ll need. Generally, a miter saw is designed to draw (use) between 12 and 15 amps or electrical power.

Tough or very large pieces of stock may require an industrial rated machine which is much heavier and may require special wiring. Otherwise, should you decide you can do well enough with less power, check out entry number 2 on our list: Ryobi 9 Amp 7-1/4 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser, with only 9 amps. It will do the job without draining or overwhelming your electrical circuits.

Blade

The blades most commonly found on miter saw are 8, 10 and 12 inches. Longer cuts are made by larger diameter blades. Additional blades can be purchased for more cutting variety. See the specifications in the product titles on the list to tell what size is each.

Another important aspect you should consider is the blade quality. Most reviewers of the products included on our list mention that the standard blades that come with the saws are okay for making rough cuts, but recommend an upgrade for extra precision.

The blade you choose to use depends on the result you’re looking for. Tooth count is another thing to take into account - unless you get it as a gift. Jokes aside, it’s actually a matter of preference, but it’s good to know that less teeth make for cuts on bigger pieces of wood while a greater tooth count makes for finer cuts.

Positive stops

Positive stops are default angle values on the miter allowing you to quickly make precise cuts on those specific angles. More positive stops mean less time spent setting up cuts. If you are looking for the compound miter saws with best positive stops, take a look at entries 3, 4 and 6 : DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw, DEWALT DW713 15 Amp 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw and DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw.

Spindle or shaft locks

Spindle or shaft locks will be helpful when replacing the blade, by immobilizing the shaft and the blade to be replaced. They are especially helpful if you are not very experienced with the saw. The miter saw with the best spindle or shaft lock the entry 5 on the list above: SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser.

Dust chutes and blowers

These features in a compound miter saw will help keep your workshop clean and the air in it breathable.

Dust bags

Dust bags serves the same final purpose as the chutes or blowers, but in a different way. If your saw is equipped with one of these, it will help keep it in shape for a longer time and contribute greatly to the quality of your cuts as well as your safety.

If the sawdust piles up not only will you probably inhale it (unless you have a mask), but it will act as an obstacle for the cutting piece and jeopardize your results as well.

All the compound miter and sliding compound miter saws feature one or another of these dust collecting systems.

Table extensions

Either they come with the saw or you make your own as they will allow operation on longer stock and contribute to an accurate cut. A large space for your woodworking projects means that you will work easier and enjoy the process more. Looking for our pick under this category? Number 5, SKIL 3821-01!

Sliding and flip fences

Sometimes extra support will be needed to run through taller work pieces for miter cuts. The saws with this feature can be slided or flipped of the way for bevel cuts.

Laser guides and guide lights

Some saws feature a tiny device that projects a beam or a shadow onto the wood piece, guiding your cuts for extra accuracy.

Budget

Once you have decided which saw suits you best, make sure you can afford it. These machines can cost between $80.00 USD to over $1,000 USD. Our list above features the more affordable ones, though.

If your project is a onetime thing or you are on a strict budget, you may want to think twice if buying one is a good idea, or if you should better rent or borrow one.

Other things to look for in a miter saw

Solid angle presets, good fence support, smooth sliding action, a sturdy blade guard, cutting guide, safety switch.

Okay, now you’ve figured out what you need. Before you take the saw out of the box and start cutting, it’s important that you understand a few things about its usage. Let’s move on and find out how to make the best use of your miter saw.

How to use the compound miter saw?

Always put safety first! This is an issue which can never be stressed enough, especially when dealing with power tools, and even more so when those tools involve high-speed rotating blades.

Make sure that you’re comfortable using the miter and that you’ve taken all the precautions necessary to avoid accidents. If you go for the portable kind, the weight is key to maintaining your back ache-free.

Otherwise, look into how you can safely secure your saw to the table, so that it doesn’t shift one bit. Keep your workshop tidy to make sure you don’t trip on anything, your saw is well secured to the standing surface, and that you have enough handling space for your material. Consider accessories such as goggles or gloves to keep the splinters and sawdust away!

Setup

Use a table or simply place the saw up in an area spacious enough to work in. If you’re handling long material, you could also work directly on the floor. However, a bench or homemade work table may result more comfortable. Remember that it’s important that you feel at ease operating the miter saw.

Learn how to use the machine

Read the operator's manual that comes with the saw, watch tutorials, and ask for help from someone more experienced. A proper use is crucial for achieving the best results in your woodworking projects while staying safe.

Just make sure you really understand the instructions before you operate the saw and that your circuits are able to provide enough power; an overloaded circuit is bound to damage the saw or even catch fire.

Learn about each part of the tool and their respective purposes. Even if you’ve used a compound miter saw before - features will vary depending on the producer and series.

Proceed with caution at first

First, release or unlock the saw in order for the stock to fit on the bench and the blade can go through it. Don’t turn it on just yet! Move it a little by raising and lowering it several times, so that you get familiar with the path of the blade.

Just like when sketching, let your arm get used to the movement before you actually draw the saw through the wood. This will help you cut accurately and avoid mishaps.

Basic Cutting

Start by holding the material tight to the fence and pressed against the table with one hand, while handling the saw with the other. Push the saw blade carefully down into the wood.

When working with a sliding saw, pull it all the way forward before you lower it into the wood. Feel its force and try to move along with it, and always push it so that the force works with you, helping to press it into the wood. Never pull the blade.

Cutting wide pieces

Measure the board. If it is too wide for the saw table, but still less than twice its width, cut it in two passes. Carefully cut the piece as far as the blade will reach, reverse it and resume cutting from the opposite end.

Cutting more pieces in one pass

For studs and other pieces of lumber that you may need to cut to equal length, fasten them to the fence using a stop block.

Secure the block to the fence with screws or with adjustable pliers, which will easily tighten and hold the block securely.

Position the stop block a little above the table surface keeping enough room for sawdust to escape. If it gets a chance to pile up, cutting accuracy will be compromised.

Make sure to butt each piece against the block in order to cut uniformly. Always hold down the work piece on the block side of the blade, and not on the other side.

Miter and Bevel Cuts

For crown molding with a compound miter, mark both the spot of the miter and the direction of the cut. Don’t overdo it: a shallow marking made by hand will do: trace a line in the desired direction. The saw will do the rest later. When you’re ready to cut, you will realize if you need to turn the wood piece upside down.

Practice makes perfect

Don’t expect to get it right the first few times. It’s best that you practice on some scrap or leftover pieces before you actually start your project. Cut a variety of angles and see how they fit together. When joining the pieces, think basic shapes - they fit together best.

To calculate the required angle, keep in mind that the cut on the end of each piece must be 1/2 the angle of the joint. Example: a square corner is made of two pieces of stock cut at opposite 45 degree angles.

Make as many trial cuts you need in order to feel comfortable operating the saw. Experiment with the different functions your machine is equipped with. This way you will gain confidence and will be less likely to make mistakes when you move on to the real deal.

Finally, while we do hope you’ve found our recommendations and tips useful, we strongly encourage you not to stop here. Read everything you can get your hands on about compound miter saws, particularly user reviews, ask questions about everything you want to know to your peers and others more experienced than yourself- all these factors will combine like puzzle pieces into the perfect buying guide.

Be sensible in your decision and avoid the hassle which being unsatisfied with your tool will throw your way. Make sure that you can easily return the package, just in case. Look for saws which have reliable producer warranty.

Save yourself the hassle of having to return it while being forced to postpone your woodworking plans. Nail your woodworking projects by finding not the right miter saw, but the one that is right for you! This being said, we wish you the best of luck in your projects!

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