For those who don’t know, the miter saw creates angled bevel cuts. The sliding miter saw is a combination of a compound miter saw with a slide feature. You can effortlessly move the saw blade back and forth to work with a variety of lengths. In this article, we will explore the best sliding miter saw to fit your needs. Carpenters have relied on manual versions to make 45 and 90-degree cuts for over three hundred years.
In the early days, the miter saw was nothing more than a wooden box, but Leander Langdon created the first cast-iron model during the antebellum era. His company, Langdon Mitre Box, wasn’t in business long, but the idea quickly caught on, and the miter saw became a must-have. The first electric and motorized miter saw made its debut in the 1970s. Miter saws have only gained popularity since.
Miter saws are a must-have for any workshop. You can use the powerful tool with the oscillating swing arm to make angled, splinter-free cuts. But, if the question on your lips is, “What miter saw should I buy?” you’ll find our top sliding miter saw picks below.
View the Best Sliding Miter Saw, Below.
- DEWALT DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- Makita LS1219L 12″ Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw
- Metabo HPT C10FCGS Compound Miter Saw
- Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD
- ShopmasterDelta S26-263L Miter Saw
- Evolution Power Tools R255SMS+
- RIDGID R4222 Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw
- TACKLIFE PMS03A Compound Miter Saw
- RYOBI TSS103 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- General International MS3005 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
1. DEWALT DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
A Definite Workhorse
This 12-inch double bevel is a definite workhorse. It features 10 positive stops. You can easily make adjustments then hold them in place with the cam lock handle. It boasts a powerful 15 amp motor with 3800 RPM.
What We Liked About It: The dust chute and port are a definite perk that helps keep your shop clean.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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2. Makita LS1219L 12″ Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw
A Laser for Greater Precision
This dual bevel sliding compound features a laser so you can easily see the line of cut and know if the blade is turning. You can even offer adjustments to optimize the “left-of-blade” or “right-of-blade” cutting capacity of the saw. You can make adjustments from 0° to 48° (left and right).
What We Liked About It: We appreciated the fact that this saw can make 15 inches crosscut at ninety degrees. The saw also easily miters from 0 to 60 left and right. There are stops at 15, 22.5, 31/6, 45, and 60 degrees.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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3. Metabo HPT C10FCGS Compound Miter Saw
Lightweight and Powerful
With a horizontal handle and a large table, you can easily cut large or small pieces. The saw is remarkably lightweight for easy storage. It weighs right under 25 pounds, so you can move it around the shop with ease. The best thing about this saw is that it features a lot of power in a small package. It has speeds of up to 5,0000 rpm with a high power 15 amp motor.
What We Liked About It: We liked the lightweight, compact size with the ample power to tackle even the biggest pieces of wood with accuracy.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD
Optimum Dust Collection System with Vacuum
This is one of the best miter saws on the market. It features a patented glide system that lets you make wide crosscuts while saving you up to 12 inches of workspace. The saw expands the cutting capacity to 14 inches with a 6.5 verticle crown capacity. The upfront bevel controls and all-metal bevel lock lever are ideal.
What We Liked About It: With an included vacuum, the dust collection system is a definite perk. It removes 90 percent of dust with ease to keep a clean workspace.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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5. ShopmasterDelta S26-263L Miter Saw
Best Budget Choice
This easy-to-use piece is one of the best miter saws on the market. And it won't break the bank! It has a 15 amp motor with a 12-inch crosscut capacity. It features a front lock control system that has 10 positive miter stops. There's also a laser-cut line indicator.
What We Liked About It: The impressive 12-inch cross-cut capacity is a nice feature that you'd expect to find on a more costly model. This budget-friendly saw even boasts a laser to optimize cuts.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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6. Evolution Power Tools R255SMS+
A Tall Neck and Fence For Increased Cutting Room
This model comes with a 15-amp hi-torque motor with adjustable depth and laser guidance. It also features a 10-inch blade combined with a dust bag. The manufacturer offers a three-year warranty. Not only that - it's one of the best choices for value.
What We Liked About It: Even though it has a 10-inch blade size, the extended neck and fence increase your cutting capability and give you added workspace.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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7. RIDGID R4222 Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw
A Leader for Precision With LED Cut Line Indicator
With a dual bevel slide, you can make 70-degree miter capacity cuts. The LED cut line indicator is a perk. There's also a built-in work light. The blade brake ensures you can stop quickly and transition.
What We Like About It: The built-in dust collection port lets you hook a wet or dry vacuum to keep your workspace clean.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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8. TACKLIFE PMS03A Compound Miter Saw
Best Choice For Cutting Different Materials
This 12-inch Double-Bevel Sliding compound miter saw has a Powerful 15Amp/1700W with 3800rpm smoothly cutting through multiple materials such as wood, plastics, aluminum alloy, and metal plate.
What We Liked About It: The thing we like most about this saw is the 40 Tooth tungsten carbide tipped Blade that' offers more possibilities for cutting various materials and having the laser maker for making the cutting more accurate and professional. Furthermore, this saw's lightweight construction makes it easy to transport to the job site. It's the best miter saw for portability.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. RYOBI TSS103 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Leader for Making 12 Inch Cross Cuts
This heavy-duty sliding compound miter saw has a 10-inch blade but can make 12-inch crosscuts. The LED cutline indicator lets you cut lines while eliminating the material for maximum visibility.
What We Liked About It: The LED cutline indicator is a definite perk for helping to make straight cuts.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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10. General International MS3005 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Top Choice For Fast Blade Changing
The versatile design of this cut lets you make bevel cuts up to 45 degrees and miter cuts to the left and right at 45 degrees. It features a push-button shaft lock so you can effortlessly switch out blades when cutting different materials like aluminum, plastic, or wood.
What We Liked About It: The push-button shaft lock is a definite perk. You can effortlessly change blades if you're cutting different materials and need to use another saw blade.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Buyer’s Guide For Sliding Miter Saws
Let’s take a few minutes to explore the ins and outs of miter saws so you can make an informed decision on which one is the best to buy.
Types of Miter Saws
You’ll want to learn the different types of miter saws before choosing which one best fits your needs. When shopping, you’ll encounter three categories: sliding compound, sliding dual compound (frequently called a double or dual bevel), and stationary compound.
The prices of the three types of miter saws increase depending on the saw’s design. The stationary compound miter saw makes effective miter cuts to the left and right, but bevel cuts are only made in a single direction. The sliding compound miter saw lets you move the saw forward and backward along built-in rails. The sliding dual compound miter saw can make bevel cuts from right to left.
One thing you’ll notice about the two sliding designs is that the best ones have rails. These increase the blade’s cutting capacity. Not only that – the sliding feature significantly increases the crosscut from several inches to 16 inches.
Comparing Chop Saws to Miter Saws
Walk into any tool section of a store and look around. The first thing that you’ll notice is that chop and miter saws look almost identical. However, a chop saw has an abrasive cutting wheel that cuts through metal like hot butter. The miter saw can be used to cut through various materials if you switch out the blade, but it’s most famous for cutting through wood with optimum precision.
The chop saw has a sealed design so it can resist hot metal waste with ease. If you’re looking for a more precise cut, check out our Jigsaw reviews here.
Picking a Battery or Corded Miter Saw
Virtually all miter saws are corded. They have 10, 12, or 15 amp motors, which help cut through hardwoods with ease. Nowadays, battery-powered cordless miter saw options have started to appear on the market. They’re lightweight, which makes them perfect for trips to job sites or moving around the shop. The cordless miter saw works well when cutting through light to medium material but cannot hack through the hard stuff.
In addition, these miter saws feature brushless motors, which extend their lives and lower maintenance. Ultimately, if you’re cutting through tough materials, you’ll want to avoid battery-powered models and pick the corded varieties only. However, the cordless miter saw is a perk to have at your disposal. The best miter saw for you will depend on your preferences.
Blades and Crosscuts
A crosscut capacity for miter saws is available in 8-1/4-, 8-1/2-, 10-, and 12-inch diameters. A large blade will give a longer cut which creates greater crosscut, miter, and bevel capabilities. If you plan to cut wide lumber in different dimensions, then you’ll need a blade combo with a slide capacity to handle the width.
Saw Blade Swap
A 10-inch blade diameter can be used on a miter or table saw. You can swap them both out when needed and ultimately save money. If you have a 7 1/4 inch blade, you can swap it out with your circular saw or miter saw. These are all things to consider when buying the best miter saw for your needs. Having things that are interchangeable is a huge perk.
Additional Blade Choices
When buying miter saw blades, you’ll want to invest in a higher TPI (teeth per inch) blade to saw through hardwoods or make clean finish cuts through a variety of materials. A good blade will make a smooth finish that’s not jagged. It’ll also have a wonderfully fine finish.
Always replace the blade when it starts to dull. This is not only for safety but also to ensure a great cut. Replacing a dull blade will increase the life of your saw’s motor by making the rotation and cuts easier. The motor won’t bog down, overheat or work too hard.
Blades with a high tooth count will feature a higher price tag than blades with a lower tooth count, but you’ll want to have both in your arsenal.
Detents and Capacity Considerations
You’ll discover a variation in the maximum bevel and miter ranges, but just about every saw on the market will cut at a 45-degree angle. Now, this is where things get more complicated. You’ll have to truly consider whether you want all the bells and whistles.
Compound miter saws sometimes have a range of 48 degrees, and dual compound saws have what is referred to as an asymmetric range of 50 left and 62 right. Basically, you can make odd angle cuts that increase the scope of the saw substantially.
Positive Stop Detents
When picking out a miter, you’ll want one that has “positive stop detents.” A detent is a mechanical catch that halts and locks the saw’s movement until you decide to release it. You never have to guess about angles. You’ll see 90, 45, and 22.5 detents easily. Try to find a saw with smooth detent override so you can move the saw without engaging it at every positive stop. Ideally, the saw should have at least 0 to 45-degree bevel detents.
Nowadays, you’ll notice that many manufacturers are releasing models with front-mounted bevel adjustments within easy reach. Undoubtedly, this is a welcome perk that makes everything so much more convenient. You don’t have to reach behind the saw to try to adjust things blindly. If you can get a newer model with front adjustments, then we recommend definitely going for it.
Laser or LED Shadow Cut Guide
For years, miter saws have used a laser beam to mark the blade’s path across the material. It’s a premium feature, so not every saw has it. Although they work reasonably well, they certainly don’t make accurate cuts foolproof. First, the red laser diode isn’t tied to the blade, so it’s possible to be off by a hair.
Laser and LED Guides
Don’t let laser or LED guides scare you. You might think they’re too new or science fiction for the shop, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, a diode can malfunction. Anything can break and nothing lasts forever. However, while these lights function, they’re a very nice perk. Sometimes the bright light is hard to see, but many brands are now getting rid of the red diodes and going green – these are much easier to see.
The new LEDs are also very nice and worth consideration. They might lack the sophistication of a laser, but they work – ultimately, that’s what matters. The LED functions by casting the shadow of the blade onto the wood. Then, you use the shadow to draw your conclusions. This is remarkably accurate. It’s also easy to see a shadow regardless of whether you’re inside or outside.
Fences, Supports, and Safety
The fence found on miter saws keeps the wood secure while you cut through the material. When using the saw, you need to make sure the material is pressed firmly against the fence, otherwise things can become dangerous very fast. The saw blade will grab the material and jerk it widely towards the fence. Small material can become airborne if you’re not expecting this, which can cause accidents.
When looking at miter saws, you’ll notice that fences come in different heights. Some can slide out when running longer pieces. If you plan to use the miter saw to cut crown molding or other tall materials, you will need to invest in a saw with a taller fence. This will provide adequate support. Having additional material supports on either side of the table can also be helpful.
Keeping Things Clean: Dust Extraction
It’s rare to find miter saws with a dust vacuum or extractor attached, but we do have one in our list that boasts such a feature. Most have a dust shoot. This propels the sawdust down the shoot and into the dirt. This is fine if you’re working outside. But if you’re working in a shop, dust can quickly become messy and even create a fire hazard – not to mention it’s hard on the lungs. A dust extractor prevents the mess and makes the air breathable. You can then empty the dust bag when it becomes full.
Other Features and Accessories
Let’s look at some of the bells and whistles you might not need but might definitely want. Any sliding miter saw you buy should have an arm lock that effectively immobilizes the up and down action of the blade. It’ll hold the blade in the table blade channel. This feature makes things not only more compact but far safer. Look for a sliding miter saw with a handle so you can easily move it around.
Typically, most sliding miter saws come with material clamps built into the device. These secure the material so you can make the perfect cut. However, don’t despair if the model you’re looking at doesn’t have such a feature. Keep in mind that you can always find an after-market clamp that will work just as well for a good price.
Sliding Miter Saw Stand
One of the greatest accessories you can invest in is a compound sliding miter saw stand. It will secure the saw in place for added safety and prevent vibration. Most have extendable material supports, so you can cut crown molding or other long stock with ease.
Many stands even come with material stops, so you don’t have to worry about marking multiple boards when trying to make the same cut. You simply set the stop and then cut for speed and accuracy. In our opinion, a sliding miter saw stand is a definite must-have that will make your life easier and the use of the saw far more enjoyable.
Miter Saw Safety
Any buyer’s guide is not complete without taking a few minutes to mention safety. Using a sliding compound miter saw incorrectly can cause things to go south very quickly and injuries to occur. Always take steps to ensure safety when operating the machinery. The miter saw has an exposed blade that moves at a rapid RPM. It can quickly take a finger off – or a hand.
- Wear a mask when operating the miter saw to protect your lungs from debris.
- Don eye protection to prevent flying debris from getting in your eyes and scratching your cornea.
- Insert ear protection because the saw can be very loud.
- Always make sure the saw blade stops when you release the trigger. A fully functioning blade brake should stop the blade within seconds of the trigger release. If you have to wait for the blade to stop spinning, then work with the miter saw’s blade guard in place for added protection.
- Wait for the blade to stop spinning before you let it come back up.
Miter Saw FAQ
Let’s take a few minutes to cover the most frequently asked questions about sliding compound miter saws.
Why Buy a Sliding Compound Miter Saw?
This is a common question and one you’ll want to consider carefully. Miter saws are expensive – you don’t want to make a sizable investment in a saw that you might not use very often.
Most people buy sliding miter saws because they love the way the saw cuts. The best miter saw will make seamless crown molding and perfect custom trim. Any time you’re making joints with two or more pieces of wood (such as for a window, door frame, decks, furniture, picture frame, or more), you’ll want to invest in a miter saw.
The best sliding miter saw will create a very precise cut with crisp angles. It’s a great way to make accurate bevel cuts. All sliding miter saws have easy-to-see measurements.
What Size to Buy
Most sliding miter saws come in either 10 or 12-inch sizes. If you don’t need a large 12 inch miter saw then you might as well save money. Go with a smaller 10 inch miter saw blade.
10-Inch Miter Saw
You’ll encounter a wider assortment of 10-inch blades than any other size. The 10-inch miter saw is less costly and cheaper to sharpen. The small radius lets the blade spin faster. This uses fewer amps and will save on your energy bill.
12-Inch Miter Saw
The bigger blade will make a longer cut. The blade can also drive a great deal of power into the cut. A large blade is great for cutting thicker materials. The higher tooth speed also renders a very clean and sharp finish.
Is a Sliding or Compound Miter Saw Better?
When trying to decide what type of miter saw to go with, we suggest the sliding miter saw over the compound. If you’re making angled cuts for crown molding or picture frames, then a compound saw will do the job. It will pivot left to right and will make the cut easy.
A sliding miter saw moves forwards and backward so you can increase the length of the cut. You can do everything that a compound saw can do with a compound sliding miter saw. You can also cut thicknesses up to 16 inches. Use it to slice through boards, logs, and lumber. Yes, it does cost a little more money, but for most, the added cost is well worth the initial investment.
Do You Really Need a Laser Guide?
It’s nice to have a saw with all of the fancy gadgets. A laser isn’t just a toy. It really does make more accurate, clean cuts. The laser shines a beam of light where the blade will cut. The LED guide is another option. This will cast a shadow. Knowing where your compound miter saw will hit cuts down on the likelihood of errors. One thing to remember is that a laser guide is hard to see outdoors and works best inside.
Does a Sliding Compound Miter Saw Require Maintenance?
The best miter saw requires only minimal maintenance to continue functioning well.
- Unplug the saw before cleaning it or the shop area around the machine.
Clean up your work area. You can use an air compressor to blow the dust off the machine quickly and effortlessly. A shop rag can help you loosen any stuck-on debris. If there is a tight spot, then try a can of air to break away buildup.
- Wipe the table and fence with a sponge. Use circular motions to break up any stuck-on particles. You can use a mild surface cleaner but always be sure to dry any wet areas to prevent rust. Many brands sell saw cleaners that are safe to use on metal surfaces. Not only will they not cause rust, but they can actually prevent it from forming.
- Clean the blade by rotating it with your hand. Use a metal brush to clean up any debris. You can apply oil to the blade. To be extra safe, remove the blade from the miter saw to clean all surfaces and angles of the saw’s surface.
- Sharpen the blade when it appears dull. Follow the saw’s manual instructions on blade sharpening.
- Keep an eye on the moving parts of the miter saw. If things are stiff, then apply a lubricant as directed by the manufacturer. Don’t use an excessive amount of lubricant, or it can stain the surface of wood the next time you start to saw something.
- Look for any loose bolts or nuts.
- Inspect the power cord regularly to make sure there are no cuts on the surface of the cord.
A miter saw or sliding compound miter saw will quickly become a valued addition to your shop. Whether you use it for hobbies or work, the miter saw will quickly show its value by offering clean cuts. Make sure you stay aware of the miter saw safety hazards with this study.