I reviewed a lot of saws prior to this purchase, the new Makita and Dewalt were at the top of my list. I previously owned a Craftsman and the miter detents were not only sloppy (1-2 degrees of play in the detent before locking it down) but they were so far off that even if I pulled the saw all the way to one side of the detent before locking, it still wasn’t enough to zero out the error, so it was impossible to get a perfect 45 or 90. Those detents were also molded into the base so there was no way to adjust.
They cost from $60.00 to $85.00 and the injected plastic body can come in many colors, the saw I used for testing was red. This saw is one of the normal” homeowner saws as far a dust collection is concerned. There will be a Hitachi miter saw on sale at Lowes as part of their pre-Black Friday sales event , for $99. Its biggest weakness is the lack of a laser guide or work light; DeWalt offers these as optional accessories, but they won’t fit most versions of this saw. So, be sure to use the hold-down clamp that comes standard with this, and every other saw here.
A typical sliding compound miter saw can measure about 2 ft. wide, almost 4 ft. deep and weigh in at over 50 pounds—not the kind of tool you’d expect to see in a carrying case. A single bevel miter saw allows the saw-head, and therefore the saw blade, to be tilted in one direction, generally to the left, between 0 and 45 degrees to perform bevel cuts. The Craftsman however is not as accurate with bevel cuts when you switch from one side to the other.
I don’t think there’s a need to spend more on a blade than the saw (especially if the saw costs hundreds already) unless you’re getting into expensive pro stuff like intricate trim work or perhaps cabinet building/professional wordwork, or maybe even specialty materials that need their own particular blade. To test the power each saw actually had on tap (amperage is only a rating of how much electricity goes into a motor), I cut up some thick scraps of oak and rock maple. Miter saws typically come with so-so-quality general purpose blades that are better suited for framing work than fine joinery.
While they’re certainly a blessing when cutting baseboard on edge, it’s easy to forget to reset them when setting the saw for angled cuts, leading to occasional frustration (the Metabo’s fences must be removed for bevel cuts). I haven’t really needed anything bigger, or a sliding saw, but there have been times where it would have been nice. This includes having Laser Trac guide system that provides a laser beam, allowing you to check where the slice will go before you do the cutting.
While many woodworkers with home workshops use their sliding miter saws mostly for in-shop cutoff work, many folks lug their saws to the job site every day, taking full advantage of the saws’ portability. You can either set the machine to 45 degrees or simple select from any of the nine miter stops. On a fixed miter saw, mounting the blade far enough back so that either a 10″ or a 12″ worked, you’d lose cutting area.
The only reason I got the Diablo and not the Craftsman premium — or replaced the blade at all — is because the old man bought it for me as thanks for loaning him the saw (a first), which he used to cut aluminum trim for his house — and the stock blade did so beautifully, I may add. Since I am doing a review of mainly 12” saws and the sliding saws are at the top of the list I cannot in good conscience include their products. I know that making compound cuts with any other saw is a bigger pain with more waste than a miter saw.