12 inch miter saw

Best 12-inch Miter Saw Reviews and Buying Guide

Best 12-inch Miter Saw Reviews 2019

Table saws and circular saws may see the most action in the majority of workshops, but not far behind, is the miter saw. Of course, not all miter saws can handle the biggest or most difficult jobs which require rigorous workloads. That is why we put together a list of the 5 best 12-inch miter saw reviews of 2019. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ to help you navigate this fairly complicated power saw market. We found the Makita and DEWALT DWS780 to be the top performers, but you have to keep reading to see which are the best values.

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Makita LS1219L 12″ Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser – Best Seller

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Makita is easily one of the most popular and well-respected power tool manufacturers in the world. This is even more remarkable considering the company actually originated as a maker of electric motors as opposed to power tools specifically. However, this served Makita well since it gives them expertise in arguably the most important component of pretty much every power tool. In fact, aside from being one of the highest-rated professional-grade power tool manufacturers in the world, Makita is also generally known for making some of the most powerful power tools as well. That said, the company is currently taking its generally robust motors and trying to add a bit more in the way of precision.

Good Cuts
It might be a bit surprising given that Makita is our best sell 12-inch miter saw, but they do not actually make the best cuts. To be clear, the cuts themselves are excellent and precise, but the Makita 12-inch miter saw does have one of the slower blade speeds. While it is not so slow that it will struggle with most types of wood, exotic, dense hardwoods might require slower cutting. Thankfully, this does not actually impede the Makita miter saw or impact the durability of its motor. Aside from providing a high-quality motor, the Makita also offers a full range of cutting actions. The Makita is a double compound sliding miter saw which means it can make bevel cuts to both the left and right as well make precise, thin rip cuts. However, all of this quality comes at a price, and for the Makita sliding miter saw, this happens to be literal. Beyond its ability to actually cut the workpiece, the Makita also provides some of the largest cutting capacities we found. In terms of the vertical cutting capacities, which are important for crown molding and baseboards, the Makita miter saw tops our list at 8” and 6 ¾” respectively.

Great Features
Outside of the general functions of the Makita 12” miter saw, this tool also comes with a wide range of additional features too. One of the nicer aspects of the Makita double compound sliding miter saw is the inclusion of a laser guide system. While this allows you to see where the blade will cut, the Makita miter saw also uses a linear ball-bearing design to ensure that the blade is brought down precisely where measured. Even better, the Makita also offers some of the best options in terms of measurement with the widest miter range that we reviewed. On top of the 60-degree miter swing to both the right and left, the Makita double compound miter saw also offers a solid bevel range with a bit of play for finish work. Another interesting quality of the Makita sliding miter saw is that the sliding system employs unique engineering. Rather than being positioned in the rear, the Makita 12-inch sliding miter saw uses a side-saddle design to shrink its profile.

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  • Is a double compound sliding miter saw
  • Has a side slide system
  • Has a wide miter range
  • Has larger cutting capacities
  • Has a laser guide
  • Is easy to use


  • Is a more expensive miter saw
  • Has a slower blade speed
  • DEWALT 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw, Double Bevel (DWS780) – Top Pick

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    DEWALT has long been one of the most popular and prestigious brands of power tools in the world. While the company took a bit of a tumble following its acquisition by BLACK+DECKER, it has quickly made up the lost ground. To be fair, BLACK+DECKER positioned DEWALT as their professional-grade brand, so it did not take long to get back in order. That said, DEWALT still has a long and storied history that stretches back over 90 years and includes a wealth of experience in both power tools and hand tools. While this may not necessarily perform better than the best seller in all capacities, it does come at a slightly lower cost. On top of that, the DEWALT DWS780 12-inch miter saw might be the best miter saw for contractors that we found.

    Power Cuts
    One thing that surprised us was the fact that the DEWALT actually handles dense hardwoods better than the best seller miter saw on our list. To be fair, a big part of this has to do with the modest increase in blade speed to help prevent the blade from burning the cut face. That said, you will definitely need to be a bit more careful when assembling the DEWALT 12” miter saw as the blade is notoriously difficult to align compared to some of the other products we reviewed. That said, once you do properly align the blade the DWS780 12” miter saw can handle almost as many different sizes of workpiece as our best seller. For one, this is a double compound sliding miter saw and can make pretty much every kind of cut you might need. On top of that, DEWALT miter saw also comes with some of the larger cutting capacities as well. It sports the largest 90-degree horizontal cut at 16” and even provides an oversized crown molding vertical maximum cut at 7”.

    Good Build
    While the cutting capabilities of the DWS780 miter saw might only be second-best– though still much better than cheap miter saws– it is a great job site miter saw. To be fair, the DEWALT sliding miter saw is a bit on the heavy side, but this is likely due to the use of high-quality materials. For instance, the miter gauge is made of stainless steel and includes 11 different detent stops. Even better than that, the miter gauge features a cam-lock design and can override the miter detents for precise, uncommon cuts. Of course, you should not have to worry about precise measurements or cuts too much as the DWS780 double compound sliding miter saw also comes with DEWALT’s patented XPS crosscut system. This system eschews the laser guides that other brands use, which are notorious for requiring constant adjustments, and favors a shadow method instead. Granted, this can be a bit troublesome if the blade is misaligned but works just as well otherwise thanks to the included LED work light which also keeps your workspace visible too.

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    • Is a double compound sliding miter saw
    • Has larger cutting capacities
    • Has the XPS crosscut guide
    • Has a wide miter range
    • Uses high-quality materials
    • Has a blade speed of 3800 rpms


    • Is a more expensive miter saw
    • Difficult to align the blade

    DEWALT 12-Inch Miter Saw, 15-Amp, Single Bevel, Compound (DWS715) – Best Value

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    DEWALT makes another appearance on our list, but this time they are not trying to top the market. Instead, the DEWALT DWS715 12-inch miter saw is better suited for simpler tasks, not the least because it is only a compound miter saw. In fact, this is actually the least versatile miter saw that we reviewed, though that does have some advantages. If nothing else, you do not have to worry about the DWS715 12-inch miter saw failing from a sliding or hinging mechanism. That durability combined with its low cost alone might make it the best value miter saw we found, but you will still want to watch out for some other issues as well.

    Okay Cuts
    One thing to consider is that the DEWALT DWS715 12” miter saw is meant more for a general contractor than anyone else. While some less experienced woodworkers can definitely get value out of it, its limitations make it better suited for someone who will not necessarily need a more impressive or versatile miter saw later on. This is most notable in the fact that while the cutting capacities are nothing to brag about, they are large enough to handle your standard sizes of baseboard and trim. On top of that, the DEWALT compound miter saw can cut through pretty much any hardwood with a blade speed of 4000 rpms. However, the fact that the DWS715 compound miter saw is also the lightest option that we found makes it ideal for a basic job site miter saw.

    Good, Not Great
    While the DEWALT 12” miter saw makes decent cuts, you still have to pay for the low cost somewhere. With this miter saw, that seems to be in the form of fences which are not always the most accurate. While the fences measure properly, they also have a little bit too much play which can throw off the measurement of the cut. On top of that, the DWS715 12” miter saw might have the worst dust management system that we reviewed and is noted for requiring far more regular breakdown cleanings than its competitors. On the positive side, the general contractor will appreciate that DEWALT included high-quality materials with its cheaper miter saw. The DEWALT DWS715 compound miter saw also has more positive miter stops than most of the other products reviewed which will decrease the amount of time it takes to adjust the miter gauge for the most common degrees of a miter cut.

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    • Is a less expensive miter saw
    • Is a compound miter saw
    • Has a blade speed of 4000 rpms
    • Has more positive stops than most
    • Uses high-quality materials
    • Is a lightweight miter saw


    • Not the most accurate fence
    • Not the best dust collection

    Metabo HPT C12FDHS 12″ Double Bevel Compound Miter Saw, Laser Marker System, 15-Amp Motor, Tall Pivoting Aluminum Fence, Micro-Bevel Adjustment Knob, 5 Year Warranty – Runner Up

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    We forgive you if you are not familiar with Metabo, but that is just the newest name for what was once known as Hitachi. That said, this does not mean that you should assign Hitachi’s solid reputation and over century-old years of experience to this new version. However, Metabo is no slouch in its own right with a history that still stretches back 95 years, though it did originally specialize in metalworking tools. Still, the Metabo 12-inch miter saw provides a solid mid-tier option for a workhouse that will not wow.

    Solid Cuts
    Whenever you look for a cheap 12-inch miter saw, it is best to make sure that none of the flaws are groundbreaking– especially in regards to the basic performance of the tool. Thankfully, Metabo offers a decent mid-range miter saw that provides a powerful motor for dense hardwoods. On top of that, the Metabo double compound miter saw also comes with a laser guide, so you know where the blade will cut. As if that were not precise enough, this is also one of the few miter saws we found that included a micro-adjustment knob for the bevel degree.

    Up and Down
    While the Metabo 12” miter saw may make precise cuts, it is not without fault either nor for everyone. Beyond a contractor looking for a solid, if unimpressive, tool, the Metabo double compound miter saw is also good for beginners. One of the main reasons for this, beyond the laser guide, is that the Metabo 12” double compound miter saw is fairly easy to use and maintain. On the other hand, you might have to maintain the Metabo miter saw more often than some as the fence is not that durable. This is also not a great miter saw for experienced woodworkers or expansive contractors as the cutting capacities are a bit on the small side.

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    • Is a less expensive miter saw
    • Is a double compound miter saw
    • Has a micro-adjustment knob
    • Has a laser guide
    • Has a powerful motor
    • Is easy to use


    • Has smaller cutting capacities
    • Not the most durable fence

    12 Inch Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser Guide 15 Amp; Comes with Dust Bag, Machined Aluminum Fence, Extension Bars, Table Clamp, Cord Storage Hooks – Also Consider

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    Chicago Electric is the in-house brand of the Harbor Freight hardware store and has a fairly narrow purpose. Basically, Chicago Electric sees the cheapest power tool on the market and finds a way to price itself even cheaper. As you might expect with this approach, there are some serious caveats with most Chicago Electric tools. That said, they are a reasonable option if you are just getting started in both the contractor field or as a novice woodworker. As such, the Chicago Electric 12-inch miter saw fills a niche but is far from a long-term solution.

    Surprising Features
    We have to give the Chicago Electric 12” miter saw credit where credit is due in that not only is it one of the least expensive miter saws on our list but it is able to provide all of the different functions as a miter saw many times more expensive. Specifically, this is a double compound sliding miter saw and actually does not show any issue with the ability to pivot, hinge, or slide. Harbor Freight went ahead and even included a decent plunge stop on the Chicago Electric miter saw. What might surprise us more than anything else is that the Chicago Electric double compound miter saw also comes with a laser guide too.

    Disappointing Build
    Whenever you look for a cheap miter saw, you should expect it to come with some flaws and just hope they are not too bad. With the Chicago Electric sliding miter saw, the flaws are a bit more troubling than some of the other options we reviewed. For example, the blade guard is noted for being extremely fragile and has even broken while in use. Aside from the fact that this is a poor build quality, it is also much more dangerous than the flaws competitors usually worry about. Unfortunately, the poor build quality does not end there with the fence and hardware also being low quality. On the plus side, it is one of the lighter miter saws on our review which makes it a decent throwaway on-site tool.

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    • Is a less expensive miter saw
    • Is a double compound sliding miter saw
    • Has a laser guide
    • Is a lightweight miter saw
    • Has an ambidextrous design
    • Has a plunge stop


    • Has a poor blade guard
    • Is not that durable

    Best 12-inch Miter Saw Buying Guide 2019


    This is probably the most important thing to consider when choosing a miter saw because it will ultimately determine how versatile your miter saw is. At the same time, you probably want to take care and make sure you only get the functions that you expect to use. This is because the addition of more functions has a tendency to drive the price up by a hundred dollars or more. It is also important to note that different manufacturers will mix and match the different features to offer a wide variety of arrangements.


    This is the most basic and limited miter saw, and it is actually pretty difficult to find a standard miter saw these days. When it comes down to it, a standard miter saw is little more than an old school chop saw that can pivot. On the positive side, this greatly reduces the cost of the standard miter saw when compared to the more advanced and versatile types. On top of that, because it has fewer moving or hinging parts, the standard miter saw is also usually more durable. However, this is definitely not the type of miter saw that you should get if you work in construction or are an experienced woodworker as it is simply too basic.


    A compound miter saw is just an industry term for saying that the miter saw can also make bevel cuts. While not always, this is usually the first feature added onto a standard miter saw to expand its versatility. One thing to remember though is that bevel cuts are most often used for joining workpieces. As such, if you are not a contractor or a woodworker with at least some modest experience, you probably will not need a compound miter saw. This type of miter saw can also come in the double compound variety which simply means that the saw can tilt to both the right and the left.

    If you are not an experienced woodworker but insist on getting a compound miter saw, make sure to get a double compound model. This might actually be one of the few instances where the less experienced buyer should opt for the more experienced option. This is because the ability to make bevel cuts on either side is not technically a necessity and is more of a convenience. Specifically, if your miter saw can only make bevel cuts on one side, then you need to measure an opposing bevel cut inverse to a standard bevel cut.


    This is definitely the most exclusive function included with miter saws, though the specific arrangement can vary a bit from maker to maker. Rarely will you find a standard miter saw that offers a sliding action, though you can still find single compound miter saws that do. That said, most sliding miter saws will come with a double compound function and also cost significantly more than those without. In terms of capability, the sliding function primarily extends cutting capacities and makes using the miter saw more convenient.

    One thing that a sliding action allows you to do is to make thin rip cuts on smaller workpieces– something that can be a pain for table saws and the like. On top of that, if the miter saw comes with a plunge-cutting function, a sliding arm extends the capacity of the plunge. While it is a less common cut, the ability to make a consistent and accurate plunge cut at length can be a lifesaver for even experienced contractors and woodworkers.

    Cutting Capacities

    After the type of miter saw, the cutting capacities are usually one of the more important factors to take into account. Keep in mind, the cutting power is always important for a power saw, but most miter saws are made comparably equitable in terms of power. Some may be better or worse when cutting hardwoods, but few miter saws are incapable of making all of the expected cuts. On the other hand, the size of the cuts miter saws can make vary greatly from one manufacturer to another.

    On top of that, since even sliding miter saws have a relatively small cutting distance, their capacities become even more relevant. That said, most contractors and woodworkers will find a miter saw’s vertical cutting capacity to matter more than their horizontal one. That being the case, it should not come as much of a surprise that the larger the vertical cutting capacity the more expensive the miter saw. In fairness, most baseboards and trim are made within a standard range and the largest miter saw cutting capacities will only be used in rare circumstances.


    While this might seem a bit similar to cutting capacities, the range determines how far the miter saw can cut along one of its functions. For example, the standard miter saw cut is the 90-degree cut in both the miter and bevel direction, assuming we are talking about a compound miter saw. Ultimately, the larger the range of cuts a miter saw can make, the more versatile the miter saw is.

    That said, you may not necessarily need to put too much stock in a miter saw’s range as most of the different positions are fairly non-standard. This is true for both miter and bevel cuts but is especially true for bevel cuts which are used more for joining purposes than anything else. Another thing to consider regarding the range of a miter saw is how many stops it provides.

    To be fair, if the miter saw allows for a detent override, the number of miter stops may not be terribly important. However, detent stops for both the miter and bevel gauge make adjusting those respective gauges quicker and easier. It also has a tendency to keep the miter saw positioned at its specific measurement more accurately without too much play from the miter saw’s vibration.


    Why a Miter Saw?

    Since, at their base, miter saws are just pivoting chop saws, it is a good idea to know why you would choose a chop saw. The main reason to use a chop or miter saw is that you need to make quick, safe crosscuts. Keep in mind, while you can make crosscuts with a table saw, they are more dangerous and more likely to kickback than when using a miter saw. Though, you will still want to use a table saw to make crosscuts on a larger workpiece, especially one longer than 12”.

    Outside of the crosscut, another major cut that all miter saws can technically make is the plunge cut. While often reserved for joining or decorative effect, the ability to make an accurate plunge cut should not be ignored. That said, it is important to make sure that the miter saw comes with a plunge cut stop as making a plunge cut by hand can be incredibly difficult. Finally, as the name implies, the miter saw is used to make miter cuts which are straight vertical cuts at a horizontal angle. Of course, many miter saws can make angled vertical cuts, but that is where you get into the different types of miter saws.

    Which Type of Miter Saw?

    It might seem a bit odd, but the different varieties of miter saw are often closely paired with different niches of profession or woodworking. For example, most people will at least get a compound miter saw since the difference in price is not that much more than a standard miter saw. Of course, a compound miter saw can jump in price by up to a hundred dollars. However, experienced woodworkers can usually get away with the cheaper option, because they usually have the knowledge to make inverse bevel cuts.

    On the other hand, contractors will often benefit from a double compound miter saw due to the decrease in measurement time while inexperienced woodworkers benefit from a simpler measurement altogether. When it comes to sliding miter saws, regardless of their bevel cutting ability, it really comes down to the size of the cut you expect to make. If you need to make cuts that are longer than 12” horizontal, you should probably invest in the sliding function. Likewise, if you make smaller projects that require precise thin rip cuts, a sliding function can be worth the cost.

    What to Look For?

    Once you have the type of miter saw down, figuring out which features are worth paying for and which can be skipped is paramount. As we already covered, the cutting capacities and the range of miter and bevel cuts are one of the key things to look for. That said, you should necessarily get the miter saw with the largest cutting capacities or the widest range of cut angles unless you expect to use them since both of these features usually increase the price of the miter saw precipitously.

    Outside of those key features, one of the nicer things a miter saw can include is some kind of guide system. Oddly enough, the larger miter saws, which are also generally more expensive, often come with a laser-guided system. This allows you to see where the blade will cut the workpiece beforehand and to make any adjustments in case the measurement is off. Beyond that, you always want to look for high-quality materials, especially for larger miter saws which are expected to handle a more rigorous workload than their smaller cousins.


    In the end, the best 12-inch miter saw will heavily depend on how experienced you are, what jobs you have to do, and how much you are willing to pay. If you want a miter saw that can do it all and then some, the Makita allows for the widest range of cuts on our list. Of course, if you need a miter saw can make comparable cuts but do it a bit quicker, the DEWALT DWS780 has you covered. That said, if you are not looking to spend half a grand on a miter saw, DEWALT offers another solid option in the DWS715. For a beginning woodworker, the Metabo is reasonably priced and provides a double compound function. Finally, if you just need something for a single job, the Chicago Electric is a cheap 12-inch miter saw.