miter saw

Best Miter Saw (Compounding and Sliding) Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Miter Saw Reviews 2020

When beginning a new job or project, having all of the tools is vital, but having fewer tools to do all of those jobs is incredibly convenient. Rather than having to purchase and, maybe even, transport numerous tools for a job or project, you can get the best miter saws to take care of everything all at once. To be clear, we are only considering sliding or compound miter saws to be the best miter saw in 2020, though we still think different miter saws will suit some people better than others. In this article, not only will we provide you a list of the 5 best miter saws of a compound and/or sliding variety but a helpful buyer’s guide as well. We will also go through some commonly asked questions, but first, let us go through a quick comparison of the different picks.

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DEWALT DWS779 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw – Best Seller

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DEWALT is a company with a rocky history where once it was considered the pinnacle of American power tool manufacturing, now it is mired in the Chinese manufacturing employed by BLACK+DECKER. That said, DEWALT is currently on a rebranding effort to once again be considered a professional grade power tool manufacturer, and the DEWALT DWS779 is a worthy entry in that list. That said, though this miter saw does much to earn its good rating, it is not without fault and likely not suitable for many woodworking projects. However, for the average professional who needs to make numerous miter and bevel cuts throughout the day, the DEWALT DWS779 has the strength, durability, and convenience to keep you humming all day long.

Do It All
The DEWALT DWS779 is one of many different miter saws within the DEWALT lineup, but this is one of the few miter saws we saw out there that has all of the main cutting features. To start with, this is not only a compound miter saw but a double compound miter saw. This makes cutting reverse bevels a thing of the past and allows you to quickly pivot the saw blade to make a bevel on either side of the workpiece a piece of cake. However, the DEWALT DWS779 goes a step further by also including a sliding arm action to increase the cutting radius of this miter saw as well as provide some minor rip cutting ability. That said, this miter saw is best suited for rough cuts as it is not the most precise cutting–though it has some features to aid in that.

Solid Build
Part of the reason the cuts are less accurate has to do with the fact that the blade is given some room to play as it spins. In order to prevent any other events from inflating the issue, DELWAT makes sure to use heavy-duty, steel fences that are extra-tall. On top of that, the DEWALT DWS779 has a lighting system which creates a cutline with the saw blade’s shadow, so you never need to recalibrate the guidance. This miter saw features a powerful 15-amp motor that generates plenty of torque, though you may want to stay away from the hardest of hardwoods as the RPMs are not the fastest.

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  • Is a sliding miter saw
  • Has a 15 amp motor
  • Has maximum miters of 50/60-degrees
  • Has Cutline positioning syste
  • Has heavy-duty fences
  • Has a double bevel


  • The most expensive miter saw reviewed
  • Not the most precise

DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw – Top Pick

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Our top pick is another miter saw from DEWALT, but this model is their stripped down version. The reason we suggest this as our top pick has to do with the fact that this miter saw can technically accomplish nearly everything that the other DEWALT miter saws can, but it needs a little bit more experience and technique to accomplish. In exchange for the convenience of making any and every cut without really having to think, you save almost half the cost compared to the most expensive DEWALT miter saw that we reviewed. That said, this could almost be considered the baseline model or the prototype which is good and bad. Basically, all of the general things about the DEWALT lineup apply to this model, which is often above industry standards, but all of the general flaws show up too.

Infinite Range
By far one of the best qualities of the DEWALT DW715 involves using and adjusting the different kinds of cuts. In terms of sheer breadth, the DEWALT DW715 can cut a maximum bevel of 48-degrees which gives you some room to work with. On top of that, the miter provides a maximum cutting angle of 50-degrees for that same play. However, it is the adjustments of the miter which are the most useful. First, this miter saw features 11 different miters stops, granting it the most built-in range on our list. Still, the DEWALT DW715 also features a detent override which allows you to theoretically set the miter angle to whatever you want.

Better Build
Another reason that we like the DEWALT DW715 a bit more than the other models from the brand is that this model can technically do things the others cannot. Granted, the difference is a bit slim, but this model actually features the fastest no-load blade speed of 4000 RPMs. This is not much more than some of the DEWALTS, but it does provide the ability to cut through harder woods. This speed is driven by the same 15-amp motor that DEWALT puts in all of its miter saws and is known for durability and generating plenty of torque. Another welcome feature is the inclusion of extra-tall, heavy-duty, steel fences which are durable and stabilize larger workpieces better than others.

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  • Has a 15 amp motor
  • Has miter detent override
  • Has a maximum bevel of 48-degrees
  • Spins at 4000 RPMs
  • Has heavy-duty fences
  • Has maximum miters of 50-degrees


  • Not the most precise
  • Has a poor vac system

Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10″ Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw – Best Value

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Hitachi may not be known as a professional-grade power tool manufacturer, but they are in line to be the best consumer-grade power tool manufacturer. In fact, Hitachi is likely a solid mid-tier manufacturer which explains why they are more expensive than BLACK+DECKER–though they are much better too. The Hitachi C10FCG is a prime example of this as it is by far the least expensive miter saw on our list and is still able to compete with the big boys, easily making it the best budget miter saw that we came across. With a little bit of customization, this can be every bit as good as a miter saw three times its price. It’s worth noting that there has been a recent change, Hitachi Power Tools has changed its name to Metabo HPT.

Great Power
One thing you do not generally expect from a budget-friendly product is for it to be the most powerful in its class, but this is exactly what we find with the Hitachi C10FCG. While this miter saw does not actually blow anything away with its industry standard 15-amp motor, it does top our list in terms of RPMs with 5000. This is more than enough to cut through the hardest of hardwoods and can even cut stone with the right saw blade. That said, the Hitachi C10FCG does have a 10” saw blade which will shorten its maximum cutting distance as well as its cutting radius. On the bright side, it is incredibly easy to move as it is the lightest miter saw on our list at just over 24 lbs.

Iffy Measurements
Another area where the Hitachi C10FCG tops our list is with the maximum miter cutting angle which sits at 52-degrees. The maximum bevel cutting angle is only 45-degrees, but that just means you do not have any play. That said, because of the power and the lightweight, compact design, the Hitachi C10FCG is not necessarily the most precise cutting miter saw. None of this is made any better by the fact that the Hitachi also has a substandard fence and guide to the point where you will need to set something up yourself.

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  • Is the least expensive miter saw reviewed
  • Has a max miter of 52-degrees
  • Is a more compact miter saw
  • Has a 15 amp motor
  • Spins at 5000 RPMs
  • Has a 45-degree bevel


  • Only has a 10” blade
  • Has a substandard fence

DEWALT DW716XPS Compound Miter Saw with XPS, 12-Inch – Runner Up

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Our final DEWALT miter saw sits in an odd spot market-wise in that most people who are looking to spend this kind of money opt for the best-selling model of the lineup. On the other hand, if you are a bit more budget consciousness, then chances are you have already considered our top pick. This leaves the DEWALT DW716XPS in the unenviable position of appealing to a fairly narrow niche of consumers. That said, this is likely one of the best double compound miter saws for DIYers.

Fairly Convenient
Though the DEWALT DW716XPS does not feature the sliding arm of the best-selling DEWALT model, it does still have a number of nice features which extend its versatility. For one, this is a double compound miter saw which means that it can cut a miter from either direction, eliminating the need to make a confusing reverse bevel cut. That said, the DEWALT DW716XPS goes a bit further than the budget-minded DEWALT and also features DEWALT’s patented Cutline blade positioning feature. This allows the built-in work light to provide a cutline guide using the shadow of the saw blade. Just to make sure the DEWALT DW716XPS does not have any durability issues, DEWALT included a powerful 15-amp motor.

A Common Theme
The DEWALT DW716XPS has a maximum bevel angle of 48-degrees and a maximum miter angle of 50-degrees–much like the other DEWALT miter saws. Also spanning the line between the two models, the DEWALT DW716XPS also has the miter detent override system which allows you to make any angle cut you want. The extra-tall, heavy-duty, steel fences once again provide a solid brace for even larger workpieces, though this still does not prevent the DEWALT DW716XPS from also suffering some of the precision issues that the other models in the line do. To make things more difficult for the DEWALT DW716XPS, this is not a terribly budget-minded miter saw either.

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  • Has a 15 amp motor
  • Has a maximum bevel of 48-degrees
  • Has miter detent override
  • Has Cutline positioning system
  • Is a double compound miter saw
  • Has heavy-duty fences


  • A more expensive miter saw
  • Has a poor vac system

Makita LS1040 10″ Compound Miter Saw – Also Consider

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Makita is one of the most respected professional-grade power tool manufacturers largely because their products are some of the most powerful on the market. A fair amount of this has to do with their skill and specialization involving electric motors, but the trend remains the same whether corded or cordless. This trend also continues with the Makita LS1040, though in this instance, it may have been a better idea to tweak the philosophy a bit. This is because though the Makita LS1040 may be every bit as powerful as the other options on our list, if not more so in some cases, it suffers from an imprecise cut even more.

Go Anywhere
We still believe that a compact miter saw is a small niche, but this is definitely the saw to fit the bill. Though not the lightest, the Makita LS1040 is still easily carried in a single hand at just over 27 lbs. On top of that, it is also one of the most compact miter saw that we reviewed, requiring far less working room than most of the models we came across. This does present the issue of the Makita LS1040 not having enough weight to properly stabilize itself, though it will rip through just about anything if you stabilize it with braces or other accessories. On top of that, you can even use this miter saw in low-light conditions with a bright built-in work light.

Up and Down
Beyond the vibration issues, the Makita LS1040 also only has a 10” blade which will decrease the maximum cutting radius as well as the maximum cutting depth. That said, this is a fairly hearty beast with a powerful 15-amp motor, despite the much smaller frame to work with. This miter saw can also cut through pretty much every kind of wood with the second-highest RPMs on our list at 4600. This compound miter saw features an adequate maximum bevel cutting angle of 45-degrees and 9 miter stops. On top of everything else, this is also a somewhat less expensive miter saw, though it is by no means a cheap miter saw.

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  • Has a 45-degree bevel
  • Is a less expensive miter saw
  • Spins at 4600 RPMs
  • Has a 15 amp motor
  • Has 9 miter stops
  • Has a built-in work light


  • Not the most precise
  • Only has a 10” blade

Comparison of the Picks

One of the first things to consider when comparing these miter saw is what types of jobs you are trying to accomplish. For our purposes, we do not consider the ability to be more easily transported or used in a smaller area to be too terribly useful, though it may be exactly what someone needs. Because of this, we rated the 10” miter saws a bit lower than the 12” miter saws considering there are just some cuts that the smaller miter saws cannot make.

Regardless, DEWALT has really stolen the show in the miter saw market and earned three separate entries on our list–though the flagship model, which costs twice as much for little gained value, is not on it. With the DEWALT miter saws, you are getting a powerful and fairly reliable miter saw, though it is best suited for cross cuts and other rough cuts as it is not too terribly precise. Of course, this has a bit to do with the guides which are not that great, though the heavy-duty steel fences are nice.

If you are looking for something a little bit less expensive, both Makita and Hitachi make models under $200. Granted, these are the 10” models alluded to prior, but they are not poorly made miter saws. However, because miter saws make difficult cuts, these smaller saws still have the same power as their larger competitors. This leads to a great deal of vibration which makes them a bit imprecise regardless of the quality of the guides or fences. That said, if you are someone who finds himself in the situation of needing a portable miter saw, the Makita is a great option. Of course, if you need a compact miter saw, the Hitachi is the lightest on our list and also has the fastest spinning blade for the hardest of woods.

The real comparison comes back to the different DEWALT models which, while not for finish woodworking, are well-made though they all offer something different. The best seller is also the only sliding double compound miter saw on our list which is likely why it sells as well as it does. Of course, some features are more valuable than others and we feel that a competent carpenter can accomplish just as much by paying a good bit less by putting their experience to work and doing without some of the convenient features. Between them straddles DEWALT’s double compound miter saw that seems like a somewhat superfluous addition to the lineup, but performs as admirably as the others.

Best Miter Saw Buying Guide 2020

The difference between the Miter Saw types

There are three different types of miter saw: the standard miter saw, the compound miter saw, and the sliding miter saw. The compound miter saw is further subdivided into the single compound and the double compound miter saws. Each of these features is combined with the others by a couple manufacturers such that there is a type and configuration of miter saw for everyone.

It is worth considering which features are more relevant than others and the total value they provide. For instance, a compound miter saw allows you to cut bevels, but a talented woodworker and cut bevels using the miter cut. Likewise, a sliding miter saw may have a bit longer of a cut than the others, but that too is a matter of speed and convenience–not ultimate functionality. Of course, miter saws are often used where those qualities are in high demand and may be worth the additional cost they entail.

Basic Miter

Though our article does not really cover this type, there are miter saws which are far more limited than those most commonly made. A basic miter is able to cut miters but it does not feature a pivoting base that allows some models to also cut bevels. On top of that, basic miter saws do not feature a sliding arm to help make larger crosscuts or short rip cuts. That said, the simplicity of the basic miter saw does provide some genuine benefits. One of the biggest reasons to get a basic miter saw is that they are significantly less expensive than the other types of miter saws–though they are quickly falling out of favor in general.

Basically, the ability to pivot to make bevel cuts and slide for short rip cuts inherently allows for more things to go wrong. Another good thing about a basic miter saw is they have a tendency to better transfer the motor’s power into cutting power. Again, this has a bit to do with the simplicity of the design and how the miter saw is driven. Another reason for this trend is that basic miter saw is often used for rougher cuts which can push the limits of power without worrying about precision.


While being able to make a miter is amazingly useful, there are still plenty of other difficult cuts and more difficult cuts out there which are nearly as common. In fact, one of the most common types of cuts that also happens to be exceptionally difficult is the bevel cut. Because the miter saw already makes a type of angled cut, it makes sense to combine its action with another angled cut on a different plane. A miter saw that is able to also make a bevel cut is called a compound miter saw. Some miter saws are able to make a bevel cut in either direction and are called double compound miter saws.

Some compound miter saws are only able to make a select few types of bevel cuts, but there are others which offer numerous common and uncommon detent stops for a wide variety of different project. It is worth remembering that a double compound miter saw does not actually allow for cuts you otherwise could not make. Instead, the ability to cut a bevel in either direction simply makes it easier to cut since a single compound miter saw can still invert the cut.


A sliding miter saw expands the versatility of a traditional miter saw in a couple of ways, increasing its overall value. A sliding miter saw borrows the sliding arm from a radial arm saw and mounts the miter saw blade onto it. One of the best qualities of a sliding miter saw is that it allows you to make longer cuts than the other types of miter saw. For cross cuts and plunge cuts, every inch counts in cuts that require more speed and torque to remain clean. Depending on the size of the workpiece, a sliding miter saw can even be used to make short rip cuts, though it is far more limited in this respect.

Rarely will manufacturers make just a sliding miter saw, instead preferring to add this feature on top of a compound arrangement. The top-tier miter saws meant for professional tasks will always be a double compound miter saw with a sliding arm. This allows the tool to provide a maximum length cut for both the miter and the bevel cut which would otherwise take significantly longer and require far greater skill to cut by hand.


Regardless of the type of miter saw, you are going to want to make sure that its motor is plenty powerful. In fact, this is true well above and beyond what you might normally think for other types of saws due to the fact that a miter saw will predominantly make plunge cuts and cross cuts. As such, your miter saw will need to generate as much torque as possible in order to provide the cutting power necessary to make these tougher cuts. Thankfully, most manufacturers are already well aware of this fact and few miter saws are sold with less than 15-amp motors. It is important to note the distinction between the torque generated which affects the pull and the speed of the cutting action.

Miter Cut

As the name implies, this is the main type of cut you get a miter saw for and is easily one of the most common cuts in professional and hobbyist work. Miter cuts are rated in degrees, though they must be acute, or less than 90-degrees to qualify and are rarely larger than 45-degrees. That said, there are a number of individual factors which ultimately impact how well the miter saw performs at its eponymous task.

First, the maximum miter cut that you can make will be important if you are a woodworker where you made a bit extra for various purposes. On top of that, you are also going to want to see how many different miter stops the saw provides as this will make transitioning to common cuts that much easier. Of course, for the more experienced user, there are miter saws with a detent override so that you can determine the exact degree of miter to your cut.

Bevel Cut

A bevel cut is the type of cut allowed by a compound miter saw and cuts an angle through the edge of the workpiece as opposed to the face. Bevels are most common when joining two workpieces together, but they are also regularly used for simple decoration. Miter saws come in both compound and double compound varieties with the latter allowing you to make bevel cuts in either direction. With a single compound miter saw, to make a bevel on the opposite side you have to measure from the opposite end and cut on the underside of the workpiece.

The most common type of bevel cut for joining two workpieces together is a 45-degree bevel, but that is not the only bevel cut most compound miter saws allow. Much like with the miter cut, compound miter saws have a detent to position and fix the blade at a specific measurement. For bevel cuts, the other most common measurements are 30-degrees and 15-degrees, though the sharper the bevel cut, the more likely it is meant to be decorative.


Rotations per minute, or RPMs, is a bit of an often misunderstood specification that has vital importance in very particular scenarios. Specifically, the RPMs will determine how hard of wood you can cut through before you begin to run into problems. That said, RPMs alone will not provide this answer as you also need to have a rough idea of the miter saw engine’s torque too. Still, the maximum speed that a miter saw’s blade can reach, the harder the wood that it will ultimately be able to cut through.

It is worth noting that most miter saws do not have a variable speed control, so miter saw with extremely high RPMs might have the unfortunate consequence of tearing into softer woods. That said, this is far more likely to be an issue if you tried to cut a miter or bevel into an exceptionally soft material like plastic or even metals.

Fences & Guides

Though this is likely one of the more overlooked qualities of a miter saw, the quality of the fences and guides can have a huge impact on the quality of your work. This is especially pertinent because it seems as though manufacturers have allowed the fences and guides to take a hit in quality to save on production costs. While this makes the miter saw less expensive to purchase, it also has a tendency to make it less precise and accurate when cutting. Experienced users will know how to measure and set their workpieces without the fences and guides, but that is an unnecessary hassle you should not have to go through.

One of the biggest things to look for with the fences and guides is the material as lesser quality materials are also less expensive. In order to save on the overhead, some manufacturers will use plastic fences or guides which flex and bend when braced against. While not the only factor affecting the accuracy and precision of your cut, namely how level the table is, the fences and guides are one of the most common areas which require external improvement for consistent performance.


What is the Proper Way to Use a Miter Saw?

Miter saws technically follow all of the rules for any large power saw, however, their unusual functions alter these rules a bit. For instance, you are always supposed to keep any loose fabric away from the blade and ensure that your fingers are safely tucked and positioned, but a sliding miter saw has an action that you normally do not encounter with other types of power tools let alone power saws. As such, you will need to make sure that you account for the distance traveled when sliding to prevent an accident.

Likewise, a compound miter saw can make judging how and where the blade will come down more difficult. Because of this it is highly recommended you do not try cutting small workpieces with a compound miter saw–again, even more so than with other power saws that cut exclusively at 90-degrees. Another good tip when cutting bevels is to make sure that the cutaway piece falls off rather than flowing through the cut.

What is the Real Difference Between a Single and Double Compound Miter Saw?

It is fairly easy to see by looking what the difference between these two types of compound miter saws is, but to truly understand the value that a double compound provides you need to understand what making certain bevel cuts requires on a single compound miter saw. Basically, with a single compound miter saw, you need to cut the opposite end of the workpiece on what will eventually be the underside.

If this sounds a bit complicated, that is exactly why a double compound miter saw was developed in the first place. Now, instead of having to figure out which is the underside and measure from the opposite end as usual, you can just switch the side of the bevel cut by pivoting the blade. It is worth noting that the convenience of a double compound function will often increase the cost of a miter saw by 30 to 50-percent compared to other miter saws made by the same manufacturer.


In the end, the sliding double compound miter saw might seem impressive, but you can get pretty much the same things accomplished with simply a single compound miter saw. In this instance, the adage is true that the tools are only as good as the craftsman who wields them. Granted, sometimes it is nice to be able to wield tools which are not effective but convenient as well–just so long as you are willing to pay for the largess of that convenience.

For our money, DEWALT is by far the best miter saw manufacturer in town at the moment with few other general brands even putting forth more than one or two models. Regardless of the kind of consumer you: a professional, enthusiast, or budget-seeker, DEWALT has a capable and high-quality miter saw. Of course, if you are looking for a real steal, then Hitachi offers one of the best deals we saw that stretches the term ‘mid-tier.’ The Makita is interesting and useful for particular jobs but is unlikely to be the best for the most people.

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