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Miter Saws Review

Why Buy a Miter Saw?

Miter saws are among the most common woodworking tools for your shop. They create cross cuts and angled cuts in two-by-fours or similarly sized lumber. They are designed for precise cutting and are particularly useful for delicate construction such as crown molding or wall studs. They cannot be used with wide wood stock or raw lumber. If you are building an addition on your house or framing a wall, a miter saw is a must-have tool for your workroom.

Before purchasing a miter saw, such as the Milwaukee 12-Inch Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw, the Ryobi 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser or the DeWalt DW716 with XPS Light, carefully consider the jobs you will need a miter saw for. Features and functions differ from one model from another.

Miter Saws: What to Look For

When shopping for a miter saw, it's important to consider the following factors:

What Are You Building?
The type of wood you work with and the kind of cuts you intend to make will guide you in choosing the right miter saw for your project. A sliding compound miter saw will cut in one direction, while a dual-bevel compound miter saw can be pivoted to cut in two directions. The size of the blade matters because the smaller the blade, the more precise cuts you can make. If you are making tiny cuts, look for a model with a laser guide and an electric brake for the blade. The more powerful the motor, the deeper and faster it will cut wood. If you know you need a real workhorse, look for a motor with at least 15 amps.

Your Work Environment
If you know you will be consistently working in an area that lacks access to electrical outlets, you may need a cordless miter saw. If you will be logging hours of work on the cordless, invest in extra batteries for backup, as the miter saw will eat up battery power quickly. If your workshop is already crowded and you need to optimize your workspace, consider a compact model that sits directly against the wall. If you are concerned about ventilation or quick cleanup, make sure the miter saw has an integrated dust channel to collect the debris. If you know you will move the saw around during your project, look for a lightweight model.

Level of Experience
A professional is going to have different needs than a DIY homeowner. If you are doing the occasional project, you can get away with a smaller investment in a saw that can survive your weekend projects. However, if you are using this on jobsites, be prepared to spend more on equipment that can handle a lot of use. Read the fine print on the service contract and the warranty to ensure you're covered if it fails on the job.

Miter saws are among the most common woodworking tools and are staples in any woodworker's arsenal. How often you plan on using a miter saw and the working conditions will dictate the level of investment you should make. Fortunately, there are nearly countless options and models for both consumers and professionals.