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Buying a Miter Saw

October 4, 2010 |
8 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-16

Hello all! My husband and I are looking into buying a miter saw after trying to cut 4x4s with a jigsaw, lol. I was wondering if anyone had any reccomendations or insights as we prepare to make our purchase? Right now the biggest debate we are having is whether or not to spend extra money on a sliding compound saw. I definately know we want a 12'' blade, and dual bevel, but other than that I'm not sure what to look for. Is it critical that it be able to cut over a 45 degree angle?

Here are the specs of the three we are currently looking at:

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Brand Triton              Hitachi                          Skil    
Item Number 20978 157783 320376    
Amps (Amps) 15.0 15.0 15.0    
Blade Diameter (Inches) 12.0 12.0 12.0    
Laser Yes - - Yes    
Maximum Bevel Degrees (Degrees) 45.0 - - 47.0    
Cutting Capacity (Maximum) (Inches) 12.0 8.0 7.75    
Blade Speed in RPM's (RPM) 5000.0 4000.0 4500.0    
UL Safety Listing Yes Yes Yes    
CSA Safety Listing No No Yes    
ETL Safety Listing Yes No No    
Power Rating (HP) 3.2 0.0 0.0    
Bevel Yes Yes Yes    
Max. Miter Cut - Left (Degrees) 52.0 52.0 47.0    
Max. Miter Cuts - Right (Degrees) 52.0 52.0 47.0    
Arbor Size (Inches) 1.0 0.625 1.0    
Electric Brake Yes Yes No    
Spindle Lock Yes Yes Yes    
Warranty (Parts) 3 year 5-year Limited 1 Year    
Miter Stop 7 - 15 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, 45  0,15˚, 22.5˚, 31.6˚, 45˚    
Dust Chute Yes Yes Yes

 

Any suggestions  or insights are welcome!

Thank you :)

Joined: 2010-09-04

This is  the saw i purchased. It is a 10" sliding mitersaw that will cut a 12" wide board and a 4x4 post. I have only had it a couple of months but so far so good.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_141994.....rchCatalog

Offline
Joined: 2010-10-03

Hi all,

 

Funny I saw this post.. I just purchased one last night at Lowes. So near my house there is this really neat "cheap" store called Harbor Freight. They have an online catalog as well. They had a 10" Miter saw that was normally $90, on sale for $50, and I had a 20% coupon, so it was like $40. It works.. does the job for basic things.. but the other day I started on 3 plans. One is a desk I am making and hope to post pics and maybe plans (google $50 DIY studio desk.. not sure I can repost those on here or not but they aren't really plans, just sizes for each piece). The desk uses 2x6s and dang if my 10" miter couldn't cut all the way through one. You get what you pay for.

 

Here is what I am going to suggest... the $200 10" saw that chris posted above isn't half bad. I actually amost got this one, but the 10" size was a deal breaker for me. I looked over at the 3 champs.. Dewalt for $600, the Bosch for $600 and the Hitachi for $450. All 3 12" sliding miters, all very well rated by most users. Each has a few "bad" reviews, but when the majority is good, I tend to thinkt he bad reviews come from hard-core 8 hour a day cutting users, and perhaps the "top of the line" home models aren't meant for the professional all day mitering person.

 

So, the Dewalt is suposedly the standard. I don't know completely why, but accuracy, 16" cutting range, and 6 5/8" height cutting range is part of it. The Bosch looks amazing.. it's only a 12" cutting range though, an 6 inch height. The Hitachi, I couldn't get the height, I think it was also 12" cutting range.

 

The way I look at it is.. 12" range == about 23" or so if you flip the board over. Usually 12" should be enough, anything wider you probably want a table saw or a radial saw with a jig and some saw horses. The 16" Dewalt is nice if you're doing things like 15" depth closet organizers, otherwise, I personally can't think of many applications that you use more than 12" for (that's just me). Most of the plans on here seem to be 12" boards when boards are used.

 

Ok.. so here is the thing.. the Bosch, for $600, is throwing in a $300 portable stand right now. That's a 33% "free" stand, and it's rated one of the best. If you look at the stand.. it's impressive. Not only can you wheel it around, fold it up so you can store the miter saw + stand out of the way, but the stand also includes very long arms that you can extend out to support long boards, such as 8/10/12' boards. The construction is solid..it's heavy.

 

I ended up buying the Bosch. It is a bit more than I probably should have spent given that I am not a daily wood worker.. more a weekend DIY, but.. one thing my parents/grandparents always taught me.. you get what you pay for (well.. most of the time), and if you're going to use something over some period of time, better of spending the money and getting the good quality up front. That $40 miter saw I bought is not accurate, has no features at all.. it works, but it's far less than steller. The Bosch is a far better saw for 8x the price.. but with the stand, I can now move it around easily, set it up and cut. My neighbor (who I share tools with..he has the table saw and drill press and such) can easily wheel it over and use it now, and I know it will produce far better/accurate cuts. Being the 12" and sliding, I can now cut full 12" boards, dual-bevel is nice. The laser thing might have been cool, but Lowes doesn't sell the 5412 model, just the 5312, which besides a laser has a few other minor things missing.

 

If you got the money... money is no object, I'd probably consider the Dewalt + the Bosch stand... even if the color mismatch looks funny. From what I've read, the T4B (TB4?) stand is the best out there, but there are other stands for like $100.. so you could pay maybe $700 for the Dewalt and another stand.. or just forget the stand if you have a place to put it already.

 

Keep in mind, these miters are heavy! My cheapo is really easy to move around.. but the 12" + sliding is huge and a lot heavier.

 

I can't wait to start using this thing! Set it up last night on the stand..it looks mean! :D

emmarosemc's picture
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Joined: 2011-03-09
I got a 12" miter saw on sale

I got a 12" miter saw on sale a couple weeks ago at harbor freight, with the 20% off for $136!

Havent powered it up yet (im scared to!) but we thought it was a pretty good deal
claydowling's picture
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Joined: 2011-01-26
Harbor Freight caution

I like Harbor Freight because they have most everything, but you should have a care when buying tools there.  Their tools (especially power tools) are targeted to price-conscious buyers, rather than value-conscious buyers. 

For a lot of tools this doesn't matter a lot.  I always buy my sanders there, because there's not much they can mess up on a sander.  I won't buy nailers there in the future. The last one I bought self-destructed after a day of use, in a way that could have caused injury if I wasn't in the habit of treating a nail gun like a firearm (which it effectively is).

I would be careful of miter and table saws purchased there.  The failure mode on that large spinning blade is pretty catastrophic.  Make sure all of the mounting bolts are tight, not just the one you use to tighten the blade down, and check them periodically. 

A common complaint with any of the harbor freight power tools is accuracy.  With a saw, you want to check that your blade is square to the work surface, and you should double check any angles, rather than trusting the angle gauge on the saw (although the successful woodworker does this even with very high end saws).  Your speed square is actually a good tool to do this.  Mind you, this kind of tune-up is recommended with any saw, it's just likely to be more frequent with the less expensive saws.  Speaking as the owner of cheap powered saws.

There's a reason I switched to hand tools, and the quality of the power tools I could afford was a large part of it.

LLamaGoop (not verified)
What would the opinion be on

What would the opinion be on buying a Makita 10" Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw
http://www.amazon.com/Makita-LS1216L-12-Inch-Slide-Compound/dp/B00347A57...

for about $500 possibly less with taxes included in that

I have only done a few things here and there up till now but I think I might be able to get a deal on one for said $500ish
I probably would not even consider it even with the deal if my room mates were not also doing renos in the basement and might be able to use it

But i would like to hear opinions from more experienced people

claydowling's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-01-26
Probably a good saw

It's probably a good saw. I have trouble wanting to part with $500 for a miter saw, because for that money I could get several really great hand saws that are at least as capable. I'm not sure I'd want to build a whole house with hand saws, but for furniture I'd rather have the good set of hand saws.

Even for a library worth of bookshelves, I'm using hand tools for most of my stock sizing and breakdown. It's just easier for me.

BriceBM (not verified)
Clay I currently have a cheap

Clay

I currently have a cheap sliding miter saw that I have been building with for about a year now, but I'm looking to move to a hand miter saw. Can you recommend any good ones? Is this a good choice

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=5364

Offline
Joined: 2012-04-20
Miter Saws

I have an old non-sliding miter saw that works fine because I recognize it is 1 degree off and adjust accordingly. When I get a new one it will be a 12" sliding type but certainly not the most expensive. Watch for sales and you should do fine with brand names. However everyone should have a manual miter saw for the quick cut and to cut those items that are too dangerous to try and cut with a power saw. If you don't know what they are you will quickly find out when you put the small, thin, and unsupported item in the saw. Be safe first then accurate.

Jake

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