Don’t you just like it when a picture frame is perfectly cut in the angles? If you strive for perfection as I do, that’s certainly something that you dig.
Whether you’re trying to prepare a picture frame for a Christmas gift or a window casing for that extra room you’re building, you can’t really make perfect angled cuts without a compound sliding miter saw – an essential power tool that should be in every handyman’s garage or workshop.
Knowing that, it’s still pretty hard to choose the best sliding compound miter saw on your own, considering that there are thousands of them on the market.
If you’re too busy to spend the weekend roaming the aisles of Home Depot and Lowes trying to find a tool that fits both your wallet and your needs, you’re at the right place.
In this article, you’ll find the best sliding compound miter saw suggestions, as well as a comprehensive buying guide for you to make the right choice.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the list.
The Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw – Top Picks
Ready to choose the best sliding compound miter saw for you to pump your woodworking arsenal? Here’s a list of our recommended products in this category, each having its own perks and drawbacks.
#1 – DeWalt DWS780 – The Best 12 Sliding Compound Miter Sawl
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You shouldn’t be surprised to see a DeWalt product topping our “Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw” list, considering that the company is among the big players in the power tool industry (check our DeWalt vs Milwaukee smackdown to get an idea of how great this brand is). Whether you’re trying to make precise cuts for the job site or ones for small DIY projects, this is the Best 12 Sliding Compound Miter Saw for you. This saw won’t meet your expectations; it will exceed them!
Starting with the built quality, this compound sliding miter saw is composed of a stainless steel plate and rugged guards; precision-machined castings, fences, and bevel system giving it a solid and sturdy construction that will last a lifetime provided that you know your way around power tools.
The DeWalt DWS780 comes with a new precise miter system and the ground-breaking XPS cross-cut alignment system, which boasts an ultra-bright LED light capable of casting a laser-like shadow to show you, as the user, where the blade is going to come in contact with the material to get a precise cut no matter the circumstances. Not only is it impressively ergonomic though, but the XPS system is also super convenient as you don’t have to recalibrate nor to change the blade every time you’re making a new cut. Also, don’t forget that this is a double bevel saw, meaning that you won’t have to flip your workplace when you need to make a dual angled bevel cut.
I’ve personally tried countless tools with a laser before, and I found most of them to be mere gimmicks and nothing but marketing ploys designed to get the buyer’s attention, but with the DeWalt DWS780 compound sliding miter saw, using the laser becomes second nature in no time. It’s as accurate as it can get, and while you’re better off using it indoors, you can still get well-aligned cuts outdoors as the light is bright enough for the shadow to be seen clearly when outside.
This DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw can cut through a broad range of board widths, including 16-inch ones, with extreme accuracy, making it a great candidate for the title of the Best 12 Sliding Compound Miter Saw.
Despite having a powerful 15-amp, 3800-RPM motor that can deliver all the power and durability you may ever need from a miter saw, the DeWalt DWS780 runs smoothly and quietly, which means that you can use it on any job site without worrying about the noise or the neighbors’ screams.
The saw comes with a nice dust collection bag for you to keep your workspace clean all the time, but try to empty yet often as the size isn’t that big and the capacity may prove to be too limited for some projects and cuts.
The only drawback to this saw is the design of the slides. While they are fairly good and efficient, they are not up to DeWalt’s standards, and the company could’ve done a better job designing them.
What We Like About this Miter Saw
What is there to dread about this saw? If you’re like me and the limited-capacity dust collection bag doesn’t bother you, this can definitely be the Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw for you. Not only is it durable, robust, smooth, and rugged, but it’s also quiet, accurate, and quite affordable! What else could you ask for in the best sliding compound miter saw?
#1 – DeWalt DWS780 – The Best 12 Sliding Compound Miter Sawl
- Powerful 13.0 AMP direct drive motor requires less maintenance and delivers 4,300 RPM
- Miters 0° - 47° left and 0° - 60° right, with positive stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45° (left and right)
- Cuts up to 12” at 90° and 8-1/2” at 45°
Hot on the heels of the DeWalt DWS780 is the Makita LS1018, which is the best 10 sliding compound miter saw.
Exaggerating much? Not really, considering that Makita is yet another well-known, reputable brand in the industry, one that has been operating since 1915.
The size of the Makita LS1018 is smaller than that of the DeWalt saw, making it quite compact, with a lighter weight point of 53.3 pounds and a smaller blade as well. Small and lightweight aren’t synonyms of weak though, as this saw boasts an impressive set of features that make it quite the efficient and strong candidate in the quest to finding the best sliding compound miter saw.
Starting with the power source, the Makita LS1016L sliding compound sound comes with a strong 15-amp direct drive motor, which is capable of providing over 3200 RPM. Not bad, isn’t it?
Furthermore, the saw comes with a 4- steel rail sliding system, which is capable of providing a stable cutting platform, and 6 linear ball bearings that allow you to make dead-on, precise cuts. Add that to the ergonomically-designed see-through blade guard, the equipped laser system, and the dual bevel function, and you’ve got yourself a powerful compound sliding miter saw capable of delivering the finest, most precise cuts every single time.
Despite its many perks, this compound sliding miter saw does come with a few niggles. Nothing major though, so it does justice to the Makita name. The fence is awkwardly shaped, which means that this saw would be easier to use for left-handed users. Other than that, there’s nothing I can complain about in the Makita LS1018, which is why I’m giving it the title of the best sliding compound miter saw in the 10-inch department.
What We Like About this Miter Saw
It’s easy to say why the Makita LS1018 is the best Sliding Compound Miter Saw in the 10-inch department. It’s easy to assemble and adjust and can produce lean, smooth cuts and even square cuts every time. If you’re looking for a miter saw that can offer some of the neatest, professional-looking results, this is the machine for you.
#3 – Makita LS1016L – The Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw for Beginners
- 10" slide miter saw with the crown molding cutting capacity (6-5/8" nested) of a 12" miter saw
- Exclusive 6 linear ball bearings engineered to deliver "dead-on" accurate cuts
- Innovative direct drive gearbox and guard system is engineered for increased vertical cutting capacity (4-3/4")
Woodworking is all about accuracy and precision, and the Makita LS1016L has been touted as a beast in that department. Not only is it accurate though, as it’s also quite powerful and can cut through lumber like a hot knife through butter, and I’m not even exaggerating. As it comes calibrated right out of the box, you can start using this compound sliding miter saw for your projects the moment it arrives. Isn’t that just convenient?
Let’s talk power for a bit. The Makita LS1016L boasts a 15-amp motor that can spin the blade at 3,200 RPM and has a crown molding cutting capacity of 6-5/8 inches. It even features a direct drive gearbox and patented retractable guard system, which means that you can easily use it to cut 4-3/4-inch baseboards vertically. The 12-inch capacity at 90 degrees is just the cherry on top, as it adds to the effectiveness of this miter saw.
Not only was the Makita LS1016L built with power in mind, as it’s also easy to use and boasts a set of features that would make your projects, and therefore life, a helluva lot more facilitated. First, there’s the soft startup feature, which results in a smooth startup every time and ensures constant, consistent power for as long as you’re using the saw.
The Makita LS1016L also features an electric brake, which can come in quite handy as it can stop the blade almost instantly, so you won’t need to start and stop while waiting for the blade to stop spinning. Talk about productivity, huh?
Finally, the Makita LS1016L features a rubberized D-handle that can fit nicely and comfortably in your hand so that you can use this miter saw for hours on end without feeling any kind of discomfort.
Any woodworker worth his salt knows that finding a miter saw that’s both powerful AND easy to use is so darn hard these days, which makes the Makita LS1016L the best sliding compound miter saw when it comes to ease of use and comfort.
Other features that I dig include the laser guide and the Four-Steel Rail Sliding System, all of which contribute to making the Makita LS1016L one of the best sliding compound miter saws in terms of accuracy.
What We Like About this Miter Saw
There are a plethora of features to like in the Makita LS1016L, and very few to complain about. The price is quite reasonable, so this power tool won’t set you back a pretty dollar as others would. Despite that, it’s still quite powerful, accurate, and quiet, which is why it made it to our “best sliding compound miter saw” list. What’s most appealing about the Makita LS1016L is the ease of use though, which makes it the best sliding compound miter saw for beginners.
Choosing the Best Compound Sliding Miter Saw – Buying Guide
Above in this article, we’ve put the three Best Sliding Compound Miter Saws available on the market according to us. We’ve had our fair share of experience regarding miter saws and our choices finally boil down to a number of criteria, whether it’s the presence/absence of a feature, or the type of saw, power, and a number of other factors that we’ll be going into detail in regard to these criteria.
Know Your Needs and Use the Appropriate Tools
One of the most important things when buying the best sliding compound miter saw, or anything for that matter is to know your needs. Understanding your needs will help you find the optimal tool for the job so you don’t find yourself spending too much on a device that you won’t be utilizing to its full potential, or worse, paying too little for a device that won’t match your needs.
For example, if you’re working in the construction field as a contractor, then you better not skimp on your equipment. In this case, you need tools that are effective, reliable, and versatile. The last thing you’d want is your tools failing you in a critical situation. However, if you’re working on smaller project, or you’re just doing it as a hobby at home or anything of the sort, then you shouldn’t go around throwing your money on a something that’s meant to be used by contractors as you’ll find that you won’t be utilizing all of its features. In short, picking the best sliding compound miter saw boils down to your own needs and preferences.
We’ll be providing the different things that we look for in a miter saw so you can come to your own decisions based on what you need.
This should be one of the main things you should be looking for in a compound sliding miter saw if you plan on using it for anything remotely serious. A miter saw with a weak motor is just as useless as it is infuriating to work with. You’d want your tools to be easy to use as well as practical, and this applies doubly on the miter saw in terms of power. Look for a miter saw with a decent engine that allows you to make cuts effortlessly as well as consistently.
Based on our experience, we found that the very minimum of power you should be looking for in a miter saw is 15 amp and 3500 rpm rotation speed. That is the bare minimum; anything below this mark won’t deliver the power you need and will make the process a lot harder than it should be. This criterion mainly applies to those who work in the construction field. However, if you’re planning on using it at the comfort of your home and for smaller projects; you can go with something with a little less power.
With that said, the biggest mistake you can make while shopping for the best sliding compound miter saw is to buy one that won’t satisfy your needs in terms of power as that will gravely hamper your work process and won’t give the results you might want. Keep this in mind next time you’re looking the best sliding compound miter saw.
Right after the power of the motor, there’s the size of the saw’s blade. To put it simply, the larger the cuts you want to make, the bigger the blade you’ll need. The most common blade size is around 10 or 12-inches in size. However, there are those who use 4–inch blades.
With that said, the choice of the blade size will finally come down to the length of the cuts you want to make with it. One important thing to note is that if you use a 12-inch compound sliding miter saw, you’ll only be able to use a 12-inch blade along with it as the other sizes won’t work due to the fact that most saws don’t let you put the blade on at all because of safety reasons.
There’s also another factor that you should consider when looking at the blade of a given miter saw and that is the tooth count. Simply put, the larger the blade, the higher the tooth count. A high tooth count is useful for producing smoother finishes. However, if you’re cutting through thick material, you’d better use a blade with a lower tooth count so you can power through the material more easily. In other words, the blade size and tooth count aren’t a make or break feature when choosing the best sliding compound miter saw, as they depend on your projects and preferences.
Choosing a powerful motor and a good blade does not necessarily mean that your compound sliding miter saw will be able to produce precise cuts all the time. There’s another criterion that’s called positive stops, which are positions that have been already designated.
Positive stops are usually designated at the most common cutting angles, which facilitates changing cuts whenever that’s needed. There are even saws that have switches that let you quickly transition from one cut to the next. Positive stops can render the task of cutting faster, so the more positive stops a compound sliding miter saw has, the quicker, and more precisely, you’ll be able to perform cuts.
With that said, you need to make sure that your saw is locked tightly. You wouldn’t want to have your saw deviate a bit during the cut, which will produce a bad cut and cause a lot of frustration. This is why it’s crucial to choose a saw that’s robust and reliable.
Another factor to consider is the Bevel. This is what enables the saw to tilt and also rotate the base in order to change the miter angle that you’ll be cutting through. It’s essential to consider the bevel of a miter saw as there are some saws that don’t allow you to tilt in both directions. The ones that do, however, are a bit costlier but will save you a lot of time and headaches as you won’t have to change the cutting direction.
You might feel overwhelmed by all of these but don’t worry, it’s really not that difficult. It’s not hard to tell if you’re looking at a good miter saw that can lock firmly into position as well as tilt to both directions. To put it simply, the more expensive a miter saw is, the more options it will have. This naturally means that it will make the process of making cuts easier and less tedious in general. Investing in the best sliding compound miter saw is always wise.
One of the more overlooked features in miter saws is the dust collection. Making cuts can produce a bit of a mess. The dust that comes out in the process can also pose health hazards to both the user and everyone that’s near them. With that said, it’s essential to pick a compound sliding miter saw that would limit the dust emission by collecting it efficiently. This will make the process of cleaning up a breeze.
There are some power tool brands that can offer a hose to blow air. However, some people don’t like this option as it doesn’t efficiently deal with the problem, instead just blowing the dust elsewhere instead of collecting it. On the flip side, there are compound sliding miter saws that come with a dust bag for dust collection which is very useful. Keeping a clean working environment can facilitate your work more than you’d expect.
Some sliding compound miter saws come with additional, quality of life, features. For instance, some saws can come with a laser attachment that points exactly where you’re currently cutting. This is very useful as it ensures more precise cuts overall. Features like these are definitely worth the investment price, and they differentiate an average, a good, and the best sliding compound miter saw.
There are also compound sliding miter saws that come with clear-cutting guards. This further facilitates the task of making cuts as you’ll be able to see through the cutting guard and know where you’re cutting. Couple this with a laser attachment, and you’ve got yourself a saw capable of making cuts with pinpoint accuracy.
Just like you don’t necessarily need a Chainsaw Mill for your Chainsaw, these extra features aren’t a must-have. However, they can significantly increase the precision and quality of your cuts, so paying a little extra to have them in the best sliding compound miter saw is a wise investment.
We didn’t mention this factor at the top because most saws already come with a minimal amount of security features and measures to protect the user. However, that shouldn’t stop you from considering safety features as a factor when buying the best sliding compound miter saw.
There are some must-have safety features when it comes to choosing the best sliding compound miter saw. One of these features is the saw guard. This is a crucial thing to have on your saw as it will protect you from any debris or dust that might come from moving the saw during use.
There’s also another handy safety feature, and that is electric brakes. Their main task is to help stop the blade from spinning within a couple of seconds. The way it works is by reversing the electricity flow, which brings the breaks to a quick stop.
Of course, even with all those features, you still need to use safety gear, such as Chainsaw Chain and goggles, when operating any power machine.
Picking the Best Miter Saw – Frequently Asked Questions
It’s easy to confuse sliding compound miter saws and compound miter saws as they both sound and look very similar. However, they differ in function as they provide you with two options that are different. Simply put, one might be more efficient in a particular project than the other, so it’s best to know what exactly you’ll need the saw for.
The compound miter saw has a blade that is able to pivot from left to right. This allows for making angled cuts which are essential when cutting molding, frames, or other objects that require angled cuts. The pivoting blade also makes it possible to make the beveled cuts. Compound miter saws come in handy when making precise cuts. Thanks to the increased range of motion and stability, it allows the user to perform cuts that would’ve been very hard to do on an, otherwise tradition, electric saw.
On the other hand, the compound sliding miter saw differs from the compound miter saw in that it can – well, you guessed it – slide. This allows the user to make longer cuts. Sliding compound miter saws are convenient in cutting longer pieces of wood, as their non-sliding counterpart is basically limited to the space that fits. Being able to cut long pieces is a must when it comes to working in the construction business as you’ll often find yourself in a situation where you need to make long cuts, and in this case, regular compound miter saws are not fit for the job.
If you work in the construction field, you better be prepared to handle any sort of situation, and that means that you’ll need a tool that’s versatile, the best sliding compound miter saw fits this criterion perfectly. However, if you’re working on a smaller scale project, or you’re just a DIYer, then a regular compound miter saw should do the job just fine.
What makes a compound miter saw is the ability to make both miter and bevel cuts, which brings us to a question that I get asked quite often: what’s the difference between a single bevel and a dual bevel sliding compound miter saw?
Well, I’m not going to bore you with unnecessary details. The main difference between the two is the fact that you don’t have to flip your workplace to make bevel cuts when using a dual bevel sliding compound miter saw. Easy peasy, isn’t it?
Now, let me bore you with the details.
Single bevel sliding compound miter saws offer a pivoting feature that allows you to make angled cuts either on the left or on the right. It can make bevel cuts as well, but only in one direction, which is the reason behind the name “single bevel.”
For projects that involve making angled cuts in two planes, such as picture frames and crown molding, a single bevel model can do the trick as the best sliding compound miter saw for you. If you need to make bevel cuts in two directions from time to time, you can flip your workplace, and you’ll be good to go. Just remember to be extra careful when doing so to get the angles right, as you may have to start over with a fresh piece of lumber if you mess up one of the corners.
Dual bevel sliding compound miter saws, on the other hand, can make bevel cuts in both directions, as you can swing the saw to make your matching bevel cuts, which eliminates the need to flip the workplace, and allows for more precise cuts. If you need to make repeat cuts – such as when doing crown molding – often, a dual bevel model would be the best sliding compound miter saw for you.
All of our recommendations fall under the dual bevel category. If you’re interested in an equally efficient, but single bevel, model, we highly recommend checking the Makita LS1040.
Woodworking is all about choosing the right equipment to nail (yep, pun intended) your projects every time. Not only do you need the best sliding compound miter saw, but you also ought to get the top Cordless Circular Saw, Tile Saw, Table Saw.
Any of the above recommendations can be the best sliding compound miter saw for you depending on your needs, preferences, and the type of woodworking projects you’re trying to get done.
To make a sound choice, go over our buying guide, and check the price of every power tool. Once you’re done, do it again. A compound sliding miter saw would definitely set you back a pretty dollar, so don’t just throw your money without giving it good thought.
Happy hunting for the best sliding compound miter saw, fellow woodworker!
PS: Can you do me a favor and share this post? I really want to help as many woodworkers as I can. Thanks!
- makezine, Hack, Jig, Miter, and Cope: 10 Types of Saws and Their Uses
- thesprucecrafts, How to Use a Compound Miter Saw
- woodworkers journal, Why Not Pull Through a Sliding Miter Saw Cut?