Why you need the best sliding compound miter saw? Because a sliding compound miter saw is one of the handiest tools around. Nothing beats it for making totally accurate 90-degree crosscuts very wide boards. But it can also pivot to make perfectly angled miter cuts and tilt to make complicated cuts easier. With a sliding compound miter saw, any type of carpentry work can be done much faster, easier, safer, and more accurate than before.
A sliding compound miter saw is one of the MUST-HAVE tools for professional woodworkers and do-it-yourself project enthusiasts alike. However, most people do not really understand the benefits of a sliding compound miter saw, why they need one? and what do they need in a sliding compound miter saw? Power? Precision? or Portability?
This article covers everything you need to know about buying a new sliding compound miter saw. We also review some of the best and top-rated sliding compound miter saws on the market that we think you should buy.
Best Sliding Compound Miter Saws
After putting in 40 hours researching 40 sliding compound miter saws and talking to woodworkers, we think the DEWALT DWS779 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw is the best sliding compound for most people. This is one of the most durable and compact miter saws on the market. In fact, this is one of the best-selling miter saws in the USA so far. For the price, it’s hard to beat.
The Dewalt DWS779 do have everything you need from the best miter saw, except one thing: the laser (or light) system, which helps you make more precise cuts. That’s probably why this high-quality miter saw has such a low price. For better accuracy, trying the DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. The DWS780 is exactly like the DWS779 but added the integrated XPS cross cut positioning system, which performed far better than any miter saw laser system we’ve ever seen. The XPS system makes the Dewalt DWS780 the most accurate miter saw ever but the fact is you might have to pay up to about 200$ for this system depending on where you are purchasing from.
Festool 561287 Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound Miter Saw is one of the absolute best sliding compound miter saws on the market and also is the most desirable miter saw that most professional carpenters want to own. But because of its “awful” price, this sliding compound miter saw is not for everyone. We love all the Dewalt miter saws but we must confess the Festool Kapex is far better. All the features are awesome, especially the dust collector. They are designed to make the finest cuts possible and help you do more work in less time too.
What’s A Sliding Compound Miter Saw?
Miter saws are a type of bench and stationary machinery that improve on the basic chop saw design and let you make precise cuts at various angles. They’re ideal for creating angle joints or decorative pieces. There are two main types of miter saws to choose from: Compound miter saws and Sliding compound miter saws (Single-Bevel or Dual Bevel).
Compound Miter Saws feature blades that pivot left and right for angled cuts and tilt in a single direction for beveled cuts. Manipulating the saw on both of its axes at once yields a compound miter cut. Compound miter saws are useful for picture frames, crown molding or any project that requires angled cuts in two planes. They offer the advantage of making compound cuts in one pass.
Sliding Compound Miter Saws have all the versatility of compound miter saws and a sliding feature, similar to a radial arm saw, allowing you to move the blade forward and backward. The major advantage of a sliding compound miter saw is it can cut significantly wider stock than a compound miter saw. The best sliding compound miter saws, such as the DEWALT DWS780 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw, can cut up to 16 inches at 90 degrees.
Dual-Bevel vs. Single-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saws
A single-bevel sliding compound miter saw only tilts in one direction (left) to cut a bevel while a dual-bevel model tilts both left and right to cut a bevel without having to flip your work piece.
Most of the best sliding compound miter saws on the market today are dual-bevel. They generally more refined and precise. Of course, they’re also much more expensive. Is it worth the extra money to get a saw with dual-bevel?
We think if you’re planning to install lots of crown molding requiring compound miter cuts, a dual-bevel sliding miter saw is better as it will give you the full range of compound angles, both right and left, without having to rearrange your moldings on the saw to cut them. But, for general woodworking, a single-bevel sliding miter saw might be all you need.
Who Needs A Sliding Compound Miter Saw?
The sliding compound miter saw is the perfect tool for carpenters, craftsmen, contractors, woodworkers and DIY-ers. In other words, if you take your work seriously and want to get the best possible results from your tools while opening yourself up to a wide range of cuts, then a sliding compound miter saw is a perfect option for you.
On the other hand, it is also an expensive tool that the beginner woodworker might shy away from. However, if you can definitively say that you are devoted to your craft, the sliding compound miter saw is a great way to bring your woodwork to the next level.
How to Choose the Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw?
Now, let’s take a look at a few of the things you should consider to make sure you’re getting the best sliding compound miter saw for your cash.
What Size Do You Need?
Sliding compound miter saws come in three different sizes: 7 ¼ inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch. The size refers to the diameter of the blade the saw uses which dictates the depth of the cuts the saw can perform.
The smallest saws are the 7 ¼ inch sliding compound miter saws, such as the DEWALT DCS361B 7 1/4in Sliding Miter Saw. These lightweight models are very portable and handy and are designed for small projects. The most common sliding compound miter saws are 10-inch and 12-inch miter saws. The best sliding compound miter saws for most people are 10-inch and 12-inch miter saws. These are also the most common sizes are being used.
Next are the 10-inch sliding compound miter saws, such as the Bosch CM10GD 10in Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw. This is the most common size for DIYers and homeowners because this miter saw can handle common projects such as decks, fences, and renovations. Table saws also use the same size blade so you can use your blades on both tools.
A 12-inch sliding compound miter saw gives you the most versatility since it cuts larger size boards. It’s ideal for finishing works such as crown moldings or baseboards. But it’s the heaviest saw and requires the most space for the store. For a permanently mounted workshop saw, it’s is hard to beat a 12 inch sliding compound miter saw.
If you have a small workshop and want a miter saw that take up less space, this Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-Inch DB Glide Miter Saw is probably the best choice. This is one of the best sliding compound miter saws on the market and is also the most versatile miter saw we’ve ever seen. With the innovative Compact Axial-Glide System, this saw takes up to 12 inches less workspace than a sliding miter saw that uses traditional sliding rails.
What Kind Of Features Do You Need?
Dust Collection System
You’re probably going to find that most sliding compound miter saws have a dust bag for their dust collection system. While this is an alright method of dust collection, the quality of this feature can vary pretty significantly from model to model. Don’t expect a good dust collection system from cheap miter saws. Remember that the dust collection system is for more than just keeping your work area clean. It also expands the life of your tool to a significant extent, and it is good for your health. Dust is known a cancer-causing agent, so there is no reason to risk exposing yourself to it.
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The Festool Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound Miter Saw offers the best dust collection system. It’s hard to believe this system can capture more than 90% of dust that the saw generated when operating, but it’s true. Other best sliding compound miter saws usually claim to collect 75%, but the reality is that many of them fail to achieve anywhere near that figure.
When doing woodworking, you will find that there are some angles you will repeatedly. 45-degree angles are an excellent example of this. When a miter saw has positive stops for the most common angles, which many of them do, it means you won’t have to spend as much time setting up your cuts. A miter saw may have the positive bevel and/or miter stops, and the best sliding compound miter saws will also have a detent override that will let you lock in custom settings.
On most saws, you lock in the miter by tightening the knob on the front. On the DeWalt, Festool, and Makita saws you lock the miter by simply pressing down on the handle. It’s quick and easy. For this feature, we prefer the DeWalt’s sliding compound miter saws. These miter saws required the least effort to lock the miter.
An effective laser guide system will project a beam of light onto your workpiece, showing you exactly where your cut is going to be made. This helps you make more accurate cuts, and some laser guides are really great.
This can be a very useful feature, but it is definitely not a necessity. Beginning woodworkers may find it helpful to use a sliding compound miter saw with a laser while they hone their woodcutting skills, but most craftsmen with enough experience and a good miter saw will be able to make accurate cuts even without a laser to guide them.
Best Sliding Compound Miter Saws Reviews
1. DEWALT DWS779 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw (No Laser) – Best Miter Saw for Homeowners
The DEWALT DWS779 is our top pick for the best sliding compound miter saw. This 12-inch miter saw is a perfect choice for homeowners and professional alive. While the homeowners love its ease of use, professionals appreciate the high precision and smooth operation. And for the price, it’s hard to beat this miter saw.
This impressive machine combines smooth operation with top speed to help you work faster, safer and more productively. It gives you unparalleled power with a 15-amp motor capable of reaching a 3,800 rpm speed. A high-grade carbide blade is added to the design to provide a cutting edge that goes through your material with no effort. A miter detent plate of tough stainless steel has 10 positive stops to make sure you work productively and with the highest accuracy.
2. DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw – Most Accurate Miter Saw
The DEWALT DWS780 is the most accurate miter saw available. It features an integrated XPS crosscut positioning system which we think the best work light module ever equipped in a miter saw. We’d the opportunity to try out this saw and the XPS system was amazed us. It performed far better than any miter saw laser system we have ever seen.
3. Makita XSL06PT Cordless 10″ Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw – Best Cordless Sliding Compound Miter Saw
If you’re shopping for a cordless sliding compound miter saw, it’s time to stop searching. The Makita XSL06PT is the best one you can buy that delivers a great accuracy and more run time without the hassles of a cord. Its dual-dust collection system is better than most competitors.
The Makita XSL06PT is powered by (2) 18V-5A Li-ion battery packs in series, effectively making it a 36V saw. The 4400 RPM brushless motor is engineered for up to 50% longer run time, increased power and speed, and longer tool life with up to 334 cuts per charge in 2×4 and up to 192 cuts per charge in 2×12 lumber. With Automatic Speed Change™ technology to adjust cutting speed and torque under load for optimum performance.
The XSL06 has a unique 2-steel rail sliding system design that offers single slide-glide operation for smooth and dead-on accurate cutting right out of the box, as well as a reduced overall footprint that allows the saw to be positioned flush against a wall.
Makita XSL06PT Cordless Sliding Compound Miter Saw | Video by Makita
4. Festool Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound Miter Saw 10 ¼ in – Best Miter Saw for Professional Carpenters
Effective dust extraction, precise cuts, easy adjustments, and quality components are some of the features that make Festool Kapex KS 120 the best sliding compound miter saw for professional carpenters. It’s the most advanced sliding compound miter saw on the market today. There’s no doubt if say there is no real competitor to this miter saw, even the best Dewalt or Bosch models.
The Festool Kapex KS 120 is also compact and lightweight. It might not be the lightest miter saw for its class at 47 pounds, however, it is easy to move around and doesn’t take up a lot of space. We were quite impressed with how it is designed for easy carrying and how nicely it works with miter saw stands.
This Festool sliding compound miter saw comes with two lasers, which allows for cutting to be even more precise. The dual lasers enable you to align cuts from both sides of the saw’s blade. It is easy to fine-tune the lasers by using the three-axl adjustment controls. There is also a button that can be used for turning them off and on without needing to turn the saw off or on, which is a nice safety feature.
There are many other great features that you can see on Amazon but after all, we think you can’t find any sliding compound miter saw that better than the Festool Kapex KS 120. But since the price is too high, you should think twice before getting this miter saw. At that price, you can buy many other things.
5. Bosch CM10GD Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw – Best 10 in Sliding Compound Miter Saw
When we first brought the Bosch CM10GD 10 Inch Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw into our woodworking shop, we were a bit surprised. The axial glide technology was impressively smooth. We had to increase the resistance to make it more like what we are used to. But the smoothness still exceeded what we expected.
The axial glide system also eliminates a key challenge miter saw users have endured since the first slide systems debuted many years ago. While the traditional sliding compound miter saw approach enables users to make wider cross cuts that the system takes up more space and is prone to misalignment and stickiness over time. By replacing the sliding rail system with a hinged or articulating glide arm system similar to the linkage used in a four-bar suspension design Bosch created a more compact miter saw that delivers durable precision, remaining true and smooth over time.
6. Craftsman 10″ Single-Bevel Slide Miter Saw with Laser – Best Sliding Compound Miter Saw for Beginners
If you’re a beginner, this Craftsman 10″ miter saw is the best sliding compound miter saw for you. It’s cheap, lightweight, easy to use and a laser cut-line indicator makes this saw quick and precise. Spinning at 4,800 revolutions per minute, no matter which blade you slip onto the collar of this compound, you’ll cut through wood both hard and soft, leaving sharp edges and tight corners with every cut.
This sliding compound miter saw uses smaller, easy-to-maintain blades than larger models, but it still delivers the reach to spin through boards up to 12 inches wide. Perfect for quick work, it features a Laser Trac that clearly lines up with your pencil marks for fast work and when you’re looking to cut precision miters, the built-in clamping system gives you that exact angle every time.
7. DEWALT DHS790AT2 FLEXVOLT 12” Miter Saw – Best Portable Sliding Compound Miter Saw
When portability is in question, the DEWALT DHS790AT2 FLEXVOLT takes the number one place in this particular category. The first thing you’ll notice is its hybrid power source. In simpler words, it can work both on batteries and electricity. Therefore, even if you run out of battery, all you have to do is plug in the adapter and continue working. With a tool weight of only 56 lbs, lighter than most other 12 inch models, this is the best portable sliding compound miter saw available.
DEWALT DHS790AT2 FLEXVOLT Miter Saw | Video by Dewalt
A brushless motor provides long runtime compared to brushed motors. When fully charged, the saw can cut up to 310 crosscuts with only one charge. The best thing about this is that you get an additional battery included to help decrease the downtime. In other words, the DHS790AT2 won’t let you down, even when the batteries die. The brushless motor is a great advantage in comparison to brushed ones because it offers longer runtimes.
8. Evolution RAGE3 10in Miter Saw – Best Budget Sliding Compound Miter Saw
The Evolution RAGE3 is a great sliding compound miter saw for those who don’t have much money to spend. It’s a quality miter saw but has a very reasonable price. The saw offers all the functionality of a typical miter saw, along with patented multipurpose cutting technology. A 1800W motor isn’t as powerful as models above but the saw is still capable of cutting steel, aluminum, wood, wood with embedded nails, and plastics with just the one included blade.
The Evolution RAGE3 features an ultra-secure top clamp and chip deflector. Plus a laser guidance for optimum accuracy. Because this saw is designed for cutting both woods and metals, it’s very durable. In fact, this is one of the most durable miter saws on the market. You should expect it to last at least 10 years.