The miter saw is a powerful tool used by woodworking professionals and hobbyists alike. As with many power tools, it can be a difficult and daunting task to find the best miter saw for your needs. That’s why we’ve created this list of the top 5 miter saws in 2020.
There are many factors to consider such as:
- 10 or 12-inch blade
- Single or dual-bevel?
- Sliding or compound miter saw
As this is a 2020 buying guide, it is fully up to date and only includes the newest models worthy of your money in this new year.
Quick Summary: Best Miter Saw of 2020
|Name||Price||Type||Blade Size||Sawbros Rating|
|Metabo HPT C10FCGS||Compound||10-inch||3.5/5|
Our Top 5 Miter Saws in 2020 – Compound & Sliding
1. Best overall: DeWalt DWS780
The DWS780 is one of our personal favorites, having served us well for many years. So it’s only fitting it makes the top of this list. This 12” sliding compound miter saw comes with a powerful 15 amp motor and a speed of 3800rpm, allowing some of the smoothest cuts you can achieve with a miter saw.
On top of that – since this is a sliding miter saw – it comes with rails that slide forwards and backwards, making it possible to cut far wider material than you would with a regular compound miter saw.
Most of these features can also be found in its predecessor, the discontinued DWS799 However, this refreshed version comes with DeWalt’s new XPS LED positioning system. This innovative light casts a shadow of your blade to your workpiece, rivaling the laser position system.
While this new feature takes some getting used to, we find it to be far superior to the traditional laser system. Unsurprisingly, the light system is the main reason we like this miter saw so much.
Due to its sliding nature, dual-bevel system and 12” blade size, this miter saw is more than fit for every job you throw at it. Add a state of the art positioning system and DeWalt build-quality and you got our top pick for this year.
Get the DWS780 here
2. Best for beginners: DeWalt DWS715
Don’t let the title confuse you, while we consider this 12” miter saw perfect for beginner woodworkers and hobbyists, that doesn’t mean they are the only audience this saw should serve.
This a great low/mid-range miter saw that comes at a justified price for its cutting capacity. It features a 15 amp motor with a no-load speed of 4000rpm, offering clean cuts across the board.
This is a single bevel miter saw thus it bevels 48 degrees to the left. 14 positive stops on the stainless steel miter detent plate allow you to make easy and precise cuts. It can handle crown molding up to 5-¼ nested and baseboards up to 6-½ against the fence.
At 36 pounds the DWS715 is highly portable and easy to move around job sites or your shop.
If you don’t plan on doing big jobs like replacing a deck, you won’t be needing a sliding miter saw.
If what you seek is a portable miter saw that does accurate & smooth cuts without all the fanfare of sliders or dual-bevels – the dws715 is your best bet.
Get the DWS715 here
3. Best WorkShop miter Saw: Bosch GCM12SD
This Bosch miter saw is one of our personal favorites and while it is a bit older than the other miter saws found on this list, it still holds up very well.
We love this saw for its premium design and innovative glide arm technology. This glide arm is Bosch’s spin on the rails of a conventional sliding miter saw. It offers the same function, but in a more compact and futuristic design.
This futuristic design offers two advantages:
- The same features that come with rails on a sliding saw but there are no rails extending behind the saw meaning you can place it up against the wall and thus saving you a lot of space
- No exposed grease joints, so the arm can’t get compromised ad sticky, a common issue with traditional sliders
The only major disadvantage that comes with this saw is the weight, at 65 pounds it’s not exactly portable. And unless you are willing to invest in a Bosch T4B stand, you won’t be transporting this device easily.
If what you seek is a premium, fixed or semi-permanent position miter saw to have set up in your shop – that doesn’t take up much place and is fit for the biggest jobs – this is the saw for you.
Get the Bosch GCM12SD here
4. Best for serious professionals: Festool Kapex
Advertised as the most advanced sliding compound miter saw on the market today, this high-end saw comes at a premium price tag. Like the title suggests, the notorious Festool Kapex is for the serious professional only.
This miter saw operates at a whole new level with its innovative dust extraction system, featuring a dust hood allowing it to achieve an impressive 91% dust extraction.
A dual-laser positioning system ensures the accurate cuts you would expect from a brand like Festool. The 1600 Watt motor is energy-efficient and features Festool MMC electronics. A solid piece of technology that allows the miter saw to match the speed of the blade to the material it is cutting, preventing burned and melted outcomes and securing the smoothest cuts. Talk about a premium feature – huh?
While sliding miter saws aren’t known to be light, compact or portable. The Festool Kapex is designed with portability in mind. When transported, the blade is locked down and due to its design, the center of gravity remains close to your body, minimizing the strain on your back when carrying it around.
The rail-forward design of the sliders means the device can be placed completely against the wall, something unseen on the sliding scene since the Bosch Glide arm.
Get the festool kapex here
If you want more info, you can read our full review on this premium miter saw.
5. Best budget miter saw: Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10
The price of this 10-inch miter saw will blow you away. The Metabo HPT C10FCGS, previously called the Hitachi C10FCGS is an incredible saw for the price attached.
At a mere 24 pounds, this miter saw is about as portable as they come. It might be small but don’t let that fool you. The 15 amp motor is strong and offers a speed of 5000rpm. Despite being fast this miter saw comes with a 24 tooth stock blade which results in cuts that aren’t particularly smooth, making it ill-suited for finishing.
But for its ridiculously low price, can you really complain? No. This is more of a once-upon-a-time hobbyists/DIYer miter saw. Great for beginners or people dipping their toes in the water.
While the 15 amp motor is strong and even offers 5000rpm, don’t expect it to be able to handle a full day’s work. This miter saw is by no means made to be used by professionals and due to its price lacks in the durability section.
If what you need is a saw to start a couple of home improvement projects, this is ideal as an entry-level budget model for the occasional hobbyist. However, this won’t be the last miter saw you buy but rather a fantastic stepping stone.
Get the metabo HPT C10FCGS here
You’ve been convinced, you need to add the miter saw to your arsenal of tools. But still not everything is quite clear. Before deciding which miter saw is most fitting for your needs, it’s important you know the different variants they come in.
Allow us to refresh your memory!
To follow along with the rest of the buying guide, you should know your cuts so let’s freshen up your memory:
- Crosscut: Straight (a)cross the face/width of the piece
- Miter Cut: Angled cut across the face/width of the piece
- Bevel Cut: Angled cut across the thickness of the piece
- Compound: Cut: Combination of a miter and a bevel cut
Types of Miter Saws
Miter saws come in many different variations, each with their own advantages and disadvantages
- Basic Miter Saw: This is basically a chop saw but with a pivoting blade, making it possible to do miter cuts as well.
- Compound Miter Saw: Also known as the single bevel miter saw due to the added beveling feature of the blade. It can bevel 0 to up to 50 degrees in one direction. Great for your basic bevel and compound cuts. This is the most common miter saw.
- Dual-Bevel Miter Saw: This variation is capable of bevelling 0 to 50 degrees in both directions, making jobs such as crown molding faster and easier.
- Sliding Miter Saw: A miter saw with the blade attached to sliders or rails. These move forward and backwards allowing you to cut wider materials.
Single vs Dual-Bevel Miter Saw?
Why would anyone need the more expensive dual-bevel miter saw? The truth is if you’re a hobbyist you probably don’t. But as a professional, they can save you a lot of time and hassle. Imagine you have to cut molding daily, do you really want to physically flip the pieces over and over?
Single bevel miter saws are far less expensive than their dual-bevel counterparts. Making the decision easy if you’re on a budget.
Best Single Bevel Miter Saw: DWS715
DeWalts DWS715 bevels 0 – 48-degrees to the left and comes with a powerful 15 amp motor and a no-load speed of 4000rpm. While you might think the Metabo HPT 10 is cheaper and does the same job, if you compare the built-quality, accuracy and smoothness of the cuts the DWS715 compound miter saw is the clear winner.
Best Dual-Bevel Miter Saw: DWS780
DeWalts DWS780 bevels 0 – 48-degrees in both directions and comes with a powerful 15 amp motor delivering a no-load speed of 3800rpm. While the Festool Kapex delivers cleaner bevel cuts, the DWS780 is over 60% cheaper.
Sliding vs Non-Sliding Miter Saw?
The difference between a sliding and non-sliding miter saw lies in the width of the material it is capable of cutting. A sliding miter saw comes with a blade attached to rails (or a glide arm, like on the bosch GCM12SD) which moves forward and backwards.
This can be handy for bigger projects like replacing a deck but isn’t always needed for the average miter saw buyer. Not to mention these rails increase the weight and thus decrease its overall portability.
On top of that, the rails extend behind the miter saw in most cases which means you can’t place it directly against a wall. This can be a big issue if you have limited space on a job site, or inside your own shop.
Quick summary: Non-sliding miter saws are more compact, portable and more affordable but come short when working with wider workpieces. The sliding miter saw is capable of working with wider pieces but comes at a higher price and in a heavier and bulkier casing.
We have a more in-depth guide on sliding vs non-sliding miter saws.
Best sliding Miter Saw: Bosch GCM12SD
Bosch is the winner in this category for its innovative glide arm feature. This feature allows for a more compact against-the-wall placement and is more durable in design than sliders which have been known to get sticky over time from exposure to sawdust.
Things to look out for
Let’s discuss some more features you might want to consider before picking the best miter saw suited for your needs.
Most commonly we have the 10 and 12-inch blades. The 10-inch holds up fine for a lot of woodworking projects, it can cut pieces up to 6 inches wide. However, if you plan on going above that – a 12-inch will be a better fit.
Another thing to consider about the blade is the teeth density, which depends on the type of materials you will be cutting.
Typically it is best to stay in the middle, which is why most miter saws come with a blade of a medium teeth density.
Portability & Storage
It’s very important to know beforehand where you’re going to be storing your new miter saw. These can be very bulky, especially bigger sliding compound miter saws so it’s principal you have an idea of where to store them.
If you’ve decided you’re going to be keeping your miter saw in a fixed or semi-permanent position, you will be best off getting a bigger sliding compound miter saw. But do you have a place for it?
When measuring your designated spot, keep in mind that many sliding miter saws need to be placed a few inches away from the wall, to accommodate their outward sliding feature. Some premium models, such as the Festool Kapex & the Bosch GCM12SD have innovative features tackling this exact issue. Both these miter saws can be placed against the wall saving you a lot of space.
Unless you’re a professional contractor, your miter saw doesn’t necessarily have to be portable. Many hobbyists and DIYers are fine having their compound miter saw stored permanently in the corner of their garage.
But to the professional, portability is far more important factor. You’re going to want to bring your miter saw on the job site. For this reason, you’ll need to choose between a portable compound miter saw or a bigger sliding miter saw with a portable stand.
A good portable miter saw stand can make the heaviest miter saw a breeze to wheel around the job site. Models like the Bosch T4B Gravity-Rise and the DeWalt DWX246 come with all-terrain rubber wheels and allow you to keep your miter saw attached during transportation. This way, you can wheel your saw in and out of your trailer, through rough terrain and even up and down stairs with little effort.
To an every-day hobbyist, a miter saw which lacks in dust collection isn’t much more than a slight headache. But when you’re working with the saw daily, a bad dust collecting miter saw can be a real nightmare.
The average low-to-mid-range model will probably collect about 50% of the sawdust. Higher priced models collect up to 70% and the Festool Kapex collects a whopping 91% of all dust.
It’s very important you factor its dust collection capacities into account when looking into buying a new compound miter saw. For the most efficient dust extraction, we recommend you look into a shop vac to keep your work area clean.
Lasers and other positioning systems can be a bit controversial. On many miter saws, especially the less expensive variants – their accuracy is often not great. However, on premium miter saws such as the Dual-laser technology on Festool Kapex or the XPS LED technology on the DWS780 – you’re getting a reliable system to align your cut perfectly.
Generally, we recommend you don’t fully rely on these. Especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of finishing work. Lasers are a nice little add-on for making quick, rough cuts but can be a bit lacking – especially on cheaper models.
Every tool comes with a warranty, but some simply come with a better one than others. This might not be a huge factor to consider, but it’s still worth comparing the different warranties different companies are offering.
Note: make sure you use your saw within the “money-back guarantee” days. You’d be surprised how many people order a product and don’t use it right away, to then find themselves with a broken product they can’t return.
We’ve all been there, you bought a new television set. You open up the box, throw away the manual and start setting up. Everything is so straight-forward, who still reads a manual?
This tactic is fine with a lot of equipment but not when it comes to power tools, especially the compound miter saw. Your miter saw may come fully assembled and ready to use in the box but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carefully read the instructions. Even if you’ve used a miter saw before, every model has its differences so it’s very important you get to know them.
Picking the perfect miter saw to fit your needs isn’t an easy task. However, our reviews and buying guide should give you a good idea.
We favor the DWS780 because while it’s a great all-around miter saw, it still comes at an affordable price tag.
However, if you’re professional who invests only in premium tools, the Bosch GCM12SD or even the Festool Kapex will be worth looking into. Both are incredibly accurate and reliable.
If you’re a beginner DIYer/hobbyist dipping their toes in the water without much knowledge of woodworking, carpentry or saws – the Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10” miter saw comes at an incredible entry-level price tag great for getting acquainted with carpentry without spending a fortune.
More experienced Hobbyists and DIYers in need of a mid-range saw that has a high cutting range but reliable build-quality would do well to go for the DWS715. This is a well-built, reliable and portable tool you won’t regret investing in.
If the DWS715 seems like a good fit but is too pricey for your needs, you can look into its smaller brother the 10-inch DWS713, very similar but a bit more limited in cutting capacity.
Hopefully, this buying guide helped you find the saw you need. If you need help you can ask your questions below.