Steve wrote in with a tough question: Which is the best miter saw blade?
This is a tough question because there are so many different types of blades out there, meant for cutting all kinds of materials.
There are framing blades, which are quicker to use but leave a slightly rougher surface finish, finishing blades, which leave a finer finish that requires less or even minimal sanding, non-ferrous blades, for cutting aluminum and plastic materials (within limits), and that’s just the start.
I’m a long time lurker of your website. It is one of the first I check everyday for new posts/subjects. You really do a great job!
My suggestion is to review common SCMS blades. From middle of the road price ranges. We all wish we could have a hanger full of Forest blades, but most of us can’t justify that. We all know that Big Box Stores carry 12″/10″ blades, but also acknowledge that they are nice for ~17.5 good cuts. The technology is getting better everyday.
Also, could you review OMT blades. Yes, we know Fein is the gold standard, but someone has to manufacture blades that don’t cost as much as college student loans. Off-brands, Makita, or others. There has to be a reasonable priced manufacturer that doesn’t want me to go into serious debt.
Thanks and keep up the awesome work. You are really appreciated.
Thanks Steve for the great question, and also the kind words!
Not to distract from the main topic, but for OMT blades I really like Bosch’s carbide ones. Bosch paid us to do some comparative testing a few years ago, of like-priced OMT blades, and I was stunned to see how much better their carbide blades were. The difference was significant when cutting nails. You could even see a difference when cutting wood.
For wood, or wood with nails, I would go with the OSC114C (the pricing looks weird right now, but they’re $12-15 each, or less than $10 each if you buy a 10-pack), or OSL114C if using a new Starlock-compatible tool. I haven’t tried it, but they make a OSC134C blade for cutting metal, and OSL134C is the Starlock version.
Back to miter saw blades.
I’m partial to Freud. (Bosch owns the Freud and Diablo power tool accessories brands. See more tool brand affiliations here.)
Forrest blades are often considered the best of the best by woodworkers. But yes, they are pricey. Maybe one of these days I’ll give them a try myself.
I couldn’t find my plywood blade recently, but I had dug out a Diablo D1050X blade that I received a while ago. Clayton had reviewed this and several other Diablo table and miter saw blades for us, and this was one we had selected for the review.
Wow, just wow, it cut through plywood like butter, and with perfect edges. Not bad for a blade that costs less than $34 via Amazon. Upon seeing how well it performed in table saw, I’m leaning towards buying another for 10″ miter saw use. But, as it’s a combination blade meant for good performance in ripping and crosscut cuts, it might not be ideal on a miter saw except when working with mixed directional material, such as plywood.
I have also been testing the new Dewalt 120V Max FlexVolt sliding miter saw (more Dewalt FlexVolt coverage here), and it came bundled with a FlexVolt 12″ 60T Fine Finish blade. I’ve been using it to cut maple, and the edges are crisp and clean, except with the slightest fraying on 2 of the 6 cuts I made.
Dewalt is slowly disturbing my preference for Freud and Freud Diablo blades. I see no reason to move beyond their FlexVolt blade.
I have been working on testing a couple of blades, and will now look to expand that to some other options. Choosing a miter saw blade can be intimidating once you start looking at all the finer details.
Generally, it’s a good idea to start by looking at tooth count. In the most simplified terms, a lower tooth count gives you faster cuts, more teeth give you smoother cuts. From there, I follow brand guidelines. Some brands have handy selection charts on their blade packaging, showing which blade is good, better, and best for a material or cutting direction.
With all that in mind, if I had to go out and buy a blade this week, or order one online, I would look at Freud, Diablo if I was a little more conscious about cost, or Dewalt (I really like their premium Precision blades on my circular saws, would be willing to buy their 10″ or 12″ blades).
Craftsman came out with some made-in-Germany saw blades a few years ago, and with surprisingly very good pricing. I wouldn’t be hesitant to try them.
Interestingly, Diablo’s D1060S blade ($50 via Amazon) is described as being for sliding miter saws and table saws. Is there a difference between how a miter saw blade and sliding miter saw perform?
If I needed a blade RIGHT NOW, I would order Dewalt’s Precision Trim blade, in whatever miter saw size I needed. It’s available in a 10″ size and 12″ size, and I would get the Precision Finishing blade in 7-1/4″ size if using a smaller miter saw.
Plus, it looks like Amazon offers Free Same-Day shipping (for Prime members) for a lot of these Dewalt blades.
As mentioned above, I’ve used Dewalt’s Precision Finishing blades before, and by extension I would trust their Precision Trim miter saw blades. These blades feature a black interior and yellow rim.
Dewalt also makes the Precision Trim blade in a 7-1/4″ size, designed especially for their 20V Max cordless miter saw (and like-sized saws), but for my uses I’d go with the higher count finishing blade. Maybe. The Trim blade might give better battery performance and perhaps an almost indistinguishable cut quality difference.
I have also worn through my fair share of general purpose and “big box store quality” blades. I’m not going to use a fine finishing blade to cut up some 2x materials when making a testing jig. But I got the feeling that Steve wasn’t asking about general framing and finishing blades. I got the feeling he was asking about better and longer lasting blades.
Long story short, I have my opinions about miter saw blades, but I also don’t use my miter saw all the time. That’s where you guys and your valued opinions come in.
Which is the best miter saw blade that you’ve used?
Please share any opinion you might have about miter saw blades. Which brand do you prefer? Tooth count? Please also mention the type of cutting you do, such as rough framing, cutting trim, fine woodworking, as the context is important with saw blade recommendations.