I have been trying to decide on a new compound miter saw, and it has been a tough process that has me flip-flopping back and forth.
At the moment, the Dewalt DW716XPS is at the top of my shortlist. It’s a 12″ dual-bevel non-sliding miter saw with LED shadow cut-line guidance. This saw has a maximum cutting capacity of 2″ x 10″ at 90°. It can can bevel left or right to 48°, and miter left and right to 50°. Without utilizing the back fence, the cut capacity is 2″ x 8″.
My aim is to keep this saw – or whatever miter saw I end up choosing – mounted to a benchtop as part of a miter saw station, with raised benchtops to the left and right of it. There will be below-bench dust collection, and potentially a dust shroud to help capture more dust.
If I need wider cutting capacity, I can use a circular saw or table saw, or a test sample miter saw, as it seems I am always testing one or more cordless models.
LED shadow-light cut-line guidance is almost a must-have on cordless saws. Even though my miter saw station will eventually have rulers on the side fences, there will be times when a board will be marked, and not measured, and so a shadow of the blade kerf will still be handy to set up the cut.
I haven’t planned out the saw’s location yet, but as of now I don’t think I want a slider, as they simply take up too much space.
Here’s a tough question – what will it be used for? Now, I’ll move a miter saw outside if I need to make long cuts. Let’s say I need to cut a 2x4x8′ down to 60″. Or, let’s say I want to cut it in half. That’s going to require a 10-foot span of workbenches, which I simply don’t have the space for.
But, when cross-cutting boards for any number of smaller projects that I do, it’ll be incredibly convenient for me to have a “miter saw station,” where I can use a stop block and make repeated cuts at a saw that’s already set up and ready to go.
So then my thoughts turn towards “well, maybe I should then go with a 10″ saw.” But that would result in fewer options unless I wanted to dial-back on certain features, such as the dual bevel angle range or XPS/cutline light.
I have also wondered if maybe I should buy a personal copy of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 7-1/4″ sliding miter saw that I’ve been using so much recently. It has a 2×8″ horizontal cutting capacity, just like the Dewalt 12″ I had been considering.
While blade selection isn’t as good, I’m still able to find what I need. Last week, I picked up a Diablo non-ferrous blade for cutting aluminum channels. I’ve been flip-flipping about buying a 14″ saw for such work, but for the time being, miter saws with non-ferrous blades are good enough for most of my needs.
Something like the M18 Fuel saw can be bolted down for regular use, and taken outside or to a stand when I need to cut longer work than my eventual “miter saw station” can allow for. Maybe I can work out some type of quick-release bolt-down solution that allows me to slide the saw forward and out. That could be true for any saw, although it’ll be easier with something as small as as a 7-1/4″ slider.
I don’t work with crown molding; most of my miter saw needs are for cross-cutting project boards, shelves, or trim that can be cut flat against the base.
Most likely, I will flip-flop between choices until November comes around. There were some great deals last year, and so since my needs aren’t urgent, it’s safe to wait until then.
Tied for first-place: Dewalt 12″ dual-bevel DW716XPS, and Milwaukee M18 Fuel 7-1/4″. It sounds weird to me too, to consider a cordless saw for more or less fixed-position placement, but it’s a good saw that I love using, and one that’s far more portable than larger saws.
Following far behind those two choices would be a 10″ non-sliding saw, or perhaps a 10″ slider – maybe the new Ridgid?
What miter saw are you using right now, and would you recommend it?
In case you’re not familiar with the concept, here’s a miter saw station Google image search. It’s basically a long workbench with a lowered section at the center for a miter saw. The top of the miter saw base is at the same height as the adjacent benchtops, and there are often fences or other fixtures for setting accurate and repeatable cuts.