The compound miter saw also known as the drop saw, chop saw or simply the miter saw is used to make accurate crosscuts.
This specialized tool makes cuts at various angles. These saws have a blade mounted on a swinging arm that pivots to the right and left to make angled cuts. These crosscuts are made at a set angle that can be accurately repeated. These saws are popular as they are small and portable with a variable blade size between 8-10 inches.
You may find three variations of the best miter saws:
Best compound miter saw pivots to the right and the left to make angled cuts. They also tilt in one direction to make a bevel cut. Operating the saw in both directions or axes simultaneously makes a compound miter cut. A compound cut has two angles – a miter cut and a bevel cut.
A miter or cross cut or angle is a horizontal angle from a line perpendicular to the long edge of the board. A miter angle is set using a miter gauge seen on various saws. The perpendicular cut using a miter is 0°.
Best Compound Miter Saws in 2021
1. Milwaukee FUEL M18 Compound Miter Saw
Milwaukee has a heritage of innovation over 85 plus years. They are a well-known manufacturer of power tools, hand tools and accessories. The company has developed the M12, M18 and M28 Systems and are a leader in Lithium-Ion Technology.
Design and Build
The Milwaukee FUEL M18 has a PowerState brushless motor and delivers greater capacity than the corded saws. The Red lithium HD 9 Ah battery delivers 400 cuts per single charge of the battery. In other words, a single charge can last you the day you spend on the job site.
The saw comes with other features such as a dented plate, a bevel adjustment lever, a cam-locking miter system, a chop-lock lever and a dented override lock. There are 9 dual bevel detents. These are in the front of the saw for easy access. This is a kit and the offer include a second battery free of charge. (we have written a guide for choosing the best dual fuel generators)
The Milwaukee FUEL M18 has a 10-inch blade and is powered by a lithium-ion battery. It can be used to cut a dual bevel and a useful tool for remodelers, interior decorators, carpenters. The M18 is designed for ease of operation and accurate repeatable cuts.
The FUEL M18 comes with two batteries while one charges the other one powers the tool eliminating the tool downtime. It is a 9 Ah, 18V Li-ion battery that revs up the motor to 4000 RPM. The saw makes 400 cuts per charge. There is a shadow cut-line laser guiding system.
The maximum bevel angle is 48 degrees to both the sides. A miter angle of 50°/60° to the right and left. There are 11 positive miter detents and an internal rail slide system. The unit has a vertical capacity of 5.75 inches and 2 x 12 inches horizontal capacity.
The FUEL M18 comes with two Li-ion batteries, an M12 and 18 dual-voltage rapid chargers, a 60-teeth miter saw blade, a material clamp, handles, a blade wrench and an anti-tip support bar. There is a 5-year warranty on the saw.
2. Festool Kapex KS
Kapex comes from Festool. The company has won 350 patents and 80 awards since 1925. This is a subsidiary of the TTS Tooltechnic Systems holding company based in Germany.
Design and Build
The Kapex KS has a fine-adjustment knob that controls the bevel angles by the fraction of a degree. The knob engages the rack and pinion to move the head which is counter-spring balanced. This sets the angle and locks it. The bevel angles are easy to read and the distance from the axis of rotation offers maximum accuracy.
The electric-powered dual laser uses the three-axis adjustment control to fine-tune the alignments to the right and left. The saw has a capacity that rivals the 12-inch saws but weighs only 47 pounds with two handles on either side to help pick it. The Rail Forward Design lets you place the Kapex against a wall. (we have also written a comprehesive guide about the Best Brad Nailers)
While the 30 mm thick rails are wide apart to ensure smooth cuts and prevent head plays. The trench capability with a simple flip of a knob lets go around the obstructions and create lap joints and dados.TheMMCelectronics provides a constant blade-speed under load while providing variable speeds to match the material to prevent motor damage.
The Kapex makes finest trim works, bevels and miters. The KS 120 is lightweight and compact a perfect saw for jobsites and the workshops. The Kapex’s rail forward design increases precision. The dual lasers align the cuts from both sides precisely. The Micro-adjustable bevel angle with a rotary knob help set precise bevel angles. Easy adjustments,precise cuts, 91% dust extraction and quality components make this saw the number one choice of carpenters and professionals.
The Kapex makes miter angles at 50° to the left and 60° to the right. The crown moulding diagonal cut at 45° and 90° is 6.625 inches. The special cutting depth at 45° and 90° to the right is 0.75 inch by 4.75 inches. The crown-moulding diagonal cut at 90°/90° is 6.625 inches. The saw blade diameter is 10.25 inches. There is an angle transfer device that automatically bisects the transferred angles to the saw and aligns it.
The Festool Kapex comes with an angle transfer device, a 60-tooth carbide blade, a hold-down clamp, a wrench and a 3-year warranty.
The Festool Kapex KS have truly advanced features such as the rail-forward design for a compact precision. A 3-axis adjustment laser-guide, a micro-adjustment to make bevel cuts and an extraction hood that clear up to 91% of sawdust. It makes miter cuts, crown-moulding diagonal cuts and special cuts at 45°/90° to the right between 3/4 inch and 4.75 inches. It also has trenching capabilities, variable speeds and an angle-transfer device.
3. Hitachi C12RSH2
Hitachi pioneered several power tool innovations one of them being the sliding compound miter saw. With the use of rare-earth, high-speed magnet motors, Ni-Cad and Ni-MH batteries, pneumatics, electronic controls and precision processing they have produced lighter, faster and durable power tools.
Design and Build
\The Hitachi C12RSH2 brings you improved efficiency with a wide-base mounted and a compact slide-system. This compact system occupies a small footprint (80 mm in depth) but delivers a large cutting capacity. It has a fixed-rail slide-design thus there is no need for rear clearance. The saw fits against the wall and tight spaces without affecting the cutting capacity. The 630 mm wide base is 54 mm wider than the previous model.
The sliding sub-fence is 130mm at maximum height. This is to support bigger workpieces lending accuracy and stability. The model is 5 pounds lighter than the previous model at 59 pounds. It comes with a laser marker that casts a line on the material and can be moved to both sides of the kerf using the adjuster. The user can make a dual bevel to both sides at 45° without the need to flip the piece.
The Hitachi C12RSH2 can make crosscuts, bevel, miter and compound cuts on both sides. Thus, making it an essential for all kinds of professionals who work with wood.
The Hitachi C12RSH2 has a 15-ampere motor producing 4000 RPM. This 12-inch saw requires a power input of 1520 Watts. It can make a crosscut at 0°, a miter-cut to the right between 0-57° and left between 0-45°. There are positive miter stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6° and 45°. It makes bevel cuts to the right and left between 0-45°. It delivers a compound cut between 0°-45° between the depth of 1.6875 and 10. 4375 inches.
The Hitachi C12RSH2 comes with a 12 inch, 60T TCT blade, a vice assembly, a 17mm Box Wrench and a dust bag. There is a 5-year warranty of your peace of mind.
4. DEWALT DWS709
Raymond DeWalt served on the Seabrook Farms as a superintendent. He perfected the first woodwork machine to increase versatility and productivity. And since 1924, DeWalt has never looked back. Today a subsidiary of Stanley Black and Decker they continue to make hand and power tools for manufacturing, construction and woodwork.
Design and Build
The DEWALT DWS709 is a compound miter saw with a 12-inch blade. The saw runs on a 15 ampere, 3800 RPM motor. The tall sliding fences help make crown-moulding up to 5.5 inches with a nested base. And base-mouldings of up to 4.5 inches in a vertical position against the fence. It even slides out to make bevel cuts. The back fence is designed to cut 2×14 pieces of lumber at 90° and 2×10 at 45°.
There is an adjustable miter-detent plate with 13 positive miter detents. These allow the operator to quickly adjust the saw and maintain accuracy and improve productivity. The large miter pointer helps select the angles. The saw miters 60° to the right and 50° to the left to increase capacity. There is an easy to read oversized bevel scale to make angle adjustments accurately and easily.
When a piece is being bevelled the sliding, fences withdraw to make space. The saw is 51 pounds, easy to move and store. It has an aluminium base with ridges for strength and rigidity. Pads on steel plates reducing wear. The horizontal steel rails have linear ball bearings for durability and accuracy.
The DEWALT DWS709 miters, bevels and compound cut all kinds of lumber.
The DEWALT DWS709 has a blade of 12-inch diameter. There is a 15-ampere motor and 3800 RPM motor. It makes crown mouldings up to 5.5 inches and base mouldings up to 4.5 inches. The saw cuts 2 x 14 pieces of lumber at 90° and 2×10 at 45°. The miter plate has 13 positive detents. It miters 60°/50° to the right and left.
The DWS709 comes with a carbide blade, a blade wrench, a dust bag, a material clamp and a user’s guide. The saw is supported by the standard DeWalt warranty.
5. Makita LS1040
Makita celebrated 100 years in 2015. The company was founded in 1915 as a sales and repair outlet for motors. They began by selling portable electric planers. The company continues to provide services and products such as power tools.
Design and Build
The Makita LS1040 brings you the best in class engineering and innovative technology. It has a 15-ampere direct drive motor that spins at 4500 RPM. The unit never slips or bogs down while the electronic speed control helps maintain a constant speed under load. It has a soft start technology helps smooth start-ups.
It makes precise bevel and miter cuts. The dual post compound pivoting arm moves 45° to the left. While the miter range is between 0° – 45° to the left and 0° – 52° degrees to the right. There is 9 positive miter stops to both the sides for 0° or 90° cuts. The aluminium-base lends stability for accurate cuts. There is an easy to use fluorescent light that works independently, lighting up the workpiece and cutting area.
The Makita LS1040 brings you the best in its class. This saw has a range of applications that would serve a broad range of tradesmen. The carpenters, general contractors and woodworkers would use to install cabinets, cases, bases, decks and floors, sidings, etc. As this saw is only 27.3 pounds and 20.875 x 18.75 x 21 inches in length, width and height it is easily portable.
The Makita LS1040 has a 15-ampere motor that with a no-load RPM of 4500. It has a dual post compound pivot arm and makes bevel cuts between 0°- 45° to the left and miter cuts between 0° – 47° to the left and 0-52 to the right also has 9 miter settings at 15°, 22.5°, 30°, 45° to both the sides and 0. The maximum cutting capacity for a bevel/miter cut is 90°/90° at 2.75 by 5.125 inches. The maximum cutting capacity at 45° on both the sides is 1.375 by 3.625 inches.
The Makita LS1040 includes a vertical vice, a blade, a wrench, a triangular rule and a 1-year warranty.
Another compound saw by Makita that delivers industrial strength power and professional results. All Makita saws are lightweight and loaded with easy to use features. The saw is supported by a range of blades and accessories.
Design and Build
The Makita LS1221 never slips or become bogged down due to its 15-ampere motor that spins at 4000 RPM. The electronic speed control maintains a constant speed while cutting. The saw has a large cutting capacity between 3.825 inches and 6 inches at 90. The 4.5-inch fence rail can accommodate larger pieces of timber and lumber to cut.
It can make miter and bevel cuts with 9 positive stops at the standard angles to both sides and 0. The saw has a comfortable D-handle for effortless operation and easy portability. This saw is the best in the class for diverse applications such as installing doors, cabinets, floorboards, decks, etc. This 10-inch saw delivers the results of a 12-inch one. It is a perfect saw for a workbench in a shop or a job site.
The Makita LS1221 weighs only 37 pounds with 24 inches length, 26.5 inches width and 23.8745 inches height making it highly portable. This saw makes miter, bevel, compound, rip and crosscuts. Thus, it finds applications in cabinetry, woodwork, deck building, flooring and framing, etc.
The Makita LS1221 has a 15-ampere motor with 4000 RPM of improves performance. The blade is 12 inches in diameter with a 1-inch arbor. The maximum cutting capacity – bevel and miter at 90/90 is 3.875 by 6 inches. And the bevel and miter capacity at 45 on both the sides is 1.75 by 5.5 inches. There are 9 positive settings 15, 22.3, 31.6, 45 to the right and left and a 0. It has a 4.5-inch pivot fence that accommodates up to 5.5 inches of crown moulding.
Makita LS1221 comes with a 12-inch tungsten carbide blade, a vertical vice, a pair of extension wings a dust bag and wrench. The saw comes with a yearlong warranty and a 30 days money back guarantee.
7. DEWALT DW715
This is another useful tool by the DeWalt delivering portable accuracy with all kinds of cuts.
Design and Build
DEWALT DW715 has a 15-ampere motor with a no-load speed of 4000 RPM. It is ideal for making frames and mouldings using the miter and cross cuts. A versatile saw designed fro excellence and accuracy in various applications. The precise motor system has easy to set-up positive stops at 11 positions.
These are selected using the cam-lock miter handle designed to improve productivity. There is also a detent override that allows you to set-up your own measurements. It has a miter capacity of 0-50 in both the directions. The fence can nest a 5.25-inch crown moulding and a 6.5-inch base moulding.
The saw has a higher bevel capacity at convenient stops between 0-45 and cut 2 y 8 inches of lumber. You can also set up bevels between 0 – 48 to the left and 0-3 to the right. There are 4 stops at 0, 33.9, 45 and 48 making it easy to replicate the cuts.
DEWALT DW715 does the work for you, whether it is cutting boards for the wall, floor or cabinetry. Or making bevel, miter or compound cuts for the crown mouldings. This saw does quick and accurate jobs. The durable carbide blade can make crosscuts and miter cuts. The 12-inch blade is fitted on a 42-pound tool that makes it highly portable.
The DEWALT DW715 is a 12-inch saw that makes the compound and single bevel cuts. The 15-ampere motor runs at 4000 RPM. The miter detent plate is made of stainless steel and has 11 positive stops. There is a tall sliding fence that makes it easier to work with base and crown mouldings. There are 4 hardened steel bevel stops that lend versatility to the machine.
The unit comes with a blade, dust bag and a wrench. There is a 3-year warranty, 1-year free service and 90-day money back guarantee.
Evolution has a well-established reputation over the last 20 years in the power tools, steel and fabrication industry. They have also pioneered in the field of advanced TCT multipurpose saws that cut steel, wood and aluminium.
Design and Build
The RAGE3 utilizes a patented technology that cuts through plastic, metal and wood. The saw features a high torque gearbox, that improves performance and durability while reducing motor stress. The high-quality blade cuts smoothly to leave a workable surface finish. Another pro is that it produces no heat, sparks or burr.
There are the secure clamp and chip deflector for your safety. The laser guidance is for higher accuracy. The robust outer casing is for enhanced durability required to cut through metals. The miter and bevel tilt function have precise and clear angle settings. These allow the operator to cut accurate and complex angled cuts with ease.
These cuts are ideal to make picture frames, crown mouldings, joining, furniture and crown moulds. The saw has a large, powerful and accurate cutting capacity of 11.8125 inches and 3 inches. The optional stand with folding legs is for easy setup, transport and storage.
The RAGE3 makes long cuts at an angle using the compound tilt and slide mechanism. There is a miter saw cutting guide on the kinds of cuts this saw can make. The bevel, rip, miter, compound and crosscut. The highlight of the saw is the 10-inch diamond blade turns this saw into an allrounder that cuts tiles, steel, wood and aluminium.
The RAGE3 can cut make miter cuts at 45 to the left and right. A single bevel cut to the left at 0-45. The maximum width of the cut is 11.8125 inches, the maximum depth is 3 inches. The multipurpose blade can cut through a steel plate 1/4 inches thick. The turbocharged power is delivered by a 2.5 horsepower, 1800W motor at 120 volts and 60 Hertz.
The RAGE3 comes with a saw cutting guide, a dust collection bag, a port plug, a blade, an extension support bar, a depth stop, top clamp and a manual. There is a 3-year limited warranty.
9. WEN 70716
WEN has been designing and selling high quality yet affordable tools since 1951. Founded by Nick Anton this company brought electricity and tools together. Their research and development team has contributed to the tools of daily chores. Not only have they contributed to the soldering iron, the jigsaw, the compound saw, the engraver, etc but pioneered the random orbital technology. The technology that gives your automobiles a streak-free shine.
Design and Build
The WEN 70716 is a has a 10-inch diameter, a 15-ampere motor that rotates at 5500 RPM. This general purpose 60-toothed carbide-tipped blade has a 0.625-inch arbor. This saw can make miter, bevel, straight or rip cuts with the general-purpose blade. It can cut through 3.25-inch boards with ease.
It can bevel between 0° – 45° on both the sides and miters up to 52° to the right and left. The work table has room to accommodate up to 11.5-inch boards. The dust collection part is to attach the vacuum that syphons away all the dust. This keeps the light of sight clear and keeps the work area clean.
It is a compact lightweight machine at 30 pounds and can be carried by the handle between the workshop and work-sites. The table has two support arms a hold-down clamp, a fence and the blade cover automatically retracts after the operation is completed. This retractable feature maximizes safety and minimizes accidents.
The WEN 70716 can make a rip, bevel, miter, cross and compound cuts at various angles in both the directions. The big worktable and fence accommodate larger pieces of wood to cut. These features make it ideal for all sorts of carpentry, wood and construction work.
The WEN 70716 has a 15-ampere motor that cuts at 5500 RPM. It bevels between 0° – 45° and miters between 0° – 52° in both the directions. The 60-toothed, 10 -inch blade can cut stock about to 3.25 inches thick and 11.5 inches deep.’
The WEN 70716 comes as a bare tool and a 2-year warranty a helpline and a nationwide service network.
10. Hitachi C10FCG
Hitachi is a manufacturer of powerful tools such as drills, cutters, saws, hammers and pneumatics. They make battery-powered and corded tools. There is an industrial line and a homeowner’s line. This saw is from the latter. Their tools set up the industry standards as their focus is compaction and high output motors besides reliable accuracy. All their tools meet the standards for ISO 9000 series and ISO 14001. All these qualities make these tools highly coveted and dependable.
Design and Build
The Hitachi C10FCG has a 15 ampere 2.57 horsepower motor and a 10-inch miter blade. The no-load speed of the motor is 5000 RPM. The motor has a carbon brush and there is an access that lets you replace the brush. This prolongs the use of the tool over many years.
The saw makes miter, bevel, compound and crosscuts. This is the lightest saw in its class to lend it portability. There is a large work table fitted with a vice-clamping system. The clamping system holds the piece in place. There is a thumb actuated lever that slides along the positive miter stops to make simple adjustments. The saw makes clean bevel cuts u to 45 to the left. There is an extended flip fence 4 inches in height that allows cutting large pieces. There is a dust collector to vacuum away the sawdust keeping the place clean.
The Hitachi C10FCG is perfect for framers, carpenters, woodworkers, etc who require a reliable tool for precise cuts for a professional job. This model is lighter than its predecessor and weighs 24.2 pounds. This makes the saw portable and easy to store and carry between jobs.
The Hitachi C10FCG weighs 24.2 pounds and houses a 15-ampere motor. It makes miter cuts at 0-52 to both sides and bevel cuts between 0-45 to the left. There are thumb-actuated stops along the scale at the usual angles. It takes a 10-inch blade with an arbor size of 0.625 inches. The height is 21.46 inches, the length 22.96 inches and width is 18.125 inches.
The Hitachi C10FCG comes with a 5-year warranty and a 10-inch 24T TCT Saw Blade, a Dust Bag, one hex bar wrench and one holder.
A bevel or blade tilt angle…
Is achieved by tilting the blade from the vertical angle of a saw. In other words, the vertical would be 0° and the maximum bevel is 45°. These saws are used to make compound cuts in one pass. These are angled cuts in two planes used to make trims, crown moulds, window casings, trims, door, window and picture frames.
A dual compound miter saw works much like the compound miter saw. But the difference is that a compound miter saw tilts only in one direction while the dual compound saw tilts in both directions. These can create bevels at angles marked on the protractor or scale.
A sliding compound miter saw is versatile like the compound miter saw but has a sliding feature. It is much like the radial arm saw with a blade that moves backwards and forward.The advantage of a sliding features is that it increases the length of the cut.
Cautions While Using the Miter Saw
Always use the tool according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Always wear safety gear such as eye and ear protection. When working with timber or chemically treated lumber wear gloves. Cover your nose with a mask to prevent sawdust inhalation.Secure your long hair, jewellery or loose clothes for your security and accuracy of work. Keep your hands off the turntable and 6 inches away from the blade. Do not cross your arms while cutting as this may block your vision and reduce your dexterity.Always support your workpiece with a feed stand. Do not lift a cutting or spinning blade. This may mar the piece you are working on and toss small pieces into the air as a safety hazard.
Cutting with Best Compound Miter Saws
The angle of the cut and the thickness of the workpiece determine the point where the blade will meet the wood. When marking the board, extend a line across it and drop the blade to check the alignment. Adjust the board to fine-tune the cut then make the cut.
When you cut a board, rest more than half the length on the saw table. This lends stability to your workpiece and accuracy to the cut. If your board is very long, then stack it to counter-balance the overhanging part of the board. Most compound miter saws come with table-extensions to support such situations.
Place the workpiece against the fence on the saw base.
Hold the piece with your hand or the clamp to maintain 6 inches from the blade. Then start the saw. Keep the other hand on the handle of the saw to direct the cut. Both the arms should be extended before you and your feet should be planted firmly on the floor.
Keep your eyes on the cut. Body alert yet relaxed. Start the saw at the top of the mark where you want to make the cut. Let the saw attain the optimum speed. Then lower it slowly to cut into the wood for smooth cuts. When the board is cut through, release the trigger for the blade to come to a standstill then raise it. (we have written extensively for the best generators brands)
You can make a square cut that is at 90° to the edge. Miter cuts are angled-cuts that are less than 90°. Bevel cuts are angled-cuts relative to the face. Double bevel cuts have angled cuts on the two ends. The compound cuts have a bevel and miter cut combined.
Quick Tips for Smooth Cuts on Best Compound Miter Saws
Do not force the blade through the workpiece. Let the saw do the work for smooth cuts. More teeth on the blade mean smoother cuts. For finer cuts use blades with 90 teeth per inch (TPI)and for construction cuts 50 TPI.
As treated lumber has a higher moisture content than construction lumber uses a lower TPI for finer cuts. The open space between the teeth clears the debris, reducing the strain on the motor. Always cut one angle of the piece before you mark and cut the other end.
Cut off the factory end of the board before measuring to cut a part. This ensures a better fit and less sanding. There are charts available for the miter and bevel settings. Simply set the scales to these pre-calculated angles on the bevel and miter scales and cut away.
Features on a Compound Miter Saw
Amperes are the measure of the power of the motor on the saw. The higher the amperes the more the cutting power.
Blade size is between 8 – 12 inches. The larger the diameter the longer the cuts.
Positive Stops are factory settings that let you make precise cuts at specific angles. These decrease the time required to set up the cuts. Some saws have thumb-activated stops and levers for quick adjustments.
Depth Stops help adjust the height of the blade. This controls the depth of the cut.
Articulated blade guards keep the blade clear of the stock and give you a better view of the cutting line. They are a safety feature that lower the guard on the blade as the saw is raised.
These features on a saw make your work easier while offering versatility…
Electric brakes reverse electric current in the motor when the trigger is released. This reversal of current stops the momentum of the blade within 2 seconds.
Spindle locks also known as shaft locks immobilize the blade and shaft. This helps the easy change of the blade.
Dust chutes or blowers help remove the sawdust from the work area.
Table extension scan be drawn out from the side of the table to extend its length. This helps accommodate longer stock and deliver accurate cuts.
Sliding or flip fences give additional support to longer stocks. This facilitates miter and bevel cuts.
Laser guides are guide lights that project a beam or cast a shadow on the piece. Following this line helps make accurate cuts.
Digital displays are easy to read miter and bevel settings read off an LED.