The Best Miter Saw for 2017 – Complete Buyers Guide & Reviews

Miter saws are a versatile and exceptionally handy power tool for anyone looking to get serious about project work.  

For birdhouses and wood crafts, smaller saws are perfectly adequate. However, if you're ready to tackle more robust lumber and projects requiring more than simple angles, the miter saw is the right tool for you.

Quick Summary: Top Rated Miter Saws​

I believe the natural progression for any professional and DIY'er as they increase their power tool inventory is as follows:

1. Cordless Drill - I'm not really sure what kind of project you can take on without one.  Don't cheap out, you will use this tool far more than anything else.  

2. Circular Saw - Definitely the first saw everyone should purchase.  It's fairly inexpensive and can basically do it all.  

3. Sawzall - Also called a reciprocating saw, this tool is versatile, and the best tool for disassembling pallets.  

4. Miter Saw​ - Functions like a table saw, circular saw, and more.  The best miter saws combine portability with high-functionality.  (Also See: Miter Saw vs. Chop Saw - which one should you buy?) 

Anatomy of typical compound miter saw​

​Bevel & Miter Adjustments

On/Off Trigger

Blade Guard

​Dust Bag


Safety Clamp

Slide Bar​

best miter saw

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Types of cuts typically performed by a miter saw.  

Cross Cut - Perpendicular to the grain of wood.

Miter Cut - Angled cut on face of wood.

Rip Cut - Parallel to the grain of wood.

Bevel Cut - Angled cut to the edge of wood.​

Miter Saw Education

Basically, we will focus on 2 types of miter saws: Compound and Sliding Compound.  Over the last ten years the compound and sliding compound have emerged as the standard for the best miter saws.  

Compound Versus Sliding Compound Miter Saw

You're probably wondering, "what's the difference between compound and sliding compound"? The answer is rather simple.  The sliding compound has a sliding arm and the regular compound doesn't. (Here's our full guide to sliding vs. non)

The more apt question is, "why would I need a sliding compound over a regular compound"?​  That question isn't quite as simple...

​Tim Carter of had this to say on the subject:

A sliding compound miter saw is a wonderful tool to have around the shop or for a serious do-it-yourselfer. You will use it for many purposes, but don't buy it just to cut crown molding.

There are many finish carpenters who love their compound miter saws and use them regularly to cut crown molding. But realize that the master carpenters of yesteryear installed crown molding without this fancy tool, much less a saw powered by electricity!"

Tim Carter 
Ask The Builder

Tim brings up a few good points.  For instance, don't invest in a fairly expensive tool for one purpose unless it's something you'll be doing often.  For example, a finish carpenter would need the features a sliding compound miter saw provides, while a DIY'er would benefit, but not necessarily "need".  

​The sliding compound miter saw is the best miter saw you can buy without a doubt.  Yet, as I am sure you hear me say often, the best miter saw doesn't mean it's the best miter saw for you.  You will pay significantly more for the sliding version over the regular compound.  

Can you afford it?  

How often will you "need" the sliding feature?

​These are important questions you must answer before making the investment in a sliding miter saw, or even just a regular compound.

 I use the analogy all the time, "why opt for the 4x4 version of a truck if you'll never use it"? ​

Sure it's nice to have 4x4 for the occasional off-roading or Winter snowstorm, but is it worth the additional investment? It wasn't to me (still talking about trucks).

Now just apply the same logic to miter saws.

What about 10" versus 12"?  

Essentially, you're in the same boat with evaluating your needs.  While a 10" will perform adequately for most of your projects, a 12 " will simply expand your capabilities.  ​

Tim Carter of loves his 12" compound miter saw, and explains why here:

I own a sliding compound miter saw and must tell you it is a fantastic tool. But the reason I love it is that the combination of the 12-inch blade and the sliding function allow me to make precision cross cuts on material as wide as 14 inches.

I liken sliding compound miter saws to small portable radial arm saws. It can't do everything a radial arm saw can do, but it sure comes in handy most of the time."

Tim Carter
Ask The Builder

​The way I see it is, if you know you will never cut anything wider than a typical 2x4 the 10" saw will be sufficient.  Any sizes beyond that, you may be able to cut with a 10", but will be guaranteed to get the job done with a 12".  

I personally prefer a 10" because of the price difference.  Purchasing a 10" miter saw with the sliding feature will cost you approximately the same as a 12" without the sliding feature.  Anything beyond my saws capabilities (which is rare) I can make do with another saw like a circular or jigsaw.  ​

Miter Saw Safety Focus

Like all saws, safe operation needs to be priority #1.  Click on the image below for some quick statistics about injuries caused by power tools.  

The video below from SRT Wood Shop will give some specific safety tips for operating miter saws.  

Best Overall Miter Saw

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

best miter saw

I'm positive after you read what we have to say and the reviews we will feature, you will agree with why we chose the Dewalt DWS780 for our best miter saw overall.  

I'll confess, I didn't want to give the best miter saw overall ranking to a Dewalt miter saw.  My father owns (and only recently purchased) a Bosch miter saw, and in the spirit of loyalty, I wanted to help justify his decision.

Not to mention, I have been digging Bosch tools lately.  They really are an amazing product and I wouldn't discourage anyone from buying even a Bosch miter saw.  Yet, it simply wasn't the best miter saw, and I have to be objective.  

​After reading a ton of reviews, and coming across a few too many referencing some design flaws, I couldn't objectively add it to my list. ​

The Dewalt DWS780 however, I hard a very hard time even finding a bad review.  Which for anyone who reads a lot of reviews, is quite an amazing testament to this saw being the best miter saw overall.  

Key Features

  • Integrated XPS cross cut positioning system provides adjustment-free cut line indication
  • Powerful 15 amp, 3,800 rpm motor delivers extended power and durability
  • Exclusive Back Fence design cuts up to 2 by 16 dimensional lumber at 90-degrees, 2 by 12 at 45 degrees
  • Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate with 10 positive stops improves productivity, ensures accuracy
  • Super efficient dust collection system captures over 75-percent of dust generated
  • This product does not come with a stand

Precise Cutting without calibration

The DWS780 miter saw features extremely solid construction and the new XPS cross-cut alignment system that features an improved ultra-bright LED light, which casts a laser-like shadow on the work surface and shows the user precisely where the blade will come in contact with the material. This unique alignment system requires no recalibration over time or after changing blades, which makes it more accurate and durable than traditional laser guides.

Hassle-free operation

The dual bevel system is easy to see and use in job site conditions thanks to its high-visibility scale and easy angle adjustment. Bevel from zero to 49 degrees with positive stops at 0 degrees, 22.5 degrees, 33.9 degrees, 45 degrees, and 49 degrees in both right and left directions.

The saw also miters 60 degrees to the right and 50 degrees to the left and features an adjustable miter detent plate with 10 positive stops. A cam lock miter button allows the user to lock angles between detents. A miter detent override is also used to allow precise angle adjustment without falling into detents.

What's in the box

One DEWALT DWS780 12-inch double bevel sliding compound miter saw, one carbide blade, one blade wrench, one dust bag, and one vertical material clamp.

Customer Reviews

Like I mentioned before, I had a difficult time finding bad reviews for the Dewalt DWS780 Miter Saw.  If you don't know already, this is a very good sign.  

For Example

On Amazon only 7% of the almost 250 reviews gave the Dewalt DWS780 a rating below 4 stars! The numbers are pretty staggering.

Trust me, I know it's hard to ignore negative reviews, but the fact is, with as many saws as Dewalt manufactures, there are bound to be some occasional defects.  The same goes for every brand as well.  Sometimes we just need a little perspective.  

The few negative reviews I read referenced an issue with the bearings in the slide.  For instance, one Amazon reviewer stated "This saw would be pretty kick a*s if they could change one thing on it....the linear bearings on the slide".  

However, this review was posted over 3 years ago, and from what I understand, Dewalt has corrected the issue.  

​I hope my objectivity proves that I'm not just here to sell you a Dewalt miter saw. I'm simply here to give you the "tools" to make the best miter saw decision.

​Now that we've got that trust exercise out of the way, let's focus on the good stuff.  Which is always a good philosophy to live by...

From the perspective of a handyman or home hobbyist one reviewer discusses his positive experience.

If you are graduating to crown moulding you will appreciate the double-bevel. The saw features clear marks for all angles and bevels, with positive stops for the commonly used angles of 0, 22.5, 33.9, 45, and 49.

When evaluating miter saws, the smoothness and quality of the angle setting is a clear differentiator between the no-name brands and DeWalt. If you can't set a consistent angle and hold it while you cut, you will be disappointed with the results.

The DWS780 makes this part a breeze. All parts are well machined and move smoothly with no hang-ups or catches."

Joel Avrunin 
Top 500 Reviewer

​Joel demonstrates the reason anyone would choose a 12" miter saw with a double-bevel over one with a single bevel.  It really makes a difference when your project requires angle cutting.  

best miter saw

"There's no need to repeat all of the specifications for board size, but I will note that the sliding part of this allows you to cut much larger boards than a 12" saw by itself would allow.

I could easily see cutting cabinet shelfs with ease using this tool. The slide is equally smooth and well machined. Running the saw, the blade and motor are surprisingly quiet and lack of vibration shows the device is well balanced."

​Reinforcing the upgrade to the 12" blade, Joel clearly illustrates the ease of use and efficiency of the Dewalt DWS780.  

​Another review from 2014 describes the "out of the box" experience.

Patrick Laflamme -Contractor

I have not noticed ANY of the problems mentioned by some reviewers and the rather uniform form of those complaints leads me to believe some of them at least may be paid guerrilla commenters.

The saw was checked right out of the box with a dial gauge and was dead on. The factory blade was not bad actually. It cuts cleanly as a general purpose crosscut blade but will obviously not last as long as a higher quality blade will or cut quite as cleanly as a finer toothed blade will but it cut through a set of 2 x 12 pressure treated for decking stairs very well; it also cut through some clear grade pine shelving without splintering the edge of the cut.

I will still change the blade for really fine stuff. Also the saw didn't seem to bog down in the least going through the heavy pressure treated wood.

​No comment on the "paid guerrilla commenters" statement, other than, believe it or not, they do exist.  Opinions aside, Patrick makes some great points about the Dewalt DWS780 quality straight from the box.  

​What do the professionals have to say about the Dewalt DWS780?

I am an actual professional finish carpenter. This is an excellent saw. Came virtually perfect out of the box and if it goes out of adjustment set up is very easy.

Besides being one of the easiest to use with the led light and simple solid miter system, it is also light and compact. Capacity is outstanding. This is a huge improvement over the 718. The 780s is accurate.

I would completely disregard the reviewer who gave it one star. I think this is a great all around saw that will hold up well on the jobsite. The fences are solid and adjust easily. The bevel adjust is simple and very easy to use. The only complaint I have is that there is no soft start, but otherwise this saw gets it done.

Finish Carpenter

​It's always justified validation to read such a positive review from professionals that use this saw everyday, and have assuredly put it through the "proverbial" ringer.

If you've come to the conclusion that the 12" blade is just unnecessary for you, click here to read about the smaller version Dewalt DW717.

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Best Runner-up Miter Saw

Makita LS1016L 10-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw with Laser

best miter saw

I have many friends and coworkers who prefer Makita power tools.  It's kind of hard to understand.  I guess it's kind of like those who prefer Ford's over Chevy''s really down to a matter of opinion.  

Yet, I have to say, Makita has been making great tools for a very long time.  And if you can trust anyone, trust the contractors and professionals who use them.  ​

Makita is a well-trusted company founded in Japan in 1915.  Much like Hitachi power tools, Makita tools have fast become a household name in the industry.  Makita's commitment to excellence is why the Makita LS1016 is voted our best miter saw runner up.  

Key Features​

  • Powerful 15.0 AMP direct drive motor requires less maintenance and delivers 3,200 RPM
  • Compact design with a patented 4-Steel Rail Sliding System further increases rigidity to produce superior cuts
  • Exclusive 6 linear ball bearings engineered to deliver ""dead-on"" accurate cuts
  • Increased capacity for up to 6-5/8"" crown molding (vertically nested), 4-3/4"" baseboard (vertical), and 12"" crosscuts at 90°
  • Largest crown molding cutting capacity in its class
  • Innovative direct drive gearbox and guard system is engineered for increased vertical cutting capacity
  • Miters 0°-52° left and 0°-60° right, with positive stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, and 45° (left and right)

Best in class range of applicatioin

The LS1016L is engineered for finish work, remodeling, trim work, and furniture making. It is ideal for a broad range of trades, including finish carpenters, professional woodworkers, case and base installers, cabinet installers, cabinet manufacturers, closet installers, decking and flooring applications, siding installers, stair installers, and general contractors seeking a best-in-class 10-inch dual slide compound miter saw for the jobsite or on the benchtop.

15-amp power, smoother, higher-quality cutting

The LS1016L has a 15 AMP direct gear box motor that never slips, bogs down, or requires maintenance like belt-driven saws. The soft start feature delivers smoother start-ups, and the Electronic Speed Control maintains constant speed under load for smoother, higher-quality cutting.

What's in the box

Makita LS1016L 10-inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw, 60T TCT Saw Blade, Vertical Vise, Dust Bag, Triangular Ruler, Socket Wrench and Hex Wrench.

Customer Reviews

We couldn't determine the best miter saw without testing many of the saws ourselves or without the help of thousands of reviews from verified owners.  

​We exist to compile some of the best reviews (not just good ones) that help you make an informed decision.  Besides, a miter saw isn't a small investment...unless you're Bill Gates.  In which case, I desperately need a new truck...hook a brother up.  

Here are some of the most-helpful reviews we could find.  

I have now "owned" 3 of these. It seems that thieves like them too as I have lost two of them off of job sites. This still remains as my favorite all around miter saw that fulfills the most versatile usages. We like best a 12" non slider double bevel when doing major framing.

There is no such thing as THE perfect miter saw but there are great miter saws for specific usages. This should be on the short list for many users.

Wilbur Wong 
Verified Purchase

Although I feel bad for Wilbur's thieving misfortune, I guess it says something about a saw that people are willing to break the law for it.  

Here's a review from an Amazon customer who recently purchased the saw and expresses a few concerns.

"​My first impression is a good one. I'm very, actually VERY impressed.

I had one real concern the first time I used it - the upper slides do not glide very smoothly - hard to describe, but they sort of rumble like there's something stuck in the roller bearings.

I called Makita about this and they immediately knew what I was talking about, and assured me it's normal for this saw and will go away soon when the bearings are broken in. I found that a bit odd, but they sounded sincere, so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt."

I've also recently read that this issue has been resolved and or greatly improved.  However, the slides on all saws are going to be a bit rough at times.  It's kind of the difficult nature of any element involving bearings.  

Blue AngelSerious Canadian DIY'er

Between the soft starting, quiet gearbox, solid mitre table lock, constant speed drive and excellent included 60T carbide blade, this saw is one smooth cutting machine. 

Cuts never bind unnecessarily and the blade makes beautiful cuts, very smooth. I think the lower cutting speed of the blade (much lower RPM than some other saws) helps greatly with keeping vibrations out of the blade. This saw cuts SMOOTH."

Overall I'm happy with my purchase and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this saw. I'm not going to put it through the rigors of professional use so it will probably last for a very very long time."

​What do the professionals have to say about the Makita LS1016?

If these saws were cars the Makita would be a Porsche, the Dewalt would be a Mustang, the Bosch glider would be a Rolls Royce, and the Millwaukee.....well who knows because nobody's ever actually seen one.

As others have said the manual is worthless, I'm about 30 years away from needing reading glasses and I can barely read any of it, but what self respecting man ever reads the manual anyway so who cares. This thing cuts amazingly smooth, it's like slipping your you know what into a you know what and OMG a laser that doesn't run on a battery and is actually helpful....brilliant!"

Amazon Customer

​I think any saw, if compared to a Porsche, must be a real beast.  One thing you can always count on with Makita, you're getting a reliable saw matched with durability.  Easy-reading manual...not so much. 

best miter saw

Our previous reviewer, Wilbur Wong, gives us an in-depth analysis of Makita's bevel gear drive.

Wilbur Wong

Makita's bevel gear drive now has intermediate reduction gears which raise the motor housing higher above the saw blade arbor than the 1013 and also reduces the saw blade speed down to 3200 rpm. Because of the higher motor location, the critical right tilt of the bevel (45 degrees) allows sawing 1 11/16" high boards an improvement over 1 1/4" for the LS1013. The left 45 bevel capacity increases also to 2 3/8".

I like the addition of a double handled bevel lock lever making it easy to operate regardless of which side of the saw I am approaching this control (behind the saw) from."

The Makita LS1016 is certainly worth the investment, and a great alternative for those who prefer a manufacturer that isn't Dewalt.  Or, maybe you just don't like the color yellow...

Makita LS1016L 10-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw with Laser

Best Budget Miter Saw

DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw

A miter saw on a budget?  Does that really exist?  It does, and it's another great saw from Dewalt called the Dewalt DW715 Miter Saw.  

Naturally, you can't expect to get the same features and power from a budget saw as you would a top of the line saw.  The price difference can be around $300 and that kind of cost difference goes a long way.  

You're going to sacrifice certain features such as, the double-bevel and sliding arm, which are features that really drive the price up.  But, you're still getting a 15-amp motor and 12" blade capacity.  

The simple design of this saw will definitely get the job done.  ​

The simple design of this saw will definitely get the job done. ​

What you should expect from a budget saw is quality and durability.  The Dewalt DW715 provides both of the aforementioned attributes, and will certainly satisfy the amateur DIY'er or beginner handyman's needs.  ​

best miter saw

Key Features

  • 15 Amp motor, 4,000 rpm delivers extended power and durability
  • Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate with 11 positive stops improves productivity and ensures cutting
  • Precise miter system and machined base fence support optimize cutting accuracy
  • Tall sliding fence supports crown molding up to 5-1/4-inch nested and base molding up to 6-1/2-inch vertically against the fence while easily sliding out of the way for bevel cuts
  • Bevels 0 degree-48 degree to the left and 0 degree-3 degree to the right for increased capacity; 0 degree-50 degree left and right miter capacity for greater versatility

portability and easy to transport

This lightweight compound miter saw weighs just 42 pounds and features a built-in carry handle, so you can move it around the jobsite easily and lift it comfortably when it comes time to stow the saw at the end of the day.

This 12-inch single-bevel compound miter saw also comes with a DEWALT warranty package that includes a three-year limited warranty, a one-year free service contract, and a 90-day money back guarantee.

Smart, powerful design for quick, accurate cuts

This DEWALT single-bevel compound miter saw's 12-inch blade is backed by a powerful and dependable 15 amp motor. Offering a no-load speed of 4,000 rpm, it makes quick work of cutting framing or molding, as well as other crosscutting and miter-cutting jobs.

This sturdy saw is designed to deliver both a versatile setup and excellent accuracy to handle a variety of applications. The precise miter system's adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate features 11 positive stops for easy setup and improved productivity.

An easy-to-adjust cam-lock miter handle delivers quick and accurate miter angles, as well as allowing for detent override--which allows you to adjust the miter setting without the saw slipping into the miter detents. The saw's wide miter capacity--0 to 50 degrees to the left and the right--adds versatility.

What's in the box

DEWALT 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw, carbide blade, dust bag, and blade wrench.

Customer Reviews​

Another great stat for the Dewalt brand, on Amazon only 6% of the 383 reviews were rated below 4 stars!  Easily one of the best miter saw scores I have ever seen.  Chances are, you can't go wrong with the Dewalt DW715 miter saw.  

I like reading reviews from the common DIY'er.  Sometimes professionals or contractors can be overly critical.  Here is what one satisfied reviewer had to say...

I'm not a professional, I'm just a homeowner who appreciates quality tools, but it seems they got all the details right on this saw. Miter and bevel were perfectly aligned out of the box, which I checked with my triangle and with some test cuts.

Getting it out of the box was easy too, thanks to the carrying handle on the saw head which is very solid and close to the center of balance. (Usually with big items like this you have to figure out how to get your hands underneath it and then hold the box down while you get it out.) The locking pin which keeps the saw head down when you're carrying it can be slid in and out easily but has no problem supporting the weight, while the spring that raises the head prevents the pin from sliding out accidentally.

There are also good hand holds on each side of the base with rounded edges so they don't dig into your hands."


A great place to learn how to use a saw is in shop class.  Here is how one teacher describes his and his students experience with the Dewalt DW715.  

Teacher Mikal - Shop Teacher

I watched this saw get day in and day out abuse from students who cut too fast, started the saw while touching the work, let the saw run too long, let the saw snap back to its upright position, chopped wood not against the fence, never cleaned the blade or used wicked dull blades all day.

I had students using pine and the saw covered in sap that hardened to amber. (hey I can hear you judging me fellas, I had thirty-two inner city kids in these classes [no injuries-knock on wood]. One week I had students blazing away for hours chopping hickory and pecan, leaving the saw hot to the touch."

I can't even imagine the abuse a miter saw would go through in shop class...  

Long story short: you couldn't find a better field testing environment than a high school shop class. Despite this merciless abuse, this saw cut perfectly accurate. It is loud, and the brake doesn't like the kind of resharpened heavy blades I use, but nonetheless, after school, I made fine furniture with this same saw.

I made tight perfect miters with it It could chop cleanly through 12/4 rock maple full of nails on a dull blade (I know all of you are wincing, that's why I used a beater blade)

What do the professionals have to say about the Dewalt DW715?

My old Dewalt 12" miter saw worked great for the past 10 years or so. I am a remodeling contractor so we are tough on equipment. WE are in South Dakota and our cold winters are hard on power tools. We've unloaded and loaded the old saw many times and tools get beat up that way. I have a dual bevel saw in the shop but they are too big and heavy to transport unless needed and that is rare.

The old saw has stayed true in all of the years after taking that beating. When the old saw had a few things go wrong with it, I had no big decision to make as far as what saw to buy. I find it likely that Dewalt would only improve this saw over the years although; I don't know how they would do it. I bet I'll like this saw."


If you're a contractor who owns a miter saw for 10 years, you should probably stick with that brand.  It's rather rare to have any saw for that long.  What a great testament to quality and durability.  

DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw

Miter Saw Summary

  • Do the research and determine your needs.  Again, the best miter saw for the money is a relative term.  If you know you won't tackle projects that require large lumber or beveled cuts, go with the budget saw.  If you will be tackling those type of projects, you will definitely get your money's worth out of a double-bevel sliding compound.  
  • All miter saws will struggle with dust collection.  It's an inherent fact.  
  • ​Brand loyalty can sometimes be a hindrance.  I love Bosch tools and have never really had a negative experience with any of their tools.  But, the Dewalt and Makita brands appear to be rising above.  
  • Be smart and be safe.  Good ol' fashion common sense will go a long way with miter safety.  Like I learned in the military, "slow is smooth, and smooth is fast".