The Best Miter Saws of 2022

Miter saws are must-have tools for DIYers and pros alike. Check out our comprehensive guide and hands-on tool reviews so you can choose the best one for your workshop.

By Glenda Taylor and Tom Scalisi | Updated Aug 17, 2022 2:25 PM

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The Best Miter Saw Options

Photo: Tom Scalisi

Today’s miter saws are a significant improvement over the manual miter boxes of the 1960s. For anyone who does any type of carpentry work, a miter saw usually becomes essential. Mitering is the process of fitting two boards together at an angle, and with trim work requiring so many of these cuts, miter saws are sometimes called “trim saws.” Still, they’re invaluable for making other types of crosscuts as well, such as end cuts on hardwood flooring strips or angle cuts on roof rafters.

Selecting the best miter saw depends on the type of projects a woodworker or carpenter does. Keep reading to learn more about this essential woodworking tool and what we found when we performed hands-on testing with the following models.

  1. BEST OVERALL: BOSCH Power Tools Corded Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw
  2. RUNNER-UP: DEWALT 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: DEWALT 12-Inch Miter Saw 15-Amp Single Bevel
  4. BEST COMPACT: CRAFTSMAN V20 7-1/4-Inch Sliding Miter Saw Kit
  5. BEST FOR WOODWORKING: Makita LSO815F Slide Compound Miter Saw
  6. BEST ZERO-CLEARANCE: Makita 10″ Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw with Laser
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Metabo HPT 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw, Laser
The Best Miter Saw Options

Photo: Tom Scalisi

Types of Miter Saws

All miter saws feature a circular blade encased in a swing arm that pivots from side to side to make crosscuts on narrow strips of wood (5 to 18 inches wide, depending on the saw). However, one saw doesn’t fit all types of projects, so individual woodworking needs will determine which saw is right. Depending on quality and features, miter saws can start at around $175 and run up to $1,000 or more. The following are the most common types of miter saws.

  • Standard miter saw: This simplest of all miter saws is sometimes called a “chop saw” because the swing arm pivots to the appropriate angle and then chops through the material. These simple power miter saws only make miter cuts, so they’re not as popular as some other types of saws.
  • Single bevel compound miter saw: In addition to cutting angles, the swing arm on a single bevel compound miter saw tilts in one direction (typically to the left) to cut a beveled and mitered cut. This comes in handy for tasks such as installing crown molding or certain types of roof rafters. Many miter saws on the market today are compound miter saws.
  • Dual bevel compound miter saw: A dual bevel compound miter saw also cuts bevels, but unlike a single bevel compound miter saw, the swing arm tilts in both directions. This is strictly a convenience and a time-saver—a single compound miter saw can still make the same cuts, but the user has to turn the board over to cut a bevel in the opposite direction. The dual bevel ability saves that step.
  • Compound sliding miter saw: Sliding rails on a compound miter saw allow the user to cut wider boards. Non-sliding miter saws cut boards a few inches narrower than their blade diameter, so a 10-inch miter saw will cut a board up to 6 inches wide. If cutting a wider board, the user will have to turn the board over to finish cutting through it.

A sliding compound miter saw is the best type of miter saw for cutting wide boards because the user can pull the saw’s motorhead toward themself, lower the head, activate the motor, and push it through the board. Depending on the model, a sliding miter saw can handle boards from 10 to 18 inches wide, and it can be either a single bevel compound or dual bevel compound miter saw. Some of the best compound miter saws also feature zero-clearance arms, which allow the saw to sit close to a wall without limiting the blade’s travel.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Miter Saw

The type of woodworking projects a user intends to undertake will determine the features needed in a miter saw. Someone who only wants a miter saw to make crosscuts on wood flooring strips won’t need the extra features a professional trim carpenter needs to cut crown molding.

Size and Intended Use

Miter saws are labeled by the size of blade they accept. In general, the larger the blade, the larger the board the saw will cut. Not everyone needs the largest blade size—some prefer a tool with a smaller blade because those tools are typically lighter in weight and simpler to move (and often more accurate). A few off-sizes exist, but the most common miter saw blade sizes are 7¼, 8½, 10, and 12 inches.

  • 7¼-inch and 8½-inch miter saws: Handy for around-the-house cutting, these saws will make a 90-degree cut on a 2×4 and a 45-degree cut on a 1×2.
  • 10-inch miter saw: A 10-inch miter saw will make a 90-degree cut on a 2×6 and a 45-degree cut on a 2×4.
  • 12-inch miter saw: The largest size used by DIYers and most builders, a 12-inch miter saw will make a 90-degree cut on a 2×8 and a 45-degree cut on a 2×6.

Any of the above miter saws can cut wider boards if they’re equipped with a sliding arm. For example, a 10-inch miter saw with a 6-inch sliding arm can make a 90-degree cut on a 2×12.

Keep in mind that 10- and 12-inch blades often suffer from a bit of deflection. Deflection is when the blade’s path wobbles a bit during cutting. While not usually an issue, discerning woodworkers and high-end finish carpenters will choose a saw that minimizes deflection.

Corded vs. Cordless

Until a few years ago, all miter saws were corded, and most still are, but these cords limit where the saw can operate. Cordless miter saws are the new kids on the block, and they operate on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Battery runtime depends on the number of cuts and how thick the wood is, but expect an average of 150 to 275 cuts on a single battery charge.

Motor Power

The more power the saw’s motor has (measured in amperes), the longer the user can cut boards without the risk of overheating. Typical miter saw motor sizes are 10-amp, 12-amp, and 15-amp.

The larger motors will also generate enough blade-spinning force for cutting through thick, dense material. For example, if the user will be cutting only through pine boards, a 10-amp miter saw will likely offer more than enough power. However, a more powerful motor may be necessary for those who need to make repetitive cuts through fiber cement siding or oak stair treads.

Safety

A miter saw isn’t the most dangerous saw in the workshop, but it can still injure its user if misused or if it doesn’t come with safety features. The following safety features are standard on most of today’s miter saws.

  • Blade guard: This is a clear cover that encases the spinning miter blade. When the user lowers the blade to cut, the guard rotates out of the way. When the user lifts the blade, the guard rotates back over the blade to cover it.
  • Trigger brake: Not all miter saws have a brake, but if they do, the brake stops the blade from spinning when the user releases the trigger.
  • Lockout button: If the saw has a lockout button, the blade won’t spin when the user pulls the trigger unless the lockout button is also depressed. This double-safety measure prevents unintentional cuts.
  • Clamps: Most miter saws sold today come with a safety clamp to help hold the material in place while cutting. This keeps a board from slipping, which reduces the risk of the user grabbing it and inadvertently touching the spinning blade.
  • Dust collection: Like all power saws, miter saws create a lot of fine dust that can irritate the eyes or lungs. If the saw has a dust-collection port, a user can attach a standard shop-type vacuum hose, and the suction from the vacuum will remove most of the dust before it becomes airborne.

Additional Features

Miter saws are versatile, and some come with additional features that expand on their use. Some accessories come built into the saw, and some can usually be purchased separately if desired. Keep the following extras in mind when deciding on a miter saw.

  • Laser guide: Some miter saws have laser guides that mark a red or green line across the wood where the blade will cut. This is an excellent feature for DIYers and beginners to ensure the board is correctly positioned before cutting.
  • Depth stop: A miter saw that comes with a depth stop allows the user to set the depth of the cut—similar to a radial arm saw. This allows the user to cut a groove in the material without cutting all the way through.
  • Sliding fences: Sliding fences are built into some miter saws, and they pull out on both sides to allow the user to position the material securely along the fence.
  • Flip fences: Flip fences come with locking stops, and the user can lock two or more stops on the fence and simply flip them up and out of the way to cut a different length. Flip fences are handy when the user needs to go back and forth between two or more lengths when cutting boards.
  • Nonslip grip: Summer days can result in slippery grips on a miter saw handle. Some manufacturers now offer padded nonslip grips to reduce hand fatigue and allow for a better grasp.
  • Dust collection: Miter saws tend to kick up sawdust, particularly when operated inside a workshop. To remedy this, two types of dust collection are available for miter saws. The first is a small bag designed to collect some of the dust that blows into it naturally as it comes off the blade. The second (and better) option is a dust-collection port that connects to the hose of a shop-type vacuum.
  • Stand: Many miter saws come with holes that allow the user to bolt them to the workshop table for stability, but a few come with miter saw stands that hold the saw securely when cutting.
The Best Miter Saw Options

Photo: Tom Scalisi

Our Top Picks

Not everyone will need the most powerful saw—or the advanced features of sliding compound miter saws—but based on individual mitering needs, one of these top-quality saws may be a beneficial addition to the workshop.

And, to ensure we’re only suggesting some of the very best miter saws, we performed hands-on testing with the following models.

Best Overall

best miter saw bosch
Photo: amazon.com

The Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD 12-inch miter saw comes with a sliding arm that allows the user to cut boards up to 14 inches wide. The saw comes with pull-out material supports on both sides to stabilize boards up to 40 inches long, and it cuts compound bevels in both directions.

The clear saw guard on the Bosch miter saw is designed not to obstruct the user’s view of the cut throughout the entire process. The trigger handle features an ergonomic grip that can be used by either right-handed or left-handed users just as comfortably, and it features a padded nonslip grip. Fences are adjustable, and the miter scale numbers are etched into stainless steel for durability.

During testing, we found that the Bosch saw truly does belong at the top of this list. First, it has a zero-clearance slide arm that can sit up against a wall if necessary. The arm is also super smooth for making accurate cuts. Also, there wasn’t any assembly to deal with, and there are lots of additional references for roof rafters and valley cuts built in. The dust collection was outstanding, and the motor is super powerful. The only qualms anyone might find with this saw is that it’s a little heavy for carrying around the shop, and there aren’t any lasers or lights.

Product Specs

  • Blade size: 12 inches
  • Compound and bevel? Yes, in both directions
  • Sliding? Yes

Pros

  • Smooth zero-clearance arm
  • Powerful motor
  • Dust-collection system
  • See-through safety guard

Cons

  • No light or laser
  • A little heavy

Get the BOSCH Power Tools Corded Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or at Menards.

Runner-Up

best miter saw dewalt
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone looking for a miter saw that does almost everything well may want to check out this DeWalt 12-inch sliding miter saw. The saw comes with a powerful 15-amp motor, and its sliding rails allow the user to cut a board up to 16 inches wide. With dual compound action, there’s no need to turn a board over to cut an opposing angle; just tilt the blade arm in the other direction.

The DeWalt miter saw also features a bright LED light that illuminates the cutting field so the user can see exactly where they’re cutting, and it comes with a collection dust bag designed to catch up to 75 percent of the dust it generates.

This DeWalt saw proved to be a great miter saw during testing. Despite not having a laser guide, the onboard LED and powerful motor made cutting a breeze. We appreciated the large cutting capacity (though it does come at the cost of requiring a lot of room for the rails). Also, instead of turning a knob to lock the saw angle in place, this saw uses a locking lever for quick angle changes.

Product Specs

  • Blade size: 12 inches
  • Compound and bevel? Yes, in both directions
  • Sliding? Yes

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Large capacity
  • Uses a lever instead of a knob

Cons

  • No laser guide
  • Needs a lot of room for the slide rails

Disclaimer: As of August 4, 2022, DeWalt recalled miter saw models DWS779, DWS780, and DHS790 with date codes 2019 04 through 2022 04. Consumers should check their model number, date code, and the recall information listed on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.

Get the DEWALT 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw at Ace Hardware.

Best Bang for the Buck

best miter saw dewalt12
Photo: amazon.com

For around-the-home trimming and crosscutting, the DeWalt 12-Inch single compound miter saw has all the power and precision necessary without a large price tag. It cuts boards up to 8 inches wide and cuts bevels in one direction. It comes with a slide-out fence that extends to help support the board being cut. For safety, the DeWalt saw also features a mechanism that automatically locks the spring arm in the “down” position unless it’s manually unlocked with a button on the back.

Testing revealed few bells or whistles, as DeWalt chose to focus on accuracy and power (of which it has plenty) over features. We like how light this saw is, especially compared to the much heavier sliders. The hold-down arm used to lock wood in place is awkward, and the single bevel does limit this saw’s capability, but the locking detents for the blade angle are some of the best in the test. The quality of the saw definitely exceeds the price.

Product Specs

  • Blade size: 12 inches
  • Compound and bevel? Yes, single bevel
  • Sliding? No

Pros

  • Sliding fence
  • Dust-collection port
  • Clamps for holding material

Cons

  • No laser guide or light
  • Bevel cuts only 1 direction

Get the DEWALT 12-Inch Miter Saw 15-Amp Single Bevel on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or at Ace Hardware.

Best Compact

best miter saw craftsman
Photo: amazon.com

The most significant benefit of the Craftsman V20 is its small footprint and lightweight design. Also, the ability to use it even when electricity isn’t available is a plus. Lithium-ion batteries are getting more powerful, and this miter saw can make up to 585 cuts through a 3¼-inch medium density fiberboard on a single charge. It accepts a Craftsman 20-volt rechargeable battery, which is included along with a battery charger.

This miter saw features a powerful motor that spins the blade at a rate of 3,800 rotations per minute, making it well suited to cutting wall studs, baseboards, and molding with ease. It also slides, making it possible to cut boards up to 8 inches wide.

We weren’t exactly sure what we’d find with the Craftsman V20 saw, mainly due to its weight and the large number of plastic pieces. But it was easy to put together, it cut well, and it was shockingly quiet. We could see using this saw for projects like flooring or trim work, though it did handle the construction lumber. Our only real qualms were the plastic and the single bevel action (rather than dual).

Product Specs

  • Blade size: 7¼ inches
  • Compound and bevel? Yes, single bevel
  • Sliding? Yes

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Quiet
  • Relatively powerful

Cons

  • It contains a lot of plastic pieces
  • Single bevel

Get the CRAFTSMAN V20 7-1/4-Inch Sliding Miter Saw Kit on Amazon, at Ace Hardware, or at Lowe’s.

Best for Woodworking

best miter saw makita
Photo: amazon.com

For woodworkers looking for a miter saw for the workshop or to take on a job site, this Makita tool doesn’t disappoint. It cuts boards up to 12 inches wide, and it features pull-out material stabilizers to support boards when cutting. Weighing in at only 31 pounds, this miter saw is easy to transport, and it bolts to the worktable for stability.

The Makita saw comes with a dust-collection port, and for added safety it features a trigger brake that stops the blade from spinning when the user releases the trigger. It also comes with a “soft start” that reduces movement and increases accuracy. The saw also cuts bevels in both directions.

We liked this saw’s smaller blade, as it appears not to deflect (meaning to bend or misshapen while cutting) like a 12-inch saw might. The motor was powerful enough for a smaller saw, but the cut capacity was outstanding. The soft start is a little rough, giving the saw a bit of a chattery feeling until the blade speeds up. Our other complaint is that the blade will not tilt to the right, limiting the saw’s capability a bit.

Product Specs

  • Blade size: 8½ inches
  • Compound and bevel? Yes, single bevel
  • Sliding? Yes

Pros

  • Massive cut capacity for a smaller saw
  • Doesn’t deflect while cutting
  • Quiet compared to larger saws

Cons

  • Doesn’t tilt to the right
  • Soft start feels chattery

Get the Makita LSO815F Slide Compound Miter Saw on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or at Acme Tools.

Best Zero-Clearance

The Best Miter Saw Option: Makita 10 Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw with Laser
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone who’s short on work space but still wants maximum cut capacity may want to check out the LS1019L from Makita. This saw features a 10-inch blade, a dual compound bevel action, and a laser cutline for accurate cuts. The 15-amp motor has plenty of power and spins at 3,200 rpms for cutting a variety of wood materials.

This saw has specially designed rails that come toward the user, allowing this saw to be positioned closer to a wall. These zero-clearance rails make this saw a great choice for a workshop or other areas where space is limited.

During testing, there weren’t many areas where the Makita didn’t excel. The zero-clearance arm and its action were excellent, and the saw had plenty of power. Also, the laser helps line up the cut, and the dust collection is top-notch. The only issue we found was that the saw was a little complicated to set up, and despite Makita touting that this saw is light, it’s not that light, at almost 60 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Blade size: 10 inches
  • Compound and bevel? Yes
  • Sliding? Yes

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Sliding design is brilliant
  • Lots of features and extras

Cons

  • A little complicated to set up
  • An armful to move around

Get the Makita 10″ Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw with Laser on Amazon or at Acme Tools.

Also Consider

best miter saw metabo
Photo: amazon.com

The affordable Metabo HPT 12-inch miter saw with laser guide cuts bevels in both directions and comes with a powerful 15-amp motor to boot. Thanks to the laser feature, the cutline is easy to see on the board before cutting, which will reduce errors. The Metabo also comes with a pivoting fence to simplify cutting crown molding.

This full-size saw comes with an elastomer-coated handle designed to reduce vibration, hand fatigue, and hand slippage. This is a nice and unexpected feature on a more affordably priced saw.

There are definitely some pros and cons to this saw. It has plenty of power for cutting through just about anything carpentry-related. The laser is also a nice feature, as it makes lining up cuts quick and easy. It’s also not terribly heavy, thanks in part to the lack of slides. However, the blade on our model wasn’t square, so we had to adjust it before it would cut correctly. Also, the lever for adjusting the saw’s tilt is awkward and nonintuitive.

Product Specs

  • Blade size: 12 inches
  • Compound and bevel? Yes, in both directions
  • Sliding? No

Pros

  • Plenty of power
  • Laser makes lining up cuts quick work
  • Not terribly heavy

Cons

  • Does not slide

Get the Metabo HPT 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw, Laser on Amazon, at Walmart or at Target.

Our Verdict

For those looking for an excellent all-around saw, the Bosch GCM12SD’s slide action and powerful motor are worth a look. If all the bells and whistles aren’t necessary, the DEWALT 12-inch single compound miter saw’s simplicity, power, and accuracy may do the trick.

How We Tested the Best Miter Saws

Every test we do is fun, but this one was a blast. We put these saws head-to-head so we could suggest only the very best tools.

First, we took each saw out of the package and put it together, and for some of these models, that was no small feat. We attached blades, wings, adjustment knobs, and dust-collection systems to compare how difficult they were to assemble. Next, we checked out all the features and adjustments, including miters, compound bevels, lasers, work lights, and other convenience features. We made sure everything was working as it should. We even went so far as to check each blade for square to ensure it was ready for work.

Finally, we started the cutting. We cut 2x4s, 1x4s, trim, and other materials. We even stacked pieces of lumber on top of each other to create a bit more resistance. After we were done, we checked the cut pieces for accuracy.

By the end of all these tests, we were able to identify which saw was best for different needs and put together this head-to-head hands-on guide on the best miter saws.

FAQs

Over the past few years, the miter saw has almost replaced the radial arm saw in workshops and job sites because it’s quicker to adjust angles and it cuts precise degrees. Anyone cutting angles, such as for wood trim, may find that the miter saw quickly becomes their favorite power tool in the workshop. For those thinking about buying their first miter saw, a few questions are to be expected.

Q. What is the main use of a miter saw?

To cut precise angles on the ends of boards.

Q. What is the difference between a compound and a sliding miter saw?

A compound miter saw cuts bevels in addition to angles. A sliding miter saw comes with a cutting arm the user can pull to cut wider boards. A miter saw can be both sliding and compound.

Q. Can you use a miter saw to rip boards?

No. Ripping is the process of cutting boards lengthwise and is usually done on a table saw. A miter saw makes crosscuts.

Q. Will a 10-inch miter saw cut a 4×4?

Yes, but not in one cut. The user can cut one side of the 4×4 and then flip it over to finish cutting the other side.

Q. How can a beginner learn how to use a miter saw?

Purchase a miter saw that comes with safety features and read the operating manual entirely before using the saw. It may also be beneficial to watch someone else use a miter saw—either in person or by watching online instructional videos.