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Great Sliding Compound Miter Saw for Woodworkers on a Budget

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Review by PocketHole69 posted 1393 days ago 34084 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great Sliding Compound Miter Saw for Woodworkers on a Budget Great Sliding Compound Miter Saw for Woodworkers on a Budget No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve had an old Ryobi $99 Home Depot special miter saw for years and was looking to upgrade to a sliding model for wider cut capacity. I really wanted a laser too, because lasers are awesome.

I did a lot of searching on Amazon and at the usual woodworking sites and pretty much resigned myself to spending $400-500 for a decent sliding compound miter saw from Milwaukee or Dewalt and started saving money. That was until I walked through the tool section at Lowes and noticed their new Kobalt sliding compound miter saw. I noted the model number and went home to scour the internet for reviews.

It had just come out, so there were only a handful of reviews on the products page at Lowers.com, but after a lot of googling it turned out that its pretty much a re-branding of this Sears model which sells for more.

I took a chance and picked it up, thinking I could at least return it locally if it turned out to be a terrible saw. Boy, am I glad I did. For a beginner woodworker or someone on a budget this saw is great. It’s an amazing improvement over my crap Ryobi chop saw.

Construction is solid and has a lot of great features for the money. The 10” sliding blade can handle 3-5/8? x 12? at 90° and 3-5/8? x 8? at 45° cuts. The miter gauges and stops are right on the money when I compared the cuts with my digital angle gauge. The laser is accurate and marks just to the left of the kerf for easy cut alignment.

Pros:

  • Great saw for the money. Features typically found in saws 2x as much. Cheap at around $200!
  • Laser guide is accurate and in a good location to the back of the saw. Some saws I looked at had the laser on the pivoting handle assembly or were blocked when you started to make the cut- with this one the laser is visible all the way through the entire stroke.
  • Bed extensions lock and have stable aluminum platforms. I’m building a customer miter saw station / workbench, but until I get that together I’ve been using the stands a lot and I’ve had no problems.
  • Sliding action is smooth, and the lock on the slide holds solid so there is no surprise movement when you just want to make a quick narrow cut.
  • Replaceable insert makes it possible to make your own zero clearance inserts, etc. for fine woodworking.
  • Somewhat compact for a saw of this design. Great design with 2 carry handles makes it easy to move around. Not very heavy with aluminum construction

Cons:

  • Dust collector bag is about useless. Blows sawdust everywhere but in the bag. From what I understand from reading other reviews this is pretty much normal for most sliding miter saws though. I haven’t bought the fittings to hook it up to my 4” dust collector yet, and I might build a hood to remedy this with the new chop saw station I’m building.
  • Hold down close to useless for me. Might be good for lots of 4×4 or 2×4 cuts, but I usually use 1x lumber so its overkill.
  • Sliding fence is too high to support anything less than 2-by stock when extended, which limits its usefulness for woodworking.
  • Laser is not adjustable. I was really worried about this when I bought the saw, but it turns out the laser is in a really safe place where it won’t get bumped and the laser is dead nuts to the left of the kerf.

All in all, I think its a great saw for the money and put it right there with my Ridgid R4510 table saw as one of my best purchases. It sure beats a crosscut sled on the table saw for making cuts in dimensional lumber and boards, and at $200 (or less on sale) its a great value. I’d recommend it for any budget woodworker who has to justify every dollar he spends to his wife :)

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA




View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1641 days



10 comments so far

View Abbott's profile

Abbott

2570 posts in 1908 days


#1 posted 1393 days ago

I looked at these saws at Sears about a year/year and a half ago…just as they first came out. I agree with you that for a guy on a budget they are ok, they don’t have the “feel” of a more expensive saw (of course) but they are a step up from the bottom of the barrel. I ended up purchasing a used Hitachi 10” slider from Craigslist for about $250.00 and I am real glad that I did.

I haven’t used the Kobalt saw but from what I did see when looking it over closely is that your review is pretty much on target and that it is a useful tool. Nice style on the review, thanks for the information.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View MattinCincy's profile

MattinCincy

128 posts in 1757 days


#2 posted 1393 days ago

And to think you could by 6 or 7 of these for the price of a Kapex. Sounds like a good deal to me!

-- Wag more, bark less.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4289 posts in 1653 days


#3 posted 1393 days ago

good review, thank you.
I use a $99.00 HF sliding miter saw, it does what I expect it to do.
I had another HF s.m.s before that with laser , but the laser was running on battery and this one was always dead.

-- Bert

View ROY53's profile

ROY53

77 posts in 1782 days


#4 posted 1392 days ago

I own the same saw and pretty much echo your thoughts. The laser on mine is just close but it will put you in the neighborhood. Good review.

-- Roy L, Arizona

View WoodJitsu's profile

WoodJitsu

42 posts in 1397 days


#5 posted 1389 days ago

I had this saw and recently sold it on CL. My initial thoughts on the saw were good. But over time, It became evident that I couldn’t trust it to cut square. The fence worked itself out of square several times and I try as I might, I couldn’t get it to stay true. The laser was actually dead on, but the cut wouldn’t be. So, just keep your box and put the saw through its paces for the next month and make sure yours is solid. 200 is cheap for a good saw. It’s not cheap for a bad one!

-- Family, Friends, Jiu Jitsu, Woodworking. Order varies daily!

View PocketHole69's profile

PocketHole69

79 posts in 1641 days


#6 posted 1388 days ago

I’ve had the saw for about 2 1/2 months before I wrote this review so I could form a proper opinion of it, and I haven’t had any problems yet. Of course, mine stays stationary on a miter station built around the saw in the garage, not getting banged around at a work site, so some might call it “gentle” usage.

I have no doubt that the saw, like all cheaper tools, is probably subject to some quality control issues from the factory in China, but I’ve had good luck with this one!

-- Jason, Atlanta, GA

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1746 posts in 1168 days


#7 posted 933 days ago

saw this today at lowes…very intrigued since if you can use a 20% HF coupon you can get almost 3 of these for the price of a more normally priced one

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View cbMerlin's profile

cbMerlin

98 posts in 2025 days


#8 posted 922 days ago

Have looked at them a dozen times while at Lowes and when my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told her this saw. My old miter saw was a “Pro-Tech”, I don’t recall which big box I got it from but I believe I paid something like $59 for it. 20 years later it’s still dead-on accurate.

In getting ready to use it for the first time, I assumed I’d need to tune it up a bit, not so. Perfect alignment right out of the box. Just cut some miters for molding on a couple doors, perfect!

Cannot understate the poor dust collection, it’s horrible. No clue why it has a bag. Have made probably 20 cuts with it so far. It created about a 3’ circle of dust all around it. Checked the dust bag, don’t think it has a quarter cup in it. I’ll eventually make a collection box, similar to my RAS to attach to dust collector.

All that being said, at 1/3 the price (or less) than Dewalt or others, I love it.

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View Bigjoedo's profile

Bigjoedo

3 posts in 909 days


#9 posted 909 days ago

I agree 100%. I bought my Kobalt saw 1 year ago. It is very accurate, cuts well. I did replace the original blade with a Freud. I also have a Makita in my shop but it is built into a cabinet. The Kobalt is just as accurate and cuts just as well.

View framingpro's profile

framingpro

1 post in 762 days


#10 posted 762 days ago

this saw is junk . All i get done is repair repair repair . wouldn’t buy another one of these if they were $10 .

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