Sliding Miter vs Radial Arm

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Forum topic by jdeefus posted 09-21-2015 08:53 PM 1520 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 718 days

09-21-2015 08:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: saw radial arm sliding miter box miter saw

Ok, so I’m considering a new tool purchase and would like to bounce some ideas off of the folks here. I have a Craftsman 10” Radial Arm Saw that I bought new back in 1991. It has served me well and is still a good saw. I also have in my shop a Delta Miter Box Saw that I bought a good 15 years ago. Both are good solid tools, but it comes down to a space saving issue for me at this point. Do I want to keep both saws set up in the shop or… do I want to make the switch to a new sliding miter saw. I’ve looked at several of the options out there and I’ve heard pro’s and con’s for the old tried and true radial arm saw, but I had a conversation with an old timer who swore off the sliding miter box saws. I’ve saved up the money for the purchase so that really isn’t the issue, but I just wonder if I’m getting the itch to buy something new just because I can and is it really something that is going to make my shop and my wood working better or should I just stick with the old saw until it burns up and just becomes a boat anchor. As for my miter saw now, I’ll keep it as a portable option, but it won’t need to sit on the stand in the middle of my shop. Advice?

-- Jdeefus, Canton, Ohio

25 replies so far

View BigJohn's profile


88 posts in 3336 days

#1 posted 09-21-2015 09:13 PM

If space is a huge issue, I would get the miter saw. Also if you cut a lot of miters or bevels i would choose the miter. I dont do a lot of miters but keep a mitersaw under the radial saw for when i have a few to do. 90% of the time i use the radial.

View xmastree's profile


43 posts in 401 days

#2 posted 09-21-2015 09:14 PM

I got a Dewalt DW708 12” sliding compound miter saw some years ago, and I’d have to give it the nod as “the one power tool I will never be without”.
I really feel every shop should have one. Thing is fantastic, solid, accurate, versatile.
Find the biggest baddest one you can afford, and go for it.

-- Every tree is a Chistmas tree with its gifts hidden inside.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4825 posts in 2234 days

#3 posted 09-21-2015 09:34 PM

1+ Dewalt miter saws. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a radial arm saw too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View xmastree's profile


43 posts in 401 days

#4 posted 09-21-2015 09:40 PM

PS – mine happens to be Dewalt, but there are other fine saws out there – I just meant do the research and buy the most capable one you can afford. You won’t regret it.

-- Every tree is a Chistmas tree with its gifts hidden inside.

View rwe2156's profile


2119 posts in 902 days

#5 posted 09-21-2015 10:18 PM

I also have both.
I have a Ridgid and like the C’man its not a good saw to put it gently.
There is a reason why you can’t give them away because the miter saws have taken over the market.
All I use it for is lopping off the ends of rough lumber to save the blade on my miter saw.

My vote you guessed it – get a slider, preferably one with a height adjustment.
Brands? You can’t go wrong with big yellow.
Popular and Fine ww’ing did pretty comprehensive reviews.
The Bosch had the worst dust control and the Ridgid was very good.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View jdeefus's profile


10 posts in 718 days

#6 posted 09-22-2015 12:54 AM

good thoughts guys. Thank you

rwe2156, I thought about keeping the radial around just for that reason, but again there is only so much room. So little room, so many tools!

-- Jdeefus, Canton, Ohio

View 49er's profile


130 posts in 1025 days

#7 posted 09-22-2015 02:26 AM

This is the first project where I needed compound miters. It is a rectangular base
pyramid. I could have done it on my Milwaukee slider but it felt safer on the radial arm. I bought a Wixy angle gauge for this project.

-- Correlation is not causation but I did loose my Doctor !!!

View JoeinGa's profile


7374 posts in 1428 days

#8 posted 09-22-2015 04:06 PM

I have both, and I use them both. That’s my 2 cents

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Kelly's profile


1051 posts in 2365 days

#9 posted 09-22-2015 05:41 PM

Of course, you could always use a sled, with material clamps, on your table saw.

View 49er's profile


130 posts in 1025 days

#10 posted 09-22-2015 06:12 PM

Yes Kelly that would have worked too but the RAS took me a lot less time to set up.

-- Correlation is not causation but I did loose my Doctor !!!

View jdeefus's profile


10 posts in 718 days

#11 posted 09-22-2015 06:22 PM

Hmmm, thinking about just saving my money. I am glad to hear that guys are still using Radial Arms, and with good success. Here I thought I was really outdated, and I still may be, but I am glad to know I’m not the only guy out there still using one in his shop. When you talk to some of these guys at shows, they make you feel like you ain’t jack if you’re not using a sliding miter.

Thanks for the input guys

-- Jdeefus, Canton, Ohio

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21555 posts in 1759 days

#12 posted 09-22-2015 06:40 PM

My 2 cents has nothing to do with function. I use the 12” Dewalt sliding mitre saw. The RAS is to me much more hazardous to work with. For me, I will not have one in my shop.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5105 posts in 2615 days

#13 posted 09-22-2015 06:48 PM

I’ve had my radial saw since 1985, and it’s paid for itself two-fold….But….if I couldn’t have a radial saw, I would have a sliding compound miter saw….Actually, I’ve thought about getting one anyway, but I’ve also got a compound miter saw from 1985….If that one ever bites the bullet, then I’ll get the slider….My thoughts: If you have the room, and the means, why not have both….!!!!! But, if not enough room, pick one….

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View JayT's profile


4680 posts in 1632 days

#14 posted 09-22-2015 06:48 PM

Can you gain some space by building them into the same bench?

There’s lots of examples out there—here’s a few that have been posted on LJ.

And here’s a very compact setup from another website

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 652 days

#15 posted 09-22-2015 07:05 PM

for trim work you cant beat a chop saw. Other than that…yeah, thats why I am keeping mine and looking for a real old Delta Rockwell or Dewalt RAS. And restoring them is the most fun. Verboten! (but true).

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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