Radial Arm saw vs. sliding miter saw

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Forum topic by Skip Brewer posted 03-16-2011 11:22 PM 27258 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Skip Brewer

24 posts in 2877 days

03-16-2011 11:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tools workshop

Okay, just looking for some advice. My shop is not too big, just a 2 car garage. A few years ago, I bought a Craftsman 10” radial arm saw. A couple of years later, I bought a 12” Delta compound miter saw, and built a mobile cabinet for it. Now I am running out of room and trying to clear some space, and I am considering giving up one or the other, or possibly giving up both and buying a 12” sliding compound miter saw. I’d like to hear pros and cons for each from those who have gone through this decision process. Which tool will give me the best value for the amount of space required? (I mostly do cabinetry and furniture, if that helps.)

-- Skip, Califormia

17 replies so far

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 2892 days

#1 posted 03-16-2011 11:43 PM

I love my 12” compound miter saw. I don’t have a radial arm saw because i also have the same setup as you do. However I may want to add that the compound will not reach as far as the arm saw will. I have to use either my table saw or something else to cut something wider. But there is little replacement for a miter saw because of how accurate they are on their angles. I could go without a arm saw but could not go without my miter saw. That is just how i feel about it anyways

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3437 days

#2 posted 03-16-2011 11:45 PM

I have never used a RAS but I have a bosh 10” slider and have never been restricted by it. They require a bit more space behind them then a regular chop saw but the new bossh 12 “slider” seems to have fixed that becasue it is not actually a slider but works on an arm. Seems to get really good reviews.

While I have your attention I just posted a topic on a new 2 car garage I want to build. I would love some feedback from a guy like your self who is in the same situation.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3416 days

#3 posted 03-16-2011 11:47 PM

You might find helpful info in this recent thread, posing the same question.

Good luck !

-- -- Neil

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3310 days

#4 posted 03-17-2011 12:28 AM

I’ve owned both as well as a couple of straight “chop saws”. Except for the ability to make wider cross cuts, I don’t miss the RAS at all. I never liked its tendency to want to “walk” toward me as I pulled it across a board.

Since you have both (and presumably use both of them), ask yourself which one you would rather not do without.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Richard's profile


1922 posts in 2932 days

#5 posted 03-17-2011 12:44 AM

I love my sliding miter saw but if had the room for the RAS I would get it. My 12” SCMS willl do 12 1/4” cuts at 4” depth so it has been fine for me so far but the RAS can do dados and miters as well as wider cuts, depends on what you need.

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 2880 days

#6 posted 03-17-2011 12:55 AM

You don’t say whether or not you have a table saw. If no, I would keep the RAS, if yes. I would opt for the SCM.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Skip Brewer's profile

Skip Brewer

24 posts in 2877 days

#7 posted 03-17-2011 12:56 AM

Sawkerf, I don’t worry about the RAS “walking” on me during the cut – the Craftsman has the carriage controlled electronically by a cable, so it will only feed at a pre-set speed. I have had the Craftsman for about 9-10 years, but haven’t used it much, primarily because it always tended to get buried under a bunch of stuff my wife would pile on the table. I think if I could set it up in an accessible spot, I would use it more. I have been thinking about taking it off the legs and mounting it in a workbench, similar to how I see CMS mounted. But I don’t want to go through all that work if the saw will not do accurate cuts for miters and crosscuts, and I keep hearing about how much calibration they require on a regular basis…

-- Skip, Califormia

View Skip Brewer's profile

Skip Brewer

24 posts in 2877 days

#8 posted 03-17-2011 12:57 AM

Saddletramp, yes, I have a 10” 3-hp Jet cabinet saw with a 52” extension table.

-- Skip, Califormia

View Woodturner66's profile


76 posts in 2913 days

#9 posted 03-17-2011 01:20 AM

I had both also. The RAS was an old Craftsman about 18 years old. It seemed if i moved it to do a 45 degree cut and move it back to 90 degrees it wasn’t 90 degrees anymore. I would have to go in and adjust it. I sold the RAS and now just have a Dewalt 12” Sliding CMS. The Dewalt seems dead on after i move it. I just used both for crosscuts anything bigger I use my table saw and sled to crosscut.

-- Chris Ward

View OIAGoat36's profile


1 post in 2250 days

#10 posted 12-31-2012 02:51 PM

I have both a Craftsman 10” radial arm saw and the sliding compound miter saw. I like the compound miter much better. The RAS was my fathers and it was passed on to me. I don’t care for the RAS because I feel the cuts are always off just a bit. Also I have used it to rip wood and have had it bind up and shoot a piece of wood across the street from my shop. “lucky no one was walking by and no one got hurt.” In the future I plan on getting a small table saw and getting rid of the RAS all together. In my opinion it takes up to much room for the work that it does. Good luck

View becikeja's profile


962 posts in 3055 days

#11 posted 12-31-2012 03:07 PM

My first first stand alone tool (not including hand tools) was a craftsman radial arm saw. My wife bought it for me for our second Christmas. Barely had enough money to eat, but I had my first tool. 26 years later I still use that saw on every project. Would not give it up for the world. Kept the wife too.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 2239 days

#12 posted 12-31-2012 03:25 PM Perhaps this will help you make up your mind. If you have a older craftsman RAS you can get a very nice upgrade kit free if it falls in the right serial no. range. The kit does not fit all models if that is the case you can get $100 for it. Mine is the latter I paid $50.00 for it at an auction the motor bearings make a little noise sometimes when it dies I hope to get $100 for it :)

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3213 days

#13 posted 12-31-2012 03:36 PM

Folks, until 40 minutes ago no one had commented on this thread in almost 2 years.
There is a good chance the OP has made a decision by now.

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 2239 days

#14 posted 12-31-2012 03:47 PM

Dang I feel stupid but I hope someone can get some use out of the recall :(

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3213 days

#15 posted 12-31-2012 10:58 PM

Hey, I’ve done it too.

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