Which miter saw

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Forum topic by cpatel479 posted 12-09-2013 09:13 PM 3341 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1627 days

12-09-2013 09:13 PM

I’m looking to buy my first miter saw. The first project I plan to tackle is to add trim around all of the windows in the house. Eventually, I want to put up shelve in the garage and use it for finishing the basement.

I am also planning on getting a table saw around the same time as the miter saw purchase.

With that in mind, how practical would it be to get a sliding miter saw vs non-sliding one? Wouldn’t I be able to do longer cross cuts on the table saw and save money on a non-sliding saw, or would it be a too much of a pain to do cross cuts with a long piece of lumber on the table saw?

Also, 10” or 12” miter saw for the jobs I have lined up?

8 replies so far

View scvwood27's profile


117 posts in 1949 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 09:20 PM

Buy a table saw and build a large table saw sled. I make most of my cuts with my TS and sled, hardly ever use my miter saw. Spend the miter saw money on the table saw and get a bigger/ nicer saw. Just my two cents.

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3063 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 09:29 PM

I’d double down on your table saw purchase and get a great one (rather than a good one + a miter saw), and pick up a miter saw some other time. Miter saws are handy for cutting longer pieces, but for precision on the your trim project a table saw will do great and will be much more versatile.

-- PaulMayer,

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2512 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 09:30 PM

scvwood is right, but for me, I also have a smaller shop, so my long boards I have to cut with a chop saw, or as you say, miter saw. You also seem to believe that after a couple of projects, you will basically be using your table saw.

With that in mind, I’ll stick my neck out and say that the Model 69684 ( 12” double bevel miter saw with laser from Harbor Freight, which you can usually find on sale for around $129, is a great value. It also is now an award winner for best value from Family Handyman Magazine. I own one, and although it took me about an hour to set it up and add a Diablo blade, I used it today for almost 30 minutes solid cutting one inch thick walnut, and it performed perfectly every time. It has features that you only find on saws in the +$400 range.
The money you save? You can put that toward a much better table saw, which will be your main go-to cutting tool in the future.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View syenefarmer's profile


488 posts in 3078 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 09:31 PM

My first miter saw was a 10” version and quite frankly didn’t get used much at all due to the very limited cutting capacity. A 12” will give you a little larger capacity but not all that much. I finally broke down and bought myself a Makita 10”SCMS a little while back and wished I had done it years ago. The sliders are much more versatile than the chop saws. While a table saw can be used to make any cut that a miter saw can make, I find it much easier and safer to use my SCMS when cutting down to size boards longer than 6’.

View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 2246 days

#5 posted 12-09-2013 09:38 PM

I guess it would be what your budget could afford and how much room you have. I think most sliding miter saws take up more room in the back of the saw. I have a 12 inch dewalt nonslider that I use a lot. I’ve trimmed and remodeled two houses with it. There are a few times I wish I had a slider but not very often. I think if your trimming out a house and finishing your basement a miter saw will pay for itself in a hurry. I would also get a stand that allows you to locate the saw closer to your work as a time saver. I couldn’t fathom doing that work on a table saw only.

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#6 posted 12-09-2013 09:41 PM

I’d get a better table saw, and hold off on the miter saw until you’re really sure you need one. A good TS tends to be more accurate than a miter saw, and in my case, the TS is simply easier to access. My CMS sits on a shelf unless I need to do extremely long crosscuts that aren’t practical on a TS.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Shawn LaFleur's profile

Shawn LaFleur

75 posts in 1639 days

#7 posted 12-09-2013 10:10 PM

I was just searching for the same information. I just finished the trim in my basement with a borrowed craftsman 10” single bevel. I found the mitre stops on the saw I used to be inaccurate and I had to constantly tune the saw to make sure it was cutting properly. So I was looking for a better mitre saw also.

Couple things I’ve learned and trying to put a dollar value vs what I don’t know.
1. I like using a mitre saw for baseboard etc that are 10 – 20 ft long rather then a sled on a TS
2. Single bevel worked fine but would be nice with a double bevel so you don’t have to flip the boards over and adjust the wings on mitre stand
3. 10” worked but would have been nicer with 12” to cut crown vertically – I used a 6”crown molding
4. not sure if a slide is worth the money for what I would use it for or if I would ever need it.
5. look for a saw with a screwed on mitre scale – it the saw is off the scale can be adjusted slightly so you don’t have to re-tune.

This is just my – very nonprofessional opinion from a guy who just finished a basement reno project and now wants to continue down the woodworking path.

View MacB's profile


38 posts in 1638 days

#8 posted 12-09-2013 11:42 PM

I’ve done a lot of trim work in addition to my cabinet making. I think you are right in purchasing a miter saw instead of purchasing solely a higher end table saw as several suggested. If you are going to be trimming around windows, doors, etc. or the occasional 2×4 or maybe even crown, how will you cut that on a table saw especially if its longer than 5 or 6 feet? A table saw is invaluable on many projects but have never seen even a big fancy table saw on a job site in lieu of a miter saw. I would get both a miter saw and table saw then upgrade as your skill improves and you know what you want in a saw.

I have owned numerous miter saws in my time: delta, makita 10” slider, dewalt 10” and 12” compound, and a 12” dewalt slider. I’ve used a 12” ridgid as well. I prefer my 12” dewalt without the slider. The slider of any make just were not accurate enough for cutting door frame parts, thou most ppl wouldn’t find the slight inaccuracies a problem. The 12” dual compound dewalt is dead on. My joints don’t need puttying. it has a large capacity for cutting crown or wide boards.

I would recommend looking for a deal on a combo purchase of the 12” dewalt with its stand. This stand allows you to cut 16’ long flexible mdf molding without a problem. If you don’t purchase a stand with the saw, then you will have to build left/right supports. Good luck

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