Cheap dependable miter saw

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Forum topic by InstantSiv posted 08-16-2014 04:43 AM 1367 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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262 posts in 1794 days

08-16-2014 04:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question miter saw milling

Hi, my shop is located in the basement but I want to get a second miter saw to do simple cuts in the garage.

I’ve got a Ridgid 10” non-slider already which is setup for accurate cuts and miters. The one in the garage would be to rough cut lumber to make hauling sticks to the basement easier.

I see a lot of ryobi, craftsman, and black and Deckers on Craigslist but unsure of the long term dependability. I’m happy with the Ridgid in terms of quality and dependability but want to spend as little as possible considering the role of the saw.

What would you be looking for in a cheap dependable miter saw?

11 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#1 posted 08-16-2014 04:48 AM

Used older one I suppose. It’s probably best to get one
with a brake.

The thing that wears on lower-end miter saws tends
to be the detents. Look for metal detents and
a metal part that engages them. Plastic wears
much faster.

View toolie's profile


2148 posts in 2827 days

#2 posted 08-16-2014 11:27 AM

Used RAS.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View syenefarmer's profile


512 posts in 3279 days

#3 posted 08-16-2014 01:14 PM

For cutting lumber down to ballpark dimensions the 10” Harbor Freight SCMS would be a good fit. You don’t really need precise accuracy and I’m betting the saw will see fairly limited usage. The sliding feature will give you added cutting capacity as well.

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1794 days

#4 posted 08-16-2014 01:30 PM

Thanks for the tips Loren. Will keep those in mind.

Toolie: I don’t know much about RAS but what I’ve heard is that I should not consider the cheaper options. Anything worth buying would be out of my price range.

syenefarmer: I’ve looked at the harbor freight scms and it was too sloppy for my needs. When I pulled the saw all the way towards me there was at least a 1/2” movement left to right. The 12” was less sloppy but still left me feeling like HF’s miter saw offerings is not quite there yet. Usage would be above a diy’er but below a pro shop, maybe 25-50 cuts a week right now. I cut sticks so extra capacity is not needed.

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3812 days

#5 posted 08-16-2014 01:35 PM

+1 on the Harbor Freight.

But… for the difference in price, get the 12”. It is much better built.

You can save a lot of money over the big name saws but be prepared to spend some time, too. One of the reviews I read about HF miter saws described them as “a set of castings for a very reasonable price that a little TLC can upgrade into a great deal”. Mine certainly turned out that way.

But when you are done? Well, I just completed a project last weekend that required mitered corners. I just dialed in 45 degrees (on both sides of center) made the cuts and glued ‘em up. The miters fit perfectly and the box glued up square. That’s good enough for me!

I detailed my trials with the HF slider here.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2645 days

#6 posted 08-16-2014 02:32 PM

Buy a used but better quality miter saw.A used bosch ,Dewalt,Milwaukee will be your best bet,any one of them will give you good service .

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View MrRon's profile


5192 posts in 3442 days

#7 posted 08-16-2014 03:42 PM

I can’t speak for every miter saw out there. I bought a B&D miter saw back in 1995. It only cost around $70. It is still going strong to this day. I doubt that a new B&D saw today would be better (quality wise) than my old saw. I would shop for a good used miter saw. Check lists, pawn shops and garage sales.

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


4771 posts in 2508 days

#8 posted 08-16-2014 05:29 PM

If you were to look around my shop you wouldn’t even find a miter saw. I cut my miters on the table saw. I ruff cut my stock with a Jig saw. The Jig saw doesn’t take up much space it the shop.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View TheOtherMrRogers's profile


42 posts in 2380 days

#9 posted 08-16-2014 05:50 PM

My two cents:
For between $50 and $75 you can buy a used Dewalt MBF radial arm saw. Spend half a day making a table and adjusting it, and you’ll have something better than a cheap miter saw in every way possible.
Thirty years from now you can give it to your son.

-- For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1623 days

#10 posted 08-17-2014 02:11 PM

Miters saws are great if you have limited space or you need something portable for a job site.

I prefer a RAS for shop work and do all my mitering at the table saw with an Osborne EB3

-- Brad, Texas,

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 1775 days

#11 posted 08-17-2014 03:28 PM

I have an old Delta 10” non-slider compound miter saw. Bought it new in 1990s.
It’s built like a tank, very accurate, annoys the crap out of me because it won’t cut wide boards, but you don’t need the width you say. The thing is made of cast iron and weighs about 90 lbs so it would be good to leave stationary somewhere.
I see saws like mine on CL all the time for $50.

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