Don’t have time to read the entire article and simply want to know which 12-inch miter saw is the best? We have selected DeWalt DWS779 Compound Sliding Miter Saw as our favorite.
As you stock your workshop, one of the first power tools you might consider buying is a miter saw. While many people will select a 10-inch model, the 12-inch miter saws are worth your consideration. The question is, which is the best 12-inch miter saw you can buy? The information below, along with the reviews that follow it, should help you find the best model for your shop and your woodworking needs.
In this guide, we will review these miter saws:
- DeWalt 12-Inch Compound Sliding Miter Saw (DWS779)
- Bosch 12-Inch Dual Bevel Miter Saw (GCM12SD)
- Hitachi 12-Inch Dual Bevel Miter Saw (C12RSH2)
- Skil 12-Inch Miter Saw (3821-01)
- DeWalt 12-Inch Miter Saw With Xps Cutline (DWS716XPS)
Why Use A Miter Saw?
Miter saws also referred to as chop saws, offer you distinct advantages when working with wood. First off, a miter saw will allow you to cut a precise angle on the end of your wood piece. This can be a miter or bevel cut.
Secondly, a miter saw will allow you to make those cuts repeatedly. This can be critical for those working on projects with similar dimensioned wood. The amount of time you can save is immeasurable.
You can get a miter saw in a variety of sizes. There are two sizes that are the most popular, however. The 10-inch and the 12-inch miter saws are the two most common sizes you will come across in a woodworker’s shop.
What makes 12-inch Chop Saws stand out?
The sticker price will stand out from the start. You will pay more for a 12-inch miter saw as well as for the blades used in it. Speaking of blades, there will be less variety when it comes to selecting blades for the 12-inch models.
Due to the size of the blade, 10-inch miter saws will spin faster than the larger models. Some will argue that the faster blade will make for a quicker cut that is also cleaner. With many types of wood, this advantage may be negligible.
Why Choose a 12-inch miter saw?
The advantage is the size of the material you can work on. Obviously, a larger blade allows you to cut through larger stock than a blade two inches smaller can handle. This will also allow you to work through some lumber in one pass on a 12-inch model when it would take two passes with a smaller miter saw. That can save you time.
Due to the larger blade, most 12-inch miter saws will come with more power. The greater power will let you cut through thicker materials without bogging down. That extra power can also compensate for a slower spin rate on your blade when it is going through smaller timers.
As they are bigger and more powerful, the 12-inch miter saw designs tend to be built more durable than smaller miter saw designs. This might simply be due to stronger materials used for the plate or fence but can include heavier motor components that are made to last longer. The larger designs are used more often in construction environments that will require a more rugged power tool as well.
Features You Should You Look For
One of the first things I tend to look at is the Amps rating. This will give me an idea of how much power the electric motor is capable of generating. The higher the Amperage, the more power the motor has.
Another feature I like to see on a miter saw is what many refer to as “stops.” These can be found on the angle and height adjustments of a quality miter saw. A positive stop is a point set by the manufacturer that the saw will stop at as the angle of the blade is being set. A positive set allows you to quickly move the saw into a preset angle without having to measure it as precisely on the gauge. The more positive steps you have, the quicker you can set up for a variety of angled cuts.
Depth stops are points that you can quickly adjust to that will determine how deep the blade with cut into the wood you are working on. They may not be used as much as positive stops, but a good miter saw will have at least a few points set for depth. These can be a time saver for repetitive cuts.
Safety features are important with all tools, but they are critical with a miter saw as this power tool can easily cut off your hand. Articulated blade guards should move freely, exposing the blade as it cuts the wood while retracting over the blade as it leaves the timber you are working on.
A nice feature to look for is electric brakes. This refers to the miter saw reversing the flow of electricity once you release the power button. That helps to stop the blade quickly after it has been used.
Shaft or spindle locks are another feature I look for. These help to keep the blade in place as you loosen or tighten it on the saw.
12-Inch Miter Saw Reviews
Now that we know what we should look for in a good 12-inch miter saw, let’s review 5 specific miter saw models that we believe are the best ones on the market right now.
DeWalt DWS779 – Best 12-Inch Compound Sliding Miter Saw
The motor used by DeWalt on this 12-inch miter saw generates 15 amps, enough power to produce 3,800 RPMs under optimal circumstances. This should be enough speed to allow you to make deep cuts into the heavier stock while still producing a smooth surface where the blade passes. You should be able to operate it at this speed without experienced any wobble on the blade that could compromise the cutting edge or saw itself.
Bosch 12-Inch Dual Bevel Miter Saw (GCM12SD)
The stand out feature on this product is the axial glide system. It is compact, saving your up to 12-inches of table space while supplying adequate support to your project. The gliding system runs smoothly through the entire cut and allows far greater width in your crosscuts than similar-sized models. Its dust extraction tubing is above the table and bends towards the back of the miter saw.
Hitachi 12-Inch Dual Bevel Miter Saw (C12RSH2)
A large handle is placed ideally for comfort and control as you slide the blade along with the glides, keeping your cuts smooth. An elastomer grip is included to reduce the extra vibration generated by the handle material used on this model. Its slide system allows you to operate this saw with zero clearance along the back of the miter saw.
Skil 12-Inch Miter Saw (3821-01)
Skil has included nine positive stops on this miter saw, allowing you to quickly set popular angles you might use on your project. The handle and the locking mechanism are easy to operate and can be used with just one hand by most people. Finger knobs used to tighten the table extensions in place may be more difficult to tighten without working loose over time, however.
DeWalt 12-Inch Miter Saw With Xps Cutline (DWS716XPS)
An XPS cut line system makes use of LED lighting placed in the bottom of the saw handle. This will allow you to accurately line up the saw blade with your marked cut line before you bring the saw down to cut. The location on the back of the handle will help to prevent sawdust or other debris from blocking the LED light as you work. A horizontal orientation on the control handle provides you with a comfortable grip that is secure through the entire cut, including the lowest position at the end of your cut.
Clear Cut Winner
These saws offer great looking cuts, but the DeWalt DWS779 Compound Sliding Miter Saw is by far the best 12-inch miter saw you can get for your money.
To begin with, it offers a motor rated at 15 amps. That will give you plenty of RPMs on the 12-inch blades so that your cuts look clean and it shouldn’t bog down as you cut into thicker material. The blade will mount flush and you will experience little to no wobble as you work.
A well-designed blade guard moves smoothly and should not catch as it moves, keeping the blade covered when it is not into the cut, and the dust collection offers plenty of clearance of most sawdust you will generate.