If you have a workshop, then I definitely recommend that you invest in a sliding compound miter saw. This is a useful tool for every woodworker. This power tool makes it easy to get accurate, smooth, and quick crosscuts, miter, bevel, and even compound cuts.
If you’re new to woodworking and are looking for a good sliding compound miter saw, then the plethora of choices on the market can make things quite overwhelming for you. To make things simpler, I have put together an in-depth buying guide and reviewed some of the best sliding compound miter saws to make your purchase decision easier.
What Is a Sliding Compound Miter Saw?
Essentially, a sliding compound miter saw is a miter saw featuring guide rails that allow the saw head to move to the front and back.
Basically, there are 3 types of miter saws:
- Standard Miter Saws: These are basic miter saws that can only make miter cuts and crosscuts.
- Compound Miter Saws: These can make two types of cuts i.e., miter cuts and bevel cuts.
- Sliding Miter Saws: This has guide rails that let the saw head move backward and forward, which facilitates making longer cuts.
A sliding compound miter saw is essentially a miter saw that combines all 3 factors into a single saw. It can make both bevels, as well as miter cuts and it has rails, which enable the blade to make longer cuts.
Advantages of a Sliding Compound Miter Saw
The main benefit of using a sliding compound miter saw is that it can cut wider materials. While the standard miter saw can cut materials 6-8 inches in thickness very easily; however, if you want to cut anything wider, your regular miter saw may not be able to make good and accurate cuts, whereas, the sliding compound miter saw can do it effortlessly. For instance, a 12-inch sliding compound miter saw can easily cut materials up to 16 inches wide.
I find that the biggest advantage of a sliding compound miter saw is the amount of time it can save you because the rails of the sliding saw enable it to make different and wider cuts that allow you to get through your woodcutting jobs more quickly than usual. A sliding compound miter saw not only is a great tool for professional woodworkers but it also helps DIYers plenty of time when working on home improvement projects.
Buying a sliding compound miter saw can be a tough one, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good sliding compound miter saw. To make things easier for you, in my buyer’s guide below, I have discussed some of the factors that you should consider before purchasing a sliding compound miter saw for your workshop.
Buying Guide: Sliding Compound Miter Saws
As I have said earlier, whether you plan to use the sliding compound miter saw, buying one is an important investment decision. And you must know what factors you need to pay the most attention to when selecting the best sliding compound miter saw.
The key thing that you must keep in mind is that the best sliding compound miter saw need not necessarily be the most expensive. Look for one that has all the features that suit you the best and are best for your project.
Most sliding compound miter saws are equipped with an electric motor, which powers the blade and you require a miter saw with a powerful motor. A weak motor will not give you the results you’re looking for. Check the power rating of the motor. Usually, motor ratings range between 12 to 15 amps, and the higher the rating, the better the performance.
A more powerful motor produces higher rotation speed or RPM (at least 3,500 RPM), which results in smoother and cleaner cuts. If you’re using your sliding compound miter saw for professional woodcutting applications, then you may need one with a powerful motor, whereas, for most DIY projects, a powerful motor may not be a necessity.
A sliding compound miter saw uses a circular blade to cut wood and it is important to consider the size of the blade. Generally, the larger the blade, the better its performance because a larger blade ensures deeper cuts.
There are different sliding compound miter saws with various blade sizes between 10 and 12 inches. Obviously, the 12-inch blade will offer better performance. You should also check the number of teeth of the blade because of the higher the number of teeth, the smoother the cut. So, a blade with 60 teeth will give you a better and smoother cut compared to one having 48 teeth.
While a powerful motor and correct blade are important when it comes to cutting materials, I think the cutting ability of the sliding compound miter saw is also an important consideration, which will allow you to cut at varying angles and produce accurate cuts.
Check the predetermined positions or positive stops of the sliding compound miter saw. These are usually set to the most common cutting angles and allow you to alter the cut for their specific angles very quickly. Some miter saws also feature one-touch switches that allow you to switch from one cut to another.
You must ensure that the lock of the miter saw is reliable and remains in the position where you lock it in and not move while you’re cutting. A lock is very important because it not only ensures that your cut is accurate but also ensures your safety while cutting.
Check the miter angle of the sliding compound miter saw before purchasing one. The miter angle is basically the horizontal angle of the cut and is beneficial for making joints in wood pieces. Miter angles can range between 50 to 60 degrees and a miter saw having a larger angle is considered better. The range for the right and left directions when cutting wood is usually different.
The bevel angle of the saw allows you to tilt the saw and lets you cut bevel angles at a custom vertical angle. It also allows you to rotate the base and change your cutting angle. This is quite useful when you’re making joints. Usually, most sliding compound miter saws come with a bevel angle range between 0 to 45 degrees or 0 to 60 degrees. And, the wider the range, the better the precision control when using the miter saw.
Saws are dangerous tools and so the safety features of the sliding compound miter saw is a very important consideration. Check if the saw has a saw guard. This will help to prevent any accidents. Also, consider the base of the saw and ensure that you purchase a high-quality stand. A good stand not only offers stability while cutting, but it also helps to get better and smoother cuts.
The other important safety feature to consider is if the saw has electric brakes, which quickly allow you to stop the saw from moving. This is an important feature, especially if there is an accident and you need to shut the saw off immediately.
Reducing the amount of dust discharged into the air when cutting sliding compound miter saw is extremely important. Often, saws come with dust collection systems that collect the dust when you’re cutting so that you can dispose of it easily and helps to keep your workplace cleaner.
I recommend that you check the warranty offered by the manufacturer before purchasing a sliding compound miter saw. There are options with a 3-year warranty and some brands even offer a 5-year warranty. The warranty ensures the build quality and durability of the sliding compound miter saw and also protects you in case of defects or problems with the product in the future.
There are some additional features that would be nice to have as part of your sliding compound miter saw. They are not standard features but will add functionality to the saw.
This feature is becoming quite popular, especially with a hobbyist or DIY woodcutters. The laser attachment allows you to see where the blade will land, resulting in perfect and accurate cuts. This feature is worth the investment if you’re not very confident about maintaining accurate cuts.
Clear Cutting Guards
These allow you to finish your cutting project more easily, especially when they are paired with the laser attachment. The clear cutting guards allow you to see the saw moving through the wood when you’re cutting it and this is especially useful when you’re doing some fine cutting work such as crown molding.
Reviews of the Best Sliding Compound Miter Saws
Dewalt DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
If you’re planning to upgrade to a sliding compound miter saw, then I think that the Dewalt DWS779 is a superb option. Suitable for both professionals, as well as hobbyists, the miter saw has a 12-inch carbide blade and can produce miter cuts and bevel cuts with precision. The saw features a 15-amp motor that is quite powerful and cuts without vibration.
The miter saw features a blade that tilts in both angle directions, letting you cut precisely without making any adjustments or calibrations. The saw has a back fence that allows you to cut 2×16-inch wood at 90° and 2×12-inch wood at 45°. The transparent blade guard makes the cutting safe.
- Dimensions: 17″ (h) x 24.75″ (l)
- Weight: 56 lb
- Maximum Cutting Thickness: 6.75 inches
- 15-amp 3,800 RPM motor
- 12-inch blade diameter
- Dust collection system
- Transparent blade guard
- 3-year warranty
- Easy to set up and use.
- Delivers precise cutting.
- Produces limited vibrations.
- The grip handle has no cushioning, which makes it quite uncomfortable to hold after a while.
- Dust collection is not very efficient.
You can check out the product here.
Tacklife 12-inch Compound Sliding Miter Saw
If you’re on the lookout for a budget-friendly miter saw, then I would recommend that you check out the Tacklife 12-inch compound sliding miter saw. The miter saw features a powerful motor, which delivers 3,800 RPM. The saw has a 40-tooth TCT blade that is very sharp and can cut through the densest hardwoods, soft metals and plastics, producing a smooth clean finish.
The Tacklifemiter saw has positive stops at +/-22.5 degrees and +/-45 degrees and you can move the saw head right and left up to 45 degrees to make compound and bevel cuts. The miter saw has other useful features such as an expandable platform, a large dust bag and a laser cutting guide. The saw has an ergonomic soft-touch cutting handle and an angle changer handle at the base to make it convenient to carry the saw around.
- 15-amp 3,800 RPM motor
- 40-tooth TCT cutting blade
- Double bevel cutting
- Expandable table
- Double sliding rail
- Integrated laser
- Ergonomic handle
- 35 mm dust port
- Wide work table
- Pair clamping system
- Very easy to put together.
- Delivers smooth and clean cuts.
- Quite powerful.
- The sliding rail is smooth and solid.
- The dust bag does not stay attached.
- The cutting is a bit slow.
You can check the product out here.
Bosch GCM12SD Sliding Glide Miter Saw
The Bosch GCM12SD is unique because instead of rails, it has an axial arm. The Bosch GCM12SD has a compact, space-saving design, which makes it perfect for job sites. The miter saw features a 12-inch carbide-tipped blade and a wrench that lets you change the blade very easily.
The back and front movement of the arm of the miter saw is very smooth and it produces excellent miter cuts and crosscuts. The dual bevel system of the saw allows you to tilt the saw to the right and left and make bevel cuts and it has a bevel range of up to 47 degrees on both sides.
- 15-amp motor
- 12-inch corded miter saw
- 60-tooth carbide-tipped blade
- Axial glide system
- Easy to read uniform bevel and stainless steel miter scales
- Optimized dust collection
- 1-touch lock/unlock to slide fence
- Upfront bevel controls
- The transparent blade guard allows you to see as you cut.
- Space-saving design makes the saw easy to store.
- The bevel lock is easy to access in the front.
- Quite expensive.
- Hefty saw.
You can check out the product here.
Metabo HPT C12RSH2S 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw
If you’re a professional woodworker or a serious hobbyist, then I would recommend the Metabo HPT C12RSH2S Sliding Compound Miter Saw. The saw is equipped with a 15-amp motor and a 12-inch 60-tooth TCT blade that is protected by a clear blade guard, which allows you to see the cut line while you’re working.
The dual-bevel system of the saw allows you to tilt the saw to the right/left and produce bevel cuts without repositioning the workpiece. The miter saw’s large baseplate, tall sliding fence and adjustable base extension make it perfect for cutting wider and longer pieces of wood.
- 15-amp motor
- 12-inch 60-tooth TCT blade
- Clear blade guard
- 17 mm box wrench
- Dust bag
- Compact Slide System
- Large sliding fences
- 5-year warranty
- The saw glides effortlessly.
- Decent dust collection.
- Precise and reliable tool.
- Very expensive.
- Big and heavy.
You can check out the product here.
The Last Word
So, in conclusion, a sliding compound miter saw is a great buy if you’re looking to cut different types of materials with accuracy and precision. The various control options of the sliding compound miter saw allow greater control over your cutting.
I hope that the sliding compound miter saw options that I have reviewed in this article along with their pros and cons and the buying guide will give you sufficient information to make an informed decision about the best miter saw to purchase.