What’s the best 12 Inch Miter Saw? We review 5 excellent models that fit any budget.
There is no better way to make accurate crosscuts than with a miter saw. It’s true that most table saws allow you to make angled and beveled crosscuts, but these are large machines. Apart from the price of table saws, they are not always ideal because of their size. This makes a 12” miter saw a very practical tool for many woodworkers. Having the extra 2” that get as opposed to cheaper 10” miter saws gives you a greater cutting depth.
Intro | 12 Inch Miter Saw
If you’re looking for the best 12” miter saw, you might find yourself bombarded with facts, figures, and prices that will leave you more confused than when you started. So before you set about your search, narrow your options down and decide what type of 12” miter saw is going to be your best option. To do this, you need to understand how miter saws are classified. Knowing the types of miter saws and what they’re capable of will help you choose the right tool for the job and set a price category for the tool that you’re buying.
A sliding compound miter saw is going to offer the most versatility but it’s going to cost much more than a basic miter saw and if you don’t need the extra features, you’ll be wasting your money. The converse is also true, a basic 12” miter saw might look like a fantastic option when you’re basing this purely on the price – though if it isn’t going to give the results that you need, you’re wasting your money.
Hitachi C12RSH2 | 15-Amp 12-Inch (Miter Saw Dual Bevel Sliding Compound)
There are many ways to achieve an angled cut, but a miter saw is your best tool for this job. They have blades and arms that are designed for accurate fine-tuning and, therefore, give you the perfect accuracy that you desire. They are specialized tools and won’t be suitable for most other tasks, ripping through long boards is not what a 12” miter saw is designed for. This means you’ll be looking at specific attributes when choosing the best 12” miter saw.
Your table needs to be quick and easy to set up and it must give you the ability to set the angle with total accuracy in the easiest and quickest manner. Your miter saw’s arm needs to be solid and accurate and the blade must give you a clean and accurate cut without chipping the wood.
Overview | 12 inch miter saw recommendations
It’s no surprise to me that DeWalt dominates this list of the best 12” miter saws. Though I intend to give you an objective review of all these products, I cannot deny that DeWalt is the winner in my eyes. The DeWalt brand is known worldwide as one of the leaders when it comes to manufacturing quality power tools and when it comes to woodworking tools, their true colors shine brightest. DeWalt started out manufacturing woodworking tools and have invaluable experience in this field.
Do you need a commercial 12″ miter saw? Delta 26-2250
I’ve been using tools of every shape and description for more than 30-years. I’ve tried them all over the years and have used some tools that can only be described as cheap and nasty up to the best and most expensive. I’ll say that not all the most expensive tools are necessarily the best – at least when it comes to value for money. DeWalt tools are not the most expensive. At the same time, they are far from being the cheapest. In my mind, they offer a perfect middle ground – offering top quality and cutting-edge design, at a price that’s more affordable than many top brands.
The real reason why DeWalt tools are such a winner lies in their basic design philosophy. Raymond DeWalt, founder of the DeWalt Company was an artisan, not an engineer. This is really what has set the company apart from the rest. When DeWalt invented the radial arm saw, his intention was to develop woodworking tools that offered the highest level of accuracy and efficiency. Now, almost a hundred years later, this forms the core of the DeWalt product range – tools that are designed to make our lives easier and give us the best accuracy.
So many tools are designed with fantastic technology but ignore the end user’s needs. I’m always amazed at the simple details that make DeWalt tools so incredibly easy to use. It may be something as basic as where a switch is positioned or quick procedures that make for better maintenance and faster, more accurate adjustments – like the cam lock systems used to set fence rails and miter positions.
DEWALT DWS780 | Excellent Quality 12-inch miter saw
Before you think that I’m a salesman trying to push the DeWalt brand, I need to point that out the other two 12” miter saws in this review have their own merits. Both the WEN and Skil 12” miter saws that we’ll be looking at offer exceptional value for money. The Skil 3821-01 offers many of the high-end features that you’ll find on the top DeWalt models and you won’t be paying as much for this. It does lack the refinement and ease of use that you’ll be getting from the DeWalt equivalents, but you’ll get similar results and you’ll be paying quite a bit less for this. The WEN 70712 is the cheapest of the lot, yet still, it offers a high level of quality and this makes it the best value for money. If you’re looking for an affordable sliding compound 12” miter saw without any fancy extras, the WEN 70712 is a great machine.
In short, there’s something for everyone. If you want to pay more for the most refined 12” miter saw, DeWalt has what you’re looking for. If you want many of the same features and are prepared to forego some of the user-friendly tricks of the DeWalt 12” miter saws, there are two very affordable options that don’t compromise on the quality of the machine.
Before you’ll be able to decide which of these will be the best for you, you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. So let’s start by looking at the types of miter saws and what you’ll be using them for.
Basic Miter Saw
Being the cheapest of all the options for a 12” miter saw, these are, as the title suggests, very basic tools. They have fixed arms that don’t have a sliding action and are only able to cut through the width of the blade, meaning that a basic miter saw will only cut wood that is no wider than 12-inches, thicker wood may limit your cut to as little as 10” or less. They also have no bevel adjustments, so the blade can only be used at a fixed 90° angle, with miter settings (usually up to 45°). A basic miter saw is the best for the occasional woodworker, who isn’t looking to do very complicated tasks. The benefit is that you won’t be paying too much for a basic 12” miter saw.
Compound Miter Saw
The main advantage to using a compound miter saw is the ability to make both miter and bevel cuts. Some will be single-bevel (the blade is only able to tilt to one side), or double bevel (the blade can tilt to both sides). A compound miter saw allows you to make miter and bevel cuts simultaneously with perfect accuracy. They are more complicated to use, you have more adjustment points and you need to set them accurately.
A compound miter saw is great for people who need to do more complex tasks and for this, they will cost more.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
These saws have all the functions of a compound miter saw but have the added advantage of a sliding arm. This gives you the ability to cut through wider pieces of wood. If you’re using a 12” sliding miter saw, your cutting width can be extended up to about 14”-16”, depending on the reach of the arm and the thickness of the piece that you’re cutting.
Being the most complex of all 12” miter saws, these will obviously be the most expensive.
VIDEO | What is a Miter Saw Used For?
Regardless of what type of 12” miter saw you set your sights on, there are other features that can make your life easier. Some miter saws are designed for easier settings, single touch clip-into-position locking systems are much quicker and easier to use.
Other features could include lights at the blade to make it easier to see what you’re doing, laser guidance systems that show you exactly where the blade will be cutting and dust extraction systems with a debris bag for collecting the sawdust expelled from the blade. Preset stops for common angles also make it much easier to work accurately without spending much time fine-tuning your angle. It really depends on you, which additional features are worth considering when choosing the 12” miter saw that’s going to work best for you.
15-Amp, 12-Inch miter saw — Single-Bevel Compound
- 15 amp motor, 4,000 rpm delivers extended power and durability
- Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate with 11 positive stops improves productivity and ensures cutting
- Precise miter system and machined-base fence support optimize cutting accuracy
- Tall sliding fence supports crown molding up to 5-1/4″ nested and base molding up to 6-1/2″ vertically against the fence while easily sliding out of the way for bevel cuts
- Bevels 0°-48° to the left and 0°-3° to the right for increased capacity
- 0°-50° left and right miter capacity for greater versatility
- Lightweight (42 lbs.) with built-in carry handle for easy portability
- Cam lock miter handle with detent override deliver quick and accurate miter angles
- Three hardened steel bevel stops at 0°, 33.9°, and 45° delivers versatility at most common bevel angles
Overview | DEWALT DW715
This is the cheapest of the DeWalt products in this review. While it offers all the quality that you’d expect from the brand, it has limited abilities when compared to the more expensive options from DeWalt.
The most noticeable difference between the DeWalt DW715 and all the other 12” miter saws in this review is that this model only bevels to one side. It’s a single-bevel 12” miter saw, whereas the others are double-bevel miter saws. This really means that if you want to bevel to the opposite side, you need to turn your wood around and realign it, this takes time.
When it comes to all the user functions, this is through and through DeWalt. So you’re getting some of the best technology and ease of use. The stainless steel detent miter plate has 11 positive stops and has the fantastic cam lock that you’ll find on all similar DeWalt saws. This means that there are 11 pre-set angles that you can use with 100% accuracy and it only takes a second or two for you to select your angle and lock it securely in place. You can also set your miter angle for any cut between 0° and 50° to the left or right. The blade has smooth sliding action, thanks to stable double sliding arms.
The bevel angle is 0°-48° to the left and 0°-3° to the right. This single side bevel adjustment is the only drawback to the DeWalt DW715. The bevel is made from hardened stainless steel and has 3 positive stops for the most common bevel angles – 0°; 33.9° and 45°. Naturally, you can set the blade to any other angle using clearly marked and easy to use bevel angle settings.
It has tall fences that slide effortlessly into position and can support crown moldings up to 5¼” nested and base molding up to 6½” in a vertical position. The ventilated blade guard is easy to see through and helps you work safely, while not obstructing your line of sight. The 12” carbide blade is powered by a 15A motor that runs at 4000RPM with no load, giving you an exceptionally clean cut. It also has a dust collection bag, keeping your working environment cleaner and healthier.
The DeWalt DW715 is very portable and weighs only 42 LBS. It has a well-designed carrying handle for easy transportation. This is a very convenient weight for one of the most durable 12” miter saws that you’ll find.
If you want a DeWalt sliding compound 12” miter saw that is really cheap, the DW715 is what you’re looking for. It doesn’t have any extras and is limited to single-bevel adjustment. You are getting DeWalt’s legendary quality and fantastic dealership service. You’re also getting the same incredible warranty as you would with any DeWalt product, this being a 3-year warranty, 1-year free service plan and a 90-day money back guarantee.
12-Inch miter saw — Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- Bevel anywhere from 0° to 45° to the left and miter up to 45° in both directions
- 9 positive table stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, and 45° to both the left and right
- 15 amps of slicing power deliver 5000 RPM
- Tackle boards up to 3.5 inches thick and 11.75 inches long
- Depth Control Knob
- Includes a 40-tooth carbide-tipped blade, a hold down clamp, a dust bag, a support fence and two work-piece support extensions
Overview | WEN 70712
You won’t find better value for money than WEN 70712 sliding compound 12” miter saw. In terms of working capabilities, it is very much the same as the DeWalt DW715. This is also a single-bevel compound miter saw with a 12” blade. The fences aren’t as fantastic as the DeWalt (they’re not quite as tall) but are easy to use and all adjustments for miter and bevel angles are just about on a par with the DeWalt equivalent. It’s a bit cheaper and for many home workshops, this cheaper miter saw is worth looking at.
The 40-tooth carbide 12” blade runs at 5000RPM (with no load), using a 15A motor. This will give you one of the smoothest cutting actions that a circular saw can provide. The bevel adjustment allows for 0°-45° to the left, there are no positive stops for the bevel angle. Though setting your desired bevel angle isn’t too difficult and it has easy to read angle markings.
WEN 70712 has miter adjustments up to 45° to either side and has 9 positive stops for commonly used miter angles. The work table is solid and has extensions that can accommodate pieces up to 11.75” long. The blade has a depth control knob and you’ll be able to cut through wood up to 3½” in thickness.
It’s a very light machine, making it great for people who need to carry it around a lot. The WEN 70712 weighs 42 LBS. There aren’t too many extra features on this machine, but you do get a dust collection bag – which is nice to see on a miter saw this cheap.
So the WEN 70712 has all the minimum requirements of 12” sliding compound miter saw – nothing more, nothing less. If you’re looking for a 12” miter saw that is capable of a lot more than a basic miter saw without paying much more for this versatility, the WEN is the right machine for the job. It comes with a 1-year warranty and excellent nationwide technical support.
Tech Specs (WEN 70712):
- Motor : 120 V, 60 Hz, 15A
- Speed : 4300 RPM (no load)
- Blade Diameter : 12 inch
- Blade Type : 60-Tooth General Purpose Carbide Tipped Blade
- Arbor Size : 1 inch
- Crosscut at 0° Miter, 0° Bevel : 4″ x 12-1/4″
- Miter at 45° Miter, 0° Bevel : 4″ x 8-1/4″
- Bevel at 0° Miter, 45° Bevel : 2-1/8″ x 12-1/4″
- Compound at 45° Miter, 45° Bevel : 2-1/4″ x 8-1/4″
- Positive Table Stops : 0º, 5º, 10º, 15º, 20º, 25º, 30º, 35º, 40º and 45º Left & Right
- Positive Bevel Stops : 0º–45º Left Only
DEWALT DWS779 / Dewalt DWS780
Double Bevel Sliding Compound | 12-Inch Miter Saw
- 15 Amp, 3,800 rpm motor delivers extended power and durability
- Exclusive Back Fence Design cuts up to 2×16 dimensional lumber at 90° and 2×12 at 45°
- Super efficient dust collection system captures over 75% of dust generated.
- Backed by Dewalt’s 3 year limited warranty
You won’t find the DeWalt DWS779 on their website, I think it’s being phased out in favor of the DWS780 which is exactly the same saw – it’s just that the DWS780 has the XPS laser guidance system. With or without the XPS system, the DeWalt DWS779/DWS780 is top of the range when it comes to DeWalt 12” miter saws. So, it goes without saying that you’re going to be paying a premium for this machine. For many, this price simply won’t be worth paying and I should point out who would prefer the DeWalt DWS779 over any of their other 12” compound double-bevel miter saws.
This model has the greatest cutting capacity of all their models. In short, if you need to cut through thicker pieces of wood, the DeWalt DWS779 (or DWS780 if you want to pay even more for XPS laser guidance) is going to be the best miter saw for your needs. The DeWalt DWS779 does provide for retrofitting the XPS guidance system – if you can find one as an accessory, though this isn’t easy.
Dewalt DWS780 — Has an XPS laser guidance system.
So what does the ultimate 12” miter saw from DeWalt offer you? It has the same fantastic high sliding fences as on all DeWalt miter saws, but this model offers you the best cutting depth. The DeWalt DWS779 can handle nested crown molding up to 7½” and vertically placed base molding up to 6¾”. There aren’t many 12” miter saws with that can do this. The back fence is also just about the best, you’ll be able to cut through 2X16 lumber at 90° and 2X12 lumber at 45°.
There’s one other improvement that you’ll find on the DeWalt DWS779 that you won’t get on too many others. It has a miter angle of 60° to the right and 50° – most others only miter up to 45° either side of the blade. It has 10 positive miter stops and uses the DeWalt’s unique cam lock system. Like the other DeWalt miter saws, this one also has the stainless steel miter detent plate. Bevel angles can be adjusted up to 45° to either side and the oversized bevel adjustment scale makes it super easy to get the most accurate setting.
Major Components Diagram | Click Image Below for Detailed View
Mechanically, the DeWalt DWS779 has some advanced engineering that improves the accuracy and durability of the saw. The superior gearbox and belt design increases the vertical capacity. The dual steel rails have linear ball bearings and a clamping mechanism for improved accuracy. The dust extraction system is also one of the most efficient – removing more than 75% of the sawdust generated by the blade. The carbide blade is driven by a 15A motor and rotates at 3800 RPM with no load. The innovative design of the DeWalt DWS779 has brought the weight down to 56 LBS – very impressive for a 12” miter saw with the best cutting capabilities.
For the consummate professional or detail-oriented hobby woodworker, the DeWalt DWS779 is the best of the best when it comes to 12” sliding compound miter saws. While far more expensive than any of the other 12” miter saws in this review, you won’t find a better machine in terms function, accuracy, and durability at this price. All this with the added advantage of DeWalt service and the 3-year warranty, 1-year free service plan and 90-day money back guarantee.
Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser : Best 12-Inch miter saw if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.
- Quick-Mount System for quick and easy setup on miter saw stand.
- Laser Cutline Guide for fast and accurate cuts.
- Table extension with left/right extension rails for long, large work pieces.
- Horizontal clamping system holds wood securely against fence during cut.
- Left/Right Lock-Off Switch for both right and left-handed users.
- Nine positive stops for quick and accurate settings of common miter angles.
- Die cast aluminum fence with ruler markings for accurate cutting.
- Dust bag helps keep work area clean.
- Integrated carrying handles for easy transport.
Overview | Skil 3821-01
If you look at everything that you get when you buy the Skil 3821-01, you’ll be amazed at how little you’ll be paying for this 12” compound dual-bevel miter saw. It doesn’t have all the incredible features that you get on the top-end DeWalt miter saws, but it comes pretty close and at a much more affordable price.
The Skil 3821-01 has a 15A motor, rotating at 4500RPM and a 40-tooth 12” carbide blade. It also includes a laser guidance system for quick, easy and accurate settings. The bevel angle can be adjusted to 47° to both the left and right. Miter angles are 45° on either side and it has 9 positive stops.
The die cast aluminum fences may not be a match to any of the DeWalt miter saws, but then few are. They are, however, quite adequate with accurate ruler markings. The Skil 3821-01 has both vertical and horizontal clamps for improved accuracy whilst cutting. Arbor size is 1”.
The table extends and these extensions also double up as carrying handles that make it very easy to transport the 42.5-pound machine. It has a dust bag and a very easy to use clear plastic blade guard. The only real difference between this miter saw and the others is that the Skil 3821-01 doesn’t have a sliding action – you won’t be able to cut the same width as most of the other 12” miter saws that we’re reviewing here.
Apart from the limitations that I’ve mentioned, you’re still getting a lot of miter saw for your money when you buy the Skil 3821-01. The Skil brand is part of the Bosch group, so you can be assured of excellent service and backup as well as a 1-year warranty.
Tech Specs (SKIL 3821-01):
- Weight: 42.5 lbs.
- Amperage: 15
- Arbor Size: 1 in.
- Bevel: Dual
- Blade Diameter: 12 in.
- Blade Speed (RPM): 4500
- Laser Guide System: Yes
- Max. Bevel Angle (Left): 47 Degrees
- Max. Bevel Angle (Right): 47 Degrees
- Max. Miter Angle (Left): 45 Degrees
- Max. Miter Angle (Right): 45 Degrees
- Positive Miter Detents: 9
- Slide System: No
- Voltage: 120V
Best 12 inch miter saw for professionals. Engineered with precise XPS Cross Cut Positioning System with LED light
- Integrated XPS cross-cut positioning system provides adjustment free cut-line indication for better accuracy and visibility
- Powerful 15 amp, 3,800 rpm motor delivers extended power and durability
- Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate with 11 positive stops Improves productivity and ensures cutting accuracy
- Precise miter system and machined-base fence support optimize cutting accuracy
- Tall sliding fences support crown molding up to 6-5/8″ nested and base molding up to 6-1/2″ vertically against the fence while easily sliding out of the way for bevel cuts
- Innovative gearbox and belt-drive design increases vertical cutting capacity
- Double bevel design allows saw to bevel left and right 0° – 48° with positive stops at 0°, 33.9°, 45°, and 48° both left and right allowing user to flip the saw not the material
- Exclusive back-fence design cuts dimensional lumber 2″ x 10″ at 90° and 2″ x 8″ at 45°
0-50° left and right miter capacity for greater versatility
- Lightweight (44 lbs.), head lock-down pin, and built-in carrying handle for increased portability
- Cam lock miter handle with detent override deliver quick and accurate miter angles
Overview | DeWalt DW716XPS
The DeWalt DW716XPS is a dual-bevel compound miter saw with all the cool stuff that you get on the other two DeWalt miter saws that we’ve looked at. This model has the XPS laser guidance system but lacks some features that you get on the other two.
The first noticeable difference is that the DeWalt DW716XPS doesn’t have the dual rail sliding system that you get on the other two. The cam lock fence rails match that of the DWS715 but aren’t as impressive as the DWS779. The DeWalt DW716XPS will handle nested crown up to 6⅝” and 6½” base molding placed vertically. It has a 50° miter angle capacity to the left and right with 11 positive stops and can bevel up to 48° to both sides with three positive stops.
It has a similar 15A motor to the others running the 12” carbide blade at 3800 RPM with no load. The DeWalt DW716XPS is great when it comes to portability, weighing only 44 LBS. It has dust bag like the others.
When choosing between the three DeWalt 12” miter saws that we’ve looked at, your choice might come down to price but you should look at the differences quite closely. The DeWalt DWS779 has it all, the only exception being that it doesn’t come standard with the XPS guidance system. In all other respects, it’s far superior with the best cutting depth capabilities and increased miter angles. The differences between the other two are more subtle.
The DeWalt DW715 has the advantage of sliding action but doesn’t have dual-bevel action. There are two plus factors that might make the DeWalt DW716XPS your preferred option, these being the XPS guidance system and the dual-bevel action. The only thing you won’t get with this model (that costs a bit more) is the sliding action.
The build quality and materials used on all three DeWalt 12” miter saws are of the highest standard and they’re all backed by the same 3-year warranty, 1-year free service plan and 90-day money back guarantee.
Tech Specs (DeWalt DW716XPS):
- 45° Miter Cut Capacity (Max Height) : 4×6 dimensional lumber
- 45° Miter Cut Capacity (Max Width) : 4×6 dimensional lumber
- 90° Cross-Cut Capacity (dimensional lumber) : 2×8 (2×10 with back fence) inches
- 90° Cross-Cut Capacity (Max Width) : 2×8 (2×10 with back fence)
- Amps : 15 Amps
- Arbor Size : 5/8″ or 1 in
- Blade Diameter : 12″
- Horizontal Capacity : Baseboard Lying Flat 10 in
- Horizontal Capacity: Crown Molding Lying Flat 6 1/2 in
- No Load Speed : 3800 rpm
- Weight : 44 lbs
- Type of Miter Saw : Non-Slide
- Vertical Capacity: Baseboard Against Fence 6 1/2 in
- Vertical Capacity: Crown Molding Vertically Nested 6 5/8 in
VIDEO | MITER SAW SAFETY
This video was produced by the Woodworkers Guild of America. I highly recommend visiting their site and browse their various educational videos and articles. You’re never too old to learn something new.