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A 12” sliding compounds miter saw is definitely the best for precision bevel and miter cuts when working with larger pieces, especially for vertical base and crown cuts.. The 12-inch blade gives you improved depth. Our Makita LS1219L review will unveil the pros and cons of this wonderfully versatile saw. To gain a good perspective, we’ll be doing a comparative review: Makita LS1219L vs DeWalt DWS 780 vs Bosch GCM12SD.
While this is primarily a Makita LS1219L review, the other two miter saws are strong contenders. The Bosch axial glide system has won me over as the best way to ensure hassle-free sliding with the greatest durability. Though each of these saws have their merits.
Makita have done an excellent job of providing a greater cutting capacity, thanks to a clever direct drive system and an improved blade guard. This is something many carpenters and contractors will appreciate. So often, we find the blade just not making it through, especially at an angle. Having an extra inch of depth capacity will never go amiss. Even if you only need this extra cutting capacity occasionally, it will definitely save time when you do. Turning the piece around and realigning it is always an unwanted frustration.
What else does the highly accomplished Makita LS1219 have to offer? Read this comprehensive review to find out.
Table of Contents...
Makita LS1219L Review / 12″ Miter Saw
- Unique 2-Steel Rail Sliding System design offers single slide-glide operation; reduced saw footprint allows operation flush against a wall
- Increased capacity for up to 8″ crown molding (vertically nested), 6-3/4″ baseboard (vertical), and 15″ crosscuts at 90°
- In-front bevel lock for convenient operation
- Dual dust collection ports provide excellent dust extraction performance
- Innovative direct drive motor and guard system is engineered for increased vertical cutting capacity (6-3/4″)
- Linear ball bearing system engineered to deliver “dead-on” accurate cuts
- Less weight (65 lbs.) and the most compact design in its class for easy jobsite portability
- Powerful 15.0 AMP direct drive motor requires less maintenance and delivers 3,200 RPM
- Large-sized aluminum base improves stability of material for efficient cutting
- Soft start suppresses start-up reaction for smooth start-ups and longer gear life
- Miters 0-60° left and right; bevels 0-48° left and right
- Positive miter stops at: 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°, and 60° left or right
- Electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load for smoother, higher quality cutting
- Integrated upper and lower 5-1/2″ tall fence system offers added rigidity for more precise miter and bevel cuts
- Built-in laser clearly indicates line-of-cut whether blade is turning or not; on-off switch and micro-adjustments for precise “left-of-blade” or “right-of-blade” cutting
- Ergonomic rubberized horizontal D-handle design for better fit and added comfort
- Replaceable stainless steel miter scale features large and easy-to-read markings
- Easy-to-read dual bevel scale for more precise adjustments
- See-through blade guard system for greater visibility of blade and line of cut
- Easy blade changes for increased efficiency
- Oversized trigger switch for better fit, added comfort and easier operation
- Easy one-touch slide lock for convenience
- Simple 90º turn-of-the-knob miter angle lock/unlock mechanism
There’s so much that I really like about the Makita LS1219L 12” sliding compound miter saw and a few things that I’m not so happy about. One thing that I’m perpetually impressed with is the extreme level of high quality that you get from the brand. For top quality materials, design, and superior workmanship, few power tool manufacturers can compare to Makita. I’ve noticed this throughout my review. It’s a spectacular saw on almost every level.
What probably impresses me most about the Makita LS1219L is the superb direct drive system. The 15A motor is certainly powerful enough. An incredible gearbox, gives you wonderfully smooth power delivery for every type of material, with a no load speed of 3,200 RPM. A direct drive saw has the advantage that you don’t have to worry about belts, reducing maintenance and downtime.
The Makita engineers have done some magic in designing this system, along with an improved blade guard, to give the blade a little extra depth. Most of us are used to a little under 6” maximum depth for a standard 0° cut, when using a 12” saw. About half the blade diameter with a little bit of loss for the arbor. The Makita LS1219L has a vertical base board capacity of 6¾”. This is a great advantage, though not unique to the Makita compound miter saw. When we review the DeWalt DWS 780, you’ll see they have achieved the same cutting depth. The Makita is the best for cutting vertically nested crown molding – up to 8”.
The dual sliding rails are also fantastic, designed so that no extra space is required behind the saw. The bevel lock is positioned at the front. This speeds things up quite a bit, as you don’t have to reach around the back of the machine to set the bevel angle. The blade is able to bevel 48° to the left and right, with pretty easy to use markings. The saw slides easily along the rails, up to 15” for cross cuts at 90°.
The table is designed for accurate and easy miter cuts. A large knob at the front of the table allows you to set and lock the angle without any fuss. Angles can be set up to 60° to the left and right. The markings a clear, with positive stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°, and 60° to both sides. The fence unclips easily to remove. Though I think a sliding fence is more convenient. The fences are conveniently tall, at 5½”.
The saw has a really cool blade depth adjustment. You have to search a little for the adjustment mechanism, it’s around the back of the blade. Once you’re accustomed to this setup, it’s a breeze adjusting the blade stop. You have a simple thumb screw that you turn in or out to set your desired depth of cut.
I really like the handle design, a big improvement on the older Makita miter saws that had a fairly complicated safety setup. The large handle has a very natural grip. When you press against the handle with the palm of your hand, the safety release is activated, allowing you to easily squeeze the trigger using three fingers. The blade has an electric brake and stops almost instantly when you release the trigger switch.
The built-in laser guide is a real time-saver. Though it does take a little getting used to. The laser is positioned to the left of the blade. You need to be aware of this at first. You may end up with slightly inaccurate cuts, if you’re expecting the blade to be centered on the laser line. It’s not a big deal, you always have to account for blade width when you line up your cut. It’s just that may not be expecting the left alignment until you’re used to how the saw functions. You can also position the laser cut line to the right of the blade and it has micro adjustments to ensure perfect accuracy.
The dual dust extraction ports are okay. Though sawdust always seems to collect in the cowling at the base, behind the blade. This clogs the system, and you will need to periodically remove handfuls of sawdust from behind the blade as it piles up. Another thing that I think they could improve on is the work clamp that slots into the fence. This is one of those old-fashioned screw handle clamps. Because it takes so long to screw and unscrew the clamp, you end up tossing it aside. If this were a cam handle clamp, we may find it to be more useful.
As always, Makita has included some really smart engineering inside the machine, the stuff we can’t see. Linear ball bearings improve durability and ensure perfect precision every time. The soft start, and electronic speed control is also fantastic. The thick aluminum base is solid and will remain flat for life.
Despite the use of lightweight aluminum for most of the components, the Makita LS1219L is not as light as I’d have expected. It weighs 65 pounds. This is 9-pounds heavier than the DeWalt DWS780. The Bosch 12” miter saw weighs the same as the Makita.
The Makita LS1219L has everything we want on a modern compound miter saw. It is a wonderfully smooth and accurate tool. As this is a Makita product, we can expect it to remain this way for many years. The saw has all the easy to use features that we’ve become accustomed to. It also has the power to rival any of the best 12” sliding compound miter saws. There also a bunch of useful accessories for this saw, including a great portable stand.
Learn more by visiting the Makita site.
Review : DeWalt DWS780 / 12″ Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
- Integrated CUTLINE™ Blade 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
- Super-efficient dust collection system captures over 75% of dust generated
- Tall sliding fences support crown molding up to 7-1/2 in. nested and base molding up to 6-3/4 in. vertically against the fence while easily sliding out of the way for bevel cuts
- Exclusive back fence design cuts up to 2×14 dimensional lumber at 90° and 2×10 at 45°
- Adjustable stainless-steel miter detent plate with 10 positive stops improves productivity and ensures cutting accuracy
- Miters 60° to the right and 50° to the left providing increased capacity
- Oversized bevel scale makes bevel angle adjustments accurate and easy
- Compact, lightweight design (58 lbs.) allows for easy transport and storage
- Cam lock miter handle with detent override deliver quick and accurate miter angles
- Dual horizontal steel rails with innovative clamping mechanism and linear ball bearings deliver an accurate, durable and compact saw
- Innovative gearbox and belt-drive design increases vertical cutting capacity
- Precise miter system and machined base fence support optimize durability and cutting accuracy
DeWalt miter saws are extremely popular. If we’re going to conduct a comparative 12” miter saw review, it makes sense to start by looking at the Makita LS1219L vs DeWalt DWS780. DeWalt has certainly done a fine job of creating a user-friendly product.
Like the Makita LS1219L, the DeWalt DWS780 is a powerful 15A miter saw with left and right miter, as well as bevel, adjustments. Many of the less favorable aspects that I didn’t like about the Makita saw are not present on the DeWalt. Similarly, some of the great Makita benefits don’t feature on the DeWalt DWS780. Which is the better miter saw when comparing the Makita LS1219L vs DeWalt DWS780? That really depends on which features you prefer. These are both excellent products from two of the most respected power tool brands. This review should help you determine which of the two will best meet your requirements.
I’ll start by reviewing which features make the DeWalt DWS780 less favorable than the Makita LS1219L. The first thing that we notice, is the differing dual rail design. The Makita rails slide only to the front of the machine, meaning that it can stand flush against a wall. The DeWalt rails, which are also superbly smooth double rails, slide to the back of the saw. This means it has a greater footprint in your shop or on a jobsite. If space is limited, the Makita LS1219L has a great advantage.
As much as I like the solid, cast metal, bevel adjustment mechanism fitted to the DeWalt DWS780, I find the positioning for the adjustment knob to be awkward at best. I am happy to see that they have chosen a more durable metal construction, way better than the plastic used for many previous models. However, when setting your bevel angle, you have to reach around the back of the saw and the markings aren’t as clearly visible. If you change the blade angle regularly, you’ll find yourself wasting quite a bit of time.
Other than this minor irritation, I can say that the DeWalt DWS780 is every bit as good as the Makita LS1219L for bevel performance. It has a bevel capacity of 49° both left and right (1° more than the Makita), not that it makes a huge difference.
Horizontal capacity is slightly limited, but not too bad. The DeWalt DWS780 can accommodate a horizontally nested crown molding up to 13¾”. In the normal setup, the cross-cut capacity falls just short of the Makita LS1219L. One inch less, at 14” vs 15”. Though, with bit of readjustment, you can actually get an inch more than what the Makita provides. With a “special setup”, the DWS780 can handle baseboard (horizontally nested) up to 16”. This means foregoing the fence. It’s a bit of a lose some to gain another situation. It depends on what works better for you.
For the most part, the DeWalt DWS780 is as convenient as the Makita LS1219L when making miter cuts. It has a wonderful table with a very easy to use cam lock handle at the front for quick miter settings. There is, however, a slight limitation when compared to the Makita 12” miter saw which can perform miter cuts up to 60° to the left and right. The DeWalt DWS780 can also rotate a full 60° to the right, but only 50° to the left. It has 10 positive stops and easy to use markings on a replaceable stainless steel plate, pretty much the same as the Makita setup.
Like I said, these pros and cons, when reviewing the Makita LS1219L vs DeWalt DWS780, side by side, can very much a matter of user preference. Now for the areas where I believe these two saws are equals.
The DeWalt DWS780 also has a cleverly designed gearbox, allowing the saw to pivot beyond the normal reach of the blade. This means that this saw is just as adept as the Makita for increased vertical capacity. Vertically nested baseboard capacity is the same at a really great 6¾”. Using crown molding in the same position, the DeWalt DWS780 isn’t quite as good as the Makita LS1219L – 7½” vs 8”. This is not something I’d be too concerned about.
The DeWalt DWS780 has an equally efficient and durable direct drive system. The only difference is different gearing ratio, giving the DeWalt saw an increased blade speed of 3,800 RPM. I wouldn’t say this is better or worse. In the end, these are both 15A miter saws, they have about the same amount of power. By increasing the RPM, which may better for some materials, the DeWalt saw loses a little torque. This may not be the best when laboring through denser material. Generally, though, I’d say both saws will handle just about any normal situation with perfect ease.
The DeWalt saw has the same cumbersome workpiece clamp. With DeWalt being the king of cam lock (in my opinion), I find this a little strange. Surely, a cam lock clamp is the way to go. The DeWalt Cutline system uses an LED light to cast a shadow from the blade on the cutline. Personally, I find the Makita laser to be easier. I’m not sure if everyone will agree.
There are several reasons why you may consider the DeWalt DWS780 as the better saw. Again, it depends entirely on what is more important to you.
I feel the DeWalt dust extraction system is probably it’s greatest advantage over the Makita LS1219L. It has a curved cowling that sucks sawdust directly away from the blade. This is way more efficient than the box-like cowling that Makita has fitted below the blade. The DeWalt does not rely on the sawdust falling down before it attempts to suck away the collected debris. DeWalt claim that their dust extraction system removes over 75% of the dust. When using the saw, the difference is clearly noticed and greatly appreciated.
I prefer the way the guys at DeWalt have positioned the depth adjustment for the blade. It does the same job as the Makita system, allowing you to set a stop for the blade – great for dado cuts. DeWalt have just made it much less complicated to do this. It has a simple stop mechanism that you slot into position and turn screw to set the blade limit. Not that different to the way Makita does it, except that the DeWalt blade depth adjustment is at the front of the saw, not the back, like it is on the Makita LS1219L. This allows you to adjust the blade cutting depth faster.
The large handle at the front, with really easy to use trigger switch is about the same as the Makita equivalent. The DeWalt DWS780 has the added advantage of a handle at the top, allowing you to use two hands in a very comfortable position.
Another great design feature, where the DeWalt DWS780 really excels, is the sliding fence. It also has slots for table extensions, sold as an extra accessory. This is allows for extra support when working with larger boards. Like the Makita LS1219L, there many useful accessories for the DeWalt 12” miter saw, like a wonderful jobsite stand.
The final advantage that I should point out is the favorable weight. The DeWalt DWS780 is the best of the miter saws in this review for portability, weighing only 56 LBS.
In many ways I prefer the DeWalt DWS780 to the Makita LS1219L. In an area where space is an issue, the Makita miter saw is an obvious choice. The Makita LS1219L has a slightly improved vertical capacity for some tasks, but they are very close in this regard. The DeWalt DWS780 is a true winner when it comes to cleaner, dust-free working environment and improved portability. When it comes down to it, these are both magnificent sliding compound miter saws. Ultimately durable and user friendly. After Festool, DeWalt and Makita should both rank as one of the best brands for electric saws. Not forgetting Bosch, which is the next saw to feature in this review.
►Read our indepth comparison between the Dewalt DWS780 and the Bosch GCM12SD
Review : Bosch GCM12SD / 12″ Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw
- The Bosch GCM12SD is a 12 In. Dual-Bevel Glide miter saw that features a smooth cutting motion, accurate performance and a space-saving design of the Bosch-exclusive Axial-Glide system
- Pre-aligned SquareLockfences help the saw maintain precision throughout its life
- A soft-grip ambidextrous handle along with a combination dust chute and vacuum adaptor add to user comfort
- The saw also offers a large cutting capacity, easy-to-read bevel and miter scales with detents at common angles, and easy-access upfront controls
- Integrated expanding base extensions: 60% more left-to-right material support than leading competitor – 40 In. left to right
- Large easy-to-read uniform bevel and stainless steel miter scales: 52° left/60° right miter capacity; 47° left/47° right bevel capacity with marked detents and roof pitch angles
- Adjustable miter detents: detents at 0°, 15°, 31.6°, 22.5°, 45°, 60° right super-accurate and durable design
- Push-button miter Detent override – easy-to-access thumb actuated control right up front for fine miter angle adjustment
- Bevel detents: 0, 33.9°, 45° left/right for accurate cuts
- Category best 90% dust collection – optimized for cutting 2x material with a vacuum
- Ergonomic ambidextrous trigger handle with soft grip – large form fitting ergonomic handle provides comfort for all-day use
I consider the Bosch GM12SD 12” sliding compound miter saw to be an engineering marvel. My fascination and respect for clever design has me in absolute awe of this magnificent machine. If you don’t need the extra vertical capacity, which I believe is the main attraction for the Makita LS1219L and DeWalt DWS780, the Bosch GM12SD is by far the superior miter saw. Basically, if you are content with a saw that can handle up to 6” crown molding in vertically nested position, you won’t find a better saw for miter, bevel, and cross cuts.
Bosch have reinvented the sliding compound miter saw with their patented axial glide system. I find myself at a loss for the best adjective to describe this unique engineering marvel. Awesome doesn’t seem to cut it. Perhaps majestically brilliant might come close to defining what those brilliant German engineers have achieved.
For as long as I’ve been using sliding saws, rails have been the norm. While not ideal, we have sort of come to accept that there is no better way of doing things. We know that rails have their limitations. Over time, they wear, and we need to periodically recalibrate the machine. You’re not always guaranteed perfect accuracy and they require a fair bit of maintenance to remain smooth and reliable.
Bosch found an innovative solution by replacing the traditional rails with a sliding axial arm. Solid, seriously heavy-duty cast aluminum plates are joined at pivot points with sealed bearings. Instead of sliding along rails, the Bosch saw extends like an arm with multi-directional elbows. This means none of the wear and tear issues we are so accustomed to with traditional sliding miter saws. It remains perfectly accurate without any real maintenance. The smooth action is also nothing short of sublime. You have to use this saw to see what I mean. It glides like it’s floating on a cushion of air. Yes, I am totally awestruck by the Bosch miter saw.
Another great benefit to using an axial arm instead of rails is the wonderfully compact footprint. There are no rails jutting out of the tool.
It is possibly the easiest compound miter saw to use. This is beyond easy glide system. The cam lock bevel adjustment at the front is wonderfully easy and convenient. The same mechanism has a quick slide around for miter adjustments with a single touch indent override. Everything is so user friendly.
For versatile working, the Bosch GM12SD is just about the same as the Makita LS1219L and DeWalt DWS780. Bevel adjustments are 47° to the left and right. Miter angles are 52° to the left and 60° to the right, with positive stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, and 45° to the left and right, an additional stop at the left is provided for 60° cuts.
The fence is also the best. It has a simple touch slide mechanism that is as smooth as silk and it’s just as easy to remove the fence. Large scale markings on the fence are another great feature. Built-in table extensions are yet another fantastic advantage. To extend the width support is a matter of a pull of the hand, really no hassle at all and it slides back into the base just as easily.
The Bosch GM12SD is just as powerful as the Makita LS1219L and DeWalt DWS780 miter saws. A 15A motor with 3,800 RPM blade rotation. The dust extraction system is almost as good as that used for the DeWalt DWS780. It also utilizes a cleverly designed cowling that catches the sawdust as it spins off the blade.
The only time you may find the Bosch GM12SD lacking, when compared to the Makita LS1219L, is when making cuts on vertically nested crown moldings (or any tall vertical pieces). The Makita miter saw has the best vertical capacity, accommodating up to 8” vertical crown molding. The Bosch saw only accomplishes 6”. A difference of 2” will certainly be noticed if you regularly work with moldings or lumber that require the extra capacity. The old-fashioned work clamp, that you have to turn to tighten, is (in my opinion) as superfluous as on the other two miter saws in this review.
This saw is as heavy as the Makita LS1219L – 65 pounds. Though it has a clear advantage when considering portability as the compact axial design makes it lot less bulky than rail saws.
Apart from losing an inch or two in vertical capacity for crown molding, the Bosch GM12SD is the best of the three Miter saws in this review. That is my opinion, anyway. I think it would be difficult to dispute this point of view. This is a high-quality product, easily on a par with Makita and DeWalt. Out of the box thinking and magnificent German engineering elevates the Bosch sliding compound miter saw to lofty heights that other brands can only dream of.