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Top 5 Best Miter Saws (2021 Review)

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

miter saws

Every modern woodworker needs a chop saw and having the right miter saw is a game-changer. My first chop saw was a 10” Rigid, 15 years later and I still use it today. It was one of the first machines I ever bought and I got it because it was inexpensive. Like any simple chop saw I use it for cutting 90-degree and angled cuts. There are certain limitations to it and if I were buying one today I would go with a sliding miter saw for the longer reach. The ones made today make more precise cuts. However, Once you set out to buy one, you might get surprised to find a variety of options to choose from. Let me help you make a choice by explaining to you each option and then giving you my top choices.

Best Overall

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel   Sliding Compound Miter Saw (DWS780)



Runner Up

Makita LS1019L Sliding Compound Miter Saw (10-inch Blade)



2nd Runner Up

BOSCH Power Tools GCM12SD - 15 Amp 12 Inch Corded Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw with 60 Tooth Saw Blade



Best Miter Saw Money Can Buy

Festool Kapex KS 120 REB (10-inch Blade)



Best Budget Chop Saw

DEWALT Miter Saw, Single Bevel,  Compound, 10-Inch, 15-Amp (DWS713)



Two Types of Miter Saw

Sliding Miter Saw

The main difference between a sliding miter saw and a regular miter saw is that it slides forward to cut more wood at a cleaner cut. The key feature here is that a sliding miter saw will always cut wider than its regular counterpart. These sliding miter saws can cut 2x12 and even 2x14. Regular miter saws can only cut 2x6 inches at 90 degrees. If you're serious about woodworking and can afford the extra cash a sliding saw will pay off in the long run.

Miter (Chop) Saw

If the sliding miter saw is better than the regular saw, why should you buy a regular miter saw? Easy. If you just need something to cut 2x4s and won’t be needing precise cuts, then there’s no need to buy the more expensive option. The miter saw would do the job of cutting wood at any angle. I personally have one for that purpose. Chop saws are also lighter than sliding miter saws so they're easy to lug around to job sites when you need to travel with one.

Note: The sliding miter (aka Radial Arm Saw) is the only machine where you pull the blade toward you so always be extra careful when using it.

Belt Drive vs Direct Drive

Belt drives usually cost less and cut more smoothly than direct drives. Direct drives, however, have more power and take up less space in your workshop.

10-inch vs 12-inch blade

The blade size determines the clearance of the thickness of wood that can be cut. For example, a 12” blade can cut a 4” thick piece of wood in one pass. A 10” blade cannot, it would need to be flipped and cut again. If you have the budget go for the larger 12-inch blade. If you have plans to do a lot of woodworking, you’re going to use miter saws all the time. You might as well splurge on size.

Battery Power VS Cord

Battery Power Tools is something that's evolved over the last 10 years. Frankly, they are not necessary if you have a stationary spot in your shop. However, if you're always on a new job site a battery-powered saw will definitely come in handy. The power is surprisingly strong, it cuts just like it's plugged in. Of course, “handiness” in tools means it’s also more expensive than its wired counterpart. Just in case you’ll need that emergency charge, battery-powered miter saws come with plugin cords too.


Best Overall

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw (DWS780)

This version from DeWalt is a delight to use at least for me and the 11,000+ positive reviewers on Amazon. It sports a powerful 15-amp, 3800 rpm motor and cuts through anything. Surprisingly, with this amount of power, the DEWALT DWS780 is much quieter than its competition. It’s equipped with a 12-inch blade to give you that wide cut. It’s a “Sliding Compound Miter Saw” meaning, it can cut from both directions at a max of 60-degree angle to the right and a 50-degree angle to the left. You’ll find cheaper saws of this type but you won’t get as much value for their power and precision. This is my go-to recommendation for sliding miter saws.

How wide can you cut with the 12-inch blade? At 90 degrees, the DEWALT DWS780 will be able to cut a 2 x 16-inch lumber! It is advertised to collect a max of 75% of the dust on its collector but it feels like it’s collecting less.


Runner Up

Makita LS1019L Sliding Compound Miter Saw (10-Inch Blade)

I can’t mention a DeWalt without mentioning a Makita. This 10-inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw version from Makita comes with a laser for a much more precise cutting. Like most Japanese products, the build quality of the Makita LS1019L is superb. I find the motor from this sliding miter saw is surprisingly quiet. The Makita LS1019L's parts are very easy to set up. It’s not very heavy and a space saver too. And unlike the DEWALT DWS780, the dust collection on this machine is superb! The Makita LS1019L also has a direct drive motor, so you won't need to replace belts.


2nd Runner Up

BOSCH Power Tools GCM12SD - 15 Amp 12 Inch Corded Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw with 60 Tooth Saw Blade

There are a lot of good things I can say about this Sliding Glide Miter Saw. At first glance, you’ll have an accurate opinion that it’s a very heavy machine with a very unique design, the axial glide system which Bosch claims it has a patent on. It’s a no-nonsense machine. It’s heavy-duty, cuts through everything, and of course, comes with a high price tag. It sports 0, 33.9, and 45-degree cuts on both sides. I find that it also seems to collect the most dust (for its price range), even better than the 10-inch Makita LS1019L. How wide can the BOSCH Power Tools GCM12SD cut at 90 degrees? It can crosscut at 4 x 14 inches! I don’t really have anything bad to say about this miter saw. Yes, it doesn’t have a laser but I’ve always been able to cut without one. Some say it’s too heavy for transport but that’s not its intended purpose anyway. You don’t buy this miter saw to lug around everywhere. You keep the GCM12SD in your shop where it belongs. At about $650, it’s very pricey but if you're thinking of long-term use it’s definitely worth it. Bosch is known for its quality and will last you a very long time.


Best Miter Saw Money Can Buy

Festool Kapex KS 120 REB (10-Inch Blade)

If you’re familiar with Festool, you probably already know that this item would cost a fortune. It costs $1,500, to be exact! With that said, this is the best sliding miter saw your money could buy. I think the KS 120 REB is the most advanced tech in its class. It’s its rail forward design is a space saver. The rails slide as easily as you would want them to be. Forward or backward, it slides perfectly. The Festool Kapex KS 120 REB also has the best-in-class dust collection at 91% thanks to its rubber guide on the back of the blade. Aside from its micro-adjustable cutting angles it also boasts of a dual laser setup for that top-of-the-line precise cut. One extra feature is it has a stop depth, which allows you to cut tenons. Now that’s something only a Festool chop saw can do. To top all of this, it has its own stand and can easily be packed on the go.


Best Chop Saw

DEWALT Miter Saw, Single Bevel, Compound, 10-Inch, 15-Amp (DWS713)

If you need something basic but reliable, The Dewalt (Chop) Miter Saw is my best recommendation. What I love about this chop saw is it is well built and precise for the cheap price of a little more than $200. It cuts through wood like butter. It's light enough to carry around anywhere. You can mount it in a variety of stands. It's easy to assemble. It lacks the bells and whistles of the sliding miter saws I mentioned earlier but it gets the job done.


Choose According to the Type of Work You Plan to Use It With

Is precision an issue or do you just need to cut wood with it? Will you be using it often? What type of wood would you be using it with?

What to Look For:

  • Material Clamps

  • Removable Fences

  • Dust Extraction

  • Soft Start Motor

  • LED or laser line indicator

  • Front Bevel Controls


There you go, I recommend the Dewalt DWS780 since it's my favorite brand and it's the best sliding miter saw for the price. The Festool Kapex KS 120 REB is exceptional but the price is 2-3x versus the more than good enough ones. If you have the money and will use a miter saw all the time, go for the Festool. Otherwise, stick with Dewalt or any of the Makita and Bosch options. And lastly, if you need a cheap basic chop saw, go for the Dewalt miter saw. You can't go wrong with all of these.


Links for each product:

Festool Kapex KS 120 REB (10-inch Blade)


Disclosure: I only recommend products that I have used myself and have in my workshop. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

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