There are three variations of the miter saw. They include:
Compound Miter Saw
That is a miter saw that uses blades capable of pivoting left and right along with the swing arm for complicated, angled cuts. Meanwhile, for beveled cuts, they tilt in a single direction. This saw has axes (as in the plural of axis) you can manipulate simultaneously to yield a compound miter cut, which is something no ordinary saw could accomplish, even fellow miter saws with no compound cut capabilities. If you want to do any project that requires two-plane angled cuts, like the creation of crown molding or picture frames, then the compound miter saw is for you.
Dual Compound Miter Saw
As for the dual compound miter saw, it’s a compound miter saw variant wherein it does everything a compound miter saw can do (specifically making angled cuts for picture frames and crown molding through multiple axes manipulation), but it’s a lot more advanced. It can do things the compound miter saw couldn’t. While the compound miter saw can only tilt in one direction, the dual compound miter saw has an extra axis to tilt with, tilting both left and right. That allows it to create bevels at any angle, which a “normal” compound miter saw couldn’t do.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
As for the sliding compound miter saw, its main claim to fame is its ability to have a sliding feature that’s more like a radial arm saw. In essence, it’s like a miter saw version of a radial arm saw, by which you could make miter cuts, crown moldings, picture frame cuts, and beveled cuts since you can also move the blade backward and forward, but this time with the assistance of a sliding arm. It’s quite a versatile saw, and it even has increased length and range for more cutting efficiency to boot.
Watch this clip for a basic understanding of a miter saw:
Must-Have Miter Saw Features
There are many miter saw features you should note, like the fact that amps measure the saw motor’s power. The higher the amps, the more power you’ll get from your miter saw. What also makes the saw more versatile and intuitive is its blade size. The most common sizes for blades are 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches. You can furthermore make longer cuts with blades that have bigger diameters.
Meanwhile, positive stops enable you to make precision cuts on specific angles since they’re factory set points. The more positive stops your miter saw has, the less time you’ll need to set up your cuts. Many of these stops are thumb-activated. You can adjust the angle as you make your crosscuts or beveled cuts without halting the sawing action. You can adjust on the fly or follow a specific angle cut.
As for depth stops, they allow you to customize the blade height, thus enabling you to control the depth of the cut into your workpiece every time. You can also keep the guard away from the stock with the articulated blade guards, thus enabling you to view the cutting line better when you do your cuts. As the saw is raised, the guard lowers to cover the blade completely.
Another convenient feature that you should be on the lookout for is the presence of electric brakes. They reverse the flow of electricity in the saw motor whenever the trigger is released, which stops the momentum of the blade quickly whenever you need to do so an emergency stop. The blade will halt in as little as two seconds if they have this specific safety feature included. Finally, the shaft locks or spindle help immobilize the blade and shaft, making it easier to change the blade every time.
Other Miter Saw Considerations
Cleanup is also essential when choosing the right miter saw for your workshop. It should have mountable dust bags that can be directly attached to the saw for sawdust collection and dust chutes or blowers that help move sawdust and debris from the cutting area and into the chute. That ensures the cleanliness of your workspace and keeps the saw itself from getting damaged by accumulated dirt and debris.
Meanwhile, standard miter cuts can get added support from flip and sliding fences. You can flip or slide these out of the way to support longer workpieces or make bevel cuts possible. Meanwhile, while not necessary, guide lights and laser guides can help cast a shadow or project a beam on the workpiece as you cut it down to size, assisting you with the accuracy and angling of your every miter cut, bevel cut, or crosscut.
Miter setting information can be better condensed, summarized, or adjusted with the assistance of digital displays. Beyond these specs, there are other considerations you need to take into account when getting the right miter saw for you, which includes mounting the miter saw to a workbench when using it for your workshop.
Suppose you have to transport the device into different workshops. In that case, you should get the more portable models that don’t have their own stands, and this way, you won’t need a forklift to move it from place to place. Like any saw, the blade is a vital part of this device. When buying a miter saw, the common blades you should look for include (each harder and stays sharper longer than the last) steel blades, high-speed steel blades, and carbide-tipped blades. Don’t just get the sharpest and hardest blade if you don’t need it.
When buying the best miter saw, your best bet is to find one that’s defined by your needs. You should get one that suits your needs so that you don’t end up with a miter saw that’s “over-qualified” for your DIY home improvement or workshop requirements or “under-qualified” for your industrial and heavy duty construction applications.
Maybe you’re part of a manufacturing firm, and you have people who use power tools to “handicraft” picture frames, window casings, and whatnot instead of a more expensive factory line since you’re doing this for the sake of creating custom-made workpieces. Perhaps you want crown molding that’s not found in stores and that you can design on your own. Maybe you might even need a miter saw for your wood workshop assignment. There are a thousand possible reasons why you should get a miter saw. It’s from this thousand that you can choose the right saw.
Specific saws bring specific things to the proverbial table. Suppose you want to make cuts at a variety of angles. In that case, that’s the general or universal feature that all miter saws should have. If a miter saw fails in this department from the get-go, it has failed as a miter saw. As a saw with a blade mounted on a swing arm that pivots from left to right, you should be aware of the variants of such saws before buying them.
You can purchase miter saws according to their blade size, type (from dual compound miter saws to sliding compound miter saws), and extra features (from dust bins to safety features like electric brakes). They should also feature accurate miter indexes that change the blade angle relative to the fence. Sometimes, the fence themselves can slide out or be removable to make way for larger workpieces and whatnot.