Sliding Miter Saws Explained

With such a wide variety of sliding miter saws on the market, we have gone into depth on 10 of the top saws on the market. There are a number of options to consider from saw diameter, durability, and cost, plus many more. We have done all the hard work reviewing the options to help you pick the best sliding miter for your workshop.

The main reason to purchase a sliding miter saw is the ability to cut wide boards. Built-in slides allow it to travel forwards and backward along rails increasing the cutting width. They still include the features a standard compound miter saw has such as angling for bevel and miter cuts. If you have reached this far, I’m sure you already know the main uses of a sliding miter saw, so check out the top features to look for before reading our top 10 reviews.

Features to look for when choosing a sliding miter saw

Safety

Safety Features

Whenever you are using a power tool safety should be at the forefront of your mind. Top and bottom blade guards are essential for any miter saw as the protect you from the blade. We always suggest wearing full protective equipment. At a minimum eye protection, gloves, hearing protection and a facemask where dust extraction is poor.

Saw Blade

Blade Diameter

The diameter of the saw blade is less of an issue compared with a non-sliding miter saw as you can slide along the rails to cover a wider distance. It is still worth considering the blade diameter as it restricts the depth of wood you are able to cut. Also, you will find the 10-inch blades are cheaper than 12-inch blades as they are more common. Always check the blade type and the quality of the saw blade to make sure it is suitable for the job.

Bevel Controls

Bevel controls allow you to change the angle of the blade to the material. This creates a cut that is not perpendicular to the top of the piece. Miter saws can be either single or double bevel. Double bevel being more popular as you can tilt the saw blade to the left or the right rather than in just one direction. A single bevel doesn’t restrict you too much as you can still flip the piece over to make the opposite cut.

Positive Stops

To quickly set your blade at specific angles to the face of the material, many miter saws come with predefined positive stops. This is an important feature to look out for as it will help increase your productivity. Make sure you are able to override the points so that you can cut at various angles. Some miter saws also include micro adjustments to fine tune your cutting angle.

The Best Sliding Miter Saw Reviews

Best Overall

1. Dewalt DWS779

Stand Out Features Include
  • 15 Amp 3,800 RPM electric motor
  • 12” Saw Blade
  • 75% of dust collected
  • 56 Pounds
  • Carbide Blade
Our Rating

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Our Take

Our best overall sliding miter saw is the Dewalt DWS779 with its precision cuts and ease of use we found it hard to stop using. It has a 15-amp 3800 RPM electric motor that will be wanted to be used on any job site. Its 32-tooth rough 12-inch saw blade that it came with was no match for any of the lumber that we tested.

Dewalt is known across its products for premium quality and reliability. The steel rails and linear ball bearings allow for a smooth sliding motion across its stainless-steel detent plate. A highly efficient dust-gathering system continues to collect dust even when fully extended, collecting up to 75% of the sawdust.

This is a double bevel miter saw, meaning it can rotate to both the left and the right up to 45 degrees. We must note that it doesn’t come with a laser or shadow guide light. But at this price point, we couldn’t be more impressed with the quality. If you are desperate to have a saw with an XPS light then an aftermarket one can be easily fitted. This is a serious workhorse and will last for years, we highly recommend it.

Best Compact

2. Bosch GCM12SD

Stand Out Features Include
  • Axial Glide System for wider cuts
  • 12” Saw Blade
  • Quick release fence lock
  • 65 pounds
  • 15 Amp 3,800 Rpm Electric Motor
Our Rating

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Our Take

The Bosch GCM12SD is a great sliding miter saw in our opinion, notably for its very compact form. It is able to be so compact due to its patented axial glide system that allows for long crosscuts and easier alignment. With a maximum 14-inch crosscut but very little of the machine protruding backward due to its arm system.

It has a similar motor to the Dewalt DWS779 at 15 amps and 3,800 RPM, Revolutions Per Minute. It is easily adjustable thanks to its easy to read bevel and miter scales. Plus, markings for common applications such as roof pitch angles helped make this saw stand out.

The axial glide system is great for workshops that are requiring a sliding miter saw for heavy use. This is because, with a rail system the bearings can become clogged with dust, this isn’t an issue with the Bosch. At this price pint, you might expect more features such as a laser alignment light. However, the Bosch brand speaks for itself for its level of quality and craftsmanship. Perfect for fitting close to a wall or in a small space with unparalleled quality across all of the sliding miter saw that we reviewed.

Best Cordless

3. Dewalt DWS709

Stand Out Features Include
  • 7.25” Saw Blade
  • Lightweight only 30 pounds
  • 20V Battery powered
  • 3,750 RPM Electric Motor
  • 11 Positive Stops
Our Rating

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Our Take

The Dewalt DWS709 comes with the smallest blade in our sliding miter saw reviews. But don’t let this fool you into thinking it isn’t up to the job with up to 8” cross-cut capacity. It is also the lightest miter saw out of our reviews. Its lightweight and battery-powered motor make it a fantastic tool for any job site.

One of two battery-powered sliding miter saws we reviewed, we found it very interesting, even though it doesn’t have the range compared to the others. The 20-volt battery provides on average over 200 cuts per charge, depending on the size of the lumber. It has the built-in Dewalt XPS cross cut positioning system to provide increased accuracy and visibility of your cut.

Not only is this miter saw lightweight, but it is also compact helping it be easily transported and stored, even at home. If you need a tool for working outdoors away from a socket or just around your home this is a great option.

Best Value

4. Tacklife EMS01A

Stand Out Features Include
  • 10” Saw Blade
  • Only 31.5 pounds
  • Double speed 3200 RPM or 4500 RPM
  • Laser Guide
  • 3 Blades included
  • Extension Table
Our Rating

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Our Take

The Tacklife EMS01A is a lightweight and functional sliding miter saw that is excellent for its price point. It comes with a unique two-speed control setting to help with precision cutting depending on your material and thickness. Plus reaching maximum speed in 2 seconds or less means less noise and time waiting for the blade to reach cutting speed.

We were surprised by the number of extra features the EMS01A head to offer. The laser guide helps accurate lumber alignment and a built-in extension table helps with even long pieces. It was a shame to only find that it had single bevel rotation, however for its value, it offers a lot of other features. Notably, at only 31.5 pounds it is just as portable as the battery-powered miter saws.

Its 10-inch saw blade makes it perfect for a home shop or workshop alike. Built for accuracy and durability but at a price point to suit everyone. It even includes multiple spare blades depending on your material or cut type. It’s manual was difficult to read, but we found several helpful videos online to get us going very quickly straight out of the box.

5. Delta Cruzer

Stand Out Features Include
  • 12” Saw Blade
  • 15 Amp
  • 18-inch cross cut capacity
  • LED cut alignment system
  • Unique load arm support bracket
  • Military grade aluminium
  • 62 pounds
Our Rating

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Our Take

The Delta Cruzer 26-2251 is another compact sliding miter saw. However, this stood out to us due to its aluminum frame and superb quality, providing accurate and durable cutting. It has the joint longest crosscut capacity of 18 inches thanks to its far-reaching extending arm. It is also dual bevel making it versatile for all projects.

We have to mention its single-hand controls that allow quick overrides of miter angles and bevel controls. Not to mention its integrated Shadowline technology that makes aligning lumber a breeze. This was by far the best alignment technology that we used across all of our sliding miter saw reviews.

We really can’t emphasize how smooth the robot arm is to use; it feels like it is floating on rails. We found it easy to adjust and operate. Our only complaint was its high price, but with its impressive alignment options and scales, easy adjustment, and plenty more features it is easy to justify.

6. Milwaukee 2734-20 M18

Stand Out Features Include
  • Battery Powered 4,000 RPM motor
  • 10” Saw Blade
  • 400 cuts per charge
  • Shadow Line Cut indicator
  • 45 pounds
Our Rating

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Our Take

One of two battery-powered sliding miter saws in our reviews, but the Milwaukee has a lot more power compared to the Dewalt. It also has a larger 10-inch blade with up to 12-inch crosscut capacity. It comes with a 4000 RPM brushless motor that can cut up to 400 cuts per charge, there is no doubt that this is an impressive machine.

Much like the Dewalt it also comes with shadow light technology to help align your lumber easily. As the blade is lowered you can clearly see where and how wide the blade will cut. After marking your piece of material you can check its alignment perfectly.  

For anyone working in a rural or outside a lot, this is a fantastic tool. However due to its higher price and increased weight we couldn’t rate it as highly as the Dewalt. If you are looking for that extra reach to cut 2×12 then we would have no hesitation in recommending this miter saw.

7. Tacklife PMS03A

Stand Out Features Include
  • 15 Amp 3,800 RPM motor
  • 12” Saw Blade
  • Laser Guide
  • Collect up to 70% of Dust
  • Extension platform
  • 46 pounds
Our Rating

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Our Take

The second of two Tacklife sliding miter saws we have reviewed is the PMS03A. it is an upgrade on the EMS01A in a number of areas. Notably, it has a larger 12-inch saw blade that allows it to cut wider crosscuts. It also comes with an extension platform or table to use with even the longest pieces of lumber.

As pretty standard on the sliding miter saws we reviewed, it comes with a 15 Amp 3800 RPM motor to efficiently cut through anything we tested. Much like the EMS01A, it comes with an integrated laser for precision alignment with your material. The double bevel feature is another upgrade that means you can cut at 45 degrees to the left or the right, meaning you don’t have to worry about rotating your material over.

Its built-in dust collection system collects up to 70% of sawdust. This is not quite as efficient as some of the others we have reviewed but still helps with your health and safety. A soft-grip handle to guide the saw blade adds comfort and control when making a cut. Overall we enjoyed reviewing the Tacklife PMS03A but were disappointed by its dust bag becoming detached and difficult to understand user manual.

8. Metabo C10FSHCT

Stand Out Features Include
  • 15 Amp 2.5 HP Electric Motor
  • 6 pounds
  • 10” Saw Blade
  • LED light to view cut
  • Laser Marker
  • Positive stops and Indications
Our Rating

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Our Take

The Metabo C10FSHCT 10-inch sliding miter saw is a strong contender for the best extra features saw. It uses both a laser marker to accurately pinpoint the cutting position and an LED light to safely view your material as you cut. Often our workshops are poorly lit and we place our tools at the back away from natural light. The LED light makes your cutting much safer.

It also includes zero clearance rails that allow for the saw to be placed on a benchtop close to a wall without obstructing its full range of motion. This makes it ideal for small spaces such as a garage or backyard workshop. This updated version of the Metabo has a new motor with 42% more power and is even lighter than before. It also features a dual bevel system to allow cutting at either angle.

We did notice that there was a bit more play in the saw when changing angles and that the dust collection bag wasn’t especially great. But overall a good choice and attaching a shop vac fixed the sawdust issue.

9. Makita LS1219L

Stand Out Features Include
  • Unique double steel rail system
  • 12” Saw Blade
  • Built in Laser
  • 65 pounds
  • 15 Amp 3200 RPM direct drive electric motor
  • 60T carbide tipped blade
Our Rating

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Our Take

The Makita LS1219 features a unique 2-steel rail system to help reduce its footprint and allow it to fit into small spaces and against a wall. Its 12-inch saw blade can make up to 15-inch crosscuts. The Makita is a high-end machine that is designed to have the best cutting capacity. It uses a direct drive motor that gives a highly efficient power transfer to the saw blade and doesn’t require belts to be replaced.

It also has a built-in laser that shines both when the blade is turning or not to help line up your material. We found it produced a clean-cut and its compact design was an added benefit. It felt solid and its table detents locked into place securely. However, it is a very heavy tool, being one of the heaviest we reviewed and when it arrived it wasn’t aligned correctly, taking a while to sort. Others have mentioned that this is a fragile tool, but it seems that the packaging isn’t good for shipping so be careful if ordering online.

10. Skilsaw SPT88-01

Stand Out Features Include
  • 12” Saw Blade
  • 15 Amp 4000 RPM motor
  • Worm drive gearing
  • 51 pounds
  • LED Shadow Light
  • Convenient Top Handle
Our Rating

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Our Take

The Skilsaw SPT88-01 is the lightest sliding miter saw in the 12-inch blade category. This makes it very easy to move around, especially with its top handle. Built with worm drive gearing to provide dependable quality cutting and consistent power whilst staying relatively lightweight.

It has easy to use bevel stops for its dual bevel adjustments which were easy to use. It was definitely powerful when compared to some of the lighter weight saws. This is down to the exclusive worm drive gearing connected to a 15 amp motor. It isn’t the most compact tool, so check where you plan on using it before deciding if it is right for you.

There were a couple of areas that we found frustrating. The first was the lack of scale on the rear fence to help with positioning, this would make repeated cuts far simpler. The other issue was the shadow light only powered on while the blade is powered as they are both turned on from the same trigger. It also took the longest out of all of the saws we reviewed to set up. For an accurate and durable sliding miter saw we think there are better options on the market at a better price point.

Sliding Miter Saw Buyers Guide

Choosing a sliding miter saw fit for your purpose can be tricky with so many excellent options on the market. To help you differentiate between them we have gone through the main features you should look out for.

Blade Guards

As mentioned in our top features section safety is paramount when using a power saw. Blade guards are an essential safety feature of any sliding miter saw. They can be found on all of our recommended saws. We recommend reading more information on machinery health and safety to fully understand the dangers. Blade guards work by creating a physical barrier between you and the spinning saw blade. There are a top and a bottom blade guard that each have their unique functions.

A top blade guard is a permanent non-moving feature that keeps you from placing your hands, hair, or other loose objects in the path of the saw. These come preinstalled and are only removed when changing the saw blade.

The bottom blade guard is often made from a transparent material so that you can view and position your lumber. It has a special feature that means it rotates and is retracted as the blade lowers towards your material. This helps to keep the blade covered at all opportunities when it isn’t needed for cutting.  

Electric Brake

An electric brake is a common feature of most sliding miter saws. It works by reversing the electricity supply to the motor as soon as the trigger is released. This causes the motor to reverse and stop the blade from rotating much faster than if left to stop via friction.

As it relies on electricity to stop the blade there is no wear on the blade. However, they can fail in other areas such as the motor brushes. If you notice that the blade is taking longer to stop it is probably time to replace or service. An electric brake is one feature you should make sure that your miter saw comes with. However, don’t allow yourself to get slack with other safety standards as the blade will still travel quickly.

Lockout Trigger or Button

Another excellent safety feature is the lockout trigger, sometimes also known as the lockout button. It helps to stop you accidentally turning the saw blade on when not intending. You have to press the lockout button on the handle at the same time as turning on the saw. Once it has been pressed the power switch becomes available and you can make cuts. It is another feature that we would recommend the sliding miter saw you choose comes with.  

Dust Extraction

What you gain in the cutting distance over a non-sliding compound miter saw, you will lose in dust collection. A sliding miter saw struggles to pick up all the sawdust when the saw is extended away from the fence.

To improve with the dust collection, we would recommend attaching a shop vac to the dust bag connection point. Also, make sure to keep your work area clean throughout the day and always leave it clean and tidy.

Laser and Shadow Guides

Laser guides are great for indicating where the cutting point of the blade will be on your material. These can often be turned on or off and switched depending if right or left angle cutting. If your miter saw doesn’t have a laser don’t worry as these can be added later as an accessory.

A newer guide method is the shadow method. It uses two bright LED lights, one on either side of the blade to create an indication shadow. The LED’s make a shadow the thickness of the blade’s kerf as it is lowered towards the material.  As long as you align to the middle of the shadow you will have a perfectly aligned cut. The width of the shadow is determined by the saw blade. This shows exactly how wide the cut will be independent of what size blade is installed.

With both systems, you might find that in bright sunlight the laser or shadow is difficult to make out. Careful repositioning of the miter saw and your body can help block some of the sunlight. We found that these are great for helping to make quick and accurate cuts with minimal effort.

Quick Positioning

To assist with positioning a sliding miter saw there are scales and rulers built-in. For the most common angles, positive stops and detents are often found to quickly lock the saw into position.  

These are often found at 15, 22.5, 30, and 45-degree angles. Detents allow for a miter saw to precisely positioned at 1-degree increments. They may also include micro-adjustments depending on the quality of the saw.

Table Extensions

When using any power saw it is important to support your lumber along the length of the entire piece. The surface that you place your material onto on a sliding mite saw is called the table. Often, we are cutting pieces of material that are much longer than the table. Table extensions are an excellent support and safety measure.

Some of the sliding miter saws we have reviewed come with table extensions. However, if yours doesn’t or they are too short then there are many after-market options. These can easily be attached using a hand or power wrench.

Shaft or Blade Lock

A common issue with miter saws is continuing to use them while the blade has worn out, in turn burning out the motor. To help change a saw blade newer models come with a shaft or blade lock. These stop the blade rotating and allow for you to safely replace it. If for some reason your miter saw doesn’t come with a blade lock than a 2×4 can be placed under the blade to prevent it from spinning. An Allen wrench or blade tool is then used to loosen the center bolt and remove the blade.  

Safety Clamps

A mentioned in regards to table extensions it is important to support your wood along its full length to stop it flying up at you once cut. When using a sliding miter saw an even better step is to use safety clamps that hold the lumber down onto the saw table.

These can be found on either side of the saw blade and keep your material securely in place against the table fence throughout the cutting process. Once the cut has finished you can quickly release the clamps and move your pieces away. Not only does it stop the material spring up and hit you, but it also helps make a cleaner cut.

Maintaining your Sliding Miter Saw

With all tools in your workshop, always take good care of them to make sure they are safe and reliable.

Check over your machine

You should always be checking over your machine. Keeping an eye out for any damage or cracks that might cause it to fail. When checking your miter saw remember to unplug it from the power to avoid any mistakes. Every so often it is worth doing a thorough check over each part. Check nothing is broken, that your blade isn’t worn out, and that all safety features still work.

Clean

To properly clean your saw, first, unplug it and move it to a well-ventilated area or outside. Using a brush and pressurized air clean away all of the sawdust and other debris. Using a rag and a toothbrush remove any dust from around the hinges and other hard to reach areas.

Oil moving parts

The main moving parts on a sliding miter saw are the hinge, the bottom blade guard, and the rotating table. Making sure these are completely free of sawdust before spraying on oil or wet lubricant. If your saw uses sliding rails rather than a pivoting arm then we recommend a dry lubricant is used on the rails. Dry lubricants are known to last longer and are perfect for helping move the heavy saw head.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best sliding miter saw for the money?

We recommend the Tacklife EMS01A as our best value saw as it has all to features you need for a professional cut at a very reasonable price. It comes with a laser guide system for its 10-inch saw blade and double speed system. While the slide rails allow you to make cuts on longer boards.

Is a sliding miter saw worth it?

If you find yourself regularly needing to cut wide pieces of lumber or molding then a sliding miter saw will save you lots of time. However, if you are limited to space or only need it for smaller sizes of wood then a compound miter saw will be fine for many carpenter’s needs.

What is the best miter saw for home use?

At home, you often have less space than at your workshop and probably have to carry it around and outside. For this reason, we would recommend the Dewalt DWS709 as it is the lightest and most mobile sliding miter saw we reviewed. As well as being very compact and easy to store when not in use.

What should I look for when buying a sliding mitre saw?

When purchasing a sliding miter saw you should look for blade size, alignment helpers, and of course its safety features. Laser or shadow guides and blade guards are two features we wouldn’t overlook when buying a saw. For blade size you a weighing up cost of blade vs reach of cut.

Can I use a miter saw as a chop saw?

Yes, a miter saw and a sliding miter saw are both able to be used as a chop saw. They are also great for making miter cuts, bevel cuts, and compound miter cuts.

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