Miter saws are a valuable tool for DIY enthusiasts and folks who have a fully functioning workshop. These tools are perfect for projects that require trimming and framing. They have the ability to quickly cut crown moldings, window casings, door frames and picture frames.
Milter saws offer a range of different features that are capable of handling a variety of complex projects.
However, when it comes to purchasing the right miter saw, there are plenty of factors you will need to keep into account. Rest assured, this buyer’s guide will provide you all the information you need about purchasing the right tool:
Types Of Miter Saw
When it comes buying the right miter saw, you can choose from these main categories:
Primary Miter Saw
The standard miter saw is the perfect tool for making cuts for picture frames, performing simple carpentry finish work, simple molding and other DYI tasks. You can also use it for making precise straight cross cuts.
Since this is a basic model, the saw cannot be adjusted for wide lumber and cannot cut bevels, making it appropriate for beginners or DYI enthusiasts.
Reasonably priced and lightweight, the standard miter saw is a solid entry-level choice, especially if you are replacing a miter box or a handsaw. While you can use a manual miter saw for cutting most small ceramic tiles, a powered version can produce better and faster results.
If you are planning on purchasing a basic model, think about why you need the saw. You may have to buy a more versatile model for advanced applications and techniques.
Compound Miter Saws
Compound miter saw allows folks to make beveled, straight cuts. These models feature a blade that can be tilted to achieve beveled cuts and come in single or dual modes. Individual models typically tip in one direction, at a 45-degree angle. You'll need to reposition the workpiece if you want to make cuts in the opposite direction, this can be inconvenient.
However, models that feature dual bevels can tilt in both directions, which means you need not reposition the workpiece, making it an excellent choice if you perform tasks that require regular bevel work such as crown molding. Using a miter saw with dual bevelscuts down the time you need for realigning and moving the workpiece to make the second cut.
Ideally, these models are a great option if you are working with pieces that are too heavy or cumbersome to move. While single-bevel models are less expensive and lighter in weight, you ought to consider the dual bevel model for complex projects to improve accuracy and speed up a project.
Opt for the dual model if you are performing more than occasional bevel work.
This type of saw is harder to operate and is best suited for professionals. However, the results are worth the extra effort. Compound miter saws are more expensive compared to the basic model and best work for pieces that are too difficult to move.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
A sliding compound miter saw offers the same features as the compound model with an addition of a sliding arm – this makes it easier for cutting wider board. The arm can move blade assembly and motor across at a larger width compared to other models. The user can also push the blade through when making straight crosscuts in wide stock.
Sliding models are the most versatile among the milter saw family. You can choose between single and dual bevel options according to your convenience. However, it is best you consider what you will be using the tool for since it can be complicated for beginners.
Cordless Miter Saws
Cordless models offer the portability and convenience of miter saws without worrying about hunting for an electric power source. All types of miter saws are available in cordless models. However, on the downside, these models are not suitable for long working sessions since you may have to put the tool down for charging.
To maximize run time, opt for models that offer replaceable batteries or rapid recharging systems. Lithium-ion batteries provide more consistent power and have a longer life. This model is best suited for folks who frequently travel to work sites and are in need of a portable device.
However, for stationary work areas, it is best you opt for a corded model for better consistency and power.
Specification Of The Miter Saws
Most miter saws offer a variety of features and gimmicks that make the tool more convenience to use. Some have LED lights which come in handy when working in the dark or places with bad lighting.
Some models also feature built-in laser lines that produce a red line imagery across the wood, allowing you to make more accurate cuts. Additionally, you can conveniently line it up with a pencil.
Some additional features you should also keep a look out for include extension arms, adjustable rear fences, and workpiece clamps to secure your work. These added features are ideal for securing wood while keeping your hands free and well out of the reach of the blade.
However, new miter saws have a variable speed dial that allows you to set up a speed that best suits the material you are cutting.
Another important aspect to consider is the blade size. The most common miter saw sizes include 8, 10 and 12 inches. The larger blades are perfect for making longer cuts, while the smaller ones are suitable for tasks that require precision.
These factory set points that allow you to make more precise cuts on particular angles. Positive stops reduce the timed needed to set up cuts.
How To Use A Miter Saw
A miter saw is ideal for performing DYI work around the house. However, just like any other wood-cutting tool, you should use a miter saw with caution. Users need to follow a proper way if they want to make a sliding cut. Follow these simple steps:
- Place the wooden board against the fence and secure it with the clamp
- Before switching on the blade, pull the miter saw towards you, ensuring the blade positions itself over the board’s edge which is nearest to you
- Push the trigger to switch on the saw and wait a couple of seconds for it to reach peak rotation speed. Once the blade is ready, push it down to position the wood.
- Push the saw back while the blade is still rotating away from you while the blade continues to work its way through the rest of the wood.
- Once the blade has completely cut through the wood, raise the saw and pull the trigger to switch off the machine.
Note Of Caution
Don't try lifting the blade when it's still spinning. The blade can toss small pieces of wood in the air that can get into your eyes if you are not wearing protective eye gear.
Tips For Using Miter Saw
Here are a couple of tips you should keep in mind while using a miter saw:
Inspect The Throat Plate
In some miter saws, you will find the throat plates set below the saw's table. Ensure the level of the throat plate is in level with the table, this reduces the risks of accidents and prevents thin wooden pieces from bending while you are making a cut. If the throat plate is positioned too low, you’ll have to remove it place a ledge underneath the plate.
Use A Hold-Down
You don't want to ruin a perfectly good cut because you forgot to secure the clamp, now do you? Securing the clamp prevents your masterpiece from wiggling. Unfortunately, standard clamps may not get the job done if you don't have a flat surface underneath the table. Consider opting for hold-downs.
Ensure the ones you choose are easy to adjust and can are sturdy enough to hold the board in place. They might be a bit inconvenient, but it can certainly increase accuracy in the long run.
Cut Dowels With A V-Block
Because the dowel stock might circle when the blade hits it, you should make a V-shaped cradle. If you have a miter saw with a depth stop, you can make sure that the blade will not pierce through the cradle.
For making the cradle, tilt the table saw blade to 45 degrees. Raise the blade and cut 3/16” below the top of the V and flip the board from end to end. Now create a cut in the opposite direction. This partial cutting tip prevents shreds of wood from flying towards you. Now raise the blade and make a proper V shape.
Miter Saw Vs. Table Saw
If you are in search of the perfect power saw and cannot choose between a table or miter then, you’re in luck because today we will be discussing both the power tools in detail.
Here’s the thing, if you are planning on using your saw for all kinds of different activities such as cutting large panels, trimming, cut shelving then you will probably benefit from a table saw. These saws can be used for a broad range of applications and can cut different types of materials.
However, if you will be working with a lot of molding, then a miter saw may be an excellent choice for you. Miter saws are less expensive and are ideal for performing random DYI tasks. Miter saws allow you to make precise and angled cuts so you can achieve neater results.
Best Miter Saw Manufacturers
When it comes to purchasing the best power tools, we recommend you opt for the best brands and manufacturers. Here some of the top names you should consider:
DeWalt one of America’s largest power tools and hand tools manufacturing brand. The company was started in 1924 and by an inventor who created the radial arm saw. Over the years, the company has expanded its services around the world and has become a renowned brand.
The brand offers constructional professional a whole range to choose from including DeWalt miter saws, reciprocating saws, jigs saws, circulating saws and a lot more. Each of these saws is professionally designed to offer maximum performance and durability.
Hitachi is Japanese a multinational company with its headquarters in Tokyo. Apart from construction tools, the highly diversified brand targets eleven business segments including electronic systems, automotive systems, digital media and lots more. Hitachi miter saws are among the best in the market and offer brilliant results.
Makita is another Japan-based power tool company that was founded decades ago in 1915.
Over the years, Makita has expanded its business all over the world including Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, United States and more. Makita miter saws are best known for their exceptional quality. The brand assembles a significant amount of their tools in North America.
Ryobi is a Japanese manufacturer that produces high-quality components for electronics, automobile, and telecommunications industries. The brand also sells power tools, builder's hardware, and printing equipment. Ryobi offers an extensive range of power tools including miter saws. The brand is known to produce some of the best compound miter saws in town.
The products of these brands are easily available on Amazon so do check it out if you searching for a quality miter saw.
Safety Features To Look Out For When Investing In A Miter Saw
Safety always comes first! Here are a couple of security features your miter saw should include:
To prevent accidents, ensure the boards and panels you are cutting are securely in place. All kinds of things can go wrong if you are not careful since the material can slip in the process. For this reason, ensure the miter features safety clamps.
The clamps will hold the board in place and lock it into a fixed position. This handy feature will also result in more precise cuts.
Another great safety feature you should look out for is lockout triggers. The feature works like a switch that is built into the handle and prevents the saw from turning on by accident. And of course, you don't want the miter saw to turn on by accident as it can lead to dangerous accidents.
While some miter saws feature electric brakes, others don’t. So, if you value your safety and the safety of others, you will invest in a miter saw with this feature. The brake automatically prevents the blade from rotating when you let go of the trigger.
The saw has a tendency of spinning incredibly fast without an electric brake since the centrifugal force can keep the blade from rotating for a couple of more seconds after you complete the job. An electric brake ensures the blade immediately stops within a few seconds.
Ensure the miter saw you invest in features an efficient dust collection system. In case your miter saw only includes a dust bag, invest in a high-end dust collection system. A robust dust collection system prevents sawdust from flying and impairing your vision while using the machine. Also, a more efficient dust collection system will prolong the life of your device.
Maintenance And Cleaning
Miter saws are an indispensable tool for woodworkers and crafters. However, if you do not clean and properly maintain the device, it will not perform with the same amount of efficiency. Regular maintenance will help you deliver exceptional quality results and will guarantee the longevity of your saw.
Rest assured, cleaning and maintaining your miter saw is not such a difficult task. If you follow these simple steps, you will be able to take good care of your power tools for years. Here are a couple of cleaning and maintenance tips you should follow:
Get Rid Of Dust And Debris Particles
The first step to cleaning and maintaining the miter saw is to remove dirt and debris from it. You will require compressed air to blow off the dust particles on the surface of the tools. Inspect the moving parts as dust accumulated inside can slow down its performance.
Once you have used compressed air to blow the dust off the surface, use an old rag or dry cloth to clean up the tool nicely so that it looks as good as new.
Clean The Cutting Table And Fence
Cleaning the miter saw isn’t enough, ensure your workspace is also spotless. Don’t forget to pay attention to the saw cutting table and fence. While cleaning the cutting table and fence, also pay attention to the exterior parts of the saw. Use a scotch-bright pad to clean the table and fence. Clean using a circular motion with the help of a mild cleaning agent.
Apply force on the surface to remove grime and caked particles. Your working space is bound to look spotless in now time.
Sharpening And Cleaning The Blades
Take good care of the blades because they are the most crucial parts of the saw and are necessary for functionality. If the blades function right, the tool is likely to deliver a cutting-edge result. If the blades are becoming blunt, have them sharpened by a professional or do it on your own.
However, if you are going the DIY route, make sure you use the right sharpening tools and know how to sharpen the blades safely.
One the blades are sharp, pay attention to cleaning. Be careful while removing dirt and debris from the teeth of the blades. Also, it does not matter how experienced you are, do not use your bare hands. Consider wearing thick rubber gloves or use a brush. Once the blade is clean, apply cutting oil for a glossy look.
Clean The Exterior Moving Parts
Do not overlook the exterior moving parts when cleaning the miter saw. Read the user manual to find out what type of lubricants are best suited for the machine. Lubrication reduces friction and allows the tool and its blade to work more efficiently, which also enhances the longevity of the parts.
Inspect The Brushes, Kerf Board And Power Cord
Before you pack up the power tool for next summer, check the parts for cracks, breakages, chipping and wear and tear. Replace any of the parts that seem to be worn-out.
Read The Instruction Manual
If you have never used a miter saw before, it is essential you read the instructional manual. Each device is likely to come with a set of instructions for you to follow. It is integral you do your research first because your safety depends on it.
Once you have purchased the saw, hold it for a while to get accustomed to the weight and adjust your grip accordingly. You can also experiment with it and read about how all the different features work so you can use the device more efficiently.
Clean The Saw After Each Use
Some dirt and debris are always likely to find its way inside the machine. To ensure the longevity of the miter saw, ensure you remove it. Follow the maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturers and seek professional assistance immediately if you suspect there is something wrong with the machine.
If you are looking up videos online, only follow the ones uploaded by the brand. Increased vibration, strange noises, and increased vibrations are all signs that there is something wrong with the power tool. Get the power tool checked by a technician immediately.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you all the information you need regarding purchasing and using a miter saw. Don't forget to check out our buyer's guide for details. Good luck!