Compound Miter Saws: Ratings of Sources
Chris Marshall subjects seven 10-inch sliding miter saws to a punishing test: 50 crosscuts and 50 compound cuts each through 10-inch wide, 1.75-inch-thick hard maple. He goes into detail about each saw's features and performance, including its ability to handle dust when hooked up to a shop vacuum or dust extractor.
Popular Woodworking's article archive includes two single-product reviews for sliding miter saws. Editors sum up each saw's strong and weak points in a few paragraphs. Although they don't go into a lot of detail about their testing methods, it's clear they have personally handled the saws. However, there's no direct comparison between models.
Roy Berendsohn evaluates eight 10-inch compound miter saws from DeWalt, Hitachi, Craftsman, Makita, and other brands. Each saw gets a brief write-up summarizing its pros and cons, including weight, power, precision, and special features. Berendsohn also notes the maximum cut each saw can make through a .75-inch board at 90 degrees and at 45 degrees. However, he offers no other details about his testing methods.
Andy Beasley subjects eight 12-inch compound miter saws, including single- and dual-bevel models from Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi, Makita, and Ridgid, to eight hours of hands-on testing. He provides a detailed chart comparing the saws' cutting capacity, controls, fences, and scales and names his top picks for specific uses. Though this is an older review, four of the eight saws it covers are still available.
In his latest review, Berendsohn evaluates four cordless miter saws, evaluating power, smoothness, battery life, features, and cost. He rates each model on a five-star scale and outlines its strongest and weakest points. However, he doesn't go into detail about how he tested the saws.
Editors review about two dozen miter saws here, evaluating performance, features, ease of use and value. Individual reviews are short and to the point, with a paragraph or so analyzing the saw's performance. A few owner opinions are included as well. However, since reviews here date back several years, several of the top-rated models are discontinued.
There are more than 100 compound miter saws for sale on Amazon.com, but only about two dozen models receive a significant amount of owner feedback. Models from Hitachi, DeWalt, and Makita all receive ratings of 4.5 stars or better from at least 100 users. Individual reviews vary in quality from detailed and knowledgeable to brief and trivial.
Of the 30-plus compound miter saws at Lowes.com, only about a dozen receive 25 or more comments from owners. Among these, Hitachi models receive the highest ratings, with 5-star overall scores and more than 200 reviews each. Models from Bosch and DeWalt also earn high scores, but with significantly fewer reviews. Some saws include ratings that originated at the manufacturer's web site.
Although there are more than 150 compound miter saws for sale at Sears.com, only about 20 have received user feedback, and only a handful have a significant number of reviews -- primarily Craftsman models The Sears site highlights the most helpful positive and negative reviews and also says what percentage of reviewers would recommend each saw.
NorthernTool.com has a small selection of compound miter saws, most with fewer than 15 owner reviews. We found only two models with ratings of at least 4.5 stars from 40 users or more: one from DeWalt and one from a brand called Ironton, which appears to be available only on this site. Reviewers here are a mix of professionals and DIYers, but reviews are generally brief.
HomeDepot.com carries a mix of consumer and contractor-grade compound miter saws. We found about half a dozen models with ratings of 4.5 stars or better from at least 50 owners, including saws from DeWalt, Bosch, and Milwaukee. Reviews are generally brief, and some of them include a list summarizing pros and cons. As with Lowes.com, review totals sometimes include those originally posted at the manufacturer's site.
Brett Martin names a miter saw as one of his seven must-have tools for any handyman, saying he uses his "more than all my [other] saws combined." Though he doesn't discuss specific models, Martin does explain the uses of a miter saw and notes the "increased cutting capacity" of a sliding miter saw.
This site includes brief reviews and commentary on all manner of tools, including miter saws. Reviews are very brief, but most indicate that comments are based on at least some hands-on use. The editors and contributors range from construction professionals to woodworking novices.