Reviews say large, heavy 12-inch, sliding compound miter saws are overkill for most users unless you need to cut a lot of molding vertically. The dual-bevel Ridgid MS 1290LZA can miter a 2-by-10 board at 45 degrees, miter angle can be set as wide as 60 degrees and the saw bevels to 47 degrees. The laser guide is now adjustable, and the lifetime warranty is a plus. Dust control gets mixed reviews, both with the supplied dust bag or when connected to a shop vac. For better dust control and overall performance, consider the top-ranked Milwaukee 6955-20 (Est. $650).
The Ridgid MS1290LZA adds an adjustable laser guide to the earlier Ridgid MS1290LZ. Both models have been included in excellent comparison tests. Taunton's 2010 Tool Guide summarizes results from tests done in 2008 at Fine Homebuilding, but also ranks miter saws based on a survey of readers of that magazine and Fine Woodworking. The Fine Homebuilding site also includes a video review of the Ridgid MS1290LZA. This model is run through thorough comparison tests at Popular Woodworking and at Tools of the Trade. Comparison tests at the Journal of Light Construction and Workbench magazine cover the earlier LZ model, but are still useful. Mark Clement's single-product review at HGTV.com covers the LZA model, as do owner-written reviews at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and RidgidForum.com.
1. Taunton's 2010 Tool Guide
Among 12-inch, sliding compound miter saws, the Ridgid MS1290LZA earns third ranking in the latest survey of readers of Fine Homebuilding and Fine Woodworking. Based on Fine Homebuilding's 2008 tests, the Ridgid miter saw earns the Editor's Choice award for best value. The reviewer praises the Ridgid's fit and finish and solid performance for workshop use but doesn't recommend it for jobsite uses because it's bulky and the lockdown function is "somewhat unreliable."
Review: 12-In. Sliding Compound Miter Saws, Kit Camp, November 2009
2. Popular Woodworking
After testing six 12-inch, sliding compound miter saws, editors call the Ridgid MS1290LZA a "decent saw and a solid value" but choose the Hitachi C12LSH as the best value. On the Ridgid miter saw, basic adjustments for overall accuracy are simple, but it's awkward to adjust miter angles and to control depth of cut. The saw is also bulky and loud.
Review: 12-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saws, Robert W. Lang, December 2008
3. Fine Homebuilding
In this video review of the Ridgid MS1290LZA, based on comparison tests printed in the April/May issue of Fine Homebuilding (below), Kit Camp shows how this model works, noting that once you get used to the way adjustments are made, they seem easy -- and that it's fine for lefties too.
Review: Video Tool Review: Ridgid MS1290LZA 12-In Sliding Compound-Miter Saw, Kit Camp, March 5, 2008
4. Fine Homebuilding
Based on comparison tests of six 12-inch, sliding miter saws, this review judges the Ridgid MS1290LZA the best value, with praise for its "impeccable machining." The Ridgid also has the best fence and the biggest table, but it's awkward to carry.
Review: 12-In. Sliding Compound Miter Saws, Kit Camp, April/May 2008
5. Tools of the Trade
Twenty experienced boat builders test eight sliding compound miter saws here, ranking the "solid and capable" Ridgid MS1290LZA second only to the more expensive Bosch 5412L (*Est. $700). The Ridgid MS1290LZA earns praise for a crown molding diagram (for cutting molding flat) and other user-friendly features, but the Hitachi and Festool miter saws have better laser guides.
Review: Tool Test: Sliding Miter Saws, Joe Youcha, August 2008
6. Journal of Light Construction
California remodeler Roberto Ramirez puts the Metabo KGS 305 through the paces in this detailed single-product review. He likes the saw, but says it's bulky size make it a poor choice to job sites. "To get the most out of it, you really need to buy expensive accessories like the stand and extension tables," he concludes.
Review: Toolbox: Metabo KGS 305 Miter Saw, Roberto Ramierez, February 2006
7. Workbench Magazine
This older comparison review of seven 12-inch, sliding miter saws tests the earlier Ridgid MS1290, praising its accuracy and cutting capacity. The bevel setting is judged a bit difficult, but the main drawback is the size and weight.
Review: Miter Saw Review -- 12 Inch Compound, Editors of Workbench, February 2003
This brief review of the current Ridgid MS1290LZA highlights features, noting how the big table, fence and top-mounted motor increase capacity.
Review: Ridgid 12-inch Dual-Bevel Slide-Compound Miter Saw, Mark Clement, 2007
About 30 owners review the Ridgid MS1290LZA miter saw, making it the top-rated miter saw sold here. The main complaint is that the dust bag doesn't work well; owners recommend hooking up a shop vac instead.
Review: Ridgid 12in Sliding Compound Miter Saw Model # MS1290LZA, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
Several of the handful of owner-written reviews of the Ridgid MS1290LZA miter saw published here are exact duplicates of reviews published at HomeDepot.com -- making it hard to tell whether they're from owners showing extra enthusiasm, or planted reviews from a sponsor. One owner complains that the fence and dust collection are poorly designed.
Review: Ridgid MS1290LZA 28523 Saw, 12-Inch Compound Sliding Miter with Laser, Contributors to Amazon.com
Dust collection and the laser guide earn stiff criticism in this brief discussion of the Ridgid MS1290LZA. Two owners note that the saw throws dust in all directions, with a relatively small amount coming through the dust port even with a strong shop vac attached.
Review: Sliding Miter Saw, MS1290LZA (12") -- My View After 2 Months of Use, Contributors to RidgidForum.com, 2007