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Best 10-Inch Compound Miter Saws

By: Amy Livingston on January 30, 2018

10-inch miter saws can handle most DIY jobs

"Few woodworking machines match the versatility, portability, or cost effectiveness of today's 10-inch compound miter saw," says Roy Berendsohn at Popular Mechanics. And in this size class, Berendsohn names the DeWalt DW713 (Est. $220) as his top pick.

This single-bevel, 15-amp chop saw can make beveled cuts of up to 48 degrees, and its miter range extends for 50 degrees to both left and right. It can handle boards up to 3.5 inches tall standing up against the fence, and up to 6 inches if they're laid flat. It weighs a manageable 35 pounds and has a built-in carrying handle. The saw comes with a one-year free service contract, a three-year limited warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Both professional reviewers and home users say the DW713 delivers both power and precision. They also agree that it's very easy to set up and use; Berendsohn says the blade "moves effortlessly into and out of a cut," and the bevel and miter adjustment are "silky smooth." Owners are more divided on the issue of dust collection, with some saying it's better than average and others finding the dust bag completely ineffective.

The biggest negative with the DW713, according to reviews, is that it comes in two different versions – Type 1 and Type 2 – and only the older Type 1 version is compatible with some optional accessories, most notably DeWalt's laser guide system and LED work light. However, Dan Maxey at Tools in Action says that "From my understanding most saws produced now are type 2." Unfortunately, he adds, the type is indicated only on the saw itself, not on the box. That means there's no way to know which type you're buying in the store, and no way to request a Type 1 saw when ordering online. Still, for those who can live without the laser guide and work light – or who are lucky enough to find a Type 1 saw that's compatible with those accessories – this compound miter saw has just about everything you could ask for. Judging from the high level of user satisfaction – 4.7 stars at Amazon and Home Depot, and a perfect 5 stars at Northern Tool – that applies to most owners.

If you're looking for something a bit cheaper, reviewers say the Hitachi C10FCH2 (Est. $150) is the best compound miter saw for those on a budget. This single-bevel, 15-amp saw can't quite match the cutting capacity of the DW713, but it's considerably cheaper and considerably lighter, at 26.5 pounds. Berendsohn says its cutting power is on a par with the DeWalt's, and it has such handy accessories as "a heavy-duty work-support extension, a work clamp, and a fold-down auxiliary fence." Also, unlike the DW713, it comes with a built-in laser cutting guide, which owners say works fairly well.

The Hitachi's biggest weakness is its small base, which reviewers say doesn't provide as much support behind the saw as other models have. Also, owners find its stock blade and dust-collection capabilities poor, although these are fairly standard problems with most miter saws. Finally, we ran across a few complaints about durability. The Hitachi is backed by an impressive 5-year limited warranty, but owners say getting repairs under warranty can be a pain.

Sliding miter saws are bigger, heavier and more expensive

For those who do a lot of woodworking – especially with larger stock – it's worth paying to upgrade to a sliding miter saw. In addition to rotating for miter cuts and swiveling for bevel cuts, the head on a sliding compound miter saw can move back and forth along a set of rails, significantly increasing cutting capacity. A 10-inch sliding miter saw, according to Timothy Dahl of Popular Mechanics, "hits the sweet spot for most DIYers." Chris Marshall of Woodworker's Journal says this type of saw "can crosscut a 2×12 or a 4×4 in a single pass," and can handle "1x or even thicker stock up to about 8″ wide when set to maximum compound miter/bevel angles." However, this increased versatility doesn't come cheap: a sliding miter saw costs roughly twice as much as a basic chop saw.

The Ridgid MS255SR (Est. $350) is the top performer in Marshall's test of seven 10-inch sliding compound miter saws. Marshall says it's "feature-rich, cuts beautifully and keeps the bench area cleaner."

The MS255SR is a dual-bevel saw, which makes it more adept at making compound miter cuts than the single-beveled DW713. It boasts an impressive miter range of 60 degrees left, 52 degrees right, and its bevel range is 48 degrees in each direction. It offers multiple preset angles, and you can make custom cuts as well. Its cutting capacity is generous, handling boards up to 4-by-4 or 2-by-12 inches. It also comes with a laser and an LED work light – a useful feature that Marshall wishes were included on every saw. It's backed by a 3-year warranty. There's also a free lifetime service agreement, which guarantees free parts and service for the original owner's lifetime, but only if the saw is bought from Home Depot and registered with Ridgid within 90 days -- requirements that bedevil some owners.

Professional reviewers, including Marshall and Eric Jopp of Tools in Action, have nothing but praise for this saw. They say its up-front controls are very user-friendly and it makes clean, accurate cuts without bogging down. Marshall also likes the soft-start motor, which brings the tool to life gently. User reviews at Home Depot are generally positive, averaging 4.4 stars out of 5, and over 85 percent of owners say they would recommend this miter saw. Owners praise its accurate, smooth cuts and ease of use, but we saw a few complaints that the laser guide isn't precise and the fence isn't square to the table (and can't be adjusted).

Perhaps the biggest problem with the Ridgid saw is its limited availability. Home Depot is the only retailer that offers it, and only through its website, not in stores. If not being able to test the saw is a deal breaker for you, the Bosch CM10GD (Est. $600) also does very well in professional tests, but is a bit pricier. Like the Ridgid MS255SR, this is a dual-bevel saw, with a bevel range of 47 degrees left and right. Its miter range matches the Ridgid's, and its cut capacity is even greater, allowing for crosscuts through 4-by-12 lumber.

One distinctive feature of this saw is its Axial-Glide System. Unlike most sliding miter saws, which glide along rails, the Bosch has a complex articulated arm that moves the saw head back and forth. According to Jopp, this design saves you about 10 inches of workbench space. Jopp and Berendsohn both give this saw high marks for its power, accuracy, and smooth gliding mechanism. Marshall agrees with these points, and he appreciates the front-mounted controls that make it easy to adjust the saw's position.

However, he has major complaints about the saw's dust collection system, saying the saw "spat a rooster tail of dust into the air with every cut" – even with the help of a vacuum. Aside from that, he says the saw is "fine," but others do just as good a job for less money. User reviews on Amazon are also a bit iffy; though most owners say the saw is accurate, a significant number complain that it couldn't make a straight vertical cut no matter how it was adjusted.

For users on a budget, we saw surprisingly good reviews for the Craftsman SM2509RC (Est. $230), which is also known as the Craftsman 40753. Both professionals and owners say this inexpensive sliding miter saw is a great value. This single-bevel saw has a miter range of 50 degrees left and right and a bevel range of 47 degrees left, and it can crosscut boards as much as 12.5 inches wide. Unlike most sliding miter saws, it has rails that project out over the saw's base and don't slide backward. Marshall says this design saves space but makes the saw a little unstable with large stock.

Still, both he and Christopher Schwartz of Popular Woodworking consider the saw a great value, with smooth, accurate performance and all the features you need. Owners at Sears agree, awarding the Craftsman 4.5 stars out of 5 in roughly 180 reviews. They say it's accurate right out of the box and very easy to use. The only feature they dislike is the dust bag, but Marshall says the saw does fine with dust collection when hooked up to a vacuum hose.

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