The best miter saws for 2023, according to experts

Few tools offer the same power and flexibility as a miter saw, whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a pro contractor.

Best overall

Bosch GCM12SD 12-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw on a plain background not running

Bosch GCM12SD 12-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

See It

Best budget

Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw not running on a plain background

Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw

See It

Best 10-inch

Skil MS6305-00 10-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw on a plain background

Skil MS6305-00 10-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

See It

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Miter saws are perhaps the best all-rounder for both DIY and professional users. They can be found everywhere, from home workshops to construction sites. A basic miter saw can quickly cut 2×4 for framing and garden projects. More advanced models can cut wide boards for flooring or decking and create compound angles for crown moldings or furniture making. In this miter saw roundup, we look at both cutting performance and the extra features that make it quicker and easier to produce accurate work. Whatever you are building, this selection of the best miter saws currently available provides a high-quality solution.

How we chose the best miter saws

I ran my own woodshop for a decade and also remodeled two houses from the ground up, so my experience with various types of saws is extensive. I still use a miter saw regularly for projects around the home and yard.

We conducted extensive market research to supplement my knowledge and make sure we were aware of the most recent developments in tool technology. We compared all the latest models and analyzed the feedback of real-world buyers.

We aimed to put together a collection of miter saws that would suit as many different individuals as possible. Professional users demand optimum performance and reliability, so we looked at maximum cutting capacities and motor power. Occasional DIY users are perhaps more interested in affordability, so we also looked at low-cost models. That said, we wanted to ensure reliability and durability even when prices were comparatively low, so we avoided cheap miter saws with unproven reputations.

The best miter saws: Reviews & Recommendations

Although prices vary considerably, the following picks all come from leading manufacturers recognized for producing high-quality tools. Each of them is a fine example of what’s currently available. We have assigned categories to make it easier to find what we believe is the best miter saw for a particular task, but all of our picks are tools we’d be proud to keep in our storage shed.

Best overall: Bosch GCM12SD 12-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

Bosch GCM12SD 12-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

See It

Why it made the cut: Given its capacities, build quality, and user-friendly features, there is no better miter saw for precision and productivity.

Specs

  • Blade Diameter: 12 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness: 6 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Width: 13-1/2 inches
  • Weight: 65 pounds

Pros

  •     Super-smooth Axial Glide system
  •     Range of bevel and miter detents for rapid setup
  •     Base extensions for workpiece support

Cons

  •     Price will put it beyond many
  •     Laser guide not included

This saw does everything a demanding professional could need. The Bosch is a dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw, so it has the maximum range of movement in both saw head and table. The former can be angled up to 47 degrees in both directions, and the latter will rotate from 52 degrees left to 60 degrees right. Detents (pre-set stops) make it quick and easy to set commonly used angles. Scales are etched into stainless steel so they won’t peel off or wear out: something that’s not uncommon on cheap miter saws.

The fence allows for cuts as deep as 6-1/2 inches. Its maximum width for boards is 13-1/2 inches. Thanks to the super-smooth Axial Glide system, cutting large stock is almost effortless. Quick-release SquareLock fences help maintain accuracy and provide good workpiece support, as do the integrated side supports that will extend to 40 inches. A high-quality 60-tooth TCT (tungsten carbide tipped) blade comes in the box.

In our opinion, the Bosch GCM12SD is the best miter saw on the market at the moment, but it does come with a price tag that puts it firmly in the contractor or tradesperson category. Some reviewers have expressed surprise that it doesn’t include a laser guide at this price point. However, those devices are not always as accurate as they could be, and many professionals tend to prefer sight alignment.

Best budget: Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw

Metabo HPT C10FCGS 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw

See It

Why it made the cut: This pro-grade tool comes with an attractive price tag and makes a great everyday saw for framers and DIYers.

Specs

  • Blade Diameter: 10 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness: 3-1/2 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Width: 5-21/32 inches
  • Weight: 24.5 pounds

Pros

  •     Tackles dimensioned lumber for framing and DIY
  •     Excellent value for money
  •     Powerful 15 amp motor

Cons

  •     No slide so capacities are limited
  •     24-tooth blade leaves fairly coarse finish

You don’t want to pay for features and power you don’t need and won’t use. The Metabo HPT C10FCGS is considerably more basic than our top pick, but it’s not just its competitive price that makes it an attractive proposition.

Metabo HPT has built a reputation for reliable, high-quality tools without the high sticker price. Sometimes, that means a reduced feature set, and in the case of this miter saw, that means no slide for cross-cutting. This restricts maximum depth and width to 3-1/2 inches and 5-21/32 inches respectively. That’s still plenty to cut 2×4, 3×3, and 2×6 dimensioned lumber (2 x 6 is actually 1-1/2 inches by 5-1/2 inches). That’s all that many framers and DIY users need, making it excellent value for money.

The Metabo HPT miter saw bevels up to 45 degrees (to the left only) and miters up to 52 degrees right and left, so it’s perfectly capable of compound angles. Common detents are provided. The 15 amp motor is as powerful as anything on the market, and the miter saw weighs just 24.5 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around. A 24-tooth TCT blade is included. It’s serviceable but does leave a fairly coarse finish.

Best for DIY: DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

See It

Why it made the cut: Keen DIY enthusiasts will appreciate the excellent build quality and features that help improve accuracy while remaining easy to use.

Specs

  • Blade Diameter: 12 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness: 6-3/4 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Width: 13-1/4 inches
  • Weight: 58 pounds

Pros

  •     Precise Cutline blade positioning
  •     Class-leading vertical capacity
  •     Linear ball bearings for smooth cross-cutting

Cons

  •     Hard to fault, but quite expensive

The DeWalt DWS780 isn’t a cheap miter saw, but for home users who are taking on their own remodeling jobs, building decks and pergolas, or making furniture regularly, it should soon repay the investment (and you may want to look at our guides to orbital sanders and laser levels, as well). With a maximum cutting height of 6-3/4 inches and a width of up to 13-1/4 inches, it will handle all common lumber sizes. It will bevel at 45 degrees both sides and miter from 50 degrees left to 60 degrees right. There are 10 detents for fast setting of common angles.

One of the key features of the DeWalt miter saw is the XPS Cutline system. Unlike single-sided lasers, it shines an LED light down either side of the blade. This creates a shadow on the workpiece that sharpens as it gets closer, showing not only the position but the thickness of the cut, too. It works whether the blade is rotating or not, so it’s perfect for setting up, and it runs off the same power as the saw, so there’s no need for batteries.

Best 10-Inch: Skil MS6305-00 10-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

Skil MS6305-00 10-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

See It

Why it made the cut: Delivers all the features of the best 12-inch miter saws in a more compact and affordable package.

Specs

  • Blade Diameter: 10 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness: 4-1/2 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Width: 11-1/4 inches
  • Weight: 39.4 pounds

Pros

  •     Full dual bevel sliding compound action
  •     Great value for money
  •     Accurate LED blade positioning system

Cons

  •     Blade is only high-speed steel
  •     Quality control may be inconsistent

Yes, 12-inch miter saws can offer outstanding performance, but they’re large, heavy, and generally require significant investment. A 10-inch miter saw like the Skil MS6305-00 is more compact, lighter, and more affordable. What’s more, the sacrifices are relatively minor, making it a serious alternative for many.

On the plus side, the Skil is a dual-bevel compound sliding miter saw, so it provides all the versatility of its larger rivals. It will bevel to 48 degrees left and 45 degrees right and cut angles 50 degrees left and right. There is a full range of detents, and the Skil MS6305-00 uses a similar LED blade positioning system to the DeWalt, so it’s easy to maintain accuracy. At a fraction over 39 pounds, it’s around 30 percent lighter than its bigger rivals.

On the minus side, the smaller blade does mean reduced cutting capacities. Nevertheless, it can still manage 4-1/2 inches vertically and 11-1/4 inches vertically, thus accommodating all the dimensioned lumber most people will ever use. We were a little disappointed that the blade is only high-speed steel (HSS) rather than TCT, and we have seen occasional reports of manufacturing defects that suggest quality control could be improved. In general, though, owners appear very satisfied with their purchase.

Best cordless: Craftsman CMCS714M1 V20 7-1/4-Inch Miter Saw Kit

Craftsman CMCS714M1 V20 7-1/4-Inch Miter Saw Kit

See It

Why it made the cut: Comes from a trusted brand and offers both the freedom of cordless power and a lightweight build for easy portability.

Specs

  • Blade Diameter: 7-1/4 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness: 3-1/2 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Width: 8 inches
  • Weight: 21.8 pounds

Pros

  •     The go-anywhere freedom of cordless power
  •     Competitive price includes battery and charger
  •     Good cutting capacities for its size

Cons

  •     Spare batteries can be expensive
  •     Single bevel only

Cordless tools have obvious benefits. They generally provide greater freedom of movement and work when a normal electricity supply isn’t unavailable. The challenge with miter saws is that driving a 10- or 12-inch blade takes a lot of energy, resulting in very high prices. With its 7-1/2-inch blade, the Craftsman CMCS714M1 is a much more affordable alternative, but how does it stack up in performance terms?

Pretty well, actually. With a maximum thickness of 3-1/2 inches and a maximum width of 8 inches, it has no trouble handling many of the common dimensioned lumbers used for framing, decking, and other construction projects. It bevels to the left, at up to 47 degrees, and miters up to 45 degrees on both sides. The Craftsman is another miter saw that uses the increasingly popular LED blade alignment system for accuracy.

The battery supplied is 20V and 4Ah, which should offer decent run time. Craftsman says it will make up to 585 cuts in 3-1/4-inch MDF baseboard, but frankly, that means little. Frequent users will want a spare battery, which is quite expensive. Carry handles are incorporated into the base, but there are no table extensions for workpiece support.

Most versatile: Evolution Power Tools R255SMS+ 10-Inch Miter Saw Plus

Evolution Power Tools R255SMS+ 10-Inch Miter Saw Plus

See It

Why it made the cut: Features multi-material cutting technology for sawing wood, plastic, laminates, composites, ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Specs

  • Blade Diameter: 10 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness: 3-9/16 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Width: 11-3/16 inches
  • Weight: 33.7 pounds

Pros

  •     Unrivaled material-cutting versatility
  •     Lightweight with built-in carry handle
  •     Ergonomic trigger for right or left handers

Cons

  •     Supplied blade wears quickly on metal
  •     Laser quality could be improved

Most miter saws would be capable of cutting metal if an appropriate blade were fitted, but it’s not usually recommended because swarf (metal shavings) can wreak havoc with bearings and the motor. The Evolution Power Tools R255SMS+ is one of few exceptions and offers the versatility to cut anything from wood and laminates to plastics and metals. Most people would shy away from cutting up scrap wood with their miter saw for fear of hitting nails or screws, which could wreck the blade. With this miter saw, that’s not a problem.

It looks much like any other 10-inch compound sliding miter saw, and its capacities are competitive. Maximum thickness is 3-9/16 inches, and maximum width is 11-3/16 inches. It offers the unusual ability to adjust cut depth. At under 34 pounds, it’s reasonably portable, and a molded carry handle is provided.

A laser blade guide is included and can be valuable if set properly. Alignment should be checked regularly. However, there have been some reports of failures, and a good old pencil mark is a perfectly serviceable alternative. Unlike many rivals who only offer 6 feet of cable, the Evolution Power Tools miter saw has 13 feet and a useful cable tidy.

There are a couple of things to note when cutting steel. The maximum thickness recommended is 1/4 inch, and the supplied blade will wear out very quickly. A dedicated metal-cutting blade should be used instead. Also, Evolution Power Tools does not recommend attempting to cut hardened or stainless steel.

What to consider before buying a miter saw

While all these tools use a similar design, the differences in motion and capacity are key elements. The following information will help focus on the best miter saw for your needs:

Types of miter saws

The earliest miter saws were basic, with just a rotating table that allowed miters to be cut, hence the name. Next, a tilting head was added to cut bevels. Combining a miter and a bevel gives a compound angle; thus, these tools are sometimes called compound miter saws. Low-cost models only bevel to one side (single bevel). Those that can bevel to both sides are known as dual- or double-bevel miter saws.

At this stage, the blade followed a rise-and-fall motion. The next development was to add one or two tubular slides for horizontal motion that dramatically increased the width capabilities. A combination of all these elements gives us the dual-bevel sliding miter saw, also sometimes called a compound sliding miter saw. The names can sometimes seem slightly confusing at first glance, but by separating the elements, you can picture the saw’s capabilities.

Capacities

Most miter saw blade diameters are usually either 12 inches or 10 inches. However, 8-1/4 and 7-1/4 inch models also exist. This size will, of course, have a major bearing on cutting capacities, but it’s more complicated than that. The bevel and slide mechanisms used will also have an impact. Two miter saws with identical 12-inch blades will often have different cutting specifications, so it’s important to check.

There can also be some confusion with how these capacities are described. For example, a mitre saw might be described as cutting crown moldings up to 7-1/2 inches when nested. It sounds like that saw has a maximum depth of cut of up to 7-1/2 inches, but in fact, the term ‘nested’ means the molding is being cut at an angle. The true maximum height is usually described as ‘vertical’: how deep the material can be when held upright against the fence.

It can also seem misleading when you see a maximum depth of 6 inches and width of 12 inches (for example). This does not mean the miter saw can cut a board that is 6 inches by 12 inches. When cutting maximum depth, the saw uses an area of blade in front of its center boss, but if that blade were to slide forward, the boss would foul the board. Therefore, maximum board thickness is going to be less. Manufacturers aren’t being deceptive, as most provide a variety of dimensions showing true maximums. It might just take a minute or two to work them out.

Power

Most corded miter saws have 15 amp motors because that’s the maximum provided by a standard household power outlet. It’s not a particularly accurate way to measure power anyway, as amps measure current, not power, but it’s what almost all manufacturers use. Watts is a true reflection, though the figure is not always easy to find. In truth, almost all 15 amp motors are perfectly adequate.

Cordless miter saws are rated in volts. 18/20 volt models are the most common, though up to 60-volt miter saws are available. Unfortunately, the latter currently come with very high price tags.

The other thing to check is the Amp hours (Ah) of the battery. The higher the Ah, the longer the battery will maintain power. So, for example, a 4Ah battery will run for roughly twice as long as a 2Ah model. This is something worth bearing in mind when buying a spare, though the larger capacity model will be more expensive and takes longer to recharge.

Other Features

  • Saw safety is always a big deal, and all miter saws have a guard that automatically slides out of the way as the cut is made. Even basic guards should be effective if the operator uses them correctly.
  • A blade lock is another common safety feature, so the saw can’t be operated accidentally.
  • We’ve mentioned detents, which help make setting common angles quicker and easier. The number and position of these vary, so it’s another area worth checking.
  • Laser blade guides were once very popular and are not without their merits, but LED versions are now largely seen as superior.
  • Automatic blade brakes are another nice feature, rapidly slowing the blade so you don’t have to wait to change workpiece or make adjustments.
  • Regular users will often have one blade for rough cutting and another for finer work. How quickly these can be changed will have an impact on user convenience.

FAQs

Q: What is a miter saw used for?

A miter saw is a versatile tool that is generally used for cutting the store-bought dimensioned lumber used in stud walls, framing, and other construction projects. Sliding miter saws are also capable of cutting boards used for flooring and decking.

Q: Are miter saws safe?

Generally speaking, miter saws are very safe when used correctly. A guard shields the blade, and dust ports allow for extraction. For added protection, you should always wear goggles or safety glasses and a dust mask. Work should be properly supported and held in place with clamps so your hands never get near the cut line.

Q: What is the difference between a miter saw and a circular saw?

A miter saw can sit on a benchtop, a stand, or on the floor, and you bring the material to it. A circular saw is a hand-held device that you take to the workpiece. While there is some overlap in terms of what they can cut, a miter saw can usually tackle greater thickness. A circular saw is great for plywood and other sheet material that is much too large to go under a miter saw. Most professionals and keen DIYers will have one of each.

Q: Can a miter saw cut metal?

Technically, most are capable with an appropriate blade, but it’s not usually recommended because of the damage swarf can do. The Evolution Power Tools model we reviewed above is one solution, though those with frequent need should probably buy a dedicated metal-cutting chop saw.

Final thoughts on the best miter saws

Our research uncovered a tremendous variety of high-quality miter saws, and we really are spoiled for choice. The Bosch that took our top award is a feature-rich tool with excellent capacities. For those who use one every day, it’s probably worth the investment. At the other end of the price scale, the Metabo HPT will prove perfectly adequate for many people’s needs and should provide years of trouble-free service.

If you’re looking for other cutting tools, check out our lists of the best circular saws and the best table saws. The right tool makes the job much simpler.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Share

Bob Beacham

Contributor

Bob Beacham has always had a fascination for all things mechanical and received an engineering degree from Aylesbury College in the UK. During his 35-year career, he has worked on everything from automotive components to oil rigs. On weekends you will often find him tinkering with a car or motorcycle. He’s also a DIY enthusiast, and with a great deal of help from his wife has completely renovated two derelict buildings, turning them into comfortable homes. He now splits his time between contract work and writing articles that share his practical experience. He may be the last person on earth who isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.