A mitre saw, especially a compound mitre saw, is one of the most mechanically-advanced of power tools. It has several adjustable and moveable parts. Among these parts are a circular blade partially enclosed within a stationary guard or hood and controlled by a handle. The blade unit not only swivels to make an angle with either or both horizontal axes, it may also tilt to make an angle with the vertical axis. Other major parts include the table which is the flat work surface, a turning base or turntable, slide rails, fence(s), a vice or clamps, a further retracting blade guard, a mitre adjuster, depth stops, latching pins, and mitre and bevel scales.
A mitre saw may also have various other parts and features, such as switches and dust collection bag, and integrated lasers. Such a complex machine tool requires acquired skills even to operate properly, let alone use effectively.
The mitre saw’s claim to fame is that it can make clean and precise cuts across the grain of the wood – crosscuts – cuts that are at an angle – ‘mitres’ – and cuts that are at a slope – ‘bevels.’ Cuts that are both angled or mitre cuts and sloping or bevel cuts, are known as compound cuts.
These kinds of cuts are of the essence in joinery, decorative trim work, furniture-making, skirting, and all kinds of moulding – crown, cove, rounded, architrave, and more. Because two pieces of wood or other material have to be joined at a particular angle, it is imperative that the angles of the planes to be joined are precisely complementary and the surfaces are cut cleanly, and this is exactly what no sawing device but a mitre saw can consistently accomplish.
Last update on 2020-08-13 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
Because the compound cutting capability and limits of a mitre saw are of paramount importance, these specs are reproduced almost verbatim for all five reviewed products.
A niggle or two in Makita’s mitre saw are far outweighed by the durability, useful features, sharp design, and the outstanding clean cutting.
Makita’s LS0815FL V is a compound mitre saw. The soft-start motor is powered by 1,400 watts which drives the 216-millimetre blade at 5,000 RPMs no-load.
The slides are side-by-side to maximise accuracy. It has a fixed fence on the right and a sliding sub-fence on the left.
For convenience, this kit features positive stops at 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, 45 and 50° left and right, plus 60° right. The maximum mitre range is 45° left through 60° right.
It also has depth stops for grooving and trenching but unfortunately the pins are loose in the slots and have some play. Otherwise no real concerns.
Makita lays much store by its ‘oversized’ trigger and ‘2-stage’ safety switch. While they work well enough, the design may be confusing or overly-complicated to some users.
This mitre saw has an integrated LED light and a laser. The laser marker is powerful and ‘laser-sharp’ but can get misaligned and require re-alignment.
The see-through blade guard is an excellent idea and is just as excellent in practice.
Makita’s LS0815FL cuts exceptionally cleanly and square and makes very accurate cuts. It is a robust and durable mitre saw and is good enough for the weekend pro.
It comes fully assembled but fence and blade may need to be adjusted to the correct angles. The package includes a vice, holder set, and two wrenches.
This rig weighs 14.2 kilogrammes.
In the class of amateur mitre saws, this one is a top-of-the-line item though it does cost a pretty penny.
Makita provides a one-year guarantee extendable to three years if the purchase is registered within 30 days.
- Very good range of mitre and bevel angles, and cutting breadths and depths.
- Makes exceptionally clean and square cuts, and also accurate cuts.
- A robust and durable tool that is fit for more than just hobbyist work in the house.
- There is some play between the pins and depth stops.
- For DIY enthusiasts, this kit has an eye-watering price.
Though not a premium tool, the overall package of features and performance that TACKLIFE’s mitre saw offers at its low price are simply amazing.
TACKLIFE’s rig has a 1,500-watt motor that rotates the 210-millimetre blade at 4,500 RPMs no-load. Far from any soft start, it seems this kit hits 4,500 RPMs right from the off!
The manufacturer states that even soft metal can be cut with the tungsten-carbide tipped blade but it is only a 24-tooth blade. This blade is a bit rough and it may tear out or burn corners on wooden workpieces; you may wish to replace it with a 60-tooth one.
The 0 to 45° bevel tilt and rotating table from -45° to 45° allow for a wide range of compound cuts. The exact specs are:–
M / B
0 ° x 0 ° – 60 x 300 mm
0 ° x 45 °(L) – 60 x 210 mm
0 ° x 45 °(R) – 60 x 210 mm
45 ° x 0 ° – 35 x 300 mm
45 ° x 45 °(L) – 35 x 210 mm
45 ° x 45 °(R) – 35 x 210 m
Cutting widths can be extended by using the 200-millimetre extension bars.
Even though TACKLIFE’s kit is a budget one, it also has adjustable cutting depths for trenching.
The vice-based clamping system works very well but there is a touch of play in the table after locking.
Upon delivery the bevel angles may be slightly off and it would be wise to check them and recalibrate as necessary.
The laser line works very well.
The poor instruction booklet neglects to mention that you have to install two batteries and flip a switch on one side to use the laser! Nor does it explain how to use the depth stop for trenching.
It has decent build quality yet is very light at only 6.5 kilogrammes. This kit is comparable to name-brand amateur mitre saws but without the name-brand price.
Included in the package are extension rods, a wrench, and a vice. The electric cord is two metres.
Perfect for home DIY projects, TACKLIFE’s mitre saw is a very good product as it is but at its price point, it is truly outstanding value for money.
TACKLIFE provides a two-year warranty.
- The rotating table allows bevel cuts to 45° both left and right.
- Depth stops for grooving and trenching – a big plus in a bargain rig.
- Such a fine mitre saw at so low a price equates to unbeatable value for money.
- The base table after being locked has a bit of play in either direction
- The 24-tooth blade is not the best but is to be expected in a low-priced kit.
- The instruction booklet is quite poor.
Although cutting angles and depths are limited, Dewalt’s otherwise solid kit is of very good build quality, and it operates smoothly and cuts accurately.
The 1,550 watts of power on this Dewalt mitre saw drive the 216-millimetre 30-tooth blade at 2,600 to 5,200 RPMs.
The internal rail system is both, a space-saving design and an elegant one.
The mitre angle range is 0 to 50° left and right, i.e. from -50° to +50° and the bevel angle range is up to 48° left. The exact specs are:–
cross-cut 90°: 60 x 270 mm
mitre 45° : 60 x 190 mm
mitre 48° : 60 x 180 mm
bevel 45° : 48 x 270 mm
bevel 48° : 45 x 270 mm
Dewalt’s DWS774-GB has no depth stops (for grooving and trenching) but that is the trade-off for those slick internal rails.
The XPS shadow line cut indicator is a sharp innovation for dim-to-normal light but is no good when used in bright light. That said, it is more helpful and accurate than many a misaligned laser on other mitre saws.
This kit is very manoeuvrable and more so than most, and, unlike a few other mitre saws, it betrays no play. It is also especially good in dust extraction but the adaptor has to be bought separately.
The ‘safety’ trigger is not exactly ‘safe’ as it can cut into the inside of your hand between forefinger and thumb. The clamp is dodgy and will need to be handled gently.
Little assembly is required and this Dewalt is reliable and accurate straight out of the box.
The ‘instructions’ are worse than useless – but at least they’re funny!
The package is low on accessories. The power cord is two metres.
Weighing 11 kilogrammes, the DWS774 is relatively compact and portable, and the carrying handles make it even more so.
Overall, this mitre saw has very good build quality. It is a semi-pro kit and is just about good enough for professional use too.
DeWalt provides a 3-year warranty upon registering the purchase but the process is unnecessarily intrusive and lengthy.
- This mitre saw has very good build quality and can be viewed as a near pro-level tool.
- Smooth and tight all throughout, and no play anywhere.
- In dim-to-normal light XPS shadow line guide is even better than a laser.
- This rig has no depth stops, so grooving and trenching is not possible.
- The dodgy clamp needs to be handled with TLC.
- The instructions, so to speak, are quite awful.
The powerful motor and 45° left and right bevelling on this Einhell DIY kit are undone by unreliable cutting and the below-par build quality.
The Einhell TC-SM 2131 is powered by 1,800 watts and its blade turns at 5,000 RPMs no-load. The 210-millimetre carbide-tipped blade has 48 teeth. For a DIY home-use mitre saw this one has a powerful motor.
It can perform mitre cuts from -45° to +45° and its swiveling range is also -45° to +45°. The exact specs are:–
90° x 90° – 310 x 62 mm.
90° x 45° – 210 x 62 mm.
45° x 90° – 310 x 36 mm.
45° x 45° – 210 x 36 mm.
This kit features a precision adjustment of the 45° mitre stop. It has a tiltable saw-head for bevel cuts.
Einhell’s saw offers a drag function by way of a ‘drag guide’ that can be loosened to allow the head to move; this enables the cutting of very wide workpieces, i.e. over 100 millimetres.
The adjustable rails can be moved between the centre and the boundary position (or even removed completely), depending on the desired tilt of the saw-head.
This mitre saw sometimes does not cut square or accurately. Also, the scales may well require adjustment. Its operation is on the quiet side.
The integrated laser is about average but it is not of much use in bright lighting.
The plastic blade guard is awful. It may come in contact with the blade and shatter; in fact, it is so flimsy that it may break on any impact. (If it does, the saw should not be used.)
Some assembly is required. The online instruction booklet is very useful and well presented.
It has a very good system to lower and lock the saw-head for transport purposes.
This mitre saw weighs 11 kilogrammes. It is not very rugged and the build quality is not up to snuff but it is good enough for home projects and DIY enthusiasts.
Einhell provides a two-year warranty provided the unit is not used for commercial or professional purposes.
- The swivelling range allows bevel cuts to 45° both left and right.
- The drag facility allows cutting of unusually wide workpieces.
- Operates quietly relative to other mitre saws.
- The plastic blade guard is a weak link; it is flimsy and quite dreadful.
- This kit is not precise and sometimes will not cut accurately or square.
- Cutting depth for certain compound cuts is comparatively shallow.
Evolution’s powerful rig cuts so cleanly, square, and accurately, and does it so reliably, and is of such build quality that it is a near-pro tool.
Evolution’s mitre saw has a 2000-watt motor in relation to which its speed of 2,500 RPMs is surprisingly low. The motor is very powerful and, therefore, the soft-start is a feature to appreciate. It has a 255-millimetre 28-tooth blade which is tungsten-carbide tipped. As its billing states, it is very strong and can cut through even steel.
Overall, the 052-0001A is a very powerful mitre saw indeed. It is made even more potent by a diamond blade, available as an optional extra, that can cut through stone and concrete.
The mitre angle ranges from -50° to +50° and the bevel from 0° to 45°. The exact specs are:–
M / B
0° / 0° : 300 x 80 mm
0° / 45° : 300 x 45 mm
45° / 0° : 210 x 80 mm
45° / 45°: 210 x 45 mm
50˚ / 0˚ : 192 x 80 mm
50˚ / 45˚ : 192 x 45 mm
It has adjustable depth stops for trenching.
The handle is easy to grip and ergonomic. The laser is the weak link in this mitre saw. It is neither bright nor sharp and is even misaligned. Dust collection is sub-par; expect to get dust on the turntable and perhaps on yourself. However, the clamping system is a cut above.
This bad boy cuts very easily, cleanly, and square, and does it again and again.
The instructions are quite good and the online videos are even better – Evolution is showing other brands the way to go.
This rig is of solid build quality and is quite durable.
It has carry handles and can be folded for storage, and when folded to the fullest, this bad boy becomes a baby boy!
It comes with two clamps and an Allen wrench.
The power cord is 3 metres and the kit weighs 15.3 kilogrammes.
Evolution provides a three-year warranty for U.K. purchases.
One of Amazon’s top-selling mitre saws, this one is actually at the level of a semi-pro tool and, leaving aside the minor ‘cons’, is really so very good as a mitre saw that it is a great value for money.
- The impressively powerful rig can be turned into a rip-snortin’ beast with the optional diamond blade.
- Cuts very cleanly and square, and does this reliably.
- Very solid and of such build quality as to be a near-pro-level rig.
- One of the poorest lasers among amateur mitre saws.
- Maximum no-load speed is only 2,500 RPMs.
- Dust collection system leaves a lot to be desired.
Benefits Of A Mitre Saw
There are critical benefits of using a mitre saw over any other cutting instrument when certain types of cuts need to be made. These include crosscuts, mitres, bevels, and also bevelled mitres.
If some other cutting instrument is used to make these kinds of cuts, the grain may tear, the wood may rip, a rough surface may be left behind, you may not get a level surface, and you may not get the exact mitres and/or bevels you need on the workpiece(s) to be moulded or joined. In fact, these outcomes are not merely possible but are very likely. On the other hand, if a mitre saw is correctly used to make these kinds of cuts, the grain and the wood will not be damaged, the cut will be clean, the surface will be both smooth and level, and you will get the exact angle and slope you need.
In sum, for making the specialised cuts listed above, using this or that sawing instrument is a losing gamble but using a mitre saw is a sure thing.
How To Use A Mitre Saw
It is hardly possible to do more than scratch the surface as to how to use a mitre saw within the ‘Helpful Hints’ section of a review piece because this machine tool is very complex and it has a large number of moveable parts, options, adjustments, and more. However, the most important instruction is this: put on top-quality safety goggles before turning on the switch, and turn off the switch and wait for the saw to come to a stop before taking off the goggles.
You may also want to wear a face mask and earmuffs. Also, do not sit or stand in an unnatural position when using the mitre saw; maintain a firm and balanced stance.
A mitre saw is used for grooving and trenching, slide cutting, chop cutting, mitre cutting, bevel cutting, compound cutting, and moulding cuts of various kinds. To achieve this, one has to perform one or more of the following procedures: machine fence alignment, sliding fence adjustment, rails adjustment, mitre lever adjustment, depth stop engagement, bevel angle selection, bevel stop selection, laser guide utilisation, and cutting head tilt.
We explain how to use a mitre saw to make a straightforward slide cut.
Place the workpiece against the fence and clamp it. You may hold it so that your holding hand is at least 20 centimetres from the blade.
Release the slide lock to allow the cutting head to move on the slide.
Using the handle, move the cutting head so that the arbor is right over the leading edge of the workpiece.
Turn on the saw and, if the mitre saw has a soft start, wait until the blade is rotating at full speed.
Push the handle so as to move the blade fully downwards and the blade all the way through the workpiece’s leading edge.
Slowly but surely push the handle to the rear to finish the cut.
Never pull the handle and the blade towards yourself, and be sure to push it right to its terminus.
Release the switch and wait until the blade is at a full stop.
Let the cutting head raise itself and allow the retractable blade guard to cover the blade, and then let go of the handle.
Before making a slide cut – or any other cut – and without turning on the power, do a dry run or two to visualise and check the path of the cutting head.