Miter saws are known for their ability to cut long pieces of wood accurately and precisely. They have been electrified and motorized since the 1970s, although their manual variants existed for more than three centuries before this. If you are looking to invest in a reliable miter saw, you want to know what exactly to look for.
These include the following:
Kind of Saw
Miter saws are categorized into four types: stationary compound, sliding dual compound, and sliding compound. The price of a miter saw increases with its design sophistication. A stationary compound miter saw is capable of making miter cuts to the right and left; however, they bevel cuts in just one direction. The best sliding miter saw is more capable in this regard as it can do everything the other saws can do plus bevel cuts in both directions.
The majority of miter saws are corded tools with 10-, 12-, or 15-amp motors. If you will be making many wide crosscuts or using hardwoods, consider a more powerful motor. If you want the saw to cut thinner trim made of pine or composite material, you can invest in a less powerful motor. However, you can opt to buy cordless miter saws as they are smaller, lighter, and more useful for medium-duty work. Also, brushless motors are available which offer longer life and lower maintenance.
Blade and Crosscut Capacity
Traditionally, miter saw blades have been made in 8-1/4-, 8-1/2-, 10-, and 12-inch diameters. Bigger blades are capable of making long cuts. When cutting wide molding or dimensional lumber, ensure the blade or blade combination and slide capacity exceeds this width.
The best thing about the 10-inch blade diameter is that it can be interchanged with a table saw. This means that you don’t have to purchase a couple of sets of circular blades if you can take the time swapping the blades between the table and miter saws. This is also true in terms of the use of a circular saw and cordless miter saws which use 7-1/4-inch blades. It’s because such blades are readily available.
Think about buying a blade that has higher teeth per inch or TPI. You can use it for cutting hardwood or for making clear finished cuts in any material. You can expect a finer finish for blades with a higher tooth count. Regardless of your choice, ensure you replace the blade every time it dulls since this can be safer and easier on the motor of the saw.