You might be shopping around wondering what the best miter saw is. You’ve also probably realized that the price range for miters saws is pretty large. You can find a budget miter saw for $200-$300, but the high end miter saws easily fetch $1,500+. Crazy right? Now, if you’re like me you probably aren’t looking to drop thousands on one single piece of equipment for your shop.
So, what’s the best miter saw and what’s the best for you?
Best high end miter saw ever made
This is only my opinion, of course, but there really aren’t many competitors for the title of best high end miter saw ever made. It really does put the rest to shame, in every category, including price!
My pick for the best high end miter saw ever made is the Festool Kapex. It does everything you want out of your miter saw, at a higher level than the rest. Sure, some miter saws might have slightly better dust collection or something else that it does slightly better, but those same miter saws will also fail to compare in many other categories.
Here’s a great video review from a carpenter who’s had the Kapex for over 4 years:
It’s a really great review. The one thing he mentions that this miter saw doesn’t do well is price. He says it’s far over priced. But here’s the kicker, right after he says this he mentions that if his Festool were to get stolen, he’d buy it again. Haha, so it must be a love hate relationship. Nonetheless, it is very pricy, $1,500 is only worth it if you are using your miter saw many times a day throughout the week.
You can totally get a miter saw that gets to about 80% the quality level as the Festool Kapex, for about half the price. You’re literally just paying extra for the best of the best. If you’re a professional and need the best to impress clients, you’ll likely make that money back.
Pricey yes, good investment for a high end professional? Yep!
What's the best entry level miter saw?
Let’s speak to the opposite side of things, the entry level miter saws. You really have two options here. New up and coming off brand miter saws. These are lesser known brands that will get the job done, but aren’t as quality.
Then there’s the well respected quality brands like Dewalt, Bosch, Hitachi, Makita, ect. You won’t regret buying one of these, they have a long track record of quality. My inner fanboy is coming out here, but I personally like Dewalt. They have a 3 year warranty on all their power saws, even though you aren’t likely to need it. After the 3 years are up replacement parts are easily and widely available. The other major brands can be just as good, Dewalt is simply my personal preference.
So what about those lesser known brands? Well, some can be garbage, so watch out, I’m less familiar with them but others have mentioned good things, especially at their price point. I’ve seen sliding 12 inch miter saws with literally every single bell and whistle for under $300. If you’re starting out, it’s hard to pass on such an offer.
Will a cheap miter saw like that be a lemon and break in a year’s time? Maybe, but unlikely. It might not be the most precise miter saw out there, but if you’re just starting out, your skill level is more likely going to compromise the end product sooner than the miter saw. I know I still can’t blame my tools no matter how cheap!
So what should you go with? Well, I’d recommend going down to your local home improvement store and get your hands on a few before you buy. The best kind of miter saw depends on your needs.
The best kind of miter saw for you
You need to figure out what you’ll be asking your miter saw to do before you can buy the best miter saw. This is why I don’t want to recommend any one miter saw to you here. The best miter saw depends on your needs.
Do you need a large cutting capacity? Then a 12 inch sliding miter saw will be a requirement. Need something small and compact because you only use your saw semi-regularly? A 10 inch non-sliding miter saw will fit the bill.
Only ever going to be cutting baseboards and trim? Then a 7 1/4 can get the job done. Need to use your miter saw at locations that might not have power? You’ll want a battery powered miter saw (which are actually getting cheaper and better every year!).
The truth is, if you’re a professional you probably know what you need and want, go with your gut. If you’re using your miter saw on the jobsite grab a miter saw above the entry level price point.
For beginners and hobbyists looking to get into woodworking, check out entry level Dewalts and other major brands, then compare them to the lesser brands and see what you think will best fit your needs and budget.
One tidbit of wisdom I’ll drop is that some common features aren’t as great as you might think. Laser guides for example are heavily pushed as a “must have” feature. In reality no one really uses them and they aren’t even that precise. I don’t even use mine. Shadow lines are way better if you really want a similar feature.
Also, dust collection is underrated. Not all saws are equal in this department. So check out the reviews on the miter saw you are looking to buy, before you pull the trigger.
That’s a wrap. I hope this helps you find the best miter saw for you, no matter your skill level, needs, or budget.