If you want to make perfect cuts for crown molding, door frames, window casting, and picture frames that require cuts in two planes, then a compound miter saw is the perfect tool to have.
These saws can also make a compound cut in one pass. Now, let’s dive into the factors that you need to consider before buying a compound miter saw.
Factors to Consider
The first factor to consider is always to select the blade size. Typically, compound miter saws come in 8, 10 and 12 inches sizes. Longer blade means being able to make longer and sharper cuts. To cut larger and thicker boards, you would need a larger blade.
An 8” diameter blade miter saw has no room for expandability. So, it is recommended to go for 10” or 12” diameter blade. A 12” blade means more power and more amps being drawn by the machine.
Another factor to be taken into consideration is the number of positive stops it has. These are the points set up by the manufacturer which allow you to lock the saw at certain angles to make cuts with precision.
Typically they are at 0, 15, 30 and 45 degrees. A saw with a higher number of stops will offer a decreased amount of time needed to setup cuts. Some saws offer a feature where a stop can be activated by a thumb to make adjustments as needed.
If safety is one of your primary concerns (which should be) then always buy a compound miter saw that has blade guards.
Miter saws without a blade guard could be hazardous. Guard automatically covers the blade when you raise it. While the blade is being used, the guard will retract so that you can view the cutting line without any problem.
A compound miter saw without electronic brakes can take up to 10 seconds to stop the blade from rotating while a model with brakes can take only up to 2 seconds to stop it. This is achieved by reversing the electric current in the motor when the trigger is released.
This helps in stopping the blade quickly from rotating. It can help you both make cuts without ruining them in the end and to operate safely.
The final factor to consider is the weight of your saw. If portability isn’t an issue, then you can go with a heavier model like a sliding compound miter saw that has an extra feature of sliding across the board which is very helpful in cutting large boards.
But if you need to carry your saw to your workshop, home and job sites often then go with a model that weighs less and offers higher portability. For example, Makita LS1016L 10 Inch Miter Saw with Laser is only 53.3 lbs. On the other hand, a sliding compound miter can weight over 70 lbs.
To sum it up, these are the five factors that you need to consider when buying a compound miter saw.
There can be some other factors like depth stops, RPM, shaft locks, and digital displays but if you are only starting out then, you needn’t worry about these. No matter what you are buying, the price is always a universal factor. So, remember not to pay extra for features that you don’t need.…