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Regardless of whether you are a professional contractor or a weekend woodworking warrior, you need to be sure that you have the best 12-inch miter saw that money can buy. These versatile tools make cutting sectional lumber, and trip pieces a breeze, even if you need to cut them on an angle to fit into a tight spot. They allow you to cut even larger sections of lumber on an angle, making them perfect for anything, from crafts to construction.
Of course, there is a lot that needs to be taken into account when it comes to finding the right saw for the job. That’s why when we were putting together our listing, we carefully selected our saws based on an array of important features. First, we looked to see what the maximum miter cutting capacity of each saw was. That allowed us to best determine which saws would work best for different applications. Next, we checked into the different safety features of each saw, like clamps and blade guards. We also looked to see how easy each saw was to adjust since the last thing you want to do while you are working is spend all of your time fiddling with a miter or bevel scale. We ended up with 5 best models on our list, and the Makita LS1221 deserved our Editor’s Choice nomination.
More features: horizontal D-handle design, electric brake, comes with accessory kit
If you are looking to save a bit of space in your workshop, then this might be a great option for you. It is a compact compound miter saw. While this smaller overall size does limit the cutting capacity of the blade, it makes it much easier to pick up and take with you on a job or fit into a smaller size shop. Something else that helps to make this saw so compact is its small, but effective, dust collection system. Since this bag doesn’t need a lot of clearance, you should have no issue fitting it close against a wall, which is a huge space saver.
Even though you might not expect a ton of power out of the smaller saw, this model from Makita is able to provide plenty. It has a 15 amp motor that is capable of producing speeds up to 4000 RPM. While this does make the saw a bit loud when it first starts up, it is well worth it in the end. This saw’s powerful motor gives it the capability to perform just as well as much larger saws.
This is also one of the safest saws that you could buy. It has an electric braking system that keeps it from spinning any longer than you need it to. Basically, the second you let go of the power button, this blade will stop spinning. Aside from this braking system, this saw also has a power button lock, which will help to prevent the saw from powering on unexpectedly.
More features: pre-aligned squarelock fences, upfront bevel lock, and range selector, Axial-Glide system
The best thing about miter saws is the level of versatility that they can offer you. Of course, different users will need different levels of versatility. If you are a professional woodworker, you are going to need much more precision, control, and features than a do-it-yourselfer. If this is the case for you, then this is going to be a saw you are going to want to check out. The first thing that stands out with this model is how large it is. It has, of all the saws that we checked out, the larger cutting capacity. It can be used for a miter cut on anything all the way up to a 4 x 10” piece of lumber, which is absolutely massive.
This saw also offers a much higher degree of adjustability than any other saw on the market. While there are definitely other saws that allow for a double bevel scale, not many will allow you to cut bevels on a 48-degree angle. This makes making less than standard cuts and angles much easier. The miter scale can also be adjusted beyond the standard 45 degrees so that you can cut miters of 52 degrees to the left and 60 degrees to the right.
As you would expect from such a sophisticated piece of equipment, this saw has a ton of positive stops for both its miter and bevel gauges. These stops make it that much easier to find the right angle accurately as quickly as possible. The only real drawback to this machine is the amount of dust that it produces. The Axial-Glide cutting system flows through even the thickest materials like butter, which makes a lot of dust. The dust collection system is inefficient at capturing all of this dust, so you’ll definitely need to purchase a separate system in addition to this saw.
More features: adjustable laser marker, positive stops, vertical handle with elastomer grip, fixed rail system
Most of the time, when you are just getting into something new, it is best to start with the basics. This most definitely applies to using a miter saw. Some of the 12-inch saws on the market have a sharp learning curve, which can make using them correctly a daunting task for beginners. If you are just getting started in woodworking, then this straightforward saw from Hitachi is a great place to begin. Both the miter and bevel scales have plenty of positive stops, which makes finding the right angles much easier.
Something else that really makes using this saw so simple are the adjustment systems for the bevel and miter gauges. Unlike other models, which use more complex adjustment systems, this saw has simple lever and knobs. These knobs make adjustment quick and easy. The laser marker also helps to make cuts quick and easy to complete
Even though this is a very basic saw, that doesn’t mean it can’t do great work. It has a high cutting capacity, which makes it a great option for pretty much any project. The handle is also very comfortable to use. This handle is so comfortable because it is set up to be used vertically. This different alignment makes this saw much more ergonomically pleasing, meaning you can work for a longer amount of time without taking a break.
The only real issue with this saw is that the sliding mechanism doesn’t always go as smoothly as you would expect. This is especially the case when you are cutting larger materials. Thankfully, if you switch out the blade for one with a lower tooth count, you can gain a bit more torque, which makes the sliding mechanism stick a bit less.
More features: laser cutline guide, positive stops, table extension, quick-mount system, 6-feet long cord
If you aren’t a professional woodworker, then you probably don’t have a need to break the bank for a 12-inch miter saw. Obviously, you still need to find a high-quality saw that won’t let you down for the limited amount of work that you need it to do. This saw from SKILSAW definitely fits the bill quite well, though it doesn’t have all of the features you’d find on more expensive models.
While the price point is certainly the first thing that you’ll notice about this saw, it isn’t the only thing that makes it an attractive option of a DIYer. This is one of the lightest saws on the market, which makes it perfect for portability. It is also quite compact, which makes it easier to keep it out of the way when you are not using it.
Surprisingly, even though this is a cheaper model, it still has a pretty powerful motor. In fact, it can create some of the highest RPM of any of the 12-inch miter saws on the market. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s obviously good that there is so much power since that makes making fine and rough cuts much easier. All of this power can be an issue, however, due to the lightweight nature of the saw. If the saw is not attached securely to a stand or table, it has a tendency to jump when you start it up. This can make using it effectively tricky.
Warranty: 90-days money back guarantee, 3-years limited
More features: CUTLINE™ blade positioning system, dual steel rails with clamping mechanism, belt-drive
It is sliding compound miter saw, which means that it can handle pretty much any cut that you have in mind on materials up to 4 x 8 “. It is able to cut through even these thick materials thanks to its powerful 15-amp motor, which can produce speeds of up to 3800 RPM. This motor and these speeds make this an ideal saw for rough for fine cuts.
One of the things that makes this such a great saw aside from its powerful motor is its duel bevel system. This system gives you the capability to tilt the saw in either direction up to 45 degrees. Since you can tilt the saw, either way, it makes bevel cuts much easier, since you don’t need to do any special figuring to quickly and easily make your two pieces fit together.
Something else that stands out as a big positive for this saw is all of its measuring components. No matter if you are adjusting the bevel or the miter gauge, this saw is extremely accurate. It has several positive stops along the way to make finding the right angles quick and easy.
As you would expect with a saw of this size, it can be pretty tricky to fit into smaller spaces, especially if you decide to utilize the provided dust collection system. Another thing to keep in mind with this saw is that the sliding option is a little touchy. Though it would be nice if this action was a bit smoother, it still provides very accurate cuts, even on larger and tougher materials.
Why are we impressed?
Easy to adjust miter and bevel
Dual bevel system
Built-in clamping mechanism
Very powerful belt driven motor
High cutting capacity
Extra-large blade guard for added safety
What negatives must you be aware of?
Doesn’t always slide smoothly
Hard to fit in a smaller space
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know in order to find the best 12-inch miter saw for you. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you still need more information.
Why 12-inch miter saw is worth buying
Miter saws come in a variety of sizes. The two most popular models are the 10-inch and 12-inch. While 10-inch saws are smaller, lighter, and generally more portable, they do not have the right amount of power for certain jobs. If you are cutting larger framing materials or trim stock, then the 12-inch saw is going to be the right option.
The advantages of using a 12-inch saw over a smaller version boil down to size and power. With a larger blade, larger saws are able to cut through much larger material. These bigger saw blades are also able to produce much faster tooth speeds than a smaller saw, which makes the cuts that much cleaner, even on thicker, and tougher materials.
As you would expect with a larger saw, 12-inch models also have larger motors. They usually use a 15 amp motor, which is able to produce plenty of RPM. These powerful motors help to make cutting even the bulkiest boards quick and simple, which will save you time on the job site.
Which type of miter saw should you use?
There are several different varieties of miter saws that you can choose from, with each one offering different advantages and disadvantages.
Basic – As you can guess from the name of this type of saw, these are the most basic form a miter saw available. These saws can be used to cut boards to length and miter them, but they cannot be used to put a bevel onto boards.
Compound – Compound miter saws are almost the exact same as basic miter saws, in that they can cut lumber to length and miter it. In addition to these basic cuts, however, compound miter saws can also be used to bevel the wood, which is essential for trim work and certain construction projects. The only real drawback to a compound saw is that they cannot always cut larger sectional lumber.
Sliding Compound – If you are looking to get as much out of your 12-inch miter saw’s added cutting size as possible, then you might want to get a sliding compound saw. These saws are much like a normal compound saw, except that the blade slides front to back in addition to cutting down. This increases the available cutting capacity exponentially. These saws are quite bulky, however.
Cordless – If portability is important to you, then you might want to look for a portable miter saw. Since there is no need to plug them in, these saws are great for cutting pretty much anywhere a cut is needed. Of course, the battery will run out on you if you don’t keep it charged in between jobs.
When you are looking for your miter saw, it is best to figure out exactly what you need it for. This will help to determine what type of price you can expect to pay for the features that you need. Obviously, the more advanced, powerful, or technically superior a model is, the more you can expect to pay for it. If you are looking for a saw to help around the house on occasional home improvement work, it might be best to go with a more basic, and budget-friendly option, like the SKILSAW 3821-01.
Features to consider while buying the best 12-inch miter saw
As you can imagine, there are plenty of features that you need to carefully consider when you are looking for the best 12-inch miter saw. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know to find the best option for your needs.
Each miter saw on the market will come with a general style blade. These blades are good for most cuts, but will not provide the power you need for tougher materials, or the finesse you need for finer cuts. To determine what a blade is best suited for, you need to check the tooth count. More teeth will equal a finer cut but less power, while fewer teeth will equal more power, but a rougher cut.
While miter cuts are the bread and butter of a basic miter saw, a compound model will also allow you to make beveled cuts. These cuts are essential in construction and crafting, as they allow you to fit pieces of wood together with ease. It is important to find a saw that allows for right and left bevel cuts, as this will save you a ton of time when you are trying to fit pieces together.
Power and speed
The amount of power that your saw possesses, and the speed that it can rotate the saw blade, are highly dependent on the type of work that you intend to do with your saw. If you are cutting larger materials, then you will want a more powerful motor, like the one on the DEWALT DWS780. If you are looking for finer cuts, then faster speeds are more important, making the Makita LS1221 an attractive option for finishing work.
Dust collection systems are essential if you are working on a job site or in your own workshop. The last thing that you want to have to do is clean up a huge mess at the end of the day. Of all the models we looked into, the Makita LS1221 has the most secure dust bag. Of course, if you don’t mind spending some extra cash, you can get an attachment to hook your saw up to a wet/dry vacuum for even better dust collection.
The fence helps to make sure that the material you are cutting is properly aligned with the blade for accurate cuts. If you intend to make smaller cuts, then you should look for a saw that has fence clamps, like those on the Bosch GCM12SD. These clamps will hold the lumber you are cutting secure, so you don’t get your hand too close to the blade.
Laser guides make it much easier and faster to line up the material you are going to be cutting with the saw so you can make quick and accurate cuts every time. While the batteries will need to be changed every so often, it is well worth it if you are going to be doing a ton of cutting with your saw.
Positive stops are another system that is designed to make your cuts quick and accurate. These are stops along the miter scale on common angle points. When you are adjusting your saw’s cutting angle, a scale with positive stops will allow you to quickly find the right angle without having to fine tune it for these common measurements.
There are two basic options when it comes to the stand for a table saw. You can purchase one that fits your saw specifically, or you can actually attach your saw to a workbench with bolts. Portable stands to make it easier to move your saw around a worksite, though this does add some additional cost.
The handle for your miter saw should fit well in your hand and not be too larger or too small. It should also absorb most of the vibrations from the saw when you are cutting so that you don’t experience a high degree of hand fatigue while you are working.
As with any larger purchase, you need to be sure that you get a good warranty on your new miter saw. That way, you will be covered should anything go wrong with it from normal use. You just need to be careful to read through the warranty completely. Otherwise, you might think that you are completely covered but not be.
There are three main safety issues that you need to be concerned with when using a miter saw. The first is the blade itself. You need to make sure that you keep your hand clear of the blade at all time. Using the fence clamps is a great method to keep your hands away at all times. The second big issue is flying debris. These saws create tons of dust, so be sure you always wear safety glasses. Finally, these saws are also extremely loud, so be sure to wear hearing protection at all times.
Miter saws have three main uses. With this type of saw, you can cut lumber to length. Secondly, you can miter the wood, which means that you are cutting it on an angle. Finally, you can do a bevel cut, which affects the slope of the lumber. Each of these types of cuts is essential for a variety of construction and craft projects, making these saws a versatile and necessary tool.
There are no two ways about it: the Makita LS1221 is the best overall 12-inch miter saw on the market today. Though it is smaller in overall size, it does not lack in power. This makes it a great option for any type of cuts that you might need to make.
The Bosch GCM12SD is another top candidate for the best 12-inch miter saw that any woodworker wouldn’t mind having. It is very powerful and has a wide dual bevel range, as well as a bigger than average miter scale. This makes it perfect for any specialized cuts that you might need to make.
The Hitachi C12RSH2 is a great entry-level model. Amateur woodworkers will love how their first projects are easily done with the help of a user-friendly Hitache 12-inch miter saw that helps deliver precise cuts with an adjustable laser marker.