Choosing the best twelve-inch miter saw can be a total gamechanger for you. Not only will it save you plenty of time in the workshop, but a saw of this size will also allow you to work with larger lumber, compared to eight-inch or ten-inch miter saws. If you’re a DIYer, contractor, or you’re taking on some important renovations in the home, this type of saw is a must. But considering there are many different styles and types to choose from, knowing which kind of miter saw will work the best for you, and trying to find one that doesn’t overheat easily, and is powerful enough to get the job done can require plenty of time and research.
That’s where I come in. I’ve reviewed many of the best-selling models around and I was able to narrow it down to just six. Each of these saws is packing some serious power and earned a high user rating for their performance, versatility, and built-in safety features.
If you know anything about miter saws, then you know how much you will come to rely on one for certain types of cuts. But if you’re not sure if this type of saw is right for you, then check out my buyer’s guide, which lists what this saw is capable of, why it will be such a huge help in your workshop, and what features to look for.
Below, you’ll find a comparison chart for the six leading models on the market. The chart will show you both the similarities and differences between each of these models, in the hope that it can help you to easily narrow down your choices to find a saw that will work for the type of space you have available, your cutting needs, and of course, your
Miter Saws Comparison Chart
|DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw||15||10||None|
|Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD||15||3||LED|
|SKIL 3821-01 Miter Saw||15||9||Red Laser|
|TACKLIFE Sliding Compound Miter Saw||15||none||Red Laser|
|Milwaukee 6955-20 Sliding Miter Saw||15||10||Red Laser|
|Hitachi C12RSH2 Miter Saw||15||none||Red Laser|
DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw
The latest saw by Dewalt is turning heads. This sliding miter features a powerful fifteen-amp motor and a double bevel design that will allow the user to cut bevels without having to flip a workpiece over.
This is a versatile saw that’s designed for both DIYers and pros. This powerful, precise saw is capable of performing a wide range of cutting tasks ranging from home renovation work or delicate cuts for fine woodwork projects.
Having a saw that’s this versatile is a must, especially if you often cut larger pieces of lumber. This model is capable of cutting wood at a ninety-degree angle, which is pretty impressive. It’s also able to make horizontal and vertical bevels and miters simultaneously. This feature will come in handy when it comes to more complicated cutting tasks since it makes the entire process much faster and more manageable.
This model also comes with a bright LED light that’s located on the crosscut alignment system. It works to cast a vivid shadow on the saw’s blade, helping you to see exactly where the blade is headed. Most users can agree that it’s more effective than a standard red laser guide system.
- LED light guide
- Fifteen-amp motor
- Reasonable price
- Double bevel design
- Designed for beginner and pro use
- Leaves major kerf marks
- Blade needs an upgrade
This is a highly accurate model that comes complete with ten positive stops, an LED light blade guide that will allow you to clearly see the path of the blade, and some built-in safety features that make this model perfect for the beginner and pro alike. Overall, you’ll find that it offers a solid reliable performance and one that won’t disappoint you, especially if you normally have to miter larger pieces of wood. I gave this model a rating of five out of five stars.
Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD
The latest model from Bosch is the wildly popular GCM12SD. This model features a smooth axial glide system, which allows for much wider crosscuts, not to mention significantly better alignment. Despite its many top of the line features, it also features a more compact design, which makes it perfect for the woodworker, DIYer, or contractor in need of a highly portable model, or for those who are short on space in the workshop. This model comes with a fourteen-inch horizontal cutting capacity, and a six and a half-inch vertical cutting capacity. It offers easy alignments and a larger uniform bevel that’s easy to read. It also comes equipped with three detents, for precise right or left cutting tasks.
- Fourteen-inch horizontal cutting capacity
- Six and a half-inch vertical cutting capacity
- Highly portable
- Compact design
- Only offers three detent options
As you can see, this is a very versatile, compact, yet powerful miter saw that comes equipped with plenty of bells and whistles. However, the fact that it only features a few detent options may be a deal-breaker for the beginner. Yet, its portable design and powerful motor give the DIYer and contractor every reason to buy. This model earned a rating of four and a half stars out of five.
SKIL 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw
This model by SKIL features a fifteen amp motor, and a blade rotations per minute rating of four thousand, five hundred. This means that this is a saw that’s powerful enough to handle most types of material with power and precision. The adjustable motor speed is another huge selling point. Users will be able to increase the blade’s speed when cutting through tough materials or decrease it when dealing with soft materials such as plywood. While this model really shines with hardwoods, it’s also a great choice if you need to cut PVC or metal. It also comes equipped with a red laser guide system, however, in bright sunlight, this guide will be pretty useless.
- Nine detents
- Powerful motor
- Precise cutting action
- Variable speed settings
- Laser guide will be useless in bright sunlight
- Can struggle with horizontal cuts
For the price, you can’t beat a model that offers variable speed control, cutting precision and a powerful motor that will allow you to cut through pretty much anything. This saw’s laser guide system may not be the best, and while it can struggle with horizontal cuts when working with tougher materials, this model offers the type of power you need to get the job done. I gave it a rating of four and a half out of five stars.
TACKLIFE Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This model comes equipped with a powerful fifteen amp motor complete with a seventeen hundred watt rating and a blade rotation per minute rating of three thousand, eight hundred. This saw has a reputation for top of the line durability and cutting precision. The included laser guide system allows you to clearly see the path of the blade, however, it’s visibility is significantly impacted in bright light conditions. The double bevel cutting design will allow the head of the saw to be adjusted forty-five degrees right and left. It also comes equipped with an efficient dust collection system, which will keep your workpiece free of debris.
- Efficient dust collection system
- Laser guide
- Fifteen-amp motor
- High RPM rating
- Laser guide will not work in bright sunlight
- Not beginner-friendly
This is a saw that has it all, including a dual bevel design, powerful motor, high RPM rating, and a built-in laser guide. The saw’s versatility and ability to cut through hardwood, soft metal, plastic tubing, and smooth wood, will make it invaluable in any home or pro workshop. I gave this model a rating of four and a half out of five stars.
Milwaukee 6955-20 Sliding Miter Saw
Looking for a model that’s reasonably priced but is packing some serious power? Then take a closer look at the newest model in Milwaukee’s sliding miter line. The 695520 offers a detent override feature that’s designed to make it fast and easy to dial in a precise miter angle, a fifteen-amp motor, and a top of the line dust collection system that’s designed to keep your workpiece free and clear of debris. The saw’s digital miter angle readout is what really makes this model stand out and also makes it more beginner-friendly compared to competing models in this price bracket.
- Digital detent readout
- Good value for your money
- Powerful motor
- Laser guide is difficult to read in bright sunlight
- Dust collection system is mediocre
This model features a dual bevel design, a digital miter angle readout that makes it more beginner-friendly, a powerful motor and a top-notch stock blade that can power through a wide range of materials. It also comes equipped with a tough blade guard, a durable design, and a higher than average RPM rating. This model earned a rating of four and a half stars out of five.
Hitachi C12RSH2 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This model by Hitachi comes equipped with a fifteen-amp motor, large sliding fence, and a zero to fifty-seven-degree miter adjusted for the left and zero to forty-five degrees to the right. This is a compact saw, so it will work well in smaller workshops, however, don’t let its smaller size fool you. Its versatile design will allow you to take on larger lumber, easily. The clean, precise cutting action is one of the saw’s biggest selling points. It also features a red laser guide that’s designed to clearly show you the blade’s cutting path, and a dust collection system that will suck up sawdust to keep your workpiece highly visible. However, on both accounts, these features don’t offer the type of performance the manufacturer claims they do.
Unless you’re working in dim conditions, the laser guide can be very difficult to see, even in moderate light conditions. The included dust collection system doesn’t offer the type of suction power you need in order to keep your workspace clean and clear. While both of these poor performing features can be big drawbacks for some potential buyers, for the price, this model offers a solid performance and can provide the type of cutting action you need to get the job done faster.
- Compact design
- Fifteen-amp motor
- Highly portable
- Low price
- No detents
- Poor quality laser guide
- Weak dust collection system
This model offers precise, powerful cutting action, in a saw that’s reasonably priced, highly portable, and beginner-friendly. However, it lacks any detents and struggles with its weak laser guide, and dust collection system. Overall, if you’re looking for an entry-level model that’s easy to use and reasonably priced, this saw will be a huge help in your workshop.
The best 12-inch miter saw will come in handy for a wide range of DIY projects or for those looking for a reliable saw for their home woodworking shop. These saws are specifically designed to perform a wide range of cuts, for projects such as making picture frames, cutting door frames, crown molding, and much more.
When you’re shopping for a new saw, you’ll find that there is no shortage of options available, each with a variety of features, blade types, and performance ratings. There are a few different types of miters available. Each type will feature a pivoting blade design that moves up and down the axis and is designed to move at a variety of angles. However, the main feature each type has to offer will clue you in on exactly the kind of miter that will work for you, based on your specific needs.
Compound miters are the most common type. These models can tilt and are able to cut a variety of angles. Compound miters will come in handy if you’re looking for a saw that can handle cutting at a couple of different angles.
The dual-bevel compound saw is very similar to the standard miter, however, it can tilt in both the right and left directions, while the standard miter saw is only able to tilt to the left. The ability to cut in both the right and left directions without having to flip over the workpiece is a huge plus for most users.
The sliding miter is one of the most popular. This saw can slide backward and forward, which allows it to handle wider pieces of wood.
This guide will focus primarily on twelve-inch models since only the pro contractor will need a saw bigger than twelve inches. Larger models are pricey and really aren’t ideal for home woodworking shops.
As the name suggests, this saw is great at making miter cuts. However, it can also easily handle straight cuts or crosscuts for cutting timber to the right length. Most saws can be adjusted to cut at an angle to make a bevel cut. These saws can also handle a combination of miter and bevel cuts at the same time. This type of cut is referred to as a compound cut. In terms of cutting capability, this is pretty much all the miter can handle. Essentially, the miter is a circular saw that’s mounted to an arm and platform, which means it’s only capable of sliding forward and backward and can only come down on a workpiece at a fixed angle. Yet, it’s still considered very versatile since it can handle plywood, boards, lumber, and most basic DIY wood projects.
For most types of cutting and framing jobs, this saw can easily handle making cuts at a consistent angle and length, making your job much easier. A miter that’s accurate can be a big help in the workshop since they can make perfectly angled cuts over and over, in addition to cutting seamless looking joints.
Why You Need a Compound Miter
This saw is considered a huge improvement over the basic miter for the fact that the blade can be tilted in a couple of different directions. This allows the user to create very accurate bevel cuts, which can be used for installing interior trim pieces, door frames, and crown molding. The sliding miter is yet another major improvement over the basic compound saw and it also overcomes some of the biggest shortcomings of the other two alternatives. With a basic compound saw, the arm is only able to pivot from a fixed position, in a single spot, so it’s cutting capacity is very limited. As an example, a twelve-inch miter is only able to cut lumber that’s less than a foot wide.
Sliding miters are able to significantly improve the saw’s cutting capacity compared to the other two alternatives, allowing for a cut increase of more than a foot, which is what makes them perfect for cutting wood planks and dimensional pieces of wood.
If you have a healthy budget, then you can opt for a higher-priced model, which will come equipped with a combination of all the features each type of miter has to offer, but the price tag is pretty steep. The dual sliding miters will give you a more versatile saw, so if versatility is a must, then this type of saw, is your best bet.
A positive stop allows the user to operate the saw by feel. The built-in detents will click the table into place along the angles most commonly used. This often includes twenty-two, thirty, forty-five, and ninety-degree angles.
These will come in handy, allowing the user to make precise cuts. Some saws will come equipped with a laser guide that will display the path of the blade on the material. However, these laser guides can be a pain to see, especially in bright light conditions. This is usually the case with saws that have a red laser. Models that have green lasers allow you to clearly see the path of the laser, even in bright light conditions. Unfortunately, most models will come equipped with the red laser variety, which can be a drawback for the potential buyer in search of a model that’s easier to use.
A fence isn’t simply used to keep your cuts straight and on the right path. Since this type of saw is able to cut away from the front, the fence works to keep the material close to the blade. Fences that are taller will also be very useful when it comes to cutting into wider stock or crown molding that’s flimsy. Some types of fences are also able to provide more support by extending. These extendable fences can be put into action when you’re working with longer workpieces.
A dust system will keep your worksurface and workpiece nice and clean and highly visible. These systems will work by blowing the dust out of a port where it’s then collected by a dust bag or a vacuum. Despite the fact that this saw is very efficient and low on waste, when you take into consideration the dozens of different cuts you’ll make at one time, you’ll quickly realize that without a solid dust extraction system in place, it can be difficult to clearly see the path of the blade or keep an eye on the progress of a cut.
Soft Start Motor
This type of motor design allows the blade to gradually power up, providing the user with plenty of time to secure the wood against its fence as they make a cut.
This type of motor is very efficient, quiet-running, and doesn’t require much maintenance. Most will also come equipped with top of the line advanced features including overload protection and rate control.
Built-in clamps will come in handy when you need to secure lumber to the saw. These clamps are a must if you’re working with bigger stock, especially when you’re using a sliding miter.
A saw that comes equipped with blade control means that’s the saw will operate at a consistent speed regardless of the varying loads, for a more consistent, smoother cut.
How to Choose the Right Model for You
When you’re comparing models, make sure you check out a saw’s adjustability, guides, and positive stops. Aside from the blade itself, you’ll also need to consider the type of blade you’ll need since the blade will have a major impact on the quality of the cut.
The biggest limiting factor of this saw is the size of its blade. Most models will come equipped with a blade size that ranges from seven inches, up to twelve inches in diameter. For more information on how to keep your blade in top shape, click here to read my article on how to sharpen a saw.
Keep in mind, a saw’s crosscut capacity is often limited by the saw blade’s diameters. However, a sliding model can produce crosscuts of twelve inches or more.
The saw’s miter range will determine what types of joints it’s able to make. Most models are able to miter at a forty-five-degree angle. Others will be able to miter up to sixty-degrees.
The saw’s powder is rated in amperage. Models with a ten to fifteen amp motor are more powerful and will work well for cutting metal and hardwood. Many of these saws can easily handle a heavy workload, however, paying close attention to a saw’s workload rating will be important, in order to avoid overloading it.
The saw’s speed is rated in terms of rotations per minute. The higher the rotations per minute rating, the faster a saw is able to spin. The faster the blade is able to spin, the cleaner the cut. Most models offer a rotation rating of three thousand or higher.
Like table saw blades and circular saw blades, the blades for the miter consist of toothed pieces of metal that are made out of carbide materials or high-speed steel. Most blades will have a tooth count. The higher the tooth count, the finer the cut.
Most manufacturers will specify the amount of material the blade can take out of the stock or the kerf width. Most blades are able to remove 0.1 inches of material or less. Blades that are designed to cut metal are able to cut off less.
When you’re working with a saw, or any type of power tool for that matter, safety is important. This saw is said to be safer than a table saw, however, due to the guide arms and built-in blade guards. Just keep in mind that without proper safety precautions, injuries can occur.
- Common sense can go a long way in terms of saw safety. As an example, always make sure that you have the saw shut off and unplugged when you’re swapping out the blades.
- When operating the saw, use eye protection. Flying debris and sawdust can cause serious eye injuries. If you’re working outside, wearing a mask, in addition to earplugs can also help.
- Keep in mind, the blade does not come to a full stop as soon as you release the trigger, so you’ll need to wait for the blade to completely stop spinning before you swap out the blade or attempt to cut another piece of lumber. Blades typically stop ten to fifteen seconds after you release the trigger. Before you use your saw, test out the blade brake and ensure it’s in proper working order.
Most saws are made out of aluminum or steel. However, the handle and blade guard may be made out of durable plastic, such as ABS.
The biggest decision that you’ll have to make when you’re buying a new miter is choosing a non-sliding or sliding saw and whether you want a ten or twelve-inch blade size. Look at the max range of cuts I’ve covered earlier in this guide to get an idea of what type of saw you really need.
- If you do plenty of mitering for framework or molding, then this type of saw is exactly what you need to make your job easier. This will also apply if you’re usually in the habit of milling or squaring raw lumber. For most DIYers, adding a miter saw to their workshop will be worth the research and the higher price tag. This is a tool that you’ll find yourself quickly using on a regular basis in your workshop or garage.
- If you’re anticipating using the saw on boards that are larger than eight-inches, then a sliding miter is a must. If you plan on spending the majority of your time cutting molding or mitering picture frames, then you’ll find that a non-sliding miter will fit the bill nicely.
- Portability is another thing to keep in mind. How much portability do you need? How much space do you have available in your workshop? A sliding miter is going to be bigger and heavier compared to a standard miter saw. If you opt for a heavier model, then you’ll quickly find that moving the saw regularly can pose quite the challenge. This won’t be an issue if you have plenty of space in your workshop or you have a cart that you can use to transport it.
- If you’re tight on space, and you may need to transport this saw for work, then a non-sliding model will be your best bet. For space and portability, a traditional miter is a great option, however, if there are times when a sliding miter will help to speed up your cutting tasks and you need a model that’s more versatile, the sliding miter is definitely a worthy investment.
In the end, it will all boil down to how much space you need, whether or not portability is a factor, and what type of performance you’re looking for in your next saw. To learn more, click here to read my article on miter saw tips and tricks.
As you can see, there are many top of the line models to choose from, each of which has something special to offer, whether it’s raw cutting power, a top of the line performance, a portable design, or cutting versatility. I hope this guide and my product recommendations have helped you decide on a model that will meet your cutting needs, project goals, and budget. Considering some models come with a higher price tag, you should consider this type of purchase as a major investment, and one that can make your job easier, allow you to work with larger material, and generally save you plenty of time in the workshop.