Hitachi has been improving as a brand in the last decade, especially in their power tools department. Their C12RSH2 miter saw fits well within the competition of Milwaukee and DeWalt models by beating them at their own game with large miter and bevel angles. It also has a comparable build quality to those premium brands. In this review, we will go over its quirks and features and also discuss where it shines and where it lags behind the competition.
To see other 12-inch miter saw models and compare their features and advantages, head over to our full Buyer’s Guide.
Overview & Features
Build Quality & Dimensions
One thing that I absolutely cannot fault in the Hitachi C12RSH2 is its build quality. While it needs a bit of adjustment when first installing it, the saw has a superb quality for what you’re paying and is one of the most well-built models in this price class.
This miter saw measures 25 by 35 by 28 inches which is slightly smaller than the industry’s average for 12-inch models. The relatively small footprint of the saw here is achieved through the compact slide system which allows you to slide the saw head along the fixed rails. That eliminates the need for extra clearance at the back, hence the smaller size. That average size combined with the material quality results in a heavy tool, however, making this weigh almost 60 pounds. The lack of a carry handle makes transporting this even harder if you want to move it from one job site to another.
One thing about the design that I do not like is the opaque saw guard. It looks good and resembles the one of the DeWalt DWS779 but it really hinders your cutting precision and doesn’t allow you to see your cutting path clearly. Some brands like Bosch and Milwaukee make those from clear but durable plastics that keep you safe and allow you to have a good idea of your cutting path.
Lastly, the grip here is very comfortable to hold. It is made out of a fibration-reducing soft elastomer which not only is shaped ergonomically but is great for long working sessions. Unfortunately, the hold-down clamp isn’t as impressive. Woodworkers really rely on that part of the saw and the ones on this Hitachi saw simply doesn’t grip strongly enough thanks to its basic screw design. Not only it isn’t very strong but it also takes quite a lot of time to set up especially if you’re cutting different material sizes in a single session. Cam systems are far superior to this design and would be a much better fit if Hitachi decides to give a little facelift version of this model in the near future.
In terms of beveling and miter angles, you can bevel from 0 to 45 degrees both to the left and right. The saw also miters to both directions but at different angles. The left miter is from 0 to 45 degrees while the right miter is from 0 to 57 degrees. 90-degree crosscuts are 12 and a half inches wide while 45-degree crosscuts are 9 and 5/8 inches wide. For all the cutting angles, there are positive stops and indications which are laid out on the miter and bevel scales. That allows for quick one-handed adjustments allowing your other hand to control the material.
Another thing that helps with cutting is the large sliding fences. You can raise them to 5-1/8 inches in height and cup up to 7 and a half inches crown molding (vertically). The laser also helps with your guidance but, like most other lasers in this price class, it isn’t particularly visible when you’re working under the sun.
One feature that often gets overlooked with it comes to cutting thicket stock is that the C12RSH2 has a blade brake.
For some cool and useful miter saw tips and tricks, head over to our full article on that topic!
The 15A brushed motor has a decent power output and spins the blade at 4,000 RPMs. Still, I count it as a major disadvantage to have a brushed motor in your tool in 2020. This only means that maintenance will require one more thing to be eventually changed. Still, brushes are cheap and relatively easy to change and it can also be changed under your warranty assuming you pay for the materials. If you want a brushless motor your only viable options, for now, are the cordless miter saws.
The saw blade drive system here is a poly V belt and gear one which has proven to be long-lasting and also transfers the power well to the blade. That, combined with the 4000 rounds per minute allows for smooth cutting even of harder materials.
While the blade clearly benefits from the 4000 RPMs and its 12-inch diameter, it tends to cut roughly. Typically, The 60-teeth tungsten carbide tipped saw blade performs good and doesn’t require regular sharpening but you will have a hard time doing consistent clean cuts over long periods without regularly taking care of this particular blade. It will do rough cuts on most hardwoods if you haven’t sharpened it well.
If you want to learn how to sharpen your saw’s blade, click here!
Dust Extraction System
The dust extraction system here works quite well. The cutting channel manages to transport most of the sawdust to the back where the dust extraction system does its work and puts it in the dust bag. It isn’t a very big bag, meaning you will have to change it more often than you’d like but it will still keep your workshop clean.
Regrettably, while the dust extraction system works fairly well, it definitely gets in the way of the laser guidance system. Almost as soon as you lower the saw into the stock, you will have dust shrouding your laser making it impossible to see. This is even worse in broad daylight conditions.
In terms of additional features and accessories, you get the 12-inch TCT blade, a vice assembly, 17mm box wrench, and a dust bag along with your miter saw. That isn’t a lot of accessories for your money, especially considering most of them are essential parts of the saw anyway.
Lastly, everything on this 12-inch miter saw is covered by a limited 5-year professional warranty. And while that is good, the customer service of Hitachi is notoriously bad at accepting returns, fixing issues, and helping with installation and calibration over the phone.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Super build quality for the money
- Great cutting precision
- Great adjustability
- Decent power
- Good dust extraction system
- Excellent value for your money
- Can be used by beginners and advanced woodworkers
- Few additional features and accessories
- Hitachi’s customer service isn’t great
- The blade isn’t of great quality
Hitachi C12RSH2 vs Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD
These two 12-inch miter saws will sooner or later end up being head to head on your shopping list. This is because they are very comparable in terms of their cutting angles, beveling and miter adjustments, and their motor performance. What sways things in favor of the GCM12SD is the slightly higher price tag of the C12RSH2. Not only is the Hitachi saw more expensive but it also doesn’t cut through hardwoods quite as well. The Bosch miter saw is also more compact making it fit easier in smaller workshops. It is heavier, though, making it harder to transport around different job sites.
In terms of their build and material quality, both models are very solid and well-built. One thing that gives the Bosch a slight edge in cutting accuracy is its clear lower guard that doesn’t obstruct your visibility when you’re cutting as opposed to the opaque one on the Hitachi.
The Squarelock fences on the Bosch model come pre-aligned as with almost everything else in the tool, meaning there is little to no adjustments that you will be making straight out of the box. It is a similar case with the Hitachi C12RSH2 which doesn’t require much of a set up before you start cutting. Both have an easy-to-read bevel and miter angle scales with specific detends at all the common angles.
As a whole, it ultimately boils down to which brand you trust more with your money. The Bosch saw is a slightly better bang for your buck but isn’t covered by the lengthy 5-year warranty of the Hitachi C12RSH2.
You can learn more about my thoughts on the Bosch GCM12SD by going to my full review of the model. There, I’ve discussed all of its quirks and features, as well as the advantages it has over its competition.
Conclusion and Rating
The Hitachi C12RSH2 Sliding Compound Miter Saw is a great deal for your money if you’re looking for a professional-grade miter saw that has the highest possible adjustability when it comes to its miter and bevel angles. It can miter and bevel in both directions and has superb cutting control over some of its cheaper competitors. The dust collection system is also on-par with all of the premium models but it tends to get in the way of the laser guidance system. Another thing that isn’t so great here is that the blade simply doesn’t handle constant use well. After short periods of using it, it starts cutting roughly, especially if you’re dealing with harder materials. To counter that, you will have to either sharpen it regularly or swap it for a better 12-inch model. As a whole, I gave this Hitachi miter saw a rating of four and a half out of five stars mainly due to its top-shelf construction, compact design, and overall ease of use.