The SKIL 382101 compound miter saw is pretty basic in design, but it does offer some nice features that beginners and DIYers can put to good use. This includes the laser cutting guide, which can improve cutting accuracy and efficiency, the powerful motor, and the table extension complete with right and left extension rails. The compact design and fast mounting action makes this model highly portable, functional, and a great buy if you’re looking for a reliable saw that can handle small and medium-sized jobs.
Our Verdict: This miter saw is pretty simple in design, but if you’re not looking for a model for work use, then you’ll appreciate this model’s cutting capacity, lightweight design, and it’s reliable performance. It doesn’t have what it takes for pro use and doesn’t come loaded with many fancy features, but it does have all of the basics covered. Additionally, it’s quick mounting system can save you plenty of time by allowing you to get this saw set up in under five minutes. The included table extensions will make it easier to work with thicker, longer materials, while the built-in laser guide can help with cutting accuracy, but it won’t be of much use if you’re cutting outdoors since bright light can make the cutting guide difficult to see. The included dust collection system is efficient and will help to cut down on dirt and debris in your workspace and the motor itself will keep on trucking and won’t overheat, not even when you’re working with heavy-duty materials.
Overview and Features
SKIL has a reputation for producing some of the leading saws on the market, at prices that are affordable. Considering the price, this isn’t the most feature-packed model in my lineup, but it does offer a highly portable design and more power than you’d expect from a saw of this size. This model features a quick-mount system, which allows you to quickly mount and set up this saw for faster cutting action and improved portability. This is a great saw for small and medium-sized jobs and the simple controls make it more user-friendly, so it’s a great buy for the beginner with no prior sawing experience. However, aside from these basic features, it does offer a reliable performance, a powerful motor, and accurate cutting action.
If you don’t have much space in your workshop or garage, then a model of this size will be perfect. It will also be a great choice if you need a saw that can handle small to medium-sized sawing jobs in the workplace. The saw weighs in at just a little over fifty-one and a half pounds, so it’s easier to transport compared to competing models in this price bracket. Additionally, the quick-mounting system just adds to this model’s ease of use, since it will allow you to quickly set the saw up and start cutting in a matter of minutes. If you’re shopping around for the best 12-inch miter saw for use on the job, then you’ll appreciate this model’s highly portable design that makes it easy to pack it up and haul it from place to place.
This model comes equipped with a total of nine positive stops, so you can easily set common miter angles, which will help to make your workflow faster and more efficient. Now, you won’t have to constantly stop and measure the next cut, all you’ll have to do is lock the appropriate detent in place. The built-in detents include zero, twenty-two, thirty-one, and forty-five degrees for both left and right. You can set the miter angle from zero degrees up to forty-seven degrees.
The built-in laser guide is designed to clearly show you where to place the saw blade and it’s a great feature to have, especially if you’re a beginner. The only drawback with laser cutting guides is the fact that they basically disappear in bright sunlight, so they’re almost impossible to see outdoors. Essentially, the laser guide will only come in handy if you’re cutting indoors. In your workshop, the laser will shine down on the material, so you can clearly see where the blade needs to go. If you’re looking for a saw that comes equipped with an LED cutting guide, which will allow you to make precise cuts whether you’re working indoors or out, then I’d go with the leading compound miter by Dewalt. You can learn more about this model by reading my Dewalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw review.
This model features a motor that offers four thousand, five hundred RPMs and fifteen amps, which is more power than you’ll get from competing models. This type of power allows you to easily saw through a variety of materials. The adjustable motor speed will come in handy and can be changed based on the type of material you’re sawing. Reduce the blade’s speed when you’re working with softer materials in order to increase cutting precision, or you can speed up the blade if you’re working with thicker material.
Working with longer pieces of material can be a hassle, especially if you don’t have the right saw or the right type of equipment that will allow you to seamlessly saw through the entire piece of material without having to stop to make adjustments. If your workshop is cramped, then this can be an even bigger issue. But saws in this price bracket often don’t come equipped with a solution. Fortunately, this model does. The built-in table extensions will give you the type of space you need if you’re working with bigger or longer material. Many competing models don’t offer table extensions, so this is a huge plus for SKIL.
Dust Collection System
Dust collection systems are designed to suction up the sawdust and flying pieces of debris as you saw. This can help to cut down on how much dust you inhale, minimizes the chances of sawdust getting in your eyes, and keeps your workbench and work materials clean and clear, so you can actually see what and where you’re sawing. The biggest issue with most models in this price bracket is a dust collection system that doesn’t really work. Fortunately, this model comes equipped with a system that works better than what you’ll find on even higher priced models.
The dust collection system includes a large dust bag that will collect all of the sawdust, dirt, and flying debris, keeping your work materials and workspace clean and highly visible, allowing you to easily spot the cutting guide so you can work more efficiently and faster.
Quick Mount System
Setting up a saw at a job site or in the workshop, if you don’t leave it permanently installed because you’re short on space, can take time. But SKIL seems to have thought of everything with the addition of their latest feature. The Quick Mount System allows you to easily mount the saw on a stand in just a few simple steps. This means you’ll spend more time focusing on getting your job done and less time setting up and breaking down the saw.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Nine built-in detents
- Laser guide
- Dust collection system
- Powerful motor
- Cannot use laser cutting guide in bright sunlight
SKIL Versus DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This model by SKIL isn’t designed with the pro in mind, but the competing model by Dewalt is. This sliding compound miter is highly adjustable and features a fifteen amp motor at three thousand, eight hundred RPMs. It’s durable, powerful, and comes loaded with an exclusive back fence design for improved cutting versatility. It’s much bigger than this model by SKIL, and comes loaded with more bells and whistles, which is what makes it a better choice, if you’re looking for a miter, saw that’s designed for pro use. However, despite the fact that it’s worthy of the pros, it still features intuitive controls that make it easy to use, even for beginners. If you have a healthy budget and price isn’t an issue, then this saw by Dewalt is a better choice for bigger jobs.
Conclusion and Rating
This model shows me that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a saw in order to get a model that offers the type of reliable performance you need, whether you’re a woodworker or you’re taking on projects around the home. The SKIL 3821-01 compound miter saw is pretty powerful, despite its smaller size and highly portable design. It comes with a quick-mount system, which allows you to easily and efficiently mount the saw in a matter of a few minutes, so you won’t waste time setting it up or breaking it down. The saw also comes with table extensions, which allows you to work with longer material, easily, and the built-in detents that allow for improved workflow and cutting efficiency. This model is a great buy for the beginner who wants to tackle small DIY wood projects, seasoned woodworkers, and DIYers. I gave this model a rating of four out of five stars.