Miter saws are most likely one of the more expensive tools in your workshop. They are also some of the hardest tools to master but often their high price tags aren’t particularly justified. However, in this review, I will show you a model that takes all of that into consideration and has the sole purpose of being practical and useful without costing you an arm and a leg.
If you want to learn more about miter saws and see some of our other top suggestions, I suggest checking out our fully detailed Buyer’s Guide!
Overview & Features
The main goal of the Tacklife PMS03A is to be a budget-friendly miter saw that is great for cutting soft metals, wood, and plastics. It has the functionality of a more expensive saw and the power to back those claims up. Either way, let’s start by discussing the design and build quality here…
Design & Build Quality
The design of the Tacklife PMS03A is slightly larder than some of the other miter saws that the brand makes. It is fairly typical with a few changes to the handles compared to other brands. Assembled, the saw measures 29 x 13.8 x 17.3 inches making it fairly compact compared to some other 12-inch models. It is, however a bit on the heavy side but we will get to that in a moment.
Next to the main handle, you have an extended handle level which adds more function and possibilities to your cutting work by allowing you to use both hands to control the cutting. The cutting handle itself is wrapped in soft-grip materials. The handle is also really easy to use in situations that demand changes in the cutting angle.
Whenever you want to transport this saw around, there is a carry handle on top that makes moving it relatively easy. Still, it is a 46-pound saw, so it will be heavy but this only shows you that Tacklife has thought of this being a portable saw for people who work on multiple job sites. While the power cord is the industry standard 10 feet, it would’ve been better for it to be slightly longer in case you have to work away from a power supply but that isn’t something an extension cord can’t fix.
The platform here is another point of interest. It is fairly large and quite stable with the option to be extended further. You can extend both of its sides to fit the dimensions of your work table.
One thing I cannot fault here, though, is the build quality. It is extremely well put together and follows the brand tradition to manufacture quality products at a bargain price. In fact, if you consider the price, this has to be the best dollar for dollar material and assembly quality on the 12-inch miter saw market.
When it comes to cutting, this miter saw is on par with the rest of its competitors at this price range. Out of the box, it comes accurate, even though some people have complained that they have to additionally adjust the cutting accuracy. The cutting angle can be adjusted to 45 degrees both to the left and to the right. The cutting capacity here is 90×90 degrees and 105x335mm. Here are some performance figures for different angles:
- 0 x 0 degrees – 4.13 by 12.99 inches
- 0 x 45 degrees (left) – 2.36 x 12.99 inches
- 0 x 45 degrees (right) – 1.38 by 12.99 inches
- 45 x 0 degrees – 4.13 by 9.06 inches
- 45 x 45 degrees (left) – 2.36 by 9.06 inches
- 45 x 45 degrees (right) – 1.38 by 9.06 inches
As you can see, there is plenty of performance at most angles and the adjustment options are plentiful. The double bevelling feature here is typical for the class but is a bit hard to get used to if you’re now learning how to use sliding compound saws. Still, the miter scale does make things easier for you but we will get to it later…
Another thing that makes cutting easier is the double linear sliding rail. It features a familiar design like most other expensive sliding compound saws but it still acts as a good addition that improves the precision and steadiness of your cuts.
If you want to check out some of the best miter saw tips and tricks, click here! Now, let’s talk about the power of this saw and what it can deliver.
This Tacklife miter saw has a powerful 15 Amp motor that works at 1700 Watts and can deliver around 3500 rounds per minute. This really helps with cutting smoothness and allows you to cut harder materials easier. If you want something even faster from the same company, you can take a look at the EMS01A Miter saw which is smaller but works at 4500 RPMs. As a whole, 12-inch blades rarely exceed 3800-4000 RPMs even on the high-end premium saw models.
Those RPMs combined with the tungsten carbide blade will allow you to saw through soft metals, plastics, and soft and hardwoods.
Let’s take about the blade that you’re getting with your miter saw now…
This miter saw is equipped with a 40-tooth TCT blade which that is on-par with the rest of the quality on this saw. It slides smoothly through most materials and is designed to be safe when worked with. It also effectively prevents dust from flying around and works well in combination with the dust bag you’re getting. That is mainly thanks to its tungsten carbide tips which are also an excellent addition if you are trenching or grooving.
The good thing about this miter saw is that it is highly compatible with a large variety of other 12-inch blades in case you don’t like the factory one for some reason.
The miter scale here is quite good and allows you to work with all sorts of angles. It is adjustable and has positive stops at -45 degrees, -22.5 degrees, 0 degrees, +22.5 degrees, and +45 degrees. That allows you to quickly go through the angles and adjust the saw to your need in both bevelling directions. That will make square cuts, compound cuts, and bevel cuts much easier and faster.
To learn more about some of the woodworking tools a beginner would need in his workshop, click here to go to our detailed article discussing that topic.
As with most other miter saws, you get a dust bag to keep your workshop clean. It has a fairly large capacity and works fairly well even with fine particles.
The other very important additional feature you get here is the laser guide. Unlike some LED guides, this one works perfectly in all types of conditions except brightly lit environments. While it is very accurate, I cannot ignore the fact that is simply disappears if you’re working under the sun. While that isn’t a huge inconvenience, there are some stronger laser guides that stick with you even in bright conditions. Those, however, are installed on models that are twice as expensive…
In terms of accessories for this saw, you get a clamping device that allows you to support the wood that you’re cutting without having to touch it with your bare hands. That is typically something people buy separately but it is included here. Some other things you are getting inside the box here are the 40 tooth TCT blade, the two side supports, two Allen wrenches for installation and fixing processes, user manual, and your warranty card. You also get a maintenance card that makes it easier for you to follow the maintenance schedule of the saw ensuring you take good care of it.
Speaking of the warranty, you get a full 2 years coverage on everything with this product just like the majority of other sliding miter saws. The customer service is also fairly responsive and they typically take a day to get back to you.
If you want to check out another 12-inch sliding miter saw that has superior functionality but is also far more expensive, I suggest checking out my Milwaukee 6955-20 Dual Bevel Miter Saw review. Now, let’s get into the pros and cons of the Tacklife miter saw…
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Very well put together
- Quality materials
- Efficient and potent blade
- Comfortable to use
- Good safety ratings
- Cuts hardwoods easily
- Comes with a handful of accessories
- Powerful and durable motor
- Using it requires a bit of getting used to, especially if you are new to sliding miter saws
- The red guiding laser disappears when you’re in brightly lit conditions
- Some users complain that it isn’t accurately set up straight out of the box and that it requires additional adjustments
Tacklife PMS03A vs SKIL 3821-01 Compound Miter Saw
Apart from the price, the major difference between these two saws is that the SKIL 3821-01 miter saw is much better for beginners and is a bit more intuitive. The cheaper price tag, however, does bring a few concerns such as slightly worse material quality and less cutting options. Their work tables both have extensions and can both extended to roughly the same dimensions. Both the saws are also equally heavy, even though the Tacklife is much easier to transport due to its carry handle. What makes the SKIL easier to use at different job locations is the Quick-mount feature that allows it to easily attach and detach from its saw stand.
Both miter saws have positive stops for all of their cutting positions. And while the SKIL isn’t a double-bevel saw, it does have most of the side angles (up to 45 in each direction) that the Tacklife has. Both of these models also come almost fully set up from the factory and they are both calibrated to start working from the get-go. Just like the Tacklife, the SKIL saw also uses a Laser Cutline Guide that helps you make precise cuts. Both of these lasers are kind of weak, though, making them hard to use in bright conditions.
In terms of how clean they cut and perform, the SKIL has a faster motor that can spin the blade at up to 4500 RPMs. That results in a cleaner and faster cuts with less dust coming out of the tool. The dust bag, however, is smaller than the one on the Tacklife, meaning you will have to clean it more often. Either way, both of these saws are 12-inch and both of them are rated to have similar performances. Both of them are good for softer metals, plastics, and all types of wood, and their cutting depths are also comparable at different angles, even though the Tacklife can tackle slightly larger wood pieces.
And last but not least, the Tacklife comes with quite a lot of accessories such as side supports, a clamping device, Allen wrenches, and some packages even have an extra blade. The SKIL saw, on the other hand, is relatively poor on accessories. All of that is reflected in both of the prices of these saws and is one of the main reasons the PMS03A is much more expensive.
If you are a beginner woodworker and want to get into some simple DIY wood projects, head over to our full article on the topic where we have countless ideas on beginner-friendly woodcrafts!
Conclusion and Rating
The TACKLIFE PMS03A Sliding Compound Miter Saw is without a doubt a top contender if you’re looking for a decent 12-inch sliding saw. It has all the bells and whistles of the premium models at almost half the price. And while the material quality is excellent and the cutting performance is stellar, there will be a steep learning curve handling this tool for people that are new to miter saws. That being said, this has all the necessary tools and accessories to be a great first-time miter saw and last you for a lot of years. The first two years of your ownership are covered by a full warranty and you also get a maintenance card that helps you keep various things in check. Cleaning your saw and its components regularly, however, is the best way to extend its life and have it work flawlessly for as long as possible. As a whole, I gave the PMS03A a rating of four and a half out of five stars.