New 12-in. miter saw leads the field
12-in. sliding compound-miter saw (6955-20) by Milwaukee
• Manufactured by Milwaukee Electric Tool
• 800-729-3878; www.milwaukeetool.com
• Cost: about $700
Weight: 65 lb.; Miter range: 55° left, 60° right; Bevel range: 47° left, right (with nine positive stops); Vertical cutting capacity: 61/2 in.
When I tested 12-in. sliding compound-miter saws a few months ago (FHB #194), Milwaukee’s new offering hadn’t been released yet. In fact, Milwaukee had never made a 12-in. saw before this model, so rather than being an updated design, the 6955-20 was built from the ground up. If you ask me, they got it right the first time around.
The machining on this saw is top-notch; all worksurfaces are clean and velvety. Milwaukee’s miter table rotates even more easily than the table on the Makita, which led this category during my previous test. This saw also features tall fences for cutting large base and crown. The left fence slides. The right fence must be lifted off when cutting bevels, and the saw also has a flipout depth-of-cut stop for cutting dadoes.
The miter and bevel scales are easy-to-read stainless steel, with sharp, distinct pointers. The bevel lock is a large lever, and while it is on the rear of the saw, it’s easy to reach. Although the tool is on the large and heavy end of the spectrum, I still found it well-balanced and comfortable to carry.
The horizontal handle is comfortable, has no safety, and is easily triggered with either hand. The soft-start motor packs 15 amps of power and is controlled electronically to maintain constant speed under load.
The 6955-20 has a few unique features as well, some of which I have come to believe are essential. First, Milwaukee has chosen to buck the laser trend and add two incandescent lights that illuminate the cutting area. I think this is an excellent decision; it did more to enhance my accuracy and speed than any laser I’ve tried. The saw also includes a dust shroud around the rear of the blade; the shroud helps to direct dust into a scoop below the miter scale. This scoop funnels dust into a large bag that hangs from the back of the saw. I am disappointed that Milwaukee doesn’t offer a vacuum adapter, but have been told that one is in the works. Hooked to a good vacuum, I think this saw’s dust collection will compete well with Festool’s Kapex miter saw. Rounding out the unique features is a digital miter readout combined with a microadjust/detent override. The scale reads in tenths of a degree, is highly accurate, and is easily repeatable. Combined with the tall cutting capacity, the digital scale makes this miter saw a peerless baseboard-cutting machine.
The price of the 6955-20 is higher than any other 12-in. sliding compound-miter saw on the market, but if this saw had been available in time to be tested side by side with the other six models I looked at, I would have certainly ranked it best overall.
Magazine extra: Watch video of the saw’s features in action.
Photos by: Krysta S. Doerfler