Tool Test: 12-in. Compound-Miter Saws
With a host of innovative features, one saw rises to the top.
Synopsis: Twelve-inch miter saws are useful and reliable, but they are also expensive, so choosing the right model is paramount. Longtime remodeler and cabinetmaker Paul Johnson took all the current models from the major manufacturers and put them through a series of cutting tests while using them on his job sites for several weeks to find the best model. He measured cut capacity, assessed their quality of cut, and looked critically at their features and controls. Individual write-ups for each tool describe their respective miter and bevel capacities, notable features and flaws, and pricing.
For some projects, I really appreciate my sliding miter saw’s huge crosscut capacity. For others, especially installing typical crown, casing, and baseboard, as well as sizing stock for built-ins, I prefer a nonsliding miter saw. Nonsliders are less expensive and easier to carry, and their simple plunge mechanism makes them better at handling job-site bumps without going out of alignment.
I had been in the market for a new 12-in. miter saw for a few months, so I tested seven models from major manufacturers. I decided on 12-in. saws instead of 10-in. models because I want greater depth of cut for cutting crown molding in a “nested” position and baseboard standing up against the fence. a 12-in. nonslider is also my go-to saw for cutting deck boards, wall studs, and stair parts.
How we tested
To level the playing field, I first replaced all of the stock blades with Freud Diablo 80-tooth blades. I then used the saws for four weeks to cut lumber for an outdoor porch entry, ipé decking for a small deck, and trim for an extensive kitchen remodel. After using them on the job, I brought the saws back to my shop and cut wide boards, different pieces of crown molding,…