Bosch 4410L Laser-Equipped SCMS
This update was meant to add modern photos and a video to this heavily-visited review. I have used this saw constantly for nearly 5 years (at this update) and it shows no sign of wearing out or becoming inaccurate. See the new photos and video for a better look at my workhorse dual-bevel compound miter saw. You will note some dust in the images here because this saw has been used often in my shop. I have officially tested this saw for nearly 5 years now and aside from one new blade (recently) this saw has not hiccupped once. It runs perfectly and remains as accurate today as when I first reviewed it!
In the world of sliding compound miter saws (SCMS), the 10″ Bosch 4410 has enjoyed wide recognition as one of the best. Recently, Bosch stepped that effort up a notch by adding a laser cut line indicator to the 4400 design.
The Bosch 4410L retains all of the quality and features of the venerable Bosch 4410 model so finding top-notch fit and finish is no surprise. Bosch is known for quality manufacturing of their components and did not forget that tradition when building the Bosch 4410L.
The mix of features and capabilities, all executed accurately, make this a very worthy tool for woodworkers.
The strong 15 Amp motor sends its power through a tough, (left) smooth-running serpentine belt drive. Keep in mind that this pulley and belt (right) are five years old and they have not been just sitting around. This stuff is tough as tough should be! Click images to enlarge
The instruction manual provided with the Bosch 4410L is well written and features clear supportive illustrations. The Bosch 4410L has many capabilities, all of which are explained in depth.
A case in point is providing instructions on using the preset detents for cutting crown molding laying flat on the table as well as with the material upside down, leaned against the fence.
The manual also provides detailed descriptions of setup and alignment procedures to make sure the Bosch 4410L works right the first time as well as years down the road.
A stout 15-amp motor (4800 RPM. no load, max 3 HP) supplies all the power the Bosch 4410L needs and does it smoothly. Power is sent through a sophisticated multi-groove belt drive that is very tough, consistent and virtually slip free. This type of belt drive is so reliable it is used in aircraft and high-end race engine applications.
Though the motor is surprisingly compact, the belt drive allows mounting it above and behind the blade to keep it out of the way when cutting at even extreme bevel angles. This placement also makes the head assembly more balanced and controllable.
The laser is in a washer-like housing (left) that is held in place by the blade colt. Whether in bight camera lights or the shadows (right) the laser can be seen easily. Click images to enlarge
The motor has a built-in brake, designed to stop the blade within 5 seconds. While the brake does increase safety somewhat, it is intended to shorten the cut-to-cut cycle.
The motor brushes are easily accessible for inspection or replacement. To make changing blades easy, a push-button spindle lock and a special wrench (stored on-board) are included.
Arbor Mounted Laser
New on the Bosch 4410L is an arbor-mounted laser that marks the cut line. The laser is contained in a specially designed blade washer so it shines at the edge of the blade. As with most lasers, the alignment of the laser beam is most accurate when the blade nears the wood.
The laser unit is powered by three small internal batteries that are included. The laser is only activated when the blade is spinning under power, a feature that substantially increases battery life.
The operating handle can be configured in any of four positions quickly and easily by flipping the buckle-type lock open, turning the handle to the desired position and then locking it down. Being able to reposition the handle makes the Bosch 4410L easy to use by left or right-handed operators regardless of if the saw is set to the right or left of center.
Pull-out extension tables (left) on either side of this saw are locked with a flip lever, no tools. The upper fence section can be adjusted outwards (right) by releasing a knob on their back side. Click images to enlarge
Trigger safety lockouts are located on either side of the handle to be readily accessible regardless of the saw position.
Table and Fence
A 21″-wide, machined aluminum table is augmented by extensions at either end that add up to a possible 37 ¼” overall surface. A flip stop can be moved to either extension for additional accuracy and versatility.
The 4″-tall fence is also expandable to ether side to make cutting even wide crown molding safe and stable. Adjusting the fence halves also provides clearance for the blade when making high-angle bevel and miter cuts.
To keep the work steady on the table an adjustable lever-clamp hold down is included. The hold down fits into bosses on either side of the blade.
One of the innovative features of the Bosch 4400 miter saw series is the forward-mounted controls for miter and bevel functions. Aside from the safety of not having to reach around the blade, the Up-Front controls are easier to see which makes using them more accurate.
Bosch claims this saw has “up front controls” (left) and I have to agree. You can unlock, adjust and relock the bevel angles from these handles up front. Actually you have to do it that way because there are no controls on the back of the saw! This little knob (right) on the side of the arm lets you dial in tiny corrections to the miter angle. there is absolutely no (good) excuse for not getting miters perfect with this saw and this fine-tuning system. Click images to enlarge
The Bosch 4410L uses the Bosch designed wedge and slot system for positioning the blade at the array of miter detents. This system is very accurate and repeats perfectly. Precision casting and machining insures this is one of the most accurate SCMS available.
The bevel feature has a range of 47-degrees left and 46-degrees to the right. The miter scale goes 52-degrees to the left and 60-degrees to the right.
Another innovative feature is being able to cut crown molding flat on the table rather than standing it up, upside down and at an angle against the fence. To accomplish this, special detents. 33.9-degree bevel left and right, 31.6-degrees left and right miter. are built in. If there is an easier way to cut crown molding accurately, I have not seen it.
Microfine Miter Adjuster
To fine tune miter angles when the needed cut is slightly off the standard detents, a miter lock override and fine tuning adjuster are built in. These controls allow making tiny corrections to virtually any miter angle. The Microfine adjuster has a total range of 2-degrees.
If you have tried applying trim around supposedly 90-degree corners on a project of in the home, the importance of this feature should be very clear. It is also invaluable for woodturners who do segmented turnings. Being able to make tiny adjustments to the angle being cut makes building segmented circles a much easier task.
The slider mechanism consists of the twin, finely-machined steel bars (left) that ride in a bunch of high-end ball bearings that I have been unable to cause any wear in over the last five years. The up and down motion can be locked or limited (right) with this simple but effective mechanism. Click images to enlarge
The point of a sliding compound miter saw is to increase the width of the stock that can be cut. The Bosch 4410L cuts a 2 X 12 at a 45-degree bevel and 1 ¼” X 8 ½” stock at a compound 45-degree bevel and 45-degree miter. At 0-degrees miter and bevel, the Bosch 4410L cuts a full 2 X 12″ board.
Crown molding up to 10 ¼”-wide can be cut at the 31.6″ settings. With the crown molding stood against the fence, that capacity goes down to 6″. Base molding 4 ¼”-tall can be cut against the fence.
In The Shop
The Bosch 4410L arrives completely assembled except for installing the dust bag which equates to nearly zero setup time.
As always, we began the evaluation process by checking all alignments closely. The base alignment of 0-degrees was off just enough to be measurable. Correcting this involves loosening a few bolts and tweaking the position of the fence slightly. This one correction also insures that all of the miter detents are perfectly aligned. The bevel feature is also adjustable but required none in our case. Tools needed for most adjustments are included and safely stored under the rear knuckle cover.
Using the Bosch 4410L in the shop confirmed suspicions that this is a well-made piece of equipment. Motor power is more than adequate and drove the included 10″ Bosch combination blade through all of the stock we tried with no discernable loss of RPM. The belt drive makes starting and stopping the Bosch 4410L surprisingly smooth.
All of the cuts we tried were completed very accurately and repeated just as well. When an angle has to be “tweaked” to fit a less than perfect corner, the Microfine adjuster makes it surprisingly easy to be extremely accurate.
The dust chute ( left) is very effective because it is placed in the right location! The bevel function is easy to use and gives you full motion to the left and right. Click images to enlarge
The special angle detents for cutting crown molding are exceptionally accurate and make this once hit-and-miss task simple. Since posting our review of the Bosch 4410, which has the same angle features, several woodworkers have told NewWoodworker.com how they use the crown molding settings for cutting tapered sides for jewelry boxes and other projects.
Dust collection is the best of all miter saws we have tested but is not perfect. However, it does put enough sawdust into the bag that
the Bosch 4410L and its predecessor the Bosch 4410, are the only miter saws that force me to empty the bag regularly.
The laser function on the Bosch 4410L is most useful when matching an angle drawn on the wood. For straight cuts, the laser is helpful but it really comes into its own when adjusting for an odd miter cut.
The laser is not bright enough to be used in direct sunlight though can be seen if the saw is set up to take advantage of its shadow. Under normal shop lighting, the laser guide line can be seen and used effectively.
The Bosch 4410L is a very well made piece of equipment with a range of capabilities that make it very useful in virtually any woodworking shop. While it certainly requires more room front to back than a simple miter saw, many woodworkers are finding that to be a small problem considering the capabilities gained.
If you are considering a 10″, SCMS, check out the Bosch 4410L. With a street price of only 529.99 (4-13-2005) the Bosch 4410L could be the saw that solves your problems without creating more in the budget department.
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Bosch Miter Saw Review – GCM12SD 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw
I began looking for a workshop miter saw some time ago. Sliding compound miter saws are meant for large lumber, such as cabinetry, but I was specifically looking for one I could leave in my workshop for a long time.
I took a look at the Bosch GCM12SD, a 12” sliding compound miter saw that has some strong recommendations from professionals. You can take a look at my conclusions on this saw below, and if it’s not a good fit I have some alternative suggestions as well.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Sliding Miter Saw
Compound miter saws are complex tools, combining a powerful motor with an arm that allows the blade to move. They’re most often used on big lumber, 2×6 planks for a deck are a good example.
Due to the mechanical components of the arm and the large motor required to run the blade, they’re heavy and less portable than most saws. A cart would be required to move the really big ones around. Many find a place in workshops, however, where the bulk and weight isn’t a big deal.
These saws are best purchased by those who will put them to heavier use, especially hobbyist woodworkers.
Compound miter saws are overkill for many people working at home. If you only need to run through some 2x4s for a small project you may be better served with a regular miter saw or even a table saw.
They’re also not suitable for working with metals. For the most part, the RPM of the average miter saw is too high. The other problem is that not all miter saws have a protected motor, and airborne metallic particles don’t mix well with electricity.
Chop saws are almost the same thing, but built heavier and have lower blade speed to allow metallic cutting.
In short: a compound sliding miter saw is perfect for large lumber used in construction. They’re also a must for amateur carpenters and cabinet makers, who will benefit from the wide cuts and easy beveling of the blade.
The Bosch GCM12SD
The Ryobi TSS102L is another 12” sliding miter saw. While it’s not quite as top quality as the Bosch, it’s available at a cheaper price. It may be a better fit for the serious hobbyist, but it’s lacking in cutting range and will take more room in a workshop.
The basic functions are no slouch, however, and it even comes with a laser guide for those who aren’t comfortable with eyeing things out normally. It’s newbie-friendly, and it makes a good addition to the shop if you want to maximize value.
- Standard Arm-The rail system glider for this saw will clog with too much dust and requires a larger footprint since it extends behind the saw.
- Lower Price-While a cheaper saw, it’s still of good quality.
- Much Lighter-Coming it at around 55lbs, the TSS102L is much lighter than the GCM12SD, making it more portable.
- Single Bevel-This saw only bevels in one direction, so you’ll need to flip the workpiece to get complimentary angles
Overall, this one is a solid pick for the home workshop. It’s not a budget saw, but the price to value ratio might be what you’re looking for. Check out my full Ryobi miter saw review, or go ahead and click below to find out more details.
DeWALT DWS780 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw
While it’s pricey, the DWS780 does a few things better than the GCM12SD. Namely: it’s a high-end sliding miter saw which is about half of the weight. It also has a slightly larger vertical capacity, sitting at a cool 6 ¾” as well.
This saw is perfect for job site use, especially for professionals who rely on the daily use of their tools. It’s a dependable, powerful saw which should last for years. It also has a three-year limited warranty, which is a nice touch for such a useful tool.
- Rail-guided Arm– Requires more maintenance and isn’t as smooth as the axial arm on the GCM12SD
- Higher Cutting Capacity – The DWS780 has ¼” more vertical cutting capacity than the Bosch and also cuts up to 2×16 lumber in one stroke.
- Portable – The lower weight makes this saw a better choice for on-the-job use, the Bosch weighs almost double the 55lbs of this saw.
- LED Light – This one has an LED work light, so you can use it in areas with low ambient lighting.
If you’ve been looking for a workhorse saw that fits on the truck, then take a closer look at the DWS780. Click below to find out more details.
Hercules Professional 12” Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw
For those who may not use their saw often, simple functions are all that’s needed. The Hercules Professional delivers on that front, but it’s not quite up to par with the big names when it comes to quality. The LED shadow system is particularly attractive for newbies, on the other hand.
Amateurs will find it a great buy, but professionals should look to the safer brands for their daily tools. It’s not a bad saw, but it’s not quite up there with DeWALT or Bosch either. Hercules seems to have filled in the gap in machining with extras on the saw, which is actually a welcome addition.
- LED Shadow Guide-This guide is easier to see in daylight than lasers and the GCM12SD doesn’t have any sort of visible guide.
- Accessory Support-Hercules doesn’t make many accessories, although it appears they’re cross-compatible with some DeWALT options. Bosch, meanwhile, has full accessory lines for their saws.
- Much Lighter-This saw weighs in at about 56lbs, which is almost 30lbs lighter than the GCM12SD.
- Reasonably Priced-For what it is, the Hercules Professional is reasonably priced and available at a lower price than the GCM12SD by a good margin.
For those who want a cheaper saw without sacrificing too much in quality, this might be a good option. Check out my full Hercules miter saw review, or click below to check the latest price.
The Bosch GCM12SD is a heavy but powerful sliding miter saw, and the arm arrangement makes it perfect for a workshop. High build quality and a great fence are just a bonus on top of the smoother motion compared to the competition.
I strongly recommend you think about adding it to your home workshop if you’re into serious woodworking. Why not check it out and see if it’s exactly what you’re looking for?
Improve the Accuracy of your Miter Saw
For a skilled carpenter, a powered miter saw is thing of wonder, enabling straight and angled board cuts to assemble trim, flooring, furniture, picture frames, general carpentry and more. However, the saw’s ability to make an accurate cut must be routinely checked and maintained, because a little misalignment can cause major headaches for a carpentry project.
The saw must have its bevel and miter angles calibrated (checked for accuracy) before you start cutting. Although often overlooked by inexperienced DIY’ers, calibration is a critical step because a difference as small as 1° over a 1-in. span will result in a 1/32-in. gap in the finished miter joint. Similarly, 3° over 5-in. span gives you a 3/8-in. gap. Once you start cutting a lot of misaligned pieces, you will soon notice when you assemble your project that your joints don’t fit together tightly because the cuts have been made at an incorrect angle.
Calibrate the Miter Angle
A combination square makes a handy tool for confirming the saw blade’s miter and bevel alignment. First, trace a 90-degree cutline down the center of a scrap workpiece that is large enough to match the square sides of the combo square. Make sure your work piece has a very square, straight edge that contacts the saw fence. Flip the square along its ruler edge to make sure it still aligns with the pencil line (confirming that your square is truly 90 degrees).
You can then place the square against the fence and blade to quickly check alignment, which should be sufficient for general construction. There should be no gap between the edges of the square and the blade or fence.
Since even the slightest misalignment can be difficult to see between the square and the saw blade, we suggest you take an extra step when calibrating for trim-work or fine carpentry. Take the board you marked, place it on the saw with the blade matching the cutline, then cut then board in half along your marked line. Reassemble the two pieces to see if the cut matches the pencil line. Doing this makes it easier to see the slightest discrepancy in the angle. If there is any gap between the cut and the line you traced with the combo square, then it is a sign of blade misalignment.
Since tool designs vary among manufacturers, you’ll need to refer to your saw’s operation manual for specific steps on how to adjust the blade angle. To adjust alignment on the Bosch compound miter saw shown in the photos, I had to loosen four hex screws, move the table so the blade is a perfect 90 degrees to the fence, then retighten the screws. Once the blade aligned with the pencil line when using the combo-square calibration check, I knew I could rely on my saw to cut accurate miter angles.
Calibrate the Bevel Angle
Using similar steps as listed above, you can verify the vertical bevel angle of your saw. In this case, however, you’re calibrating the tilt of the blade, and the cutline you’re trying to verify is vertical. Therefore, your scrap workpiece should be vertically oriented with the pencil line 90 degrees from the saw table. For rough carpentry, you can simply align the combo square itself along the blade for a quick visual check.
Any necessary adjustments to the blade’s orientation will be made using screws or bolts at the bevel post of the cutting head. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific details regarding your saw. The Evolution saw shown in the photos required me to loosen several hex screws, adjust the blade angle, then tighten the screws. When adjusting the bevel angle, it might help to have an assistant provide an extra pair of hands, because adjusting the blade tilt against the pull of gravity while simultaneously tightening/loosing the screws can be a tricky feat.
Check the Angle Pointer
Miter saws generally have an angle pointer, which is usually a small metal arrow that corresponds with the measurements on the saw base. Most tool designers place these pointers in an out-of-the-way place on the saw, so they don’t get knocked around. However, funny things tend to happen around job sites, and pieces and parts that aren’t intended to withstand an impact do sometimes get banged around. Any impact to the pointer could potentially knock it out of alignment, so it points to one angle while the blade is actually oriented to cut a different one. A problem with pointer alignment likely won’t be a common problem, but you should keep an eye on it just in case. Adjustments can often be made with a simple screwdriver, but if the pointer is bent or misshapen, you should probably replace the part.
Align the Laser
Modern miter saws come with all sorts of bells and whistles. Laser sight lines are a common feature designed to increase visual accuracy of the cut. But again, saw designs vary, and these laser devices are sometimes attached to the blade cover and other times attached to the arbor shaft. In some cases, they can be knocked out of alignment. A bright laser line isn’t much help if it doesn’t correspond with the true angle of the blade, so you should test the laser alignment using the same combo-square/pencil line procedure detailed above.
Kerf inserts are usually plastic plates that surround the blade when it’s lowered into the saw table. The point of the inserts is to close the distance between the blade and the nearest supporting table. The inserts reduce tear-out on the bottom edge of your crosscuts (thereby reducing the need to repair them). The inserts also help prevent narrow cut-off pieces from dropping down between the saw blade and the opening in the table base.
The kerf inserts should be adjusted close to the blade, but without touching the blade. On the Bosch miter saw shown, I first had to hold the saw head down and push the lock pin to keep it in position. I then loosened the six screws in the inserts using a screwdriver. After adjusting the kerf inserts as close to the blade (teeth) as possible without touching, I tightened the screws to hold the inserts in place. Note: At extreme bevel angles, the saw blade may slightly cut into kerf insert—this why they’re made of plastic and not metal.
Use the Best Blade for the Job
One consideration that DIY carpenters sometimes overlook is the type of saw blade they’re using on their miter saws. The quantity of teeth plays a significant role in the blade’s performance. For example, blades best suited for rough work like house framing typically have fewer teeth with large gullets for easy chip removal.
When cutting trim, picture frames, or any sort of fine carpentry, a blade with a higher number of teeth generally translates into smoother cuts for finish applications. The type of material is also a factor; for cutting PVC product a carbide-toothed blade with 80 teeth or more will prevent chipping. A blade designed specifically for the application can increase the accuracy of your trim cuts, which helps when mating the joints. A rough cut might require you to sand the cut smooth, but the act of sanding can alter the shape of the cut, so it may no longer fit perfectly during assembly. Spare yourself the frustration on trim projects and use fine-toothed blade intended for trim.
Side Note 1
DeWALT FLEXVOLT 120V MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Brushless 12-in. Sliding Miter Saw
A pro-grade saw for professional results, the DeWALT DHS790AT2 12-in. Sliding Miter Saw offers brushless motor technology plus flexible power options—corded for unlimited runtime or cordless for easy portability. The kit includes two 60-Volt MAX lithium-ion battery packs, a dual port fast charger and the DC120A corded power supply. You can depend on the accuracy of its Cutline blade-positioning system, featuring an adjustable miter scale with 11 positive stops and highly visible miter and bevel scales. The saw boasts a compact design and weighs only 56 lbs. for easy transport. Its battery-powered runtime can make 310 cross-cuts in 3-1/4-in. base molding. Plus, the versatile new DeWALT DHS790AT2 can conquer all manner of jobs, large or small. The saw offers a 16-in. horizontal cutting capacity (baseboard lying flat); a 7-1/2in. vertical capacity (crown molding vertically nested); and a miter angle range of 60 degrees to the right and 50 degrees to the left.
Side Note 2
World’s First Worm Drive Miter Saw
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Home » Latest Tool Reviews » Head-To-Head » Best Compact Sliding Miter Saw
Best Cordless Compact Miter Saw Head To Head
For this installment of our “Head-to-Head” series, we took a look at compact cordless miter saws. These saws range from a tiny 6-1/2″ to 8-1/2″ with the majority falling into 7-1/4″. We’ve given these saws thorough testing, looking at a variety of criteria to help you decide which compact miter saw will work best for your needs.
Compact saws are a great option for small shops, homeowners, and carpenter’s with limited space. A compact sliding miter saw can have a horizontal cut capacity that rivals that of full size 12″ saws! Don’t be fooled by their size, these saws can hold their own and make most of the cuts that a professional needs to make on a regular basis. Between their impressive capacity, smaller size, and significantly lower weight these saws are definitely worth a look.
Best Compact Sliding Miter Saw Evaluation Format
Once again our team has put some serious time and effort into our Best Compact Cordless Miter Saw evaluation to bring you the most comprehensive information available. For this evaluation, we broke things into several categories including Precision Accuracy, Performance (speed/power), Features, Ergonomics, Dust Collection, Decibels, and Price. For each of these categories, we will rank the saws, and in the end, we will name the Best Compact Cordless Miter Saw based on the combined results.
- Precision, and Accuracy – In this category, we evaluated the accuracy of the miter saws out of the box and how easy it is to make adjustments.
- Performance [Power / Speed Test].We looked at cutting speed as an indicator of saw motor performance.
- Run-time – Lots of Pros think run-time is important. The performance evaluation took a very deep dive into the power of the saw motors and how well the saws managed repetitive cutting of framing lumber.
- Features – An overall comparison of features and specifications.
- Ergonomics – Ergonomics are really important to users and an important category to consider when purchasing any power tool. In addition to traditional ergonomics, we also included functionality in this category.
- Dust Collection – Construction is a messy business and dust is one of the biggest hazards in our industry.
- Decibels – We evaluated the sound level in decibels
- Price – Price is always an important factor in determining which saw is best for a user. We’ve included the current pricing found online for each of the saws “as-tested,” at the time of publication.
Compact Sliding Miter Saw Specifications
Below is a list of general specifications that relate to each saw
- Blade Size: 8-1/2″
- RPM: 4500
- Weight: 31.5 lb
- Max Angle Cut: 0-45 L/R
- Max Bevel Cut: 0-45 Left Only
- Vertical Capacity: 2-3/4″
- Horizontal Capacity: 10-5/8″
- Laser /Light: Laser
- Battery Voltage: 18V
- Battery Ah: 8.0 Ah
- Blade Size: 7-1/4″
- RPM: 3800
- Weight: 21 lb
- Max Angle Cut: 0-47 L/R
- Max Bevel Cut: 0-47 Left Only
- Vertical Capacity: 3-1/2″”
- Horizontal Capacity: 8″
- Laser /Light: Light
- Battery Voltage: 18v [20 volt max]
- Battery Ah: 4.0 Ah
- Blade Size: 7-1/4″
- RPM: 4100
- Weight: 31.6 lb
- Max Angle Cut: 0-48 L/R
- Max Bevel Cut:.1-46 Left
- Vertical Capacity: 3-1/2″”
- Horizontal Capacity: 8″
- Laser /Light: Light with Shadowline
- Battery Voltage: 18v [20 volt max]
- Battery Ah: 4.0 Ah
- Blade Size: 7-1/4″
- RPM: 5100
- Weight: 31 lb
- Max Angle Cut: 0-48 L/R
- Max Bevel Cut: 0-48 L
- Vertical Capacity: 2-1/4″
- Horizontal Capacity: 9-3/8″
- Laser /Light: Light
- Battery Voltage: 21.6V (24 volt max)
- Battery Ah: 6.0 Ah
- Blade Size: 7-1/4″
- RPM: 4000
- Weight: 34 lb
- Max Angle Cut: 0-45 L/R
- Max Bevel Cut: 0-47 L / 57 R
- Vertical Capacity: 3-1/3″
- Horizontal Capacity: 12-13/64″
- Laser /Light: Laser
- Battery Voltage: 36V
- Battery Ah: 2.5 Ah (at 36V)
- AC / DC capable with accessory
- Blade Size: 7-1/2″
- RPM: 5700
- Weight 28.9 lb
- Max Angle Cut: 0-47 Left and o-57 Right
- Max Bevel Cut: 0-45 Right and 0-5 Left
- Vertical Capacity: 2-1/16” x 11-3/4”
- Horizontal Capacity: 12-1/4″”
- Battery Voltage: 36V (running two 18V packs at same time)
- Battery Ah: 5.0 Ah
- Blade Size: 7-1/4″
- RPM: 5000
- Weight: 28 lb [w/ battery]
- Max Angle Cut: 0-45 L/R
- Max Bevel Cut: 0-48 L
- Vertical Capacity: 3-1/2″
- Horizontal Capacity: 8″
- Laser /Light: Light
- Battery Voltage: 18V
- Battery Ah: 5.0 Ah
Miter Saw Accuracy and Precision
To be consistent, all the saws, when able, were equipped with a Milwaukee 60-tooth blade.
Many users that buy a miter saw will open the shipping box and begin to use the saw right out of the box. Framers or other craftsmen that are not too concerned with the finest accuracy come to mind. However, other users will care a lot about the accuracy of their new saw and want to tune it to as near perfect as can be achieved. For a finish carpenter, or woodworker a miter saw’s ability to make an accurate cut must be routinely checked and maintained because a little misalignment can cause compounding errors on a project.
We checked the calibration of the saws out of the box, recorded our findings, and then calibrated the saws, noting the level of difficulty to get them tuned up. Miter saw calibration is a critical step because a difference as small as 1° over a 1-in. span will result in a 1/64-in. the gap in the finished miter joint. Similarly, 3° over 5-in. span gives you a 9/32-in. gap.
Compact Cordless Miter Saw Accuracy Testing Winner Craftsman
The TBB crew wanted to give the readers an idea of how well the saws scored on accuracy right out of the box. We looked at the following areas:
- Table flatness
- Fence flatness
- Bevel accuracy when set to 0 degrees
- Miter accuracy when set to 45 degrees.
- Crosscut accuracy when set to 90 degrees
The Craftsman showed up on this out of the box testing with a first-place score of 9 points. With exception of its 45-degree accuracy, it scored tops in every category. Bosch was second with 13-points, Makita had 14-points and Milwaukee 15-points.
|45 Deg Miter||Bevel||Table / Fence||Totals||Rank|
Table Flatness – For table flatness, we used a Bridge City Tool Works 24 inch stainless steel flat edge. We placed the flat edge onto the table and first looked for any light that could shine between the table surface and the stainless flat edge. Where the light shone through, we took a set of machinist feeler gauges and determined the size of the gap under the flat edge. We recorded the data and proceeded to check the fence’s accuracy. We turned the Bridge City flat edge and held it up to the lower part of each saws’ fence. Some of the saws have a single piece lower fence and others have a two-part lower fence. We measured any gap between the fence and the flat edge and noted the maximum reading from the feeler gauges.
0-Degree Bevel – For 90-degree bevel accuracy, we adjusted the saws to contact the factory setting for a 90-degree vertical cut. Then we used a Wixey digital gauge to measure the degrees between the table of the saw and the body of the blade. The Wixey gauge can be set to zero out any inclination in the saw as it sits on a bench. This enables the user to read the accurate relative difference in inclination between the table and the blade. We zeroed out the gauge each time we took a reading. 45-Degree Miter – Cutting 45-degree miters is a critical function of these types of miter saws. We measured the factory 45-degree cuts by setting the saw to its 45-degree setting. We made a cut into 2×4 lumber and read the actual cut with a digital T-Bevel gauge. For each cut, we zeroed the gauge. Then we took the reading and recorded the data. This type of gauge is accurate to one-tenth of a degree.
90-Degree Cross Cut – For this test, we set the saw to the factory 90-degree setting for a cross-cut. We crosscut a piece of plywood that had one edge squared with a track saw. We took the ‘cut-off’ piece and flipped it 180 degrees along the long axis. We lined up the two pieces against a straight edge and noted if there were a gap between the two halves along the cut edge. If we saw a gap, we measured this gap with feeler gauges. Flipping one of the pieces 180 degrees, meant that any deviation from a 90-degree cut would show twice the error than just measuring one side by itself.
Miter Saw Performance
For the performance section, we tested the run-time and speed of cut with the battery sold with the saw in a kitted form.
Power Test – Winner Makita
The Power Test is a good indication of what the saw and blade configuration can cut. We made five timed cuts in 7-1/4″ LVL lumber and recorded the average time. This is a simple test with some uncontrolled variables, but our methods were fair.
We had the same operator conduct each cut, with the instruction to let the saw do the cutting, apply as much pressure as the saw and blade would allow. We waited for the blade to come to a complete stop, indexed the material, and then started a fresh cut. Time was started from the time the blade hit the wood till it exited out the back of the LVL and completed the cut. We timed 5 cuts per saw and took the average time.
The Makita crushed this test coming in at 2.0 seconds, with the Kobalt coming in second at 2.2 seconds per cut, followed by Metabo HPT in third at 2.7 seconds.
Run-time Test – Winner Makita
For the run-time test, we made repetitive cuts in KD lumber until the battery was exhausted or thermal overload prevented further cutting. Operators were instructed to start the saw and bring it up to speed. Bring the saw forward, make the cut, wait for the blade to stop, reset, and repeat.
Makita with its dual battery system crushed this test with 328 cuts. Bosch and Kobalt also shined in this test, with 248 and 252 cuts respectively, cutting 60 more cuts than the fourth-place Metabo HPT. No thermal overloads were encountered. Note, for the overall calculation of the best miter saw we are NOT using this run-time test, we use the normalized ranking that accounts for total battery pack energy (watt-hrs) listed below.
Run-time Normalization by Watt-hours – Winner Craftsman
Each of these saws came with a different sized “energy power plant” or battery configuration. As you can imagine, the saw with the greatest watt-hr battery theoretically has a leg up on its competition for run-time cuts. Whenever we do a cordless tool comparison, we level the playing field by taking the results and dividing the results by the number of watt-hr for the particular saws’ battery.
In this H2H, the batteries varied both in voltage and amp-hrs. We derive watt-hrs by multiplying the load voltage by the amp-hours. The following table shows the results of the run-time test when normalized for the battery pack watt-hours.
After running the calculations, Craftsman came in first with 2.4 cuts per watt-hour, followed by DeWALT and Metabo HPT with 2.1 cuts/watt-hr, and third place was Milwaukee with 2.0 cuts/watt-hr. This test allows us to see who has the most effective combination of battery technology, stamina, and motor power on a per watt-hr basis.
Compact Miter Saw Features – Winner – Milwaukee
Comparing tools from multiple brands is never easy but the devil can live in the details at times so a comparison is certainly warranted.
We looked at the following 10 features and ranked them 1-5.
- Laser light
- Max Angle
- Max Bevel
- Dust port
- Forward Slide / Compact
- Blade Brake
- Blade Guard Operation
- Dado Cut
The Milwaukee came in first with 21 points followed closely by the Metabo HPT at 22 points. The Makita and Kobalt tied for third with 28 points.
Milwaukee shined with its angle and bevel features, blade cut line, dust collection, and did well in the blade brake, compact size, and maximum angle. It is full-featured, with everything you’d want from a job site saw.
Metabo HPT scored tops in the maximum angle/bevel, outriggers, compact slide, electric brake, and crushes cut capacity. It is a feature-rich, beautifully crafted tool.
The team especially liked the rack and pinion bevel adjustment, the 52-degree max angle, and the dado with a scoring feature. This feature allows you to set a scoring cut or to set up a dado cut.
Notable Compact Miter Saw Features
Laser vs. LED Shadow Light – The Bosch and Metabo HPT miter saws both have a built-in laser that indicates one side of the blade. This laser also has a separate on/off switch. The laser displays the line-of-cut with the tool turned off and the blade not spinning, which we liked for lining up cuts.
On the Metabo HPT, the laser disappears as the saw approached the material. This is because the rubber dust shroud blocks the laser.
In general, the TBB Crew is not a fan of lasers and prefers the blade shadow light option similar to the Craftsman, Kobalt and Milwaukee saw. This shadow light marks the blade in ANY lighting situation, and unlike a laser, never has to be calibrated since it casts a shadow of any blade mounted on the saw onto the workpiece. It’s foolproof.
AC / DC Option – The Metabo HPT is the only miter saw of these three with the capability to run on battery or corded power. Metabo HPT accomplishes this with a battery pack adapter with a 20-foot cord and “brick-like” inverter.
Forward Rail Design – We found the Metabo HPT forward rail design to operate smoothly. The forward rails also take up significantly less space behind the saw. This takes up less room in the shop or on the job site. If you have a small shop or work in cramped spaces regularly this feature can open up a lot of floor space. Makita uses a 4-Steel Rail Sliding System increases rigidity to the saw head, producing accurate cutting.
We were impressed that all of these were precise and had little to no slop in the saw head.
Ergonomics – Winner – Bosch and Milwaukee
The ergonomics evaluation in this section is purely subjective and based on the opinions of the testing crew. After a full day of running performance tests, the team spent several hours in the shop testing and ranking the saws in seven  categories including:
We weighed each saw, and carried the saws upstairs, through doorways, transported one-handed to open doors or gates, and loaded/unloaded the saw into a work vehicle. Depending on the primary application of your miter saw needs, transportation is a major part of the day to day considerations you’ll want to take into account before committing to a new saw.
Bosch and Milwaukee took the ergonomics section with a score of 17-points. Metabo HPT came in second with 19-points.
The team was impressed with the third-place Metabo HPT’s manufacturing quality. Its design is precise, modern, and well made. The Bosch on the other hand is a venerable 10-year old design that still holds its own. The team would like to see Bosch re-design the top handle because of its tendency to pinch your hand when transporting.
The Craftsman was the lightest saw of the group, but not having a top handle hurt its score. Milwaukee and Kobalt hit the sweet spots for ease of transport with two side table handles, and a well-placed top handle.
The DeWALT has an oversized bevel scale that makes bevel angle adjustments accurate and easy. The compact, lightweight design (31.6 bs.) allows for easy transport and storage. It has a cam lock miter handle that was easy to maneuver and delivers quick and accurate miter angles.
Dust Collection – Winner –Makita
From carpenters working in finished spaces, to shop workers who want to reduce the amount of airborne dust in their environment, knowing how well a saw will integrate with a vacuum is an important measure of performance for any user.
We conducted a dust collection test by performing 25 cuts on a 2×6 piece of KD lumber and measuring the volume of wood dust collected by the vacuum. Additionally, we assessed the buildup of dust that didn’t make it into the vacuum but accumulated on the table and fence of the tool. The result of the dust collection test are depicted in the table below:
Makita took first place by capturing 8.9 ounces of dust, followed by a tie between Bosch and Kobalt with 7.9 ounces of sawdust, and Milwaukee came in third with 7.5 ounces.
The DeWALT performed poorly on dust collection. The reason for this was that the dust chutes rubber flaps [behind the saw blade] collapsed when the dust extractor was turned on. While the easy field modification is to cut or remove these flaps – this really should be addressed by DeWALT.
Decibels – Winner Kobalt
These days more and more contractors are taking better care of their hearing. OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure for up to 90 dB, for exposures 95dB and greater, the exposure limits drop dramatically. So clearly these saws all need hearing protection. The quietest saw was the Kobalt with 84 decibels followed closely by Metabo HPT with 84.4 decibels. Third place went to the Bosch at 84.7 decibels.
Compact Miter Saw Pricing – Winner Craftman
|412||Tool, Bat, Chrg||3|
|828||Tool, Bats, Chrg||6|
|1,168||Tool, Bat, Chrg||7|
Above we’ve included the current pricing (at the time of publication). Pricing is based on kits where available. For the Kobalt, Makita, and Metabo HPT we used bare tool pricing plus pricing to buy a battery(s) and charger as those are only sold as bare tools.
The best-priced compact sliding miter saw was the Craftsman at 249. Second place is the DeWALT at 369 followed by Kobalt at 412. The Metabo HPT was the highest priced saw coming in at 1,168. This is the only saw with AC/DC capability so that’s something to consider.