Did you know there are people who don’t want to own a mitre saw?
Peculiar, we call it. What they find to do with their time and their minds, we’re not sure.
A mitre saw is the key both to reliable, repeatable, angled cuts in bigger pieces of wood, metal, and plastic, absolutely. But it’s also the key to a particular kind of creative imagination. The mind that makes things, builds things, understands how A goes with B, goes with F, G and H, and comes together to form something bigger and better than the sum of their parts.
A mitre saw gives you reliable cuts, angles, bevels, even angled bevels. It’s a gateway to creativity in three dimensions, to focus and to fun.
Who doesn’t want one of those?
The thing is, the market’s glutted. There are bog-standard cut-machines, and often that’s good enough, especially when you’re first starting out. Then, as you go up the range of optional extras, there are mitre saws with lasers, mitre saws with built-in dust extraction, mitre saws very much with the cherry on top.
So how do you know which are the best mitre saws on the market?
Come with us. Get your safety gear on, and we’ll take you through the best mitre saws on the market.
Here’s a disclaimer for you. The Makita MLS100 is not for everyone.
But you don’t want the best mitre saw for everyone, you want the best mitre saw for you.
If you don’t need the sliding function, this is the best mitre saw for you.
Let’s talk cases. Plenty of people who want or need a mitre saw actually don’t need the sliding function. If you’re not making wide crosscuts on any very regular basis, you’re fine. If you are making wide crosscuts like a wide crosscut-making thing possessed, you can just flip the piece of work you’re cutting. Bob’s your uncle, and you just saved yourself half a shedload of cash on a slide function you didn’t really need.
In which case, pick up the Makita LS100.
Makita’s got form in the power tool game for the strength of its engineering, and the MLS100 combines a ruggedness with a relatively lightweight feel at just 14.6Kg. Load-free, the 1500 Watt motor will give you a blade turning speed of 4,200 RPM (or the equivalent of 70 revolutions per second). So the MLS100 brings you the power you need in your blade. At the business end, you’re looking at a 25.5cm blade (that’s a 10 inch, if you’re thinking in pizzas). An easy-read mitre guide helps you get precise cuts from day one, with stops at 0,15, 22.5, 31.6 and 45 degrees. Those stops mean you can get rapid precision too, because you’re guided with certainty.
The Makita MLS100 also comes with a solid, sturdy fence and clamp, so once you’re set up, you’re safe and solid.
If you’re working on larger pieces, don’t sweat it – the MLS100 has extension arms to help you keep making precise cuts with confidence. And Makita’s dust collection system stops the powder building up and becoming either hazardous or, which would otherwise be more frequent, just a right royal pain in the woodworker’s neck.
Just for a final bit of incredibly useful swank, the MLS100 comes with a transparent blade guard – useful as a guide to improve your cutting line – a soft start, so the revving of that rapid cutting blade doesn’t take anyone by unfortunate surprise, and an electric brake for less grinding when running down to a stop.
All in all, there’s a lot to recommend the Makita MLS100. No, it doesn’t give you the slide function that experienced mitre saw users might be looking for. But it gives enough back in return that it cuts its way to the top of our list as the best all-round mitre saw for your money. And in the unlikely event of something going wrong, the machine’s also covered by a 3-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
Strong and sturdy
Clear mitre guide
Transparent blade cover, soft start and electric brake
Professional woodworkers might wonder at the Silverline being included on our list at all, let alone in second place.
That’s because professional woodworkers, and even the more evangelically enthusiastic amateurs, use their mitre saw a lot. Why wouldn’t you, right?
Well, here’s the thing – the Silverline 262705 (Catchy name, fellas) comes at the mitre saw market (We’re so sorry about this, but it has to be done) from a different angle. It’s a mitre saw for people who don’t know all the tips and tricks, the people who aren’t absolutely sure they’ll get a lot of use out of a mitre saw, but would like one on hand for those odd occasions when they might need one. It’s sold reasonably cheaply, has barely even heard of bells or whistles, but does the job a whole lot of people need a mitre saw to do, when they need it to do it.
It’s not a Mont Blanc, it’s a Bic. It’s not a Mercedes, it’s a Mini. It’s not fillet steak, it’s a Big Mac. And like Bics, Minis and Big Macs, it sells by the stackload and satisfies its audience, doing what they need, when they need it, and often acting as a gateway mitre saw to more considered and serious tools at a later stage.
The Silverline 262705 has a motor that gives you 1400W of rotating power (just 100W less than the Makita, about a third of the price, if anyone’s keeping score), which will happily cut through timber anything up to 12.5cm (5 inches) thick. It will equally happily offer you angle options up to the standard 45 degrees – probably, if we’re honest, more than enough for the casual or occasional mitre saw-user.
Where the Silverline comes into its own is in storage – it stores easily and even has its own carry handle, like a puppy that carries its own lead. That puppy image works for its size too – this is not a big daddy of the mitre saw world, it’s useful on smaller workbenches where space is tight. There is, as you probably already assumed, no slide function on this Scrappy Doo of mitre saws, but it’s not some barbarian knock-off machine with no class – it has an extraction port to help minimise the dust you’ll generate while using it.
If you’re not sure you’re ready for a big, sturdy mitre saw, if you’re not sure you’d yet get at least weekly use out of one, but you want one for when a job comes up, if you’re not likely to need complex, extra deep cuts, but appreciate a lightweight, portable tool that’s easy to use in tight spaces and store out of the way, here’s what you do – get the Silverline 977648 , saw what you need to, when you need to, and rejoice in the money you’ve saved by getting the tool that’s right for you.
Compact, lightweight and easy to store
Cuts through anything up to 12.5cm (5 inches)
Dust extraction port
Feels a little cheap and cheerful
No slide action
Won’t let you make deeper or more complex cuts or angles
Blink twice and you can be forgiven for confusion – yes, we’re back with Makita. What can we tell you, it’s a company that’s really good at making mitre saws!
Notice the important word in the title of this one, though?
Sliiiiiide. It might seem odd that the first mitre saw to offer a slide function in our list comes in at position number 3. It’s even odder on some levels that the feature-packed god-level LS0714 comes anywhere other than top in anyone’s list of mitre saws. But where the MLS100 is the best overall for most users, and the Silverline is the best entry-level option, this is the top mitre saw for people who really know their mitre saws. It’s what other mitre saws hope to become in the Great Woodshop in the Sky. But it’s here, and now, and while you’ll pay significantly more for it than either of our two top saws, if you’re a hardcore mitre saw fan, it’s very much a case of ‘Never mind the price, feel the quality.’
While the motor only hits 1010 Watts, the power transfer to the cutting disc is where you’ll feel the oomph – load-free, you’re talking about 6000 RPM. Be still, our woodcutting hearts.
The sense of ultimate ‘betterness’ continues – maximum mitre range? 57-47 degrees. Bevel cutting? 45 degrees left, 5 degrees right. In-built dust collection system? Right here, step this way. The Makita LS0714 will give you a crosscut of up to 300mm, with a mitring range in excess of anything you’ve seen on our list so far. It can also hold long pieces of wood in preparation for work on them.
Oh, did we mention the laser?
Get your Goldfinger well and truly on with the LS0714’s laser-guided cutting, as well of course as getting ultra-precise cuts when you decide to make them. All of this is also covered by the Makita 3-year guarantee.
Ultimately, that feeling when you walk into a room, take a deep breath and whisper to yourself ‘I will do well here…’ is the feeling that hardcore mitre saw fans get from the LS0714. It’s only third on our list because of a slightly eek-worthy price point, and because plenty of people who aren’t yet hardcore mitre saw fans might want to buy one, and the LS0714 might well be too much mitre saw for them at first. If you know your way around the principles and the kit, put your money on the LS0714 and make your sawing life altogether better.
Price – this is a premium product, priced accordingly
That’s fine if you want a cord-dependent relationship with your mitre saw.
But what if you want to go cord-free and genuinely independent?
Well then you’re going to want to feast your eyes on the Ryobi EMS190DCL One+ (Again, catchy name, but worth paying attention to nonetheless).
The natural, lazy stereotype about a cordless mitre saw is akin to the natural, lazy stereotype of, say, vegans. The idea that it’ll be underpowered, somehow less effective than its mains power-drinking fellows is almost inevitable.
It’s also, equally inevitably, about as wrong as it’s possible to be.
The Ryobi’s 18V battery gets you a 19cm blade running at up to 4,500 RPM, but with much reduced noise and vibration (You’ve heard an electric car compared to a petrol or diesel one, right? Think of that, in a mitre saw). It doesn’t skimp on the razzle-dazzle factor either – laser-guided cutting is just as much a feature of the Ryobi as it is of the Makita LS0714.
The Ryobi brings household versatility, power and portability together and frees you from the cord and the slavery of domestic power. At 7.1Kg, it’s a lightweight mitre saw, and its 19cm blade makes it ideal for household jobs like crown moulding, skirting boards and the like. While it’s never a make-or-break feature, the EMS190DCL is also part of a range of cordless power tools that all use the same family of batteries, meaning it feels like a natural extension to your other power tools’ design and operation philosophy, and feels easier and more instinctive to use than a brand new mitre saw from someone else.
Freedom from cord
Smaller blade makes it ideal for household tasks
Highly portable and lightweight
Unsuitable for bigger, more demanding cutting work
Usually, the choice in life – and indeed in mitre saws – comes down to quality in Column A, and price in Column B.
Metabo’s done that difficult, interesting and much appreciated thing – taken a little from Column A, a little from Column B, and balanced them perfectly for utility and cost at a point in the absolute middle. That’s got to make the KGS216M 1500 worth a look.
It’s a sliding compound mitre saw at a reasonable price, neither entry-level nor premium. That balancing act means some things are missing – there’s no double bevel on the Metabo, and the blade, at 21.6cm, is likewise middle-of-the-pack.
That said, it’s die-cast in aluminium, compact and light enough to be portable at 13.5Kg. Motor power reaches 1500W, producing a load-free blade speed of a hugely respectable 5000 RPM. Sliding bars and adjustable extensions mean it can handle larger workpieces too.
Yes, there’s a laser guide here, while mitre adjustments are made using a calibrated protractor scale (with notches for commonly used angles, increasing speed and certainty of cuts).
Add a 3-year guarantee to underline Metabo’s confidence in its product, and the KGS216M looks like an attractive mid-range option, well worth considering.
Reasonable mid-range pricing
No double bevel
Mid-range blade makes it unsuitable for heavier duty tasks
When buying a mitre saw, there are one or two things to consider before you buy.
Where Are You In Your Sawing Journey?
Sounds like a self-help question, but really it’s a money-saving question. Are you just mitre-curious? Need an occasional mitre round the house for DIY jobs? Or are you more hardcore and experienced with mitre saws, looking for the full-on high-tech mitre saw deluxe experience? There are options on our list for all kinds of mitre-saw buyers, but be honest with yourself about what you actually need from your mitre saw right now. Maybe save yourself money, maybe get the saw of your dreams. Knowing where you are will help you get the right saw for you right now.
Know What Features You’re Prepared To Pay For
Do you absolutely need a slide function? Lasers? Dust extraction? Or is portability more important to you? How about going cord-free, would that be a thing you’d pay for?
Before you buy a hefty item like a mitre saw, make a list of what you’d like it to be able to do, and the features you absolutely need and want it to have – it’s another precaution that could save you money and fit you to precisely the right saw.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a mitre saw differ from other saws?
Power, versatility and flexibility, mostly.
While table saws are excellent for rip cuts, and chop saws, for example, are the very devil for cross cuts, they’re relatively static in function. A mitre saw can give you straight cuts, beveled cuts, angled cuts, at the drop of a spinning blade. If you think of other saws as single-function, a mitre saw is like a Swiss Army saw.
Should I go for a standard, a compound or a sliding compound mitre saw?
Yes. Yes, you should.
We mean, ultimately, that it’s not a case of one being objectively ‘better’ than the other, it’s about matching what you intend to do with your mitre saw to the particular functions and limitations of each. Understand where you’re at in your mitre saw journey, and choose accordingly.
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