Before you start shopping for the best 12 inch miter saw, you need to do a little bit of homework. Sure, you know you want a saw for cutting and one that will be reliable and durable enough to last a long time. But do you really know what you need in a miter saw? Let’s take a look at what a miter saw is, what it can do, why you would need one and the things to look for before purchasing the best miter saw for homeowner or commercial use.
A miter saw is quite simply a power tool that allows you to make 90-degree cross cuts or angled cuts by using a motorized circular cutting blade that you pull down onto the wood. The cutting takes place while you pull down the blade in a plunging move. This kind of saw is excellent for use on a variety of cutting jobs, ranging from two-by-fours to fine window trim or crown molding. A miter saw is not designed for cutting wide pieces of lumber such as plywood sheets.
The depth or height of the cut is completely determined by the blade. For example, the best 12 inch miter saw will have a 12-inch blade. Other common sizes are 10-inch and 8-inch blades. In addition to size, there are many different types of blades, each one designed for a specific cutting job. The cutting job is determined by the material you intend to cut. That material can be wood, aluminum or mild steel. Some blades are made for multiple types of materials and they are called multi-purpose blades. Also, for a finer cut, keep in mind that the number of teeth on a blade will determine the kind of cut. The more teeth, the finer the cut.
The miter or mitre, is an angled cut. The tool used to perform angled cuts is called a miter saw. It is also known as a chop saw as the plunging action used to make the cut into material clamped in place below the spinning blade is ‘chopped’ during the cutting action. The best 12 inch miter saw will have adjustable guides allowing it to cut more than just at 90-degrees. There are some saws designed to only miter to one side, but it is most common to find one that cuts on both the left and right, which makes it easier and faster to use without unclamping, resetting and reclamping the material to be cut.
The best 12 inch miter saws have the ability to cut with a sliding action. What this means to you is that you will be able to cut wider widths of wood. If you only intend to cut dado, slide and capacity won’t be much of a concern to you. But if you are going to be cutting such items as posts for fencing you will need a saw with a bigger blade and a larger width of cut capacity. This would then mean your best bet would be a sliding mitre saw. Saws that do not have a sliding function are commonly known as cut-off or chop saws. The downside to having a slide is that saws can fall out of alignment because of the extra feature. The more costly the saw, the less likely this may occur.
An excellent sliding compound miter saw for the money is the WEN 70712 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw.
Read our full review on the WEN 70712 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw.
When a saw head tilts to the side and rotates on the saw table, it is said to be able to bevel. Bevel cuts are angled cuts and the best 12 inch miter saws are bevel saws. A single bevel saw or a double bevel saw indicates that the saw head can be tilted to the left or right. When you use a bevel saw it reduces the amount of work you have to put into setting up your cuts. For example, the bevel action provides you with access to complex angled cuts that would be required in cutting crown molding or in the construction of furniture. The beveling allows you to cut wood without having to remove it from position, turn it into a new position and cutting. Using a saw that bevels means you can cut two angles at once. As handy as it is to have the beveling feature, it does add potential for problems such as losing alignment. The more expensive brands will likely not encounter this issue.
One of the best compound miter, double bevel saws is the Dewalt DW716 15 Amp 12-Inch Double-Bevel Compound Miter Saw. This saw consistently gets rave reviews and is a top seller!
Read our full review on the Dewalt DW716 15 Amp 12-Inch Double-Bevel Compound Miter Saw.
If you are in the market for one of the best 12 inch miter saws, you may want to take a look at the extras included by selected brands. For example, many saws are equipped with lights which are useful in poorly lit conditions. Laser light guides are another handy extra. These models have a red laser light that creates a ‘line’ in the piece of wood you are cutting to show you precisely where the saw blade will cut. There are saws with adjustable rear fences, others with extension arms and others with clamps. All of these are safety features that are worth considering in order to cut wood without risk of injury. Some saws have speed controls which may be a great extra depending on the material you are cutting. There are even cordless miter saws available which allow you to work in situations where power or extension cords are not available.
An excellent compound miter saw with a laser guide is the Skil 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser. This single bevel saw is highly rated and well worth a look!
Read our full review on the Skil 3821-01 12-Inch Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser.
Then there are the added extras that don’t come in the original packaging of the best 12 inch miter saw. They include different blades, which are labeled in such a way that you should know what material the blade will work best with and what type of cut to expect. The bore size of the blade is important to match with what your miter saw can handle. The bore is the hole in the middle of the blade. Saw stands are also extremely useful depending on where you plan on using your saw. They provide stability for working on cuts and depending on the model and style of the stand, may include storage and other handy features.
An excellent stand for the money is the Dewalt DWX726 Rolling Miter Saw Stand. Not only is this highly rated stand exceptionally sturdy, it is mobile as well!
Read our full review on the Dewalt DWX726 Rolling Miter Saw Stand.
All miter saws and chop saws generate a lot of sawdust. You will also want to consider some kind of dust collection system if one is not already built into the design.
One of the best designed and most effective dust solutions is the Rousseau 5000 Dust Solution for Miter Saws. This dust hood effectivly collects all the sawdust generated by your chop saw and directs it to your shop vac or professional collection system.
Read our full review on the Rousseau 5000 Dust Solution for Miter Saws.
There are a number of factors to keep in mind when shopping for the best 12 inch miter saw. Just like any other major purchase, you will want to know as much as you can about an item before buying it. Miter saws are no different. If you plan to do a lot of cutting, durability and strength would be important. If your needs are more commercial in nature, a slide and bevel may be additional features required in meeting your cutting demands. Don’t forget to explore warranty options! Hopefully the saws highlighted on this website help you to choose the best 12 inch miter saw for your home or business use.