I use a miter saw almost every day, but until recently I'd
never owned a really satisfactory stand. The homemade stands
I've tried over the years were invariably heavy, bulky, and
difficult to move around, so I usually found myself setting up
the saw on the floor and using 2x4 blocks as stock supports.
Although that produces good results, it's both inefficient and
hard on your knees and back. I finally decided it was time to
invest in a good manufactured saw stand.
As a remodeler, I need a stand that's versatile enough to
handle both my 10-inch Delta compound saw and my 12-inch DeWalt
sliding saw. Changing from one saw to another has to be quick
and easy, because I need to do that fairly often. The stand
also has to fit in the back of my truck and leave room for
tools and materials. Finally, it must be rugged enough to
handle the weight of long joists and rafters, not just
As I began shopping around, I quickly learned that the term
"miter-saw stand" means different things to different people.
Some manufacturers classify universal tool stands and portable
workbenches as miter-saw stands, even though a professional
builder would be unlikely to use them in that capacity. For
this article, I decided to zero in on dedicated portable
miter-saw stands that could handle a variety of saws, transport
easily, and stand up to contractor use.
I found nine stands that seemed to fill the bill. They all
promised to fit most saws, and they represented a variety of
price points. They looked as if they'd be good at most
miter-saw tasks, and while they offered varying degrees of
portability, all could be moved fairly easily by one
Features to Look For
As I began a hands-on evaluation of the stands I'd selected, I
kept several criteria in mind. First was portability. It
doesn't matter how well a stand works if it's too big and heavy
to be practical on the job site. Does it have wheels? Can I
move it while it's assembled, or do I have to break it
Saw stops. One of the most important benefits of a saw
stand is its ability to speed production. A well-designed stop
is a great convenience when it comes to making accurate
repetitive cuts. All the stops I tested held their position
well, even when bumped repeatedly with 2x6 studs.
The best-designed stops extend the full width of the work
supports, allowing accurate cuts even with mitered stock. Some
stops allow the point of a miter to slip past, throwing
accuracy out the window. It isn't a problem with square stock,
but if you do a lot of trim work, it could be an important
Stock supports. There are two basic types of stock
supports: roller- or bar-type supports and table supports.
Supports that use a single roller or bar tend to be lighter and
more portable. They come in handy when you're lining up a heavy
length of pressure-treated lumber. On the other hand, rollers
can make it difficult to pull measurements by hooking a tape to
the end of the stock, and they require frequent adjustments if
you're cutting stock to significantly different lengths.
Table-type supports offer optimum support but are heavier and
frequently have to be transported in several pieces.
Some stock supports have their own legs; others have legs that
cantilever out from the side of the stand. Separate legs mean
that you'll need to spend a little extra time to get everything
level, but they can support the most weight. Cantilever
supports don't require extra set-up time, but generally they
aren't quite as sturdy.
Switching saws. Ease of mounting is another important
consideration. Some stands use brackets or quick-release clamps
to simplify switching from one saw to another. The best of
these made such changeovers practically effortless. At the
other extreme are stands that require the user to bolt the saw
in place. This approach provides a solid mount, but it's not
practical if you expect to use the stand with more than one
Making a Choice
As a remodeler, I might be on two or three different jobs in
the course of a week, so I need a lightweight stand that sets
up quickly. The DeWalt filled the bill on both accounts, and
it's a purchase I've been very happy with. I can carry the
stand by myself without bashing holes in the walls of my
customers' homes, and it fits in my truck bed with some room
left over for building materials. The saw base's quick-release
clamps work well, and with an additional set of clamps I can
mount my other saw without a hassle. The stock supports and saw
base are flexible in their placement, and the stop system works
better than those on other lightweight stands.
Carpenters who work on bigger projects with no portability or
space restrictions would probably find the Sawhelper, Trojan
MS2000, or Rousseau the best tool. All three handle heavy loads
and have ample surface area to support bigger stock. The
Sawhelper was my favorite of these. It handles long stock and
comes standard with the best stop system of any of the stands I
In my opinion, the value winner is the Trojan Workcenter. It's
inexpensive, light, and sturdy, and its components can be used
separately for other tasks.
If you purchase a stand, I recommend looking into some of the
accessories. Most stands can be made more useful and versatile
by adding an extra extension table, support, or stop.
Jeremy Hessis a carpenter with D.E.R.
Construction Inc. in Bainbridge, Pa.
AD&E Sawhelper Ultrafence
This well-designed stand is made up of three components: a
four-legged folding table that supports the saw and two support
wings with an integral stop system. The legs on the support
tables are adjustable to compensate for uneven ground, and the
two support wings fasten to self-aligning brackets that are
permanently bolted to the side of the saw. According to the
manufacturer, the brackets are accurate to 1/100 of an inch. I
found that the tables stayed perfectly aligned, and the
calibrated flip-up stop that comes with the stand is also
dead-on every time. The stop can be used on either side of the
saw, and the supplied stick-on tape measures make setting it to
a measurement quick and easy. The solid, continuous aluminum
table eliminates the need to move a support to cut stock of
varying lengths. This stand can be ordered with two
different-size tables from a choice of 5-foot, 8-foot, and
9-foot-4-inch. Because the specified lengths are measured from
the blade, the tables themselves are somewhat shorter than
those dimensions. I found the 9-foot-4-inch table a snug fit in
the 8-foot bed of my truck. If you plan on using two different
saws with this stand, you'll need to order an extra set of wing
mounts ($35) for your other saw. If you're using a saw with an
auxiliary fence that slides to permit bevel cuts, you'll need
to remove the fence or cut the top of the extension wing to
allow clearance. Also, with the mounting brackets bolted on, I
found that I couldn't use the crown stops for my DeWalt 12-inch
sliding saw. Overall, however, this is an excellent system that
doesn't take up too much space and readily handles stock of
almost any size.
Contact: American Design and Engineering, St. Paul
Park, Minn.; 800/441-1388, http://www.sawhelper.com.
Sawhelper's extension wings mount with
self-aligning brackets (left) that provide an extremely precise
stop system. The manufacturer claims it to be accurate within
.01 inch. Its best feature is the integral stop system (right).
The applied measuring tape makes the stop useful for all cuts,
not just repetitive ones.
Of the stands I examined, the Delta had the largest
footprint when folded. Plus, when you bolt a saw to the already
heavy stand, the weight climbs to almost 140 pounds. That's two
significant drawbacks for those who frequently work alone or
have limited truck space. Once you get it out of the truck,
though, the Delta's 12-inch rubber wheels and padded handle
make moving the folded stand easy, even with a lot of scrap
material or mud in the way. The legs lock solidly into place
when folded, although they lack an adjustment to compensate for
uneven ground. Stabilizers bolted to the back of the rear legs
prevent the stand from tipping over backwards. The roller-type
work supports are easy to adjust and provide good support; an
anti-lift finger keeps the long cutoffs from kicking up once
the saw has passed through them. This stand is the only one I
reviewed that has a built-in cord wrap. On the other hand, the
small support table, which includes the stop system, wouldn't
work with my 12-inch sliding compound saw. The stop system has
a maximum capacity of only 26 inches.
Contact: Delta, Jackson, Tenn.; 800/438-2486,
The Delta 50-155's comfortable handle
and big wheels make it easy to move around the job site, but
getting it into the truck is complicated by its substantial
size and weight. The 26-inch maximum capacity of the Delta's
stop system (above, right) limits it to cutting blocking or
cripple studs, and its hollow design is unsuitable for cutting
This stand weighs a mere 35 pounds and collapses to only 66
inches in length, but it's extremely rugged and stable. On
level ground it handled even my heavy slide saw with ease. The
quick-release clamps that hold the saw in place are easy to
use, making it simple to switch from one saw to another.
The bar-type stock supports have flip-up stops that run the
full width of the support and stay accurate even after many
repetitive cuts. With the saw at the far right of the stand and
the extension at the far left, the stop will accept up to
8-foot stock. The two supports are easily moved from the
extensions to the main beam of the stand to provide ample
support even with shorter stock. This is a nice feature, but
the supports seemed slightly too small; enlarging them would
provide more solid support to wide material. An adjustable leg
to eliminate wobble on uneven surfaces would be another welcome
addition. The carrying handle on the stand I was testing soon
broke; although DeWalt quickly sent a replacement, it would be
nice to see a stronger handle.
Contact: DeWalt, Hamstead, Md.; 800/433-9258,
The DeWalt's quick-release mounting
system is easy to use and locks positively to the stand (left),
simplifying transport. A full-width flip-up stop (right) keeps
miters from slipping past, but the stand's compact design
limits the maximum stop setting to 8 feet.