By Steve Veroneau Publication Date: July/August 2002

Sliding Compound Miter Saws

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Hitachi

C8FB2

38.6 lbs.

9.5

2,900

3 1/8"

90°: 2 9/16" x 12"

45°: 2 9/16" x 8 21/32"

$550

Comments: This saw has plenty of power, good cut capacity, and a bevel detent for crown. It has too much plastic, though.The power cord from the switch to the motor runs right across the front of the trigger area, which is distracting and difficult to work around. The detents are ball-bearing set, which make them hard to set just off the detents'. The numbers for both the miter and angle guides are painted the same color as the saw and are difficult to read, especially on the bevel scale. www.hitachi.com/powertools

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Tradesman

8336

57 lbs.

10

4,900

3 15/16"

90°: 2 9/16" x 12"

45°: 2 9/16" x 8 1/2"

$299

Comments: Tradesman's slide is smooth, the motor is powerful, and the body is rugged. It's too small for 4-by material, but I liked every thing else about it. The twist lock handle is easy-to-use . The bevel scale's locking lever could be repositioned to make it more convenient. I'd use this tool on any framing/cornice site. Although I think it's too small for interior work. Its tough construction is well suited for exterior work where it can handle the abuse of continual set-up and breakdown. www.tradesman-rexon.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Bosch

3915

47 lbs.

13

4,700

3 1/2"

90°: 3 1/2" x 12"

45°: 2 1/4" x 12"

$429

Comments: The Bosch 3915 performed flawlessly. The slide motion is extremely smooth. The saw adjusts for bevel and miter cuts and locks into those positions easily. The allen wrench needed to adjust the table fence comes with the saw, as does the blade-changing wrench. Both tools secure to the saw body for easy accessibility. The saw body is as boxy as an old Volvo and takes up more table and truck space than I'd like, but it drives like a BMW. www.boschtools.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Delta

36-240

51 lbs.

15

5,000

4 1/4"

90°: 3 5/8" x 11 1/2"

45°: 3 5/8" x 8"

$429

Comments: I found this saw difficult to adjust and hard to use. The switch is set too high, making it awkward to start a cut. During compound cuts, the saw body and guide obstruct the line of sight to the work. This model's base is huge; the footprint requires a lot of table space for a stable platform. You can make a cut station with 2x4s that fit in notches in the saw base. www.deltamachinery.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Hitachi

C10FS

44.1 lbs.

12

3,800

3 1/8"

90°: 3 17/32" x 12"

45°: 3 17/32" X 8 21/32"

$620

Comments: The Hitachi C10FS is one of two 10-inch saws that bevel both right and left. It also has a detent for crown setting on the bevel scale. The problem, however, is that when you set it to a right bevel, the blade and motor housing completely block your view of the miter scale. It has a plastic built-in carrying handle that may not withstand the daily abuse of multiple users. This saw starts up very smoothly. It's also accurate and has good power. www.hitachi.com/powertools

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Makita

LS1013

46.5 lbs.

13

3,700

4 1/2"

90°: 3 5/8" x 12"

45°: 2" x 8 3/4"

$529

Comments: This is one of the most comfortable and easiest saws to use. The dual bevel feature is easy to operate and you can see the cut line from all positions. It gives quick reference for the proper bevel and miter settings, as well as the proper placement for cutting crown flat. Numbers for the bevel and miter angles are easy to read. The motor starts slowly and evenly. There is nothing about this saw that I didn't like and as I moved it from site to site, it quickly became each team's favorite. www.makitatools.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Milwaukee

6497-6

55.5 lbs.

15

4,800

3 1/2"

90°: 3 7/16" x 12 3/8"

45°: 3 7/16" X 8 3/4"

$700

Comments: The Milwaukee Magnum runs smoothly. It's easy to adjust, and its power is good. My only complaint is that the power supply cord is too short; you need an extension cord with this tool or you'll pull the plug when you rotate the saw and extend the slide. The easy-to-read bevel guide is on top of the saw body. It also has bearing detent stops, but they didn't cause any problems. www.mil-electric-tool.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Porter-Cable

3807

57 lbs.

15

5,000

N/A

90°: 4" x 12"

45°: 4" x 8"

$529

Comments: The Porter-Cable model is accurate, powerful, and has legible scales, but it's bulky, heavy, and uncomfortable to use. Its action is stiff; adjusting a miter and moving the armature into the cut is awkward, compared to the other saws I tested. It's also got a much bigger body and footprint than some other saws in this group. www.porter-cable.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

DeWalt

DW708

57 lbs.

15

4,000

3 1/4"

90°: 4" x 12"

45°: 4" X 8"

$599

Comments: What a beautiful saw. If you need the thickness capacity of a 12-inch saw, this is the one to get. It has a sleep design and operates smoothly. It's very comfortable and is easy to adjust for bevels and miters. This saw's bit, but packs up and moves nicely. I particularly like the lockdown mechanism for holding a miter setting. www.dewalt.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Hitachi

C12FSA

55 lbs.

12

3,200

N/A

90°: 4 7/32" x 12"

45°: 2 3/4" x 12"

$899

Comments: This saw looks and feels huge. It's got ball-bearing stops for miter stops that are difficult to override near a detent. To keep the tool's base from rotating while changing miter settings, I had to bolt it to the table. It bevels both ways and has smooth takeoff. www.hitachi.com/powertools

Tool

Weight

Amps

Rpm

Deck Height

Cut Capacity

Street Price

Makita

LS1212

48.5 lbs.

15

3,200

4 3/4"

90°: 3 7/8" x 12 1/4"

45°: 2 3/16" x 8 5/8"

$759

Comments: The 12-inch Makita saw has all the same features as its little brother. On this model, though, it's hard to slide when the bevel is set to the right side. Once you start it moving, it works fine. This tool doesn't show a crown mold stop on the bevel gage. Beyond these minor complaints, it performs perfectly, and is well designed for comfort and portability. www.makitatools.com

This article is reprinted courtesy of Tools of the Trade