Compound Miter Saw                                 Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Models

Miter Saw – The motor is mounted on a swinging arm that allows the user to make angle cuts only

Compound Miter Saw – Allows the user to make angle cuts, but also allows the user to make bevel cuts.  The motor tilts, which is good for cutting wood to make molding, picture frames and a variety of other things.  They are more expensive than the miter saw, but will come in handy.  I would buy a compound miter saw over the miter saw.  You will use the extra features somewhere down the road.

Sliding Compound Miter Saw – Does everything the Compound miter saw does, but as the name implies it also slides.  This allows the user to cut a wider piece of wood.  Heaviest and most expensive. 

Items to Considering When Buying

Portability – If you are going to be moving the saw a lot you might want to stay away from the sliding miter, it is heaver and bulkier.

Blade Size – There is 8″ 10″ and 12″.  The bigger the blade the wider the wood you can cut.  I personally like the 10″ or 12″.

Stops – These are preset stops in the table.  This insures your cuts are precisely at the correct angle and helps save time.  Make sure the saw has a stop where it locks into place.

Blade Guard – Make sure there is a retractable blade guard.  Most have the retractable blade guard, but some cheap models still do not.

Braking System – Buy one with an electric brake.  This reverses the flow of electricity and cause the blade to stop within 2 seconds.  I have seen a lot of accidents where there is no electric brake and someone tries to grab the wood to quickly and ends up cutting themselves.

Shaft Lock – Holds the blade in place to make changing the blade easier.

Dust Bags – Collects the dust and some particles from the cuts you make.

Sliding Fences – A fence on the back that helps support your piece during cutting.

Blades

The blades are what do the cutting.  Below are three types of blades.  To see more blades please the the blade section.

  • Steel Blades – Good for softwood, inexpensive, will dull fast if cutting hard wood.
  • High Speed Steel – Harder than the steel and won’t dull as fast.
  • Carbide Tip – Stays sharper the longest, great for hardwood cuts, more expensive than steel.