Best 12-Inch Miter Saws – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2020
When choosing a 12-inch miter saw, you may find that you have several questions about the differences between the many brands available. It can be quite challenging to tell the difference between a high-quality saw and a cheaply made one.
We have chosen seven different brands of 12-inch miter saw to review for you. In each case, well list all of the pros and cons we noticed as we used them. As we discuss our experience, you will learn more about what type of saw you need. We have also included a buyer’s guide where we go over the critical aspects of the miter saw and what you should look for before making a purchase.
Join us while we take an in-depth look at the 12-inch miter saw and discuss RPM, fencing, dust collection, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Makita LS1219L Miter Saw||
|DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Miter Saw||
|Best Value||DeWalt DW715 Miter Saw||
|Metabo HPT 12” Compound Miter Saw||
|TACKLIFE 12” 15-Amp Miter Saw||
7 Best 12-Inch Miter Saws – Reviews
1. Makita LS1219L Miter Saw – Best Overall
The Makita LS1219L Miter Saw is our pick for the best overall 12-inch miter saw. This model is extremely lightweight and utilizes a powerful 13-amp direct drive motor, capable of slicing through the hardest of woods with ease. It’s adjustable to fit your body in many ways, and a precision-machined aluminum base keeps the machine in place while you are making your cuts.
The blade tips 0-40-degrees to the right and 0-60-degrees to the left for making precision angle cuts, and the bevel lock is adjustable and easily accessible. Soft start allows you to start making cuts slowly to prevent chipping, and an electronic brake stops the blade quickly between cuts. It also includes a blade and a dust bag so that you can get started on your next project immediately.
We enjoyed using the Makita LS1219L while we were reviewing it. It makes accurate, consistent cuts, and it doesn’t bog down or kick back extensively. The only thing we could complain about is that the manual that comes with it is not very helpful. We learned how to use it through experience and trial and error. If this is your first saw, you may need to look up some videos on how to set up and use the saw.
2. DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Miter Saw
The DeWalt DWS780 12” Miter Saw is our runner up for the best 12-inch miter saw. This model is very similar to our top choice, and DeWalt tools have a long track record of creating great power tools. This model features a unique belt drive and gearbox design that helps increase your vertical cutting capacity beyond what is available in many other brands.
The adjustment-free cut line indication means you’ll never need to guess where your blade will be, and its 15-amp motor produces 3800 RPM, allowing you to cut through the densest hardwoods. It makes accurate cuts and can cut a 2×16 at 90-degrees and a 2×12 at 45-degrees. It also comes with a blade and dust bag, as well as several other tools to help you get started immediately.
The reason the DWS780 isn’t at the top of the list is mainly that the dust collector would continuously clog during use. The clogs would for us to stop working and clean it out, wasting valuable time, which causes this miter saw to be much slower than our top choice that didn’t have this problem. The second minor problem was a challenging assembly that had some parts not fitting together easily.
3. DeWalt DW715 Miter Saw – Best Value
The DeWalt DWS715 is our pick for the best 12-inch miter saw for the money. This low-cost model features a powerful 15-amp motor that can get your blade spinning up to 4000 RPMs. A miter detent plate makes it easy to make accurate incremental changes to your angles, and sliding fences help you make straight cuts. Like our top two models, this saw comes with a blade and dust bag so that you can get started immediately.
We enjoyed reviewing the DeWalt DWS715 12” Miter Saw and feel that it is suitable for most smaller jobs. It doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as the top models, and it can bog down if you push it too hard, but no parts broke while we used it, and we could cut any lumber we wanted if we were patient. Our only complaint is with the blades being extremely difficult to change and requires amazing hand dexterity or a helper. It was also noticeably louder than many of the others on this list.
4. Metabo HPT 12” Compound Miter Saw
The Metabo HPT 12” Compound Miter Saw is a brand that features a large base for extra stability. The large 15-amp motor helps the blade cut through most types of wood with ease. Laser marking and MICRO beveling technology help you make accurate cuts. The handle features a unique elastomer compound that’s non-slip and comfortable. It also reduces vibrations produced by the saw and helps extend work sessions.
What we didn’t like about the Metabo HPT 12” Compound Miter Saw was that it was the poor packaging in which it arrived. The other problem we had was that the laser didn’t accurately mark the cut line, and we couldn’t figure out how to adjust it.
5. TACKLIFE 12” 15-Amp Miter Saw
The TACKLIFE 12” 15-Amp Miter Saw features a powerful motor capable of producing up to 3800 RPM, more than enough to cut through most woods with ease. A comfortable D-grip helps ensure a firm grasp on the handle while cutting, and your hand won’t get tired after a few cuts like it does on some models. Double linear sliding rails help keep your boards even so you create straight cuts, and a laser marker helps you know where your blade will go automatically with no need for adjustment.
The downside to the TACKLIFE 12” is the blades are very difficult to change. We also felt that the dust collection mechanism was not very effective.
6. SKILSAW 3821-01 12” Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser
The SKILSAW 3821-01 12” Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw with Laser, as the name suggests, provides the user with a handy laser mark that helps you see where your blade will cut. A powerful 15.5-amp motor can reach speeds of 4500 RPMs, and extension rails allow you to cut larger pieces of lumber. This saw is light enough to maneuver and it features a quick-mount system that allows easy and fast attachment to a stand.
There was a significant problem this saw: we found it nearly impossible to make square cuts. You can get the angle, but when you tighten the arm, the blade moves a degree or two.
7. Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD
The Bosch Power Tools GCM12SD is the last model on our list to review for you and one of the few considered professional or commercial quality. It features a unique patented axial glide system that allows wider cross cuts while reducing the size by more than one foot. The 15-amp motor provides plenty of power for cutting the hardest woods. The square lock fence provides plenty of support when cutting, and its quick-release system allows adjustments to made quickly. It also as a sot trigger handle that allows for a more comfortable grip while you work.
There are, however, quite a few downsides to this brand. The first thing we noticed was that this unit is more than twice the price of most of the other brands on this list. It’s also heavy and weighs almost 100 pounds. The weight makes it much less portable, and we also found it quite loud. The collection bad that retrieves the sawdust is extremely thin and cheap, and the fence was also a little too wide for many of our smaller cuts.
Ultimately, when purchasing a 12-inch miter saw, there are several key factors you need to consider. Factors that we’ve considered thoroughly and in-depth as we wrote this article and compiled our reviews. Take note of these factors and how they contribute to the overall product. Chances are, if the product is good on all these fronts, then it is definitely worth the money.
SEE ALSO: Our reviews of the best miter saws in 2020
Durability is very important because many miter saws are rather expensive, and as such, you plan on using them for some time. So, if a miter saw is not durable or able to withstand frequent use, then it is simply not worth the money. And who knows, will it even contend with bigger projects? Without strong durability, then the product really isn’t that great.
Amps and Watts
Amps are closely associated with watts, and both are measurements of how much power the machine uses. Generally speaking, machines that use more energy are more powerful, so a 15-amp will be stronger than a 10-amp saw.
Along with amps and watts, RPMs determine the cutting ability of your 12-inch miter saw. Higher RPMs allow the blade to cut through harder, thicker wood. Higher RPMs can also result in a smoother cut.
Fencing & Gauges
The fencing is usually long metal bars that you can rest your wood against to keep straight while you are making cuts. If the fencing is not stable or is bent, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to make straight cuts.
The gauges are what determines the angle of the saw blade and the direction of your cut. Without gauges, you’re basically flying blind on a miter saw.
A great advantage of the miter saw is that it can tilt to cut at different angles. The miters saw specialty is that it can tilt in both directions, unlike the table saw that only tilts in one direction. Usually, the miter saw can tilt in one direction to at least 45 degrees. It may or may not tilt as far in the other direction. More tilt is better and will allow you to make angled cuts without turning over the board.
It’s easy to overlook this critical feature of the 12-inch miter saw, but dust collection is extremely important to keep your shop clean, as well as to stay healthy. Cutting even a few pieces of lumber can create massive amounts of sawdust. Most of the models on this list come with a bag that helps capture the sawdust as it leaves the blade. We recommend looking for a miter saw that has some form of a built-in dust collection system.
Ease Of Use
You can have all kinds of fantastic features and the product can be super durable, but if it takes forever to learn how to actually use it, and even longer to figure out how to maneuver it for a project, then it isn’t worth it. And that is because a miter saw must be easy to handle and simple to maneuver, so that you can get the cuts that you want, when you want them, for whatever project you set your sights on.
RELATED READING: Single vs Double Bevel Miter Saws
How accurate are the cuts that this miter saw can deliver? This is a good question to ask because accuracy is crucial to any miter saw – or any saw in general – and if that saw is unable to deliver a cut that is precise and accurate, then it isn’t worth purchasing. You need a product that can cut swiftly and efficiently, with precision. Otherwise, your boards will look crooked, and it simply won’t look or feel right.
Chances are if you’re buying a 12-inch miter saw, you’re going to be cutting things that are a little larger than most other saws can handle. Therefore, it is expected that the saw in question will be able to adequately meet those needs and that it will be able to cut things of fairly large size, allowing you to work on the projects that you wish to work on. If the cutting capacity is simply too small or ineffectual, then, again, the product isn’t worth the money because this kind of flexibility is very important. Even if you won’t be cutting things that are that big, flexibility is important in a miter saw, and you will have options if you need to cut bigger things.
You’ve read our reviews of the best 12-inch miter saws. The bottom line is that the Makita LS1216L is the best on the market, and the best miter saw for the money is, of course, the DEWALT DW715. These are good, high-quality 12-inch miter saws.
Over the years, the quality has been pushed due to new products, and it has gotten harder to find the best ones. We hope that we’ve helped you in your search for the best 12-inch miter saw!
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 7 Best 12-Inch Miter Saws – Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide