In the world of power tools, the names Bosch and DeWalt have real meaning. Bosch is associated with durable elegance, and DeWalt is known for value quality. Which brand has the best compound miter saw? We looked at Bosch’s GCM12SD and DeWalt’s DWS780 to test that out. It’s not quite “fate of Western Civilization” stuff, but if you need a great saw it’s probably a pretty big deal.
What we learned was pretty much what you’d expect. Both companies make a great saw with a lot of important features and that can deliver where it counts most for a compound miter saw. Both had a nice, powerful 15-amp motor that isn’t going to wear out after casual use and 12-inch blades to accommodate large work pieces.
Our decision fell to three things: price, bulk and the straight cut.
You’re probably not going to be disappointed with either saw if you do a lot of miter and bevel cuts. Both were designed for that kind of work.
The space between these two saws in terms of bevel and miter cuts is big enough that you can wedge a butterknife into it and really that’s about it. Both deliver outstanding results and both deliver in terms of flexibility. The Bosch was a little easier to adjust and hold large work pieces in place, but not enough to call this contest based solely on it.
In fact, while the GCM12SD edged out the DWS780 on angled cuts, it underperformed on straight cuts. We expect some calibration right out of the box, but in the case of the Bosch it didn’t appear to be a problem of calibration. It just felt like that so much thought was put into the miter part of miter saw that they assumed that if you need a precision straight cut that you’d use a different tool.
Our nod here has to go to the DeWalt. It delivers similar results, but in a more compact, lighter design. And by lighter, we mean about 30 pounds. That means it’s more portable so it’s easier to take it to the job rather than trying to take the job to it. That might not sound like a big deal if you’re looking for a tool to put in your home workshop, but if you need to go mobile with it, it’s no small thing.
This is as simple as looking at the price tag. While that is not a static thing, when you’re talking the number of dollars between these two it’s a safe assumption that the numbers will always side with the DeWalt.
The GCM12SD is just fun to work with. That’s the allure of Bosch power tools in general, they are sleek and comfortable to the hands and are very smooth to operate. This miter saw is no exception. It also performed great in making angled cuts. If that was the only criteria, this contest would be a no-brainer.
But, it’s also more expensive than the DWS780 and enough more expensive that the value is very diluted. it’s also more difficult to move around and we had trouble getting it to make straight cuts. So, if money is no object and you want something that is pure joy to use, this is great. If not, consider its drawbacks.
For the DWS780. it’s not a matter of where it falls short. It’s a matter of where it doesn’t excel. It does everything well. It holds work pieces firmly in place and then delivers great, powerful cuts courtesy its 15-amp motor. It can even cut as cleanly straight on as it does at angles, which is a mark up from the Bosch.
It’s also cheaper. What you pay for in the GCM12SD is comfortable, easy use. If you consider the aesthetics of a power tool to be a vital component, maybe that extra money is a good investment. If you just want something that does its job, you can’t go wrong with the DWS780.
And, watch the sawdust. DeWalt miter saws in general have difficulty managing waste. It’s something to consider if your workspace is small and confined.
We’ve told you what we think, but we also wondered how our experiences matched up against those of other users. Maybe the GCM12SD we looked at was just the one apple in the batch that couldn’t saw straight. Maybe our DWS780 threw sawdust everywhere and everyone else’s kept it clean and contained.
Other users loved both saws. In fact, they raved about them. Each had their own partisans declaring their purchase the be-all/end-all of miter saws. That’s a pretty good indication that while neither saw qualifies as a budget model, you can probably but with some assurance that you’re getting real bang for your buck.
Both models also excelled at sustained customer satisfaction. There were a few people who reported defective tools that had to be returned, but by and large people who bought one of these models said they used it regularly with no problems.
The biggest gripe was the Bosch GCM12SD’s straight cutting ability. Although some people said that this was the result of poor calibration that could be corrected by a skilled user, some of those complaining felt it was really a design flaw. That aligned with our experience.
Both saws delivered great miter and bevel cuts, and both had great features to make that job as simple and straightforward as possible. In terms of price, bulk and ability to deliver a straight cut, the DeWalt was simply the better saw. It was more affordable, more portable and if you need something to give you a straight cut while delivering excellent angles, it just performed better.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!
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