Miter saws come in so many shapes, prices, and performance levels, it can be difficult for customers to pick the right one from the crowd. Thankfully, this miter saw buying guide is here to help. The following are 4 key qualities to look for while shopping around for a miter saw as it is well known ever to a number of people who are much involved.
While being one of the most useful tools on a construction site, the miter saw is also among the most dangerous. As with any piece of construction equipment, safety is always the first consideration to keep in mind when buying a miter saw. While the bulk of safety features in miter saws depend on the quality of their production, there are a few key features to look out for. If the miter saw does not carry some form of fence guard, it should not be considered. Additionally, any miter saws without electric brakes offer an incredible risk of injury. In all cases, customers are recommended to research the company they’re considering buying from, paying close attention to quality as it pertains to safety.
Now that precautionary measures are out of the way, it’s time to dig into the fun stuff. True woodworkers appreciate an integrated laser guide system to come with their miter saws. It’s definitely not a necessity, but laser guidance comes with incredible utility in gauging cut accuracy. Of course, not all integrated laser systems are made equally – some are relatively ineffective in guiding the cut. Again, it’s up to the customer to research the miter saw they’re considering in order to gauge the quality of its laser guidance.
Motor requirements from miter saws will vary greatly depending on who will be using the tool. Do-it-yourselfers who only use the tool for the occasional home improvement job will not require the workhorse miter saw motor that a carpenter or contractor will. Most miter saws are capable of 10 to 15 amps of power. Buyers should also consider the rotations per minute (rpm) that the motor is capable of since this will go a long way in determining the smoothness of the cuts. Those planning to use the miter saw for work purposes might want to consider investing in a saw featuring smooth start technology, which dampens the initial power burst of the motor. Finally, customers should also differentiate between belt driven motors and direct drive motors, as the latter will last longer and perform better than the former.
The dust collection system, while being an important feature of the miter saw, should not be a dealbreaker if it appears to be lacking in quality. Some miter saws are built impeccably but feature a simple dust bag as a method of dust control. Other saws, not built so well, might feature an impressive and effective dust collection system. In cases like these, it’s best to go with the former, better saw, and stick to a powerful vacuum to manage dust.