Best 12-Inch Miter Saws for Your Workplace (Reviewed & Compared)
Whether you’re a hobbyist woodworker or a veteran contractor, you still need the best 12-inch miter saw in your arsenal if you often need to cut sectional lumber at different angles.
Thanks to their versatility, miter saws are perfect for any kind of project, from small crafts and DIY tasks to big construction jobs.
Here’s the thing: the market is full of miter saw models – each of which claiming to be the best and to offer top-of-the-line features that you can’t live without. Worry not though, as we’ve already done the heavy lifting and gathered a list of the best 12-inch miter saws that you can get today. We’ve also gone the extra mile and prepared a buying guide detailing all the factors that you must consider before choosing your next power tool.
Best 12-Inch Miter Saw for The Money: Comparison table
So, without further ado, let’s get the list of our top picks for the title of the best 12-inch miter saw.
1. DeWalt DWS780 Miter Saw
If you’re looking for the crème de la crème of miter saws, then look no further than the DeWalt DWS780, our pick for the overall best 12-inch miter saw. Being a sliding compound model, the DWS780 from DeWalt can take care of any cut you need on materials measuring up to 4 x 8 inches. Even overly thick materials won’t stand in the way of this mater saw – courtesy of its 15-amp motor that can rotate the blade at a whopping 3,800 RPM.
The powerful motor isn’t the only perk of the DeWalt DWS780, as the dual bevel system is equally impressive and convenient. Thanks to that system, you can tilt the saw up to 45 degrees in either direction, which makes cuts at any angle a breeze. The measuring components of this miter saw are also a much-appreciated feature, as they ensure the accuracy and precision of the saw regardless of whether you’re trying to adjust the bevel gauge or the miter gauge.
There isn’t much to complain about in the DeWalt DWS780, but it does come with a couple of inconveniences. First, due to its large size, it can be a pain to place and use in a small workplace, especially if you’re planning to use the included dust collection system. Furthermore, the sliding is a bit touchy, but it can still take care of accurate cuts. Other than that, it’s easy to see why we’re giving this unit the title of the best 12-inch miter saw.
- The miter gauge and bevel are easy to adjust
- Dual bevel system for added versatility
- Powerful 15-amp belt-driven motor
- A bit bulky in size
2. Makita LS1221 Miter Saw
The DeWalt DWS780 that we reviewed above can prove to be too cumbersome for some woodworkers. If you’re looking for an equally-performing unit that comes at a smaller size, the Makita LS1221 is the best 12-inch miter saw that you can get.
- Powerful 15.0 AMP motor delivers 4,000 RPM
- 4-1/2"" tall pivoting fence for cutting up to 5-1/2"" crown molding
Makita’s LS1221 miter saw boasts a compact design with a small, yet efficient, dust collection system, making it easy to move around. As the bag doesn’t require much clearance, you won’t find it hard to fit this saw against a wall. Talk about space-efficiency, huh?
Despite its small size, this unit from Makita is pretty powerful, with a 15-amp motor that can spin the blade at around 4,000 RPM, making it as powerful as larger saws, such as the DeWalt DWS780. There is a catch though: the saw can be noisy as it starts up, but it goes quitter as it keeps operating.
Safety is another department in which the Makita LS1221 excels, as it comes with an electric braking system, which prevents the blade from spinning longer than you want it by stopping the saw as soon as you release the power button, which comes with a lock for extra security.
- Compact and lightweight
- Powerful 15-amp motor
- Ergonomic handle
- Can be too loud when starting up
3. Bosch GCM12SD Miter Saw
Woodworking is all about versatility and being able to tackle different kinds of projects even when you have a limited set of tools, and when it comes to flexibility, no power tool can rival the GCM12SD tile saw from Bosch.
- Axial glide system: The patented glide system allows wider cross cuts and better alignment while also being compact; This saves you 12 inch of valuable work space; Bosch glide miter saw also offers unmatched smoothness of cut
- Capacity: Expanded cutting capacity 14 inch horizontal capacity nominal 6 1/2 inch vertical capacity against the fence base 6 1/2 inch crown capacity against the fence 45 spring
The Bosch GCM12SD is larger than usual tile saw, and it also comes with a larger cutting capacity that goes for up to 4 x 10 inches. If you’re not good with numbers, know that that’s pretty massive.
As we mentioned above, the adjustability in this miter saw is second to none, as it allows not only for a double bevel scale but also for bevel cuts at 48 degrees, thus making tricky cuts and angles effortlessly to make. The flexibility doesn’t end there, as you can also adjust the miter scale up to 60 degrees to the right and 52 degrees to the left, which is far beyond the standard 45 degrees found in most models.
For accuracy-sake, this miter saw offers plenty of positive stops for both its bevel and miter gauges so that you can find the right angle quickly and accurately every single time.
With great power, comes excellent dust production. As the Axial-Glide system cuts through lumber like butter, it produces plenty of dust. Couple that with the inefficient dust collection system, and you’ve got yourself a pretty messy operation. If you believe that the Bosch GCM12SD is the best 12-inch miter saw for you, you can always get a separate dust collection system to solve that issue.
- Dual bevel system
- Plenty of positive stops
- Bevel cuts of up to 48 degrees
- Produces big amounts of dust
4. Hitachi C12RSH2 Miter Saw
If you’re a beginner, don’t let your ego lead you on a goose chase and jump on the biggest, most feature-packed miter saw that you can get. Instead, look for the best 12-inch miter saw for beginners, better yet, let us recommend one for you – the Hitachi C12RSH2.
- Hitachi Power Tools has renamed to Metabo HPT; Same great tools, with only a new name
- Compact slide system allows the saw head to slide along fixed rails, for zero clearance. Laser Marker System from Hitachi increases cutting accuracy
The Hitachi C12RSH2 was designed with the woodworking novice in mind, featuring a ton of positive stops that make finding the right angles a piece of cake and adjustment systems for both the miter and bevel gauges. While other models have over-complicated adjustment systems, the Hitachi C12RSH2 features a simple level with knobs, making the adjustment a breeze. The laser marker is just the cherry on top, as it makes cuts easier and quicker to complete. To add to the simplicity, this miter saw features a comfortable vertical handle that’s pretty ergonomic.
Now, we’ve mentioned that this is the best 12-inch miter saw for beginners, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less capable than the other units on our list, as it sports a high cutting capacity, making it suitable for most projects.
Unfortunately, the sliding mechanism isn’t always nice an smooth, especially if you’re cutting large, thick materials. That issue can be solved by getting a blade with a lower tooth count, which would add more torque and, therefore, make the sliding components stick less often.
- High cutting capacity
- Adjustable laser marker
- Comfortable, ergonomic handle
- The slide doesn’t always go smoothly
5. SKILSAW 3821-01 Miter Saw
Unless you’re a professional contractor, you don’t really need to spend a fortune on the best 12-inch miter saw. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for a high-quality model. On the contrary, you need to hunt for the best product within your budget. Don’t worry, we’ve already done the heavy lifting and found it for you: the SKILSAW 3821-01, which, although decent, doesn’t offer all the functionalities you’d find in costlier models.
- Laser cutline guide for fast and accurate cuts
- 9 positive stops for setting common miter angles
Not only is this SKILSAW 3821-01 cheap, but it’s also quite lightweight and compact, making it easy to transport and store when not in use.
Despite its low price tag, this miter saw offers one of the highest RPM that you can find today, which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you get a lot of power, which is perfect for making delicate and rough cuts. On the other hand, considering that this saw is lightweight, you may face some stability issues when using it due to the power it packs, which can be dangerous.
- High RPM and plenty of power
- Lightweight and compact
- Long warranty
- You must bolt down this saw to use it properly
Choosing the Best 12-inch Miter Saw – Buying Guide
Now that you’re familiar with our picks for the title of the best 12-inch miter saw, it’s essential to know which factors to consider when picking yours.
When you get a new miter saw, you’ll also get a general-purpose blade, one that, although suitable for most cuts, won’t be good enough for tougher and thicker materials, neither will it offer the finesse you need for fine cuts. To determine which blade is the best for you, you need to take a look at the tooth count. As a general rule of thumb, a blade with a few teeth provides more power but a rougher cut, while one with more teeth will help you make more delicate cuts, but you’ll have to sacrifice power.
The power of the motor is another critical factor to consider, and it depends on the type of projects that you’re planning to tackle with your saw. For instance, if you mainly cut large materials, you ought to get a model that offers plenty of motor power, such as the DeWalt DWS780 Miter Saw. On the other hand, if your projects include more fine cuts, then you need to focus on the speed rather than the power.
Miter saws, as the name indicates, are known for – hey, surprise! – making miter cuts, but compound models are also suitable for beveled cuts, which are vital in both crafting and construction jobs. Why? Because they allow you to fit pieces of lumber together, which is why you need to get a saw that allows for beveled cuts on both sides, as that will save you a lot of time, especially when working on big projects.
Dust Collection System
Woodworking projects are messy, there’s no denying that, which is why you need to get a model that offers an efficient dust collection system, like the one found in the Makita LS1221. If you’re willing to shell out some extra bucks, we recommend getting an attachment to hook your miter saw to a wet/dry vacuum for an even cleaner operation.
The fence system is essential as it makes sure that the piece of lumber you’re cutting is perfectly aligned with the blade so that you can make accurate and precise cuts. If you’re planning to make small cuts, you need to find a model that comes with fence clamps, such as the Bosch GCM12SD.
Laser guides are yet another element that helps with the accuracy of the cuts, as they make lining up the material you’re cutting easier and quicker. Keep in mind that you’ll have to change the batteries quite often.
Positive stops are stops that are pre-set on common angle points along the miter scale, thus making finding the right angles and making accurate cuts much easier.
When looking for a stand for your saw, you can either get one that fits your miter saw perfectly or simply bolt your power tool to your existing workbench. Another viable option is to get a portable stand, which, although convenient, can set you back a pretty dollar.
The handle is a component that’s more often than not ignored by the users when looking for the best 12-inch miter saw, which is a big mistake, especially if you’re planning to use your saw for extended periods of time. The handle of your saw should fit comfortably in your hand and absorb most of the vibrations that the unit produces to avoid hand fatigue when you’re making your cuts.
It’s essential to look for an extended warranty when buying the best 12-inch miter saw – or any kind of power tool for that matter. Make sure to check the warranty terms as well, to make sure you’re covered if anything goes wrong because of regular use.
Choosing the best 12-inch miter saw is no small feat, but it’s doable, especially that we’ve already researched the top products in this category and put together a detailed guide that you can follow when making your selection.
All that’s left for you to do is to get your new 12-inch miter saw and get to work. Just remember to stay safe!