One of the most important tools that a handyman or a contractor should have in their work station is a compound miter saw, which makes precise cuts and angles on window casings, picture frames, and crown moldings. These cuts can’t be made properly when using a standard saw, and that’s why we are going to look at the best budget miter saw.
Just to give you a heads up, all the saws reviewed below are compound miter saws, but they all fit the budget miter saw category and they have great customer reviews.
When using a compound miter saw, you can make three cuts on wood and non-wood materials. The first cut is the cross-cut, this cut is made perpendicular to the wood’s grain. The second cut is the miter cut, where you angle the saw on the wood’s face. Lastly, the bevel cut, it is made when you angle the saw on the wood’s edge.
Purchasing the right compound miter saw brand depends on your needs. We came up with a few considerations which will guide you when choosing the right compound miter saw for your work station.
Features To Look Out For When Choosing the Best Budget Miter Saw, or rather, the best budget compound miter saw
Go for a compound miter saw with a powerful motor which will get your job done. We recommend 15 amps motors which can rotate at speeds of 3500 rpm if you are going to use the compound miter saw often when molding and cutting door frames among other jobs. If you are going to use the saw for small household tasks and you don’t need much power, go for a smaller motor than what we recommend.
One thing to note when choosing the right miter saw blade for your needs is that, the larger the blade, the larger the cuts on the material. The most common blade sizes on miter saws are 10 and 12-inch blades, you can find smaller blades like the 4-inch blade on some compound miter saws, it depends on the task at hand.
Another consideration is the tooth count, and it affects the type of finish you get and also the power. Larger blades have more teeth than smaller blades making them best for smooth finishes. Equally important is that smaller blades with fewer teeth count give you more power when cutting through thick materials.
This feature is very important as it affects the overall performance of the compound miter saw. Look out for positive a stop which allows you to set your cutting angles when changing the cuts. It helps reduce the transition time when changing the cuts.
Another important consideration is the bevel which allows the compound miter saw to rotate or tilt when making cuts in different directions. High-quality saws can tilt and rotate in both ways, go for those that suit your cutting needs.
Best budget Miter Saw
Now that you know what features to look out for in a compound miter saw, we compared eight of the best compound miter saws to make your job easier. This review will not only save your shopping time but also guide you in making the right decision when choosing one of our top picks.
Makita LS1040 Compound Miter Saw – Best for Crown Molding
Why we like it: One unique feature in the Makita miter saw design is the rail system; most brands locate the rail system at the back of the saw. The Makita rail systems are on the side which makes it the best saw for confined spaces.
It comes with a 15 amp motor which can rotate the blades at 3200 rpm. One visible difference is that the motor is mounted on an angle, and this mounting is perhaps one of the reasons why the motor has a large capacity.
The blades are 10 inches making them great for cutting through soft materials. Because the blades can rotate at speeds of 3200rpm, Makita included a transparent blade guard which makes any user see the cutting angles without leaning over.
For starters, the bevel angles are easy to read because of the chrome contrasts. Also, if you wish to make bevel angles above the normal 45 degrees, you can use the override button which can push the angle further to 48 degrees.
The positive stops enable you to make miter angles of up to 60 degrees, and they can be locked using the front knob. If you wish to go past the positive stops, use the override button.
The laser guide is good for high precision angle cuts; you can only use the laser for a right of cut or left of cut for easy adjustment. Users who prefer the laser beam on the exact cutting spot will be disappointed with the Makita laser design.
- The large springs absorb the vibrations of the saw giving you total control of the cuts
- It comes with a side rail system which makes it best for confined spaces
- There is a laser guide for accurate cuts
- The dust collection system clears dust from your cutting path for accuracy and comfort
- The fence can’t be adjusted backward when working on base molding.
2. TACKLIFE Compound Miter Saw – Best for Small Projects
Why we like it: This compound miter saw is best for craftsmen who require angle cutting as it is both effective and efficient for those jobs.
The 15 amps motor can rotate the blade at speeds of 3500rpm, at these speeds, you can make crosscuts and miter cuts on hardwood easily. Plus the motor is no load, which means there is a low probability that the motor will burn out when strained.
The TACKLIFE compound saw comes with two sets of 12-inch blades; one of them has 40 teeth, which can be used when cutting softer materials. The other blade has 80 teeth, which makes it best for cutting harder materials.
The blade material is Tungsten carbide, this material is hard and durable, and is capable of cutting through aluminum, hardwood, mild steel and metal-plastic with ease.
First of all, the inclusion of the laser guide made life easier for most users as you can accurately make cross and bevel cuts. Speaking of bevel cuts, this saw can be tilted at angles of 0-45 degrees in both right and left directions and this feature offers maximum flexibility.
Since it is a sliding compound saw, it comes with 9 adjustable stops on the miter detent plate. You can cut through long materials with this sliding saw than when using a fixed miter saw.
- The two sets of blades are good for cutting both soft and hard materials
- The soft ergonomic handle absorbs most of the vibrations
- The laser guide gives you accurate cuts
- There is a dust collection system which clears dust on your cutting path
- The bevel range is 0-45 degrees on both left and right direction for flexibility
- There are some instances when the blade bends when cutting through hard materials
3. Hitachi C10FCG Compound Miter Saw – Best for DIY Tasks
Why we like it: The Hitachi CF10FCG compound miter saw is designed specifically for those woodworkers who need a low-cost miter saw for basic and accurate cuts.
The 15 amps motor gives the compound miter saw the power to cut through hardwood like plywood with ease. One setback worth noting is that the motor burns easily when strained, to prevent this occurrence, you have to ditch the standard cords and go for the 10/3 outdoor cords with larger gauge and less length as they prevent high resistance on the cord.
The Hitachi miter saw comes with a 12-inch TCT blade that is flexible enough to cut through hardwood without breaking, the total teeth count is 24 which gives you a smooth finish when making those cuts.
Fixing the blade is easy and also, you can choose another blade like the 80T as an alternative to the 12-inch blade for smaller cuts.
Hitachi miter saw is quite flexible in terms of its cutting ability, the miter saw can give you miter cuts of 0-52 degrees on wood materials. In addition to that, you can cut both left and right in direction, this feature allows you to work on different projects.
Another great feature is the bevel range, the CF10FCG model allows you to make bevel cuts of 0-45 degrees. It allows you to make various angles when cutting, all you have to do is bend the saw and put the work material on the saw table.
For precise measurements, there is a steel preset thumb stop for making the necessary adjustments when cutting.
- It is lightweight as it only weighs 24lbs; you can move it around with ease
- Easy to fix and change the blade
- You can cut bevel angles of up to 45 degrees at the same time
- It comes with reliable adjustments for precision cutting
- The handle is comfortable when making bevel angle cuts
- No laser or XPS light for high precision cutting
4. SKIL 3821 Quick Mount Compound Miter Saw – Best for the Buck
Why we like it: When working on long workpieces, you’ll find the extensions on the SKIL compound saw flexible enough for your work, plus it can be mounted quickly on any working surface.
It comes with a powerful 15 amp motor which can produce speeds of up to 4500rpm. This power can cut through hard materials with ease.
Another unique feature of the motor is the ability to adjust its speed; you can either reduce the blade speed when cutting through soft materials or increase the blade speed when cutting through hard materials. It makes the miter saw best for cutting through plastic pipes and lumber.
The 12-inch blades make this miter saw best for cutting through hard materials with ease. Also, they are made of strong and durable material.
The 9 positive stops on the SKIL miter saw allows you to adjust the saw quickly when making precise miter angles, on that note, you can make miter angles of 0-47 degrees in any direction as the stops are on both sides of the workpiece.
Equally important is the laser guide feature, which gives you a preview of where the miter saw will cut, you can adjust that length and fine-tune you cutting path for accurate cuts when making angle cuts.
One point to note is that it has a maximum cutting capacity of 4*6 inches at 0 bevel/0 miter, while those who do base molding against a 5-inch fence, you can only make a 45 degrees angle cut on the left side only.
- The high-quality motor has an adjustable blade speed which makes it best for cutting through hard and soft materials
- The dust bag helps prevent flying dust particles
- The 9 positive stops reduce the transition time when adjusting the angle cuts
- The laser guide is good for making accurate angle cuts
- The table extensions are good for working with long and large workpieces
- Some of the tilt angles are not precise; you have to confirm if the 0-degree cuts square
5. Homecraft H26-260L Compound Miter Saw – Best for on-the –go Users
Why we like it: Weighing only 25 pounds, this miter saw is lightweight therefore easy to move it from site to site when using it.
The 14 amp motor is capable of rotating the 10-inch blade at maximum speeds of 5500 rpm making it suitable for cutting through both hard and soft materials at varying depths.
The blade diameter is 10 inches, and it’s constructed of carbide material for strength and durability. This blade can make single passes on 2 by 6 bevel cuts and 4 by 4 90 degrees angle cuts.
We liked the quick positioning detents at 0, 22.5, 30, and 45 degrees as they reduce the overall transitioning time when making those angle cuts.
Another convenient feature is the horizontal clamp, which secures your workpiece firmly on the miter saw rail for accurate cuts.
The laser system gives you accurate cuts, though some users have reported that the laser is off by 1/8 inch even after adjusting. Another complaint involves the control arm which snaps easily if the miter saw is over-torqued.
- It comes with a spindle lock for securing the blade when removing it
- The dust collection bag helps clear your cutting path
- The ergonomic handle is both safe and comfortable for you
- There is an included laser guide system for more accurate angle and cross cuts
- The laser guide beam is off by 1/8 inch; you need to use a digital adjustment tool for precise adjustments.
6. Genesis GMSDR1015LC Compound Miter Saw – Best for Working on Large Workpieces
Why we like it: The Genesis compound miter saw doesn’t limit you in terms of the width of your crosscuts, as you can make up to 12 inches of cross cuts thanks to the double rail system, unlike other brands.
The 15 amp motor rotates the 10-inch blade at 5000 revolutions per minute which gives it the power to slice through thick and hard materials like wood and mild steel.
The 10-inch blade is made of carbide for added strength and durability especially at high cutting temperatures. One observation is that the blade has 60 teeth, making it best for cutting through hard materials.
One unique feature is the double sliding rail system, which doesn’t limit you on the width of the crosscuts. You can make cross cuts up to a width of 12 inches on both rails making it best for picture frames, shadow boxes, and crown moldings.
Don’t forget that it comes with a laser system for giving you an outline of where the blade will pass hence you can make the necessary adjustments. This laser system is battery powered and the package includes two triple-A batteries.
You can make miter cut angles of 45 degrees on both sides of the workpiece, but first, upon receiving the saw, make sure the bevel angles are correct on the pointer if they aren’t; use the blade wrench for fine-tuning the blade to that particular angle.
- The double rail system doesn’t limit the cross-cut width
- The dust bag prevents duct from flying and obscuring your vision
- The clamps and the table extensions are great for those working on long and large workpieces
- It comes with a laser guide for making accurate cuts
- The blade is made of carbide for added cutting strength and durability
- Some of the angle pointers are made of plastic, and they break easily
7.Delta S26-263L Shopmaster Miter Saw – Best for Homeowners
Why we like it: The Delta 26-263L is small in size and lightweight making it best for both home do it yourself tasks and also on-the-goo needs.
The Delta Shopmaster is powered by an 1800 Watts 120V motor which powers the 10-inch blade as it cuts through wood material. The blade rotates at 5500rpm, and this speed is above average. To help prevent injuries, there is an electric brake which stops the blade in seconds.
The 10-inch blade is good for cutting through soft materials like wood, but the total teeth count is 24. This teeth count is small and we suggest you buy a higher tooth count blade for a smoother finish when cutting.
For versatility, the miter saw comes with a sliding function and an extension for those users who work on large workpieces. Besides, the clamps secure the workpieces tightly for safety and accuracy when cutting them.
The Shopmaster can tilt 45 degrees left when making bevel cuts in one direction, and this feature makes it easy to use when making accurate angle cuts on your workpiece. You can also make 0-45 degrees miter angle cuts in both directions.
Lastly, the laser guide and the fence help increase the accuracy of your angle and crosscuts as you can see and adjust where the cuts will be made.
- The sliding function plus the extensions make it best for cutting larger workpieces
- There is a blade guard for safety purposes
- It is lightweight hence more portable
- There is a laser system for high precision cuts
- You can make wider 45 degrees bevel cuts to the left
- It vibrates a lot due to the thin stand material
8. BLACK+DECKER Compound Miter Saw – Best for DIY Projects
Why we like it: The BLACK+DECKER miter saw is both compact and lightweight, perfect for small do it yourself tasks at home.
This miter saw comes with a 9 amp motor that rotates the 7-inch blade at speeds of 5000 revolutions per minute. At these revolutions, the blade can cut through soft and hard materials with ease finishing your work fast.
Unlike other brands which come with 10 or 12-inch blade diameters, this compound saw comes with a smaller 7-inch blade for a smoother finish on your cuts. The small blade makes it best for base and crown molding.
The tooth count on the blade is 24, you have to purchase blades with larger teeth count when cutting through harder materials.
In terms of the cutting capacity, you can make wide miter and angle cuts on large boards. For example, you can make 90 degrees miter cuts on 2 by 8 inches boards, and also 45 degrees cuts on 2 by 6 inches boards.
For accuracy, there are positive stops when making bevel angles cuts in both directions within a range of 0-45 degrees. The miter cut angle is within the same range as the bevel cut.
One downside is that it lacks a laser system for precision cutting; you have to rely on the bevel stop adjustment to improve the cutting accuracy. Also, there are no linear rail systems to guide the blade when cutting.
- The miter saw is lightweight, and you can move it around with ease
- The 7-inch blade gives you a smoother finish when cutting
- Great for base and crown molding tasks
- The nine positive stops help increase the accuracy of the cuts and also reduce transition time when changing the cut angle
- It lacks a laser system for improved cutting accuracy
- The blade has a smaller tooth count of 24, but you can purchase and replace the blade
Best Budget Miter Saw Complete Buying Guide
Below is a complete guide on what you should look out for when purchasing the best compound miter saw.
Sliding vs. compound miter saw
You must know the difference between these two miters saw designs. The compound miter saw pivots from left to right allowing you to make angled and beveled cuts on your workpieces. The stable platform and the increased range of motion make it possible to make accurate cuts using the compound miter saw.
The sliding compound miter saw allows you to work on large and long workpieces which move through its rail. Cutting long workpieces is not possible when using a compound miter saw. Strictly speaking, we recommend the sliding compound miter saw if you work on long workpieces like the crown and base molding because it increases the length of the cut. If you use the miter saw for small do it yourself tasks, then go for the compound miter saw.
Most miter saws come with the standard 15 amps motor which can rotate the blades at speeds of 5000 revolutions per minute. The blade needs to attain these speeds for it to cut through different materials, whether soft or hard materials.
Another thing to consider is the cord length, which gives you maximum maneuverability. Go for miter saws with longer cord lengths to aid in your movement especially when cutting long workpieces.
Look out for these safety features when purchasing the compound miter saw.
Electric brakes – when you press this trigger, the electric current will be reversed stopping the motor instantly or in a couple of seconds. It helps reduce injuries to the user.
Blade guards – go for an articulated and transparent blade guard, the reason being that you can see and make your cuts, at the same time when the blade is lifted, it prevents hand injuries.
Shaft lock – This lock will hold the blade as you loosen the nuts when removing or replacing the blades. You don’t have to worry about the blade ripping your fingers apart.
We recommend miter saws with blades that can be interchanged depending on the work at hand. If you are working on workpieces that require a smoother finish, go for blades with a higher tooth count. Larger blades have more tooth counts, so a 12-inch blade will do the work perfectly.
When cutting through thick materials, you need to consider a blade with a lower tooth count because it gives you the power to cut through the material. In this case, a 10-inch blade will do the task well.
Lastly, the blade material should be tungsten carbide because this material strengthens the blade and is also durable. Plus tungsten carbide blades don’t bend if the cutting temperatures are high. If the blades bend during the cutting process, the cutting accuracy will be low.
It is important for a miter saw to have a dust collection bag because when cutting the workpiece, dust is forced down the bag. Dust may obscure your vision if left flying in the room, and also, the dust collection bag makes cleaning your work station easier.
Laser guide systems
We recommend miter saws with laser guiding beams which pinpoints where the saw will cut through. This way you can make the necessary adjustments for high precision cross and angle cuts. You need a laser beam especially if you are working on the crown and base molding.
First, for a miter saw to cut properly, the saw should lock into place. The last thing any user wants is a saw that moves out of place when making the cross and angle cuts. Another thing to look out for in a miter saw is the positive stops which reduce the overall transition time when changing the angle. Most miter saws come with one-touch switches which makes the transitioning easier.
Another great feature is the bevel; go for miter saws that can tilt the angle cuts in both ways. The miter saw should rotate its base for you to change the miter angle, and that’s where the bevel comes into play. We advise users to purchase miter saws that can bevel both ways as there will be no need of changing the direction of cut.
Another great feature is the depth stop; it sets the blade height to control how deep the saw will cut through the material. When cutting picture frames, you can set different saw depths for a smoother finish.
In the review, we mentioned about the fences when doing tasks like base molding. Miter saws come with either flip or side fences, whose job is to support the tallest workpiece. When working on larger workpieces, the fences can be flipped down or slid out of place to create more room for the large workpieces.
Equally important are the clamps and the table extensions. The clamps hold down the workpiece so that it doesn’t move about when cutting. The table extensions support the large and long workpiece by creating more room.
It is important to check the calibration of your miter saw if the angles are faulty or spot on. The 0 degrees bevel cut should be a perfect square. Some brands come with a blade wrench to help correct the cut angle precision resulting in a high-quality finish.
Always go for established brands because quality doesn’t come cheap. Purchasing lesser brands makes you incur losses in the end through faulty repairs and sub-standard work. Do some research and read reviews to narrow down on budget-friendly miter saws.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about budget Miter Saw
Which one is better? A 12-inch or a 10-inch miter saw?
It depends on the workpiece you are working on, a 12-inch blade will make wide and deep cuts on the workpiece if you compare it to the 10-inch blade. It is recommended that you use a 12-inch blade if the workpiece exceeds 2 by 6 inches. However, a 10-inch blade can cut through thick materials with EASE when compared to the 12-inch blade. In short, the blade choice depends on the work at hand.
We have reviewed one of the best 10 inch compound miter saw, the hitachi c10fshc review
Can the compound miter saw cut metal?
We highly recommend the tungsten carbide blade because of its strength and durability. This blade can cut through wood, aluminum, ferrous and high-speed steel among other materials with ease. We advise users to read the saw’s manual and see what your blade can cut through because some blades can shatter when cutting through hard materials.
What does the term “double bevel” mean?
It means the miter saw can tilt both ways when cutting. We recommend a double bevel miter saw because you don’t have to move or flip the workpiece when changing the cut direction. It makes the cutting process much easier and fun.
When do I change the saw blades?
If the blade develops some unusual kerfs on its cutting edges or it takes longer to cut, you should change the blades. Changing the blades will increase the efficiency of the saw for you to finish your projects on time.
How to change miter saw blade
Our top pick for the best budget miter saw is the Makita LS1040 Compound Miter sawbecause of its dual compound pivoting arm which gives you a wider miter and bevel angle cuts when compared to other brands. Plus the laser guiding system gives pinpoints the exact spot where the saw will pass for increased accuracy when making cuts for the crown and base molding. Also, this compound miter saw can be used in confined spaces because of the side rail system.
Watch this video for compound miter saw safety rules to ensure that you’re using your saw as you should to avoid injuries.