Author Topic: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!  (Read 15072 times)

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Offline webdesigner

  • Posts: 14
Please tell me with all your experience, which is the best (most reliable, accurate, easy to use) miter saw.
A basic model (with a small footprint), but needs to be: 12", double bevel compound saw, laser is optional.
Would it be the DeWalt 716, Ridgid 4121, or ?? They seem very attractive for about $300!

For doing molding, baseboard work and small boxes later... small stuff.

OK...maybe the Kapex later (when all the bugs are worked out), but not now. Too much $$$$$$!


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Offline Frank-Jan

  • Posts: 1026
  • Dutch Canadian living in Belgium
I have never used such a saw myself, but I spend a lot of time on tool related forums. I read good things about the dewalt 716. There's also a Delta model that people were very pleased about, which is discontinued, but can be found secondhand (I'm not sure though if this was a 10 or 12 inch). I also read great reviews about the new milwaukee (most reviews were about the slider, but they offer a regular cms aswell)

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1848

A basic model (with a small footprint), but needs to be: 12", double bevel compound saw, laser is optional.

For doing molding, baseboard work and small boxes later... small stuff.


There are a couple conflicting requirements here. A 12 inch double bevel coumpound is not going to have a small footprint. If you do a little soul searching about what you really want to do you might find that going down to a 10 inch is okay. You did not mention needing a slider so that does help with the footprint.
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Taos

  • Posts: 227
Kapex is fine now.

Options though could be Hitachi C8FB2, DeWalt DW712.

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 704
  • Arizona, USA
I have experience with a 12" Dewalt miter saw, but it is a single bevel, and I don't try to do precision work with it.  I use it primarily in deck building projects, and it works well.  My other miter saws are sliders.  If you buy a 12" miter saw and want to use it for precision work, you will likely need to invest in a high quality blade, like a Forrest Chopmaster.  You need a quality blade for two reasons - to minimize blade flex and to insure a smooth, clean cut.  That kind of 12" blade can cost half as much as the saw itself.

I would recommend that you post your question in a general tool forum that gets lots of traffic, such as Sawmill Creek.
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline Woodenfish

  • Posts: 280
  • G2
I purchased the Ridgid 4121 DB/CMS earlier this year. Most of the stock I crosscut is <6" so this saw has more than enough capacity. Most of my larger panels would be too large for any brand of SCMS so I threw that budget into purchasing a MFT/3 instead. Combined with my TS 55, I'm a happy camper. I use a Ridgid 100 tooth T3 blade for most cutting and have super smooth quality cuts. The T3 blade is a thin kerf model made by Freud. The original 60 tooth blade that came with the saw is very nice too but I keep it for cutting construction lumber only. I rarely use the bevel feature on the saw but I think that the Ridgid has one of the better bevel scales than anything other than the Kapex and unlike the DeWalt, the laser is not an extra cost accessory.

Offline MichaelM

  • Posts: 41
We've used (and love) the Dewalt DW716. Works wonderfully. We also have a Delta 36-585 (no longer made) It and its larger brother a better saws then most but no longer made. The Dewalt is used daily for precision work with no issues. Like most tools it requires that you adjust it accordingly. Things we like:

Lightweight (I believe one of the lightest)
Easy to adjust
Compact, no rails so it can be pushed against a wall
Can cut a 2x10 (the only saw in its class that can do this)
Replaced our 12 slider with no issues and our back thanks us (we don't cut dadoes on a mitre saw)
Amazing capacity for vertical cuts (again best in class)

You will need a quality blade for best results. We still use thin kerf but they are CMT blades. Specifically these:



Offline Cannuck

  • Posts: 118
I have had 2 Bosch 4210 SCMS's for 3 years now.  I have few complaints about them.  I bought the first one on recommendation of Fine HomeBuilding Magazine tool review (rated best in 2005/06).  I bought the second because I was so happy with the first.  You can buy two for the price of a Kapex!

My first complaint is with the laser - line to wide, and only on one side of the blade, and blade must be spinning to see laser (which you can't see when working outside in the day).  My second complaint is that the trenching (depth setting) feature is lousy. I can't tell you the number of times that I've accidentially cut through a piece I'm putting a rabbet or dado in.

The upfront controls are awesome though!

Hindsight is like foresight, but with no future.

Offline Steveo48

  • Posts: 305
I have an older DeWalt that I love, several members have put up favorable posts regarding the Makita scms.  I think Brice may have had one.

If I were to buy one today, that's the one (makita) I'd look at first.

Offline Barry

  • Posts: 55
I have the Ridgid 4121 and think it is a better saw than the DW716, but I'll list the pros/cons real quick and let you decide.


-Great capacity, right up there with the DW716 in every catergory of cut, but I bought it for the great vertical cutting capacity

-AWESOME miter scale with markings down at every 1/2 degree and settings for all the major angles

-Best detent and detent override system I have ever used.  Most detent systems use a ball bearing or dimpled stamped steel to engage the knock outs in the casting, the Ridgid engages what appears to be a piece of drill rod.  There is no lateral play when it goes into a detent.

-Easy to use bevel setting.  No reaching behind the saw to change the bevel setting, which I never realized how much I hated until I got this saw.


-Large footprint.  That great miter scale does have a price...

-Weight.  It is heavy, but so are all saws in this catergory

-When cutting composite material (Trex, TT, or PVC trim boards) the miter scale windows tends to get clogged with shavings.  Just annoying.

My 2d...

Central NJ

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3692
I have the hitachi 8-1/2" SCMS.  I have posted previously that the DC is very poor and it takes up way too much space in my small shop. 

I have tried using the Festool boom and the 36mm hose with poor results.  I fooled around a few weeks ago using a 4ft length of 36mm non static from CT 22 to a 5gal bucket with a cyclone top.  Another short (about 6 or 8 ft) section of 36mm from bucket to the SCMS.  This without the boom but keeping the hoses running on floor so there was almost no lift involved.  This produced reasonable DC.  Not perfect, but much closer to satisfactory DC. 

I ran across a TV slide/lazy susan meant for large TV. I had used it in the shop for something else and got an idea to give my SCMS a smaller foot print.  I used some scraps of 3/4 ply and made up a cabinet (definitely not an artistic example) with the slide/rotary plate on top.  I mounted a flat piece of plywood (18" x 28") on top of that with the SCMS on top of that ending up with work surface of the saw about 1" higher than my MFT 1800.  With the saw swung to 45? and the table backed up against the wall, it only comes out 18" onto the floor space.  I have not filled in between wall studs so When I swing the saw around for square cuts, I have an extra 3" (2x3 studs) behind as I pull the table forward and push the saw carriage all the way back.  I can also set the saw base perpendicular or at an angle to the wall and use my MFT as an infeed table.   I have not worked out how to attach infeed/outfeed surfaces & fences to mount permanently.  I also need to work out how to somehow lock the saw into whatever position i need to use it.  That will be my next project.  More scraps to use up.

Nothing pretty, but I figure i just saved (when all problems get worked out) over $$$1300  ;D that i can spent on other toys.
The MFK 700 and a few 8mm bits pops into mind for starters.  Of course, I plan to try the Edging Plate for OF 1000 Don't have the part #, but "Uncle Bob" tells me such is available.  If that works and I don't need the MFK 700, I have several other goodies in mind.  Of course, saving all of those $$$ with my ingenious  ::) table invention and figuring how to avoid spending more for the MFK by using the extra guide accessories for the OF 1000, is no guarantee against weakening resolve not to end up going for a Kapex or the MFK.  So I'm a weak man. ??? :P

Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Sean

  • Posts: 20
  • don't chew tobacco on the job
my friend has dewalt, he likes it well enough.  i find it is not accurate enough for me, i have good luck with makita saws, but you mention small footprint and no 12" will be small footprint.  makita make a great 7.5 saw singel bevel and i think dewalt make 8.5 saw - maybe you do not need / want 12" saw?  lot of people think they need 12" when really they do not need it - sean

Offline Loren Woirhaye

  • Posts: 124
Re: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2008, 11:55 AM »
 I currently own the Dewalt 8.5" slider - a good, accurate saw for
furniture building but inadequate for decks.  Other than a lousy
bevel gauge the saw is awesome.  The bevel gauge on my saw
reads 0 at 0 and reads 46 at 45 so bevels have to be fudged according
to a one degree inaccuracy over a 45 degree spread.

The saw isn't too heavy and not too bad a shin-banger.  I had
a Dewalt 705 for many years, a 12" non-sliding saw.  Weight
was a bit over 40 lbs. and I had no complaints.

I think it's a mistake to buy a bigger saw than you need.  I've written
before that I curse any tool that weighs more than 40 lbs at the
end of the day when I'm loading a truck... and I'm under 40 -
heavy tools mean more pulled back muscles in my experience. 
If you plan to keep your tools in a shop weight isn't much of a factor.

Used miter saws are cheap to get, too.  You don't have to go out
and spend $600+ on a high-tech behemoth to get the job done

Offline murphyt

  • Posts: 17
Re: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2008, 03:30 PM »
Loren your saw sounds similar to mine I have had it for 15 years now and bought it used. It is a ELU ps 174 made in germany. Elu became part of the black and decker group in 1994 and stopped manufacturing soon after. Most of the designs went to dewalt. Elu is known for quality products especialy their motors . ELU was the first to produce routers.
South Africa

Offline Dovetail65

  • Posts: 4617
    • Rose Farm Floor Medallions and Inlays
Re: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2008, 12:36 PM »
If I had to buy now it would be without question one on this page:

Makita Miter Saws

Probably this one for a shop:

Big Makita

« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 12:38 PM by nickao »
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline joiner1970

  • Posts: 3219
Re: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2008, 04:38 PM »
I just bought the Makita ls1013 and its great I know a few people who have had them for years with no problems.

I had an ELU before that when ELU where still going I would say they compared well to Festool in quality.

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1854
Re: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2008, 05:11 PM »
What about BOSCH?  Does any of you see any problem with them?   10" #4410 and the 12" #4412.
I've also been looking at MAKITA but i can't seem to understand how you can work with the miter scale on the side and when you  have a piece on the table it hides the pointer.
And isn't the fence kind of  short? Do you add a sub fence when you have something tall to cut?
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Barry Londrigan

  • Posts: 180
  • Newark, Ohio
Re: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2008, 06:40 PM »

I would second that...I currently own the Makita LS1212...a little older dual bevel, 12 inch slider and it has served me well!  At the time it sold for 600.00 but it came with a 12V impact driver which I have used to death...I love that driver.  As well, it was set up perfect out of the box and the blade that came with the saw was outstanding.  I now have a forest chopmaster on it, but that was only because I cut a lot of laminate flooring with the other blade and it dulled it...I just need to send it out for sharpening.  I vote Makita all the way!

Offline Overtime

  • Posts: 265
  • Eastern Iowa USA
Re: Which is the best non-Festool miter saw? I need expert advice please!
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2008, 12:17 AM »
I also have the LS1212. No light or laser  >:(  But it's been a great saw. Came with a exceptionally great blade - Macblade / Makita 70 tooth.

Now using a forest Chopmaster in rotation with the makita blade.  It's big and heavy and it's far from a small foot print, more like Bigfoot.
Good and accurate.

Last year it developed a problem that sounds just like one of the current Kapex problems. It started to make metal on metal scraping sounds when swinging the table left or right. It got so bad it would lock up. I use vac and compressed air to clean it up periodically.
  I took it apart and detailed it, checked and cleaned everything, did not find any metal shards or anything specific on the cause.  ???  Just a dab of grease on the main pivot pin and some dry lube spray and it's been like new since.
  It worked great for about 2 years before I ran into the scraping issue.  Easy fix - been a great saw.

The Makita LS0714 looks like the perfect appetizer till Kapex 2 is ready.