Compact Sliding Compound-Miter Saws

The sides of the Bosch saw table extend 6 inches for added material support. Similarly, both Makita saws have removable extension arms.

Bosch has the most bevel-adjustment features. Seen here are the side-mounted locking lever, highly visible bevel scale, and the sliding stop-override plate that lets you reach a few degrees past zero.

Multiple bevel angle stops are set on the Bosch with a turret similar to those on plunge routers. Turning it past the 45 stop lets you gain a few more degrees.

When you’re using some of these sliders on a bench top instead of on a saw stand, an adjustable-height foot under the blade channel lends support if needed. The Bosch (shown here) and both Makita saws have this feature. The small red tab above the locking knob clips over the edge of the blade channel to bypass the miter stops. This feature is exclusive to Bosch.

The upper fence on the corded saws must be moved to allow clearance during bevel cutting. Fences on the Makita (shown here) and Bosch slide over, while the Hitachi pivots to the outside of the lower fence to clear the way. Both cordless saws have short, stationary fences.

A notch in the blade housing of this Bosch miter saw provides a little extra capacity for stock that is cut vertically against the fence.

Some miter scales have more settings marked than others. The scale on the Hitachi is particularly busy with both degree and grade scales. As with other miter saws, the setting for perpendicular cuts is marked as 0 degrees instead of the actual angle of 90 degrees. The same format also is used for perpendicular bevel cuts.

The DeWalt’s cut-line light generates a shadow of the blade where it will contact the wood, but unless it’s dark, it’s still easier to line up the saw teeth on your line.

The angled light on the corded Makita doesn’t help much with the cut-line aim, since it hides the teeth in contact with the wood deep in the shadows.

Hitachi’s laser line works well enough, but its bright, adjustable light is the real shining star. It’s even bright enough to help illuminate the cut line in daylight.

The depth of cut can be tweaked on all of the saws, except on the DeWalt, using setscrews as seen in the upper left. The screw to the left is used to fine-tune the full blade depth, while the one to the right is used for elevated depth settings for creating rudimentary dadoes and rabbets.

Right and left built-in carry handles are a nice touch on the DeWalt. They make it possible to carry this compact saw one-handed, like a suitcase.

The elegant dual-slide mechanisms of the cordless Makita saw give it the same sliding range as the larger corded saws, but it rolls up into a more compact package. Keeping the arms short also serves to reduce deflection from downward forces on the cantilevered rails.

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