Winners

The DeWalt DW364K is my favorite. Its adjustments are incredibly easy, the scales are clear and accurate, it's got enough cut capacity to get through LVL on a 45-degree bevel, it's comfortable to hold, the blade change is a cinch, and it's got a brake. The only drawback is its weight?it's the heaviest saw I tested and a bit larger, too. Nevertheless, this tool is hard to kill and easy to use. I'd really like to see it with a left blade someday.

Next, I like the Hitachi C7BD2. The 55-degree bevel is a great feature and it comes with a brake. Even though the positive stop at 45 degrees is sticky, I can live with it for the extra cut capacity. Third is the Makita 5007NLK left-blade model. Without a brake I wouldn't want it as my only saw, but if I were going to switch from right blade to left blade, this saw has the power and features that make it a keeper; I just wish it could clear an LVL on a 45. Fourth is DeWalt's DW368K. It's the lightest saw in the bunch and very user friendly, but could use a brake. Tying for fifth are the Bosch 1655K, Makita 5007NHK, and Hitachi C7SB2, all right-blade units. After these I'd go for the Porter-Cable saws and the Craftsman, then Milwaukee's Tilt-Lok, and finally Milwaukee's 6375-20.

Steve Veroneau owns Transformations LLC, a framing and trim company in Falls Church, Va., and is a contributing editor to Hanley-Wood's Tools of the Trade.

Tools of the Trade has arranged with the companies in this test to donate their tools to Habitat for Humanity.

(Thanks to Irwin Tools for providing blades for this test.)

Sources of Supply

Makita USA
model 5007NLK: $150
model 5007NHK: $150
800-462-5482
www.makitatools.com

Porter-Cable Corp.
model 743K: $129
model 447K: $149
800-487-8665
www.porter-cable.com

Bosch Power Tools
model 1655K: $130
877-267-2499
www.boschtools.com

Craftsman
model 27108: $100
800-377-7414
www.sears.com/craftsman

DeWalt Industrial Tools
model DW368K: $119
model DW364K: $149
800-433-9258
www.dewalt.com

Hitachi Power Tools
model C7SB2: $89
model C7BD2: $120
800-829-4752
www.hitachi.com

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp.
model 6375-20: $149
model 6390-21 Tilt-Lok: $139
800-729-3878
www.heavydutytool.com