Miter Saw / October 30, 2018 / Sally Abrahamsson.
For starters a sliding compound miter saw is designed with two rail-like tubes that allow the blade to move back and forth in a larger range of motion. This grows crosscutting capacity by a few inches and allows users to through-cut wider boards (usually with one easy pass). Because of these tubes though sliding compound miters saws are typically heavier they are less portable and theyre more expensive. With the exception of some Bosch and Makita saws that utilize a kind of articulating arm in lieu of sliding-tubes sliding compound miters also require more room (especially at the rear of the saw) to work properly.
With the exception of Bosch miter saws whose bevel controls are conveniently up-front most saws bevel controls are placed at the back of the saw. While this is typical and more-or-less intentional it has proved less ergonomic than up-front access. Extension Wings: To increase cutting capacities some saws are also built with slide-out extension wings to support larger boards. While in theory this is a great feature unless you invest in a more expensive tool these wings are often not all theyre cracked up to be. Conversely on a more high-quality saw theyre a definitely a convenient extra.
The standard miter has a blade pivot from right to left to cut miters; this standard saw is however becoming less popular as compound miters have more applications and are only slightly more expensive. Compound miters have the ability to bevel cut or tip the blade to either the left or right side (0° - 50°). Some can bevel in both directions allowing operators to miter and bevel within the same cut (-50° through 50°). Lastly a sliding miter saw is just like a compound miter but with extension rods that allow the saw blade and motor to move forward and back. This motion increases the blade cut capacity enabling the cut length to be longer than the blade diameter.
When searching for high-end power tools at a low price craftsmen should also look for reconditioned tools. Reconditioned tools or recons although sometimes hard to come by are an extremely great value bringing craftsmen the highest-performance tools at a tiny fraction of regular cost. Recons for some minor cosmetic or technical defect have been returned to the manufacturer for stringent inspection and restoration processes. These tools are tested and restored to meet rigid manufacturer standards and are then re-released with a "R" trailing the model number. This little "R" (and potentially hundreds of dollars) is truly the only difference between a brand new tool and a recon. The value with these tools is truly a no-brainer; when recons are available snatch them up as an incomparable investment. Dewalts DW718R and DW716R miter saws are tremendous examples of the value of buying reconditioned.