Portable, Lightweight Compound Miter Saw

I need to replace an old, inaccurate Ryobi 10" compound miter saw. This is for home DIY use. Unfortunately storage is at a premium so I keep on a shelf under my workbench. I need something that is small to store and easy to move around. It will primarily be used for 2x material. Typically, I drag it out of the garage and use it in the driveway/alley/yard. Cordless is not a requirement but it seems like way more of the compact saws are actually cordless these days.

Right now I have on order the Dewalt cordless 7 1/4" saw (DCS361B). I found a really good deal on it at tools-plus for $329. This includes a charger and two 5.0ah batteries - https://www.tools-plus.com/dewalt-dcs361b-b1.html. As a bonus, free shipping and no tax.

However, it is out of stock so I can cancel it if needed. Am I missing any better options given my situation? A 10" would be fine, but it cannot be sliding as it would take up too much space and lose the portability (at least that is my impression).


I’m hardly an expert, but corded models are cheaper, and if you are working out of your garage, you will have power easily availble. Cordless models are great for construction sites and the like, where power might not be set up yet, or where long cords will get in people’s way.

Also, sliders don’t have to take up much space. There are models with rails fixed to the base and extend to the front, and the motor and blade slide on the rails, instead of the motor being fixed to the rails and the rails sliding to the back. There are models like that from Hitachi, Festool, Makita and others. There’s also the “Biaxial” arm that Bosch offers. Pretty slick, but I’ve heard of problems with them. You should research that carefully.

But if you only need to crosscut up to 8 inches (which is the capacity of that DeWalt saw you’re looking at), then I believe a regular 12" compound saw will work for you.

Thanks so much for the response and your time. Unfortunately I do not have the space for a 12" miter saw (sliding or non-sliding). I’m going to revisit the 10" models as well.

I’ve had very good luck with the 10 inch Hitachi non-slider. Accurate right out of the box and I’ve used it for a long time with no problem. Solid feel. It was under $100 on sale. The new name of the company is Hikoki. They sell them at Lowe’s. You might want to take a look. Hoping the new company or old company with the new name, still has the same quality in their miter saws.

The main thing I don’t like is the dust collection. But if you’re using it outside that’s not a big problem.

Last year I got the Ryobi 10 inch slider for $129. It doesn’t have the solid feel of the Hitachi. Surprisingly, the Ryobi has a pretty good dust collection system. With modification it’s among the best, imo. Can’t modify the Hitachi in the same easy way.I still prefer the Hitachi and would use it out of doors anytime over the Ryobi. Except for wide cuts of course. Both the saws are corded.

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You’re welcome!

I don’t believe 10" non-sliders will take up much less space than 12", but I could be wrong. Anyway, 10" non-sliders can crosscut only a 2x6, which is less than that DeWalt you were looking at, so maybe a 10" won’t serve your needs.

Another idea is to use a circular saw or a burly jigsaw with some kind of saw guide. You can easily make one, but there’s a cool one from Bora with four common angles alread built in.

For cutting narrow things like molding or pipe, maybe you’d need a different setup.

Good luck!

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Koko is right about the cutting ability of a 10 inch non-slider. So yes a 2 x 6 would be the max width. For a long time I didn’t care to cut anything wider than that, or I would use a cross cut sled or other device if I needed it. I went looking at Lowe’s for the saw I mentioned. I got the name wrong, it’s a Metabo HTP brand saw. I found it on the Lowe’s website. Here’s the link. I’d suggest you go to Lowe’s And look at them to see the sizes. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Metabo-HPT-10-in-15-Amp-Single-Bevel-Compound-Miter-Saw/1000872160
It is fairly lightweight at 24 lbs. On sale until the 11th. Assuming you’re near a Lowe’s you could pick it up before the 11th and then of course return it unused if you change your mind.

Toolguyd did a review of miter saw deals last holiday season, here’s the link. BEST Amazon Black Friday 2018 MITER SAW Deals

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There is this: https://www.lowes.com/pd/CRAFTSMAN-10-in-15-Amp-Single-Bevel-Compound-Miter-Saw/1000596017

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Thanks again everyone. I’m going to hold-off on a purchase for now and make due with my circular saw and a few jigs. I did go to Home Depot yesterday to look at the various sizes. I definitely cannot go bigger than a 10" saw and a sliding 10" one is probably too big. That Craftsman saw appears to be a clone of the Porter & Cable one from a couple of years ago. Very cool concept but not a great saw from a working perspective from what I’ve read.

Yep same saw as the PC

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Makita LS1040. I can’t recommend this saw enough. EXTREMELY precise and clean cutting saw.

I have one at work that arrived where the bolt that the whole thing rotates on for miters was just a little bit loose so I had to disassemble it some to tighten it and now it has essentially no play at all.

This saw also goes on sale from time to time for just $100.

I had no idea you could find a Makita miter saw at that price. If the blade is as good as the four other Makita saws that I have, that’s a real bargain. Makita oem saw blades are just fantastic. Better than Diablos. The Hitachi that I’ve had for a long time had a decent blade too, but not as good as any Makita brand blade. The new Hitachi’s are mostly not made in Japan anymore, so we don’t really know if the Metabo HP brand is going to be as good.

I double checked and CamelCamelCamel shows a minimum of ~$160. I think I must have purchased it with a 25 off 100 deal or similar to get it closer to $100.

I need to do some more research but I think the cut quality on the LS1040 is both a result of the precision of the saw (no play) and I think the blade spins faster than most other saws out there.

FWIW, I recently got my Powermatic #72 12" tablesaw working at home and boy is that a nice saw. I have a relatively garbage blade (stock bosch that came with my miter saw) on it but it is so smooth and precise and leaves an amazing finish on just about anything I push through it. 45 and 90 stops are absolutely repeatable and very precise. Vibration is essentially non-existant.

A few caveats on that Makita.

First, it is single-bevel, meaning it can only tilt to the left (it can swing left and right, like all miter saws.) That might complicate things like cutting crown moldings. I’ve heard stories of people using single-bevel saws before dual bevel became common, and they’d have to turn the molding stock upside down, feed it in from the right, etc. And they would get mixed up and screw up the cut, and waste a lot of molding.

And again, being a 10" non-sliding, it can only cross cut a little over 5 inches. You haven’t told us what capacity you need, but I’d make sure 5 inches is enough.

Good luck!

I’ve gotten by with a 10" non-slider for years and I do not have any crown molding projects in my future (hopefully). Portability and storage size are still at the top of my list…after quality.

I’ve actually looked at that Makita a few times. It is an older model and get good reviews overall. It is lacking some of the nicer features that the newer models have like LED cut-line, extendable fences, etc.

I think I have it narrowed down to two saws (10" non-sliding) at this point in time.

The Makita LS1040 is currently $160 at Home Depot ($185 minus $25 promotion). It is single bevel, lightweight (27lbs), well reviewed and no frills.

The Ridgid R4113 is currently $219 at Home Depot. It is dual bevel, has the LED cut line indicator, lightweight (32lbs), sliding fences and well reviewed.

Still may hold out for a sale on the cordless Dewalt 7 1/4"… Tough decisions.

I’m probably going to be in HD tomorrow and I’ll try to remember to “kick the tires” on that Ridgid while I’m there.

One thing I really like about the Makita is that the fact that it is single bevel means the fence comes very close to the blade which increases the safety of the saw. This was important to me because I work in a university lab which by nature has a lot of inexperienced power tool users. (you wouldn’t believe the stuff I see kids doing)

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Ha, that’s a good thought. It makes me wonder if anybody’s tried making a saw where the fence can adjust to come closer to the blade. You’d need some kind of safety device to keep it from contacting the blade though. That Would Be Bad ™.

All respect to you for running a lab with kids running around. I’d have a nervous breakdown.

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I agree, kids already scare me on their own. Factor in power tools and I would be terrified.

I’m actually going to take a step back on the miter saw for now. I do not have any large projects that require one at this time, at least nothing that I cannot do with a circular saw. I’m still going to be on the lookout for any fantastic deals but otherwise I will be miter-less. Thanks again for all the help and advice.

I kicked the Ridgid saw today and I know it is only a sample size of one but it had a lot of side to side play in the table which seemed to be a result of very poor machining between the “stand” and the “table”. I’d guess it was on the order of 5-8 degrees in the bevel direction.

What’s interesting to me is that the 12" version appeared to have a similar design but it didn’t seem to have the same play.

The Makita’s gap in the fence is just 7/8". The Ridgid measured 1-1/2". I don’t know that I ever measured it but I’d swear the Kobalt saw that the Makita replaced had a 2" gap. It was essentially impossible to cut anything “dangerous small” on that saw without it binding and kicking it into the next time zone.

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Prototype3a - Thanks for taking a look along with your observations. Next time I’m at HD I will see if the display model has the same side to side play that you are describing. I wonder if it is just some loose bolts somewhere in the display model?