Rather than a higher quality miter saw I purchased a low end sliding miter saw years ago and have not regretted the choice.
I did try out several sliding miter saws before making my choice, however, as I found that very low end saws were extraordinarily imprecise. The import shop, for instance, had something that cost half as much, but when manipulating it in the store it was obvious that it moved out of the cut plane easily when pulling it forward.
The brand name sliding saws had a much more solid feel, but in the store with the brand name saws I found a lower cost off brand name saw that felt good, and had the features I wanted.
As others have pointed out, though, a sliding saw is much larger and heavier, and honestly it fits in a little bit of a niche if you only plan on buying one miter saw:
- A moderate amount of repeated miter cuts on wide material
- Want to move it occasionally, but not frequently
If you have few cuts to make with wider material, get a regular miter saw and use a circular saw or hand saw for the rare cut that is wider. If you never plan to move it, you might want to consider a 12 inch non-sliding machine, but if you're always moving it, you should probably go with a miter saw, and consider a track saw for the longer cuts. If you need precision then this is the wrong area to save money - most of these saws are designed for construction work and 1/32" or 1/16" precision is just fine for the intended use.
If you do get a sliding miter saw, make sure that the sliding and miter action feel good and solid before you buy one, it should be pretty obvious if it's flimsy.