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I occasionally do some wood project for fun. I already have a 10” table saw and I have a limited budget to buy a 10” miter saw.

My budget allows me to either buy a Dewalt DW713 or a lower brand sliding miter saw with a laser for the same price.

I personally like the Dewalt DW713. However, I wonder how important the sliding feature is? I don’t want to regret not having the sliding feature in future.

Update and Final Thought

I thank you, everyone, for sharing your though here. While I got my answer from this post, I think it highly depends on the usage scenario, preferences, and brands. Therefore I don't think there is only one answer here.

  • Allan. You should mark the answer you found helpful. The community will vote over time to the one it finds the most helpful overall. People will come here thinking that you might still be looking for help otherwise to find that you are not marking it on purpose. – Matt Dec 21 '15 at 2:17
9

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.

  • 3
    I would add that I frequently just flip the wood that is to be cut. I have a 12" miter and get pretty good cut depth on it. A lot of guys will build a crosscut jig for their table saw. Between the two saws you should be able to accurately cut larger pieces without needing a slider if you so desire – Dano0430 Dec 15 '15 at 14:45
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The advantage of the "sliding" saws which are sort of a poor man's version of a radial arm saw are that they will cut slightly wider material. For example, a DW717 will cut a 12" wide board where the DW713 will only cut a 10" wide board. The sliding saws are considerably more rickety than the basic type.

Just as a general principle it is a good idea to stick to solid, high quality equipment. With a cheapo saw you will probably have cuts that are not perfectly straight and other annoying issues.

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    If you hope to get furniture-quality cuts directly from the miter saw, I agree that sliding is the wrong answer. Fine construction tool, not for precision work. If you really need the additional cutting capacity, going up to 12" might make more sense... but I'd look at a high-quality 10" plus a cleaner-cutting blade for it (more teeth, slower cut but cleaner surface). A brake also reportedly helps in getting the cleanest cuts possible, so the blade is stopped before you raise it. – keshlam Dec 12 '15 at 14:36
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    @keshlam you should always wait for the blade to stop before raising it, whether you have a brake or not. Many people don't follow this rule or are unaware that it's potentially dangerous to raise the blade before it has come to a stop. – rob Dec 12 '15 at 17:12
  • Potentially dangerous, and rissmarring the cut face.. An Inductive brake, by stopping ghe blade faster, reduces the temptation to cheat. But remember: Originally a construction tool, often used more for speed than for precision or safety in that environment, bad habits tend to be learnec bevord better ones. – keshlam Dec 12 '15 at 20:32
  • +1, and to emphasize: a ~$220-ish slider is likely to be terrible, in terms of accuracy and cut quality. (Unless you're buying used and do well. I think I paid around $250 for a Makita LS1013 SCMS.) – Aloysius Defenestrate Dec 13 '15 at 21:48
  • @keshlam Rissmarring? Typo or jargon? – Ast Pace Dec 14 '15 at 17:27
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I bought a 12" Dewalt compound miter years ago. The slider was too much more at the time. I love my saw but I am always regretting not having a slider. It is amazing how often I have boards that are 1/2" -2" too wide. A 12" miter does not cut a 12" board, like you probably noticed the 10" doesn't come close to a 10" board either.

My recommendation, is always if you can afford a decent slider, go for it. Unless you really rarely cut boards larger than the capacity. I frequently cut boards after glue up of 11-12", some I can 'lift up' the board to finish, but mostly I have to flip the board over and try to line up the cut and hope that my long sides are parallel.

If there is a huge difference in quality (I read a lot of reviews to help make that distinction) then the question is the slider at a quality that is at least sufficient for your needs. If the slider is really for cutting 2x stock and not nice hardwoods, then I would pass it up.

I've learned to buy the best tool I can afford for the job I plan to use it for. A simple tool I'll use less than once a year, I'll likely go for cheap. A miter I want to make an investment, sometimes this means waiting longer to save up more money for it. A router is something you can get cheap, and then save up and get a better one, since every shop could use at least 2 routers, (I'd like more!)

But I got/get tired of buying new tools because I bought crap the first time.

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A sliding miter saw allows you to cut wider boards with the same size or smaller blade.

However, a sliding miter saw also typically consumes a lot more space (many models require a lot of room behind the saw) and the sliding mechanism introduces some imprecision on all but the most high-end models. If you may have to move the saw around regularly, the sliding saw will also be heavier and more awkward to move.

Some people like having a laser guide. It will help you get aligned at the correct angle to a line on your board, but on mine the beam is still wide enough that it's difficult to get perfect cuts right up to the edge of the line. I use the laser to get close, then sneak up to the line on the miter saw or with another tool.

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