Miter saws have already become a part of every enthusiast’s routine. Always at hand, the tool has an array of uses that facilitate material processing, making it fast, easy, and accurate. This has moved the utility far beyond any other processing tools.
Traditional tools lack the speed and precision, which are the core features of any miter saw. Contrastingly, working with the tool and finding a suitable blade is a little complex, especially if you are browsing online. But worry not, for I’m here to help you find the best compact miter saw to work with.
Top 7 Best Compact Miter Saw Picks for Handymen
- CRAFTSMAN Compact Sliding Miter Saw Kit — Top Pick
- Makita XSL02Z LXT Cordless Dual Miter Saw — Premium Pick
- RYOBI Small Cordless Compound Miter Saw — Great Value
- Bosch GCM Single-Bevel Slide Miter Saw
- Kobalt Sliding Compound Compact Miter Saw
- Makita LXT Compact Dual-Bevel Miter Saw
- Milwaukee 2733-21 Dual-Bevel Sliding Miter Saw
Read detailed compact sliding miter saw reviews below to determine which suits your needs best and learn more about their features, functions, and perks. Besides, pay attention to the upsides and downsides of each to find the perfect processing tool for your trade, not forgetting about the safe use of manually operated cross-cut machines.
1. Craftsman Sliding Miter Saw Kit — Best 7 ¼ Sliding Miter Saw for Woodworking
Among other similar tools, the Craftsman Saw is a perfect example of accuracy and efficiency. It operates with a voltage of 20 units and can develop a speed of 800 revolutions per minute. As a result, the machine is easy to use and provides an impressive balance and a firm grip while processing wood pieces.
It’s compatible with 7-¼-inch blades, which cut smoothly without chipping, denting, or scuffing. The head is equipped with a LED-based gauge scale to ensure that you have a precise aim at your wood piece. The scale is readjusted, depending on the width and thickness of the processed material. With one sharp bevel, you can opt between a right angle cut and an acute angle cut, effortlessly slicing through 8-inch pieces.
As for the motor, it creates high-speed 3,800RPM and is powered by a lithium-based battery. The battery comes together with the tool and can be charged directly from a standard 120-V power source. On top of this, both the battery and machine are under warranty, entitling you to free-of-charge repairs or replacements in the following three years.
- extremely powerful;
- diamond-sharp bevel;
Could be better:
- fast blade wear-offs due to the speed.
2. Makita XSL02Z LXT — Professional Small Compound Miter Saw
If you need a more portable yet powerful option, then consider this one. It’s very compact and lightweight, allowing for being carried around and easily moved. Besides this, the tool has the double of what a single-slide miter saw can offer, ensuring more precise cutting.
Here, the motor generates more RPM, which comes to around 5,800 at its highest rate. The speed is great for making both minute and large cuts without damaging the overall piece. With the handle made of rigid plastic, you can easily manipulate the movements upwards and downwards to slide on the rail with four stainless-steel supports.
With a weight of around 29lbs, the tool can be packed into a case and taken to other locations without too much difficulty. The width of 26 inches is proper for placing the machine on any cutting table, which is rather rare among portable miter saws. Moreover, there is no need to look for a power source as the saw is cordless and can run on its battery.
- portable and compact;
- precise gauge scale;
- anti-debris handle cover.
Could be better:
- dust might get stuck in the arbor, so cleaning is a must.
3. RYOBI Cordless — Mini Compound Miter Saw for Precision
In case you’re worried about the cleanliness of your cuts, and you want to do more detailed and accurate work, here is a solution. The machine is elaborated for the workmanship of high-precision wood pieces. It’s perfectly compatible with all kinds of wood and stands out thanks to its sturdiness and firm grip.
Just like the best 7 ¼ sliding miters saw should go, this one is well-balanced and suits blades with 24 teeth. The number is sufficient for rough and general cutting, as well as accurate slicing through softwood and plywood. It can be tilted to 45 or 90 degrees to have a straighter grind.
As for dimensions, you can rest assured that the machine will fit into your trunk and can be carried by hand. Only 21 inches long, you can place the 18-V tool on any hard surface to start cutting. Also, it’s powered by a battery that can be charged before processing through plugging in into a standard outlet. The last but not least, this is a very affordable miter saw.
- comes completely assembled;
- has a wrench for blade changing;
- durable and moisture-resistant;
- cross-cut capable.
Could be better:
- sometimes, it spews smoke.
4. Bosch GCM — Small Sliding Miter Saw With a Single Bevel
You may be in need of more functionality and better mechanics, so you would want to have a single-bevel tool with adjustments. With Bosch GCM, the saw itself can be tilted, rotated, and even detached from the sliding bed. Moreover, the movements allow for finding non-standard angles to have a better, safer cut through all kinds of wood.
Based on the non-brush technology, this lightweight miter saw is completely protected from dust and particles, which, otherwise, may obstruct the tool operation. It runs on a detachable battery, which you can choose, depending on your power preferences (8Amps/12Amps). Mind that the batteries don’t come with the tool but bought separately.
Now, the single bevel is very useful when it comes to capacity. Depending on the angle you pick, you can opt between the miter and bevel in the range between 0° and 45°. All of this is backed up by a nice dust chute located near the handle that collects debris and prevents clogging.
- impressive capacity;
- stainless-steel core;
- laser-guided technology;
- accurate sliding.
Could be better:
5. Kobalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw — Best Small Miter Saw for Household Projects
Made for crosscutting and industrial cuts, the machine is a small compound miter saw acclaimed for its longevity. It does well with moldings and general processing of wood for professional purposes. There are no complicated features to understand, and the overall usability is simple, so don’t worry about not completely knowing how to use a miter saw.
The design is based on aluminum and stainless steel to provide durability and, though it’s not the smallest miter saw, it comes to 25 inches in width and 15 inches in length. Coated with hard plastic, it is perfectly protected from scuffing and cracking. Also, plastic makes it easy to control the handle since it has low heat inductivity, preventing you from burns or injuries.
Meanwhile, the rail system is dual, which gives even more space for maneuvering and getting a better angle when cutting. As for crosscuts, you can perform 2×8-inch cuts across a workpiece, so there is no need to readjust the material every time you need to find a new angle. All of this is powered by a cord long enough to ensure freedom of movement.
- very quiet;
- no smoke.
Could be better:
- not suitable for heavy-duty projects.
6. Makita XSL05z Compact Dual-Bevel Miter Saw — Among the Smallest Miter Saw Favorites
For those of you who want a high-tech saw with more functions and less frustration, Makita has an option. The XSL05Z model is a blend of style, portability, and efficiency. It’s completely overload-protected and has a LED display to inform you about the current battery status. On top of this, it has a nice, minute LED lamp in-built inside the handle that you can regulate to have more precision.
When it comes to dimensions, the tool is a very small compound miter saw that weighs only 15lbs. With 17 inches in width, it is easily transported by hand and can be moved even while processing. Besides, it’s compatible with 6-½-inch but works as well as the best 8 ½ sliding miters saw.
The tool works using a lithium-based battery that you can charge by plugging into a standard 18-V outlet. You can readjust the angle between 0° and 45° to find the best position for each cut and avoid splinters. While the cutting capacity is slightly higher at 90°, the 15°, 25°, and 45° capacities are still rather impressive for a saw of this size.
- no debris;
- powerful battery;
- reasonable price;
- compatible with lubricants.
Could be better:
- the gauge scale gets scuffed with time.
7. Milwaukee 2733-21 — Best Compact Miter Saw for Heavy-Duty Projects
This last pick for today is the best small miter saw for heavy-duty projects that can handle a lot of pressure. It processes a whole scope of wood kinds with accuracy and durability, ensuring the safety of use. When employed properly, the dual-bevel machine can guarantee great results in short time frames.
Although it’s a little heavier than the previous picks, amounting to 35lbs, it deserves a place on my list because of the incredible mobility. The 25-inch-wide utility packs easily inside a small box-like case, which can be carried around or placed in the trunk. Moreover, the fencing is completely adjustable, so the 7-½-inch blade doesn’t wobble when at the highest speed.
The tool cuts well through 10-12-inch-thick hardwood, plywood, and even plastic, leaving no scuffing or rips. It’s perfect for people who are working on big household projects and don’t want to change the tool for every detail. Thanks to the dual-bevel system, the saw glides freely yet safely on the station and provides the max. cutting capacity of 2×6 inches.
- heavy-duty cutting;
- extremely durable;
- no grinding but slicing;
- packs into a case.
Could be better:
- heavy and bulky.
Compact Miter Saw Buyer’s Guide
As you can see, finding a tool is no big deal since the market is filled with good-quality products. But when it comes to determining which product will help you with your project, people often find making a decision rather difficult. But why?
You see, there is no single miter saw that can be a solution to everything. Each model is a specifically designed tool for handling a precise task. Therefore, stop looking for a solution to all your household issues but focus on those that matter the most. And use the guide below to find your best small compound miter saw.
Since we are focusing on compact models, portability comes as a priority here. What you want to look for are dimensions that will provide mobility. First, a small sliding miter saw ranges between 15 and 25 inches in width.
The size determines how your future tool is capable of being moved and transported with ease and, preferably, by hand. Larger pieces may be a little too big for comfortable use and require a vehicle or trailer for moving.
Second, look at the weight. While the size is important for positioning a saw, the weight can be a deal-breaker. You wouldn’t want a utility to be heavier than 30lbs because you might find it difficult to carry it in hand. Besides, the heavier a tool is, the sturdier your station has to be, which is not always an option for ‘field trips.’
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Any cutting tool has a limited capacity to deal with different sizes. Normally, a bigger blade gives you a larger angle and a better cut. However, it doesn’t work like that with small miter saws.
The average compact blade size you can find is 6-½, 7-½, 8-½ inches. These dimensions are relatively the same, but the smaller the blade, the more precise a cut is. This way, you have to choose between the three options regarding your processing plans.
For instance, the former can cut wood pieces 2×8 inches in size. Whereas the latter is capable of dealing with thicker 3 or 4-inch wood pieces. On the other hand, the capacity of your blade also depends on the material you are processing. This way, it will be easier for you to cut plywood than softwood with a mini compound miter saw of 7-½ inches.
Mitering and beveling
For starters, both angle options don’t always come included in one single saw. You might want to have only a miter or bevel, which is completely reasonable; however, if you need both, then you will pay a little more.
Mitering is set up using a dark lever normally located at the bottom of your tool. By moving sideways, you set an angle that will go parallelly when cut. Although the angle is the same, miter cuts are less tilted than other techniques.
Beveling can be adjusted using a scale located behind the handle. What it does is that it allows the hand and, subsequently, the saw head to move more freely. When the right position is found, fix it with the lock.
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Another feature a good, modern tool has is dust collection precautions. Long gone are the days when you had to stop woodworking to clean the saw from debris. Modern tools are either equipped with a dust bag or have protective screens around the handle. If a machine is not protected by any of those, it can break down very easily.
There can be many safety features, but you should make sure there is the main one, i.e., a blade guard. A blade guard is that steel sheet between the blade and your fingers. In case it’s absent on a model, avoid buying for your own sake.
Are there any other questions regarding compact miter saws? Find the answer right here!
What can I do with a compact miter saw?
Well, what can’t you do with it? The tool is used for a variety of woodwork purposes. It’s great for making moldings, frames, and incisions for building and constructing wood items.
Can a small miter saw cut metal?
Theoretically, yes. But you wouldn’t want to try it out. It’s limited to a single purpose, which is wood processing. Employing it to cut metal pieces is likely to result in the machine breaking down or spewing metal debris.
What does a double bevel miter saw mean?
A single-bevel saw enables the user to tilt the blade leftwards at an angle. Whereas a double-bevel tool gives you two-sided access to move the blade both ways, left and right.
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Choose a Miter Saw That You Need, Not Want
Compact miter saws are a great asset to your regular or occasional woodworking. Not only does it facilitate cutting and beveling, but it also enables you to experiment with wood and perfect your craft. Acquire a lighter 6-½-inch machine for regular in-yard repairs or choose a heftier 8-½-inch one to do some heavy lifting.
Nevertheless, this is it for today. I hope you have found the article useful and made a few points for yourself. Now, what tool have you used before? Do you prefer cordless or plug-in utilities? Tell me more in the comment box below!