January 4, 2023
Not every miter saw that you would find in the market today has a laser. Yet, if you’ll ask me if I like a laser, I’d say with alacrity that I do like having a laser in my miter saw. Part of the reason why I would prefer to have a laser guide is the accuracy it offers. But the more significant reason is that of safety. When a miter saw has a laser guide, it shows you the exact place where the blade will cut. Thus, it is an excellent indicator of where your hand should not be when cutting wood pieces.
If your miter saw, however, does not have a laser, you need not fidget or worry about it, for you can retrofit your old miter saw with a laser guide. This add-on laser system is easy to install, and it fits well alongside your miter saw blade. When you turn on the blade, the laser guide shoots a light beam that indicates the exact cut line. Moreover, three alkaline batteries power this ad-on aftermarket laser system. Besides, the blade’s centrifugal force starts the laser automatically. So, when you start the saw, you will see the light beam delineating the cut line.
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Most Recommended Laser Guides for Miter Saw
Although Ed Niehaus invented the miter saw in 1964, manufacturers only first introduced the miter saw in the market in the 1970s. Furthermore, the sliding compound miter saw only appeared in 1982. Soon after, manufacturers added many innovations, including the laser guide. You will find many brands of add-on laser guides in the market today. Hence, choosing the best for your miter saw becomes a tad confusing. You can check out the following most recommended add-on laser guides to facilitate the buying process for you:
1) Irwin Industrial Tools (3061001) Laser Guide
If you want a laser guide that can fit most types of miter saws, you can check out the Irwin 3061001. You can retrofit your miter saw with this laser guide, and it is pretty easy to install. It comes with two batteries with a runtime of one and a half hours. It also comes with long bolts for securing with ease this guide to your miter saw.
The Irwin 3061001 is a highly sensitive laser guide. It automatically turns on when the blade starts rotating. It also turns off automatically when the saw blade stops spinning. Moreover, this laser guide projects a laser line to the left for precise cutting. So, you don’t need to use a pencil or a marker to delineate the line of cut. The blade will follow the laser when cutting.
2) Oshlun LG-M01 Miter Saw Laser Guide
Another excellent option when selecting a laser guide for your miter saw is the Oshlun LG-M01. With this laser guide, you can convert your miter saw into a device that can cut with precision. It is pretty easy to install. You only need to replace the flange of the blade with this laser guide. Moreover, you won’t need any adjustments, and it doesn’t come with complicated parts.
The Oshlun LG-M01 laser guide provides a more accurate and brighter line of cut to the kerf’s left. It also enhances the safety usage of the miter saw because you know exactly the cut line. This laser guide also activates automatically when the blade spins.
The Oshlun LG-M01 can fit most types of miter saws. However, in some cases, the washer of the arbor flange may protrude past the body of the blade. This makes it difficult for you to tighten the laser guide on the saw blade.
Things You Should Know When Using After-market Laser Guide on Miter Saw
When it comes to beam alignment, you got two ways to align the laser beam. First, you can align the light beam along the center of the blade. Then, approximate the size of the saw blade kerf relative to the beam’s width. Second, you can also align the beam to the edge of the blade. Then make an offcut on either side of the light beam.
Remember which side of the saw blade you align the beam. Then spot the blade position relative to the light beam. In such a way, you are still making approximations with the help of the laser beam. The laser guide, of course, provides you with a good indicator as to where the blade will start cutting.
One downside of using a laser guide is that it is not so much visible in sunlight. It can become less visible even if you work inside your shop with sunlight coming in from the window. Moreover, the saw vibrations and shaking may mess up the beam alignment. Furthermore, the battery has a short runtime, and when the batteries run out, you may need to replace them to continue using the laser guide.
If you’re desirous of buying a miter saw, it will be best to select one with a built-in laser guide instead of buying an aftermarket add-on laser guide. In that way, you will not need to worry about installation or whether what you have bought is compatible with the miter saw. Moreover, if your miter already comes with a laser guide, you will notice that the laser guide is fine-tuned with the blade. Hence, it gives you better accuracy than add-on laser guides.
The add-on laser guides aren’t really bad when it comes to providing accuracy. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, the accuracy factor is not its most significant upside, but the extra level of safety it gives you.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.