February 10, 2022
If you got limited space in your workshop, you could either expand your workshop or maximize every inch of it. If you go for maximizing every nook and cranny of your workshop, you might as well go for compact tools such as a compact miter saw. Many miter saws are bulky and space-consuming. But you will indeed find miter saws that are smaller than the 10-inch. Such miter saws, of course, are compact and small and are fit enough for smaller shops.
Opting for a compact miter saw will help you save on space while getting your job done. You will find compact miter saws within the size range of 7-1/4″ to 8-1/5″. You don’t need to be fooled by the size of compact miter saws. They may look small, but they can cut horizontally well to rival a 12-inch miter saw. You can surely make all the professional cuts you need using a compact miter saw if you’re an experienced woodworker.
The Most Recommended Compact & Small Miter Saws
Compact miter saws, though fewer in number than the larger miter saws, come in different brands and models. So, you may still get confused in the choosing process, given the many options at hand. To narrow down your options, you can check out the following most recommended compact saws by the experts:
Last update on 2023-11-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1) DEWALT DCS361B
One good small and compact miter saw option is the DEWALT DCS361B. This one is a 7-1/4″ miter saw that you could easily squeeze into your shop. It comes with many sterling features like high cut capacity, higher accuracy, dual bevel, and many more.
This one is cordless, and you can operate it using its 20V battery. With its battery fully charged, you can make up to 183 cuts on your 2×4 materials. Besides, you can cut up to 275 cuts on any 3-1/4 baseboards (pine).
The DEWALT DCS361B is a sliding one that can bevel to the left direction (-3 to 48). It also comes with a locating system for fine-tuning your cuts. This miter saw is very compact and weighs only 31.6 pounds. Thus, you can carry it around and store it away quickly.
Moreover, it comes with a handle, enabling you to make precise miter angles. Its machined fence support allows for better stability when cutting. You can cut through any 3-1/2″-high material with ease and accuracy. Its detent plate also comes with ten positive stops.
- It provides excellent angled cuts.
- It’s easy to carry around because it is cordless.
- It’s of high quality.
- It’s very quiet when operating.
- It doesn’t come with a charger and battery.
2) Makita XSL05Z
Another very lightweight and compact miter saw is the 6-1/2″ Makita XSL05Z. It barely weighs around 14.5 pounds without a battery attached. Hence, it’s very portable and easy to stack away when not in use. It is also easy to set up and comes with an automatic speed-changing system. Thus, it can quickly adjust and change its speed and torque when cutting.
The Makita XSL05Z is powered by an 18V LXT battery (Lithium-ion). This battery, however, doesn’t come with the package. However, it comes with a LED display that indicates the status of the battery. It also comes with a small LED lamp in the handle for better lighting and precision.
This saw is small, being 17-inch wide. You can quickly adjust its angle from 0 to 45-degrees to avoid splinters when cutting. Moreover, it is affordable and is perfect for beginners in miter and bevel cutting.
- It is compact and space-saving.
- It comes with a powerful battery.
- It is affordable.
- It’s lightweight and very portable.
- It has limited cutting capacity.
3) BOSCH CM8S 8-1/2
The BOSCH CM8S is another compact option that could deliver excellent cuts. It is an 8-1/2 miter saw that weighs around 37 pounds. It comes with a specific design that features a top transport handle at the very center of its gravity. This miter saw also comes with bevel turret stops and a lock lever. You can find this on the side for easy adjustment. It also comes with extensions that you can expand up to twenty-nine inches for extra support.
The BOSCH CM8S also comes with a detent override and a transparent lower guard for a clear view and accurate cuts. It also features a clear miter scale. It can cut like a 12-inch blade and may even outperform many miter saw models.
- It comes with an ergonomic design for better portability.
- It’s capable of making excellent bevel and miter cuts.
- It’s easy to use and offers better safety features.
- It doesn’t come with an electric blade brake.
- The blade that comes with it isn’t good, but you can replace it with a better-performing blade.
4) Milwaukee 2733-21
One of the smallest miter saws you can ever buy is the Milwaukee 2733-21. Yet, despite its size, it may be a heavy-duty one and can handle various types of cutting jobs. It is a 7-1/4″ sliding compound dual-bevel miter saw that weighs around 35 pounds. It has a good design that can deliver increased outputs and better efficiency. It can also provide excellent accuracy.
The Milwaukee 2733-2 is very portable and is powerful enough even if running on batteries. It also comes with a brushless motor which runs quietly when cutting. It also runs using an M18 Lithium battery to deliver up to 600 cuts or more when fully charged. Moreover, it can cut through 10 to 12 inches of thick wood without gashes and scuffing. It also features a laser guide. You can use it for cutting hardwood, flooring, installing decking, and trim works.
- It is durable.
- It can handle heavy workloads.
- It is pretty easy to operate.
- The power of its battery is quite limited.
5) Ryobi TSS702
The Ryobi TSS702 is maybe one of the less expensive miter saws you can ever find. It is compact at 7-1/4″, and it is a sliding miter saw. You can cross-cut and bevel cut using this miter saw. It is very light at 25 pounds. Thus, you can carry it with ease and store it away without a fuss. It also comes with a top handle for better portability.
Using this miter saw, you can cut small base and crown molding. It is perfect for DIYers and beginners who plan . It has a 40-Tooth blade and features miter stops. It also comes with a LED indicator of the cutline for refined accuracy. It also comes with an electric blade brake for added safety.
- It allows you to make crown molding cuts.
- It is lightweight and compact.
- It is also portable.
- It’s suited for DIYers and beginners.
- It is not suited for larger workloads.
- It is challenging to cut angles using this miter saw.
What Can a Compact Miter Saw Accomplish?
A miter saw is a vital tool in most carpentry tasks. As a power tool, it lets you make a range of angled cuts. You can use it for huge jobs like making door frames and smaller tasks like making picture frames. Given the smaller size of the compact miter saw, it is reasonable to assume that you can only cut smaller width stock and thinner materials. Yet, if you are using a compact sliding miter saw, you can surely cut up to 12″-crosscuts on any 2x materials.
Moreover, compact miter saws sport features that you would often find in the 12-inch miter saws like powerful motor, XPS, ball bearings, linear slide, and soft start. Compact miter saws may also have innovative safety features like electric brakes and blade guards. You can also use the compact miter saw for various woodworking jobs like cutting baseboards and trims.
You can use, for example, the 7-1/4″ miter saw for cutting 2×8 horizontally. If the miter saw is a sliding miter saw, you can crosscut even an 8″ wide material at 90°. Moreover, you can cut 5.5″ materials at 45°.
On the other hand, an 8-1/2″ compact saw can crosscut a 12-inch material at 90 degrees. It can make a 45° angle cut on materials up to 8-1/2″.
You can definitely do a lot of things using the compact miter saw. It can make good crosscuts. Yet, you can never expect it to do better in huge construction jobs. Nevertheless, it is perfect for DIYers and beginners who want to try their hands in simple woodworking jobs.
Essential Factors to Consider When Selecting a Small Compact Miter Saw
Once you know what the experts recommend, you will never be at a loss about which brand to choose because you can now narrow down your options. Nevertheless, it will also help if you know the following essential factors to consider when buying a compact miter saw:
Power and Accuracy
These two factors are crucial to the selection of a compact miter saw. When buying a miter saw, you need to try them on different materials to figure out if they will offer accurate cuts. Of course, you can’t test them individually because the sellers will not let you try them. So, you need to rely heavily on the feedback given by those who have already used them. Inputs from expert users will provide you with a wealth of information about how accurate and powerful a compact miter saw cuts.
Another way to know the power of a miter saw is to learn more about its motor. Does it come with a powerful motor? If it has a powerful motor, most likely, it is capable of cutting well. It is easy to deduce that if a saw has a powerful motor, it has enough power to make bevel and miter cuts.
You can also take the path of trial and error. You can buy a compact miter saw and use it for several months to see if it will provide you with accuracy and enough power. Then, you can buy another compact saw to compare it.
But such a course of action will be costly and time-consuming. So, it will be best to rely on expert reviews and feedback to figure out if a saw can provide you with an accurate cut and know if its motor is powerful enough for your needs.
Portability and Accuracy
Another factor that you can consider when buying a compact miter saw is portability. Most compact saws, of course, are portable because they are small and lightweight. Yet, they vary in design. Some have better handles for easy carrying. Some are also more ergonomic than others. The weight range of compact miter saws is from 25 pounds to 37 pounds. Hence, most of them are lightweight.
Beveling and Mitering
Miter saws came into existence to make bevel and miter cuts. So, if you will buy a compact miter saw, you should check if they are reliable in making bevel and miter cuts. Of course, you should not overburden a compact miter saw with heavy workloads. Nevertheless, you should be able to use it when you need to make bevel or miter cuts.
Laser Guide and Cutline Markers
When looking for a compact miter saw, you should also check if it comes with a LED indicator or laser guide. The laser guide can delineate the cutline you need to make on the material. With such a laser guide, you can increase the accuracy of cuts. But if you would ask me, I like the laser guide more for the additional safety it provides me, for it tells me where not to position my hands when cutting.
On the other hand, the LED indicator can provide you with a cutline marker in a different way. You will find the LED indicator just above the blade, and it casts a shadow onto the cutting board, which serves as a cutline marker.
Dust Collection System
Compact miter saws, even if they are small and compact, may produce billows of sawdust. If it doesn’t have a dust collection system, you may end up dirtying your whole shop and maybe compromising your health. So, it will be good to look for a compact miter saw that comes with an excellent dust collection system that could collect up to 75% of sawdust to 100%.
Frequently Asked Questions on Compact Miter Saws
After knowing the most recommended miter saws and the factors to consider, you’re now in a better position to make a wise purchase. Nevertheless, you will indeed benefit from being cognizant of the following frequently asked questions:
What is the Compact Miter Saw Best for?
You can use the compact miter saw for making various cuts. It will surely come in handy when making angled cuts. Moreover, it is suitable for making frames, moldings, and making small wood items. As you get the hang of using your miter saw, you will find many ways to utilize your compact miter saw for your different smaller woodworking projects.
Can You Use Compact Miter Saw to Cut Metal?
Of course, you may cut metal using your compact miter saw. But I am sure you will not attempt to do it, for it is not for such a purpose. The compact miter saw may bog down if you force it to cut metal. So, it will be best to restrict its use to woodcutting.
The compact miter saw, as mentioned above, has a smaller size than that of a 10-inch miter saw. So, size-wise, it can cut smaller and less thick materials. They may also be cordless and lightweight. With their small sizes, you will quickly distinguish them from larger miter saws. The compact miter saw might be your best option if you need something portable and not space-consuming. Moreover, if you are a beginner or a DIYer, you will find the compact miter saw a great choice.
You can use the compact miter saw for small cutting jobs. Besides, you don’t want to overuse it or overburden it with heavy workloads. More often, you want to reserve its use to simple angled cuts and light workloads. Furthermore, the compact miter saw is not for industrial usage. As such, if you want to raise your woodworking activities a notch higher, you can go for a larger miter saw instead of settling for a compact miter saw.
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.