People have asked me what I think about uses for a variety of saws and one of the most common questions is what do I think is the best miter saw for trim work? The word “best” can come with strings attached that include whether we are talking about the highest end, money-is-no-object saw, or if we are saying the “best” saw in a fairly affordable category. Since most people I know are either hobbyists or semi-professionals, they are typically looking for the best miter saw for trim work that they can buy without breaking the bank. So I’m going to answer that question based on affordability for the average person.
Trim work can be tricky because it seems like any old saw would be functional enough to handle it, but you really want something that is going to be flexible enough for you to get the precision but lightweight enough to be portable and use on the job site.
Because most finish work consists of smaller pieces of wood, I think that a 10” compound miter is probably my favorite. It is lightweight enough to move around with me, but precise enough to give me good results so that corners and edges fit on the first cut. An 8 1/2” blade may work as well, but it is more specialized and therefore not as versatile to be used for other items on a project as well. A 12” blade is really just too bulky for the needs of trim work and finishing. So for this kind of work I vote for a 10” blade.
Power and Precision
For trim work and finishing, about 15Amps and 5000 RPMs is enough to get a powerful cut without over-doing it and sacrificing precision. This provides durability while still maintaining accuracy in each and every cut. I have found that somewhere around 10 positive stops, or more, is enough to provide you with the precision and efficiency you need while still keeping the saw in an affordable price range.
Fences and Locks
Of course, in order to make precise cuts carefully, you’ll want to be sure that your compound miter saw has a tall enough fence to allow for support when cutting base moldings and crown moldings that are oversized. Even better, if the fences will slide out of the way easily, you’ll be able to quickly switch back and forth to bevel cuts without a great deal of hassle. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a cam lock to be able to carefully adjust the position in an accurate and safe manner.
Best Miter Saw for Trim Work
With all of these features in mind, my pick for the best and most affordable compound miter saw for trim work is:
DEWALT DW713 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
With 11 positive stops, 15 amps, no-load speed of 5000 RPMs, 10” saw blade, tall fence, cam lock, positive bevel stops at 0 and 45 degrees, and stainless steel adjustable miter detent override, this machine offers power, value and flexibility.
Finish work is quick and easy, while work on the jobsite is simple with this portable, 35 pound durable compound miter saw with a built-in carrying handle. In addition, the DeWalt comes with one year of free service, a three year limited warranty, and a 90-day money back guarantee in case there are any problems. This one runs in the $450 range or less, depending on the type of deal you can find, and that makes it fairly affordable for almost anyone but durable enough to hold up for several years of trim work and cutting on a hobbyist level.
This DeWalt compound miter saw also has the option to be compatible with the DW7187 adjustable miter saw laser system to allow for even more precise cuts. I don’t have this but I can imagine that it could create an even more spectacular version of what is already a pretty great saw. The saw comes with a 10” carbide saw blade, blade wrench, as well as a dust catcher bag (which most people find to be fairly inadequate on any brand or type of saw).
For an all-around, affordable trim and finishing saw, this DeWalt is my favorite 10” compound miter saw. For its durability, flexibility, company guarantee, and portability, this little saw packs a big punch. Plus, for about $100 you can add on the DeWalt table with mounting brackets to get yourself set up on a job site or in your shop. This is an all-around good deal and the best miter saw for this particular need.