Buying Guide

Buying Guide: Miter Saw & Miter Saw Stands

A miter saw is a versatile and indispensible tool in your workshop, particularly if you frequently have to indulge in DIY activities and some precise wood work. There are a wide range of options available depending on your requirements, eg what type and sizes of material you are using, are there compound and bevel cuts, availability of power outlets, etc.

There are basically 3 types of miter saws:

Basic Miter saw: These do not have bevel or slide. They can provide for cross cuts and miter cuts only. It is easy and faster to operate and more accurate. Being lightweight it is also more comfortable

Compound Miter saw: These have single or dual bevel and can do bevel and compound cuts also. These are more versatile, by allowing bevel cuts in both directions without flipping the work.

Sliding Compound Miter saw: These have single or dual bevel plus the slide. And can perform all types of cuts. The sliding head allows you to cut through wider work pieces.

A variation is the Cordless miter saw. This has better portability. Do consider the power capacity and carry extra batteries or lithium-ion battery. The blade diameter and sliding ability are key determinants for cutting capacity. The standard blade diameters are 10 inches and 12 inches. In dual bevel saws the bevels range from -50 inches to + 50 inches.

When working with a compound miter saw in a wood shop, there would usually be a long table to the left and right of the miter saw. However, when away from the wood shop, the best way to accommodate a compound miter saw is with portable miter saw stand. There are a variety of such portable stands available in the market.

Features of a Miter Saw stand

Therefore for both professional, DIY woodworkers and even furniture makers, where accuracy is imperative, it is necessary to have a portable miter stand. Essentially it is a work table for your saw and designed to take miter or bevelled cuts. The stand allows you to work at a convenient height, adjusted accordingly, rather than working on the floor. So what all should you consider while looking out for a portable miter saw stand:

  • The stand should have folding legs. This provides it with portability and easy storage.
  • The legs should be sturdy enough and well positioned apart to provide all round stability while working.
  • The legs should be adjustable and lockable, so that you may adjust the height as per your suitability. A levelling foot would be an added advantage in uneven flooring. The stand should have casters so that portability is easier and can be quickly moved from one job to the other. These wheels, if pneumatic would be preferable
  • The miter saw stand should have well designed pre-drilled holes so that the saw can be secured to the table.
  • The table should also have reasonable extension arms and rollers to support the longer wood pieces while working. Do check on the lumber clamps and its rigidness, since, if it is loose it would hamper sawing quality.

In some of the models there are aluminium support rails and quick release tool mounts, which allows it to be fitted with multiple brands of saws, making it universal. Do ensure that the miter stand can be folded to occupy as less space in the boot of your car. Some stands weigh between 30-70 lbs, having aluminium construction, though there are ones available made of steel tubes and slightly heavier. Most portable miter saw stands can be expanded to 16 ft and support material upto 500 lbs.

Normally, there should be a quick release lever or bracket bolt that would allow the saw to be attached to the table. It is recommended that the miter saw be dismantled from the stand while carrying it for safety purposes.

Budgets

Portable miter saw stands range from $ 200 to $ 350 depending upon the material of the construction, convenience features and the weight it can support. A number of brands of stands from reputed companies are available in the market, but first decide on the type of the miter saw and then suit it to the stand. Also do consider the length of lumbar you are likely to be working with, i.e. 13 ft or 16 ft.

Miter saw stands are a good investment to accommodate your miter saw, no matter you are a DIY aficionado or a professional wood worker. The stand will allow you to free up working space and make it much convenient to work and ensure precise quality to your work too. In case, the stands available in the market do not suit your needs do go ahead a build one. But do make informed choice after going through our buying guide.