I’ve been running the same miter saw since I got into woodworking back in 2013, it was a Rigid 12” saw and I bought it used for $80 from a friend. It held up great over the years until I dropped it off the back of my saw horses (I have video of that if you’re interested).
I’ve only used that one miter saw until switching to this Milwaukee M18 Portable Miter so keep in mind when reading this review, I don’t have a ton of experience on a lot of different saws so I can only compare it to the Rigid 12” and rate it’s usage up to this point.
The first huge thing for me is the fact that it’s cordless! What a dream. I knew cordless saws were on the market before owning one but I honestly didn’t think it would be that big of a perk. However, it’s a world of difference being able to tote the saw onsite and not have to mess with finding power. This is almost like using a nailer without a compressor for the first time….game changer. So just my recommendation to you: if you are in the market for a miter I would highly recommend going cordless.
Another note on portability is it’s weight. While this saw is actually the same weight as my old one, it is far easier to carry. Milwaukee provided two sturdy handles on the saw so that when it’s locked you are able to carry the saw right over it’s center of gravity with your dominant hand then have a secondary handle on the side for stability and support. Needless to say I find it fairly easy to lug around even if it is a big ‘ol clumsy thing to wrangle.
I found the battery life on the M18 battery to be spectacular. I recently did an abstract art piece that required just under 150 cuts through a 4×4 material and the battery was still going strong when I was through. I recently built a free standing porch swing and porch swing frame and knocked it out on a single charge and still had plenty of juice to spare.
I’ve that one charge can hold up to around 400 cuts through 2×4 material and while I haven’t tested that myself precisely, I can tell you that I go a week or more without changing the battery and use it damn near every day. Keep in mind, I’m not a finish carpenter so the miter isn’t my main tool but it is involved in every project I do.
I think my expectations on dust collection for miter saws are too high. The miter is the main contributor to saw dust in my shop (only second to the router) so I’m very keen on cutting it down when possible. The saw comes with a bag you can attach and it actually does an alright job but it simply isn’t enough. Now hooked up to a shop-vac, it actually does a decent job, or at least a better job than my last saw.
Changing The Blade
I got so frustrated changing blades on my last saw because there is no way to keep the blade guard out of the way while changing the blade. Milwaukee added in a small feature where you can actually lock the blade guard up and out of the way while you are swopping out blades. No tolls or switches required : ) *high five Milwaukee.
My last miter saw was not the sliding type, it was just a 12” blade that pivoted down like most others. The sliding capability is interesting; it’s a 10” blade saw but with it being able to slide forward and back, you can actually cut through a 1×12 in a single cut. I don’t know if I really have a preference at this point but one plus to the sliding is you can score your piece of wood first before completing the cut (reducing tear out). I don’t mess with this on my construction sort of projects, but having this feature available for when I’m cutting through Walnut or Oak sure is nice.
Something else that’s worth noting is how quickly the blade stops after you release the trigger. I don’t normally wait for the blade to fully stop before pulling up but if you are then there is a drastic difference between how quickly this blade stops vs my old saw.
Rather than using a laser light, Milwaukee incorporated a really bright LED and conveniently use the shadow of the blade as a reference for your cut line. The las saw did not have any type of light at all so I find myself really appreciating knowing the cut line before the blade gets to the material.
Adjusting the deck is quick and easy and there are a few preset stops at your major angles that are most often used.
The sliding fences are the only things on this saw that don’t really impress me. They have a single knob for locking them down and even when tighten fully, the fence can still be moved up and down. The fence extensions are also just loosely “tracked” and feel like they should have been easily designed a bit tighter.
Adjusting the bevel is simple enough as well. There is a lever at the back that you can lift up on and it will allow you to tilt the saw either to the right or left. As is the case with adjusting the miter angle, there are preset little notches or “detents” on the common angles. Surprisingly, when you need to adjust the bevel, it locks very securely in place and inspires a bit of confidence in the cut angle.
All in all I really like it. Again, my frame of references may not be as thorough as others who’ve been in the game for a long time, but in my 4+ years experience working around a miter saw, I can tell you this one is worth your consideration.
If you wanna another look at it from the Home Depot page, check it out here.
Thanks for dropping in to learn more about it. Cheers.
This review is sponsored by The Home Depot through their ProSpective campaign.