Whichever miter saw you choose, the blade and motor play an essential role in delivering accurate cuts and sturdy performance. Once the motor starts spinning under load, that’s where the actual task of converting a wooden piece into delicate carpentry begins. You could get all that in a lightweight portable setting, here we have, after a thorough study and testing, gathered a comprehensive guide of 4 best 8 1/2″ sliding miter saws offering powerful, cordless compact solutions to our users.
Along with professionals someone has to think about the beginners too, obviously, they’d need something to fit their needs… right? For their convenience without any compromise on the power, 8 ½ inch chop saws came for survival. These power-packed tools come in small packages but create a great cutting experience. Investing a huge price in the miter saw doesn’t seem like a feasible choice for beginners, these compact ones offer precise woodworking skills at a pretty cool, rational price.
8 1/2 ” Sliding Miter Saw Reviews 2021
These powerful saws have transformed the lives of everyone, from homeowners to enthusiasts, to professional carpenters and construction builders, by saving them all from the exasperations of dealing with the old, typical power tools. Below mentioned saws are not only powerful but compact enough to make transportability breezy.
1. Makita 8 1 2 Miter saw – Ideal for finishing
A great selection in our compact sliding compound miter saw list Makita LS0815F, same as all the other miter saws crafted by Hitachi, is one of a class in its own. Though it is extremely lightweight (31 pounds) and portable but they don’t compromise on their power and accuracy. Compactness along with the clear blade guard, adds more visibility value to this saw.
However, never compare 8 ½ with other 10 or 12-inch miter saw, that wouldn’t be fair as they are offering every modern feature you’d find in the bigger ones, besides its 10.5-ampere direct-drive motor with a soft-start allows for a smooth start with constant power delivery without having to worry about the belt slip and the electric brake on the motor stops the motor within seconds on pressing the trigger, thus adding extra safety along with convenience.
Makita with the cross cut capacity of 12-inches and 8 ½-inches at 90 and 45 (miters) degrees respectively offers dead-on accurate angles. The saw miter 0° to 50° to the left and 0 to 60° to the right with positive stops both left and right at the most common angles: 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°, and 50° plus an additional 60-degrees to the right.
Not only that but the dual handle with the easy access lock controls at the back allow the saw to bevel at 0°- 48° to the left and 0°- 5° to the right with the positive detent stops at 0° along with 45° to the left.
The D-shaped horizontal handle with rubberized grip further adds to the user comfort, your hand wouldn’t tire from the all-day work fatigue. The linear ball bearings with the luminous LED light brightens the line-of-cut offering the ideal cutting experience by delivering dead-on accurate cuts.
2. Bosch GCM18V – Best Portable 8 1/2 Miter Saw
Want a pro cutting experience, then without an ounce of doubt go for Bosch’s latest cordless 18-volt battery sliding saw. The convenience of having to work without a cord on the job is beyond words. They are great manufacturers of innovation and their powerful 18 V portable design is an easy solution for every carpenter looking for trims, moldings, and floor installations.
The amperes the motor generates solely depends on the battery you use but it is recommended to use GBA18V80 8.0Ah and 12.0 Ah batteries for a powerhouse performance and cutting proficiencies. A newly installed MEGAWATT BITURBO technology offers an exclusive brushless motor combined with the drive-train system that offers extra power generated by the batteries for consistent performance and durability.
This 8 ½ inch single bevel compound miter saw has a capacity to cut 3-5/8-inch nested crown and 10-5/8 inch crosscutting capacity, this cordless tool can easily cut 47 degrees (miters) left to right against the fence, but bevels 45 degrees to the left only. The high performing Core 18V 8.0 Ah battery has the ability to deliver approx. 377 cuts per charge.
At various miter and bevel angles (0-45 degrees) with positive miter stops, you can get your desired cuts using different angle settings. Equipped with an 8 ½-inch diameter, is the 24-tooth carbide-tipped blade with thin kerf efficient for quicker, defined cuts. Almost like every other drop saw, its dust collection chute is not very effective but you can attach a shop vac or a sawdust collection hood for an efficient sawdust collection solution to help keep the work environment healthy.
3. Hitachi C8FSE – Ideal for beginners
C8FSE is a durable compact tool with an 8 ½-inch diameter tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) blade. This compact miter saw has a power packed 9.5-ampere motor which spins the blade at 5500 revolutions per minute (RPM) no-load speed. An electronic speed regulator is installed ensuring steady RPMs throughout the cutting, keeping the motor cool allowing you to get controlled defined cuts.
Don’t get deceived by this saw size, this versatile saw leaves no rough edges behind. The thumb-actuated easy to use controls allow smooth adjustments to the positive miter stops both right and left at the most common angles of 15.0, 22.5, 31.6, and 45.0 degrees. The upfront easy access controls allow you to alter the angles on the miter detent plates for creating perfect miters for floor installations, trims, baseboards, and crown moldings.
And the bevel adjustments on the bevel scale adjust the detent to the left at 48 degrees and 5 to the right for clear cuts. This saw with its pivot fence and linear ball bearings have the capacity to cross-cut larger wood pieces which are up to 2-9/16 inches in height and around 12 inches deep. A refined dust collection mechanism installed for keeping the work surrounding as well the saw’s components dust-free. Apparently like most other saws, their dust assembling feature is also not perfect but other options are available to deal with this issue.
They have installed a new splinter guard feature situated behind the fence to minimize tear-out for finished cuts. The vertical elastomer grip on the handle helps reduce the vibrations as well as the hand fatigue allowing you total control over the tool at all times. A large extension table along with built-in clamping stables secures the material from bending.
4. TACKLIFE PMS01X – Perfect for DIY’ers & homeowners
Tacklife is a lightweight (25.5 lbs) single-bevel portable miter saw with a powerful motor of 12.5 amperes spinning the 24-teeth tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) blade at a no-load speed of 4500 RPM. The 8 ½ inches 24-teeth blade promises strength, power, and durability. You can adjust the cutting depth of the blade for trenching and grooving.
The stretchable handle can easily make 7.87 inches almost 200mm wider deeper cuts by consistent back and forth pushing of the disc. As this is a smaller miter saw so its cutting capacity is also feasible for smaller projects like building cabinets or cutting trims, and also for moldings, other than wood, you can also slice plastic and soft metal using this saw. Easy to operate upfront control with cam lock and miter override detents for locking the saw head providing smoother, precise cuts and easy maneuverability.
It has a miter capacity of 45 degrees to the left and right and a bevel capacity of 0-45 degrees to the left. You can achieve a variety of cuts by setting the saw at various angles whether you are looking for a square, angular, miter, or compound cuts. The maximum cutting capacity at 0-degree bevel and 0-degree miter are 60 x 300mm, set the miter at 45 and bevel at 0 degrees and achieve 60 x 210mm cut, now adjust the bevel at 45° and miter at 0° and crosscut a 35 x 300mm board and finally set both angles at 45° x 45° and get a 35 x 210mm cut.
It is equipped with a good dust extraction mechanism that is able to collect a large amount of saw debris. But just in case you don’t find the dust extraction system effective, check our article on the miter saw dust collection to find a more suitable option. Extensible tables with vice material clamping for better stability and positioning of the boards are also provided.
What size blade do you use on an 8 1/2 sliding miter saw?
For an 8 ½-inch saw, choose a blade with a diameter of 8¼” – 8½”. You cannot use a larger size blade on this size saw or any other saw as well, use the size that is compatible with this one. This diameter blade can offer you different cutting capacities according to the various bevel and miter angles you’d set.
8 ½-inch saw with the same size blade has a maximum cutting capacity of up to 8 ½-inch at 45 degrees and 12 inches at 90 degrees. The general maximum cutting capacity at 0 degrees’ miter and bevel angle is 2-3/4 inch x 10 5/8 inch. And at 45-degree miter and bevel (left) it is around 1-1/2-inch x 7-1/2 inch.
You’d find different teeth count on the 81/2-inch blade, some have thick industrial kerf, others with narrow thin kerf, and some would be perfect for a trim while others are fit for numerous carpentry jobs. Make sure to buy the right blade size and right arbor (middle hole where the blade connects with the rest of the saw causing the blade to spin safely) size for your saw, 5/8 inch is a standard arbor size.
The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide of 8 1/2 Inch Miter Saw
Shopping for a miter saw can be frustrating and you wouldn’t want to spend hours browsing through the internet to find the best one. So, after thorough research, we have gathered some points for you to ponder before buying one:
- Power and Capacity
A sliding compound miter saw can easily cut angular, miter, and bevel cuts and are made to cut wood but are also able to cut non-ferocious metal and PVC. This clearly explains that they have a huge power capacity to go through various materials. The power of the motor is very important as it ranges from 9-ampere to 16-amperes, the higher the motor power, the better is the performance.
Though these ones are small in size and are lightweight as compared to their counterparts, they offer professional-level cutting efficiency. They are an ideal choice for trimming and moldings as they have a full crosscut capacity on a 2×12 inch board and 2×8 inches at 45 degrees. Use a finer blade, and see how perfect the cuts would get.
- Compactness and Portability
The main benefit of buying an 8 ½ inch saw is its compactness, obviously dragging the heavy saw all day long from one job site to another could be really tiresome, it could even affect your health, moving an 8 ½ inch saw with an easy to grip handle is a practical choice as carrying it around to install baseboards and flooring and even building decks becomes stress-free.
- Ease to operate
Whether you are a professional or a beginner, a miter saw with its sturdy built looks like a daring tool, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be difficult to operate as well. So choose the out-of-the-box accurate one with easy to access controls and easy to read and adjust miter and bevel readings. Always choose a flexible saw offering power, performance, and durability which functions like a performer.
- Blade Size
The blade size chosen must be compatible with the miter saw otherwise it would affect not only the material but also your safety. Larger blades can smoothly make long, deep cuts as compared to the smaller ones which are perfect for meticulous cuts at smaller jobs. For example, an 8 1/2 inch blade should be fitted into an 8 1/2 inch saw, as saws are generally designed to accept only their exact size of the blade.
Smaller blades have thin kerf, which cannot make deep cuts. You can put a small blade on a large saw, but you cannot put a larger blade on a smaller saw. E-g a powerful 12-inch blade on the 12-inch miter saw has the capacity to cut deeper, wider boards smoothly as compared to smaller blades.
- Laser guide
The laser guide is an important feature but it totally depends on the person using the miter saw. If you are a professional, then you can smoothly create accurate cuts without the laser marker but if you are a hobbyist or a beginner then this feature could be really helpful for you as it would help you align your blade with the cut-in line on the material.
Some tools are equipped with LED lights along with a laser guide for precision but some are not, in some you’d find a laser guide useful in others it’s inoperable. So the level of usefulness depends on what type of woodworker you are.
- Dust collection
It is one very essential feature to keep your health as well as the work environment clean. Most miter saws fail to provide an effective dust chute. Other ones include dust collection adapters or ports for vacuum hose as well sawdust hoods are available for maximum collection of sawdust or debris, so whichever option you opt, make sure that they provide optimum level efficiency. A number of dust collection hoods work well with both sliding miter saws and sliding compound miter saws.
With a vast variety of hood options available in the market, you can install door trims, oak flooring, window trims, and crown moldings without worrying about the clouds of dust flooding your saw and your workstation.
Buy the one with a clear blade guard to have the perfect view of the cutting line, the guard protects the saw portion above the table. The blade guard will completely cover the blade when you’ll raise the saw providing protection from the blade. Safety clamps will help secure the material, prevent it from warping and the spindle locks on the saw will lock the head while replacing the blade. The electric brake system installed on some saws, the minute you press the trigger make the saw stop spinning its blade within seconds. These are some useful safety features to bring into consideration before you decide on buying a miter saw.
- Single or dual bevels
A single bevel sliding compound miter saw can do all the cuts that a dual bevel will do, it’d just require a lot of time and effort because in a double bevel you can easily cut both sides of the material without having to rotate the board. But obviously, they are more expensive than the other, so if you are a DIY’er then choose a single one as they are easy to move otherwise go with a dual bevel miter saw.
10 and 12-inch sliding miter saws with extra rails and broad bases are heavier and hence require more space in the workstation which is a hassle, whereas 7 ¼ and 8 ½ are compact and easily fit anywhere on the workshop. So make your purchase keeping in consideration the size and weight along with the level of transportability you expect from the chop saws.
- Wood Size
Sliding compound miter saws are specifically designed to cut deeply through wide thick boards of wood that are greater than 8-inches and are up to 12-inches wide without the hassle of having to relocate the boards.
Thoroughly review the article before making the final choice of which brand to go with. All four of them are great compact tools, crafted by some recognized manufacturers, and then choose the one that perfectly fits your price range and matches your sawing needs. Though the saw size and blade are small, the sliding compound feature gives you most of the capabilities of a larger miter saw along with a strong power motor without the hassle of weight and movability.
None of the above industrialists have compromised on the performance and durability of the saw. It is always recommended to buy a good quality miter saw that can provide you accurate cuts as you wouldn’t want to waste your materials, time, and effort on something useless.
Happy Compact Saw Shopping!