7 Best Chop Saws and Miter Saws for 2020
Best Chop Saws for Cutting Metal, Wood, and other Construction Materials
A chop saw isn’t pretty. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t complicated. It doesn’t take an apprenticeship program to learn how to use. But for getting things moving on the job site, it’s beautiful. What’s even more beautiful? Having the best chop saw on the market.
Chop saws are designed to cut a wide variety of materials, but they cut through hard construction materials very easily. Need to cut through metal, you need a chop saw. Need to cut through stainless steed, you need a chop saw. Need to cut through rebar, you need a chop saw. Need to cut pipes, you need a chop saw. You get the idea… (but if you’re looking for a good concrete saw, look here).
So, if you’re in the market for a new chop saw, let us help guide you toward the best chop saw for your needs. You may also realize that you need more than just a chop saw, and that its cousin, the miter saw, is what you need. We’ll take a look at those as well. We’ve got the brands, we’ve got the info and we’ve got the advice, so lace up the work boots and let’s get to it!
The 7 Best Chop Saws and Miter Saws
1. Evolution 15-Inch Steel Cutting Chop Saw (EVOSAW380)
Best Feature: Dry Cut for Metal
Cutting metal is always an intense operation, with a lot of noise, a lot of sparks, a lot of action and maybe a little bit of doubt as to whether the attempt will be successful. But with this Evolution Power Chop Saw, you can allay those concerns.
Oh, you’ll still get the noise, a few sparks and action, but the doubt will be gone. With a 15-horsepower motor, spinning a 14 or 15-inch blade at 2400 RPMs, this chop saw is going to cut pretty much anything you lay in its vise. It will cut up 2 x 2 mild steel (also known as low carbon steel) and many other materials (wood, aluminum, etc.) with ease, creating less heat, fewer sparks and faster, cleaner results.
This is a dry cut saw and it uses an 86-tooth saw blade with the pitch of the teeth adjusted for metal. It will do miter cuts from 0 to 45° and with its quick release vise, production moves along at a good pace. For safety’s sake, this is equipped with a chip deflection shield to protect the user from flying pieces of metal (you should always wear eye protection regardless), and there is a chip collection tray to keep the sharp slivers from migrating around the work area.
Despite the summary product description, this ships with a 14-inch blade. Though, upgrading to a 15-inch blade is highly recommended. These blades can withstand up to 1000 cuts before needing to be replaced. Following a few simple cutting techniques (in the video below) can help extend the life of your saw blade.
Last, but not least, this chop saw does not require any lubrication of any of the motor bearings. In fact, all the motor bearings in this machine will never need to be lubricated over the life of this saw. This saves a lot of time with maintenance and worrying about proper bearing lubrication.
Overall, an absolutely fantastic chop saw and perhaps the best chop saw on the market for 2020. One of the best chop saws for welders too.
The life of this chop saw can be extended by using dust extractors as well as regularly cleaning the chop saw’s air vents using compressed dry air, either by using a dry air blower or canned compressed air.
2. Milwaukee M18 Fuel – 10″ Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Okay, so it’s not technically a chop saw (more on that here) but it’s one heck of a saw if you plan on doing more than just a few simple cuts. We won’t discuss Milwaukee as a brand because we’ll assume you already know how great their reputation is. But we will discuss this M18 Fuel Chop Saw which is an absolute powerhouse.
The first thing to note about this miter saw is that it’s one of the best portable chop saws on the market. Weighing only 45 lbs., it’s light enough that you can carry it like a lunch box with its built-in handles on the top and side. Powered by a high-demand 18V battery (sold separately), it’s cordless and can cut up to 400 cuts before needing to be recharged. Although that’s a lot of cuts, you might want to carry an extra battery pack around just in case, since there’s no option for an adapter to plug the saw in.
There’s no lack of power with this saw and many cannot tell the difference between this cordless miter saw and a corded miter saw. Its brushless motor provides up to 4,000 RPMs and cuts through just about anything you can throw at it. It’s especially good at cutting PVC.
This chop saw’s miter system is a cam locking system and the detent plate is made of stainless steel, so it’s very durable. There are 11 locations for the detent. There are nine detents in total for the dual bevel. The bevel lever is easy to access too, so you can focus on your work and not too much on adjustments. There’s also a chop lock lever on the front of the saw.
Blade changes are easy and cuts with the Milwaukee blade are ultra-smooth. And, you’re able to get a nice accurate cut with the shadow cut indicator. This is basically a light that’s positioned over top of the blade which casts a shadow on your material exactly where you’re going to be cutting it. The only downside is that it’s 10 inches but Milwaukee does make a similar 12-inch miter saw.
Heck of a miter saw by Milwaukee and makes for a good chop saw, especially if you have the need for both types of saws.
- Max Miter Capacity: 50 / 60
- Vertical Capacity (Against Fence): 5-3/4″
- Vertical Capacity (Nested Crown): 5-1/4″
- 90 Cross Cut Capacity: 2 x 12
- 45 Miter Cross Cut Capacity: 2 x 8
- 45 Bevel Cut Capacity: 2 x 12
See more info about this miter saw here:
3. DEWALT 14-inch Chop Saw (D28715)
Best Feature: Quick Blade Change
This powerful chop saw by DeWalt comes with a 15-amp motor, generating 5.5 horsepower and a no-load maximum 4000 RPMs, so plug it in and watch the blade spin. It will cut angles up to 45° and take on all sorts of wood, from dinky quarter-round to pressure treated 4 x 4s or even a bundle of steel wall studs.
A sturdy vice holds lumber in place during the cut, and the fence is quickly and easily adjusted for the various angles, using a patented “Quick Fence” feature.
The star of this show is its quick-change blade system. No tools needed, not even a little Allen wrench. It literally takes less than a minute to change blades. That way, changing blades needn’t become a 10-minute water break, unless you just want it to.
The motor doesn’t roar to life the second the trigger is pressed. Its “soft start” system allows the motor to rev up to speed gradually (like within two seconds). This is kinder to the motor and provides a lot more durability.
Overall, a good job by DeWalt considering the company can be a bit hit or miss depending on the product. However, when it comes to chop saws they’re making some of the best chop saws on the market, so kudos to DeWalt on a job well done.
4. Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw (Chop Saw)
Best Feature: Inexpensive
If you’ve never heard of Metabo, or a Metabo chop saw for that matter, there’s a reason for that. Metabo HPT is the new name for Hitachi in North America. The tools remain the same: same design, same color scheme, same dependability. That goes for this Metabo Miter Saw as well, it makes for a good chop saw, especially for the price.
This 10-inch compound miter saw has a hefty 15-amp motor, capable of delivering plenty of RPMs for powering through the toughest hardwood and the thickest cuts. The miter angle range is 0° to 52°, right or left, and this is a single bevel saw, with a bevel range from 0° to 45°, but on the left side only.
At the bottom, you’ll find a heavy, strong base that easily clamps (clamps not included) to a work table. But the saw does have one clamp – a lightweight clamp that holds the wood in place during the cut. You might find this clamp useful, or you might find it to be a waste of time. For one thing, it only goes down to two inches. Wood thinner than that will just slide underneath the clamp. Some users will likely end up ignoring this clamp. Hopefully, if they forgo the use of this clamp, they will rely on safe, common-sense practices throughout the project, because it is indeed a safety feature.
The bevel cut is only in one direction – left. And while you can make a 45° bevel cut, you have to remove part of the fence to go that high. Otherwise, with practice, a skilled operator can make do with the left-only option on bevel cuts.
The 15-amp motor spins the 10-inch blade at 5,000 RPMs without a load, which is pretty darn good. The blade is a 24T TCT blade, with a middle-of-the-road tooth count that’s good for ripping, but still creates a smooth enough cut for cross-cutting. (The product information provides no data on the size of the kerf, however.)
This model comes with a five-year warranty – a nice warranty for a budget tool.
If you’re on a budget, the Metabo Miter Saw is going to be the best chop saw for you.
Best Feature: Best Affordable Chop Saw
We’re recommending the Toolman Chop Saw primarily for reasons of price and value. It’s not the Cadillac of chop saws, and it doesn’t try to be.
What it is is an extremely useful, highly-portable metal-cutting chop saw that won’t break the bank. Treat it with care, and it could give you many years of good service.
It can handle a number of materials, including ferrous and non-ferrous metals, using a 14-inch, 80-tooth carbide-tipped blade, it can cut round and square metal piping, metal rods, rebar and more. The cuts are practically burr-free, and there are safety features to make sure the work shift ends as safely as it started. The 15-amp motor generates 3800 RPMs when not under load.
You can do miter cuts up to 45° on any material that fits on its cutting base, and with a quick-release clamp, move on to the next one easily. The saw ships with a 14-inch, 80-tooth, carbide-tipped blade, plus a 14-in abrasive disc.
Best Feature: Laser Marker for Greater Accuracy
Metabo makes the list again with this impressive looking miter saw, the Metabo C10FCH2S, equipped with a laser beam. No, the laser beam doesn’t do the cutting. (Although that would be really cool and we may see that in the future).
The laser beam has proven to be a hit with buyers. According to the company, “If you measure it right, you will cut it right.” The user inputs a value, and the laser draws a red line across the wood to be cut. That’s just about foolproof, but as everyone knows, some fools are not so easily turned away.
Another nice feature is the dust collector bag. While it’s not perfect and it’s not the biggest dust collecting bag in the world, it helps maintain a clean work area.
The motor is the same as in the previous model – 15 amps, spinning the blade at 5,000 RPMs without a load. Much of the cut quality is dependent on using the right blade for the cut material. This unit ships with a 24T TCT saw blade, which is aggressive enough for rip cuts but kind enough (but just barely) for crosscuts. Some users have opted for a higher tooth count blade for smoother cuts.
Changing blades is somewhere between easy and moderately challenging. If you’re mechanically skilled enough to take on a project that requires a miter saw, then this really should be an easy task for you.
A pivoting “flip fence” allows the user to snug up the wood securely for more accurate cuts around molding or other obstacles. While on the other Metabo saw, the safety clamp was seen as an encumbrance, here it is a real help in keeping hands away from the business end of the saw.
The miter angle range runs from 0° to 52° and the saw does bevels on the left side, up to 45°. There is an extension for longer pieces of wood.
7. DEWALT 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw (DWS779)
Best Feature: 3800 RPM Motor
This beast of a saw will cut molding up to 6-3/4 inches tall (vertically positioned), and thanks to the notched back fence design, it can cut dimensional lumber up to 2×16 at 90° and 2×12 at 45°. It’s an excellent miter saw and makes for one of the best chop saws too.
The DeWalt DWS779 does miter cuts up to 60° to the right and 50° to the left. It cuts bevels in both directions, up to 45°.
The boss of this solid machine is its 15-amp motor, which can spin the 12-inch blade at 3800 RPMs. Now that’s without a load, but put a slab of pressure-treated hardwood under the blade and see how much trouble it has making the sawdust fly. And, that would be none.
Besides, there wouldn’t be much sawdust flying around anyway, because this miter saw has one of the best dust collection systems in the field, capturing 75 percent of the sawdust that’s generated by the cutting process. Only the tiniest specks escape being bagged by this saw.
Other miter saws are more portable than this, but what would you expect for a brute that does what this saw does? It weighs 56 pounds. While setting this up at a job site would be a bit of a challenge, it’s still practical, albeit with a little pre-planning and a sturdy table.
The DWS779 includes DEWALT’S Cutline Blade Positioning System that provides a cut line indication for better accuracy and visibility – no tricky adjustments needed. The steel rails are sturdy and dependable and the clamping mechanism provides great protection for the operator as well as accuracy for the work at hand.
It ships with a 12-inch carbide blade that will stay sharp for months of everyday use of this saw.
Chop Saw vs. Miter Saw: What’s the Difference?
You can cut so many different materials with a chop saw or miter saw, it may be tempting to say “Ah, just throw some money at something, and it’ll be all right.” Funny thing is, you could be right. These tools are very similar in function and style, and, well, you really can’t go wrong with any of them on our list. In fact, either one of them can make for the best chop saw, it really depends what you’re looking for.
What to Look for in the Best Chop Saw
As with any purchase for someone in the construction industry (or any other industry, for that matter), the most important consideration is what you encounter most often in your job, day-in and day-out. If you do a lot of metal cutting – pipes, rebar, metal studs, etc. – and not so much wood, then a basic chop saw might be all you need. If you do a lot of framing, molding installation or general carpentry with a lot of angles, then a versatile miter saw might be a better option.
You can cut metal with a miter saw, and you can cut wood with a chop saw. It’s really all in the blade. The higher the tooth count, the finer the cut, and the higher the tooth count, the denser the material you can cut. But chop saws have more features that make them better choices for cutting metal – safety features, like particle shield and particle collectors. Sawdust is one thing, flecks of metal is something else.
Heavier chop saws are more durable, steadier and safer. But they’re harder to tote back and forth from the job site. If you’re apt to be in the same spot for weeks or months, then get a heavier one that’s in a central location not too far from where you park. If you’re here one day and there the next day, then a lighter one might be a better choice, but you never want to totally sacrifice quality for portability. Find a happy medium.
And finally, what do we always say? READ THE USER REVIEWS!
Good. You’ve been listening. Good day, and Godspeed!