Sliding mitre saw - big or small?

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
7 Oct 2021
Reaction score
Looking to buy my first sliding mitre saw and I'm tempted to get a large-ish one - so it can cope with small stock for cabinets etc and large stock for fencing and driveway gates/posts. In addition, a lot of the posts I've read here seem to suggest that it's best to get a saw that's capable of cutting thicker and wider timber than one first envisages (up to a point!) - it seems there are a few people who buy a medium capacity saw and then regret it when another project gets added to their list.

So my questions are:

If you consider small, medium and large saws... is there an argument to suggest smaller saws are more accurate than larger saws (so for small cabinet work - such as kitchen cabinet doors and fitted wardrobes etc. I'd be better off with a smaller saw??)??

Is there a 'sweet spot' for saw size? eg 12 inch blade?

I've had good experiences with Makita power tools over the years, so Makita will probably be on my short-list (I've not got as far as checking specs in detail yet)... and Bosch saws seem to have a decent reputation. I think I've ruled out Festool - as the Kapex seem to be very expensive and don't seem to match the capacity of other saws at half the price.

Saws that don't need a lot of space behind them have an obvious appeal - as I have limited space.

Any and all comments welcome.

Many thanks.
The only mitre saw I've ever owned is the 8" (216mm) Bosch GCM8SJL. Works great for me. It has a cut capacity of 70mm x 312mm at 0°. I make furniture and other small decorative peices. Do very little large carpentry/joinery work. So I rarely/never miss the larger blade capacity. I find it very easy to calibrate and remarkably accurate once dialled in. It does however take up a fair amount of space because of the long slider bars protruding at the back of the saw.
I understand the arguement for a bigger saw. I have a smaller 8" Dewalt which I use for general renovation. Main reason for this is that its light and easy to move because I work in the room in the house I am doing. I don't have a fixed workbench. I can't say I have found the capacity to be an issue on what I have to do but I do have a bigger flip saw which I mostly use in the table saw configuration but can be flipped as a bigger non sliding mitre saw. I bought it years ago from a guy who sold it because it was too heavy to move around. (He was a van based chippy). The other thing I like about the Dewalt (apart from the shadow system) is the bars are integral so nothing to poke out the back so I can have the stand against a wall without any problem. With a small space I would look at a model that can do this.
I think if I did mostly workshop work I would go for the larger quality saw that I could get in my budget.
Depends on your budget! I'd love one of them Bosch articulated saws, someone in this forum got one on Amazon for silly money discount not so long ago.

I've been using Lidl sliding saw for years without problem, everything from roofing joists to slats for furniture. It takes a lot of space so hangs on the wall.

I got a smaller cordless saw which i keep handy but it's not nearly as capable as the big saw.
Last edited:
I've been using Lidl sliding saw for years without problem, everything from roofing joists to slates for furniture. It takes a lot of space so hangs on the wall.

Wow... I don't think there's wall strong enough in this house! :-(
Unless you get the modern style with fixed rails, big saws take a lot of space. Especially behind.
I chose a this because I like the quality and love the (rare) induction motor.
But it's a beast. The only way I get to even keep it, never mind use it is to have it on a rolling stand and pull it outdoors to use.
Unless you get the modern style with fixed rails, big saws take a lot of space. Especially behind.
I chose a this because I like the quality and love the (rare) induction motor.
But it's a beast. The only way I get to even keep it, never mind use it is to have it on a rolling stand and pull it outdoors to use.
View attachment 122791
Which model?

Cheers James
It's a bit like buying a car in that whatever you buy will be a compromise Land Rover great for a muddy field or snow, not so good on a twisty A or B road at speed, Aston Martin DB7 great on a twisty road at speed but I wouldn't take it onto a muddy field.

I ran a business for a number of years building decking and similar structures a lot work with 6" x 2", 3" X 3", 5" X 1" over the years I tried various makes Ryobi, Jet, Axminster, Clarke. all sliding mitre all with 8" blade some stood the test of time and abuse better than others and were accurate enough for the sort of construction work being done light enough to be carted from site to site and priced so as you wouldn't loose any sleep it a 6" x 2" was dropped a bit hard on it.

Due to a change of business I needed something that was a lot more accurate and also reasonable dust extraction as it was going to be used in the workshop, after much research and several visits to a number of suppliers i brought a Bosch GCM 8 SJL wow what a difference to anything i had owned before needed little adjustment out of the box Really good dust collection large cutting capacity and with a little tweaking really able to cut very square accurate items. The only slight disappointment was the blade fitted on it I soon replaced that with a Fraud dedicated mitre saw blade and it took it up another level, i did have the original Bosch blade sharpened professionally and it did improve it greatly. It was still portable enough to take on site if required.

Move forward another 12 months and a change in business focus along with a total refit of the workshop and I needed something a bit more compact and as accurate as a mitre saw could be. I began research on a saw with minimal back space required, Makita LS1219L or Festool Kapex KS120REB or Bosch GCM 12GDL following reading more reviews than i care to remember, trawling various forums and visiting several showrooms I purchased the Bosch GCM 12GDL and I have to say its a fantastic saw super accurate, repeatable angle setting and returning to zero great power and capacity really accurate out of the box its slight weakness is dust extraction however it was always the plan to build it into an enclosure with infeed and outfeed benches each side with indexable stops. The supplied blade was good and I have purchased a number of Fraud blades and Bosch Blades, blade changing is very swift and I change according work and type of wood, the laser can be set up very accurately but does need tweaking if different blade kerfs are used I have fitted a shadow LED light to mine (around £7.50 from Amazon) and a bit of work with a hot glue gun. DeWalt sell a saw with one fitted but it isn't axial glide.

Well done if you have stuck with the post this far!!!
Twenty plus years working with wood, enjoying owning and using good tools has made me realise a couple of key points
Buy cheap buy twice
Don't get drawn into to wanting everything to match from one manufacturer I have a broad range of tool makes in the workshop as from experience no one brand makes the best of every tool.
If its a saw buy the best blade you can afford as it makes a real difference.
Peoples choices are their opinions which means there is no right or wrong i always try and visit a supplier where I can actually touch the tool as I believe you can tell a lot from the feel

Enjoy what you decide on and if I haven't board you senseless and you want to ask any questions then let me know

The induction motor makes it run like a radial arm. Smooth, relatively quiet, wind and cutting noises from the blade dominate.
Most of the dust extraction comes from the port built into the back of the blade guard, but the big alloy shroud does help. It still "leaks" dust but it's better than other SCMSs that I've used, noting that I haven't used the Bosch axial glide or a Kapex.
The work clamp is the best I've used with a push button fast action, and both side wings pull outwards to provide extra support.
I barely have space to store the thing but can't bring myself to sell it. There's nothing except the axial glide Bosch that I'd consider trading it in against.
This is not really an answer to your question, but I have a Wadkin BRA350 radial arm saw. The old, round arm one. Three phase, with a single/3ph converter. I use negative rake blades, which means that it does not try to climb out of the cut.

Now that cost me £200 (eBay). Then about the same for the converter. New motor bearings and slide rods. So probably around £500 all told.

Now the more interesting question is - given the size and flexibility of a large sliding mitre saw - what would I buy now? Well, one with the same motor power and cutting capability as the Wadkin would be something like the Bosch GCM12. About the same floor area, same blade diameter, single phase, and around £750. And 1/7th the weight. Still hefty at 30kg - but not three or four strong guys to shift the 213kg Wadkin!

So yes - given a buying decision now - I'd go for a big sliding mitre saw.
I've a 12" (is that big?) and feel a much smaller one would suffice looking at usage.
Minor consideration, it's a big heavy beast - smaller one would be possible to move / put away?
try cutting an 8" crown moulding on the smaller stuff......
mines a 305mm dia Dewalt pro was the biggest I could buy at the time.....
they were the first to import to the UK.....all the rest took a year or so.....
would I buy another...? oh yes but u can now get a 350mm machine.....
it's accurate enough to make picture frames and a dream when doing joists and rafter work....
I have only usd 90 tooth blades, one for hard wood, softwood, cr@p wood and another for man made products.....each blade is around the £70 when on offer.....
It is big at the back and just about manageable for a 72 year old with Arthritus.....
get rid of it for something smaller NEVER.....
try cutting an 8" crown moulding on the smaller stuff......
I think that's the decider? I've never strained the capacity of the saw, but I have strained my back
moving the saw.
Choose the tool to suite the majority of your work and use something else for the oddments?
I had one of the big Metabo sliding ones. In a single garage workshop it just took up too much space for the amount of use it got, so I got rid of it.
I had an Axminster(something) 250 saw for a great many years. Decent enough provided it was properly calibrated (which I only got right about a year ago). It had a number of downsides, chief amongst which was dust collection and the space needed front to back.

I decided to buy myself a better saw and purchased a Festool Kapex 120 REB (not the OP's favourite, I appreciate). It's an order of magnitude better in accuracy and dust collection but also an order of magnitude more expensive too.

I'd happily use this saw on most workshop projects, big and small but I doubt I would want to use it on really large stuff - certainly nothing beyond the stated capacity of the machine.

For me, smaller work tends to require more precision in terms of cut accuracy and repeatability. As I'm doing that inside my workshop it's also a place where I want the dust extraction to be best and the Festool does that very well.

If I'm cutting larger stuff, I less worried about pure accuracy and would probably be doing the work outside. A cheaper more rugged saw would be more suitable for stuff like that.
A big one will cut the small stuff but a small one can only cut the small stuff and at the time of purchase can you really say exactly what you will be cutting, so just get the largest and cut whatever you want.
My first serious mitre saw was a second hand DeWalt DW708 (12" blade). It was a great saw and it stayed square for years at a time. With the appropriate blade I used it for cutting aluminium extrusions too. I bought it on eBay and sold it for about the same price I bought it for 15 years later.
I upgraded to a Bosch GCM 12 GDL axial glide mostly for the space saving at the rear. It's workshop based so the extra weight is not a problem. One of the side fence castings broke recently and I was holding my breath re the price of the spare. It turned out to be £23.00 which I was pleasantly surprised at.
I would recommend going for the the largest blade saw you can handle/transport. If money is tight I'd recommend considering a second hand saw from Makita, Bosch, Dewalt as the spares are readily available and not too expensive. Over the last few years I come to look seriously at the Festool range but I can't see any significant advantages of their mitre saws over anyone else's, especially if you consider the huge price difference.
Last edited: