A radial arm saw is a vital tool for any sort of woodwork. This versatile machine is used for many tasks such as cutting and shaping wood. Its versatility is what makes the tool a fan favorite amongst carpenters.
But because this is a very commonly used tool, there are different variations of the product available in the market. Therefore, choosing the right model has become a bit difficult.
If, by any chance, you don’t end up buying the best radial arm saw in the market, you might not get the quality that you desire in your woodwork. Radial arm saws that are not sharp enough or just don’t work that well can significantly harm the wood you are working with.
To avoid ruining very expensive wood, you should only invest in the right kind of radial arm saw for your project at hand. And this is where we jump in to help.
In this post we'll cover:
- Benefits of Radial Arm Saw
- 7 Best Radial Arm Saw
- Types of Radial Arm Saws
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Benefits of Radial Arm Saw
Radial arm saws became very popular in the mid-1920s. The saw was a revolutionary tool for all carpenters due to its convenience. Here are a few reasons why the product is so popular.
A radial arm saw is very flexible; you can move it very easily without applying much pressure.
Projects that previously required a lot of time could now easily be done in minutes with an arm saw. That is how efficient the tool is.
It’s a Two-in-One Tool
One of the main features that compel buyers to invest in this saw is cutting both miter and rip cuts.
Miter saws were also very popular in the early days. However, it soon lost its value when radial arm saws came to play. Since the radial arm saw can cut both miter and rip cuts, it is pointless to get both — a miter saw vs radial arm saw. One single radial arm saw can now do both tasks with excellent finishing quality.
7 Best Radial Arm Saw
We understand that finding the right product amongst the thousands of options available can be confusing. To make things easier for you, we have listed some of the top products in the market.
DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw, 12-Inch (DWS779)
DEWALT is a very renowned brand when it comes to any sort of hardware tools or machines. When we are talking about DEWALT products, durability is a given feature. The company has a very loyal group of customers because of the quality and longevity the company provides.
The DWS779 by DEWALT lives up to the brand’s name. Having to replace a radial arm saw can be an expensive task for sure. Made with stainless steel parts, this unit, even with regular use, will not get any dents. Therefore, you won’t have to replace this tool for years to come.
Even the mechanics of the tool is quite impressive. This radial arm miter saw has stainless steel miter plates on the blades. Added with this are 10 positive stops.
The precise miter system and the machine base fence support give you performance like no other. These two features work together to give you a Cam lock miter handle. Getting an accurate angle is made easier with the Cam lock miter handle.
Because the sliding fences are so tall, they can support a 6-3/4-inch base vertically with no hassle at all.
Another feature that this thing has is the ability to bevel 0 degrees to 48 degrees in both left and right directions.
- Durable product that will last you a long time
- Comes with 10 positive stops
- Machine base fence with precise miter system
- Tall sliding fences that can support 6-3/4 inch base
- Can bevel 0-48 degrees in both left and right directions
- Blades might warp with prolonged use
DEWALT products always ensure quality and durability. Having a radial arm saw that can bezel in both left, and right directions from 0-48 degrees can be helpful for a lot of wood-related tasks. Check prices here
Metabo HPT 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw
The better the motor on your radial arm saw, the better it will perform.
An added 15 Amp motor on this compound miter saw gives you efficient and controlled cuts. With a no-load speed of 5000 RPM, this miter saw can cut through the toughest and thickest kinds of wood.
Although the unit is quite powerful, it weighs only 24.2 lbs. The lightweight miter saw can easily be moved from one workspace to another if needed.
Blades on the unit can be moved from 0-52 degrees both in the left and right direction. Ease of maneuvering helps you get cleaner cuts without having to put in much effort. Movement in both directions also increases the flexibility of the machine.
Because you get a large tabletop, you get to work freely without having to worry about space. The table gives you better project clamping that ensures a stronger hold.
Adjustable bevel stops help with accurate and precise cuts while maintaining safety. To make your working process quicker, the unit comes with thumb stops as well.
- A large tabletop allows you to work freely
- Secure clamping for batter safety at work
- Adjustable bevel for precise cuts
- Thumb stops make the tool more efficient
- Weighs only 24.2 lbs.
- Factory set alignment is off, needs to be set manually
Radial arm saws that give you a large working space can be great to have for work. With more space, you get to work freely and more comfortably. Weighing just 24.2 lbs, this unit is also the perfect tool for people who have to travel for work. Check prices here
BOSCH Power Tools GCM12SD Miter Saw
The blades on your miter saw the most important part of the tool. If the blades on the miter saw are dull or not strong enough, the wood you are working with will get a choppy finish.
This miter saw from Bosch has a 60 tooth saw blade that helps cut through any sort of wood with ease. Therefore the cuts that you make are smoother and cleaner.
An axial glide system helps you make these cuts in seconds. The system also allows a wider cross-cut and much better alignment.
When it comes to size, this tool is quite compact. No need to spare too much room for the unit, it will easily fit in any corner of your office or workspace.
Working with this miter saw is not complicated at all. Easy adjustment and the visible and easy-to-read bevel make the tool quite beginner-friendly.
To make things even easier, all sorts of controls, such as the upfront bevel control, range selector, and metal bevel lock lever are located in the front of the machine. Unlike the other miter saws in the market, you won’t have to reach the back of this product to get access to the settings.
- As a 60 tooth saw blade for sharp cuts
- Axial glide system to make smoother cuts
- Does not take much of your workspace
- All controls are placed at the front of the machine
- Bevel is clearly visible and easy to read
- Axial arm is not the most accurate; needs manual adjustment
Miter saws with a 60 tooth blade like this one can be great for cutting through wood like butter. All the buttons for settings being placed at the front of the machine make it a lot easier to use during rush hours. Check prices here
CRAFTSMAN V20 7-1/4-Inch Sliding Miter Saw Kit
It’s not necessary for a good quality miter saw to be expensive. There are many options that you can get at an affordable price, such as this Craftsman one.
The powerful motor of 3800 RPM helps you make cuts in seconds. You can use this unit for cutting wood, hardwood, 2X dimensional lumbar, and baseboard; it’s that powerful!
Available at a reasonable price, this machine will fit almost everyone’s budget.
To ensure that the cuts you are making are straight and aligned, the machine comes with an LED cut line positioning system. Both beginners and professionals will benefit from this feature.
A 5-1/2 inch cross-cut at 45 degrees and an 8-inch cross-cut at 90-degrees will ensure better slide capability. Vertical cuts of 3-1/2 inch baseboards and 3-5/8 inch nester crowns can be made with this Craftsman V20 sliding miter saw as well.
When it comes to adjustments, you can use the casted miter detent stops. There are 9 of these available on the unit.
We highly suggest getting this miter saw kit if your job requires you to travel a lot. Not only is the unit lightweight and compact, but it also comes with side carry handles. This helps you to carry the entire machine without having to put it in an extra carrying bag.
- Available at a reasonable price that fits everyone’s budget
- An LED cut line positioning system is available for straighter cuts
- Casted miter detent stops available for making adjustments
- Comes with side carrying handles for ease of carrying
- Ensures better sliding capability with 5-1/2 inch cross-cut at 45 degrees and an 8-inch cross-cut at 90-degrees
- Not the most durable unit; has a history of self-destructing
The side-carrying handles make this a must-have kit for traveling workers. It is available at a reasonable price and has an LED cut line positioning system that makes the unit great for beginners and professionals. Check prices here
BOSCH CM10GD Compact Miter Saw
If you’re looking for a radial arm saw that is great for accurate and precise cutting, this one might be the perfect option for you.
The axial glide system helps you to get more precise and error-free alignment. This also gives you wider cross-cuts.
Using a radial arm saw for cutting at an angle can be a bit tough. But with this machine, you get precise cutting controls that help you cut at all angles with ease.
If you are a professional woodworker, you probably have to chop cut in large volumes. You can now lock the head in place using the crown shop lock to increase chop cutting efficiency.
To help you make easy adjustments, the machine also features bevel controls in the front of the unit. Square lock precision fences help you make the adjustments quickly.
Do you hate having to clean up all the wood chips after work? Well, with the added dust collection chute, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up anymore. A vacuum adapter sucks in all the dust (best for your health), debris, and wood chips for you.
With the sliding rail system replaced, this machine has a very compact structure. It takes up only 10 inches of your workspace. So if you don’t have much space to spare, you can easily get this model instead of a slide miter saw.
- Precise controls help you cut at an angle easily
- Replaces the sliding rail system for a compact design
- Bevel controls are large and placed upfront for ease of access
- Vacuum adapter helps clean all the wood chips and dust
- Axial glide system for error-free straight cuts
- Some parts of the tool are made of plastic that can break easily
This is the miter saw you need to get if you want to easily cut at an angle. With the sliding rail removed, the product can be quite easy to store and travel with. Check prices here
Makita LS1040 10” Compound Miter Saw
If you’re planning on cutting larger or thicker types of wood, you need a larger blade on your saw. This Makita compound miter saw comes with a 10-inch blade.
The blade is obviously sharp, but the powerful 15 amp direct-drive motor helps drive it to any kind of wood very easily. This motor now has improved performance with 4600 RPM. So your cuts are made faster as well.
You get a dual post compound pivoting arm on the unit. The capability to cut from zero degrees to 45 degrees in the left direction and zero degrees to 52 degrees in the right direction makes the saw quite flexible. Using the bevel, you can cut up to 45 degrees in the left direction.
The miter saw has factory set cutting points in both right and left, and in zero degrees. These points pre-set cutting adjustments that let you make quick cuts. In total, the product has 9 different factory set cutting points.
On top of all that, the Makita model is very durable. Along with its dual slide rails, dual aluminum base, and a carbide tip blade, this also has a machined aluminum base. So even with regular use, you won’t have to replace this unit in a few years for sure.
- Has large 10-inch blade to cut through any kind of wood
- Powerful 15 Amp direct-drive motor helps you get effortless cuts
- Miter stops at 9 different settings for ease of use
- Comes with a machined aluminum base that adds durability
- Added dial post compound pivoting arm
- No LED light guideline for straight cut feature
This one from Makita is a strong saw that can cut through wood effortlessly. The aluminum base helps make this unit durable. For smoother operation, the miter stops at 9 angles, including left, right, and 0 degrees. Check prices here
Hitachi C10FCG 15-Amp 10″ Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
With a working speed of 5000 RPM, this miter saw will be the perfect addition to any professional workplace. A compound miter saw at such a speed can increase your work efficiency significantly.
Weighing only 24.2 lbs., the unit can be moved with ease by hand. Workers who have to be on the go will love a portable miter saw like this.
An added dust collector helps keep your workspace cleaner. This way, you can focus on cutting wood rather than worrying about the mess you are creating. It also saves you from having to spend hours cleaning up wood chips after working a tiring shift.
The 5000 RPM speed is powered by a 15 AMP motor. So cuts on the wood are made smoothly in seconds.
A large table allows you to move the wood piece as needed to make accurate cuts. It also opts for more secure clamping when working.
For cutting, the miter saw has a right and left direction range of 52 degrees. 0-45 degree range of the bevel ensures cleaner and more flexible bevel cuts.
- 5000 RPM for fast and efficient cuts
- Powered by a 15 AMP motor for easy cutting
- Left and the right range of 52 degrees
- Bevel cuts can be made in 0-45 degree range
- Dust collector added to keep work station clean
- Needs to be maintained properly; otherwise, the unit might smoke
With 5000 RPM and a powerful 15 AMP motor, speed and ease of cutting are a given with this tool. The dust collector helps you focus on your work, and the specious table helps you move freely. Clamps on the table ensure that the wood piece is held in place safely for cutting. Check prices here
Types of Radial Arm Saws
The main difference that makes saws different is the type of material they can work with.
There are mainly two kinds of radial arm saws, and here is the difference between the two:
Most radial saws are of this kind. These are the most commonly used modes. A great way to identify them is by their weight and their capability to stand on the floor. Usually, these are fixed on the floor and cannot be moved.
The weight range for these is around 200 pounds. Once bought, you have to install them permanently in your workspace. So they have a designated spot in your office.
Stationary arm saws provide a wider range of bevel adjustment and saw blade sizes.
Although these are expensive, they last a long time and need little to no maintenance.
Benchtop arm saws are not that commonly used. These kinds of arm saws can be moved and have a portable design.
These are lighter than stationary arm saws and much more affordable as well.
This type of arm saw is recommended for at-home DIY carpentry or smaller tasks. They cannot handle the same amount of pressure that a stationary arm saw can.
It’s a model that is usually recommended to beginners so that they can brush up their skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a radial arm saw good for?
The radial arm saw, and the table saw are replacements of each other. This means they more or less have the same functions. So anything that a table saw can do, radial arm saw can do as well; this includes simple cuts, miters cuts, cross-cuts, etc. But a radial arm saw is smoother and can work much more efficiently.
- What can you not do with a radial arm saw?
It is a bit difficult to do ripping with a radial arm saw. It is not that you cannot do it at all, however, it might be too dangerous.
- Do you push or pull a radial arm saw?
When you are using a radial arm saw, you need to pull the saw forward to make the perfect cut, and the wood will easily push itself to the fence.
- Can a radial arm saw cut angles?
You can tweak the angle of the blade; however, the cut can only be made in one direction. With an arm saw, the miter cuts can be made at 60 degrees, and they can bevel up to 90 degrees. These angles might differ from brand to brand.
- How much does a radial arm saw cost?
There are lots of variants of the product in the market right now, and each product has a different price. The price depends on a lot of factors like brand, quality, feature, performance. But in general, the price of an average radial arm saw ranges from $100-$500.
Because it is such a well-loved tool, the number of arm saw models in the market has increased significantly. Choosing one that will not harm your precious wooden project can be tough at times like this.
But if you know what exactly you want from a radial arm saw, your selection process will be a lot easier.
Always go for a model with multifunctional arm saws, a dust collector system, speed, and a powerful motor. Only a product with features that will help you with your specific wood task will be the best radial arm saw for you.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.