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Stationary machine, the radial miter saw can perform miter cuts, straight or angled. It is the ideal auxiliary for the manufacture of frames or furniture, the installation of parquet or paneling, the cutting of rafters or fences...

How to choose a radial miter saw

Used extensively by carpenters or carpenters, the radial saw is also the tool of choice for do-it-yourselfers who need to perform precise and repetitive cuts, for laying deck boards, cutting a piece of furniture or a ceiling, the realization of framing... It consists of a saw table, equipped with a ruleguide on which comes to rest the piece to be cut.
The electric motor unit is equipped with a circular saw blade (sawing head), mounted on a stem articulated on two axes (horizontal and vertical), allowing cuts to be made at different angles. The blade is lowered to make perpendicular cuts on larger or smaller sections of wood. The depth of cut is proportional to the diameter of the blade.

Different types of cuts

The stationary position of this type of tool is particularly suitable for repetitive cuts.
All saws have a stem that pivots on a vertical right and left axis to perform miter cuts at 15°, 22.5°, 30°, 45° or 55° (the Makita ). The cutting angles are indicated on a graduated vernier (protractor) fixed on the saw table facing the user. Machines can also rotate on a horizontal axis for slant cuts. Angles range from 0° to 47°.
On all the saws, the motor being located on the right, the pivot is only on the left side. The Makita and the Peugeot are the only ones that can rotate on both sides. The pieces to cut resting on the sawing table, manufacturers have provided extensions on each side of the machines, more or less long depending on the models, to avoid cantilevers that can affect the precision of the cut. For very long pieces, roll shop maids or trestles are used.

Radial saw motor: a well-adapted power

The machines of our test are models easily transportable on a building site. They are equipped with blades ranging from 190 to 254 mm in diameter (Peugeot and Ryobi) with a cutting capacity of 340 mm maximum width (Peugeot). The motors have a power of between 1,000 and 2,000 W with a blade rotation speed of up to 6,000 rpm.
This power makes it possible to face a large variety of hard or soft woods and to obtain clean cuts. The position of the blade is practically in the axis of the engine and the transmission is done by reference angle providing little loss of power but can cause jolts at startup. Only the Peugeot has a belt transmission that gives it more flexibility to start.
Furthermore, it is advisable after several uses to check the different settings, such as the perpendicularity of the blade with the support ruler or the saw table, because repeated vibrations can disrupt the saw and distort the data.

Cutting adjustment

The squareness between the rear stop and the blade is adjusted by loosening screws located behind the stop. This operation is part of the commissioning settings. Makita provides a square to check the adjustments.

Comparative: 6 radial miter saws: saws

The squareness between the rear stop and the blade is adjusted by loosening screws located behind the stop. This operation is part of the commissioning settings. Makita provides a square to check the adjustments.

Comparative: 6 radial miter saws: comparative

For bevel cuts, the tilt adjustment of the blade is done on the horizontal axis by loosening a handle on the back of the machine. The Peugeot offers a very practical unlocking at the miter handle.

Comparative: 6 radial miter saws: blade

The turntable rotates on the vertical axis to the right and left. It allows to perform miter cuts. A handle in front of the user locks the cut on the right side. The vernier indicates the most common angles.

Comparative: 6 radial miter saws: miter

All machines are equipped with a depth stop consisting of a screw and a locknut that abut on a latch. The Peugeot requires the use of an Allen key.

Handling a radial saw

Use a radial saw

The clamping press makes it possible to wedge the workpiece on the table and the guide in order to work with precision and safety.

Using a miter saw

The Bosch and the Metabo can clamp the top or the side of the room: practical for small sections.

Laser sight of a radiable saw

Most machines are equipped with a laser sight (except the Mac Allister). It aligns the blade on the path. The laser sight of the Ryobi is not very readable, that of the Bosch and the Metabo is adjustable.

Change the blade of a radial saw

To remove the blade is quickly tedious. On three machines (Mac Allister, Makita and Peugeot), it is necessary to disassemble the protective cover before extracting the blade. On the others, the disassembly is that of a conventional circular saw.

Choose a radial miter saw: our tests

  • At first, we checked the machine settings: perpendicularity of the blade with the saw table, alignment of the support ruler, etc.
  • We then tested the precision of sawnwood by making straight cuts at 90°, miter cuts at 45°, 22.5° to the right and to the left, and sawn timber at 45°. For this we used 100 x 45 mm pine bastaings.
  • The maximum cutting capacity was also checked in depth and width by joining pine floorboards (235 x 135 x 21 mm).
  • The comfort of use was also taken into account with the ease of adjustments, the difficulty of disassembly and reassembly of the blades, the locking system, the release of the hood and the accessibility of the blade.
  • Finally, we determined the endurance of machines and blades, sawing hardwoods (oak, acacia) and chipboard

The result of the tests

Apart from some inaccuracies on miter cuts and skewings, we did not notice any particular difficulties.
The Peugeot and the Ryobi arrive respectively first and second of our test thanks to an interesting price / performance ratio, to their practical aspect and to the good diameter of their blade (254 mm).
The Makitathird is astonishing. It is the least powerful, with a blade diameter of 190 mm and yet it is far from ridiculous: indeed, it is the most accurate test. Too bad its price is so high.
Fourth tie, the Metabo and the Bosch have shown great versatility, with a small advantage to the Metabo which is lighter to carry.
Stay here Mac Allister which lacks a little precision. But its price remains attractive.

Radial miter saw: the choice of System D

Convenient, well designed, good price / benefit ratio, the Metabo KGS216 M caught our attention. Its contained weight and compact shape allow it to be easily transported. The blade of 216 mm diameter and its 48 teeth combined with a good clearance of the sawhead offer a good quality and precise cut. The press supplied makes it possible to clamp the parts to be cut in two positions.
The assembly and disassembly of the blade are close to those of a conventional circular saw. It is not necessary to remove the protective cover.
Another decisive element: it does not go out of order easily after several uses (which does not avoid making regular checks). From a professional brand, this saw is well represented on the shelves of do-it-yourself superstores.

Comparative table of six radial saws

Consult the System D test bench by clicking below:
Comparison of six miter radial saws
This article was published in 2014, prices and products may have changed since then.

Video Instruction: 10 Inch Miter Saw Comparison