Dewalt 12 inch Compound Miter Saw (DW715)
- Beefy Construction
- Secure Miter Position
- Powerful Motor
- Large 12 Inch Blade
- Automatic Brake
- Slightly Inaccurate on Arrival
- Dust Collection is Mediocre
- Changing Blades is Complicated
- OEM Blade is Mediocre
I specifically selected my favorite tool to be the first item reviewed. If you don’t want to read any farther, no miter saw provides more bang-for-the-buck than this saw.
229 at Amazon
247 at Home Depot
These prices were accurate at the time this article was written. The least expensive 12 inch miter saw I could find was $200. There are a plethora of 8 inch models that go down as low as $70. However, the usefulness of a less than 12 inch miter saw is limited in terms of material that it can handle.
Within the Dewalt line, a 10 inch model saves you about $40, which just isn’t enough money for the decrease in usability. Similarly a double bevel model costs an additional $100, too much money for the convenience. Finally, a sliding version would run you an additional $150. For me, I rarely need that much horizontal depth in a miter saw.
Ease of Use
The saw is incredibly easy to use. Adjusting the horizontal miter angle is quick and intuitive. Common miter angles have predefined notches that will click in automatically. Custom angles can be done as well using the easy to read indicator.
Adjusting the vertical miter angle take a minute or two longer and requires loosening a large knob on the back of the saw. That said, the ergonomics of the knob, such as its large size and long fingers, make it easy to turn. Unfortunately the only fixed stops on the vertical angle are the limit stops. As a result, you have to carefully watch the guide to get the correct angle. The vertical guide is a bit less fancy.
One major positive of the single bevel saw is that the vertical 90 degree bevel can be set as the limit. This means that returning to the top 90 angle is easy and always accurate.
This saw also includes an automatic electronic brake. This device automatically engages when the saw button is released, it causes the blade to slow to a stop much faster than other models. This is both a safety improvement as well as a time saver.
The dust collection is a real drawback. I know miter saws are not known for their dust collection, however this saw has a small 2.5 inch vacuum port. A shop vac at full power simply can’t suck enough air through this small port to catch all of the dust.
The entire saw structure is extremely rigid. There is no give in any direction. The base plate is a solid piece of metal. The one downside is that this does make the saw heavy, 50 lbs, but it will really help it last.
Another benefit of the single bevel non-sliding version is that it is a direct drive saw. The double bevel and sliding varieties both use a belt system that will need to be replaced overtime.
I experienced a slight inaccuracy in both the vertical and horizontal bevels from the factory. the horizontal angle was off by about a degree, and the vertical angle was off by about 2. The good news is, that correcting these adjustments as really easy using a square. The saw has a single tool, stored on the saw, that can be used to loosen the necessary screws. Once corrected, the saw has remained accurate since.
The other downside is that the original blade provided with the saw is just mediocre. It is by no means the worst I have seen, it does a great job on construction lumber. However, for finer wood working, you will want to switch to an increased number of teeth.
I am constantly using the miter saw for both woodworking and non-woodworking projects. It acts as a terrific chop saw for cutting all sorts of construction items. Knowing that it is always accurate and true is a real time saver.
I have no desire to switch to a double bevel saw. I have never had an instance in which I could not rotate the work around to cut the proper angle.
As for the extra horizontal capacity offered by a sliding miter saw, in two years there have been only a handful of times in which I would have used it.
The arbor that holds the blade has a spacer that allows you to use blades with arbor sizes of 5/8 inch or 1 inch.The blade that come with the saw is clearly marked “construction.” It isn’t a bad blade, but you will certainly get much better results with a nicer blade.