Have you ever tried to use a saw and felt that it was dragging you back? Maybe it wasn’t comfortable to use, or perhaps it didn’t give you the best results. If you are a woodworking professional working on a small or big scale, you need the best radial arm saw to perform most of your tasks.
While radial arm saws could be useful for cutting rafters, there have been some scary stories about them. They can be dangerous but, your choice on them matters.
Luckily there's a better and safest alternative to radial arm saw i.e Miter saw. And we will recommend you using miter saw instead of radial arm saw.
After an extensive research we have came up with the top three miter saws, that we thought you would be glad to use.
Top miter saw of 2018
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Woodworkerslab's top rated miter saw
Our Top Pick: Dewalt DWS780
With this power saw, you are guaranteed professional precision in any woodworking task you will be doing.
It is not only durable, but also perfect for amateurs, and anyone else who would like to use it.
This machine can handle various cutting tasks from deck building to beautiful woodwork.
It has two great features that ensure accuracy in your woodwork tasks. Its flexible stainless steel mitre detent plate has ten positive stops. This improves productivity for angled cuts.
It also has a bright LED light that shines across the surface where the blade is going to cut.
The DEWALT DWS780 was constructed using durable materials like stainless steel which makes it to last long It is also portable hence, carrying it around isn’t a problem.
It is easy to use no matter what angle you want to position yourself. It has positive stops of 22 degrees, 0 degrees, 33.9 degrees, 49 degrees and 4 degrees as well both in the right and left directions. You can make different angle adjustments without worries of locking into detents.
- It doesn’t come with a stand.
- The slides stick which might make using it a bit clunky.
The DEWALT DWS 780 is a powerful radial saw that is not only portable but also durable. If you are looking for a flexible saw that you can easily adjust, this brand could be of help.
Runner up: Milwaukee 6955-20
Milwaukee69-20 is simple to adjust in case you are on a non-square environment. You can customize it for single hand operation making your work more accessible than usual.
It has dual important job site lights that shed light on what you are working on fully from either side of the blade. You can, therefore, see the edge as it enters what you are trying to cut.
It also features a unique electronic soft start which lets you cut smoothly without damaging the material. It features a miter angle digital readout that offers excellent accuracy to 0.1 degree. The Milwaukee 69-20 has a sturdy handle with excellent button placement.
- It is easy to adjust in different angles.
- Has a powerful dust collection system.
- It comes with great lighting.
- It does not come with a laser.
- It doesn’t come with a vacuum adapter.
Milwaukee 6955-20 could be your second best choice as it performs well and has a unique dust collection system.
Budget pick: Hitachi C10FCG
This saw is not only easy to use but also portable which supports maneuverability. It saves your time since it has a sharp cutting blade that has a cover attached to it.
It is, therefore, safe to use compared to other radial arm saws. It also has a mitre angle range of 0-52 degrees for natural flexibility when adjusting it left and right. Be sure to get accurate, clean bevel cuts which come from its 0-45 degree bevel range.
It comes with a dust collector to reduce airborne particles. If you are dealing with tough tasks that need high power, this is the saw to use as it delivers high power.
It is portable
It is budget friendly
Easy and safe to use.
Provides accurate and clean cuts
- It doesn’t come with the laser maker
The HitachiC10FCG is a powerful saw for those who are on a tight budget. It offers accurate cuts even if you are dealing with sturdy materials. It has a soft horizontal handle which makes it comfortable to use.
Best blade for radial arm saw
This exceptional blade can be used for multiple purposes on your table saw. It offers excellent results in different types of materials. This saw blade comes with a special Nickel Armor coating which extends its life.
The coating also prevents it from rusting, and resin builds up. The infinity Tools 101-060 is versatile hence can be used for general woodcutting purposes.
It also has Hi-ATB teeth that are unique in crosscutting.
Apart from radial saws, you can use it for table saws as well. This blade has a low enough to safely use on a Radial arm saw. It is extra thick which makes it durable.
It is versatile;
Longer life in between sharpening
Offers accurate cross cuts
- It doesn’t come with the laser maker
Infinity Tools 010-060 blade is suitable for your radial arm saw if you need something to use on different materials.
It not only provides accurate crosscuts but also has a long life between sharpening. You won’t have to worry about a blunt blade after using it a few times.
You can use it to rip and crosscut blades in case you need a higher feed rate. The Skarpaz RA12801 has a neutral hook angle which stops the saw from grabbing materials.
Offers accurate cut.
Can cross-cut different elements.
Offers accurate cross cuts
- It doesn’t suit non-ferrous materials.
How to operate a radial arm saw?
A radial arm saw is flexible, meaning you can use it for various activities at home. You need to understand how to utilize it properly. Keep reading to find out how you can use it.
First read the manual
Before using it, read the user manual to understand some basic things about it. It will help you to know how to set it and adjust it properly.
Before using the radial arm saw, make sure that you have glasses that have side shields that are in line with the current national standards.
You might also need a full-face protection. If you are handling a dirty work, wear a dust mask.
A radial arm saw produces much noise which might not be safe for your ears. Always wear a hearing protection to block the incoming noise.
Check whether you installed the blade well
Your manual covers how you can fit the blade and the blades to function well. Confirm if the blade is clean and sharp enough.
Operating the Radial arm saw
After setting everything ready, wait for the saw to reach a maximum speed before beginning to cut. When you complete cutting, always turn it off.
You must also use a table to do all the work. Avoid doing it free-hand as it is quite risky. Before turning the saw on again, remove any obstructions.
How to cross cut using radial arm saw?
The blade of a radial arm saw rotates in the same direction as the cut.
You need to pull the saw through the cut while preventing the saw blade from pulling and gabbling the blade through that cut too fast. Always pull at a slow pace while avoiding the saw to push more quickly than desired.
In case you want to rip, hold the work piece safely against the rear fence. You can use feather boards in this task.
You might also want to use a push stick in guiding the board through that rip cut.
When using a radial arm saw, ensure that your hands and the rest of your body are away from the blade.
Radial arm saw V/S Table saw
Have you ever wondered which is the best option between the radial arm saw and the table saw? While you may love both of them and prefer to have all of them, there are times you may have no choice but to choose one. Here is a review about both of them and our stand on which to choose.
Radial arm saw:
Reymond Dewalt invented the Radial arm saw in the year 1922, and it is one of the best brands in the world. This saw has a hanging blade from the top.
The blade is mounted on a horizontal arm and slides forward if you push it and backwards if you pull it Radial arm saws deliver great results when you make cross cuts, dados, rabbets and half lap joints.
While it can perform many tasks so well, you need more skills to use it compared to table saws.
As much as Miter saws are trying to replace radial arm saws, they are still available and popular as well.
They come with different settings, and you might have to read the manual before using it.
Advantages of radial arm saw:
They perform well on cross cuts. While radial arm saws work on different projects, they are perfect when it comes to cross cuts.
You need to adjust it well to achieve this.
It is versatile. Apart from cutting the wood, you can use the radial arm saw for other tasks like surface planning the boards, routing and drum sanding among other activities.
They use very little space. With a radial arm saw, you don’t need a lot of space like with a table saw.
You can use them to perform heavy tasks.
Sometimes you may need to cut a heavy board and need a strong cutting tool. You need a radial arm saw to do this.
They are quite risky: Radial saws are more dangerous to use than table saws because they have an exposed moving blade.
High cost: Since Radial arm saws do a lot of tasks, they are more expensive compared to table saws.
A table saw has a circular blade even though it is mounted below its workbench and you can either raise it up or down.
They can be used for cross-cutting and also in bevel and mitre cuts.
It is easy to use a table saw and comfortable as well.
You might need to set blade’s depth to make dados and grooves using a table saw. Modern table saws come with automatic braking systems that stop the blade any moment it detects a conductive material, e.g. a human body.
This indicates that they are safe to use and popular as well.
Easy to use.
Perfect for ripping
Safer than Radial saws
Less noisy when in use
Which is the right choice?
Well, it depends on the type of cuts you do more often. If you are doing cross cuts, dados, rabbets and half lap joints often then go for a radial arm saw.
If you are concerned about space or working on tough materials you might want a radial arm saw.
But if you focus on safety, ease of use and less noise, you might want to use a table saw.
We advise you to look at the features.
Radial arm saw V/S Miter saw
As mentioned earlier, Radial arm saws can work on all kinds of construction tasks. You can use them to cut different pieces of work without any difficulty.
You should also note that Radial arm saws have been permanently set up for heavy construction jobs.
A manufacturer supplies a large table with two other feeder tables. The best thing about them is that you can easily set them up and process a lot of cuts within a short time.
Miter saw :
Unlike Radial arm saws, Miter saws are specialized for woodworking finishing tasks. They are quite small than radial arm saws regarding width and depth of cut.
However, they are portable and very accurate. They come in different motor capacities and sizes.
They are not as powerful as radial arm saws. They come with a carry handle which makes it possible to move them around.
While they may be small and less potent in cutting tough materials, they provide accurate results in finishing work.
Which saw should you choose?
As said before, the tasks that you need to perform are all that matters. If you are planning to do a massive construction job that involves cutting tough materials, you need a radial arm saw.
However, if you have light tasks that need accurate results, a mitre saw would work correctly.
Final words for you
In a nutshell, a Radial arm saw is one of the oldest and most powerful saw.
If you need to choose an effective Radial arm saw (Miter saw), we would recommend the DEWALT DWS780 as the best brand. While it may be expensive than the other brands out there,but it is more powerful and durable as well. It is also versatile hence be sure to use it in various tasks.
However, if we're to choose a different option, we would recommend the Milwaukee 6955-20 as it is versatile and also has a fantastic dust collection system.
Finally, if you are on a tight budget, we recommend the Hitachi C10FCG. You can easily use it on different tasks and also carry it around easily.