Reviews

The Best Radial Arm Saws (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Cut through the noise with the power of these top-rated radial arm saws.

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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON February 27, 2021

If you’re searching for a woodworking tool that’ll be a versatile addition to your workshop, it’s time to consider a radial arm saw. These unique saws are large, heavy, and can take up precious space — but when it comes to versatility and usefulness, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better alternative. A radial arm saw can perform countless operations and is useful in many different applications. From crosscutting to dadoes and rabbets to miters to bevels, it can do it all. Don’t be surprised if a radial arm saw replaces a few of your more specialized saws, letting you save both time and space.

 

It’ll quickly become your go-to tool no matter what kind of wood you’re working with. Of course, that relies on you getting a high-quality saw that works for your purposes. In our list below we’ve broken down the best radial arm saws available.

Best Overall
DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw
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Summary
Summary

Featuring a sturdy base and the ability to handle both single and compound beveling, this miter saw is a powerful option ideal for heavy-duty tasks.

Pros
Pros
  • Saw uses tall fences to support high moldings 
  • Can crosscut large pieces with high efficiency
  • Strong base keeps it steady and secure
Cons
Cons
  • Slightly heavy and can be awkward during shipping
  • Sliders need to be locked before moving the saw
Best Overall
DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Best Value
Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw
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Summary
Summary

Affordable and efficient, this power saw runs on a 15 amp motor that powerfully runs the blade at a speed of 5000 revolutions per minute.

Pros
Pros
  • Miter angles adjust over a 52-degree range
  • Moves both left and right 
  • Large base helps keep the saw steady while you work
Cons
Cons
  • Somewhat lightweight design can cause migration on surfaces
  • Thumb adjustments can get stuck in place
Best Value
Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw
Honorable Mention
Bosch Power Tools Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw
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Summary
Summary

Touting a heavy-duty design and a 12-inch circular blade, this miter saw works on projects of all sizes. The user-friendly bevel controls make it suitable for workers of all experience levels.

Pros
Pros
  • Adjustable bevel makes precision work easier
  • Designed to quickly release locking fences for added efficiency
  • Steel structure is resistant to damage
Cons
Cons
  • Comes at a slightly higher price point
  • Dust collection bin can be difficult to clean out
  • Cord must be cared for well to prevent issues
Honorable Mention
Bosch Power Tools Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw
Radial Arm Saw Close Up
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Benefits of Radial Arm Saw

  • Make precision cuts. Because of the strong and powerful nature of radial arm saws, you won’t risk damage to the wood with which you’re working. It provides consistent, smooth, and reliable results. 
  • Excellent stationary tool. Since radial arm saws are so heavy-duty and large, they are ideal for woodworking stations. Designed to stay in one place, the tool is versatile enough to replace several handheld tools. 
  • Necessary for professional woodworking. Because these large tools are so efficient, they are ideal for anyone working with miters, dadoes, rabbets, and bevels regularly. They provide reliable and precise cuts consistently. 
  • Advanced versatility. Though a radial arm saw is primarily used as a saw for crosscutting, you can also use it for everything from working with moldings to guiding a router. It works with everything from miters to rabbets, requiring minimal changes between tasks. 
  • Works in conjunction with your other tools. You can use a radial arm saw for precision tasks in conjunction with your tile saws and your chop saws
  • Relatively low maintenance. Since the saw is so heavy duty and usually made out of high-grade steel, it is resistant to damage. The saw requires minimal upkeep required, needing you to only change out the saw blade over time. 

Types of Radial Arm Saws

Stationary 

Representing the most common type of radial arm saws, the majority of these tools are heavy and designed to stand on the floor (and not to be moved). Usually, these saws weigh over 200 pounds and are meant to have a dedicated space in your workplace. Within this category, you can find saws with a wider bevel adjustment range and saw blades of different sizes. Generally, these will be easier to maintain and tend to last for longer. 

Bench Top

A less common type of radial arm saw is those which can be moved. Though fairly heavy, these are light enough to move within your workshop. While this type of radial arm saw is likely to come with a smaller price tag, it won’t be able to perform as effectively as a heavier duty model (making it better-suited for recreational use). Though they are less advanced, some will still have a lot of adjustable components. 

Top Brands

DEWALT

Opening its doors in 1923 in Pennsylvania, Dewalt’s first product was a radial arm saw. This brand, which invented this type of woodworking tool, then expanded into the tool industry. It has since become a leading name for tools of all kinds. One of its leading offerings is the Dewalt Compound Miter Saw

Bosch

With roots dating as far back as 1886, Bosch began as a workshop for engineering in the community of Stuttgart. Since that time, it has grown into a world-renowned supplier of all kinds of mechanical and electrical tools ranging from stereos to equipment. A top selection is the Bosch Cordless Electric Screwdriver

Metabo

Headquartered in Nurtingen, Germany, this company came into being in the 1920s. With its first product being a hand drill, it has since evolved into a company that develops a huge range of power tools. Known for quality and durability, one of its most popular selections is the Metabo Compound Miter Saw

Delta

Founded in Milwaukee in 1919, Delta Machinery began as a humble manufacturer of small tools. After gaining traction on the market, it evolved into a creator of small industrial tools and machines. Now, it is a renowned provider of everything from machining supplies to tools for home mechanics like the Delta Power Equipment Slide Miter Saw

Dayton

Beginning as a department store in Minnesota in 1902, Dayton evolved into a large supplier of tools after merging with the Hudson Company. It now has locations across the United States, including the well-reputed target stores. A popular offering is the Dayton Calibrated Measurement Microphone

Radial Arm Saw Pricing

  • Under $100: Some lightweight radial arm saws fall in this price range, usually incorporating few extra features and working as a standard miter saw. 
  • Between $100 and $500: The most common price range for radial arm saws, these tools range in weight, blade size, and special features, though generally perform reliably.
  • $500 and up: High-end radial arm saws fall in this price range, usually including extra features like dust collection and additional protective safeguards. 

Key Features

Blade 

The blade of the radial arm saw is perhaps its most important feature since it is the part that does the cutting. Standard saws have a circular blade with a diameter of either 10 or 12 inches. The blade’s rotation is powered by the motor which spins it quickly and causes a quick and precise cut. The blade should be protected by guards to prevent any risk of injury to the worker. 

Base

Since the vast majority of radial arm saws are meant to be stationary, they will incorporate a very heavy and wide base. This ensures that the saw remains stable while it works, unlike other woodworking tools like jigsaw and handheld units. Heavier bases are better for precise work. However, since the base is so heavy, this type of saw is not designed for portability. This feature makes it better to find a dedicated location for this tool in your workshop. 

Arm

The arm of the radial saw is the adjustable component that slides the circular blade over the surface. This cutting area is stationary while the arm is the part that can be shifted. Using the bevel, you can shift the angle of the cutter. It is also able to maneuver for mitering work. Because of the versatility of the arm, this type of saw can perform versatile tasks. 

Other Considerations

  • Power. The power of the motor directly impacts the efficiency of the radial arm saw itself. Measured in amps, most high-end options have roughly 15 amp motors that can achieve powerful rotations of the saw blade itself. So long as it is properly ventilated, the saw won’t get damaged by heat and can perform consistently over time. 
  • Speed. The level of amperage that powers the radial arm saw indicates the revolutions per minute of the circular saw blade. You can find models that revolve at speeds up to 4000 turns per minute. Others revolve at speeds of roughly 800 revolutions per minute. The faster the revolution, the more efficient the saw. 
  • Flexibility. When looking at the specs of your radial arm saw, investigate the range over which you can adjust the arm. Crosscuts require a wide range, at least the ability to work at 45 and 90-degree angles. Added capacity for adjustments adds to the versatility of the radial arm saw itself.  
  • Accessories. While the saw itself is fairly standardized, there are special accessories that make upkeep a lot easier. High-end options have vacuuming technology that prevents dust build-up. This limits the risk of fire and keeps your worksite clean. Check for any special features like a dust bag and extra blades to make lighter work of maintenance. 

Best Radial Arm Saws Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw

The DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw is an all-around fantastic radial arm saw that offers you flexibility, convenience, and a high level of efficiency. It’ll make all of your woodworking tasks easier with its sliding carbide blade and tough cutting capability. It measures 17 x 24.75 inches and weighs 56 pounds. It can cut wood as thick as 6.75 inches. This radial arm saw operates with 15 amps and a 12-inch blade with either a 5/8 or 1- inch arbor. The motor delivers 3,800 RPMs. An exclusive back fence design cuts lumber at 90 and 45 degrees, and the saw allows for easy adjustments with a cam lock miter handle. This saw also offers a super-efficient dust collection system that can capture more than 75 percent of the dust your work generates. And it’s all backed by a three-year limited warranty.  


Keep in mind that, while the heavy nature of the saw makes it ideal as a stationary woodworking product, it can result in difficulties during transportation. If you plan to move it, ensure that the sliders and bevel are locked in place to prevent any shifting. 

Best Value
Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw

If you’re looking for an affordable radial arm saw that can handle miter work, check out the Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw. This saw is a great option if you’re doing miter work or need bevel cuts. It’s powered by a 15-amp motor that can tackle even the toughest cutting jobs, and it features a large table for better material support while you work. You can easily make adjustments for miter work thanks to thumb actuated positive stops. You’ll enjoy a miter angle range of 0 to 52 degrees to the right and left and a bevel range of 0 to 45 degrees to the left. There’s even carbon brush access to make maintaining the saw for the long term easier. This radial arm saw delivers precision cutting and plenty of features so you’ll always have the right tool for the job.


It’s worth noting that, while this saw has a lot of benefits in terms of adjustability, the lightweight design makes it vulnerable to migration while you work. Check that the base is stable before getting started to circumvent any issues.

Best Premium
Bosch Power Tools Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw

The Bosch Power Tools Dual-Bevel Sliding Glide Miter Saw is a high-quality radial arm saw that delivers. If you’re searching for a premium pick, you won’t be disappointed by this powerful tool. It’s built to deliver smooth cutting, highly accurate performance, and stay precise for years to come. The radial arm saw operates with a 12-inch blade and has an expended cutting capacity — a 14-inch horizontal capacity, 6.5-inch vertical capacity, and a 6.5-inch crown capacity. It operates with an axial glide system that allows you to make wider crosscuts and achieve unmatched smoothness in the final result. Pre-aligned square lock fences keep this radial arm saw precise for its entire lifetime, and an ambidextrous handle offers you comfort while you work. 


Bear in mind that, while the dust collection accessories are really handy in terms of fire prevention, they can be challenging to maintain. For best results, clean it out every time you finish a job so it’s ready for the next task.

Most Versatile
Tacklife Sliding Compound Miter Saw

The Tacklife Sliding Compound Miter Saw is an excellent option if you want a radial arm saw that can do it all. Well, it might not do absolutely everything — but this impressively versatile saw can do an awful lot. This radial arm saw features double bevel cutting, which allows you to adjust the cutting angle 45 degrees to both the right and left for various cutting needs. A double linear sliding rail works to provide you with smooth, precise cuts at every angle. Measuring 28.94 x 13.78 x 17.32 inches, this saw operates with 3,800 RPM and works at a quick pace. If you want more, you’ll get it. This radial arm saw also features a laser cutting guide, an extensible table, and a strong 40-tooth TCT blade that can cut wood as well as plastic and soft metal.


While the powerful nature of this saw makes it a really valuable tool, this model is still vulnerable to wear and tear. This is even more true when used to cut metal; so, to avoid issues, keep extra saw blades on hand. 

Best Lightweight
Makita 10” Compound Miter Saw

Most radial arm saws aren’t meant to be portable, which means they’re bulky and heavy — but not the Makita 10” Compound Miter Saw. This saw is a bit smaller and a lot lighter than most radial arm saws, with a size of 20 x 10 x 21 inches and a weight of just 27.3 pounds. It runs on a powerful 15 amp direct drive motor, which delivers an impressive 4,600 RPMs. A dual post compound pivoting arm allows you to easily move and make adjustments while you work. You can make miter cuts from 0 to 45 degrees to the left and 0 to 52 degrees to the right, along with bevel cuts up to 45 degrees to the left. A precision-machined aluminum base helps keep your wood stable for greater accuracy. This lightweight radial arm saw is even backed by a one-year warranty.


Bear in mind that, though the saw is lightweight enough to offer benefits of portability, this also means it is relatively small and ill-suited for larger jobs. Stick to basic projects to ensure that you don’t put too much strain on the saw.

Honorable Mention
Delta Power Equipment Slide Miter Saw

When you want a power tool that won’t take up too much space but will still work, the Delta Power Equipment Slide Miter Saw is an awesome way to go. It weighs only 30 pounds and touts secure handles to make moving it around easier. In terms of efficiency, it uses an 1800 watt motor that results in efficient turning of the blade. With bevel adjustments that shift between zero and 45 degrees, it is easy to make precise and accurate cuts. Plus, with the laser that helps you accurately control the cut, you can get the desired results with high efficiency. The locking feature serves to make blade changes and maintenance easier, making this an ideal tool for home garages and workshops. 


It’s worth noting that, while the laser sights are helpful, the bulb can wear down after ongoing use and be tricky to replace. However, if used properly, it can last for quite a long time making this saw well worth the investment. 

Honorable Mention
Craftsman Sliding Miter Saw

If you are looking for a saw that is both compact and effective, the Craftsman Sliding Miter Saw is a unique candidate. It features a lightweight design that, while ensuring portability, is still quite durable. The saw weighs in at less than 22 pounds and comes with handles to make transportation easier. The cordless design operates on a 20-volt system that uses a replaceable and rechargeable battery. Once in use, it uses the 7 1/4-inch blade to cut through all types of wood products. Rotating at 3800 revolutions per minute, it works quickly and efficiently. Adjusting for cross-cutting between 90 and 45 degrees, it is a handy tool to have for any woodworking shop. 


Though this saw is handy in terms of portability, it is relatively limited in terms of its adjustment capacity. To avoid any issues, check that this saw will be able to perform the tasks you need it to while working within its adjustment range.

Honorable Mention
Genesis Compound Miter Saw

Those who want to simplify their woodworking projects can get a lot of benefit from the Genesis Compound Miter Saw. For starters, it consistently achieves revolution speeds of 4600 spins per minute. Powered by an alternating current, this corded model lets you adjust the miter angle to cut more easily. The blade rings in at ten inches, meeting the industry standards very well. Featuring a laser guide for precision cutting, you can efficiently align the blade with the base to ensure accuracy. Coming with a clamp for protection and a dust bag for added ease, this powerful saw is great for renovations and casual household applications. 


Keep in mind that, though this saw has a lot of special features like extension wings and multiple positions, it is still limited to the ten-inch blade size. While this is usually enough for most projects, it helps to ensure that this is sufficient for the woodworking tasks you plan to perform.

Tips

  • Aim to find a specific and dedicated location for the radial arm saw since most of them are too heavy to move around. 
  • Always clean up any dust that resulted from the woodworking to prevent the risk of fire. 
  • Practice routine maintenance to ensure that your radial arm saw remains in good condition. 
  • Check on the blade before you begin the work to ensure that the teeth are in good working condition. 
  • If using the blade for ripping, take measures to prevent kickback both for safety and cutting accuracy. 
  • As the adage goes, measure twice and cut once, making sure that the part is correctly aligned before making your cut. 
  • Unplug the radial arm saw after you’re finished using it to prevent issues with the circuitry. 

FAQs

Q: Are radial arm saws obsolete?

No, radial arm saws are still very useful in woodworking situations. They are versatile and cut accurately. Since they usually have either ten or 12-inch blades, the saw can cut through a lot of different materials in many different ways. 

Q: Is a radial arm saw worth having?

Yes, a radial arm saw is a good investment, though the type you need depends on how you plan to use it. For more casual applications, a lighter model is better. Industrial (or ongoing, heavy-duty) uses require a more advanced radial arm saw with added versatility and capacity.

Q: What's better: a radial arm saw or miter saw?

A radial arm saw has a more substantial cutting depth, making them better for thicker materials. Miter saws are lighter-duty and work more efficiently on thinner materials. The better saw depends on how you plan to use it; though, in general, a radial arm saw is more versatile. 

Q: Can you rip wood with a radial arm saw?

Yes, you can rip wood using a radial arm saw, in addition to cross-cutting, and slicing dadoes and rabbets. The diverse applications of radial arm saws are what sets them apart from other tools, adding value through efficiency.  

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the ins and outs of radial arm saws, you can make the right pick for your woodworking shop. It could be the DeWalt Sliding Compound Miter Saw or the affordability of the Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw. There’s a saw for every workshop. 

Do you have some experience with these tools? Let us know in the comments below. Happy sawing!