Best Miter Saw Blade
When purchasing hand tools, the choice often comes down to simply figuring out which one is the best and going with that one. However, it can often get a bit trickier when buying power tools, because the tool itself is only half the job. Finding the best miter saw blade can be tricky but we are here to guide you.
Most power tools are simply machines designed to drive an acting component, and most of these components are made by a variety of manufacturers for numerous specialized purposes and to different degrees of market quality. The most precise and advanced power tool will still produce substandard results if the acting component is not manufactured to the same level of excellence.
That is why we have assembled five different circular saw blades, putting them to the test to see how each stacks up and for which jobs they are best suited. However, we have gone a step further to determine which of these are even better suited for miter saws --whose angled cuts demand an even higher degree of structural engineering to truly shine.
Freud D1080X Diablo is a true miter saw blade. While some of the other blades in this review could function in various capacities towards this end, most were actually designed for different purposes altogether--some of them outside the realm of woodworking even.
In fact, only the DeWalt actually provided a miter saw blade that was also designed for crosscuts. However, it would not be fair to equivocate the two products as Freud specializes in woodworking bits and blades and DeWalt is more of a mass consumer brand. As such, you should expect the Freud to produce a blade that is more appropriately designed for the specialized needs of woodworking.
In that regard, the Freud does offer one of the better suites of features found on a miter blade to that end. First, this saw blade provides 80 teeth which is exactly what you are looking for in a crosscut miter saw blade. Moreover, the teeth are arranged with a Hi-ATB design, so your cuts will be as smooth as possible. In fact, this saw blade can make smooth crosscuts on project pieces that are already coated with a protective or decorative surface without chipping.
Unfortunately, Freud used the softer, and less expensive, titanium carbide instead of the harder and longer lasting tungsten carbide with this saw blade as well. Moreover, it is important to note that the shorter gullets will require you to make slower cuts if you do not want to burn your wood and leave rough edges that have to then be sanded.
- A fairly inexpensive miter saw blade
- 80 teeth is the ideal number you look for in a crosscut saw blade
- The PermaShield coating makes cleanup easy and protects the blade’s plate
- The 10” blade gives it a bit of wiggle room, while the ⅝” arbor is the standard size for most consumer miter saws
- The Hi-ATB tooth arrangement will make the finest cuts and resist chipping on even the most delicate of materials
- Blade plugs reduce the blade’s sound
- Will require a slower cut due to short gullets
- Titanium carbide is not quite as strong as the tungsten carbide found in other saw blades
- Will require more frequent sharpenings than other saw blades
We are adding this product to the list almost as a test. Specifically, it is important to understand that even though numerous saw blades in general may appear similar to one another and presumably perform well enough to be used, that does not mean they are designed for every purpose.
To point, the Evolution brand saw blade presents as a potentially high-quality miter blade. In some respects, this may be true. However, for the purposes of woodworking, the Evolution blade is not designed to the specifications you generally seek.
Keep in mind, there are still a number of features on the Evolution blade that make it a seemingly attractive option, but it ultimately fails as a true miter blade for woodworking. It is important to note that this does not mean that the Evolution is simply a poor blade in totality. In fact, if you need to make some machinist cuts on light to medium grade steel, this blade will serve admirably. It can also make some solid cuts to other types of metals and truly shines when used for cutting the softer materials.
However, for woodworking purposes, only the softest woods even have a semblance of use with this blade. If you try to use the Evolution to cut through hardwoods, expect the ends to require significant amount of sanding, as the blade is liable to simply tear whole chunks as it cuts through. You are liable to see the same result with softer woods, but considering this blade is designed to run at lower rpms, it should not be significantly worse than the hardwoods.
- 66 teeth is a decent number for generating a smooth crosscut
- The extremely thick kerf and hardened plate reduce vibration
- While not hand brazed, the teeth are still machine brazed with precision
- Does not require as powerful a tool to cut through harder woods
- There are very few miter saws which will be able to house the 14” blade
- A relatively expensive miter saw blade
- Technically designed for cutting steel, not wood
- Will require the wood to be fed slowly
- Difficult to find someone who will sharpen the blade
DeWalt was once known as a professional quality brand that was made in America. Then, it was sold to Black & Decker--a consumer grade brand--and manufactured in China. Not surprisingly, the brand's reputation took a hit as the quality level fell off of a sheer cliff.
However, Black & Decker has recently tried to rebrand DeWalt as their professional grade lineup with mixed results. While there are a few no table qualities to this blade set that are actually better than the more specialized brands like Forrest or Freud, DeWalt’s continued reliance on Chinese manufacturing and Black & Decker’s corner cutting policies ultimately leave this blade a bit substandard for the highest levels of woodworking.
Keep in mind, if your woodworking skill set is not truly advanced, then you are unlikely to find much wrong with these blades. Chances are you still need to go back an fine polish your projects anyway. However, if you require a degree of excellence that leaves little room for error, you might be better off looking at a different brand--Forrest and Freud to start.
First, the DeWalt uses a thin 3/32” kerf--which is great for the crosscut blade, but less than ideal for the rip blade. Moreover, both blades use an ATB tooth design--again, this works well for the crosscut blade and less so for the rip blade. Thankfully, both blades use tungsten carbide teeth which provides strength and durability as well as keep a sharp edge on the teeth.
However, the plate is made from stamped steel--and no amount of “computer balancing” is going to make that superior to a laser cut plate. Moreover, the blade itself is only really balanced for 90 degree cuts. If you angle your miter saw at a bevel, expect the blade to play side-to-side.
- A fairly inexpensive miter saw blade
- Tungsten carbide is the strongest tooth material sold to consumers
- Provides both a ripping blade and a crosscut blade
- The thin kerf allows for a smoother cut
- Blade plugs reduce the blade’s sound
- The 12” diameter is only sized for the largest of miter saws
- The plate is made from stamped steel, not laser cut
- The rip blade is a bit subpar
- The crosscut blade will tear the softest woods
It is important to understand the intention and use of dado blades before continuing with any assessment of a brand’s quality. Dado blades are not meant to cut in a downward motion. This means that if you use dado blades with a miter saw, it needs to be some form of sliding miter saw. Any other qualities to the type of miter saw--like compound or double compound--are superfluous as to whether or not the saw is designed to accommodate dado blades.
That being said, Freud offers a complete set of dado blades in a single package that do almost everything right. In fact, if there is one thing you could knock against the Freud dado set, it would be the inclusion of softer metals other than tungsten. However, there is a bit of method to the madness of this choice.
It is fairly well understood that tungsten carbide provides for some of the hardest blade tips. However, this increased hardness can also make the tips more brittle. As such, tungsten carbide can be more prone to breaking off of the saw blade’s plate if you cut too fast or use it on the wrong material. Moreover, the inclusion of titanium and cobalt allows Freud saw blades to be more easily sharpened.
With this dado set, Freud goes the extra mile by providing three chippers and three spacers. This allows you to make exceedingly precise grooves with up to 1/16” of a difference. However, you are limited to a minimal groove of ¼”. Of course, anything smaller than that can be accomplished with a single non-dado blade anyway.
- The stacked variety of dado blades are generally superior to the wobble variety
- Comes with two outer blades and three 2 wing chippers
- Provides three 1/16” spacers for even more precise groove sizes
- The tri-brazed tips may not be as great as forrest’s hand-brazed, but are still better than most other competitors
- Can be sharpened more often and easier than tungsten carbide
- The 8” diameter blade will provide a deeper cut than the 6” alternative
- A relatively expensive miter saw blade
- Titanium carbide is not as strong as tungsten carbide
- Technically designed for table saws and radial arm saws
Forrest is known as a brand that produces and specializes in high-quality saw blades. However, even a top brand can still occasionally manufacture a product that stretches itself too far without satisfying any specialized niche. Unfortunately, that is exactly what we find with the Woodworker II.
Keep in mind, there is a distinct purpose and niche market that this saw blade is designed for, and in that specific sphere, it is undoubtedly one of the best. As such, it is important to recognize what this saw blade is designed to accomplish. The short answer is everything, the long answer is nothing.
Basically, the Woodworker II is a combination blade. What that means is the various design qualities are not focused for rips which are more appropriate on a table or circular saw, but neither are the qualities specialized for crosscuts--which is the general purpose of miter saws and miter saw blades.
As such, the Forrest sits in a somewhat untenable position: not aggressive enough for rips and not precise enough for crosscuts. To its credit, the Woodworker II does provide a number of sophisticated design features that attempt to account for its “tweener” status and arguably does so better than any other combination saw blade. That being said, it is still likely a better idea to simply purchase multiple blades--each designed for specific tasks--than it is to get a blade that claims to do it all but only does it at a lesser quality than the specialized blades.
- Excellent for rip cuts, though arguably more than necessary
- The 30 degree top bevel polishes the wood as it cuts through
- The hand brazed, C-4 carbide tips are incredibly long-lasting
- Forrest offers a sharpening service for both their and competitor’s blades
- The ATB tooth design aids in crosscuts
- The low hook angle prevents the blade from climbing
- Uses a laser cut, not stamped, plate
- The full ⅛” kerf and hand-tensioned plate reduce vibration
- The extra high hook of thirty degrees generates an extremely aggressive cut
- The most expensive miter saw blade on our list
- A bit of a ‘tweener that does not truly excel at crosscuts
- The teeth are a bit thicker than other blades which is less ideal for small work pieces
- Even short rip cuts must be fed somewhat slowly
- Extra soft woods tear and extra hard woods burn
Best Miter Saw Blade: Conclusion
In this list, Freud definitely comes out on top for the best miter saw blade. However, it is important to note that not every brand reviewed had their best foot forward so to speak. It is of worth to note that Forrest does offer more specialized blades, and a combination blade is not really the best choice for fine woodworking.
However, even the Forrest specialized blades are going to carry their hefty price tag, so it may make more economic sense to stick with their combination blade and purchase a less expensive specialized blade--of which you are likely to have more than a few.
Still, when it comes to crosscuts and groove cuts, Freud puts forth a fine quality blade. While it would have been preferable for them to use straight tungsten carbide, the inclusion of titanium and cobalt into their tips does prolong the lifespan of the blades. Moreover, the Hi-ATB tooth design of the crosscut blade allows for the smoothest finish out of any blade we reviewed.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 1. Top Choice - Freud D1080X
- 3 2. Evolution 14BLADEST
- 4 3. DEWALT DW3128P5 80 Tooth
- 5 4. Freud 8" Professional Dado Set
- 6 5. Forrest WW10407125 Woodworker II
- 7 Best Miter Saw Blade: Conclusion