On powersaws and testosterone. Help?

The other week, I saw a 10" compound miter saw at Sears (Craftsman brand, natch) for $189.00. A few days later, at Home Despot, I saw a Delta brand 10" miter saw for $169.00.

My question, is the Craftsman $20.00 better? I know that the New Yankee Workshop (Norm) is outfitted with Delta tools (among others), and I know that Craftsman is actually made by another company (not Sears) - at least the motors are.

To all you Norm Abrams’s out there, what do you think about the two? Is there a website that compares miter saws? Consumer Reports has a website, but you have to pay money to use it (even if you subscribe to the magazine!!).

Hey, Dewt, you do the manly-man construction thing, any thoughts?

I’m no manly-man, but I’m wondering what you’re using this saw for? Those seem a little cheap for the kind of saw you’ll want to really put to work.

I’m not sure how you can resist the $600 DeWalt sliding compound miter saw. It’s such a pretty yellow. :slight_smile:

Indeed, the combination of the compnd. mitre with the radial arm is quite attractive (Rrr-Rrr-Rrr), I don’t think I’ll be needing to cut anything with such a degree of width requiring angles. At most, this saw will be used to cut 2x4s etc for building a deck and other various and sundry projects.

BTW, DeWalt, while pretty, is made by Black and Decker.

I always liked Craftsman tools, they are well made and the no hassle warranty comes in handy when you do stuff to your tools that you’re not supposed to.

I heard of a guy who welded his Craftsman roofing hammer to an anvil. He took the anvil and hammer into Sears and they replaced the hammer no questions asked.

Unfortunately the Craftsman no-hassle lifetime warranty only applies to hand tools, not powered ones.

FWIW Craftsman power tools don’t have such a hot reputation in the woodworking community. They are all made by outside vendors. It was Emerson electric until just a couple of years ago. Emerson now supplies all the power tools sold under the Rigid name. IMO you might be happier in the long run getting a somewhat better miter saw than the low end model syou’re considering. I have tools from Delta, Ridgid, DeWalt and Makita but don’t have a miter saw. YMMV

I’ve always had good luck with Craftsman tools, as long as they are the bashing/cutting/twisting kind. The tools where you supply the force.

Once a motor hits a Craftsman the tool turns out less good.(The chipper/shredder fiasco comes to mind) I don’t know what it is (probably those pesky sub-contractors) but the power tools Craftsman puts out just aren’t as good as I’d hope.

The hand tools though, you just can’t go wrong.

I agree. Go for DeWalt, Makita or Porter Cable and you’ll be happier in the long run.

I like the handles on some of the DeWalt miter saws. They are mounted in a horizontal position rather than vertical. Some of the miter saws I’ve used have a downward curving handle that’s uncomfortable unless the saw is mounted below waist level.

I have a Craftsman contractor table saw that has worked fine for seven years or so. I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I did add an after market rip fence because the one that came with the saw was junk.

You want to check out the power output of the motors. The Craftsman might be $20 more powerful. If they have the same power rating you can look for other features that might make one or the other easier to use. Both Sears and Home Depot have good return policies so whichever one you do buy, if you are not happy with it you can probably return it.


Dad is a contractor. He buys good stuff.

His is a DeWalt.

Most of his tools are DeWalt, Milwaukee and Porter Cable.

I just happen to have a recent issue of the tool crib catalog handy. I see that Delta has three 10" CMS. The 36-220K @ $169, the 36-075 @ $174, and the 36-225 @ $189. If the Delta you saw at Homey’s was the 220K, I’d pass. According to the blurb, although it comes with all sorts of extras (work supports, work stop, vice clamp, etc.), it also has a steel rather than carbide tipped blade. The other Delta saws look reasonable. I know that my local Homey’s has been discounting a lot of their Delta stock and replacing it with Ridgid stuff, so if it’s one of the other Delta saws, it might be a good deal.

I can’t recommend any Sears/Craftsman power tools, for reasons others have mentioned.

In a later message, you mentioned that you’d be using it building a deck. If you don’t want to pay for a slider, I’d at the very least consider a 12" CMS. This will allow you to use 2x6" instead of 2x4" boards. I prefer 6" material for two reasons: (IMO) it looks better, and after you’ve spent the time and have fussed with and shimmed and fastened another 2x4", you’re only 3.5" farther along.

I personally have the Dewalt SCMS. I’ve replaced the stock blade with a Forrest Chopmaster and couldn’t be happier. I’ve been using it the last few weeks on a Pelawan (extremely dense, like teak or rosewood) deck. I would recommend it, or it’s CMS little brother. I wouldn’t have a problem with the Delta, P-C, Makita, or Hitachi 12" saws either. If that’s out of your price range, I’d buy a 10" saw from the same manufacturers.

I have mixed feelings about Ridgid tools. They’re made by Emmerson, which made a lot of the Sears stuff that doesn’t have a good reputation. On the other hand, it now has a lifetime warranty, so if there is a problem, you may have better results getting it results. If it means anything, the only Ridgid tool I have is the shop vac.

Remember, the more expensive saws tend to have better blades. It is a false economy to buy a less expensive saw only to have to buy a $40 (or more) blade shortly afterwards.

Good point! A better blade could easily account for the price difference.

Forrest blade are very nice.

FWIW, Ryobi manufactures the majority of Craftsman Power Tools.

You want a power saw that is guaranteed to produce a testosterone surge in even the meekest of men? Try a vintage DeWalt radial arm saw. My dad has a 20" saw. The only real drawback (besides the friggin’ 800lb gross weight) is that it requires three-phase power to run. This saw will cut an 8"x8" timber in one pass.

Unfortunately, these saws have been out of production since the 1950’s. [/hijack]

As far as power tools, I, too, have had relatively poor luck with Craftsman products. Newer B&D tools have been a bit disappointing, too. That’s surprising considering that B&D owns DeWalt.

DeWalt, Mikita, Milwaukee, Porter-Cable, and Bosch ($$$$$$) tools have all been more than satisfactory, however.

All hope is not lost. The Original Saw Company still makes the “DeWalt” radial arm saws, including the 20" monster. Don’t let the three-phase requirement turn you off, you can easily solve that with a phase converter. :slight_smile:

I have been considering the 14" model myself. I don’t really need it — My DeWalt SCMS does almost everything I need. But it would sure be nice for crosscut dados.

I have a stepfather who repairs electric hand tools on the side. He’s been doing it for 30 years.

I one asked him who makes the best power tools (drills, etc.)

He said just about every major manufacturer is making “throwaway” tools nowadays, i.e. they’re very difficult (if not impossible) to repair. One notable exception, though, was Milwaukee. Though Milwaukee may not manufacture the most “powerful” tools on the market, they are serviceable, which is more than you can say about Black and Decker, Craftsman, etc. As an example, the bearings in Milwaukee drills and saws can be replaced, while most other manufacturers use trashy “integrated” bearings.

Thanks all for the indepth info. Thanks John T. for taking the time to respond with detailed posts. It seems as if I have a lot more research to do before I buy one. I think I’m gonna stay away from the SCMS; I just don’t need that much capacity.

I was also turned on to a delta CMS that has notches in the base leaving the thickness of a 2x4 on end between the top of the bracing and the face plate, to create a simple extension and a no-slip saw.

One thing for sure, though, my birthday present is getting returned. (My wife bought me the Craftsman.)

Go with the DW705S 12" Heavy Duty Compound Miter Saw. I’ve been using one in an extensive remodelling job. Lots of power, precise, cuts even 2x10’s in one fell swoop. Amazon/Tool Crib is selling them now for about $300.00 with an extension arm. I’ve been very happy with mine.