Kyle Neuroh of Neuroh Hardwood Flooring in Nashville, Tenn., tried out the new Skilsaw 12-Inch Worm Drive Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw.
We typically use a DeWalt bevel sliding miter saw, so I was interested to see how this new saw from Skilsaw compared with that. Out of the box, the first thing we do is check for square. Some settings were a little bit out of square, which is pretty normal from shipping. I was able to adjust it using the four screws (two on each side) of the detent plate. I found the upper fence had a little bit of play, but the main fence, which is the most critical for flooring, was square on both sides. The saw comes with an LED shadow light (pictured at right), giving you a shadow line where you're going to cut (a feature I'm used to with my DeWalt). It has the adjustments for the dual bevel miter behind the blade. The handle has a quick-release button and a traditional turn lock to open it up and lock it into the interim positions (six positions on each side), with a nice solid detent lock.
The saw came with a Skilsaw blade, which we switched out immediately for a Diablo blade (our standard blade). The tool they include to change the blade was really difficult to use. The guard doesn't lock in place like it does with the DeWalt, and I felt like I needed three hands. The dust collection was comparable to other sliding miter saws—maybe not as good as the Festool Kapex but comparable to the DeWalt. It comes with a little bag in the back. It has a larger port so you could put a larger vacuum hose on it. We tried running it with our Pulse-Bac with a 1.5-inch hose, but the difference was negligible.
One nice feature about this saw that the DeWalt doesn't have is that you can press buttons to extend the table a little bit (shown at bottom right). It's a cool feature that provides a little more support when the board you're cutting doesn't quite reach the outer leg of your stand or if you don't have a stand.
This saw is a little bit louder than the DeWalt; you can hear the gears in that worm drive, but it has good power. It also has good weight and balance; the spring gives a lot more resistance than the DeWalt, making it harder to push down, but it also springs up a lot more readily. The sliding action is good. Besides the usual wood flooring cuts, we used it to create 45 miters on outside corners for column surrounds, and it created nice tight miters all the way down.