Most helpful positive review
148 of 161 people found the following review helpful
Addition of XPS LED Light makes this a nice improvement over previous model
on June 26, 2011
I'm writing this review not from the perspective of a home contractor or professional, but rather a home handyman / hobbyist. I do not have a huge collection of tools, but previous to receiving this DeWalt DWS780, my "chop saw" of choice was a Dewalt DW703, a 10" compound miter saw, single bevel. That DW703 has since been replaced by the largely similar DW713. Both saws had a smaller blade, and only a single-bevel with no slide.
Likewise, the DWS780 is replacing the similar DW718. Looking at both miter saws online, they are hard to distinguish except for the addition of the new XPS cross cut positioning system that I will discuss in a minute.
The DWS780 is truly a versatile saw, and you can tell the second you get the box that it is solidly built and not like some of the cheaper off-brand tools you see today. This is the quality you expect from DeWalt, and the saw is ready to be used the second you take it out of the box. Despite having a 15-amp motor and a huge 12" blade, it is surprisingly quiet, well balanced, and actually reasonably portable. With 1 hand I was able to carry it down to my work room in the basement. I have confidence that I can store and transport this tool without needing to have a permanent bench for it.
Most homeowners do not need more than a 10" single bevel miter saw. If you are doing flooring, shoe moulding, or other simple tasks, a "chop saw" with a single bevel is all you need. If you are graduating to crown moulding you will appreciate the double-bevel. The saw features clear marks for all angles and bevels, with positive stops for the commonly used angles of 0, 22.5, 33.9, 45, and 49. When evaluating miter saws, the smoothness and quality of the angle setting is a clear differentiator between the no-name China brands and DeWalt. If you can't set a consistent angle and hold it while you cut, you will be disappointed with the results. The DWS780 makes this part a breeze. All parts are well machined and move smoothly with no hang-ups or catches.
There's no need to repeat all of the specifications for board size, but I will note that the sliding part of this allows you to cut much larger boards than a 12" saw by itself would allow. I could easily see cutting cabinet shelfs with ease using this tool. The slide is equally smooth and well machined. Running the saw, the blade and motor are surprisingly quiet and lack of vibration shows the device is well balanced.
The most innovative change is the XPS system, and it is quite a nice addition. The previous DWS718 used a laser guide for the saw. It can often be tough to tell where the saw will hit, and the laser would mark the wood to make it easier to position. The problem was that the laser needs to be properly calibrated. The XPS system uses a flood of LED light with a thin shadow that gets cast on the workpiece. The LED light has two nice effects. First, it lights the entire area so you can see what you are doing. Second, by using the shadow of the blade to create a line, it makes an accurate mark that needs no calibration.
If you have simple needs, get yourself a small 10" DeWalt. But if you start getting serious about home improvement, then you definitely cannot go wrong with the new DWS780 and XPS cross cut positioning system.