Customer Reviews: Makita LS1212 12-Inch Dual Rail Slide Compound Miter Saw with Carbide-Tipped Blade
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on November 3, 2000
I've owned both the Makita Ls 1212 & the Hitachi C10fs. I will give you my two cents worth about how they compare with each other. The postive features about the Makita: cuts very accurately on both bevel & simple miters, the rail & carriage system is really beefy & it glides very smoothly, it comes with a 96 tooth blade that cuts very good, the fence & hold down clamp are really good, it doesn't send scrap pieces through the air, it pushes them aside. The negative things: It doesn't have positive stops @ 31.6 or 35.3! For a saw in this price range I think that's crazy. The motor is pretty quiet, but the brake makes a loud screeching sound that can get annoying. And the price is to high. I don't think this saw should cost ... The positive things about the Hitachi: It has positive stops @ 31.6 & 35.3 for crown molding. It also has positive stops @ 30 & 33.9 on the bevel scale. The motor seems to have more power & runs quieter. I like the soft dentents on the Hitachi when trying to make small adjustments. It has a smooth sliding action, it's $165.00 less than the Makita. The negative things: It doesn't cut as accurately as the Makita on bevel cuts, the fence is to short & cutting small pieces is hard, it has a bad habit of throwing small pieces of wood @ 100 miles per hour, Hitachi customer service isn't very good. To sum it up I don't think there is a "perfect" miter saw. They all have their good & bad points. Aside from not having enough stops, the Makita in my IMO is the better of the two saws. I gave it four stars because it's price is to high & it needs those two extra stops. Just my two cents worth.
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I know not all saws, are all things, to all people. Take weight for example. This saw weighs in at a hefty 48.5 pounds. It's brother the Makita 12" Miter saw, without the slide rail, is only 37.5 That extra 11 pounds adds up, if you are carrying it up and down stairs. But if the price tag and weight are not a concern, this is the most accurate saw on the market.
It made Workbench Magazines Editors Choice Award. Here is a quote from them: "Out of the Box Perfection. Makita's LS1212 proved to be the superior saw in this test on almost every count. It's compact, powerful, dead-on-accurate, comes equipped with an outstanding 96-tooth carbide-tipped blade, and still has a moderate price tag... this saw made perfect bevels, miters, and compound cuts using only the factory detents for setup."
I agree with the accuracy comments 100%. I was amazed when I took the Bosch Digital Protractor, (another highly recommended item) which measures in tenths of a degree, (equal to 3600 dots in a circle) and decided to check the saw for accuracy, just using the measuring marks. I purposely moved the pointer to touch the left side of the hairline showing 25 degrees. It measured 24.9. When I moved it the same way to the right, it measured 25.1. So the center hairline is accurate at exactly 25 degrees. Not even off by a tenth of a degree. Phew! (It is fully adjustable for future tweaking) No matter what you cut, a miter, a bevel, or a compound cut, this thing is DEAD ON ACCURATE. I have used lesser saws which are off by several degrees.
Think of the time this can save when cutting crown moldings. Consider getting the Bosch digital protractor. You set it to the spring angle, then use it to measure the corner angle of the wall, and it automatically calculates the Miter and Bevel angles to a tenth of a degree. Just lay your crown molding FLAT on the Makita LS 1212, dial in your miter and bevel settings, and cut perfect crowns. No more overcutting, and running up and down the ladder, to keep tweaking the cut in.
Their is criticism that this saw should come with detent-stops for the popular crown molding settings, like the Hitachi has. Since most walls are not a true 90 degrees, a default setting on crown moldings is all to frequently not accurate. Since the Makita makes adjusting so easy that it is almost fun, moving it to that perfect setting, is almost as easy as a detent. I guess you can tell I love this saw. No more cutting sample cuts ahead of time to set the saw. You just dial it in, and cut away. What a joy, and a time saver!
With the included, 96 tooth carbide blade, you will get quick, glass smooth cuts, without having to buy a blade upgrade.
The big factor is that this saw bevels both ways. Dual bevel settings avoid the problem of having to swing 12 foot moldings around to bevel the other end. (I recognize that their are other solutions to that problem.) Once your spoiled with a dual bevel saw, their is no going back.
Their is a rock solid feel in the Makita sliders. Dual slide rails, that are horizontal with the base, give it a wide footing. If you go into the local home center, and compare that system, to the other popular selling sliding saw, with vertical rails and blade, you will instantly realize the stability of the Makita is a lot better.
If your building furniture, custom cabinetry, and the like, this Makita saw gets my two thumbs up. If I was rough framing, I would be looking for a lighter workhorse, and keeping the Makita at home. It's got the power, the quietness, and most importantly the accuracy you want. The 12" blade gives you the greatest cutting depth when cutting at the most severe angles, and for the thickest stock.
If price is the major concern, it's smaller brother the 10" slider is a top choice. Even more frugal is the Bosch 10" slider. If you are looking to spend even less, look to the Makita 12" non sliding compound miter saw. It does not bevel both ways, but I found it to be the lightest saw on the market. It's my choice for the job site.
If accuracy is your game, then buy the LS1212, you won't find a better saw on the market.
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on June 14, 2000
I love the competition between power tool companies ! We all benefit when they try to out do each other.For years Dewalt has had THE top miter saw. NO MORE ! With the LS1212 Makita has leapfrogged the whole industry. As other reviewers have said , This is one smooth operator. Everything about it says superior engineering. It just feels right in your hands. The slide (or should I say glide) action is so smooth , you would think every one else was using square bearings. The turn table is even smoother. Sometimes I have to change the angle just to feel how smooth it operates. The big surprize though was the motor. It's so so so quiet! 84 Db is what Makita claims. I have no reson to doubt it. It also has soft start with electronic speed control. It doesn't bog down in a large cut like my DeWalt. When you're done , the brake brings everything to a halt. Right out of the box it was dead on accurate. I checked it out with my Starret combination square. No adjustments necessary. Although it doesn't look hard to adjust after rough handling. I am getting less deflection with the slide mechanism than with my Dewalt. I don't know why, It's just stiffer. This saw comes with the same fence as the LS1013. The tall sub fence flips out of the way for bevel cutting or back for miter cuts. Makita also has a tall subfence available for the right side of the saw. part #192651-4. I think it should be included with the saw for the price we're paying. On the plus side , the blade is pretty good. The teeth are small so you won't get a whole lot of sharpenings out of it. But it cuts very smoothly , with no runout . It's made by Tenryu Which puts out some very nice blades. The dust bag is as good as it gets which is not very good. Although it is much better than the DeWalt which has the chute on the side rather than centered on the top of the blade cover. Hook it up to a shop vac for a much cleaner work site.The slide mechanism is self cleaning so I wouldn't worry about getting dust on the poles. The slide poles are completely concealed when the unit is secured for transport. I always wonder what might hit the unprotected poles on my DeWalt so I usually try to cover them up. The Makita is MUCH easier to carry. It is more compact and the top handle is on the vertical axis so it's perfectly balanced. If you're like me and mount it on a stand it won't be an issue. I could go on and on but I should go to work instead. All in all I love this saw!
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on April 10, 2000
I have only had this saw for a few weeks now but I am extremely happy with it. I chose this saw over the 10" model because it could cut a 4x4 in one pass. I chose this model over the DeWalt 12" compound saw because it seemed to have a smoother slide action and generally a better "feel".
Accurate cuts were achieved straight out of the box, and the quality of the cuts (using Australian Oak) were very smooth. The blade guard automatically swings out of the way as the saw is lowered, which makes lining up a cut extremely easy (I've used an old Ryobi mitre saw where the guard moves up only when it hits the stock, making it a pain to align the blade to the line). Positive detents for the main angles (22.5, 45, 0 etc) make angle changes easy. The locking ring lets you lock the sliding mechanism which is useful when dealing with small stock.
I do have some small gripes, however: The Owners manual contains everything you need to know but it does take a little flipping back and forth through all the diagrams (typical Makita style). The soft-start feature is good but I find having the saw "pull down" on starting a little disconcerting. Dust collection into the supplied bag is so inefficient (30% perhaps) that there's little point in using it, but I don't know how it would improve with an attached dust extractor. With the inefficiency of the dust bag and the position of the slide rails, the rails are forever caked in dust, and I feel forever compelled to clean them. There is an optional clamp-head available for repetition cutting, and Makita would have done well to include this in the box. All in all, however, it's a great saw.
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on October 9, 2000
After years of debating as to which sliding compound miter to purchase, I finally settled on this one, and am I ever pleased! Makita has made a substantial improvement over the old LS1211. The motor is the quietest of any of the sliders, which is good when you make hundreds of cuts in a day. The LS1211 really jerked upward on startup and down when the trigger is released, this saw still has a bit of a jerk but not nearly as bad. The detent override on this saw is easily the best on the market and it is the main reason I bought the saw. Micro adjustments (1/4 degree or less) near the detents are very easy, and make this saw a valuable tool for tight tolerance fitting. The miter table operates very smoothly and the scale is easy to read, the bevel scale is also easy to read, but the saw takes a firm push to get it out of the 0 degree detent for beveling. Unlike other saws, however, it does not flop over when you put a 15 degree or greater bevel on it. The sliding action is consistently smooth, all the folks who tried it out on our site were very impressed. The 96 tooth blade gives silky smooth cuts in fir and cedar, I have yet to try any hardwood trim. I do wish the miter scale went to 60 degrees both ways like the LS1211. I also agree that the dust bag needs emptying often (every 2 hours I have found), and I agree that for the money (this saw is the most expensive slider on the market) Makita could have included a few more accesories, particularly the table extensions. The odd table height also takes getting use to (4 11/16"), and required modifying my station a bit. This saw is so easy to adjust from cut to cut, that I don't get heart burn when someone changes a setting--I know it will be easy to dial back in. That to me is the most important design factor: ease of adjustment. This saw does it better than the rest! Too bad it is so spendy though, I don't think it will prove to be as popular for that reason. In my book, though, buying this saw was money well spent. In the words of my friend Gumby, "It cuts like butter!
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on January 16, 2003
I have had this saw about nine months and I am absolutely pleased. I needed a saw that would range from house framing to precise furniture cutting. This saw has filled the bill extremely well.
Dead accurate out of the box (no assembly required), more than enough power to slice through 4x4 and 2x12 framing, surgically accurate for my furniture work. It has a sturdy and accurate feel that the others in the class do not have. (the Dewalt feels like a toy, in comparison).
What is not played up is that it comes with a great 90 tooth carbide blade that is at least a $90 item all by itself. The others come with much inferior blades. If you want want those silky smooth cuts from the other saws, you may have to shell out for a blade upgrade - check out the blades.
Yes indeed, it does not come with the extension wings, which would be nice for some, I guess. However, for me, those little wings do precious little anyway - I use a longer extension setup so the wings, if included, would be sitting on the shelf. I prefer to have the great blade (which I truly need) than the extension wings (which I do not need). Just my preference.
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on December 19, 2004
I am a tradesman and rely on my miter saw to make a living. Like all my tools, if it doesn't perform reliably it gets an "aerial burial" and I replace it with something better. Money is never a primary deciding factor in selecting a tool that is critical to the work I do. That being said, I did my research and bought the LS1212. It has been a few years now and I am still glad I bought this saw.

Prior to buying the Makita, I owned a Dewalt 708 slider. I was never happy with the DeWalt because of all of its design flaws. Everything that I despised about the DeWalt is perfected with the Makita LS1212.

Something to consider when buying a portable saw is the size and weight of the unit. The Makita is lighter than many of the smaller 10" sliders out there, and even has a smaller footprint than the LS1013. This advantage is noticeable when you pack and unpack a saw every single day.

The accuracy of the saw is superb with absolutely no blade wobble or runout. Makita uses these clever sacrificial blade washers that are softer than the blade material. The blade washers will bend if you get severe kickback, thus saving the arbor and blade from damage. If your saw develops blade wobble from shipping damage or kickback, just replace the two washers and all is perfect again.

I adjusted my saw when it was new, and despite banging around in the back of my truck with other tools and material piled on top, the initial setting has still held accurately.

The only maintenance the saw has needed to date is the periodic lubrication of the swing table and the upfront controls. A few squirts of white lithium and it is good for several months of hard use.

What really impresses about this saw is how much visiblility you have around the motor housing. The angled motor and narrow blade shroud give you many more viewing angles of the cut line compared to any other brand. Also, the blade guard is easy to retract out of the way for lining up cuts, unlike the Hitachi which retracts into the blade housing.

No other saw slides as smoothly as this saw. Also, the turntable is smoother than anything else. Very impressive, and the smoothness never seems to wear out.

I personally like the idea of the slide lock being mounted up front. I lock and unlock the slider dozens of times a day, whereas I adjust the bevel much less frequently. I may go a month without adjusting the bevel, and if I am doing a job that requires cutting crown larger than 6", I usually can cut the whole job within a few days.

For tall base, the Makita is the best on the market for cutting flat. Since you do not need to pull a release pin to bevel the saw to right, you simply unlock the bevel release and flip the saw between 45 left, 0, and 45 right all you want. Tilt the head to the left, slide and cut. Flip it all the through to 45 right and cut. No levers or pins to pull. This is nearly as fast as cutting base in position.

I ordered the accessory sub-fence for the right side of the saw. While I also believe this should ship with the saw, it is an absolute must to buy this upgrade. The right and left tall fences do not have a blade clearance bevel like the Bosch and DeWalt, and this is an advantage for the Makita user. The fence goes straight up and offers superior support for crown being cut in position. If the fence is the type that has an angled top near the blade, the crown will bend when being cut resulting in a curved miter that will never line. The only workaround for other saws is to screw a board to fence to support the crown. Not a huge issue, but I switch modes so often it is more convenient for me to not have to keep screwing and unscrewing an auxilliary wood fence all the time.

The vertical D handle is much smarter than a horizontal handle. It is important to be able to cut with both hands, and the vertical handle with top-mounted trigger safety are easy to use with the left or right hand. The trigger safety can also be removed to prevent unauthorized use of the tool. Thoughtfully, the safety is identical to that used on the Makita table saw, so if it were to become lost you could grab the one off the table saw until it is replaced. Shockingly, DeWalt does not put a trigger safety on their miter saws and this is a shameful practice as I personally had dozens of "misfires" over the years with the 708 (fortunately I was never cut but it could happen).

The stock Makita blade is superb for any hardwood. Best blade ever and it is very thin so it spins and up and stops quickly. The industrial grade thick-kerf blades (Amana, CMT, Forrest etc...) just weigh too much for a portable saw and cause the tool to work hard at starting and stopping. The medium kerf blades, however, work flawlessly with this tool and my favorite third party blade is the DeWalt DW3232 80 tooth neg-hook blade. It cuts super fast and smooth through MDF mouldings. The giant carbides stay sharp a long time and can be sharpened a dozen times creating a huge cost savings in the long run compared to buying el-cheapo throw-away blades that never cut well to begin with.

The LS1212 truely is a very quiet saw. You have to hear it to appreciate it. There is close to no vibration as well. Quality is the best word to describe the operation of this saw.

One reviewer mentioned that the saw needs a cord winder. Actually, the cord is supposed to be wrapped around the motor/handle. No winder needed.

I am still blown away with the performance and usablility of the LS1212 and never grow tired of using it. The newer saws with lasers and levers-galore still don't compare when it comes to actually making thousands of cuts a week. Lasers are cute, but man has built America without them and the thickness of the laser line introduces more error than simply sighting down the blade. And a saw with a bunch of plastic levers sticking out is going to need repairs because those levers are sure to break off in a harsh construction environment.

It appears that Makita intends to kill off the LS1212 in favor of the new LS1214. The base on the LS1214 lacks the miter range of the LS1212 and the miter setting is blocked by material like the LS1013. Also, you can't adjust the miter setting with material clamped down because you clamp directly to the turntable. This new saw is a downgrade from the LS1212 so I hope Makita rethinks their planning. From what I gather, Makita sells a crapload 1013's through the Home Depot so they think changing to the crummy 1013 base will boost the sales of the 12" slider. Buy a 1212 while you can, because when it is gone it will probably never be matched again for quality and capability.
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on April 7, 2000
Makita has outdone themselves with this saw. It is highly accurate, a snap to setup and has all the capacity you'll need. The soft start motor makes this powerhouse easy to handle and the electric brake is effective. Some things to be aware of: the ajustable depth gage is not much good, cuts are not repeatable. Hook the saw up to a vacuum or you will be emptying the dust bag every five minutes. Make a cover for the slides to prevent cloging the bearings with sawdust. This is an expensive saw, Makita should include more options as standard.
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on February 19, 2000
I bought this saw 2 weeks ago and I couldn't be happier with it. It is the best slide compound out there. With electronic soft start motor, silky smooth slide and excellent blade it is a pleasure to use. I use it for interior finish carpentry and the cuts are silky smooth especially in hardwoods. Highly recommended.
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on February 4, 2004
I purchased the Makita LS1212 after researching and deciding between the Makita and Bosch. The Makita seemed to have better ratings for accuracy from the sources I read so I chose it over the more expensive Bosch model. Glad I did. Cuts were dead on accurate right out of the box! I was originally going to replace the stock blade with a Freud or Forrest Blade,... but wow... the cuts are the cleanest I have ever witnessed (on Australian Cypress - a hardwood).
There is simply no need for a better blade. There is no splintering and the cut almost looks polished. I do not think the cut could even be improved with sanding. I'm sure that as the blade dulls this will change, but it goes a long way to show the quality of the saw when set up correctly and using quality blades.
This is simply the most impressive tool I have purchased to date. Sure, it is missing some common stops that other saws have, but my Bosch digital angle finder (highly recommended also) pretty much takes all the guesswork out. If you buy either one, you wont regret it!
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