Miter saws are one of the most convenient types of saws available. They make producing repeatable cuts a cinch by eliminating the need to readjust the saw head, angle, and fence after every cut. A compound miter saw takes it to the next level by allowing users to make repeated compound cuts (mitered and beveled cuts) in no time at all.
One of the more popular compound miter saws out there is the DW716XPS from DEWALT. This saw is known for its tremendous power, high-speed blade, and amazing positioning system that ensures you’re making precision cuts every time. Let’s take a closer look at what the DW716XPS is packing and how well it works.
XPS (Cross-Positioning System)
Without any lights or lasers, it can be quite challenging to gauge how much material will be removed. The kerf (thickness) of the blade determines the width of the cut so it’s extremely important that you know just how wide the cut will end up being. Normally, miter saws come with lasers which give a somewhat accurate picture of where the blade will penetrate your piece, but the main problem with lasers is that they often don’t match the kerf of the blade, especially if you purchased a laser add-on separately.
DEWALT’s ingenious system – the XPS module – projects a bright LED light on both sides of the blade, creating a shadow that darkens and becomes more defined as the blade moves closer to the workpiece. The thickness of the shadow is also extremely similar to the kerf of the saw blade so users can get a clear idea of how much material will be removed. In our opinion, DEWALT’s XPS trumps any laser system out there. Of course, the only drawback is if you’re working outdoors where sunlight shines directly on your piece.
Motor Power and Speed
The DW716XPS is equipped with a large 15-amp motor which delivers a ton of power for chopping through all types of wood. It spins the huge 12-inch blade at speeds of up to 3,800 RPM for quick, clean cuts through wide boards. For portable compound miter saws, this is the largest motor you’ll ever need, and anything more powerful can be overkill.
Miter and Bevel Capacities
This compound miter saw has a maximum mitering capacity of 50° in both directions. The mitering system has 11 pre-installed positive stops to help make repeated cuts at the most commonly used angles. The DW716XPS also has a beveling head that can tilt in both directions at up to 48°. Apart from the 0° position, each direction has three positive stops at 33.9°, 45°, and 48°.
The 12-inch blade that comes with the DW716XPS can deliver deep cuts on wide boards, making it an extremely useful tool for all sorts of woodworking projects. While the blade is at the 90° position, it can cut boards up to 8 inches wide and 6.5 inches thick. While mitered at 45°, the 12-inch blade can cut 4 inches deep on 6-inch wide stock. For cutting through crown molding in the nested position, the DW716XPS can cut as deep as 6-5/8 inches with a single plunge.
Dust Collection Bag
Like any woodworking tool, a compound miter saw produces huge mounds of sawdust in just a couple of passes. Luckily, miter saws like the DW71XPS feature a handy dust collection bag that attached to a 2-1/2-inch dust port located on its backside. The dust bag doesn’t leak but can fill up rather quickly if you’re using the tool continuously so consider attaching a shop vac hose to this unit’s dust port. Adapters are available (but sold separately) if your shop vac doesn’t use a 2-1/2-inch hose.
Miter saws should come with a wide range of safety features like retractable blade guards and lockout triggers. But the one feature we think not enough miter saws come with – the DW716XPS not included – is electric brakes. Basically, when the trigger is disengaged, the DW716XPS’s saw blade will stop almost instantaneously. This means while the blade is slightly above the surface of your material and fully exposed, after releasing the trigger you’ll have a reduced risk of cutting your forearm.
In all honesty, the DeWalt DW716XPS is like so many other 12-inch compound miter saws out there in terms of maximum cutting capacities, mitering and beveling ranges, and safety features. However, the thing that really sets this tool apart is the XPS module which helps give operators a clear idea of the blade’s kerf and how much material will be removed. This feature alone is definitely worth the cost of the tool if you’re serious about woodworking.