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Dewalt 20V Cordless Sliding Miter Saw Review

7-1/4″ Cordless Sliding Miter Saw

Dewalt_Cordless_Miter_SawWhen Dewalt announced the release of the new 20 volt cordless miter saw we were very excited.  Thoughts of professional uses and workshop chores were the first thing on our mind.  After using the saw for a few large projects, I am very impressed with the power and run time.  The precision and accuracy are also two items that make this saw stand out in a small 32 pound package.  This is not a cheap saw, but in comparison to other professional use cordless tools, it is not very expensive either.  This saw might have taken some time to come to market and it was worth the wait as Dewalt got it right.

DCS361 Features

  • 4Ah 20-Volt MAX battery pack (DCB204) provides on average, 183 cuts of 2 in. x 4 in. pine or 275 cuts of 3-1/4 in. pine baseboard
  • Bevel range -3° to 48° left & Max miter angle 48° left and 48° right
  • XPS cross cut positioning system provides adjustment free cut line indication
  • Capacity to cut up to 3-5/8 in. nested crown and 3-1/2 in. base vertically, will cut 2 x 8 lying flat at 90 degrees and 2×6 at 45 degrees
  • Adjustable stainless steel miter detent plate with 11 positive
  • Compact, lightweight design – 32 lbs.
  • Cam lock miter handle is easy and quick but most important, it is accurate
  • Precise miter system and machined base fence support for durability and cutting accuracy

Can the DCS361 Replace your Corded Miter Saw

Dewalt_Cordless_Miter_BevelThe first item I read in the Dewalt owner’s manual was “This heavy duty miter saw is designed for professional wood cutting applications“.  From that point on, I started to compare this saw to the other high end miter saws we have in our shop including a very nice 12” corded Dewalt.

Right off the bat we were cutting 2×6 treated lumber to build a floor for a shed.  Without the slider, cutting this size lumber would not be possible with a 7-1/4” blade and I was impressed to be able to throw a 2×8 on the saw and be able to square off an end.  The saw spins at 3,750 rpm at no load and it slows slightly when under load.  We started out cutting slower because mentally we all expected that we would need to with a battery operated saw.  After we were very comfortable with the saw we worked to try to bog the saw or stop it.  I will not say the saw is unstoppable, but I will say that we have yet to stall the saw in any of our cuts and we have pushed the saw on large lumber.

Dewalt_DCS361_Purple_HeartSo beyond the 2x dimensional lumber our plan was to see if a cordless saw could be used in a workshop with hard woods.  Starting with oak, we tried cutting 4/4″ slices and moved up to 8/4” hickory and finally with the hardest wood in our shop, 8/4” purple heart.  The Dewalt miter saw with the standard 40 tooth carbide tipped blade was cutting purple heart without any issues or burning of the wood.

There is no doubt that this is a professional grade saw that can replace a corded show model and it is only limited by the 7-1/4″ blade size.

Precision Optimized for Cordless Miter Saw

Precision_Blades

While checking out the 40 tooth blade that came standard on the miter saw, I saw a small picture of the miter saw painted on the blade.  This is evidence that Dewalt  designed a new blade optimized for this saw.  These blades are designed to have a thin kerf and new hook angle of the teeth to maximize the amount of cuts the saw can provide on a single battery pack.  Dewalt currently makes three blades that are optimized for this miter saw in 24, 40 (included) and 60 tooth versions to help fit the cutting that you use your saw for.   After cutting the wide variety of woods with this saw, the 40 tooth blade is impressive.  The cut quality and battery life was excellent and I would opt to stay with these blades for this saw.

Accuracy & Feel

Dewalt_DCS361_Cordless_SawCompact and light weight can sometime bring with it some attributes that reduce accuracy and ergonomics of tools.  In this case, Dewalt worked to keep the accuracy by including adjustable detent stops.  The miter and bevel stops are both adjustable if needed.  Our saw came from the factory not needing any adjustments. The bevel adjustment for the 7-1/4″ cordless saw is identical to the bevel adjustment on my Dewalt 12″ miter saw, just a bit smaller.  The miter angle has very nice positive stops that proved to be accurate.  Quickly adjusting the miter angle is easy and very similar to the larger models.  The fences are adjustable and also very similar to the larger model corded saw.

The feel of the saw is very solid even for being such a light weight unit.  When you let the saw spring up from the lowered position, the saw does not bounce or look like it is out of control.  The slide movement is smooth and the lock is positive.  The safety switch in the trigger was very easy for me to use and get used to.  The way the saftey operates, it seems to be more natural for a right handed person.  My father, a lefty, took about 8 cuts before he stopped fumbling with it.  The direction the safety moves was his issue.  Overall, this miter saw has the same features and quality as the larger models Dewalt makes.

XPS LED Worklight & Shadow Line

Dewalt_XPS_LEDHaving a directed light on the miter saw for interior work is very nice.  We were able to see pencil marks easier on darker woods and the shadow line showing the cut of the blade is an innovative idea.  I am not a person who likes lasers.  Being taught to always use the blade and look that you are cutting on the correct side of the line always made me second guess a laser.  With the shadow line, it is very clear what part of the wood will be removed.

The only downside to the shadow line and lasers, is that they are not able to be seen outdoors.  Even in the garage with the garage door open, you are not able to see the shadow line.  Again, this to me is a nice feature for indoor use when light is low as the LED lights helped out tremendously, but know that the shadow line will not work in bright outdoor situations.

Battery Life

Dewalt_Miter_Saw_BladeBattery life for this miter saw is impressive.  We completed a build on a 7′ x 10′ shed on one battery with plenty of battery to spare.  I estimate that we made well over 130 cuts on 2x lumber (most 2×6) over a few days all on the same battery charge.  This far exceeded my expectation of real world battery life.  If you were using this saw for smaller trim, I am confident that on a professional jobsite, one could easily go all day on one charge.

With excellent battery life, there are many different uses for the saw.  Its light weight also lends it to be moved and stored easily.  I believe this saw will catch on for many contractors and wood shops.

Overall

Dewalt_20v_Cordless_Miter_SawI really cannot say enough great comments about this saw as my expectations are far exceeded.  Even the dust collection works well and you do not find that on most corded saws.  I guess I can complain a bit that during my travels with this saw that the saw dust collected in the dust bag fell out while vertical on the miter stand or horizontal in the back of the truck.  With that being our only complaint, you can see how impressed we are with the saw.

If you can get by with the cut capacity of this saw, I would recommend that you give it a try.  The saw has a 3 Year Limited Warranty, 1 Year Free Service Contract, and 90 Day Money Back Guarantee so you have time to test it out to make sure it fits your needs.

Let us know how you feel about a cordless miter saw or if you have this saw in the comments area below.  We will also be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Specifications

Blade Diameter 7 1/4″”
Amps 20 V Max*
No Load Speed 3750rpm
Arbor Size 5/8″”
Vertical Capacity\: Baseboard Against Fence 3 1/2″”
Vertical Capacity\: Crown Molding Vertically Nested 3 5/8″”
Horizontal Capacity\: Baseboard Lying Flat 8″”
Horizontal Capacity\: Crown Molding Lying Flat 8″”
45° Bevel Cut Capacity (dimensional lumber) 1.5″ X 8″
90° Cross-Cut Capacity (dimensional lumber) 2″X 8″”
90° Cross-Cut Capacity (Max Width) 8″
45° Miter Cut Capacity (Max Height) 2″
45° Miter Cut Capacity (Max Width) 5.5″

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