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Makita LS1216L 12-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw Review

The Makita LS1216L 12-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw boasts one of the largest crosscutting and crown cutting capabilities in today’s power tool industry. This saw can be used on a workbench, jobsite, or high-volume production environments.
Makita LS1216L
Makita LS1216L 12-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw Features:

  • Patented 4-Steel Rail Sliding System with 6 linear ball bearings
  • 5-1/2″ high dual sliding fence set up
  • 15 amp direct-drive motor
  • Independent laser
  • 8″ crown molding vertical cutting capability
  • 6-1/2″ baseboard vertical cutting capability
  • 15″ crosscutting capability at 90 degree angle
  • 12″ x 60 tooth Carbide-tipped blade
  • Triangular rule
  • Vertical clamp
  • Dust bag
  • Wrench #2.5 and #13
  • 75 lbs
  • Dimensions: 33″ x 21″ x 22″
  • 110 volts
  • 1 year warranty

Accuracy and Wide Cutting Capabilities

The Makita LS1216L has been designed to provide one of the widest crown and crosscutting capabilities among power tools in its category. Its unique 4-Steel Rail Sliding System in combination with 6 linear ball bearings offers extremely accurate cuts on a stable cutting platform with smooth, adjustment-free action. Boards up to 15″ wide can be cut at a 90 degree angle with no special set up. This saw has a unique retractable guard system and groundbreaking direct-drive gearbox. This allows for an increase in vertical cutting capability and the for the biggest crown molding cutting ability in its category. It can handle up to an 8″ crown molding in a vertically nested position. This Makita can also take care of a 6-1/2″ baseboard in a vertical position.

Precision Miter and Bevel Cutting

The Makita LS1216L has a patented 5-1/2″ high sliding fence system with 4 sliding fences. These fences have lower and upper adjustments which allow for precision miter and bevel cutting for a wide range of projects. The left miter ranges from 0-52 degrees, while the right ranges from 0-60 degrees. The positive stops are at 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, and 45 degrees on both left and right. The easily accessed, dual rear-handled bevel lock has left and right adjustments from 0-45 degrees, with positive stops at 0, 22.5, 33.9, and 45 degrees on both left and right. Dual front bevel scales enable easier adjustments, and the one-touch miter lock increases efficiency. Combined with the independent indicator laser option, precision cutting is the order of the day with this saw.

Other Features

The Makita LS1216L needs less rear clearance than many of the other saws in its class. It has a see through blade guard for visibility and greater cutting accuracy. It also features a one-step blade switching set up and the elastomer, horizontal D-handle is designed for comfort. The size of the trigger switch was makes operating the saw easier. The 15 amp gearbox motor does not require the maintenance which is common with belt-run saws, so slipping or slow downs are not an issue. There is an Electronic Speed Control which keeps the speed constant, resulting in a more even, high quality cutting experience. In tandem with the soft start option, the cutting process is smoother from beginning to end.

Various Applications

The Makita LS1216L has been designed for rugged applications such as cutting 4″ x 16″ beams and up to 15″ boards, while also able to handle extremely accurate woodworking tasks. Cabinet makers and cabinet installers, stair builders, case and base installers, siding installers, finish carpenters, professional woodworkers, floor and deck installers, and general contractors can all benefit from the use of this miter saw.

What do those who have used this Makita 12-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw have to say about how it performs?

The Pros:

  • The soft start feature on this saw is impressive.
  • This saw has micro alignment capabilities.
  • The direct-drive motor is not inferior to a belt-driven motor.
  • The independent laser can be turned off or on before cutting begins. It remains on throught the cutting process, unlike most saws with lasers, which allows this miter saw to deliver really accurate results.
  • This Makita is still delivering wonderful cutting results after being used for two years in a small custom woodworking shop.
  • The included blade can cut through 5/4 pressure treated lumber “like butter.”  The size of the included blade makes molding cutting a breeze.
  • The major components of the saw have been machined from metal, which increases durability.
  • The forward placement of the angle adjustments and saw slide locks makes use of this tool more convenient. The lock out options make this saw perfect for specialty projects.
  • This saw replaced three different pieces of equipment. The wide cutting capability replaced the need for a radial arm saw, its cutting ability removed the need for the chop saw, and its superior precision replaced  the need for a manual miter box. The 15″ cross cut is amazing.
  • The action is smooth.
  • This is the best power tool that a woodworker of 30+ years has owned.
  • This saw has a wider range of miter cuts than other saws on the market.
  • This saw is “very user friendly.”
  • There is no regret from having purchased this saw.

The Cons:

  • The 90 degree setting is not accurate and there is no way to correct it.
  • Makita customer service does not acknowledge the issues with adjusting the saw.
  • The packaging causes the saw to need all kinds of adjusting and aligning.
  • The design makes it look as if there is a missing part when there is not.

Overall, most who own the Makita LS1216L 12-Inch Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw feel that it meets expectations and even exeeds them in some cases. Most customers who’s saw came in packaging that made it necessary to realign the tool, said that it was not really an issue to properly adjust the saw. There were others who had positive customer service dealings when things were amiss with the tool. More often than not this saw rated 4 stars or higher among consumers.

Makita LS1216L
$597.99 from Amazon

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