First let’s start by clearly stating we understand this is not apples to apples comparison looking at a 12” vs 10” miter saw with very different traits and characteristics. That being said the overwhelming feedback we are getting from those actually in the market for a larger capacity cordless miter saw and willing to spend $600 or more they are looking very closely at these 2 options. We had a project to build a workbench our of scrap wood (post/video on that to follow) and choose a design to notch out 4x4s to flush in the 2x4s to add rigidity but really just to give us an excuse to make 500+ cuts with these miter saws. Here is what we’ve found.
So what do you really gain going from 10” to 12” in capacity? Vertical Capacity against fence for trim and crown is the biggest difference; with Milwaukee at 5-3/4” vs FLEXVOLT at 6-3/4” also the 90 degree rip capacity goes from 2×12” with Milwaukee 10” to 2×14” with the FLEXVOLT 12”. If either of those 2 capacities are 100% critical for you than you may need to go with the yellow one. If this is not a critical requirement however for your cordless miter saw the Milwaukee offers some other advantages. FLEXVOLT wins Capacity
In our mind the reason you want to choose a cordless saw is if want portability, perhaps working on a job and moving around frequently. The Milwaukee FUEL weights 45 lbs and offers very smart design with handles on the sides of the saw that allow you to carry with 1 or 2 hands as well as actually extend the work surface. Everything about this saw is designed for on the go performance. The Dewalt FLEXVOLT saw weights 65 lbs and is noticeably bulkier, it really begs for a fully wheeled work stand if you are going to get it on and off the job each day. Milwaukee wins Portability
A saw with a larger diameter blade is going to require more power, we feel like the FLEXVOLT saw does deliver on solid power for turning a 12” saw. You can defiantly feel the power just by pulling the trigger. The Milwaukee also delivers, we have used both these saws to cut hard oak with no problem and have nothing but positive reviews on both saws in terms of cutting power. If you are cutting 4×4 lumber both are pretty comparable unfortunately you can’t really take advantage of “More Power” with a miter saw like you can with a grinder or rotary hammer drill. FLEXVOLT wins Power
Again we know this is not a fair comparison as the FLEXVOLT is actually using 12.0Ah of battery life vs Milwaukee at only 9.0Ah (only 3/4 of the battery power) but we wanted fully charge and drain each to see where we ended up. We were actually very surprised as the Dewalt FLEXVOLT only made 257 cuts, we were well over 300 with the Milwaukee with plenty of life left when the work bench was complete. We continued to run the Milwaukee down in the 4×4 material (continuing to notch ½ way same depth every time) and got to 405 cuts when the M18 9.0Ah battery finally died. Milwaukee wins Battery Life
Charge Time / Down Time
While the Dewalt FLEXVOLT unit does come with a duel bay charger it unfortunately took almost 2 hours to fully charge the 2 batteries again to be ready to use again. This is an eternity on the jobsite if you are down so even with 4 new FLEXVOLT batteries (an additional $300) you could easily still see some down time. The Milwaukee M18 FUEL comes with the newer Rapid Charger which fully charges the M18 9.0Ah in about 45 minutes so we feel confident if you had 2x 9.0Ah batteries (current launch promo, FREE 2nd 9.0Ah) you would never see downtime, even if you used a 4.0Ah or 5.0Ah while the 9.0Ah charged you could get by. Milwaukee wins Charging
AC/DC Power Option
Dewalt offers an AC adapt or for this Saw and Milwaukee does not. The hope for FLEXVOLT users of course is that this adapter will be compatible with more tools in the future. FLEXVOLT wins AC/DC
Value / Bang for Your Buck
With the current promo on the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2734-21HD ($599, with FREE 2nd 9.0Ah) this is an incredible deal. Just getting 2x M18 9.0Ah and a rapid charger you could spend $450, yes please give me a 10” miter saw for an additional $149! The Dewalt FLEXVOLT DHS790AT2 ($799, 2x batteries & AC Adapt) is significantly more and again we would still recommend an additional 2x FLEXVOLT batteries. Milwaukee wins Value
At the FLEXVOLT launch event we learned that Dewalt was actually the first to launch the 12” miter saw platform over 25 years ago so it makes sense they would come out with the first with a cordless 12” version. If you are a Dewalt 20V Max user and willing to make the investment in new FLEXVOLT system as well we see a lot of promise in the technology. If you are looking for a shop miter saw that might occasionally be used on the job or remotely the AC/DC option is very nice for that situation. We really like the idea of the 120v power but unfortunately don’t think a miter saw is really the best tool to showcase what that added power can do. Give us a 120v FLEXVOLT breaker hammer where that added juice will mean a little more.
When it comes to a cordless miter saw we really need to judge these saws based on why people want to go cordless in the first place which is portability and convenience. Milwaukee wins in battery life, charging time, portability, value and providing more than adequate power for any miter saw cut we have seen, which make this the clear cordless miter saw winner for us.
Was the $199 extra battery Milwaukee just threw in there a response to FLEXVOLT hitting the market? Probably so but we will take it! The FREE 2nd 9.0Ah M18 FUEL batteries is a limited time introductory offer which may or may not last until the holidays, depending on supplies. There is defiantly a hurdle in people’s minds in going cordless on a miter saw once these get into the market we think that will be gone and this could be the last time this extra 9.0Ah battery deal happens. It makes the story very compelling and having spent some time with this system we feel confident in saying you won’t miss an AC adapter if you do have two 9.0Ah batteries.