Once you add a miter saw to your workshop, you know that things are getting serious.
You can get by in a wide range of woodworking jobs and challenges with a few basic freehand tools like a router and a jigsaw. You’ll have fun clamping your wood in place and cutting through it but you’ll find that occasionally you wish you had a little more control and precision.
Then, when you develop a little further and you start making things for friends or taking on bigger, more elaborate challenges, you’ll find that you need a little more precision, a little more power and a little more reliability.
That’s when you will consider getting a miter saw. And when you add this awesome tool to your workshop, it will change the whole way you approach jobs. Now you have a big tool with a large spindle and spinning circular blade that allows you to cut at precise angles, even to make incredibly accurate bevels for adding a bit more finesse to your creations. And the way you use this – laying the wood in place and then simply pressing down on it… it’s a whole other experience.
You’ll never forget your first miter saw and while you’ll move on to even bigger and more powerful things, this may well mark the point at which you started to really up your game.
So as an introduction to miter saws, how does the SKIL 3317-01 measure up?
Great Looking, Budget Friendly
The SKIL 3317-01 is a nice looking miter saw right away. The silver, black and red colorscheme is very modern and it matches the lightweight look and feel of this miter saw nicely. While it is clearly a slightly more budget tool in terms of the weight and apparent durability though, it is still very well made. It feels sturdy and safe and the large guard will keep your fingers nicely out of harm’s way. The handle is also ergonomic and well positioned, while the tool itself is well balanced for a pleasing cutting motion.
At this price, this is clearly a more budget and beginner-oriented tool. That means that it needs to be more user-friendly (something that certain manufacturers tend to forget). Fortunately, this tool is very user friendly thanks to a few nice features. For instance, the ‘quick-mount’ system makes this quick and easy to set up on a miter saw stand (not included). Likewise, the laser cutline guide makes it quicker and easier to start cutting while feeling confident about the angle – this is something we’d like to see in more tools.
The table extension is great too for cutting longer pieces. The clamping system is very good too and is ideal for holding wood securely against the fence while you cut. It even has ambidextrous functionality! It comes with a dust bag too for keeping things clean.
In terms of power, this gives you 15 amps with a 10” blade, which isn’t bad at all for the price. Bevel angle range is 0 to 45 degrees. Oh and you get 9 positive stops for common angles, which also makes it quick and easy.
What are the Pros and Cons?
We like this tool a lot on paper and in practice. In our review period, we found that it was easy to use and nicely designed. Light, quick and accurate, this is a good entry-level tool with a bit more power than you’d expect.
Of course this is not going to replace a more powerful, free-standing miter saw for a professional workshop. This is a 10” blade after all.
Another thing to consider is that while the lightness of this tool make it relatively portable and thus versatile, it also means it can shake quite a lot when cutting through tougher materials.
Overall, this is a great entry level miter saw. It’s small and the power and strength reflect that to a degree. But it is also smart looking and has a lot of cool extra features and thoughtful design aspects that make it a winner for those who want something quick and easy to use. The positive stops, quick set up and laser guidance all mean that you should be confident using this even as a complete noob!