At first glance, the DeWalt DWS780 Miter Saw looks impressive—like it means business. It also looks very similar to the well-regarded DW718 miter saw. The combination of yellow, black and chrome is undoubtedly a signature feature. I first noticed the dual horizontal sliders — and for good reason. The DeWalt DWS780 not only toggles the last two numbers of the DW708 I last saw…it also toggles the vertical slider back to horizontal!
The DeWalt DWS780 Miter Saw features a 15-amp, 3,800 RPM motor with plenty of "thrust." Whether it's cutting a small piece of crown molding or a 4×4 pressure-treated post, it's a breeze to pull through. I never felt like it didn't have enough power to get the job done. In fact, I never thought about the power of the saw while I was working. Overall it's a good sign because honestly… I have bigger things to worry about as I work with tight deadlines and… confident project managers.
DeWalt XPS Crosscut Positioning System
The DeWalt XPS Crosscut Positioning System is one of the most useful new features DeWalt has ever added. It's a "why didn't I think of that" feature. Instead of using a laser, DeWalt uses a small but powerful LED light directly on the saw blade.
The light casts the blade's shadow onto the material below. As the blade is lowered, the blade's shadow shrinks to the exact width and location of the cut. It works on every cut, miter or bevel, and it works on every blade. Some bevel cuts may require a slight tilt of the head to see.
And now the most important thing – the shadow cutting line remains visible even outdoors in direct sunlight. The laser seeker falls apart outdoors and becomes useless. Another advantage of the XPS system over laser-guided systems is that it does not lose accuracy in the event of a collision.
I have found the XPS LED Cut Wire System to be very useful when installing hardwood floors and tongue and groove ceilings. Rough cuts that don't need to be accurate to within 1/16" (since they're covered by bottoms, dimples, or some other trim) are especially fast. The XPS light system allows me to just glance, chop, and the job is done.
Increased depth of cut by removing the backstop
Another solid aspect of the DWS780 that I use a lot is the tailgate. This feature allows me to increase the normal depth of cut on 1X material to a full 16-1/8" at 90º. I can even crosscut a 2×12 at 45°! "Normal" load on cutting machine for cutting wide material.
Cutting Crown Moldings with the DeWalt DWS780
I like having 60º and 50º miters on the left and right. I can also appreciate how narrow the saw becomes at the 60º position. It gives me some useful compactness when storing the saw in my fairly compact work trailer.
I used the double bevel cutting option extensively when cutting the crown molding or 1×8 caseback for my front porch. Unlike single miter saws, the DWS780 miters in both directions. It doesn't need to flip the 16' crown. This could damage the new drywall. I also don't have to worry about transferring measurements from one side of the board to the other to cut the board with the finished side down.
For true automation, two folding stops on the left and right bevels provide 22.5° and 33.9° cuts. As you can imagine, this saves a lot of time when cutting a bunch of moldings. Making these stops easy to access, and just as easy to beat, allows for quick switching and more options, potentially speeding up your workflow.
Horizontal double rail
For the past 7 years I have been using a previous DW708 miter saw from DeWalt. One of the big improvements from the DWS780, I believe (at least in the 12" model) from the DW718, is the change to the dual rail configuration. Instead of dual rails placed vertically, the new DWS780 miter saw uses horizontal rails.
I've made thousands of 45º bevel cuts on 5-1/4" substrates (most of which were the first step in the process). One problem I keep having is that when the saw is positioned at a 45º angle, It has a small amount of flex. This creates a slight belly where it should be a straight cut. Although the top and bottom are tight, my corners aren't exactly tight in the middle, which always pisses me off. When I use the DWS780 When clipping, the problem goes away. By configuring the rails in an upright position, they actually become vertical with respect to the downward pressure. This gives them strength because the saw is placed at a 45º angle.
room for improvement
As much as I love working with saws, I have solved a small problem. Despite DeWalt's claim that their "Ultra-Efficient Dust Collection System" can "capture over 75% of the dust generated," I've found that their dust collection system is far from super-efficient. At least, that seems to be the case when operating the saw without a shop vacuum.
The fairly long dust collection tube is prone to clogging (and thus is often clogged). More than once, this has resulted in my face being covered in sawdust while cutting. Obviously, the speed at which the pipes clog depends on the moisture content of the material being cut. It also has to do with the moisture content in the air. I did use the saw in humid central florida during the hot summer, so maybe others won't have as much of an issue.
Using the DWX726 Rolling Miter Saw Stand
As good as the 12" miter saw itself is, I've also had the chance to use it with its counterpart, the DeWalt DWX726 Scroll Miter Saw Frame. Like fine wine, it's a great pairing. While this combo offers excellent mobility and functionality, it can be a bit awkward to store and transport between jobs. A very large space is required for the stand/saw combo, which together is quite large.
The unit takes up more space than I like in a work trailer. I prefer a quick connect/disconnect system (such as the one that comes with the DW723 stand). The current method is to fix the saw directly to the bracket. The added flexibility of more flexible storage options will make this even more versatile and valuable to the professional carpenter.
- Model: DEWALT DWS780
- Motor: 15 Amp, 3800 RPM
- Maximum crosscut (90°): 2×16 inches
- Maximum crosscut (45°): 2×12 inches
- Miter Stoppers: 10
- Cam lock miter handle with detent cover
- double horizontal rail
- belt drive
- rear fence design
- XPS Crosscut LED Positioning System
- Weight: 56 lbs.
- Price: $599
All in all, the DeWalt DWS780 miter saw helped me meet deadlines and deliver a final product that any project manager would be happy to sign off on. Despite some very minor issues, the DeWalt DWS780 miter saw proved to be precise, powerful and versatile. The bells and whistles should ring and blow because it has them. I thought nothing would replace my DW718, however, I have to say that after a few weeks of using this saw at home and at the job site, the DWS780 is worth carrying the torch.