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The Best Table Saw Miter Gauges

Replacing the stock miter gauge is a great upgrade for your table saw. Read our guide to the best miter gauges on the market!

You got your brand-new table saw home–congratulations! Time to make your first crosscut using the miter gauge. Uh oh, it’s wobbling in its slot. You press it tight against the slot wall, but now you’re not sure how accurate your 45° angle setting is. Maybe nobody will notice if it’s a little off, right?

Sound familiar? Most table saws, in particular portable jobsite saws, come with mediocre miter gauges at best. If you need any kind of precision in your work, you’ll want to replace it with an aftermarket model.

If you want to skip straight to my recommended picks:

    Otherwise, read on for my guide to the best miter gauge for your table saw!

    Why Use a Miter Gauge?

    You’ve at least seen the miter gauge that came with your table saw. But if you’re just starting out, you’re probably struggling to get accurate results using the one that was in the box. Before we get to my picks for the best replacement, let’s talk about why you need one at all!

    Most cuts on your table saw fall into two basic categories. Rip cuts are cuts made “the long way”, with the grain of the wood. If you’re cutting sheet goods like plywood, there won’t be a particular grain, but typically one dimension will still be longer than the other. You make these cuts using your rip fence, keeping one long edge tight against the fence while the blade cuts the opposite edge.

    Crosscuts are cuts made “the short way”, against the grain of the wood, or the shorter dimension when cutting sheet goods. You don’t want to use the rip fence for these cuts. The physics involved (leverage!) make it too hard to keep the short end tight against the fence. This leads to twisting the wood, which in turn can cause the piece to bind between the fence and the spinning blade. When this happens, the result is a dangerous accident called kickback.

    To make accurate crosscuts, you’ll often turn to the miter gauge. At its simplest, this is just a bar that rests in and slides along a miter slot running parallel to the saw blade across the table. A head attached to the bar provides a flat face for pushing the wood. By holding or clamping the wood to the face of the head, you can push it straight past the blade. And by pivoting the head you can make precise cuts at any angle you choose.

    Well, that’s the theory, at least…

    What’s Wrong with My Miter Gauge?

    Table saw manufacturers lavish attention on table tops, rip fences, safety features, and intricate portable stands. But it sometimes seems like they’re in a competition to see who can bundle the worst miter gauge with their saws. Almost no table saws win praise for their miter gauges. And portable jobsite table saws, which are the most popular with home hobbyists and DIYers, are the most glaring offenders.

    These miter gauges often don’t fit snugly in their slots. That means they wobble as you push them forward, resulting in imprecise cuts. The heads are often cheap plastic and introduce some extra wobble of their own. Even if they don’t, accurately setting their angle for anything other than a right angle cut is next to impossible!

    These miter gauges work fine for rough cuts like framing lumber, or for cuts that you plan to clean up later. But if you prefer clean, accurate cuts right off the saw, you’ll want to look for a third-party miter gauge with the features you need.

    What to Look for in a Miter Gauge

    The three main features of a miter gauge are the bar, the head, and an optional fence.

    The Bar

    The miter bar is the long, rectangular piece of metal that slides through the miter slot. Almost all table saw miter slots are 3/4” wide and about 3/8” deep. Measure yours to make sure, since there are exceptions. Some Craftsman models, for instance, have 5/8” miter slots, and you’ll need a miter gauge sized accordingly.

    Rectangular vs T-slot

    Some miter slots are rectangular when you look from the end. Others have small slots running along the bottom on either side, so they’re shaped like an upside-down T. The idea behind these T-slots is that the corresponding tabs on the bottom of the miter bar will keep the miter gauge from falling out.

    You can use a plain rectangular miter bar in a T-slot, although you won’t take any advantage of the T-slots. But you can’t use a T-slot miter bar in a rectangular slot, since there’s nowhere for the T-shaped tabs to fit. Most third-party miter gauges have rectangular bars, so you can use them in either kind of slot. They may come with adapters that fit into T-slots to take advantage of the extra stability. But not all do, so be sure to check.

    Ensuring a Snug Fit

    Aside from the shape, the most important thing about the bar is that it fits snugly in the slot for accurate cuts. Although the slots are nominally 3/4” wide, the precise width varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. And, depending on the quality of their machining, even from saw to saw within a particular model.

    Quality miter gauges let you fine-tune the width of the miter bar to ensure a snug fit. You’ll want to do this as part of setting up the gauge for use with your saw.

    The Head

    The protractor head attaches to the miter bar and slides across the table of your saw. You can pivot it to hold a workpiece at an angle to make miter cuts of up to 45°, and maybe more, depending on the model. The most important qualities of the head are that it lets you accurately set the angle you want to cut and that it stays securely in place once set.

    Cheaper miter gauges require you to line up an arrow with an angle marking visually. This is error-prone and makes it difficult to get the same angle every time. A high-quality miter gauge head will have physical stops (or detents) at specific angles. That gives you confidence that you’re cutting the exact same angle every time.

    The most important angles are 0°, or straight across, for making square cuts, and 45°, for making mitered corners as in a picture frame. Miter gauges commonly also have stops at 22.5°, for making 45° joints.

    Note that some manufacturers label the straight-across position as 90° and count down to 45° rather than up from 0°. Using this system, for instance, the 22.5° stop would be at 67.5°.

    I don’t think you should even consider a miter gauge that doesn’t have detents at the most common angles. And the best ones will have more stops, maybe every 5° or even every degree between 0 and 90. For increased precision, they may also feature Vernier scales that provide accuracy down to 0.1°.

    The Fence

    The head itself is probably 4 to 5 inches wide. That doesn’t give you a lot of area to securely hold the workpiece against the head. A longer fence attached to the head makes it easier to push the workpiece cleanly through the blade.

    You can make your own fence out of a straight piece of lumber. Most miter gauge heads have holes or slots for attaching a home-made fence using screws or bolts. You can attach clamps for holding the workpiece against the fence. And you can add stop-blocks to make sure you’re cutting every piece to the exact same length.

    Higher-end miter gauges will come with their own fences. These are typically made of aluminum and may also come with their own clamps or stop blocks. They might also feature a measuring tape to help you set up cuts of a particular length. More elaborate fences are extendable, to provide adequate support for longer workpieces.

    Enough background! Which replacement miter gauge is right for you?

    The 7 Best Table Saw Miter Gauges

    Any of the products below will be a huge step up from the miter gauge that came with your table saw. But you might not need or want all their features, so I’ll help you pick the one that’s right for your budget.

    POWERTEC 71142 Universal Table Saw Miter Gauge

    This miter gauge is quite feature-rich for its price compared to some others. The miter bar has 4 adjustable nylon discs to adjust its width for your miter slot. An optional plate lets you use it in T-slot miter slots if you have them. The aluminum head features positive stops every 5° between 0° and 60° in each direction, plus a stop at 22.5°.

    POWERTEC 71142
    Bar Style: rectangular | T-slot Adapter:  | Bar Dimensions: 3/4” W × 17 3/4” L × 3/8” D | Stops: every 5° between 0° and 60°, plus 22.5° | Fence Length: 7” | Weight: 2.6 lbs

    An optional bundle is also available that includes a fence and a stop-block. While not quite as fancy as some other models, this could be an excellent choice for someone just getting into woodworking.

    Positives

    • Positive stops every 5° up to 60°
    • Nylon adjustment discs won’t scratch your miter slots
    • Supports both rectangular and T-slot miter slots

    Negatives

    • No fence included in standard bundle
    • Some customers report it can’t be adjusted wide enough for certain table saw miter slots
    • Shape of locking mechanism leaves a tiny bit of play

    Delta 34-929 Deluxe Miter Gauge

    Delta is a well-known manufacturer of table saws, and they include this miter gauge with some of their saws. While it lacks some features of higher-end miter gauges, it’s a definite step up from the miter gauges included with most table saws. It’s marketed as an accessory for Delta table saws, but it will work in any saw with a 3/8” miter slot.

    Delta 34-929
    Bar Style: rectangular | T-slot Adapter:  | Bar Dimensions: 3/4” W × 18 3/8” L × 3/8” D | Stops: 90°, 75°, 67.5°, 60°, 45°, and 30° | Fence Length: 7” | Weight: 3 lbs

    The aluminum head has stops at 90°, 75°, 67.5°, 60°, 45°, and 30°. Out of the box, you might need to fine-tune the metal plate that implements these stops. Three screws let you adjust the bar to fit your miter slot snugly.

    Positives

    • Easily adjustable miter bar for a snug fit
    • Stop mechanism can be fine-tuned and stays accurate once set
    • Aluminum head is lightweight but sturdy

    Negatives

    • Angle stops may be off by half a degree or so out of the box, requiring calibration
    • Metal adjustment screws can scrape miter slots over time
    • On some saws (like the DeWalt 745) the head might catch on the edge of the table, requiring a nudge to slide it up and over
    • No fence included

    Kreg KMS7101 Table Saw Precision Miter Gauge

    You probably know Kreg for their wide variety of jigs and power tool accessories. This miter gauge features five nylon screws on the bar to ensure a snug fit. It has positive stops at 0°, 10°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45°. A Vernier scale provides precision down to 0.1° and a micro-adjust screw gives even more control with 0.01° accuracy.

    Kreg KMS7101
    Bar Style: rectangular | T-slot Adapter:  | Bar Dimensions: 3/4” W × 24” L × 3/8” D | Stops: 0°, 10°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45° | Weight: 1.1 lbs

    Positives

    • Very solid positive lock at specific angles
    • Highly precise micro-adjustment
    • Nylon screws will not scratch miter slots

    Negatives

    • No fence included
    • Some reports of missing adjustment screws or poorly-fitting pivot mechanism out of the box

    Kreg KMS7102 Table Saw Precision Miter Gauge System

    This product builds on the KMS7101 reviewed above by adding several accessories. It has the same positive stops at 0°, 10°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45°. And the micro-adjust screw gives you 0.01° accuracy.

    Kreg KMS7102
    Bar Style: rectangular | T-slot Adapter:  | Bar Dimensions: 3/4” W × 24” L × 3/8” D | Stops: 0°, 10°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45° | Fence Length: 24” | Weight: 6 lbs

    It bundles a 24” aluminum fence and one of Kreg’s Swing Stops. The Swing Stop slides along the T-track on top of the fence. You can swing it down to provide a stop for repeatable cuts and back up out of the way for other work.

    It’s a great choice if you like the features of the KMS7101 but also want the extra precision that the fence and stop block provide.

    Positives

    • Precision-milled 24” fence
    • Very solid positive lock at specific angles
    • Highly precise micro-adjustment
    • Nylon screws will not scratch miter slots

    Negatives

    • Some reports of missing adjustment screws or poorly-fitting pivot pin out of the box

    INCRA Miter 1000SE Miter Gauge

    INCRA miter gauges are highly sought-after by woodworkers who need to make precise cuts. The 1000SE features a miter bar with 6 adjustable nylon discs. It also comes with an optional tab you can attach if you have T-slot miter slots. The head is stainless steel and has a positive stop every 5° from 0° to 90°, inclusive, plus stops at 22.5° and 67.5°. A Vernier scale gives you 0.1° precision.

    INCRA Miter 1000SE
    Bar Style: rectangular | T-slot Adapter:  | Bar Dimensions: 3/4” W × 17 1/4” L × 3/8” D | Stops: every 5° from 0° to 90°, plus 22.5° and 67.5° | Fence Length: 31” | Fence Stop Precision: 1/32” | Weight: 8.26 lbs

    The 1000SE includes an aluminum fence that’s 18” long and extends up to 31” total. It comes with a two-arm flip stop that has a positive lock into the fence every 1/32”. The arms can flip up independently, meaning you can set two separate stop positions at the same time. And you can shift the stop forward to support attaching your own 3/4” sub-fence behind it.

    Personally, this is the miter gauge I use in my shop on a regular basis!

    Positives

    • Precise 1/32” accuracy of the flip stop
    • Easy to add custom sub-fences
    • Nylon adjustment mechanism won’t scratch miter slots
    • Positive stops at all common angles

    Negatives

    • Steel head is heavier than aluminum models
    • Calibrating multiple scales on telescoping fence can be confusing

    INCRA Miter 1000HD Miter Gauge

    The 1000HD has similar specs to the 1000SE I reviewed above. I’m including it here because of one key difference. Rather than positive stops every 5°, the 1000HD has a positive stop for every single degree between 0° and 90° in either direction! Plus the stops at 22.5° and 67.5°.

    INCRA Miter 1000HD
    Bar Style: rectangular | T-slot Adapter:  | Bar Dimensions: 3/4” W × 17 1/4” L × 3/8” D | Stops: every 1° from 0° to 90°, plus 22.5° and 67.5° | Fence Length: 31” | Fence Stop Precision: 1/32”

    In other respects, this has the same features as the 1000SE. If you have the need for the increased repeatability of a positive stop every 1° rather than every 5°, the higher cost may make this miter gauge worth it for you.

    Positives

    • Positive stops every 1° from -90° to +90°
    • Precise 1/32” accuracy of the flip stop
    • Easy to add custom sub-fences
    • Nylon adjustment mechanism won’t scratch miter slots
    • Positive stops at all common angles

    Negatives

    • Steel head is heavier than aluminum models
    • Calibrating multiple scales on telescoping fence can be confusing

    INCRA Miter 3000SE Miter Gauge with Telescoping Fence

    I’ll include one more Incra model at the higher end of their range, for those who need even more capacity in their fences than the 1000HD offers. The 3000SE functionally resembles the other INCRA models above. The biggest differences are that the fence telescopes from 27” to 49”, and the head has positive stops every half-degree rather than every degree from 0° to 90° in both directions. And it has 8 adjustable points on the miter bar rather than 6. The bar itself is 3” longer than the 1000HD’s at 20.25”.

    INCRA Miter 3000SE
    Bar Style: rectangular | T-slot Adapter:  | Bar Dimensions: 3/4” W × 20 1/4” L × 3/8” D | Stops: every 0.5° from 0° to 90°, plus 22.5° and 67.5° | Fence Length: 49” | Fence Stop Precision: 1/32”

    To be honest, this miter gauge is probably overkill for most hobbyists or DIYers. But if you’re a serious woodworker with a need to make precise cuts in large workpieces, the 3000SE might be just what you want.

    Positives

    • Positive stops every 1/2° from -90° to +90°
    • Precise 1/32” accuracy of the flip stop
    • Easy to add custom sub-fences
    • Nylon adjustment mechanism won’t scratch miter slots
    • Positive stops at all common angles

    Negatives

    • Steel head is heavier than aluminum models
    • Calibrating multiple scales on telescoping fence can be confusing

    Conclusion

    All these miter gauges represent a clear step up over the typically mediocre product bundled with table saws.

    If you plan to build your own custom fence, the standalone miter gauges will be all you need.

    If you’ll make heavy use of the miter gauge and want a fence that allows you to make precise, repeatable cuts, I recommend either the Kreg or INCRA miter gauges. The INCRA products give you a variety of choices depending on how many positive stops you want. Think about the kind of work you’ll be doing, so you pay just for the options you truly need!


    Read more:

    The Best Portable Jobsite Table Saws
    The Best Portable Jobsite Table Saws
    Adam Ethridge
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