Makita LS1040 Review
- plus-circle Powerful 15 amp, 4,600 RPM motor
- plus-circle Non-sliding arm makes for rock solid stability
- plus-circle Great fence
- exclamation-circle Dust collection isn’t the best
- exclamation-circle No option to get a stand
he Makita LS1040 offers a boatload of quality and value at a very affordable price.
This is why the Makita won our award for “best 10 inch miter saw” – it simply ticks all the boxes, and keeps the price reasonable while doing so.
Power and accuracy are arguably the two most important features on any miter saw – or on any saw at all, really.
And in these departments, the Makita performs very well indeed.
The 15 amp motor easily drives the blade at a sizzling 4,600 RPM, which is plenty of power to deal with most of what people will want to use this saw for.
In terms of accuracy there’s a great fence on the Makita, and also a precision machined aluminium base, and smooth, accurate bevel and miter adjustments settings.
Even with all of this, the Makita still remains light at just 27.3 lbs. This makes it easily transportable, and that may be desirable for those who are interested in a 10 inch miter saw.
Unfortunately there’s no option to get a stand with the saw, but there’s a wide choice of miter saw stands from other manufacturers so it’s really not an issue.
The only downside is the predictably poor dust collection, which we’ll talk about later in this review.
For a miter saw with a price well below some competitors, you may assume that the Makita lacks power.
Thankfully, this is not the case.
The 15 amp, 4,600 RPM motor is actually more powerful than the motors you’ll find on some of the more expensive miter saws.
It’s more than powerful enough to deal with most things the LS1040 will be tasked with, and shouldn’t give you any hassle.
This is especially true when combined with a good blade – you should definitely upgrade from the “stock” blade taht’s included with this saw, for best results. That’s a pretty good rule no matter which miter saw you buy actually, and the same can be said for table saws, circular saws, and so on.
As I find myself mentioning quite often when it comes to miter saw motors – you shouldn’t spend your time worrying about the motor when making a buying decision.
Generally, the manufacturers all use similar motors, and they’re all perfectly fit for purpose.
This is especially true with miter saws, where you’re more likely to be restricted by cutting capacity than lack of power.
This is a non-sliding 10 inch miter saw, and although a non-sliding miter saw can be somewhat limited with cutting capacity, there’s also a notable upside when it comes to accuracy.
Sliding miter saws are more challenging to manufacture while also maintaining rock solid precision and accuracy. There’s a lot of moving parts, and a sliding arm which moves the spinning blade further from the arms mounting point makes for an inherently less stable saw.
This instability can lead to blade deflection, which of course has an awful impact on the accuracy of any miter saw.
But this isn’t something you need to worry about with a non-sliding miter saw, such as the Makita LS1040 in this review.
The non-sliding arm makes for rock solid stability, and you get the reliable accuracy that comes with having a solid base.
The base of a miter saw is also very important when it comes to accuracy.
It’s easy to imagine how a base that’s uneven or unstable could destroy the accuracy of a miter saw. This is what holds your work piece firmly in place while making cuts.. An uneven base would be like a house with faulty foundations.
That’s why I’m glad to say that the Makita sports a precision-machined aluminium base – perfectly flat and smooth, ensuring reliable accuracy.
When it comes to accuracy, part of it comes down to the machine being used and the other part comes down to the user.
Makita also includes a few neat features to help with user-related accuracy, in the form of fantastic miter and bevel adjustment settings, and a great fence.
Miter and Bevel Adjustments
The Makita LS1040 provides a standard loadout when it comes to miter and bevel cuts.
For miter cuts, you get 0 to 45 degrees to the left, and 0 to -52 degrees on the right.
This is a single bevel 10 inch compound miter saw, so it’ll tilt in only one direction. It tilts left up to 45 degrees.
Both the miter and bevel adjustments on a miter saw should be easy to set, and also very secure when locked in place.
If either setting was inaccurate or difficult to set correctly or if they didn’t lock in place firmly, it would have a devastating impact on the saws accuracy.
The miter and bevel scales on the LS1040 are large, clear, and easy to read. As well as that, I’m glad to say that both settings will lock in place exactly where you set them, and they’ll stay their rock solidly during your cut and until you re-set them.
Also, you get a really nice feature that’s become a standard on miter saws as of late – positive miter locks at certain common angles.
On the Makita there’s 9 positive locks. These are 15, 22.5, 30, and 45 degrees on both the right and left, and also 0 degrees with the blade set dead center.
All of these things are great, and really work to help the user get accurate settings for precise cuts with ease.
Some day I’ll be able to review a miter saw and say that it has awesome dust collection… but, today is not that day.
For every miter saw I’ve reviewed to date, they’ve all had horrible dust collection.
I think it’s just one of those things that’s inherent to a miter saws design.
The blade really sits out there in the open air, and it’s technically challenging to direct dust into the collection port.
To be honest, I don’t even know why manufacturers include these dust collection bags.. they are, frankly, useless.
They won’t manage to catch 90% of the dust created from your cuts.
So while you do get a dust collection bag with the Makita, you might as well not bother with it. 90% of that dust is ending up on the saw itself, the bench or stand, and the ground.
This is the case with almost every miter saw, like I said.. and it really is that bad, none of them seem to be able to collect dust effectively.
Again, it’s not all that surprising, given how miter saws are designed.
It is possible to improve the dust collection capabilities of a miter saw quite a bit.. but it’s a tricky and often expensive job.
It also often means making transport of the miter saw very difficult. You basically need a big hood behind the miter saw which is wide enough to catch a lot of the dust being kicked off the blade, and suck it up with a powerful shop vac.
So, the dust collection is disappointing. But that’s the case for essentially every miter saw, so the Makita doesn’t lose points for it.
Remember how I mentioned the Makita LS1040 is no-frills?
Well, no frills also means no additional features.
This isn’t a huge deal, although it would be nice to perhaps see a stand or laser guide offered as you’ll see with many other miter saws.
For a stand, there’s plenty of options on the market for miter saw stands made by other companies, so if you need one you shouldn’t have any problems.
Actually, the best choice is to check out some stands anyway even if the manufacturer does offer one as an extra.
Miter saw stands from manufacturer are often low quality or over priced.
So perhaps no stand being offered with the Makita is actually a good thing? I’ll leave that up to your own interpretation.
A no-frills 10 inch miter saw, for a great price.
You don’t get a laser guide, a stand, fancy colorful housing, or anything else that we can safely call “frills”.
What you do get is a powerful miter saw that’s accurate, user-friendly, and features rock solid construction.
It does everything you’d expect from a quality miter saw, and keeps the price reasonable. I don’t know what else we can expect – and this is why the Makita LS1040 is our favorite 10 inch miter saw.
For a no-frills yet highly functional miter saw that’ll serve you well for many years, you can’t go wrong with the Makita LS1040.