90891 10-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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90891 10-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Chicago Electric - 90891 10-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Sold through Harbor Freight Tools, this low-cost miter saw leaves a lot to be desired.

$100 (As of 8/10/2006)

(5 user reviews) Write a Review

Editor's Review: 10-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saws

by Andy Beasley

review date: August 10, 2006

This tool’s many flaws led to extremely poor cutting results. Although performance improved dramatically with the Forrest blade, it still wasn’t good enough to justify buying a blade that costs more than the saw itself. The saw-head spring is too strong; struggling against its resistance made all operations jerky and imprecise. With left-handed use, the retracting blade guard struck the fingers.

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Editor Test Results:

Runout N/A
Accuracy of Cut Good

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Chicago Electric
Manufacturer's Web Site http://www.harborfreight.com
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-444-3353
Crosscut Capacity 0° miter, 12; 45° miter, 8-1/8
Maximum depth of cut 0° bevel, 3-1/2 in.; 45° bevel, left 1-3/4 in.
Maximum width of cut 12 in.
Maximum Miter/Bevel Bevel: Left 45°; Miter: Left 45°, Right 45°
Double Bevel Yes
Horsepower 1-3/4 hp
Amps 5.1
Blade Size 10-in.
Blade Type 60-tooth Carbide
Blade Tilt N/A
Product Warranty N/A
Laser No

I have two Harbor Freight Compound Sliding Miter Saws. I have the earlier version #41168 with a single sliding support arm and the new version #90891 with dual sliding arms. I paid less than $100 for each of these over the last three years making them both a real value for me. I work with pine and hardwood and both of these have met my expectations. I've used both to create wood shelves and the sliding component was terrific for putting a 3/8" groove in the 3/4" side panels. I simply cannot afford the more expensive miter saw models but found that sometimes cheap is good. Such is the case with these compound sliding miter saws. My son-in-law dropped his and the cast aluminum frame shattered from the weight of the heavy base landing on the saw when it fell off of his table. I took the support cast arm to a welder and for $20 got the cast support welded and it works as good as new. The saw was not off alignment at all. Perhaps, if you're doing work commercially every day it would be worth it to spend $300-$1,000 for a name brand. But for this home worker I have no complaints on the miter saw or any other Harbor Freight Tool that I've purchased.

I just bought this saw today and the slide mechanism does not work. The return spring is so strong that the guide bars torque on the return stroke and the saw binds on the bars. The bearings also sound like they are out of their race. They chatter and squeal as I slide the saw in and out. I plan to return the saw and get my money back.

bought the 10inch slider for $70 on sale 4 mos ago. I switched to a better blade and have been happy till I was building a project with maple. Very aggravating to get a tight fit/cut. Its seems there is a little play in the neck/sliding mech. This saw would fine to build a deck or projects that require get her close and go. But working with hardwoods, for me its aggravating to get exact cuts.

I sometimes wonder if reviewers are writing about the same tool I am. This is one of those times.My experience with this saw is satisfying. I built a roll around stand with folding extensions on each side, bolted it down, tweeked it and installed a Irwin 40 tooth blade I picked up at Lowe's for $25. The accuracy after adjusting was good, as the magazine's reviewer found, cut quality was good and is limited by the blade design and quality. The return spring gave me no problem (bolted down, remember) and dust collection with a shop vac is less than adequate, but I believe they all are. I'll fix that next. I got mine with a 20% off coupon making the price $80. I would truly love to have a Bosch (I have Boch routers and sanders) but I don't have $500 to spend on one. This saw is a marvelous buy. One has to consider the price, but with care in set up, and by choosing a quality blade (I would LOVE to have a Forrest but see the beginning of this paragraph) this saw is just as capable for the amature woodworker as anything else. BVuying a more expensive tool will not necessarily make one a better woodworker. Good results can be achieved with this saw if one is careful--but the same is true of more expensive tools.In the end, I'm aware of its limitations, I work within them, and I have $400 left over to spend on wood. I like it and think it is a great deal.Fussy

I find this Chicago Model 90891 10" sliding compound miter saw to be somewhat worse than you did. The motor stalls easily. The blade guard doesn't work; they sent a replacement, but it is no better. I tried out the action of the saw in a store, and the blade guard didn't work there either. So I use it without a blade guard, which is frightening. The support in back often hangs up or somehow falls off the table, causing the saw to jam or tilt backward. Because the vertical return spring is very strong, the saw wants to lift out of the work and jump toward the operator. A horrible tool, even for $100. In comparison, I also have the Chicago Model 41168 10" sliding compound miter saw, a completely different design. It also cost only $100, and it is OK. Everything works safely. The motor is underpowered, and smells very peculiar when it bogs down. The dust chute doesn't catch as much swadust as I'd like, even with a vacuum attached, so the bearing runner gets choked with sawdust. It is a fine buy for a homeowner with a light touch, or for use in a high-theft area. Although I have used it for years, the smell (and occasional white smoke) from the overburdened motor make me doubt its logevity.

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