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Makita LS1221 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw Kit

Review of the Makita LS1221

Unique Features That Stand Out From the Crowd!

Whenever I am shopping for a power tool I always think about the job I want to use the tool for. Purchasing a tool based on your individual needs and the purpose for which you intend to use it will help you to make a better choice. There are a lot of miter saws out there and if you don’t have a good idea of what you want you can easily get distracted and possibly end up with a saw that doesn’t meet your needs. That’s one of the reasons I do these reviews – so you can make better, more informed decisions.

Makita is one of the more recognizable power tool brands and they’re known for producing high quality tools that are innovative and easy to use. I decided to review the Makita LS1221 because it is a complete compound miter saw kit and one of their more popular models. I was also intrigued by this model because it comes equipped with a very high quality blade, which isn’t the case with all miter saws. So let’s take a deeper look at the Makita LS1221 and see if its features are suitable for the type of woodwork you want to do.

Unique Features

One of the features I like the best on the Makita LS1221 is its large capacity. It can cut through material 3-7/8 inches x 6 inches at 90 degrees, and that’s pretty impressive for a miter saw of this size. The direct drive motor has a powerful 15 amps which rotate the blade at speeds of up to 4000 rpm to easily cut thicker pieces. The Makita LS1221 also has electronic speed controls incorporated to help keep the blade’s speed constant while you are working. This is a cool design feature that should mean you don’t have to worry about the motor getting bogged down in the middle of a cut.

Another unique feature is the ability to cut aluminum extrusions as well as wood. This feature makes the LS1221 an extremely versatile tool. In the event that you do use this model to cut aluminum, it is advisable to use some cutting lubricant on the blade so the material doesn’t build up during the cutting process. Being able to use your miter saw to cut aluminum as well as wood means more value for your money, and that’s music to my ears any day of the week.

Safety Measures

The Makita LS1221 has several safety features that are worthy of note. It has the standard blade guard that most miter saws have and it also has a lock off button which prevents the machine from starting unintentionally. Working with miter saws, or any kind of power cutting tool for that matter, can be very dangerous and safety features like the lock off button can sometimes mean the difference between having ten fingers or nine. It also has an electric blade brake as an additional safety feature. The brake automatically engages when the trigger is released to stop the blade from spinning.

Ensuring that your materials are held securely in place can significantly enhance safety when you are cutting. You can use the vertical and the horizontal vise included with the Makita LS1221 miter saw kit to get a more secure grip on your workpieces. In addition, the worktable can be extended up to 24 inches for added support and stability. I think the weight of the device should help it to stay in place better as well. It weighs 37 pounds, which isn’t terribly heavy, but it’s not in the featherweight class either. It is light enough to be portable, but Makita classifies it as a bench and stationary tool, so it should be good and solid.

Fine Finishes

According to Makita’s website, it comes with a 40 tooth micro-polished blade, and user reviews confirm that the blade they received with the saw is top notch and can be used for projects that require fine finishes like furniture making, framing and cabinetry. Many similar miter saws come with a standard blade that is good for general rough cutting jobs, but not ideal for fine finishes. I find it refreshing to know that with the Makita LS1221 you won’t have to purchase a separate blade when you need to get smooth, fine finishes.

Move the Lever

Safety when doing woodwork is very important to me and one flaw that I find with the Makita LS1221 is that the lever to lock the bevel gage is at the back of the saw. In my opinion, this is not the safest location for it by any means. If it was located in the front of the saw, it would be not be such an unnecessary safety risk and it would be much easier to access while you are working.

It was a pleasant surprise to me that in all my research on this tool I did not find one complaint about the dust bag. Miter saws notoriously come with useless dust bags and the people who own them, myself included, are always complaining about this. I don’t see anyone complaining about the dust bag on the Makita LS1221, so it’s entirely possible that this is one miter saw with a dust bag that does the job right.

Verdict Is In

I find the Makita LS1221 to be unique among comparable miter saws. It has a large cutting capacity, can cut aluminum as well as wood, and it comes with a high quality blade. It has the convenient bevel stops you would expect to find on a quality miter saw and a powerful motor that should make for quick and accurate cuts. Yes, the lever for the lock gage is in an awkward position, but if you can learn to work around this design flaw, the Makita LS1221 has many more positive features that you can make use of.