Ridgid MS1290LZA Miter Saw Review

Tool Box Buzz rating:

RIDGID 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw – Model MS1290LZA

RIDGID 12" Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Manufacturer: RIDGID
Model number: MS1290LZA
Price: $499
Power source: 120V
Motor size: 15 Amps
Weight: 70 lbs
Over the years I’ve tested a fair number of miter saws so I was eager to try my first Ridgid. I’m a huge fan of the Ridgid brand and consider them to be a hidden jewel in our industry. They sent me their 12″ sliding compound miter saw (model MS1290LZA) to evaluate and review.

Before I dive into my review, the following are the basic features:

MS1290LZA FeaturesRidgid MS1290LZA 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw

  • 15 Amp Motor – heavy duty motor powers through the most difficult cuts
  • 2-1/2 in. Dust Port – provides connection to standard dust collection systems to help keep work area clean
  • Quick Release Miter and Bevel Locks – provides users with easy access to make quick angle adjustments
  • Bevel Stop Pin – quick action levered pin releases or bypasses bevel detent index points with one simple motion
  • Work Clamp with Quick-Release Lever – securely holds material in place
  • Dual Bevel and Extended Miter Range – 0° to 47° dual bevel and 0° to 60° miter capacities with crown molding stops to accommodate a wide variety of cuts
  • Repeat-A-Cut™ Marking Surface – allows user to mark fence for repetitive cuts
  • Large Expanded Table – gives extra material s upport for the increased demands of a sliding miter saw
  • Zero Clearance Adjustable Throat Plate – gives material maximum cut through support
  • Miter Detent Thumbwheel – quick action thumbwheel releases or bypasses miter detent index points with one simple motion

Ridgid MS1290LZA 45 Degree Miter Cut

Rugged & Powerful

The Ridgid MS1290LZA 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw is well built and powerful. Weighing in at almost 70 lbs this saw isn’t the most portable in the category but it’s certainly built to take abuse! The large extended table on this saw provides a solid working surface and surely accounts for a large portion of the weight. A majority of the table and fence are all metal parts with a very nice finish.

Ridgid MS1290LZA Large Table

The 15 amp motor provided more than enough power for all the test cuts I performed including: framing material, Pine, Maple and Walnut from 3/4″ thick up to almost 2″ thick. From my use I’d say the MS1290LZA is on par with other 12″ miter saws in this category with respect to power. The belt drive provides a smooth operation and the electric brake works well.

Cut Capacity

One category that the Ridgid MS1290LZA impressed me was cut capacity. This miter saw will rotate 60 ° both left and right! Many of the competing saws on the market only do 60 ° to the right (not the left) which is a nice feature. The saw will bevel right and left to 47 ° which is similar to others on the market. The saw offers the following cut capacities:

  • 90 Degree Crosscut Capacity = 13.5″ (2×12 or 4×4)
  • 45 Degree Crosscut Capacity = 9.5″ (2×10)
  • Baseboard Against Fence = 5.5″

Ridgid MS1290LZA Repeat A Cut Surface

Miter Saw Fence

The fence on this saw is adjustable on both the left and right. Both sides come with a cool feature that I haven’t seen on a miter saw before and that’s the Repeat-A-Cut™ Marking Surfaces. In the photo above you can see and oval area on the fence that has a writing surface that accepts pencil really well, is easy to read, and easy to clean. Anyone that’s ever used a miter saw has undoubtedly marked the fence with a pencil, but most times it’s hard to read. With the Repeat-A-Cut™ Marking Surface the pencil line shows up very well. The fences also have holes in them so you can easily attach a sacrificial fence.

Ridgid MS1290LZA Miter Release

Other Notable Features

There are a couple other features worth noting. The miter detent thumbwheel takes some getting used to but works very well. With a single hand you can quickly rotate through pre-set detents or set the miter to a custom angle. With the same hand you can also lock the miter gauge into place. I also really like the adjustable throat plates which allows you to cut thin pieces without them falling down into the table (just be sure to re-set them if you’re making bevel cuts as you’ll surely destroy the plate if you’re not careful).

Ridgid MS1290LZA Zero Clearance Plate

Dust Collection

One feature that might as well not exist on the Ridgid MS1290LZA is the dust collection. The miter saw comes with a 2-1/2″ dust port, 90 degree fitting, and dust bag. This allows the user to either use the included dust bag or hook the saw up to a standard 2-1/2″ dust collection vacuum hose.

Ridgid MS1290LZA Dust Collection

I tested this saw in both configurations. First I installed the unusual dust collection bag and then I hooked up my shop dust collector (by the way, we’re talking 3HP show rated dust collector!). In both configurations the dust collection was nearly non-existent. As you can see from the picture above when cutting wood with the full size dust collector attached the saw dust just passes the port and lands all over the place. Considering how important dust collection is today I wasn’t impressed and for that reason I’m knocking the rating pretty significantly.

Overall Impression of Ridgid MS1290LZA Miter Saw

The Ridgid MS1290LZA 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw is a well built, rugged and powerful miter saw with very good cutting capacity. The saw produced very accurate, repeatable results with both miter and beveled cutting applications. I really like the Repeat-A-Cut™ Marking Surface and the adjustable throat plate and wish these features were offered on other similar saws.

However, there are a few things I’d like to see improved on this saw. First and foremost the dust collection simply doesn’t work and needs to be completely redesigned. Secondly I didn’t like the laser guide as it only really works when calibrated to a specific thickness of wood. Lastly I think this saw is too heavy for most jobsite applications (I also say this about the every popular Bosch 12″ Glide Saw) because it’s difficult to move without a mobile stand.

Overall I think the Ridgid MS1290LZA is a very well built miter saw. The Ridgid 3 Year Limited Warranty and Lifetime Service Agreement are hard to beat in the industry which makes this saw very appealing from a warranty point of view.

RIDGID 12" Sliding Compound Miter Saw



About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz, and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.

@tfratzelTodd Fratzel

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  1. David


    Great review on this saw. I need a new saw for home use, and am torn between the Rigid, DWS782, or jumping up a level to the Milwaukee. Features important to me are overall cutting capacity, functionality, and price; I want to be satisfied and not have regret over $100. I don’t need a laser or a light, but you note this as a great feature. If I go up a level in price, I’m always a Milwaukee guy over Dewalt. What are your thoughts; there are a lot of saws out there, all roughly $409-$600.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      David – There are quite a few really good miter saws on the market. I review tons of Milwaukee stuff but I’ve never reviewed or used one of their miter saws. So I can’t really pass on any thoughts about their saw other than I’m a HUGE fan of their tools in general. My first choice in miter saws for the shop is Bosch based on quality and the fact I’ve used their saws for years and they simply are my preference. I can tell you that both the DEWALT and the Ridgid saws are very well made. My only issue with the Ridgid is the dust collection is very poor. The rest of the saw is excellent. Not sure I’ve helped, other than to assure you that most of these saws are very good, and that’s especially true for home owners and DIY’ers.

  2. Jeff Williams

    I’ve been using the RIDGID for over 8 years. I really like the saw and wouldn’t change anything about it except the dust collection and the stock blade. Dewalt has two models out now the 782 and the 780. The 782 is going for $389 on Amazon currently. It has a cheaper blade than the 780 and it is also missing the XPS cut indicator but the price is outstanding.

  3. Dan Daniels

    I have had two of these saw in the past 9 years. I do like the saw and one of the main reasons I picked the Rigid is the size of the table. One problem that I do have with the saw is having to replace the arm that lifts the blade guard. This bends and the blade guard does not lift up. I have replaced everything that has to do with the guard. When done it works better but you still need to lift it a bit before pulling the head down. Do you or anyone have a reason and a fix for this? I am looking at having a arm cut using stronger steel and see if this will help. I replace these 3-4 times a year. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Dan – I’m passing this along to Ridgid….I’ll let you know what they have to say. Todd

      1. Jim

        I have this same issue, and aftermarket parts are now discontinued. Any word from Rigid, or leads on a third party guard I can install instead?

        1. Chris

          I”m having the same problem. I have a wood work shop and have many compound miter saws and this one is the worst.

    2. Dan Dietrich

      Hi Dan,
      I have exactly the same problem, and it is a killer. I can’t get the head to move until I lift the guard. Nothing is bent, and everything moves well. I have tried cleaning and waxing the metal arm, but the wheel that interacts with it seems too small. Its a real pain.
      For the record, I have 30 years in as a professional, and have used just about every saw out there. I prefer this to the Dewalts overall.

  4. Kevin melvin

    I have used a lot of diffrent compound slide mitre saws and i have not found another saw that is built so well. The table is perfect for cuting small length of mouldings. The compound part of the saw is easy to use, with degree dail you can seuse from front of saw with large degree dail.
    The mitre part of the saw has large dail with half a degree marks.
    The locks are also very eady to use. Very accurate and powerful.

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