Bosch 18V PROFACTOR 12” Dual-Bevel Slide Miter Saw Review
Bosch 18V PROFACTOR 12” Dual-Bevel Slide Miter Saw
Bosch 18V PROFACTOR 12” Dual-Bevel Slide Miter Saw
Model number: GCM18V-12SDN14
Power source: 18V Cordless
Weight: 52.4 lbs.
The narrative for cordless tools has been written time and time again. The fewer corded tools on site the better. Fewer cords, fewer tripped breakers. There are probably dozens of articles and videos out there showing and proving that a cordless miter saw is just as worthy as its corded version.
But why a 12” miter saw? And why a slider? Simple answer: More cut capacity. From 4×6 PT to larger trim stock such as 5/4×12, and even medium-sized pieces of plywood, my general sentiment is that it’s better to have the capacity and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I’ve always been a firm believer in this. Sure, some guys have more than one miter saw. Maybe a 7 ¼ or 8-1/2″ unit for smaller jobs, and/or a 12” “chop” miter saw for bigger or more accurate cutting. But if I can only have one miter saw, I choose a 12” slider.
Slide vs. Glide
How and why did I choose the Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw? When the original Bosch-Axial Glide miter saw was released, it caught lots of attention and turned lots of heads. I even had the opportunity to showcase the Bosch 18V Axial-Glide miter saw at JLC Live in Providence in 2021, but never had to opportunity to dig deep. I had heard murmurings of the Axial-Glide version be less accurate and more difficult to adjust than the traditional slider. As such, I knew I wanted a slide unit rather than a glide.
Specifications and Benefits
Direct from Bosch, here are the nitty-gritty specs of the PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw:
- Bevel Angle Range: 47° left and 47° right
- Positive Bevel Stops: 0°, 33.9°, 45° and 47° (L/R)
- Height: 28″
- Length: 39-1/2″
- Miter Angles 52° Left / 60° Right
- Miter Detents: 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°, (Left/Right) 60°, (Right)
Select benefits/features include:
- PROFACTOR™ performance – for a truly mobile jobsite solution, this saw provides lightweight and pro capacity
- Large cutting capacity – 3.5 In. the depth and a 14 In. width/crosscut
- Shadow LED cut line – provides an accurate guide to quickly line up precise cuts without the need for a tool to adjust
- Dual-bevel design – allows for large compound cuts to either side of the workpiece
- Bevel detents – features an easy-to-read scale with detents at common angles
- BITURBO Brushless™ Technology – featuring a brushless high-performance motor and drive-train system engineered to take full advantage of the additional power generated by CORE18V® High Power batteries
- Convenient portability – weighs only 52.4 Lbs. (tool only, not including battery) and features a carry handle
- Tall fence design – supports taller material for accurate cuts with 5.5 In. fences
- Dust extraction ready – dust bag included or connect to a vacuum with ease
- Toolless workpiece clamp – stabilize workpieces while making your cut
- Spindle lock – for quicker blade changes
- AMPShare™ System compatibility
- All Bosch 18V PROFACTOR™ cordless power tools are backed by a 180-day no-questions-asked return guarantee
- Bosch 18V cordless power tools and 18V chargers are covered by a five-year limited warranty; Bosch 18V batteries are covered by a three-year limited warranty
Out Of The Box
The Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw required minimal assembly and I had the saw up and running in minutes. With all controls zeroed out and in neutral positions, I checked the critical relationships of “squareness” that would concern me. They are as follows:
The relationship of the blade to the table.
Table to the stationary fence.
Stationary fence to the blade.
The Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw needed very few adjustments out of the box. Upon running the saw just to get familiar with it, I made a test cut on a piece of 1×6 kiln-dried pine shiplap. Over the width of the board (5 ½”), the cut was off less than a 1/32”. Not too shabby! I measured this using a standard, steel speed square. In order to then check where and why the cut was off, I used a square and a smaller aluminum trim square.
Some folks might argue or ask that a miter saw and its cuts should be checked with an engineer’s square. I would counter that by saying that the vast majority of contractors, carpenters, and remodelers are not using those squares. “Use what you have” and trust it. In fact, the user manual from Bosch instructs the operator to use a combination square to check the saw and even has a quick guide on how to check your combination square to make sure IT is square.
The Bosch PROFACTOR miter saw was sent with an extremely thorough and clear operating manual. Nearly everything you could imagine regarding the use, transport, adjustment, and maintenance of the saw is clearly spelled out in the 55-page manual, including a guide for cutting crown molding.
Making the necessary adjustments to address the miter accuracy couldn’t be any easier. The adjustments are literally spelled out right on the detent plate. Nice touch, Bosch. The plate loosened with 4 screws using the onboard wrench, and a quick bump of the table brought it to 0 degrees.
On The Job
The first job I used the Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw was a porch build with several different types of materials. On that job, we cut and mitered cellular PVC trim boards, 5/4 x 6” mahogany decking, as well as made “regular” crosscuts in pressure-treated and kiln-dried 2x, and also composite decking. We even cut 1” aluminum “angle iron” with a non-ferrous blade. All miters turned out nice and tight when fastened, but more importantly – those miters were square!
I didn’t care too much for the cut quality with the OEM Bosch blade, so I switched to a 40-tooth Spyder blade- something I hadn’t used before. The cut quality and subsequent tear-out were improved.
The saw was easy to walk around with and set up and proved to be very stable on a plywood workstation. There are plenty of holes in the base plate if you choose to screw the saw to your workstation, and there’s even a recessed “cutout” where you could cinch the saw down with a clamp.
All of the controls and adjustments are in intuitive, familiar locations, especially if you are accustomed to Bosch miter saws. I’ve heard a few folks complain that you need to reach behind the saw to adjust the bevel. This doesn’t bother me, because my go-to DeWalt miter saw for the last 18 years had the bevel adjustment in the same position. For me, this has become natural and doesn’t feel inconvenient.
Rather than using a laser, the Bosch PROFACTOR miter saw uses a shadow line to create a kerf indicator. This shadow is mostly accurate and is visible when working both indoors and out. The light for the shadow line can be illuminated by depressing the trigger lock. This is nice because you don’t have to actually spin the blade to activate the light. After illumination, the shadow-line LED stays on for 20 seconds. This is generally ample time to alight the shadow with the intended cut/kerf location.
Battery Life and Performance
The Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw was sent with a CORE18V 8Ah High Power Battery. Fundamentally, the CORE18V 8Ah battery has served my needs well. When it comes to cordless tools, I believe that some folks get too hung up on battery life. In my opinion, the convenience of cordless and the great features of a tool always trump run time. On a jobsite, I make sure that I either always have a fresh battery on standby, or throw the battery I am using on the charger during lunch or a longer break such as running to the lumber yard. For these reasons, I didn’t want my review to get bogged down on the number of cuts I could make with a full battery. I feel as though that type of testing can sometimes be too subjective, especially because end-users of tools often use them in different ways.
A couple of times I ran out of battery life prior to finishing a set of cutting tasks, I was able to use a Bosch CORE18V 6.3Ah battery on the PROFACTOR miter saw and noticed zero lack of performance. In a pinch, I even had to use a 4Ah battery. While I wouldn’t want to get in the habit of this, it did work and got me through the job until my 8Ah pack was charged and ready to use.
Adjustments and Controls
Every single adjustment or control knob on the Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw is color-coded in red. This continuity across the entirety of the saw makes it super easy to identify what you actually need to put your hands on to make adjustments. Need to make an adjustment? Look for red. Need to bevel the saw? Look for red. Need to make a miter? Look for red. I find this to be very helpful when navigating the usage of the saw. My only gripe with these control knobs is that they are plastic, and I’m fearful that may degrade or break over time. So far, and especially in warm weather, the plastic has held up well and hasn’t been an issue.
I hate to make such a bold statement, but the dust collection on the Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Slide Miter Saw is poor. Even with a corded Hilti dust extractor hooked up, I struggled to keep sawdust at bay. The built-in dust port just behind the blade seems to be a bit short. I’m thinking there has to be a reason that it doesn’t sit lower, perhaps for reasons of interference on the back fence. From pine to cedar, to mahogany, the saw and vacuum combo just didn’t do a good job. Dust collection is not only a concern for some of our clients, but it makes intermittent cleanup more necessary.
An on-board battery-life indicator would be a welcome feature, but not a deal-breaker when considering whether or not to purchase this saw. No battery-life indicator on this saw is what I would put into the category of “first-world problems.”
Other than lackluster dust collection, the Bosch PROFACTOR 12” Dual-Bevel Slide Miter Saw checks all the boxes. Accurate cutting, easy-to-use controls, tons of power, and cordless freedom make this miter saw a new favorite tool of mine.
There seemed to be a period of time when Bosch was gearing its tools more toward commercial users with its grinders, rotary hammers, impact drivers, and corded tools. Their marketing and social media videos appeared to focus on commercial construction sites. But more recently, and especially with the addition of more carpentry tools to the PROFACTOR cordless lineup, Bosch is proving that it’s back for the residential carpenter. Well done.
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