Chicago Electric is a staple name in every household. Even so, not much is known about the company other than its budget-friendly prices.
We’re here to discuss everything you need to know about the company in this Chicago Electric Miter Saw review, along with all the essential specs and features worth noting about their miter saw, so stick around.
What You'll Learn...
- Chicago Electric Power Tools Company Overview
- What Does Chicago Electric Sell?
- Are Chicago Electric Miter Saws Any Good?
- Chicago Electric Miter Saw Review
- Chicago Electric Miter Saw Parts
- How to Change Blade on Chicago Electric Miter Saw
- Wrapping it Up
Chicago Electric Power Tools Company Overview
Chicago Electric is the sister company of Harbor Freight, a well-known tool and equipment retailer that operates over 1,000 stores across 48 states.
Founded in 1977, Harbor Freight prides itself on its excellent selection of quality tools and unmatched consumer value.
For decades, Harbor Freight has become the go-to location for home power tools. To this day, the company continues to grow and brings in approximately $5 billion in revenue every year.
Thanks to their state-of-the-art testing labs, where employees put Harbor Freight tools into a long list of rigorous, punishing tests, Harbor Freight ensures a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of their products.
Their no-hassle return policy and a lifetime warranty on all hand tools are a plus, too.
In terms of quality, Chicago Electric is a mid-range brand. They’re not the most powerful nor the most durable, but they’re safe, functional, and get the job done just fine.
Chicago Electric’s tools are primarily made in China and Taiwan and sold at a relatively low cost.
What Does Chicago Electric Sell?
Chicago Electric offers a wide variety of tools. If you need it, they have it! Most of the tools they manufacture are targeted to carpenters, builders, mechanics, and of course, DIY homeowners.
Among Chicago Electric’s most notable tools are:
● Their electric/compound miter saw
● Circular saw
● Tile/brick saw
● Oscillating multi-tools
● Reversible drills and hammer drills
● Die grinders and angle grinders
● Impact wrenches
● Planers and polishers
● Saw stand
Along with the tools mentioned above, Chicago Electric also sells accessories and sharpeners to aid users with their projects. At the time of writing this review, Chicago Electric offers over 200 different tools and accessories fit for every occasion.
But the real question here is this: are they any good? Despite the budget-friendly price, is buying a Chicago Electric tool actually worth it?
Are Chicago Electric Miter Saws Any Good?
When it comes to power tools, many of us steer clear of cheaper brands. After all, power tools aren’t something to be taken lightly. There’s quality to consider, as well as safety and functionality.
What if the tool breaks or stops working in the middle of work? It’s not only inconvenient and a safety hazard- but also a total waste of money!
That being said, how does Chicago Electric compare with other well-known brands in terms of quality?
Chicago Electric isn’t particularly sought-out and would mostly be overlooked without a second thought. They’re ridiculously cheap, which makes some, understandably, hesitate.
In terms of quality, Chicago Electric is comparable to SKIL, Ryobi, and B&D. They’re not made for heavy-duty jobs or construction sites.
If you’re searching for something to use for a lifetime, like Craftsman, Makita, and Hitachi, you might want to avoid Chicago Electric.
However, if you’re searching for something to use on light, semi-regular jobs, Chicago Electric is something you should certainly consider.
One of the best things about Chicago Electric is its reliability and functionality. The company’s tools can efficiently complete DIY projects and home repairs without any issues. Plus, they’re safe.
Chicago Electric isn’t as durable as Makita or Milwaukee, but they get the job done cleanly and efficiently.
So to reiterate, Chicago Electric perfectly balances price and quality. You get what you pay for-and slightly more.
Chicago Electric Miter Saw Review
The product we’re reviewing today is the Chicago Electric 10-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw. It retails for less than $200, making it one of the best value-for-price units on the market today.
Chicago Electric Compound Miter Saw Features
The Chicago Electric Miter Saw is praised for its power, versatility, and durability. Let’s take a look at the features that make this miter saw worth the attention.
Power and Cutting Capacity
One of the most essential features of a miter saw is its power. Without enough power, a miter saw is basically useless. Luckily, the Chicago Electric Miter Saw doesn’t disappoint in this area.
Driven by a powerful 15 amp motor, the Chicago Electric Miter Saw has a generous 10-inch cut miter range that’s suitable for a number of applications.
Along with a 45-degree double bevel design, this unit features dual linear ball bearing rails to ensure smooth, precise cuts. It also has five left/right positive stops at 0, 15, 22.5, 30, and 45 degrees.
On top of that, it operates at a maximum speed of 5,000RPM, fast and strong enough to cut through even the hardest boards!
The Chicago Electric Miter Saw has a cut capacity of 2-3/4 inches x 12-3/16 inches at a 90-degree depth. The machine must be plugged into a 16 gauge or better power cord to fully reap its benefits.
Some users complain about the unit’s cutting speed, stating that it’s far less than 5,000 RPM. However, it’s likely that they weren’t using the correct gauge or an old power cord.
As such, make sure to plug the Chicago Electric Miter Saw in a proper cord.
Ease of Use
One of the best things about the Chicago Electric Miter Saw is its easy-to-execute operation and incredibly precise performance.
At just over 30 pounds, this miter saw is lighter than most 10-inch units, making it quite portable and easy to move around.
Aside from its mobility factor, the Chicago Electric Miter Saw has a simple, one-touch (push in and turn) system and dual bevel lock on the rear handle that enables users to quickly and easily adjust the machine’s blades. The easy access brushes are a great plus as well.
The Chicago Electric Miter Saw weighs just over 30 pounds (32.56 pounds, to be exact), giving it a decent amount of heftiness and stability. It’s light enough to be portable but heavy enough to handle rigorous cutting jobs.
To avoid potential accidents and increase the machine’s stability, the Chicago Electric Miter is best used when bolted into a piece of plywood above your workbench. Either that, or you can clamp it down onto the table just to make sure it’s 100% safe and secure.
If you’re cutting a particularly large or long piece of wood, we recommend placing a support block at either end of the wood. This allows you to extend it out of your table or workbench.
Doing so prevents the machine from tilting and will enable you to cut more precisely and evenly.
Chicago Electric takes safety extremely seriously. Power tools, after all, are dangerous when mismanaged. The Chicago Electric Miter Saw has several safety measures to ensure the machine doesn’t cause any undue accidents while working.
The guard plate bolt is one of the safety features the Chicago Electric Miter Saw has. This bolt is found on the side of the machine and is bright yellow in color. It acts as a stop mechanism that prevents your saw from going any further down than you want it to.
If you want to cut some dadoes or rabbits, you can adjust the knob to your preference by removing the arbor bolt and turning it clockwise.
On top of that, the Chicago Electric Miter Saw has a power loss reset feature, preventing the blade from spinning after a power outage. It’ll only turn on when the “ON” button is pressed, which is covered by a safety flip cover.
The Chicago Electric Compound Miter Saw comes with a dust collection bag, extension bars, and table clamps.
The dust bag, as the name suggests, catches dust and wood particles that fall off from wood while you’re cutting. It also keeps sawdust and other debris from flying to the air and into your eyes, nose, and mouth while you work.
The right and left extension bars are specifically designed to increase the workpiece’s support. Once you’re done using them, the extensions can be retracted into the saw, so you won’t have to constantly install the extensions when you need them.
Table clamps are added for extra stability. These clamps ensure that the machine is securely attached on top of your workbench so you can freely cut without having to worry about your safety.
● Amperage (amps): 15
● Miter stop (deg): 0, 15, 22.5, 30 and 45
● Length: 35-1/2 inches
● Weight: 32.56 pounds
● Width: 17-3/16 inches
● Height: 22 inches
● Vertical cut capacity vertical: 2-3/4 inches
● Horizontal cut capacity: 12 inches
● Miter capacity: 2-3/4 x 8-1/4 inches
● Straight bevel cut at 45 degrees: 1-9/16 x 12 inches
What We Like
● Powerful motor
● Relatively lightweight
● Solid construction
● Almost fully assembled right out of the box
● Inexpensive part replacements
● Creates a very accurate cut, particularly when it comes to crown molding
● Great value for money
What We Don’t Like
● Not the most durable
● Doesn’t come with the blade
● The warranty could be better (only 90 days)
Chicago Electric Miter Saw Parts
Chicago Electric offers a number of miter saw replacement parts online and in Harbor Freight stores. This includes a miter saw lower guard, rip fence assemblies, motor brushes, and different types of bolts, switches, and knobs.
Harbor Freight has a full PDF list of all the available Chicago Electric miter saw parts, including their diagram reference and price.
How to Change Blade on Chicago Electric Miter Saw
The blade on the Chicago Electric Miter Saw is surprisingly easy to change. With just five simple steps, you’ll be able to replace the unit’s blade and start cutting!
Step 1: Unplug the Saw
Perhaps this goes without saying. For security purposes, make sure the machine is fully unplugged, not just turned “OFF”.
Once you unplug the saw, pull the blade up and depress the spindle lock button.
Step 2: Remove the Blade Cover
Raise the guard cover and remove the plate bolts found on one side. You can either use the Allen key that comes in the box or your own personal wrench.
Take the screws out and keep them aside. As soon as the screws are out, remove the outer flange and dull saw blade.
Step 3: Lock the Spindle Lock
Lock the spindle lock (found on the right side of the machine) using the key that came with the miter saw using a clockwise motion to keep the blade from moving. Take the bolt, washer, and retainer out. Place them aside.
Step 4: Insert the Blade
Insert the blade with the teeth facing down, so it’s a clockwork rotation. Then, screw in the arbor hold, washer, and retainer back in place. Tighten it completely with the same Allen key you used before. Once done, hold the spindle lock once more until it locks.
Step 5: Finishing Up
Pull the blade guard and center cover back down. Tighten the fixing bolt you’ve removed earlier and release the locking pin. And that’s it, you’re good to go! You can now start cutting with a sharp, new blade.
Wrapping it Up
Chicago Electric gives popular power tool companies like Craftsman and Hitachi a run for their money. While Chicago Electric tools aren’t as durable as the more well-known brands, they can survive years of use until they need to be replaced- especially if it’s well maintained and taken care of.
Plus, the prices are simply out of this world.
If you’re operating on a tight budget and only need to do standard DIY projects and household maintenance and repair, we recommend checking out some of Chicago Electric’s tools.
We hope that this Chicago Electric miter saw review has shed some light on the unit’s functionality and performance.
Along with super precise, awesome safety features, and high power performance, the Chicago Electric Miter Saw gets the job done right.
It’s ideal for hobbyists, homeowners, and anyone who’s fond of DIY woodwork!