When it comes to capable compound miter saws, you might feel overwhelmed with all the choices on the big box store shelves. If you’re unsure of which one to choose for your garage workshop or job site, we’ll help you narrow it down. We’re going to take a detailed look at the Hitachi C12RSH2 sliding compound miter saw, which is one of the best miter saws in our 2020 picks.
We’ll get you caught up on the specifications, features, pros, and cons, as well as some other helpful information that we think you’ll need to decide if the Hitachi C12RSH2 is the right choice for you.
General Overview of the Hitachi C12RSH2
First, let’s address a very important point: In October 2018, Hitachi purchased Metabo to expand and improve their tool line. They’ve since changed their name to Metabo HPT and began rebranding all of their products. The tools themselves have not changed other than the branding.
The C12RSH2 is one of these tools, as it’s now marketed as the Metabo HPT C12RSH2M. This saw, however, is still referred to as the Hitachi C12RSH2 by most people in the industry, and that’s how we will reference it throughout this review.
The Hitachi C12RSH2 is a 12-inch sliding dual-bevel compound miter saw.
This saw is full of features that help to accomplish whatever task that you put in front of it. It comes with a dust collection bag, a 60-tooth 12-inch blade, a hold-down clamp for securing a workpiece, and the wrench you’ll need to install and change the blade.
Set up is relatively quick and painless so you can go from cutting open the box to cutting lumber without much downtime.
Capabilities and Specifications
The C12RSH2’s 12-inch blade is powered by a 15-amp motor that spins at a no-load speed of 4,000 RPMs. This Hitachi features an adjustable laser cut marker and an ergonomically-friendly handle for both left and right-handed users.
It also has an innovative slide system, which we’ll cover in-depth in a bit. It’s a big saw that will take up the majority of your workbench, but it does have a large cut capacity to make up for it.
Types of Cuts
The C12RSH2 is capable of making just about any cut you’ll need on a typical job site or home project. There’s a depth-adjustment for making dados and grooves, although it’s not the most convenient one we’ve ever used.
Also, its large cut capacity will come in handy when framing, but it’s just as capable of making precise cuts on baseboards and crown molding.
Bevel and Miter Features
The Hitachi C12RSH2 has a plus-sized miter range. It will make miter cuts to the left up to 45 degrees but it can also cut to the right up to 57 degrees, which can come in handy with strange angles.
This saw also features positive stop detents at 0, 15, 22.5, 31.6, and 45 degrees on both sides. It does come with a detent bypass for locking-in angles close to a detent without snapping in.
Bevel cuts to either side can be made up to 45 degrees. When it comes to crosscutting, cuts can be made on boards up to 12¼ inches wide and 45-degree miters can be made on boards up to 8⅜ inches wide, both with one pass.
It’s worth noting that the C12RSH2’s bevel release is in the rear, and it’s counter-intuitive. The release’s thread is reversed which we feel is a poor design. We’d prefer our bevel release to be in the front, but we certainly don’t want to reach back and think we’re releasing the bevel only to find out that we’re actually tightening it.
Our main concern is that until we’re used to it, we’ll be putting unnecessary wear on the saw due to poor design.
The Hitachi is a burly thing, coming in at 59 pounds. In the grand scheme of sliding compound miter saws, however, this is a pretty good bargain. Other saws with this level of capability can weigh as much as 15 pounds more.
While we don’t think that you’ll be tossing the C12RSH2 around your job site, you’ll have the flexibility of using it wherever you need to in a pinch.
There’s no compound miter saw out there that isn’t going to make at least a little mess, but the Hitachi does far better than most.
The included bag does a good job of keeping excess sawdust to a minimum, but you’ll be happier with it hooked up to a shop vac or collection system. The issue is that the dust port is an odd size and won’t connect to a vacuum or collection hose without some workshop-ingenuity.
If there’s one set of specifications that won’t blow you away, it’ll be the C12RSH2’s footprint. It’s not a small saw.
At 25 inches wide and 35 inches deep, retrofitting it to an existing miter saw station might not be an easy task. It’s also got a tremendous overall height of 28 inches, but we’ll explain why that might be a good thing a little further into the review.
As all good sliding miter saws should, this saw features an adjustable depth-stop for making dados, rabbets, and grooves. While the adjustment is easy, engaging and disengaging it is a little bit of a pain.
Most saws have a stop-plate that conveniently swings in and out of place. The Hitachi’s depth is controlled by a bolt that has to be threaded in and out, making it a more time-consuming process.
One of the reasons for the Hitachi’s towering overall height is its ergonomic design. Most other compound miter saws have horizontally-oriented handles placed to the right of the blade. This makes it a challenge for lefties to see as well as right-handed users can. The Hitachi uses a vertically-oriented handle, and the motor is placed above the saw instead of beside it.
This is as lefty-friendly as a miter saw can get.
By far the most innovative feature of the C12RSH2 is its zero-clearance slide-rail system. Normal operation of the saw allows the rails to slide through the base of the saw. Set for zero-clearance, the rails are locked in the forward position while the saw assembly is free to slide back and forth to make wide cuts.
This innovative design makes the C12RSH2 flexible enough to sit close to your shop wall while still offering a huge cut capacity. This is our favorite feature of the saw.
Laser Cut Marker
The C12RSH2 comes with a laser indicator for lining up accurate cuts. It’s adjustable so you can tune it for the left or right side of the blade according to your preference. It also can be used to line the saw up on an angle without knowing its measurement, which can be an incredible help.
However, as you lower the blade to the workpiece, the laser disappears, leaving you to eyeball the rest of the cut. While we appreciate that Hitachi included a laser marker and that it’s adjustable, we’re on the LED-cast shadow bandwagon and we think all saw manufacturers should adopt this technology.
Pros and Cons
- It has a large cutting capacity.
- It’s easy to use for left and right-handed users.
- It features an innovative zero-clearance rail system.
- The bevel release is poorly designed.
- The saw has a massive overall size compared to other comparable models.
- Fitting a hose to the dust port will be a challenge.
Anytime there are this many moving parts, there’s a margin of error that is considered acceptable. That being said, the C12RSH2 is a very accurate saw, even just out of the box.
If you do have to adjust it, the two-piece fence is relatively easy to dial in for perfect cuts. Once you’ve achieved your desired level of accuracy, this saw will continue to cut true with no further adjustments needed.
There aren’t a lot of safety features to talk about with the C12RSH2, but regardless you should be aware of general miter saw safety procedures.
It does feature a blade guard that does a good job of getting out of the way when you’re cutting and protecting your hand when you’re not.
The problem that we find with most blade guards is that manufacturers usually tint them in a complimenting color. While they do look cool, they’re often difficult to see through. The C12RSH2’s guard is tinted green, making it more challenging to see through than a plain, clear guard would be.
Due to the Metabo rebranding, this saw may be one of the best deals in compound miter saws available. It ranges from a low of $300 to almost $600, depending on where you buy it and if they’re attempting to move the old stock quickly.
Check your local dealer to find out if they have any Hitachi tools on clearance, as you’re less likely to find a Metabo HPT branded saw at the low end of that range.
There are a lot of features to talk about with the Hitachi C12RSH2; some good, some bad.
At this point, you’re probably still on the fence about whether or not to purchase this saw. While it has an innovative zero-clearance rail system, it’s still not a good shop saw if you can’t hook it up to dust collection.
We like that it does have a laser but it disappears before you can start your cut. It’s surprisingly average in weight but it’s absolutely enormous compared to other models with similar cut capacities.
There’s a lot of giving and taking here, and it makes recommending it a tough call.
Ultimately, our recommendation comes down to price. If you’re able to purchase this saw at $300 to $400, grab it. It’s by far the best saw you can buy inside of that price range.
However, if you can only find it locally to you with a sticker price close to $600, you’d be better served to leave the Hitachi on the shelf. If you’re committing to spending that much on a saw, you should look for something in yellow, orange, or dark blue instead.