Metabo makes a wide range of mitre saws – from the excellent cordless KGS 18LTX cordless reviewed a few months ago to the powerful mains powered KGS 305 M in this review.
Mitre saws are now an absolute staple tool for both first and second fix carpenters and shop fitters for example. And I, and many other woodworkers, wouldn’t be without one in our workshops either!
The KGS 305 M is BIG – the box it was delivered in filled up most of the boot of my medium hatchback. It is easy to unpack and there is actually nothing needing doing to it other than setting the saw head to right angles and preparing the hold down in order to start work. It weighs a tad under 20 Kgs so it is still possible to carry around reasonably easily via the carry handle or base. The sliding arm needs to be locked tight and it also helps to make the saw more compact if the saw table is locked at a 45-degree angle.
To show how big the capacity of the saw here are some specs that will help readers: - at 90 degrees the cutting capacity is 305mm by 105mm and even at 45 degrees bevel it will still cut a healthy 215mm by 105mm. Add a 45 degree angled cut to the bevel cut and the capacity is still 215mm by 62mm, so it is clear that the Metabo will handle a good range of jobs. There are mitre saws with bigger capacities out there, but they do not necessarily have the portability and simplicity of the KGS 305.
My ideal mitre saw combines accuracy as well as capacity. Accuracy also means that it has to be easily adjusted because the angle readings can slip out of true during transit in the back of the van or if it takes a knock. This is normal.
When I checked it straight out of the box, both cross and vertical cuts were spot on. Adjustment of both bevel and mitre functions is easy using an engineers’ square and the hex key provided.
Consistent accuracy also depends on the quality of the sliding arm and the slide rails. I found that there was no play in either the saw head or the sliding rails (which, by the way, slid very smoothly on their smooth chrome). It helps that the saw head, upper blade guard and sawhead hinge is made from a meaty alloy casting. The lower blade guard is of transparent plastic with a roller on the bottom to help it run smoothly as it retracts over the cut – definitely a good safety feature.
Another thing I liked was that the power cord is fed through one of the slider rails so it is kept out of the way of the blade and workpieces. Plastic cleats are supplied on each end of the slider so that the cord can be wound around them for transit.
Fixing the sliding head is via a sprung screw knob on the left side of the rails. A pin on the right side locks the saw head down. They are both easy to find, because they follow the Metabo pattern of controls picked out in red. A horizontal pull handle with motor trigger and safety paddle switch is nicely placed for easy working. On the handle too, are the laser and worklight switches. Both of these lights are improvements on previous models because they are placed where they are less likely to pick up excess dust and are much easier to clean. Both lights are bright enough to be useful in indoor working conditions and I particularly liked the light spread of the worklight – it helped my aging eyes!
Dust collection on mitre saws tends to be an imperfect science because of the way they work, but this function has also been improved on by directing the dust via a flexible rubber port. The smallish dust bag fills up very quickly, so it shows that much dust is being collected, but for better performance the saw needs to be connected to a vacuum extractor pipe that is fitted onto the top of the sawhead. This will prevent clouds of dust in the workshop or worksite, but there will still be dust in the air – so a dust mask is definitely needed.
Standard movements like mitre and angle cutting are quick and easy to achieve using the required adjustment levers. I recommend that the bevel adjustment is always double checked for tightness because the saw head can be dangerous if it slips sideways during use.
There are two table extensions – one on each side of the saw blade. The right hand side one has a built-in stop for repeat cuts. They are easy to slide into place by simply undoing the tightening knobs on the base. They do provide a greater level of support for the workpiece, but for users consistently handling pieces longer than a metre or so I would suggest a solid mitre saw stand, or, at the least, a couple of robust trestles and a thick piece of ply to make a table on which to secure the saw.
The KGS 305 M comes equipped with a 56 tooth TCT blade that is good for general purpose use – it leaves a very smooth, almost planed finish when used with care on both hard and soft wood. Plastics and non-ferrous metals will need specialist blades fitted.
Although the motor has a goodly 1.6kW output of power, it runs smoothly once started. The motor advertises its power by starting with a bit of a roar and a jolt. If I could suggest one improvement it would be a soft start option.
In the past I have cut big softwood beams up to 220mm wide and 100mm thick on the KGS 305 M and I couldn’t help but be impressed by the ease with which the job was done. Many buildings on the continent use big laminated beams on their roofing structures, so there is no need to guess why Metabo has the KGS 305 M in its saw line up.
In my workshop all I could find that would even vaguely test the cutting power and accuracy was a 150mm wide 70mm thick lump of hard Indonesian hardwood. The blade powered through with ease and accuracy and left a pretty smooth planed finish, despite some sparks from some silica trapped in the grain of the timber.
Aimed at pro users, this saw will deliver in spades. It is, perhaps, not as sophisticated as some on the market, and the price tag reflects that, but it sure delivers on capacity, accuracy and power.
Aimed at: Pro site chippies, would be useful in a workshop too.
Pros: - Powerful and practical with good specs for cutting big workpieces.