Ten years ago, when I had to schlep my big blue miter saw to a job site, I’d sigh, grab it, grunt and go. Now I sigh, pop two precautionary Aleve (three if stairs are involved), mutter some appropriate expletives, and stagger out to the truck with it. That big blue saw does an excellent job of slicing and dicing, but I’ve long thought that about 90% of the cutting I do could be taken care of with a less-monolithic saw. Such a saw recently landed on the HomeFixated loading dock, a small saw with a big name: The Milwaukee 2733-20 Compact 7-1/4” Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. To speed things up, we will henceforth refer to it as the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider. Join us as we see if it can indeed displace the full-size slider of my (relative) youth.
As someone used to dealing with a miter saw weighing almost 70 lbs., I was prepared to be in love with the 26-pound Milwaukee 2733 compact slider from the moment I liberated it from its Red box. Despite its compact size and light weight, the saw seemed to be very robustly constructed. My only hope was that it had the ability to make the cuts I need. We’ll get to that shortly; first, here are some of the features and specs from Milwaukee, followed by a short promo video:
• Only 28 lbs. with Battery
• Brushless motor
• Electric brake
• Dual Bevel with stops at 45° and 48°
• Over 600 Cuts per Charge
• 3-1/2” Vertical Capacity (base against fence)
• 2×8 Horizontal Capacity (lying flat at 90°)
• 3-5/8” Nested Crown Capacity
• Cam Locking Miter Detent System
• Shadow cut line indicator for quickly lining up cuts
• Integrated top and side carry handles for easy transportation
• Voltage: 18V
• Battery: M18™ REDLITHIUM™
• No Load RPM: 5,000
• Maximum Bevel Capacity 48° / 48°
• Arbor size: 5/8”
• Blade diameter: 7-1/4”
• Weight with battery 28 lbs.
• Tool Warranty: 5 Years
Getting Ready To Slide
Getting the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider ready to go to work is fast and easy. The saw is available as both a bare tool or in a kit with a 5.0 Ah M18 battery and charger. Either way, the saw comes with a carbide-tipped 40-tooth blade, a blade changing tool, a dust bag and a material clamp.
Installing that 40-tooth blade is easy, and just takes a couple of minutes. When all is secure, the tool stows snugly in a little grommet behind the fence. After installing the blade, I checked it for square, both to the fence and the table. It was dead on in both planes.
If the blade ever does get knocked out of adjustment, the manual has instructions on how to get everything squared away again. Once the blade is installed, just slide an M18 battery in, and you’re ready to cut! Let’s take a closer look at some of the features on the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider, and then we’ll fire it up.
Compounding The Features On The Milwaukee 2733 Compact Slider
The target market for the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider is pros, and the engineers at Milwaukee are pretty good at figuring out what features pros expect. They started out with a powerful, efficient brushless motor, capable of spinning the blade at 5,000 RPM. It has a soft-start feature to keep the blade from “jumping” when the trigger is pulled, and an electric brake stops the blade almost immediately when the trigger is released.
The Milwaukee 2733 compact slider has most of the features users expect on a high-end sliding compound miter saw. The saw has miter detents at 0, 15, 22.5, 31.62 and 45 degrees on both the left and right, and the table locks in with no slop. For those oddball angles that exist out there in the real world, just rotate the detent override knob forward, and the table can be locked in at any angle. The numbers are boldly marked and easy to read, and they’re etched into the scale, so they won’t wear off.
When it’s time to lean in, the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider can bevel up to 48° to the left and right, and has detents at 0° and 45°. It can handle upright base molding up to 3-1/2” tall at any angle, and nested crown mold up to 3-5/8” tall. For a full bevel cut, the fence has to be slid over to the side, but the saw can make most cuts without removing the fence.
One feature that trim carpenters will appreciate is the inclusion of common crown mold markings on the scales. The miter scale has special marks at 31.6° and 35.3° left and right, and bevel marks at 33.9° and 30°, to help with a fast, accurate setup. The manual has some good “how-to” information for those unfamiliar with the mysteries of crown molding.
A Shadowy Feature Of The Milwaukee 2733
When it’s time to start right-sizing your material, the Milwaukee 2733 has a feature that makes it easy to get an accurate cut. The saw is equipped with a cut line indicator that casts a shadow precisely where the blade will cut. It never needs calibration, and its design means the line will always be the exact width of the blade. There’s a switch on the handle to illuminate the cut line indicator so you can position your work piece, and the light comes on automatically when you pull the trigger.
Another advantage of the Milwaukee 2733, along with its compact size and weight, is the fact that it uses 7-1/4” blades. This common blade size is readily available anywhere blades are sold, in varieties good for everything from framing to fine finish cuts. Replacing a dull 7-1/4” finish blade puts a LOT less strain on the wallet than replacing a dull 12” finish blade.
Firing Up The Milwaukee 2733 Compact Slider
As I mentioned earlier, I was pretty happy when I lifted the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider out of the box. It looked and felt very solid, and lifting 26 pounds is something I can do without painkillers. The saw has a good-sized handle on top, making it very easy to carry. There are also cutouts at either end of the table, providing more options for easy schlepping.
I set the saw up in our current project house, and used it over a period of a few weeks to make all kinds of cuts. The Milwaukee 2733 compact slider might appear to be aimed primarily at trim carpenters, and it’s certainly very capable in that niche. This saw is perfect for cutting door and window trim, baseboard material, and crown molding. I used it at least as often for cutting dimensional lumber, though. The saw had no trouble making repeated cuts in 2x4s, 2x6s and 2x8s.
I also had a lot of oak to cut. All the trim in this house is 1×4 and 1×6 oak, and the flooring is ¾” tongue and groove oak. It made all the cuts easily, and the 40-tooth blade left a nice finished edge. I also cut some 1×12 pine lumber, by plunging in and cutting as far as possible, then flipping the board over to finish the cut.
Operating the trigger is pretty straightforward. As on most battery-powered saws, there’s a trigger safety; just bump it over with your finger, and squeeze the trigger. The brushless motor got the saw up to full speed very quickly, and the blade stops almost immediately when you release the trigger.
The Milwaukee 2733 glided very smoothly along its rails, with no sticking or roughness. More importantly, there was no flexing of the head when it was fully extended. Setting up the saw in “chop” mode is simple: Just tighten the knob on the slide rail lock.
I used the included dust bag, which did a pretty good job of corralling the sawdust. The attachment tube extends almost to the back of the dust bag, so when it dumps the dust there, it doesn’t come pouring back out when you lower the head for the next cut. The dust port also makes it easy to attach the saw to a dust collection system or shop vac, with openings that will accept two standard hose sizes.
While the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider will operate on any M12 battery, Milwaukee recommends using a battery rated at a minimum of 5.0 Ah. I used the saw with a 5.0 Ah battery, and it worked very well; Milwaukee claims the saw can make over 600 cuts on a charge, and on crown mold or thin baseboard material I bet it could. Since we were making only 50-75 cuts a day, the battery lasted several days on a charge. I also fired it up with a High Demand 9.0 Ah battery, which seemed like it would go forever.
The Milwaukee 2733 Compact Slider Takes A Stand
When using any miter saw, it’s a good idea to get it secure and stable first. Pre-drilled mounting holes on the Milwaukee 2733 make it easy to secure the saw to a workbench, table top, or miter stand. When I used it, I secured the saw to a temporary platform screwed to the top of a couple of beefy Bora Speedhorse sawhorses.
If you’d like something a bit classier, with work supports and other useful features, it will fit on many miter saw stands, including Milwaukee’s own folding miter stand.
Final Cutting Remarks On The Milwaukee 2733 Compact Slider
OK, let’s cut to the chase: I like the Milwaukee 2733 compact slider. I like it a lot. It’s very well made, has all the features I want, and can take care of most of my cutting needs. It’s small, light, easy to carry and set up, and it does a great job cutting anything in its size range. And you don’t even have to find an outlet for it – what else can you ask for?!
This is a pro-grade saw, and I think most carpentry crews would be happy to have it on site. Especially the guy whose job it is to schlep the saw in and out every day. It does a great job on trim work, can handle dimensional lumber with no problem, and can make a LOT of cuts on a single battery. The big slider will still get to play when it’s time for joists, soffits and other big cutting jobs, but the rest of the time it can stay home and keep my Aleve company.
Clearly, Milwaukee is confident in the build quality and durability of the Milwaukee 2733, as they back the tool with a five-year warranty. If you want to lighten your load, put down the painkillers and pick up your own Milwaukee 2733 Compact Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw.
Buy the Milwaukee 2733-20 Compact Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw bare tool from the Home Depot:
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