A crosscut sled is a vital piece of woodworking gear if you want to make consistent and accurate crosscuts and miter cuts. They’re also vital if you need to make repeated cuts in an accurate and timely manner.
A sled also adds a whole other level of performance to your table saw, allowing you to use the saw for fine joinery and repetitive machining of workpieces.
While table saws come with a miter gauge that can be used for making miter cuts, they have a number of downsides that make them less than ideal – I’ll get into that in a minute.
Let’s take a look at some of the best crosscut sleds on the market, so you can step up your table saw game!
Quick Answer: 5 Best Crosscut Sleds
Why Do You Need a Crosscut Sled?
Nearly every table saw comes with some type of miter gauge for making crosscuts and miter cuts, so why should you consider a crosscut sled?
If you’ve ever worked with a miter gauge, you’ll know they aren’t the easiest thing to work with. You need to hold the workpiece in place by applying pressure with your hand while guiding the workpiece through the angled cut.
This can result in an inaccurate cut from the workpiece slipping while you try to hold it in place. This can be made even more difficult by large, wide, and oddly shaped workpieces.
Another tricky thing to do with a table saw is cut small workpieces. It’s challenging to make accurate cuts safely without getting your fingers too close to the saw blade. A crosscut sled solves this issue by allowing you to clamp down a workpiece inside the sled so you can make a cut from a safe distance.
Lastly, a crosscut sled gives you the ability to make repeated cuts of the same length with ease. If you’re working on a project requiring multiple identical length parts (think chair legs, cabinet components, or picture frames) then this will save you a lot of time and effort.
To make these repetitive cuts simply with the sleds adjustable stop to your desired length, and then slide your workpiece in and make the cut.
Top 5 Crosscut Sleds
- Highly accurate and easy to use.
- Right and left-tilt saw compatible.
- Made in the USA.
- Extender fence telescopes from 36” to 64”.
- The miter bar adjusts to fit any standard table saw.
- Ten expansion discs ensure the saw will fit any miter gauge channel.
If you were to only pick one crosscut sled, then you’d have a hard time finding a better one than the Incra Miter 5000. It combines Incra’s incredibly accurate 3000SE miter gauge with a 3-panel sled, a heavy-duty hold-down clamp, and a Flip Shop Stop adjustable stop.
While the Miter 5000 is far from cheap, it’s so functional and well-made that it makes most other sleds and gauges obsolete. The aluminum and MDF sled is also incredibly solid-feeling, so you know you’re getting a unit that will last a lifetime.
An adjustable GlideLOCK miter bar slides into the miter gauge channel and can be adjusted to fit with 10 adjustable expansion discs. The telescoping fence expands from 36” to a full 64” when completely extended – so you have more than enough room to cut larger workpieces.
When it comes to making angled cuts, precision angle indexing teeth allow you to make up to 364 positive angle stops at 1/2 –degree increments. Holding down the workpiece is accomplished with Incra’s outstanding hold-down clamp.
- Large crosscut sled perfect for crosscuts and miter cuts.
- Well-made and reasonably priced.
- Easy-to-read sliding miter gauge has 1/2-degree graduations.
- The spring-loaded miter bar has adjustable tension to eliminate “slop”.
Simple, easy-to-use, and highly accurate, the Rockler Crosscut Sled is an excellent option if you’re looking for a sled to make precise miter and crosscuts. The design is fairly simple, with a ½” thick melamine coated MDF board, a heavy-duty aluminum fence, and an adjustable MDF fence face.
Easy-to-read ½-degree graduations allow you to set your miter angle to your exact preferences, while the spring-loaded ball bearings in the miter bar have adjustable tension to eliminate “slop”.
An optional crosscut sled drop-off platform is available separately. This provides true zero clearance support on both sides of the blade for splinter-free cuts.
While it might be hard to tell from the pictures, the sled is actually fairly large at 23-3/4” x 23-3/4”, so it’s perfect for larger cutting jobs. You can also cut the sled down to fit your saw if the standard size is too big.
- Sled base provides true zero-clearance support.
- Miniature crosscut sled allows you to cut small parts and tenons/dowels.
- Cuts at a precise 90° angle.
- Rear-mounted blade guard.
If you’re looking for a compact crosscut sled to fit a smaller job site table saw, then this is the one for you. The base measures just 12” x 7-1/4” x 3-1/8”, so you won’t be crosscutting any large workpieces with this sled.
The melamine-coated MDF base provides true zero-clearance support – so you can make precise cuts with not tear out whatsoever. A small plastic ramp on one side of the blade carries away the waste portion of the cut.
With its small size, the sled is ideal for cutting tenons, dowels, and other joints and small parts. Keep in mind this sled can only cut at a 90° angle, so you won’t be able to make angled cuts with it.
The sled rides inside the miter track of your table saw and feature a rear-mounted blade guard to protect you from the saw blade.
- Inexpensive DIY kit is the ideal budget sled.
- Made in the USA.
- Full color detailed how-to guide explains how to build the sled.
- UHMW bars provide smooth low-friction operation.
If you’re looking for a cheaper crosscut sled that won’t break the bank, then this sled from Fulton makes an excellent option. Keep in mind it’s a DIY kit, so you’ll need to do some basic woodworking to put it all together.
The kit comes with a set of 2 anodized aluminum T-tracks, 2 UHMW bars, a knob and bolt for the adjustable stop, and wood screws for mounting the tracks. It also comes with a detailed guide booklet explaining in step-by-step detail how to construct the crosscut sled.
The UHMW runners mount directly into your saw’s miter gauge tracks and won’t expand or contract as wooden runners can. They are also smooth and slick, so they won’t produce any friction as you use the sled.
One advantage of the DIY kit is it allows you to customize the size of the sled, so you can adapt the exact dimensions to work with your table saw.
- Combination pack with crosscutting platform and miter gauge.
- Zero-clearance sled for highly accurate cuts with no tearout.
- Made in the USA.
- Assembles and disassembles easily.
- High-end anodized aluminum and MDF construction.
This combo pack from the legendary gauge manufacturers over at Incra combines their fantastic cross-Miter Express cross-cutting platform with their accurate and well-made Miter 1000SE miter gauge.
When mounted together, the combo pack makes crosscutting 24” deep panels possible. A heavy-duty hold-down clip allows you to secure and cut small pieces safely.
Removable T-slot retaining clips provide a high level of stability at both the beginning and end of long crosscuts. Like the Incra Miter 5000 mentioned above, this model includes the Flip Shop Stop for making quick and accurate cuts at differing dimensions.
The GlideLock miter bar is highly adjustable, allowing you to customize the bar dimensions so they will fit precisely in a variety of different table saws.
Keep in mind you can also easily detach the miter gauge from the base, and mount any other miter gauge you happen to have.
How to Pick the Right Crosscut Sled?
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to crosscut sleds. They’re all designed to offer the same basic functionality of making accurate and smooth crosscuts, but that’s where the similarities end.
Higher-end sleds offer increased functionality and accuracy and tend to offer much greater precision and durability than cheaper options.
If you need to make fine, repeatable cuts then a zero-clearance sled is a must. This simply means that there is no gap on each side of the blade – leaving a kerf-sized opening. This makes the saw safer and gives you better results than cutting with just the saw.
Zero clearance will result in cleaner cuts with less tear-out than a typical saw setup.
One thing you’ll notice right off the bat when using a crosscut sled for the first time is the increased level of precision in your cuts. This is due to the workpiece being held in place with a stop or a clamp rather than by hand.
As you might expect, higher-end sleds offer tighter tolerances and greater cutting precision than cheaper ones. However, even cheaper sleds will offer a solid precision increase over no sled at all.
While DIY all-wood crosscut sleds are fairly accurate and durable, like other wood tools they can warp with changes in humidity and temperature. Aluminum and coated MDF provide a high level of accuracy, and are less prone to damage and warping from changes in temperature/humidity.
One thing to consider before springing on a crosscut sled is the sled’s dimensions. Not every sled is compatible with every saw size, and larger sleds may be too large to mount on smaller jobsite table saws.