Dewalt DWS779 vs DWS780 Differences

image with arrow demonstrating difference between saws

The Dewalt 12-inch dual bevel sliding miter saws come in three (confusing) varieties. The DWS779 and DWS780 miter saw are two identical models with one difference. The Dewalt DWS779 does not have the XPS Cutline positioning system (blade alignment marking) that the DWS780 has. Despite the argument that rage online, phone conversations with Dewalt engineers have us convinced that the blade marking light system is the only difference between these saws. In the image above, the arrow is pointing to the power pack for the XPS Cutline light that is only visible in the handle of the DWS780 and not in the handle of the DWS779. 

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image of Dewalt DWS779

  • 15 amp Motor
  • 3, 800 RPMs
  • Carbide Blade
  • Cuts 2×16  at 90° and 2×12 at 45° angles
  • Cuts 6.75 inches vertically
  • 50-degree left bevel, 60-degree right

The DWS779 Does Not Have The Cutline Light


product image of dewalt DWS780

  • 15 amp Motor
  • 3, 800 RPMs
  • Carbide Blade
  • Cuts 2×16  at 90° and 2×12 at 45° angles
  • Cuts 6.75 inches vertically
  • 50-degree left bevel, 60-degree right

The DWS780 Has The XPS Cutline system

Is the XPS Light Worth The Investment?

Demonstration of Cutline blade shadowThe XPS light is a truly unique innovation that Dewalt brings to their top-level miter saw. Where most of the competition offers laser guides, the Dewalt has instead introduced an LED-powered work light. This work light shines on both sides of the saw, causing the saw blade to cast a shadow delineating where the cut is going to be made.

One of the downsides with laser is that it has to be brighter than the work conditions you are using the saw in for you to see that laser beam. If you are using the saw in bright outdoor conditions, the laser guides are likely to be washed out by the sunlight and useless.

By using a shadow line instead of laser light, the XPS system offers a blade-alignment guide that is much more reliable in all lighting environments. The XPS also shows the thickness of your blade, which is a handy feature. You really notice the XPS system when doing miter cuts where you want to see where the blade is going to enter the wood from the side. It can help you make accurate cuts on the first try with more confidence and less checking.

You can add the XPS light to the 779 Model. You will need to buy the 

  • XPS work light
  • Power supply
  • DWS780 handle kit.

(Even though the handle kit on the 779 looks very similar, the cut-outs for the power supply and the screw mounts for the power supply are lacking on the 779 models.)

Adding a light requires some basic disassembly, splicing of the internal wiring and re-assembly. You also open yourself up to the likelihood of voiding the 3-year limited warranty when you install the light yourself. 

It makes sense to pay extra for a saw with the Led Light already installed. You’ll work more quickly and accurately.

Why The Confusion?

Dewalt produces some of the best power tools on the market and is not only one of the top-tier brands for construction workers, but has become a household name. The Dewalt miter saw is one of the best in the industry. Folks save up for years and want to make sure that they are buying the correct one.

The DWS779 is offered as a promotional model for their premier partners such as Home Depot and Amazon. This creates an exclusive model that can be sold at a steep discount without undercutting the minimum advertised price on Dewalt’s Flagship model, the DWS780. Even though the DWS779 is considered a “promotional” model, it is not lacking in the power and durability that everyone loves when they do a Dewalt DWS780 review. 

By way of clarification, there is also a model called the DWS709 that has a 12-inch blade but has a slightly more narrow cutting capacity (12-inch crosscuts compared to the 16-inch). The DWS709 could be considered a more “residential” variation and is not part of this article’s discussion.

Do They Use Different Motors

At first glance, the motors are both 15 amp motors with 3,800 RPMS. But when you shop replacement motors, a discrepancy pops up: the two motors are not interchangeable. This has created several online forum discussion about the difference in motor quality, with assumptions made that the 779 uses lower-quality windings and bearings inside the motor. 

There is nothing that I can find to substantiate those claims. The Dewalt DWS780 seems to use a slightly different mount and an added adapter for connecting it to the XPS light. Based on my research these motors seem to be very similar and of the same quality.

But I've Seen Different Specifications Online!

There are some small differences in the specifications online. For example, the weight seems to be listed as different, with the DWS779 typically listed as having a 5 pound or more weight difference. 

From what I can tell, these seem to be more related to either the weight of the packaging or simply a staff error when inputting the specifications. 

Also, there were some slight differences between the 780 Type 1 and the 780 Type 20. Type 20 addressed some issues with the Type 1 and now offers a smoother and more reliable track movement. These days, only the Type 20 with its smooth rolling linear ball bearings is available for sale. 

The other thing to keep in mind is that some of the offerings may have changed through the years and some of the sites haven’t updated their specifications. For example, some of the sites claim that the DWS779 comes with a steel blade while the DWS780 comes with the longer-lasting carbide blade. Currently, it appears that both models come with the higher-quality Carbide Blade.

Are There Differences in The Cutting Capacity?

There are a few sites that mention different cutting specifications for these two saws. however, they have the same cutting capacity with the ability to complete 6.75″ depth cuts and a horizontal capacity of either  2×16″ 90º crosscuts or 2×12″ bevel cuts at 45º on dimensional lumber. 

The way the cutting capacity on these saws is discussed is handled differently by each site. It’s important to remember that instead of being disseminated and managed by Dewalt, each of the 779 models is interpreted and managed in part by each retails store’s internal marketing teams. Additionally (and this is pure conjecture), there may be some requirements to keep the saws from sounding too similar.

Why You Should Buy The Dewalt DWS780

image of dewalt dws780

Either of these Dewalt double bevel sliding compound miter saws is my top pick of the best miter saws.

After all, we’re talking about the same saw!

It’s dust collection sometimes gets complaints, but it seems to provide a dust collection system that is on-par or better than most other brands. They come with a dust bag for use on a job site but can be plugged into a vacuum collection system when in a workshop environment.

The stainless steel miter is so robust and resistant to shifting which provides an unmoveable working surface. This is one of those parts of the saw that you might not notice until I point it out to you, but when you’ve worked with a lot of the lesser brands, it becomes extremely noticeable how much the heavy stainless steel plate matters. 

The double bevel system allows for 60º of bevel to the right and 50º to the left, which is more than  enough to handle any miter cut. The Bevel scale has clear markings which makes it easy to adjust it to the needed bevel cut. 

One of the best features of these two models is their exclusive back fence design. This back fence design is taller and provides support when cutting tall crown molding. It can cut nested crowns and base moldings that are 7.75 inches tall and has a vertical capacity of 6.75 inches. 

image of dws780 performing a miter cut

The 10 positive stops or detents can also greatly speed up how fast you can work. With most miter saws you have to carefully check the miter angle gauge and make sure that you are properly aligned. Other saws will sometimes struggle to maintain alignment when tightening it into place. 

With the positive stops and cam lock handle, you can work quickly, swiveling it into the most common angles without hesitation. The heavy duty stainless steel metal on the miter detent plate prevents wear and ensures the continued accuracy of the marker system over time. 

Changing the blade is easiest with the included blade wrench. One thing to keep in mind is that the bolt holding the blade on is reverse threaded. You will turn the screw to the right, to loosen it. The other note is that if you lose the blade wrench, you can still change the blade, but you will first need to loosen the two torx screws holding the shield down over the blade nut to access it with a standard wrench. 

The material clamp is a handy safety feature that can keep your wood in place while ensuring that your hands are clear of the blade. Very few of us use the clamp as often as we should, and there isn’t a handy way to remove it. The clear answer is to start using the clamp more as it will ensure that the project comes out with no errant cuts.

For me, the factory-installed XPS Lighting system is worth the extra investment. You know you want the light kit, but there is no reason to risk the warranty coverage just to get it. 

A Heavier Saw Requires A Good Stand

prodcut image of rolling stand

At nearly 60 pounds, either version of this saw is too heavy to frequently carrying it around. In fact, one of the most telling stories about this weight of this saw is that you can purchase replacement carrying handles in a four pack. This is one heavy saw. 

It is worth its weight — few other miter saws can offer the same cutting capacity. 

The one suggestion would be to invest in a miter saw stand. This will make it easier to move it around the job site and speed your workflow. 


Both are great tools. The DWS779 offers an excellent value, but I prefer the DWS780 with the XPS cutline system. Sure, some folks think that is too much to pay for a blade alignment system. But, in my world, time is money. Especially if I’m going to be making thousands of cuts. The time savings and added accuracy adds up to makethe added price worth the investment. 

Watch out for sites that advertise the “DEWALT 12-INCH DOUBLE BEVEL SLIDING COMPOUND MITER SAW”. They might be selling the DWS709 which is neither of these models. 

About Zachary Drumm

Hey! My name is Zachary Drumm! I have a great passion for blogging and trying new things. This site allows me to try these tools out, piddle around in the garage, and create fresh content for this site. When it comes to tools, home improvement, and being a "shade tree mechanic," you've come to the right spot.