First and foremost, you should know the purpose of using the laser guide. There is really no other reason except to allow room for further accuracy in your cuts.
Now, the laser shoots red beam on the workpiece where you are willing to cut. And makes it easier for you to see as well as guide the saw. Moreover, it increases the chance for you to keep the saw straighter when cutting. As a result, smoother and finer outcomes are seen.
By the way, miter saw is not the only tool with which you can use the laser guide. Also, there is the circular saw. Likewise to the miter saw, laser guide is used in circular saws too.
In fact, installing the guide on your miter saw or circular saw is super easy. It does not take too long at all. And the job is done without any real stress too.
So, where do you install it? Your miter saw has a part called the arbor washer or the outer blade washer (picture provided below). That is where the laser guide will take place. In fact, the guide will replace the arbor washer really.
Simply remove the arbor washer from its place. And then make sure to keep it in a safe and secure place. After doing that, install the guide on the same position of the arbor washer. Lock it up and there you go! You have your miter saw with laser guide installed.
When you buy, you should get a wrench and few arbor bolt options. Even though you have got them, this is given in case you need a bigger or smaller bolt to attach the guide on your saw.
The installation process does not take at all. You can finish installing the guide on your miter saw in 5 minutes or so.
How does the guide work?
It works automatically as soon as you start your saw. When you start the saw, the laser guide shoots a red beam line which falls exactly on the material place where you are to cut. And thus, accuracy is increased.
As soon as the trigger of the saw is pulled, there exists a centrifugal force provided by the saw blade. This centrifugal force starts the laser and you can then see the red line.
The guide uses small batteries so that it is powered and can work well. Usually, it uses three batteries. The small batteries are like the hand watch type. The batteries are, of course, replaceable. In addition, they last a long time allowing you to not worry about changing from time to time. Moreover, the batteries are not bothered by excessive heat or cold.
Laser Guide Concerns
In my little experience, I have not faced any trouble using the laser guides for accuracy. But, there have been concerns for many that it is actually not that accurate after all.
Now, the main issue is that many people complain that the blade does not cut on the exact line of the guide. Rather, it cuts slightly to the right of the line. As a result, accuracy is decreased. But, how true is this? And how broad is it?
In fact, I do not think that it is a problem that the guide has. Even though there is a chance that some cheap manufacturers make guides that are not so accurate. That might be true for some very few cases.
But, I think that for most people who complain, this is not the case. The problem might be that they did not place the guide properly. That is why it is very important to remember that when you install the guide on the saw, make sure you place it as close as possible to the saw blade.
Alternative to Laser Guide
There are other ways to achieve further accuracy. Even if you do not have a laser guide, you can still get more accuracy.
You can use a marker and mark the cut line. Then guide your saw blade along the cut line and it will be more precise. Furthermore, you can also use colored pen if the wood is darker. It will enable you to see clearly and guide the blade properly too. Moreover, using measuring tape is also a good strategy for more accuracy.
Get a laser guide, install the guide, and use your miter saw with laser guide. Consequently, get finer, straighter, and smoother cuts at a fast pace too.