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What is a Shadow Line on a Mitre Saw?

Posted by Katy | Toolstop on 11th Nov 2021

A mitre saw shadow line is a similar take on a mitre saw laser, though much more accurate. Find out why in this Toolstop guide.

What is a Shadow Line on a Mitre Saw?

What is the Purpose of a Shadow Line?

The shadow line has been around for quite some time now, and is essentially a different take on a mitre saw laser. Though serving the same purpose, shadow lines are much more accurate, and we will explain why in this Toolstop guide.

How Shadow Lines Work

On a mitre saw that features a shadow line, there are lights either above or on both sides of the blade, which cast a shadow onto the workpiece. This shadow will show the exact cut that the blade will make, taking into consideration blade kerf and thickness - something you do not get with a mitre saw laser.

By casting a shadow onto the workpiece that shows the exact thickness of the blade and the anticipated cut, you can expect extreme accuracy every time.

If you decide to change saw blade, the shadow line changes also. This is because with different thicknesses of blades, a different shadow will be cast. With a shadow line, you can achieve millimetre perfect cuts every time.

Shadow Line Vs Laser on a Mitre Saw

Whilst a laser enables you to perform intricate jobs, and mitre saws with one are much more accurate than ones without, they need to be calibrated and sometimes realigned. When you change the blade, you may also need to readjust the laser setting to match the saw. Shadow lines do not require calibration or alignment.

Shadow lines allow you to work much faster by eliminating the steps of calibration and readjustment. Not only does a shadow line create shadows for perfect cuts, but they also add a bit of illumination to your workpiece. The LED lights shining onto the blade to cast the shadow line create extra light around the workpiece so you can see exactly the cut being made. This is ideal for low lit areas.

Don't want to fork out on a new saw? Did you know that you can buy shadow line kits for mitre saws? Simply attach these add ons to your existing mitre saw and you will achieve the same effect.

Mitre saws with lasers and shadow lines are inevitably more expensive than those without, however, our advice would be to spend that little bit extra as you will definately get your money's worth. Lasers and shadow lines help you to perform challenging duties with zero errors.

See it in Action

The shadow line shows you EXACTLY where the cut will be, and is perfectly sized to the kerf of the blade when the blade is lowered and placed in contact with the workpiece during setup.

Dewalt call their shadow line 'XPS'. Most brands are now introducing shadow lines as opposed to lasers due to their benefits and accuracy.

We have taken a screenshot from one of our viral TikTok's to show you a shadow line in action. To watch the full video and see how a shadow line actually works, simply click the following image or the button below it.

Toolstop's Top Pick for Mitre Saw with Shadow Line:

The DWS774 mitre saw from Dewalt features XPS, Dewalt's shadow line technology. It has a powerful 1400W motor making it ideal for the most demanding tasks. The improved dust extraction efficiency helps to maintain a clean, safe working environment and side carry handles ensure the ease of transportation. Features integrated positive mitre stops at 15°, 22.5°, 30°, 45° and a quick release mitre mechanism up to 50°.

The XPS shadow line cut indicator provides fast, accurate alignment of the blade while illuminating the workpiece for maximum precision.


  • Power Input: 1400W
  • Power Output: 1100W
  • Blade Speed: 4500 rpm
  • Blade Diameter: 216mm
  • Blade Bore: 30mm
  • Bevel Capacity: 48°
  • Mitre Capacity [right/left]: 48/48°
  • Cutting Capacity at 90°/45° (W x H): 173 x 62mm
  • Cutting Capacity at 90°/90° (W x H): 250 x 62mm

Dewalt DWS774 Slide Mitre Saw with XPS 216mm 110V - 5

Perform accurate and reliable cuts every time with a mitre saw with shadow line function.

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