Checked and updated on March 9, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
A miter saw vs. a circular saw–which is better? The answer to this question isn’t quite as straightforward as it might seem. Ultimately, the better option depends on the job you are doing and what you require from your tool. You should, therefore, understand the functions of each tool and assess your individual needs before deciding.
When to use a circular saw
Circular saws are useful for pretty much any cutting job. They are portable and easy to carry around, making them suitable for a variety of simple woodworking jobs and serious construction jobs, making them a must-have tool in your toolkit.
Circular saws can also be used for cutting other materials as well. Fitted with an appropriate blade, they can even cut through aluminum and tin quite effectively. For heavy-duty ripping timber, you want to use a powerful corded electric saw, like what I think here.
You can use a circular saw for the following tasks:
Circular saws are also a lot more versatile than you might think. They can make quick and accurate cuts and even cut 90-degree angles precisely, making them perfect for any DIY and commercial cutting job.
The choice often comes down to whether or not to use a cordless or corded circular saw, for DIY you can get away with only a cordless circular saw its more convenient and safer click here to get my recommendations.
When to use a Miter saw
Miter saws are better suited for making angled (miter) cuts, regular crosscuts, and bevel and compound angle cuts. Like circular saws, they can also be used to cut through various materials such as wood, metal, and Aluminium.
It might help to think of miter saws as specialty tools that are best suited for making angled cuts. You will generally want to use a miter saw for the following tasks:
When choosing a miter saw, decide whether you need a single bevel or a double bevel miter saw. Single bevel saws use pivot systems that tilt from a 90-degree angle to a range of bevel cut angles.
A dual bevel miter can tilt to the left and right, allowing you to cut bevels in both directions without having to move your workpiece. When deciding between a single vs. double bevel miter saw, consider your preferences and the technicalities of your work before making a decision.
Do you need a sliding miter saw?
Sliding miter saws allow you to perform a wide range of tasks, making them valuable additions to any workshop. These types of saws allow the saw head to move forward and backward while cutting. In addition to increasing the cutting length, this allows for more accurate cuts as compared to standard miter saws.
The rails on sliding miter saws also allow the blade to extend back further, which lets you cut wider boards. If you need to work on boards wider than eight inches, it would be better to go for a sliding miter saw vs. a miter saw.
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When would you need a sliding miter saw?
A sliding miter saw is always a good addition to any workshop, especially if you regularly work with wood.
You will want to have a sliding miter saw if you frequently perform the following tasks:
However, if you want portability on a remote building site you might want to go for a cordless miter saw get more information here.
The benefits of having a circular saw
Here are some of the most important benefits of a circular saw:
Furthermore, circular saws provide excellent bang-for-the-buck, making them a very cost-effective must-have to your selection of woodworking and DIY tools in both a corded and cordless version.
Who makes the best circular saws?
If you’re in the market for a new circular saw, make sure to check out Makita’s diverse range.
Makita offers corded and cordless saws that come with a host of useful features, including electric brakes and the ability to cut bevels of up to 50 degrees. Most of the company’s saws weigh 11.4 pounds or less and are capable of 3-inch cutting depths at 90 degrees.
Makita tools are the overwhelmingly popular choice among builders, due to their suitability for heavy-duty work and commercial tasks with a lightweight design.
The benefits of having a miter saw
Miter saws are relatively simple tools. Even so, they provide many benefits over other types of saws, including:
Compound miter saws allow for an even wider range of cuts than standard miter saws. The cutting heads of these tools pivot to the side, which allows you to perform bevel cuts. If you need to do intricate work for molding and trims, a compound miter saw may be a better option than a standard miter saw.
Who makes the best miter saw?
DeWalt miter saws are among the most affordable, durable, and highest-rated models on the market. They have the excellent vertical cutting capacity and innovative features such as an XPS crosscut positioning system that allows you to see where your cut line is.
Most DeWalt miter saws also have powerful motors and the ability to cut workpieces with a maximum thickness of 6.75 inches.
Keep in mind that some of the more powerful DeWalt miter saws can be a bit too heavy and bulky for some applications. If you need something portable, you might want to consider other brands or go cordless.
What is the recommended height of a miter saw table?
The height of your miter saw table is more important than you might think. Setting your table to the correct height enhances your safety and comfort while working. Having your table at an uncomfortable height can affect the quality of your work and even result in back strain.
Most builders find that setting the height of the miter saw table to around 34 inches works best. However, you can adjust your table slightly higher or lower depending on your height and personal preferences.
Do I need a table to operate a circular saw?
Although a circular saw is a relatively simple tool, it is still a good idea to have a proper setup. This includes having a sturdy and reliable table. You may also want to use clamps to hold your work in place, which allows you to maintain a firm grip on the saw with both hands.
Always position your saw below your torso. This keeps your body well back from the blade when the inevitable kickback occurs from time to time. Keeping the saw low and to the side of your torso also makes it easier to control when you hit a knot in the workpiece.
What is a miter cut vs? A bevel cut
Miter and bevel cuts are two of the most common cuts in woodworking. Knowing the differences between each will enable you to craft intricate pieces and follow cutting guides much more effectively.
The primary difference between miter and bevel cuts is where they are made. Miter cuts are made on the face of the wood. In contrast, bevel cuts are made on the edge of the wood. To make a miter cut, you will have to position your blade on the horizontal plane of the workpiece. To make a bevel cut, you will have to position your blade on the vertical plane.
Compound miter saws allow you to make even more complex cuts that combine a miter and a bevel. This is done by swiveling the cutting head to cut at an angle and tilting it sideways to make the bevel cut.
What is a crosscut vs. Rip cut?
So, what are the relative advantages and disadvantages of a crosscut vs. a rip cut? A crosscut goes across the wood’s grain, whereas a rip cut goes in the same direction as the grain. So basically, ripping is when you cut the wood by width, and crosscutting is when you cut the wood by length.
If you need to do a rip cut, make sure to use the right blade for the job. Rip cuts usually require non-stick coating blades with fewer teeth. If you’re doing a crosscut, go for a blade with more teeth. This will prevent the blade from getting jammed in the material, allowing you to make smoother and cleaner cuts. Take note that cross-cuts don’t require much grunt, But to do a successful rip cut you need a tool with much more power.
What about a Table saw?
If you are considering purchasing a miter saw, or circular saw you might also be wondering whether or not you should go with a table saw instead.
Both miter saws and table saws are attached to a table, and there is a big overlap between their capabilities. For instance, you can’t use a table saw to make miter cuts, It’s better to use your miter saw for any type of crosscuts, that you require accuracy. But, when checking for a portable table saw make sure it comes with a table saw stand.
The table saw vs miter saw choice is determined by whether you need to cross-cut or rip timber along the grain.
If you can afford it, I strongly suggest purchasing a table saw, a circular saw, and a compound miter saw. The table saw will be your workhorse, cutting and ripping timber like nobody’s business. A good table saw could easily handle the bulk of your heavy-duty cutting work.
A circular saw will do nicely as your portable primary cutting tool. For quick and dirty cutting work and relatively simple jobs, a good cordless circular saw will be a worthy addition and all that’s needed for occasional DIY’ers.
Finally, a miter saw will enable you to make angled cuts and bevels far more efficiently than any table saw or circular saw. And once you get past making basic cuts, you will appreciate the accuracy, speed, and complexity that a good miter saw allows for.
Next, read my sliding miter saw review if you need information on all the different options.
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My name is Aaron, and welcome to Bangingtoolbox.
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