Checked and updated on January 17, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
Both a table saw and a miter saw are used for different types of cutting jobs. The biggest difference is that a miter saw is best for cutting crosscuts, miters, and angled cuts. While a table saw is used for ripping long lengths of timber along the wood grain which requires more power and a bigger motor.
So if you are still in the dark about table saws vs. miter saws? Keep reading this article should clear up any questions you may have about the differences between these tools and when to use each one in more detail!
When to use a table saw?
A table saw is a powerful tool that lets you cut timber quickly and accurately. They are pretty much unbeatable for heavy-duty and finishing work, allowing you to cut wide and long pieces of wood with relatively little effort.
Even beginner table saws can be capable of making quick rip cuts.
Table saws are best suited for the following tasks:
Table saws are especially well suited for cutting wide boards and long workpieces, which you would find difficult with even your Dewalt corded circular saw and impossible with a miter saw.
Although table saws aren’t the best choice for making miter cuts, they can do the job in a pinch if you don’t have a miter saw in your workshop.
Take the time to learn how to use a table saw, and some will let you make quick and accurate miter cut, with the right guides, but it’s not as safe as a miter saw.
When to use a miter saw?
A miter saw is a must-have specialized tool that allows you to perform angled or miter cuts much more accurately than any other type of saw.
Compound miters saws even allow you to cut bevels into your wood, which is useful for more intricate woodworking jobs.
You will generally want to use a miter saw for the following tasks:
You mostly use your miter saw for making every type of crosscuts or angled cut you need in wood. Although they don’t quite have the sheer power of a quality table saw, for when you need to rip long pieces of timber along the grain.
But you can perform your crosscutting jobs quickly and accurately when you learn how to use a miter saw.
Compound miter saw vs. A standard miter saw?
A compound miter saw takes the concept of the miter saw even further by adding a tilting feature to the cutting head.
Standard miter saws allow you to raise and lower the cutting head to the workpiece and set it at an angle to make miter cuts. But a compound miter saw allows you to tilt the head as well, which lets you make bevel cuts into your wood.
A sliding miter saw lets you push the blade into your cut rather than just dropping it down. Combining these two movements lets you make very accurate cuts.
This allows you to accommodate much wider boards, with a compound miter saw with a sliding action.
The benefits of having a table saw
There are many benefits to having a table saw, including:
Portable table saw vs. An industrial table saw
For many people, the most appealing aspect of portable table saws is their portability. If you frequently travel with your tools from Jobsite to Jobsite and you need something easy to set up, portable table saws are the best choice.
Of course, most portable table saws are not nearly as powerful as an industrial Stopsaw, Powermatic, jet or even a Grizzly table saw which are specifically designed for heavy-duty jobs and prolonged use. If you need a more robust and reliable tool, and portability isn’t a priority, an industrial table saw would be a worthwhile purchase.
On the other hand, if you are a novice user, a dedicated DIYer, or even a tradesperson who frequently travels to different work sites for commercial projects, a portable table saw might be the better option.
Depending on your needs, a good portable saw might provide the power and functionality you need without burning a hole in your pocket.
Things to watch out for with a table saw
As with any heavy-duty power tool, keep in mind that working with table saws can be dangerous.
Before you plunk down the cash for any model, take some time to do plenty of research on the different models in your price range and consider only those that have the necessary safety features.
Flesh-detecting emergency brakes should be high on your list of priorities. These are standard features on the best table saws, allowing you to minimize risk when working.
Flesh-detecting saws are equipped with electronic sensors that immediately stop the blade from spinning when it comes in contact with skin.
Although saws with flesh-detecting technology are more expensive than standard models, the added cost is often worth it.
The peace of mind that comes from knowing that you could potentially avoid serious injury is worth more than the additional upfront cost.
Who makes the best table saw for beginners?
When shopping for a beginner’s table saw, your top priorities should be safety and ease of use. SawStop tools meet these two basic requirements, with a line of excellent table saws ideally suited for beginners and novice DIYers, as well as experienced tradies.
SawStop’s table saws are best known for their patented safety systems, which help prevent injury. These saws have a built-in sensor that continually monitors the blade. When the sensor detects contact with skin, it immediately triggers the emergency braking system, which stops the blade from spinning.
If you’re looking for something affordable, a Ryobi 10 inch table saw offers an impressive high-powered performance tool for a budget price.
Ryobi saws have their own safety features, such as guard assemblies, blade brakes, and anti-kickback pawls.
Even with their low cost, Ryobi table saws have a reputation for versatility and dependability, making them some of the best beginner table saws on the market.
Who makes the best table saw?
If power and performance are your primary considerations, DeWalt and SawStop are some of the brands you should go for. Both companies are known for their reliable, high-performance tools, and you can’t go wrong with either one.
SawStop saws are best known for their emergency brakes, simple fence adjustment, easy setup, and sturdy construction. Despite the simplicity of SawStop models, they are also excellent choices for more experienced users.
DeWalt table saws offer many of the same performance and reliability advantages as other models, without the added bonus of emergency break.
But most DeWalt models come with stands at a safe working height that are remarkably easy to assemble and fold up. Among the many other welcome features of DeWalt saws, they have 32” rip capacity and steel roll cages.
Many DeWalt saws are light and easy to handle, making them ideally suited for beginners and professionals looking for a manageable tool for lengthy cutting sessions, find out more about both saws here.
The benefits of a sliding miter saw
One of the main benefits of sliding miter saws is that they allow you to push the blade forward and backward to accommodate wider board cuts.
Even with a relatively small blade, you can crosscut a much wider board than you would otherwise be able to with a standard, non-sliding miter saw.
Some sliding miter saws allow you to extend the reach up to 16 inches. This is twice the width that most non-sliding models are capable of, providing greater versatility and a more extensive cutting range.
Who makes the best miter saw for beginners?
Beginners who are looking for a reliable and easy to use saw should look no further than DeWalt but also Ryobi on a budget.
These are among the leading brands in the beginner markets, and you can generally rely on them for high performance and excellent value for the money.
DeWalt models are the top-of-the-line when it comes to power tools, and you will get many years of use out of their options.
If you are on a limited budget, however, it is also worth exploring your options with a ryobi sliding miter saw.
Although cheaper is not always better, Ryobi tools provide excellent value for DIYers and can be just as reliable as saws from other manufacturers for occasional use.
Who makes the best miter saw?
For more experienced users, DeWalt offers several high-quality corded miter saws that are ideally suited for heavy-duty use. Compared to other leading brands, DeWalt miter saws also offer exceptionally high quality without the expensive price tags.
Adding further value to DeWalt saws are features such as crosscut positioning systems, large vertical cutting capacities, and robust dropping springs making Dewalt win with the best compound miter saw.
DeWalt saws also come with brushless motors in their cordless range, cutline blade positioning systems, and options to create different angles and bevels.
DeWalt also has a line of quality cordless miter saws. Many of these models offer the same performance as corded alternatives with the added advantage of portability and convenience.
And the option to have both unlimited power on a corded or cordless with the same tool puts the Dewalt cordless miter saw above other brands like Makita, and Milwaukee.
When deciding between a miter saw vs. table saw, take some time to do thorough research. While your decision will ultimately depend on the type of work you need to do, there are a few key things to remember.
If you need to make simple crosscuts and miter cuts, a miter saw is what you need. If you need sheer power and the ability to perform heavy-duty ripping work, you would be better off with a reliable table saw.
In any case, remember to research your options and go for the models that have the necessary safety features. And if you are on a budget you can use a circular saw for both types of cuts.
Sounds like this can be improved for the next reader.
Please share how this article can be improved?
My name is Aaron, and welcome to Bangingtoolbox.
As a qualified builder and DIY’er, my goal with Banging Toolbox is to provide the #1 building and DIY resource on the internet for my readers.
I’m here to show people how to start DIY, and to help qualified professionals take building to the next level.
Feel free to have a look around, and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, you can find out more about me here.