Do I Need a Miter Saw? A Clear Guide

If you want to cut wood, you need a cutting tool, it’s that simple. Then you can choose whether you want to do this manually or use power tools. With power tools, one of the options is a miter saw, but do I need a miter saw?

You require a miter saw, not only if you want to make cross-cuts of 90 degrees, but also if you want to cut miters or bevels such as for frames. However, if you want to make rip cuts along with the grain of the wood, the miter saw is not suitable.

A miter saw is a handy power tool with which you can make accurate cuts for your projects. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at what this tool is, what its benefits can be for your workshop and answer the most asked question on the internet, what is a miter saw used for. That way you will have a clear answer to your question, do I need a miter saw, in no time.

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What is a miter saw

A miter saw (also called a mitre saw or chop saw in some countries) is a tool that is used in woodworking workshops or on construction sites for quickly cutting through wood, metal, or plastics.

Miter saws have a circular cutting blade that is powered by an electric motor. This motor can be either wired or battery powered, and thus wireless. The circular saw can be positioned at various angles and lowered onto a board set against a backstop called the fence.

Powered miter saws can cut both straight and beveled edges into a workpiece by adjusting the vertical tilt axis of the machine’s upper section while the table is horizontally level.

An inclined single shaft miter saw is referred to as a single compound miter saw. A saw with a tiltable shaft on both the left and right sides is known as a double miter saw.

Some have a sliding rail system or a swing arm that allows them to cut larger workpieces level on the saw table and flush against the fence. It is a sliding compound miter saw.

Miter saws are typically used to carve and shape wood, but they may also be used to cut plastic, metal, and stone as long as the right kind of blade is used for the material being cut.
There are several sizes of miter saws. Saw blades in the most popular sizes have a cutting capacity of 180, 250, and 300 mm (7 1/4, 10, and 12 inches). If you want to know what saw blade to get, check my article, Understanding saw blades, always find the perfect one

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What is a miter saw used for

Due to their large cutting capacity, miter saws are the appropriate sawing equipment when it comes to cutting longer planks. Making rapid and precise angle cuts (90 degrees) and miter cuts are two common uses for a miter saw (45 degrees)

With this adaptable tool, you have the option to make bevel cuts in addition to cross-cuts and miter cuts. I’ll examine these various cuts in more detail later on in this essay.

Making rip cuts across the wood’s grain is not something you can do with a chop saw. For that, I can suggest a table saw. Check out my post, “Is a Table Saw Worth It?” to learn if purchasing a table saw would be a wise choice. You can locate there all the pertinent details that can aid in your understanding.

Type of miter saws and their uses

Different types miter saw saw

The variety of miter saws available is enormous. sliding, compound, double bevel, single bevel, etc. I have outlined all these various sorts below to help you with this.

Single bevel: This kind of miter saw is capable of making bevel and miter cuts in a single direction.

DEWALT 12-Inch Miter Saw, 15-Amp, Single Bevel

Check out more details and prices of this product by clicking the link below.

Miter saws with a double bevel may chamfer cuts in either direction. Double bevel miter saws are preferable when many cuts at an angle are required because they speed up material direction changes.

DEWALT Miter Saw, 12-Inch, Double Bevel

Check out more details and prices of this product by clicking the link below.

Compound Miter Saw: As the name suggests, you can make compound cuts using this kind of miter saw. As a result, you may execute both a miter cut and an angled cut simultaneously.

Metabo HPT C12FDHB 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw

Check out more details and prices of this product by clicking the link below.

Sliding miter saw: Rather than having the blade fall straight down, this type of miter saw slides along a bar. Compared to non-sliding variants, they can cut wider planks. Check out my article, 5 Best Sliding Miter Saws (My Honest Opinion) where I made a comparison for you so you can find the best sliding miter saw for your workshop.

MILWAUKEE 2733-20 M18 Fuel, 7-1/4″, Dual Bevel, Sliding, Compound Miter Saw

Check out more details and prices of this product by clicking the link below.

Different types of cuts you can make with a miter saw

A chop saw can make 3 types of cuts: the cross-cut, the miter cut, and an angled cut. Below, I discuss each of these types of cuts in more detail and illustrate them with a photo.

A cross-cut is when you cut through the grain of a board at a 90-degree angle.

The miter cut is a cut that deviates from the 90-degree square cut. Many miter saws can cut angles up to 60 degrees. The most common angles are 45 degrees, as is commonly used when making joints for moldings.

The bevel cut is a cut where the saw blade can be tilted at an angle of up to 45 degrees.

To see a more detailed step-by-step guide on how to make cross cuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts and compound cuts, you should check out my article, How to Use a Miter Saw (Tips for Perfect Results).

Do I Need a Miter Saw A Clear Guide - Different types of miter saw cuts
Do I Need a Miter Saw A Clear Guide – Different types of miter saw cuts

Do I need a miter saw?

Do I need a miter saw? is a question that will be impacted by a variety of factors. The types of tasks you wish to work on in your workshop will be a key factor. Do I frequently create image frames that call for those precise 45-degree cuts? Should I build cabinets for the workshop, living room, or both?

If you said “yes” to any of them, be cautioned that these tasks demand extremely precise cutting. You presumably utilize a miter saw for those cuts if your shop has one. But keep in mind that a table saw can also be used to make the same cuts. With the proper training, a table saw can execute miter cuts and bevel cuts just as well as a miter saw. This implies that there will be more than one consideration when answering the question “Do I need a miter saw?”

Table saws can make precise bevel cuts just as easily as a miter saw. The framing principles of each are identical, so the blades can be set accordingly. And with that jig, 45-degree angles can be just as accurate with your table saw as they are with your miter saw.

The advantage a miter saw has over a single-cut table saw is on longer boards. If the size of your workshop does not allow you to cut longer planks on the table saw, then you have another reason to choose the miter saw. Above that, with a miter saw you can cut more than wood. I go deeper into this in my article Can You Cut Aluminum with a Miter Saw? the Most Complete Guide

If you’re choosing whether or not you need a miter saw, you should think about your budget. However, if money is short and you’re forced to make a choice, the miter saw can perform practically all of the tasks that the table saw can, with the exception of splintering plywood. You can get a miter saw rather than a table saw for a little less money, but keep in mind that a table saw can perform more cutting tasks. If you value different sculptures
The table saw is advised if you want to do more than merely shorten, cut miters, or bevel.

If you have to work in a limited space, then I would decide on the miter saw. Cutting larger sheets of plywood will not work anyway because of the space, so why invest in a table saw that takes up a lot of space? Then it is better to opt for an alternative to table saws such as the one I have discussed in this article. It will make the same cuts, and they will still be accurate.

Apart from the type of projects, it comes down to the availability of space, the budget, and the type of cuts you will have to make in the future. Obviously, if you can afford both and have the space, having both power tools in your shop is a luxury.
Related article: What Miter Saw Do I Need? 10 Tips to Find the Best Miter Saw

What is a good miter saw alternative?

Do you only need a miter saw for one project and don’t anticipate using it again soon? Then, spending several hundred dollars on a miter saw is absurd.

In that case, the miter box might still be a wise substitute. This one costs only one-tenth as much as a miter saw, and with a little experience and expertise, you can achieve comparable results.

Stanley 1-19-800 Saw Storage Miter Box

Check out more details and prices of this product by clicking the link below.

Do I need a miter saw when I have a table saw?

You could read earlier in this article that both the miter saw, and the table saw have their own advantages. Ideally, if you have the space and budget, you can place both of them in your workshop to get the most out of these tools.

I might suggest that you read my post, Should I Buy A Table Saw Or Miter Saw First, if you already own a table saw and are still unclear about whether a miter saw is right for you. The contrasts between these two tools will be examined in more detail in this article. In addition, it will help you decide whether a miter saw is actually right for you, whether you should first acquire a table saw, and whether using a miter saw with an existing table saw is advised.

The miter saw I have in my workshop

If you are looking for a miter saw, then i highly recommend the Festool Kapex 120. I myself have this miter saw in my workshop, and from years of experience, I can say that this is the best miter saw I have used so far.

Check out my article Festool Kapex KS 120 REB Review: Is This the Best Miter Saw Ever? for a full review on this tool. It might be a pricey investment, but it is is the best investment you can make when looking for a miter saw that will last for years and give you quality cuts time after time.

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