Should I Buy a Table Saw or Miter Saw First (A Clear Guide)

Expanding a workshop costs money, but I’m certainly not telling you anything new here. One of the first tools you should buy is a power tool that can cut wood, and those are the tools that will take the biggest bite out of your budget. So you’ll immediately wonder, should I buy a table saw or miter saw first?

Because a table saw is more versatile than a miter saw, it is recommended that you purchase a table saw first. However, a table saw is slightly less accurate, and it is recommended that you invest in a miter saw at a later date to take the accuracy of your projects to the next level.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of the table saw vs miter saw. This allows you to determine even better what the best choice is for your workshop and tailored to your projects and wishes. Discover all differences between the table saw and miter saw now! Let’s go!

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

What Is a Table Saw?

When it comes to wood cutting tools, a table saw is arguably one of the most well-known power tools.
Although many people mistakenly refer to various machines as table saws, this is a specific tool.

A table saw has a flat table with a built-in saw blade that allows you to make various cuts. The circular saw blade protruding through an opening in the table’s surface is powered by a motor located beneath the table. A lever can be used to raise and lower this blade.

Table saws are widely used in most woodworking shops, by both professionals and amateurs alike. They are also known as the beating heart of the workplace. These power tools are so popular because of their versatility and ability to perform a wide range of tasks.

Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

What Is a Miter Saw?

A circular blade is used in miter saws, as well as table saws. Instead of being mounted beneath the tool, it is mounted on a swivel arm that can be lowered onto the workpiece.

A miter saw is similar to a table saw in that it cuts wood with a rotating circular saw blade. A miter saw, on the other hand, serves a very specific purpose, whereas a table saw is a general-purpose wood saw.

Miter saws are wood cutting tools that are designed specifically for making precise crosscut and angle cuts. They are equipped with a pivoting blade that can be adjusted to various angles. As a result, the miter saw can make much more precise miter cuts. Overall, the user has more control over where they cut.

Table Saw vs Miter Saw – Pros and Cons

Now that you know what a table saw and miter saw is, and before we go on to answer the question, should I buy a table saw or miter saw first, it’s a good idea to even compare the pros and cons side by side.

This chart will give you an initial overview to make a better choice later in which tool you should buy first.

FeatureTable sawMiter saw
Type of cutsRipping, crosscuts, angular cutsCrosscuts, miter, bevel and compound cuts
AccuracyGoodVery precise
VersatilityCan handle many different types of cutsSpecialty tool for trimming and angular cuts
Who is this tool forWoodworkersCarpenters
Type of jobsRipping plywood, building cabinetsFraming, trim work, crown molding,
working principleMoving Stock over a fixed bladeMoving blade over a fixed stock
Should I buy a table saw or miter saw firstPros and cons of table saw vs miter saw

Differences Between a Table Saw and Miter Saw

While these two power tools can both cut wood, the main difference between the table saw vs miter saw lies in their function, accuracy and price.

To give you a good idea of these two tools, I will discuss the main differences below.

These differences between a table saw vs miter saw will help you to see which one is the best choice for your projects and help you answer the question, should I buy a table saw or miter saw first.


A miter saw is without a doubt the best option for those who need accurate miter and bevel cuts in wood. In addition, you can also cut softer materials such as plastic or aluminum with the miter saw.

Don’t get me wrong: table saws can also make cuts in aluminum or plastic as miter saws, but there is one significant difference. When making accurate cuts with a table saw, the possibility of error increases significantly more than when using a miter saw. A table saw also takes much longer to make a precise compound cut.

To make the same cut as a miter saw, a table saw requires additional accessories such as a crosscut slide and a miter gauge with extensions. This necessitates a little more planning and effort. When it comes to accuracy, the miter saw is the better choice.


As mentioned before, table saws are general purpose cutting tools. This means they can make a wide variety of cuts, but are not as accurate as a miter saw. A table saw’s ability to make long rip and cross cuts is where it really shines.

A miter saw is a power tool for making accurate miter cuts. For example, a standard miter saw can only make 6 to 8-inch miter cuts, depending on the model.

This means that the miter saw offers a much narrower cutting range than a table saw. What the miter saw lacks in versatility it more than makes up for in precision execution.

The Difference In How The Tool Is Fed

With a table saw, the rotating blade is fixed in place and can be tilted to the desired angle and depth. To make the cut, you move the stock of wood against the rotating blade.

Secure the wood to the table with a miter saw and bring the blade into contact with the wood to make the cut. You also move the miter saw blade across the workpiece when using a sliding compound miter saw.

Because the wood and saw blade are fixed in place with a miter saw, more accurate cuts can be made than with a table saw.


It’s also worth noting that table saws and miter saws differ significantly in terms of portability.
In general, miter saws are easier to transport from one location to another. This makes the miter saw a better choice for transporting the saw to different job sites.

Another option is a mobile table saw, but they are still quite heavy and cumbersome when compared to a miter saw.


The cost difference between a miter saw and a table saw is insignificant. In general, a quality table saw and miter saw will cost about the same. As a result, the cost difference is negligible.

Safety Features

Consider the safety of these tools before purchasing a miter saw or a table saw. You must understand the differences in safety between a table saw and a miter saw if you want to avoid unanticipated accidents while performing woodworking tasks.

It should be noted that all power tools have the potential to be dangerous, so the manufacturer’s safety guidelines must be strictly adhered to.

Following a thorough examination of all data on woodworking shop accidents, it appears that using a table saw causes more injuries than using a miter saw. The majority of these injuries are the result of kickback, which occurs when the operator pulls the wood being cut backward onto the rotating blades.

On the other hand, most accidents caused by miter saws are more often the result of an attempt to switch hands, lower the blade with the hand holding the wood, and accidentally cross an arm or hand in front of the rotating machine.

It is essential to purchasing power tools equipped with advanced safety technology features. This helps to ensure that the power tool is suitable and safe to use.

As a result, I recommend that you buy a well-known and dependable brand of tool. Avoid counterfeiting or poor copies made by unknown brands. Cheaper machines are usually of lower quality and safety. I’d gladly pay a little more for a machine that’s more durable and secure. In the long run, the extra money I’ve spent will be a good investment and may even be less expensive than buying the same tool twice.

What Is More Useful, a Table Saw or Miter Saw?

Because these two wood cutting tools are designed to make different types of cuts, how you intend to use these tools in your workshop will influence your choice between a table saw and miter saw.

Rather than lengthwise cuts, a miter saw is ideal for angled cuts on long pieces of wood. As a result, it is limited to specific projects, as opposed to a table saw, which can make a variety of cuts.

Do You Need Both a TABLE Saw and MITER Saw?

While it uses the same concept of a rotating blade to cut pieces of wood, a miter saw is specifically designed for specific functionality. That is, accurate crosscut and angle cuts, as opposed to a general-purpose table saw.

If you look at most woodworking shops worldwide, you will see that the table saw and miter saw are used side by side and complement each other very well. So neither is better than the other, and I think you should strive to have both.

However, if you want to expand a workshop, there is not always the budget to buy both, so, should I buy a table saw or miter saw first? I give you my personal opinion below.

Should I Buy a Table Saw or Miter Saw First – Conclusion

While both miter saws and table saws are specifically designed to give precise and accurate cuts, a table saw is usually more suitable because it is multi-purpose and can be used on a variety of planks and pieces of wood. If you’re not sure which of the two power tools to buy first, a table saw or miter saw, consider buying a table saw first because of its versatility and ease of use.

However, as I said before, if you have the financial means to buy both a table saw and miter saw at the same time, then you should go for it, hands down. This will not only help you increase productivity, but also accuracy. You will be able to complete many more woodworking projects with less hassle and time.

By combining the specialty of a miter saw with that of a table saw, the quality of your end products will improve thanks to the improved precision and accuracy. I have both of these cutting tools, and I can recommend you have both too. Below, I will show you some examples of tools you can’t go wrong with. Check them out and build out your workshop efficiently.

Recommended Table Saws

Table saws are available in a variety of configurations, including stationary and mobile table saws.

5 affordable table saws for a woodworking beginner + checklist
5 affordable table saws for a woodworking beginner + checklist
5 affordable table saws for a woodworking beginner + checklist

Recommended Miter Saws

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.

If you want to see comparison articles about miter saws for finding the miter saw you need for your workshop, please check out my article The 5 Very Best Cordless Miter Saws On The Market for miter saws that can easily be taken to jobsites and other places where there is no powersource.

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