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What Miter Saw Do I Need? 11 Tips to Find the Best Miter Saw


Choosing the best miter saw is difficult. There will be numerous options available to you. When you see all of these options, each with its own set of minor and major differences, you may find yourself wondering, “What miter saw do I need?”

To assist you, I will explain step by step what to look for when buying a miter saw in this article. With all the information gathered in here, I’m convinced you will be able to select the best miter saw for your workshop.

I will discuss all miter saw features in detail so that you get a clear view of the points that really matter in a miter saw comparison. That way, you can focus on what really matters and find the best miter saw in the shortest possible time that meets your requirements and the requirements of your projects.
PS Before you read this article , I suggest you should read my article What Is a Miter Saw? a Clear Introduction first in order to understand this article better .

What Miter Saw Do I Need? 11 Things to Look for

#1: The style

Miter saws are offered in different styles: single bevel miter saws, double bevel miter saws, compound miter saws, or sliding miter saws. Because this is too much to discuss here, I will come back to it later in this article.

#2: Corded or cordless?

If the miter saw is in a fixed place, it is better to go for a miter saw with a cord. However, do you often have to move the miter saw, for example, between job sites? Then a cordless miter saw can be a lot more convenient. If you want to go for the cordless version, I advise you to view my review article, The 5 Very Best Cordless Miter Saws on the Market.

#3: The motor power

Compare the number of amps that the miter saw has. This indicates the power of the saw motor. Higher values ​​mean that the miter saw has more cutting power.

#4: The blade size

This is an important consideration when choosing a miter saw. The most common miter saw sizes are 8-1/2, 10, and 12 inches . I will come back to this later in this article with more detailed information .

#5: The number of positive stops

These are the factory set points that allow you to quickly set up the miter saw to make precise cuts at specific angles. The more of these positive stops present, the less time it will take to set up the miter saw.

#6: Is there a depth stop available?

Not every brand offers this feature, but believe me, if you have this, you will use it more often than you would think. The depth stops allow you to set the height of the blade and control how deep it cuts into the workpiece.

#7: Electric brakes

These ensure that the flow of electricity is reversed in the saw motor when you release the trigger. Reversing the current therefore stops the blade’s momentum much faster, sometimes only in one or two seconds.

#8: Dust removal

Compare the saws based on their dust extraction, which aids in the removal of sawdust from the cutting area. This is one of the reasons I purchased the Festool Kapex 120. These machines’ dust extraction is unrivaled.
Check that the extraction’s diameter matches the diameter of the dust extraction you already have in your workshop.

#9: Are table extensions available?

These fit against the sides of the saw and support a longer stock for an accurate and safe cut.

#10: The fence

If the miter saw has sliding and folding fences, these will provide extra support for larger pieces of wood or for making miter cuts. You can then slide or fold them away to make angled cuts or to support longer workpieces.

#11: Is there a laser guide available?

The last of the miter saw features that you can compare is the laser . These project a beam or cast a shadow on the workpiece, allowing you to accurately guide your cuts.

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Types of Miter Saws

Single bevel miter saws

Single bevel
What miter saw do I need? Single bevel miter saw

Single bevel miter saws are the most basic and inexpensive woodworking miter saws .
These are typically purchased by hobbyists on a tight budget.

You can make excellent straight cuts and miters on one side with this miter saw. The disadvantage is that if you want to cut mitres, you must turn the workpiece when cutting the second piece, which increases the likelihood of making mistakes.

Aside from the possibility of making mistakes, this method of working can significantly slow down the speed. Remember this when selecting this type.

Possibilities of the single bevel miter sawTrimming cuts, miter cuts, on one side.
ProsMakes all straight cuts, and miter cut on one side. This is the least expensive miter saw type
ConsYou can only make miter cuts on one side and the saw doesn’t slide, limiting the width you can cut
What miter saw do I need – Single bevel miter saw pros and cons

Double bevel miter saws

Double bevel
What miter saw do I need? Double bevel miter saw

Miter saws with a double bevel are an excellent way to simplify and speed up the cornice making process. When it comes to compound cuts, a single bevel miter saw quickly becomes a limitation. To cut in the opposite direction, you must think carefully and flip the board correctly; this can be confusing. Not only are you working backwards in relation to the other side of the edge, but you must also keep track of which side of the line the blade strikes.

So double bevel simply makes this easier by allowing you to keep the orientation of the board the same for every cut, regardless of whether you are cutting the left or right end of the board .

Possibilities of the double bevel miter sawTrimming cuts, miter cuts, on both sides.
ProsMakes all straight cuts, miter cuts. It is not necessary to turn the workpiece.
ConsYou can only cut wood with a limited width because the miter saw is (often) not sliding.
What miter saw do I need – Double bevel miter saw pros and cons

Compound miter saws

Compound miter saw
What miter saw do I need? Compound miter saw

Compound miter saws, like double bevel miter saws, can cut miters on both sides but have the additional feature that they can also make a bevel cut at the same time.

These saws can therefore greatly increase the possibilities for your projects. The only drawback these miter saws have is that they are still limited in the width they can cut. The sliding compound miter saw is a better, but more expensive option for this.

Possibilities of the compound miter sawTrimming cuts, miter cuts on both sides, bevel cuts.
ProsMakes all straight cuts, miter cuts, and bevel cuts or miter/bevel cuts (compound cuts). Cheaper then a sliding compound miter saw.
ConsYou can only cut wood with a limited width because the miter saw is not sliding.
What miter saw do I need – Compound miter saw pros and cons

Sliding miter saws

Sliding miter saw
What miter saw do I need? Sliding miter saw

The sliding function of this type ensures that you can do even more than with the compound miter saw. This is therefore the most popular type that you will most often encounter with woodworkers. Thanks to the sliding function, this type adds several centimeters to the crosscut capacity. For many projects , this difference can be of great importance. However, this difference comes with a price.

In addition to the higher price tag, there is also the disadvantage that this type of miter saw also becomes larger and heavier because of the extra components that sliding miter saws have.

You should also keep in mind that all these extra components can cause the blade to start to move sideways and not be as accurate. That is why I recommend, if you choose this type, not to go for the cheaper models , but to look out for a high-quality machine.

In my article, 5 Best Sliding Miter Saws (My Honest Opinion) I made a comparison for you so you can find the best sliding miter saw for your workshop in a matter of minutes.

My first sliding miter saw was a cheaper model, which never made precise cuts and I eventually replaced it with my Festool Kapex 120, which was basically a waste of money.

Possibilities of the compound miter sawTrimming cuts, miter cuts on both sides, bevel cuts. Wider cuts
ProsMakes crosscuts, miter cuts, and bevel cuts or miter/bevel cuts (compound cuts). can cut wider dan a compound miter saw.
ConsMore expensive, heavier, larger model.
What miter saw do I need – Sliding miter saw pros and cons

What Size Miter Saw Should I Buy?

Once you have decided which type is the best miter saw for your workshop thanks to comparing the miter saw features above, the next step is to determine what size the saw blade should be.

Three sizes of miter saws are available: 8-1/2″ miter saws, 10″ miter saws, and 12″ miter saws. When making your choice, consider the type of material and their dimensions you want to cut.
It would be a shame to pay more for a larger, heavier compound miter saw when you rarely need to cut to the capacity of a 12-inch compound miter saw?

For many hobbyists, an 8-1/2″ sliding model will often suffice because it can cut through most common wood sizes . This size is therefore ideal for making small wooden objects. If you want to prioritize portability and plan to cut smaller base, crown, and door trim, get an 8-1/2′′ miter saw.

However, if you need more capacity, such as for making miters when installing framing or crown moldings, a 12-inch saw is a better idea.
This option is better suited when you need to cut deeper material. This measuring saw is frequently also required for sawing vertical crown height.

If you want a good combination of capacity and still want the portability of a smaller miter saw, I suggest you should buy a 10″ miter saw.

Miter saw sizeFor who is this
8-1/2″Hobbyists. to cut smaller base, crown, and door trim
10″Professionals and hobbyists. For those who want a bigger cut capacity but still portable smaller miter saw.
12″Professionals. For those who want to instal framing or crown moldings
What miter saw do i need – Miter saw sizes

Other Miter Saw Considerations

Other considerations when purchasing a miter saw include, in addition to, the available miter saw features mentioned above. They are not the most important ones that you will need to know what miter saw to buy , but you will have to think about these as well.

A miter saw should be used with a workbench or miter saw stand. This allows you to work safely. To avoid sudden shifting, ensure that it is securely fastened. This not only protects your workpiece from damage, but it may also save your life. If you cannot give the miter saw a permanent place in the workshop or if you transport the saw to different work locations, miter saw stands are a good option.

The correct blade selection is critical for proper saw use. There are various blades available for various applications. Make sure the blade you buy is compatible with your miter saw and project.

Before you start using your miter saw, be aware that there are risks involved. As a result, I recommend that you first read my article 10 Miter Saw Safety Rules You Must Know.


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I hope this was helpful and you know know what to look for when buying a miter saw.

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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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