Miter saws are one of the most common tools nowadays in the woodworker’s arsenal. Not only are there different types of miter saws, but their versatility allows the user to take care of multiple types of jobs, and this makes them one of the most desirable power tools out there. We’re here to help you look through these different types and make sure you know all there is to miter saws, before you make your ultimate choice. So, let’s get into it!
Types of Miter Saws
When it comes to miter saws, it’s not very hard to get up to date on everything about them. First, let’s take a look at the types of miter saws you can find.
Standard Miter Saw
A standard miter saw is one that takes care of the most obvious type of cut possible with a miter saw; the miter cut. These types of miter saws come with a miter gauge, and this allows for you to set up specific miter angles for your blade, making sure you can get the perfect cut possible.
While the standard miter saw is a great tool, you’ll find that they are very limiting when it comes to the grand scheme of miter saws. Apart from the miter cut, you’ll be able to make the basic rip cut and cross cut with the help of the saw and blade. The standard miter saw does however come with all the perks that would be available in other miter saws as well. You won’t lose out on any of the accuracy and precision when it comes to cuts, when compared to other types of miter saws.
Compound Miter Saw
A compound miter saw is far more versatile if compared to a standard miter saw. These compound miter saws come with the miter gauge as usual, but also include the bevel gauge. The bevel gauge allows for the inclusion of the bevel cut, and this involves tilting the blade of the miter saw, in order to get the desired cut with your saw.
The compound saw with the help of the bevel gauge also allows you to make compound cuts. The compound cuts are a mix of both the miter cuts and bevel cuts together. You use the miter gauge to angle the saw itself, and the bevel gauge tilts the blade to your desired angle. This allows for a very useful angled cut that comes in handy in various types of woodworking. One very common application for compound miter saws are in crown molding. Crown molding is a very intricate form of work that can be achieved with a compound miter saw, and you’d do well for yourself by learning how to cut crown molding.
Compound miter saws don’t end there however. They can be broken down into two further sub-categories, based on how versatile the user wants their machine to be. The two are:
- Single Bevel Compound Miter saw:
A single bevel compound miter saw includes one bevel gauge on the saw. What this does is, it allows for your miter saw’s blade to be tilted to one side (either right or left). The other side however, will have a very limited angled cut potential. While it may seem like that’s a big problem, it really is not. At most, for certain cuts, you’ll just have to flip the piece of wood you’re working on, on to its other side, to make sure you get it done right.
- Dual Bevel/Double Bevel Compound Miter Saw:
The dual bevel compound miter saw, as you’ll have probably guessed, has two different bevel gauges on the saw itself. This allows for the blade of these miter saws to be tilted to either side. This not only makes your work more comfortable, but it also allows for you to highly optimize your work, when compared to the single bevel compound miter saw. It can save you a lot of time, not having to flip your piece around constantly.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
The last type of miter saw is the sliding compound miter saw, and this type of miter saw is both more versatile and less versatile than the compound miter saw, all at the same time. How so?
Well, the sliding aspect of this miter saw allows for it to have a much deeper cut length and also a much longer cut length. This is extremely helpful for people who work with longer pieces on a regular basis. It is basically a compound miter saw with all the perks and features, but with the added rails in order to help it make cuts on larger pieces, with ease.
The sliding compound miter saw lacks behind the regular compound miter saw in terms of its cuts. Whether you’re talking about miter cuts, bevel cuts or compound cuts, the sliding miter saw lacks the accuracy and precision that both the standard miter saw and compound miter saw have. This is because of the addition of the extra rails on these miter saws. While they help the blade slide on the saw itself to make longer cuts, it limits the saw’s ability to make larger angles when cutting. This makes woodworkers compromise whether or not they want to have a sliding compound miter saw or just a compound miter saw. This mainly depends on whether they prioritize accuracy and precision over the length and depth of cuts.
Types of Cuts
Even though we have mentioned the types of cuts that a miter saw can deliver, we’ll leave a small diagram below to help keep a reference point of all these cuts. Even though it’s only four cuts, their combinations can help woodworkers accomplish numerous woodworking tasks!
What Is The Best Choice?
There really isn’t a best choice of miter saw between these three types. When it comes to choosing the right saw, you’ll need to consider what you think is the best for you. Maybe your job requires cutting large pieces of wood, and a sliding miter is the best option for you. If you’re required to do very intricate work, then the compound miter saw (single or dual) might be the most handy one. If you’re very new to woodworking and want to get a very basic idea of using these saws, then the standard miter saw might be the right choice. However, it mainly depends on how you will be using the tool!
Factors, Perks and Features to Keep in Mind
These saws can be found in abundance in the current market, but that only means you need more knowledge of the right perks and features for yourself, to help you know the best choice out there. What are these?
- The size of the saw you want is very important. Miter saws are very common in 10 and 12 inches. These will help you take care of most jobs that are required of professionals or DIYers. However, if you require something larger, then you can always opt for a sliding compound version as well.
- The type of blade you use for your saw can also determine how efficient your work is. Just because you have the best sliding compound saw, doesn’t mean your work will be top notch if the blade isn’t up to the mark as well. Thus, it’s always good to make sure you have the right accessories to go with the tool as well.
- Speaking of accessories, these saws often come with a few different tools in order to help you get your work done faster. It’s always good to make sure you’re buying a product that includes everything you’ll need or won’t (doesn’t hurt to have them).
- The availability of ergonomic features in any woodworking tool is a key factor. These small additions on a tool can make them much more efficient and also comfortable to work with. So, it’s good to keep an eye out on them.
- Safety features are also a very big factor when it comes to choosing your perfect tool. They not only keep you safe, but also ensure that your tool doesn’t come to any harm, both in and out of use.
- Even though you got a sliding miter or compound version of the saw, you’ll want to make sure that the saw is optimized. Keep an eye out for how many positive stops the saw has. These are basically designed into the tool, to help the gauges stop at the most popular angles used by woodworkers. Not only will they help you save time when working, but they’ll also increase your accuracy in measurements as well.
- Laser guides are also a very nifty feature to have on your saw. These guides help you in placing your blade perfectly on the mark you need when you’re making your cuts. Thus, they can increase your efficiency and accuracy with ease.
- If you’re someone who works in different areas or needs to move around quite a bit, you can always opt for cordless miters as well. They run on battery power, and are easily portable. However, in general they have less power than the traditional saws, so if you need the power, it’s best to stick to the traditional ones.
These are some pointers to help you out in picking the best miter saw out there for yourself. And if you’re someone who is new to using them, it’s always best to learn how to use a miter saw.
Hopefully you’ve learned fully about all the different types of miter saws out there, and we hope you’ll be able to make the perfect decision for yourself now! They’ve become such a regular tool nowadays, that you have to think of them as an investment, and make sure you choose a saw that fits your needs the best. And it’s always good to keep in mind that buying from a reputed brand will allow you to almost always come away with a very high quality product.
Hey there, my name’s Braden Smith and all my lifeI’ve been passionate about woodworking. As such, I spent more time learning about and experimenting with power tools. Over time, I learned to help spread my knowledge by articulating my words thanks to my academic knowledge in the English Language as well.