Do you remember when we told you that not all saws are the same? There so so many saws out there and they are all designed with a different purpose in mind. You can make different things, including different cuts. You can cut different materials and cut different ways.
If you’re an avid woodworker, you probably already know and understand the difference between a chop saw and a miter saw but these two options are quite different, even though they appear to be nearly the same. A chop saw and a miter saw have their own responsibilities and uses.
In this guide, we will walk you through chop saw vs miter saw and let you know just exactly how these saws stand apart from one another. In the end, you will know what cuts you can make and what each saw is best for specializing in. Whether you need a chop saw or a miter saw, we have the best information for you here!
Keep reading to learn the difference between a chop saw and a miter saw and so much more!
What is the Difference Between Miter and Chop Saw?
These two saw types are often mistaken for each other because they are designed similarly. At first glance, appearances could certainly make you wonder whether these two saws are the same. They both move up and down to make a cut.
However, that’s really about where the similarities end. A chop saw is used for making straight cuts while miter saws can make angled cuts as well. These saws are very unique in their own rights, which is why we’re here, after all!
In terms of versatile, the miter saw will win every time, especially considering you can select a compound miter saw easily enough that gives you some additional functionality.
Now, let’s break these down a bit further and dive into each one!
The chop saw is incredibly powerful. It is considered an aggressive saw because of the power it holds. If you’re looking for something to cut at anything but 90 degree cuts or any other type of angle, chop saws won’t do it for you.
The chop saw can make different cuts through different materials. It is strong and sturdy for some of the most most challenging needs. Think saw works in a saw chop motion. It’s literally meant to chop your material, without the ax of course.
You might use a chop saw for things like studs, rafter, and joists when you’re building a house. You can use it for any type of construction. In fact, we would link it to the construction world the most. It’s quick and efficient and will steadily cut through wood or steel in one simple chop saw motion.
Chop saws are not made for any type of specialty cut. You will get a standard, straight cut from them. Remember that this cut can be through thick and challenging materials. The wheel of the chop saw is designed like a “cut-off” style in which is slices downward in a single smooth motion.
When it comes to getting the best results from your cuts using chop saws, you should be mindful of your blade choice. Some blades will throw off a lot of sparks and also cause your materials to become super heated in the cut process. The chop saw can use different blades for different cuts so be sure to use the best blade for your material.
The chop saw typically sits on some sort of table or work surface. It is not typically on its own stand although you can purchase stands for your chop saw. Some chop saws are portable so you can make cuts anywhere you need to. A chop saw is limited to straight 90 degree cuts so the versatility is limited.
In terms of the blade of a chop saw, you will notice that the blade is aggressive on chop saws for making quick and powerful cuts. These blades make strong cuts but do not have teeth or sharp edges. The chop saw uses a disc-type blade that will make a cut through hearty materials.
Chop saws are designed for professional use. The chop saw is powered by hydraulics for operation. It is important to understand how to safely use a chop saw if you go this route. They can be very large and you may need to hands to handle the materials that chop saws can cut.
What is a Chop Saw Good For?
Chop saws are primarily used for 90 degree cuts that are square. Don’t expect to make any angles or specialty cuts with these saws. Here are a few common uses for the chop saw:
- Construction projects
- Housing frames
- Steel cuts
As you can see from this list, the chop saw is used to make power cuts for materials that you need to turn out quickly and steadily and work on square cuts with a 90 degree angle.
How does a chop saw compare to a band saw? Read our guide on chop saws vs band saws.
Recommended Chop Saw Pick
If you think a chop saw is the way to go for your needs, there are many really great options out there. We really like the DeWalt D28715 chop saw. It’s made from a trusted and reliable brand that offers well-made tools at reasonable prices.
This saw allows tool-free blade changes, which is quite convenient. It has a spring that makes the head very easy to move up and down. The power cord could certainly be a bit longer but it is compatible with an extension cord if needed. This is a basic, reliable chop saw.
Why We Like It:
- Budget-friendly brand
- Tool-free blade changes
- Vertical spring makes moving the head easy
The miter saw looks very similar to the chop saw. The miter saw also has some additional options with additional versatility. You can look at a compound miter saw and see just how much more it is capable of.
Unlike the chop saw, the miter saw is not limited to square cutting. These saws can make angled cuts and are capable of cutting at many different angles. Perhaps on of the more common uses of miter saws is a 45-degree angled cut. The ability to cut at an angle, certainly sets this saw apart.
The miter saw is far more versatile because of this capability. You can also make square cuts as well on a miter saw. Miter saws are usually found in 10 or even 12-inch blade options. The standard 10-inch is the most common and it is also the most versatile in terms of what you can use it for.
You can use miter saws for just about any project, whether it’s home improvement or cutting wood at a professional woodworking site. This is one of those power tools that you can find a lot of functionality for. You might even say that it is as functional as a table saw in some capacities.
We will talk about how to use miter saws here in a minutes but you primarily need to remember that you can make slices that are beyond 90 degrees and that is where this one counts. From DIY projects to construction uses and everything in between, miter saws can get the job done for you.
The miter saw is quick and efficient and will cut nice and smooth through multiple surfaces. It is not just used to cut wood but has a lot of functionality attached. Miter saws can make cross and bevel cuts as well as your typical square cuts.
What is a Miter Saw Good For?
In terms of miter saw uses, there are plenty of options out there. Remember, if you need versatility, a miter saw is the way to go.
Here are some great ideas for things a miter saw can do that a chop saw would fail at.
- Cross cuts
- Crown molding
- Bevel cutting
- DIY projects
- Picture frames
- Door frames
- Window casings
These are just a few functions the miter saw can offer you. Picture anything in your home that has angles, from decorative pieces to modern adorning pieces like trim. Another great use of a miter saw is to make traditional quarter round cuts. You really can’t go wrong with a miter saw because it can do everything.
The blade can be changed for your needs, depending on the materials you are working with. A miter saw can be used for metal cutting and to make straight cuts as needed.
Additionally, did you know that there’s a specialized sawhorse for a miter saw? There are a lot of great sawhorses out there. We really like DeWalt Miter Saw Stand Heavy Duty if you want the best of the best!
Why We Like It:
This is one of those horses that wins our favor not because it has a bunch of special features or shiny attachments but because it’s simple, reliable, and compact all in one simple setup.
Looking for miter saw stands? Our review about the best miter saw stands on the market is perfect for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Chop Saw Cut Angles
A chop saw cannot be adjusted for specific angles. It cuts at 90 degrees with no variation and is primarily used for square cuts that are done quickly and efficiently.
Which is Better Table Saw or Miter Saw
A table saw has a table surface, which means that you can perform longer cuts or work with larger materials. They are both quite functional in the workshop. Which one is better primarily depends on your project and what you are working to create at the time.
In terms of the chop saw vs miter saw, there is no real comparison The chop saw vs miter really doesn’t have much to stand on in terms of versatility and the ability to work with angles. However, in terms of power and capability, the chop saw can win the race.
The saw you need will most likely vary depending on what your uses are. Remember that the miter saw is is far more versatile and can do all of the same things, however it is not quite as powerful so if your purpose is power and speed, the chop saw takes the lead.
- 10" Compound Miter Saw
- MOTOR: 15 Amp motor delivers high power for the toughest of cuts generating a no-load speed of up to 5,000 RPM
- LIGHTWEIGHT: Only 24.2 lbs. to facilitate maneuverability and portability
- MITER ANGLE RANGE: 0-52 degrees, to the right and left for increased flexibility
- BEVEL RANGE: 0-45 degrees, to the left with adjustable bevel stops for precision cuts
- Easily adjustable mounting rails of DEWALT miter saw stand adapt to nearly any miter saw
- Miter saw stand with wheels featuring wide rubber grip provide easy jobsite mobility
- The rolling miter saw stand features three-position pneumatic assisted raising and lowering for the ultimate in flexibility and ease of set up
- Durable tubular steel construction allows for a 300 lb maximum weight capacity
- Compact vertical storage option maximizes workplace efficiency and ease of transport
- POWERFUL 15 AMP MOTOR - Delivers 4,800 RPM for quick, detailed cuts
- DUAL BEVEL – Perform cuts in four positive stop positions at 48° & 45° left, 0°, and 45° right
- LED SHADOW LINE - Provides high precision cuts with greater accuracy than lasers
- 2x12 CUTTING CAPACITY – Cross cuts lumber up to 2x12 at 90 degrees, and 2x8 lumber at 45 degrees
- CUTS AT COMMON ANGLES - Cuts up to 50 degrees left and right with 11 positive stops at most used angles