Miter Saw vs Circular Saw

If you are thinking about starting a new project at some point in the near future, you need to make sure that you put the right tools to use. Different resources are going to list certain preferred saw. In some cases, you might require something called a miter saw. In other situations, you might require something called a circular saw. When it comes to a miter saw vs circular saw, what are some of the most important factors that you should consider? 

Find the Right Power Tool: Circular Saw Miter

In order to make the selection process just a little bit easier, it is important to compare a miter saw vs circular saw to see which one is better among power tools. It is important to look at each saw individually so that you can figure out which one is best for your needs. For example, many people like the Dewalt DWS780 as one of the best power saws; however, among saw miter power tools, there are lots of power saws and table saws that can create a miter angle. To make the right pieces, including a single bevel with a Dewalt DWE575sb, you need to know the difference between miter saws and circular saws, because one is much easier to use while the other is safer when it comes to power tools.

The Main Differences Between a Miter Saw and a Circular Saw

First, it is important to highlight the main differences between the two saws. A few of the most important points to keep in mind include: 

  • A miter saw is able to cut much more precisely 
  • A circular saw has a handheld nature, allowing it to produce more angled cuts 
  • Miter saws usually operate more quickly 
  • Circular saws are usually less expensive 
  • Because a circular saw is handheld, it is also much more dangerous 
  • Miter saws are usually safer to use 

Now that the main differences have been covered, it is time to take a closer look at each individual tool. 

An Overview of a Miter Saw

First, let's take a closer look at in miter saw. This is a specific power tool that has a specialized purpose. This is a saw is mostly used for chopping angles. Similar to a circular saw, a miter saw also has a circular blade. It is used to make small, quick, precise cuts. On the other hand, it is also a stationary machine.

The Size of a Miter Saw

A miter blade usually comes in sizes anywhere from 8 to 12 inches. It is also mounted on a swivel. This allows it to move from right to left at various angles. The arms also lock into place, making sure that every cut is accurate. With a miter saw, you can create cuts for picture frames, door frames, crown moldings, fences, windows, and cupboards. 

What Types of Cuts Can a Miter Saw Do?

There are several different cuts that a miter saw can handle. These include: 

Cross Cuts

One of the easiest cuts that a miter saw can handle is a crosscut. Cross cuts require you to cut through the length of the board at an angle of 90 degrees. For example, if you have a simple plank of wood that you would like to cut in half, and miter saws able to do this accurately. Of course, there are other saws that can handle a cross cut as well. They are not unique to miter saws.

Bevel Cuts

Another type of cut that a miter saw can handle easily is called a bevel cut. A bevel cut is going to cut the boards into an angle at the end. The angle made by a bevel cut will pass across the thickness of the wood instead of passing through its width. A few of the most common examples of bevel cuts are shims and doorstops. 

The Miter Cut

Of course, a miter saw can also handle something called a miter cut. A miter cut is produced by cutting an angle at the end of the board. If you take a look at the trim on the doors in your home, there is a chance that there is a miter cut present. Look for an angle where two trims run into each other where they have been cut at a 45-degree angle. 

The Compound Cut

Another type of cut that a miter saw can handle is something called compound cuts. Compound cuts combine a bevel cut with a miter cut. If you look at the crown molding in your home, there is probably a compound cut present. Compound cuts are used to make sure that rims fit together nicely. You can set the depth of each cut, customizing your wood according to your preferences. That way, you can make sure that you get the right fit every time. 

What Are the Main Features of a Miter Saw?

There are several features of a miter saw that you are going to enjoy. Some of the examples include:

  • This is a stationary cutting tool that is powered by a motor 
  • The blade is somewhere between 8 inches and 12 inches 
  • The saw can perform four types of cuts with ease 
  • There is a protective guard on the blade 
  • You will have access to a clean working environment 

Keep these features in mind when you are looking for the right saw. 

The Benefits of a Miter Saw

There are several features of a miter saw that you are going to enjoy. Some of the examples include:

  • This is a stationary cutting tool that is powered by a motor 
  • The blade is somewhere between 8 inches and 12 inches 
  • The saw can perform four types of cuts with ease 
  • There is a protective guard on the blade 
  • You will have access to a clean working environment 

Keep these features in mind when you are looking for the right saw. 

There are several benefits that you will access if you decide to go with a miter saw. These include: 

Precision for Miter Cuts

A miter saw is one of the most precise cutting tools available. Unlike a circular saw, you do not need to use a guide to achieve an accurate measurement. You simply need to adjust the saw to the right angle. 

Tight Seams

If you are looking to cut some tight junctures for molding or miter cuts, and miter saw is the way to go. It can provide an incredibly accurate cut for door trims and window trims. Furthermore, it will also provide you with access to accurate cuts through crowns and baseboards. 

Fast and Simple

If you are looking for a power tool that is relatively easy to use, then a compound miter saw is the way to go. Whether you are looking to create one of the four types of cuts that can handle or you are simply looking for a way to create a new picture frame, a compound miter saw will make this easier. 

Safety

Finally, another major benefit of using miter saws is that it is safe. Unlike a circular saw, which you have to guide using your hand, and miter saw locks into place. Furthermore, miter saws do not generate a lot of kickback. Therefore, as long as you put on your safety goggles, you should be able to remain safe using a miter saw. 

The Drawbacks of Miter Saws: Do You Really Need a Miter Saw?

  • Versatility: A miter saw is not nearly as versatile as a circular saw. Even though it is true that a miter saw can handle multiple types of cuts, a circular saw can do a lot more because it is more mobile. A circular power saw can create almost an infinite number of cuts because you can guide it into place using your hand. 
  • More Expensive: In addition, a miter saw is also significantly more expensive than a circular saw. A miter saw is termed a specialized tool. Therefore, you are paying additional money to enjoy its specialized nature. For this reason, a miter saw is not a typical tool that is commonly found in workshops and garages. 
  • Takes Up More Space: Finally, because miter saws are stationary, it also takes up more room. You have to dedicate some space in your workshop for it. If you are running a relatively small workshop, then a miter saw might not be the handiest tool for your workshop. It is going to take up a significant amount of space. 

These are a few of the drawbacks that you should consider if you are thinking about going with a miter saw. Weigh the benefits against these drawbacks before you decide if this is right for you. 

What Is a Circular Saw?

  • If you are looking for a versatile saw that can handle just about anything, then you may want to consider using a circular saw. There is a good chance that you are going to locate a circular saw and just about every woodworking shop in the world. 

A circular saw is a handheld tool. It contains a motorized blade that spins in the shape of a circle. Essentially, a circular saw is going to be used to create long, straight cut either with or against the grain of the wood. Furthermore, you can also locate a bunch of different types of blades for your circular saw. They usually fall anywhere from 3 to 16 inches in size. There are also additional metal or plastic plates that make circular saws just a little bit safer in addition to improving their accuracy. 

Can You use a Circular Saw as a Miter Saw?

While you cannot really use circular saws as miter saws, there are a few features that you should keep in mind. When you decide to purchase a circular saw, there are several main features that you are going to enjoy. Some of the most important features include:

  • A circular saw is a handheld power tool. It should allow you to cut through a wide variety of materials including stone, metal, plastic, and wood
  • You can swap out the blades, making them larger or smaller in order to meet your needs 
  • You are able to adjust the blade, performing a versatile list of cuts including plunge cuts, cuts, miter cuts, compound cuts, and crosscuts
  • You can also create angled cuts using a wide variety of stops, making a circular saw more efficient 

Keep these features in mind when you are looking for a circular saw that will meet your needs. 

What Are the Benefits of Using a Circular Saw?

If you decide to go with a circular saw, there are several benefits that will rise to the surface. Some of the main benefits include:

Versatility

A circular saw is one of the most versatile tools available. Therefore, it is also one of the most convenient. You can use circular saws to make a wide variety of different cuts. Furthermore, a circular saw can also cut through just about any material. As a result, you can take a circular saw anywhere and use it to cut through just about anything, making it a great power saw.

Rip Cutting Abilities

If you are looking for the best power saw to handle rip cuts, then you should certainly consider going with a circular saw. If you want to cut through the length of a longboard, a circular saw is perfect for this job. You can also use circular saws if you are interested in taking a sheet of plywood and cutting it in two. 

Cost-Effective

In addition, circular saws are also very cost-effective. Even though there are other saws that can also handle the same cuts as a circular saw, these other saws are also going to be much more expensive. Of course, a circular saw is also significantly cheaper than a miter saw. That makes it a great choice for a young woodworker who is still looking for circular vs miter saws.

What About the Safety Concerns?

Even though there are a lot of benefits when it comes to using a circular saw, there are a few drawbacks as well. One of the biggest drawbacks is the safety concerns that arise with a circular saw. If you are going to use a circular saw, you need to make sure that you understand exactly what you're getting into. A circular saw is not locked into place. Therefore, there is going to be some degree of kick. Even though there are protective metal and plastic plates that get in the way of the blade of the saw, it is still possible for you to cut yourself relatively easily. Therefore, you need to make sure that you do everything you can to keep circular saws still. Furthermore, make sure that you wear gloves, safety goggles, and other important types of safety gear.

How Good Are the Cuts?

Even though you can use a circular saw to make a wide variety of cuts, this does not necessarily mean that they are going to be high quality. The quality of the cuts will be heavily dependent on the comfort level of the person using the saw. Therefore, it is possible that your cuts may end up with jagged edges. A circular saw will commonly result in something called a tear-out. They are also fragmented edges that need to be addressed. This is because the blade has teeth on it. If you are interested in getting smoother Cuts, then simply swap out the blade for something that has fine teeth. 

Which Is Better Circular Saw or Miter Saw?

Ultimately, both a miter saw and a circular saw are very effective cutting tools. You simply need to figure out which one is right for you. If you have more money to spend on a lot of space with which to work, then a miter saw is more accurate and multiple situations. On the other hand, if you are looking for a saw that is more mobile and less expensive, then you may want to go with circular saws, which is more versatile. Of course, it is also important to keep in mind that a miter saw is also significantly safer than a circular saw. Make sure that you consider all of these factors and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each individual choice before you make a decision.

If you are thinking about using either a circular saw or a miter saw, you need to make sure that you follow all of the right safety precautions. Even though it is true that a miter saw is going to be a little bit safer than a circular saw, it still comes with its risks. Therefore, make sure that you read all of the instructions before you get started when it comes to miter saws and circular saws. You need to know exactly how that power tool is going to work before you put it to use.

Next, you also need to make sure that you wear the right safety goggles. Try to find safety goggles that are comfortable on your face and will wrap around the sides as well. You never know when a few fragments are going to fly up into your face. This could include plastic, metal, wood, or stone. If you do not wear the safety goggles, it is possible that one of these fragments might end up lodging in your eyes. This can create a medical emergency and could take you out of commission for an extended amount of time. Always first safety goggles when you are using power tools. 

Furthermore, if you are using a circular saw, you need to do everything you can to keep it stable. Even though it is true that a circular saw is more versatile, this also means that it is harder to control. Take the time to figure out exactly how you are going to keep the circular saw stable. In addition, try to find an additional protected play that you can put around a circular saw itself. That way, you will not have to worry as much about the blade cutting you.

These are a few of the most important factors that you need to keep in mind if you are planning on using a power tool. Whenever you use a power tool, you could always put safety first. That way, you can prevent serious injuries from taking place, which could otherwise lead to major issues that could land someone in the hospital.