Miter Saw vs Chop Saw: What do both Tools Offer the Best?

If you are a woodworker or a carpenter, or any type of worker for that matter, you need to ensure that you have the right type of tools that best suit your needs in Australia. One part of this is understanding what tool you need for a certain task and the second part is getting the best one out of all of the available options.

Now, one of the most confusing decisions that both, DIYers and other woodworkers have to make is whether they need to buy a Miter saw or a Chop saw; since both of them operate almost similarly. In this article, we are going to discuss this issue in detail in such a way, that the readers will know which one of the two power tools they need to get for themselves.

Both of these power tools have almost the same primary functions, but they have some significant differences in their features. Understanding these fundamental differences is the only way that you can decide which one to get for yourself; and for that, you need to have enough experience with both of them.

For those of you who have never seen a miter saw or a chop saw; a miter saw consists of a circular blade that is fixed on the end of a swing arm which can be moved up, down, left, right, and at several different angles. It is used to get a variety of cuts, such as trimming cuts, angular cuts, crosscuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts, and compound cuts.

On the other hand, a chop saw is very much similar in look to a miter saw and some extent provides the same type of cuts. The main difference between a miter saw and a chop saw is that a chop saw cuts at 90-degree angles and is larger as compared to a miter saw. Moreover, it is more powerful than a miter saw and is used to cut stronger and harder materials.

Miter saw blades reach a maximum diameter of 12 inches whereas a chop saw blade will only start from a diameter of 14 inches.

So, let’s see what features these saws have and how they differ from each other.

Cuts:

If a miter saw is made for giving precise cuts with a large variety, a chop saw is an exact opposite for that. A chop saw can only give 90-degree cuts and the main purpose behind using a chop saw is to cut hard objects, such as a solid steel pipe which we need to split into two, etc.

Utility:

A miter saw is mainly used for woodworking, crown molding, and trimming whereas a chop saw is used in metalworking, construction, and home renovation and improvement.

Size of Blade:

As discussed earlier, a miter saw is smaller in size as compare to a chop saw. Furthermore, the size of the blade of a chop saw starts from where the size of the blade of a miter saw ends, i.e. from 12 inches onwards.

Usage Experience:

A miter saw is required to give several different types of cuts, for which you need to know how to adjust the arm and the blade. On the other hand, a chop saw only gives 90-degree crosscuts, for which you do not need to learn a lot of techniques.

Material:

A miter saw is used to cut comparatively softer materials such as soft metals like aluminum, a softwood like plywood, and MDF and plastics. On the other hand, a chop saw is used to cut stronger and harder materials such as ferrous and nonferrous metals which include steel as well.

Safety:

Comparatively, a miter saw is safer to use because of its easy-to-control handle and light cutting material which does not require a lot of work, whereas a chop saw is comparatively a bit less safe due to its risk of abrasive wheel breakage which can inflict serious injuries.

Type of blade used:

A miter saw is required to give accurate and angled cuts because of which its teeth need to provide precise and clean cuts. It uses circular steel blades that have carbide-tipped teeth which enable it to last longer than regular steel blades.

On the other hand, a chop saw is only required to cut through anything, because of this, it uses a blade with abrasive materials. The blade of a chop saw looks very similar to a grinder. This is because of its unique design and this is partly the reason that it can cut through anything that we throw at it.

Portability:

A miter saw can be moved around easier as compared to a chop saw due to its smaller size and lighter weight.

Although both of these saws are heavy as compared to other types of saws, the miter saw is more or table as compared to the chop saw due to its lightweight. A chop saw needs to be made of strong materials if it needs to cut stronger metals; this is why it tends to get larger and heavier.

The industry used in:

Chop saws are high-end professional-grade tools and are only profitable for those people who need to use them regularly. Moreover, the only people who use them are the ones that have prior experience, knowledge, and training; you cannot just buy a chop saw and start using it.

In contrast, though a miter saw is fairly complex to use, but it is easy once you get the hang of it. Moreover, they are lighter and a lot less dangerous. They are only used by DIYers and woodworkers. They can even be used at home workshops.

Now, you need to know if you should buy any of the two power tools or not. You should not just go and buy yourself a miter saw or a chop saw if you think that you might need them in the future because that way they might end up gathering dust in storage for months or even years.

You should only invest in one of these power tools if you know that you are going to need them for a couple of upcoming projects. Moreover, you should know the limitations of your saw and its blade if you want to avoid any future expensive repair bills.

You might think that you can get yourself a miter saw and use it to get the work of a chop saw; you can use a miter saw to get 90-degree cuts, but you won’t be able to use it on harder materials like the ones mentioned previously.

Conclusion:

Now that you know what each saw has to offer and what each saw is good for, it will be easier for you to decide if you want one of them or both of them.

In my view, a miter saw is a lot more useful than a chop saw provided that you do not require any hard materials to be cut; it depends on the individual needs of every job.

So, that would be all about the miter saw vs chop saw comparison. Let us know what you think about each tool in the comments section below as well.

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