Circular saw or miter saw – which one to choose?

Are you looking to make a cute table to match your couch but can’t decide between a miter saw and a circular saw

Don’t worry, read our comparison guide to find out all the differences between the two saws and decide which one is the best for your task.

 Some people think that one of them is better than the other, others that there is not much difference between them, and one can replace one saw with another.

 Yet each of them has its own characteristics and it is better to use the saw for its intended purpose. So let’s first take a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of saws.

Miter saw What is a miter saw?

Cross-cut is a tool for precise, mainly cross-cutting, cutting of a workpiece.

 Most miter saws are small and portable. Unlike stationary miter saws, you can pull it out and set it on a temporary base by placing a drop-down mechanism (sometimes called a drip mechanism) over your workpiece. 

The blade sizes most commonly used for miter saws range from 8 “to 12” (20-30 cm).

What is a miter saw used for? You can use it to create cross cuts on a workpiece in one quick motion. But more importantly, you can do it at your chosen angle. It is the best choice when you need to cut trims and moldings. 

Pros

The miter saw is useful when you need precise cross-cuts in your workpieces. This saw is also a great option for miter cuts. 

This is one of the main competitive advantages of this saw over other types of saws. Most importantly, the miter saw is one of the safest.

Cons

Despite all the advantages, a miter saw is useless when you are about to cut large workpieces.

 While it is the best choice for cross-sections, trimming can be ineffective with long cuts (over 15 centimeters). Miter saws are more of a luxury than a necessity.

A circular saw

Choosing the best circular saw in our review.

Also called circular saw, this saw is equipped with a toothed or abrasive disc that allows you to cut various materials in a rotary motion around an axis.

 What is a circular saw used for? The circular saw is commonly used in a variety of woodworking projects. 

However, the cutting tasks depend to a large extent on the type of blade that is mounted on the circular saw.

 This saw can be produced both for the left and for the right hand. During operation, the circular is largely based on that part of the structure in which the engine is located.

Pros

Circular saws are very compact, making them easy to move. Usually, you transfer the circular saw to the workpiece, and conversely, in the case of miter saws, you take the material where the saw is already installed. These saws are capable of making long rip cuts.

Cons

This type of saw is much more difficult to use than a miter saw. A circular saw requires more skill and a lot of experience is required to use it. From a safety standpoint, a miter saw is a better choice than a circular saw.

Miter Saw vs Circular Saw

Price

When we talk about price and availability, a big difference is immediately apparent. Miter saws are more expensive than circular saws. In fact, circular saws are relatively cheap (available for less than RUR 13,000) compared to miter saws (in the range of RUR 7,000 to 50,000).

Blades

There are many more blade sizes available for miter saws. The miter saw blade can range from 7 “for a small miter saw to 13” for a large one. Circular saws, on the other hand, are equipped with 7¼ inch blades on average.

Cutting Type

The advantage of the miter saw is that it is very accurate when cutting bevels and cross cuts. These saws are great when you want to cut moldings, planks or skirting boards. On the other hand, the circular saw offers just as much versatility as it allows you to cut at different angles. It is also possible to tilt the disc relative to the cutting surface. Keep in mind that this will reduce the depth of cut by one and a half times. Each circular saw is equipped with a parallel stop, which helps to cut the same strips or remove “extra” width.

Materials

Circular saws can cut various types of wood and metal. The only thing you have to consider is the size of the disk. You can cut any non-ferrous metal including copper, aluminum and brass. You can also cut ferrous metal sheets, including thin, square or round pipes, or small corners. However, if you want to cut through any serious (over 32mm thick) metal, you will need abrasive blades. Abrasive discs are thin so they can cut quickly, but not very long. Serrated blades with sintered blades are more efficient and for this reason a miter saw is better suited for cutting metals.

Portability

Most circular saws are lightweight and portable. You can carry the circular saw without any problems and even stuff it into your gym bag, while the miter saw is larger. You can load the trimmer into your car or truck, but it doesn’t offer the same mobility convenience that a circular saw can offer.

Precision

Both saws provide high cutting precision. It all depends on your specific tasks, in which one tool may be better than another. The miter saw is ready to cut easily at an angle right away, while for the circular saw you will need to install a rip fence or jig. Only then can you set the exact angles. Versatility Of course, circular saws are much more versatile than miter saws. This is one of the main reasons why circulars are more popular than cross-cutting.

Ability to Use

When cutting at different angles with a circular saw, you must be a skilled craftsman. You need to perform additional steps to set the indents and set the desired angles when working with a circular saw. In turn, miter saws are supplied with a degree scale indicated directly on the plate. As a consequence, handling a circular saw requires more skill and experience than a miter saw.


Safety

Safety should be your top priority, especially if you are new to lumber. Due to the fact that with the miter saw you will have to bring materials to the blade, it is important to keep your hands at a safe distance. In the case of a circular saw, you bring the blade to the workpiece, so more control is needed, both on the saw itself and on the lumber.

Cleaning and maintenance

Both saws are very easy to clean. The miter saw is stationary and you do not need to move it for cleaning or maintenance. However, due to its large size, a miter saw requires more time and effort than a circular saw. However, the circular saw is easy to clean thanks to its small size and portability.

Storage

The circular saw is more compact, so it can be stored anywhere without creating a lot of space, while miter saws are large and therefore require more storage space. Which saw to buy first Again, this is a matter of experience and preference. There is no such task that a miter saw can handle and a circular saw cannot, and vice versa. Choose according to your taste. 

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