What is the difference? Miter Saw vs Table Saw

Learn about the pros and cons of these popular power tools to decide what works best for your woodworking projects and carpentry skill level.

Saws have revolutionized the woodworking industry by giving craftsmen the tools to bring big projects to life in no time.

 The miter saw and the table saw are two of the most popular tools  in the home workshop. While each one draws on different principles for cutting wood, their use overlaps in a number of areas.

If you are ready to improve your carpentry skills, you may eventually want to master both of these saws

But to be sure, study this guide first and find out how they differ so that you can understand the pros and cons of each.

Table saws cut large pieces of wood better

The table saw has a flat saw table that supports the wood as it is cut. 

The craftsman controls and pushes the wood towards the rotating saw blade in the center of the table, making it an excellent tool for cutting large sizes such as plywood sheets. 

With a miter saw, a craftsman places a strip of wood, such as an edged board or laminate flooring, on the narrow base of the saw and then manually lowers the rotating blade (using a handle attached to the movable head) to cut off a portion of the strip.

 

Miter saws cut better at different angles

The miter saw head can be swiveled to cut any angle you want. 

For this reason, miter saws are a staple of the finishing carpentry industry , as they cut the difficult corners needed to set finishing and forming corners, it is much more difficult to cut corners with a table saw because the craftsman has to position the wood at the correct angle and hold it steady while feeding through a rotating blade.

Miter saws are great for chamfering

In addition to cutting the board at an angle, the miter saw head can be tilted to the side while creating a beveled edge instead of a flat edge.

 Beveled cuts are used primarily in finishing work to provide smooth transitions when installing finishing in corners. 

The blade on the table saw can also be tilted. Chamfering with a table saw is an advanced woodworking technique, so beginners are better off using a miter saw.

The blade width determines the length of cut on the miter saw

Since the miter saw is controlled by lowering the rotating blade, it cannot make a cut that is longer than the width of the blade. 

Miter saws are most often 210 mm, 216 mm, 255 mm, 305 mm. The exception to the rule is the miter saw’s sliding handle, which can be pulled outward as the blade rotates to make a longer cut – up to 40cm in length. 

A table saw, on the other hand, can cut any length of board because the blade is stationary and the wood is fed onto the blade.

Miter saws are more portable

Some table saws, though, come with a stand on wheels that allows the craftsman to move it from place to place. 

Most table saws are considered stationary and are bolted to solid steel legs or built into a workbench, making them heavy, bulky, and difficult to move

Most miter saws can be easily loaded into the trunk of a car, or simply moved wherever needed. If you intend to create all of your woodworking projects in the workshop, a miter saw can be bolted to the table top to make it stationary.

 

Table saws are less accurate

The miter saw is more accurate because the wood is pressed firmly against the back of the saw (called a fence) throughout the cut. 

With a table saw, the wood is constantly in motion, and if the craftsman changes the pressure on the wood, this can lead to uneven areas on the cut edge of the board. 

The slight inaccuracy that can arise when working with a table saw usually does not affect large projects such as building a storage shed, but can lead to a sloppy look when installing wood cladding. When accurate cuts are vital, use a miter saw.

Table Saw Can Have Potentially Hazardous Kickback

All power tools can be dangerous and the manufacturer’s safety instructions must be followed without fail, but more injuries occur with a table saw than with a miter saw .

 Many table saw injuries are the result of kickback, which occurs when the blade catches on wood, either pulls the craftsman’s hand into the blade, or throws the wood back into the face. 

Miter saw injuries are most often caused by the craftsman trying to swap the hand that holds the wood with the hand that lowers the blade, inadvertently crossing the arm in front of the moving blade.

A table saw is more versatile than a miter saw

While a miter saw cannot cut large wood, a table saw can make just about any cut a miter saw can – with a lower level of precision . 

A variety of accessories can be purchased with a table saw, but it is important to understand that while a table saw is more versatile, making complex cuts requires the knowledge and skills of a carpenter. 

Novice woodworkers should not attempt to make corner and bevel cuts with a table saw, as this increases the risk of injury.

Is a table saw better than a miter saw?

A table saw has a wider range of applications than a miter saw. While a miter saw is incapable of cutting large pieces of wood, a table saw can perform almost any cut that a miter saw can, but with less precision.

Can you use a miter saw on a table?

Yes, you can use a miter saw on the floor or on a table. In any case, having a dedicated miter saw bench is necessary for getting the most out of your miter saw and allowing you to concentrate on cutting faster, safer, and more precisely.

Do you really need a table saw?

If you’re a complete novice and are concerned about your ability to make precise cuts, or if you’ll be cross-cutting/ripping a large number of similar-sized boards, go for the table saw. It is, without a doubt, a useful tool that is well worth getting (if you have the necessary space).

Are miter saws dangerous?

When used incorrectly, a miter saw can be dangerous. Electric shock, burning, or personal injury are all possibilities. Miter saw users should be aware of the following general safety precautions: If the blade guard does not move freely and closes immediately, do not use the saw.

Can you rip a board with a miter saw?

A rip blade would not work on a miter saw because the blade path of the miter saw is designed such that wood is laid across it rather than through it. As a result, you won’t be ripping with a miter saw…. Miter saws are useful tools for a variety of carpentry tasks, such as cutting two-by-fours.

Can you use a miter saw on a table?

Yes, you can use a miter saw on the floor or on a table. In any case, having a dedicated miter saw bench is necessary for getting the most out of your miter saw and allowing you to concentrate on cutting faster, safer, and more precisely.

Should I buy a miter saw or table saw?

A table saw has a wider range of applications than a miter saw. While a miter saw is incapable of cutting large pieces of wood, a table saw can perform almost any cut that a miter saw can, but with less precision.

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