Miter Saw or Chop Saw: Which is Better for You?

Miter Saw or Chop Saw

Many people do not understand that there are many differences between the chop saw and miter saw. It doesn’t help that experts often refer to the miter saw as the chop saw. They look very much alike and have a similar principle, but they don’t perform the same functions.

In a few sentences, we will help you understand the differences between these two powered saws. Let’s start with an individual look at each powered saw.

What Are Miter Saws?

The miter saws are designed for cutting crosscuts, bevel, and miter cuts with high accuracy. These three are compound cuts, and the miter saw makes them with precisions. A crosscut is made across the length, while a miter cut is a non-straight/non-90° cut across the object.

You can find miter saws in cutting crown molding or woodworking, and only the handle and gourd differentiate their looks from that of a regular saw.

What Are Chop Saws?

Chop saws are designed for sheer cutting power rather than precision. It can cut through the hardest objects (like metal rods and sheets), but it also only does this at straight/90°.

Chop saws are also called cut-off or abrasive saws. They look like miter saws, with the type and angle of the blade being the main difference between them. The blade of a chop saw is angled at 90° while that of a miter saw is at any angle other than that.

Differences Between Miter Saw and Chop Saw

1- Usage (Metalworking or Woodworking)

The different strength of these saws makes them appropriate for different usage.

Miter saws are more precise but less strong. They are designed for objects with low or medium toughness like plastic or wood. Therefore, they’re best suited for works like trimming, woodworking, and crown molding.

Chop saws are stronger but less precise. They are designed for the toughest materials like concrete, metals, and tiles. Therefore, they’re most commonly used for metal works.

2- Type of Blade Used

The different type of blade is the reason why these tools are best suited for different functions.

The blades of a miter saw are designed to make precise and compound cuts. Therefore, the blades are usually circular steel. However, some miter saws have longer-lasting carbide-tipped blades.

The blades of a chop saw are made from abrasive materials to cut into the toughest materials. That is why the blades look like those of a grinder. A chop saw also has larger blades.

3- Type of Industry

By industry, we mean usage by professionals and amateurs who use both types of saw. The miter saw is only a little more complex to operate than a regular saw. Therefore, anyone can operate it without much difficulty. The design makes it perfect for different functions around the home or workshop.

The chop saw is rarely used outside of a professional setting because it is best suited for a more powerful workload. It also requires a better-trained and experienced operator. You need the training to understand and use it safely.

4- Ease of Use

Here is all you need to use a chop saw; piece the tool together at the right length, turn it on, and go to work on the material. It may take more time depending on your skill, but the material will inevitably give way as the chop saw does its job with sheer brute force.

However, the miter saw is meant for compound cutting, which is a little more complicated. You need to set the angle of the blade right, or it won’t cut at the angle you want. These require a little more finesse than just setting up any powered saw.

When to Use a Miter Saw

Consider two things; a miter saw can cut at compound angles, and it is more effective on materials of moderate toughness. Therefore, it will come in handy when working on flooring, chairs, or tables made from wood or plastic. It is a great asset to any woodworking venture, but that doesn’t mean that it can do every job. Some tasks are better handled with a standard table or circular saw.

Ultimately, you will benefit from a miter saw if working on wood, making home improvements, or building DYI structures.

When to Use a Chop Saw

The chop saw is not a fancy tool. It is a brutal powered saw that can cut through pretty much anything. Therefore, it is more of a specialty tool than an all-functional one. So, only use a chop saw whenever you want to cut through materials that are too tough for another type of saw to handle, be it concrete or non-ferrous and ferrous metal.

A chop saw is a helpful tool for anyone working in construction and metal works. However, get acquainted with this powered tool before using it.


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