How to Choose a Miter Saw – Detailed Guide With Pictures

Do you work with wood, and you would like to understand how to make better cuts? Well, a miter saw is perfect too for making angled cuts on materials like crown molding. One of the biggest questions that most people ask is how to choose a miter saw.

We base our guide on reliable info to offer you the best source for choosing the right tool. You might be wondering about various types of saws, and you shouldn’t worry anymore. By the end of the guide, you have visualized information to help you know how to select a miter saw.

Classification of Miter Saws

There are three primary types of miter saws, but you can find more types though they are less popular. Understanding these types will help you know how to choose the right miter saw that matches your needs. These three types include compound, standard, and compound sliding miter saws. Let’s have a look at them.

Standard Miter Saws

These are the simple saws that come with a blade mounted on the arm to the base. The saws are generally able to make angled cuts from -45 to + 45 degrees. These saws are easy to use, and they are perfectly quick on performing simple tasks. Also, these saws are lightweight, and you can easily transport them with less discomfort.

Furthermore, the saws come at an affordable price regardless of the brand. This saw can offer similar functionality with the spec-rich miter saws. I would recommend the saw due to its fantastic nature to make precise angles and the ability to pull. Also, the saws are more portable and suitable for primary job sites.

Compound Miter Saws

This is an advanced version of a standard miter saw that can make bevel cuts, compound cuts, and other complicated angled cuts. So, we can confidently summarize that the tool features both a sloped amount and an angled crosscut. Think about how difficult it can be to make compound cuts with hand tools?

The miter angle options in almost all types of miter saws are similar. That means the saw uses the same miter options as the standard saw, but you can adjust the blade’s angle to make easy bevel cuts. These saws also come with a blade tilt formula that allows you to adjust the edge.

In most compound saw brands, the blade can swivel to 45 degrees, either clockwise or counterclockwise. This feature gives you more flexibility for crosscuts, compound cuts, and bevel cuts.

However, though most saws come with a tilting blade, a woodworker can get some options without the spec. If you choose the single bevel, you can make your cuts in only one direction, whereas a double bevel allows you to go either right or left.

Overall, I think this miter saw has many functionalities that you cannot find in a basic saw. The saw is more agile and with extra functionality. However, this version is more expensive, and in some cases, the blade can have a limited reach. You can buy the saw for versatility and super performance.

Sliding Compound Miter Saws

There is no doubt that a compound miter saw is a perfect choice for making multiple cuts. You can get this saw as a single bevel compound or double bevel sliding compound miter.

However, their limited cutting ability is easy to criticize, and that’s where a sliding compound miter saw comes in. The compound saw and the basic saws have fixed blades on the arm, which goes down to the base and gives the stock width a limited space.

Just like its name, a sliding compound saw, the arm is no longer fixed, but instead, the blade is attached with a sliding technique. That gives the blade the flexibility to move up and down to make more complicated bevel cuts. These saws come with rich features, and as you would have guessed, they are super expensive.

This saw gives you the ability to add extra wood cutting capacity, and there is no doubt you’ll enjoy the work. I would recommend this type of saw if you want to make many cuts. Also, the sliding technique defines the cutting capacity of the saw. Unless you want a more flexible miter saw, I don’t know why you should buy a sliding compound saw for basic cuts.

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Miter Saw – The Right One

Now that we have seen all the major types of a miter saw, what else should you understand before making the purchase? You need to know the factors that can affect the performance of the saw and its durability. Let’s get to the business!


It is important to note the type of blade since these saws come in different blade sizes.  The blade diameter determines miter saw sizes. Know how to select a miter saw blade depending on the type of job. You can also purchase the blade you wish according to the work you want to do. The most common blade dimensions are 7/1/4, 10, and 12 inches. These sizes will define the height of your cut and how deep they will be. So, how do you select the right blade?

It is just straightforward to select a saw’s blade. First, you need to understand your work scale and what kind of tasks you need a blade for. The 7/1/4-inch blade can make 2 * 2 cuts quite well, while 10-inch blades are perfect for 3.5 – 4-inch cuts. A 12 inch is more versatile and can make cuts ranging from 4 inches up to 6.

When choosing a blade, choose one for multi-materials that can cut through steel, aluminum, board, and wool. Also, you should check each tooth of the blade. The tooth count of a blade will determine how perfect the finish will be. Always remember that the higher the tooth count, the finer the finishes. Additionally, you should consider a blade guard and an electric brake for safety purposes.

Material and Construction

Perhaps the biggest question about chop saws is what the excellent pieces of material for a saw are? These saws come with either a steel or aluminum construction. Sometimes the handle or the blade covers can come with heavy-duty plastic but in rare cases.

Most standard saws are made of aluminum, so they are more lightweight than other types.  Compound and sliding miter saws are mostly made from steel. These versions are more durable, and they are built to withstand heavy workloads.

Laser Guide

How to choose a miter saw - laser guide
Laser guide

A laser guide is essential for making accurate cutting on your workpiece. It would help if you had extra guidance and visibility to make accurate miter cuts in compound sliding miter saws. The laser will guide you to placing the blade steel on the exact spot with a bright beam’s help. You will have a piece of prior knowledge of the saw’s cutting angle even before contacting the workpiece.

The laser will help you achieve accurate results and prevent the risk of error that boosts your safety. However, the laser will be less efficient if you decide to work outdoor, and that’s why you should stick to working indoors.

Dust Extraction

As a woodworker enthusiast, you will face many debris and dust from the cutting process. You should find power tools with perfect dust collection and a more confined area for the most efficient dust extraction. Always wear safety glasses to prevent the dust from getting to your eyes.

Other Considerations

  • Battery power
  • Illumination to give bright light
  • Length of extension cords
  • Cutting width and height
  • Saw table
YouTube Video Credit ehowhome

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Sliding or Compound Saw Better?

Compound saws and sliding versions are better for making bevel cuts and complicated angled cuts. A compound saw can make up to 90-degree cuts, and you can easily adjust the blade’s angle. A sliding compound miter saw is a multipurpose version that can make all kinds of miter cuts thanks to its sliding arm.

What Type of Miter Saw Do Our Pros Recommend?

Our pros recommend a sliding compound tool due to its ability to make all kinds of cutting on crown molding. Its sliding feature gives it an edge over the compound saw, which has limitations on precise cut

Should I Buy a Corded or Cordless Miter Saw?

A corded miter saw is a perfect option because it comes with an electric motor (most have 15 amp motors) that gives the saw extra power. Just like cordless miter saws, corded miter saws can cut through semi-steel, pieces of wood, and aluminum. The saw uses gasoline or batteries for power, making them perfect for only light tasks.

How to Choose the Best Miter Saw Blade?

You can choose the best miter saw blade by checking on the material, laser guide, construction, and the blade’s tooth count. Also, it is essential to note that the best miter saw comes with vast debris collecting area.

What Size Miter Saw Do You Need?

A 12-inch miter saw is perfect for performing multiple cuts. It is also the perfect choice for making 4 * 4 cuts.

What Size does Miter Saw for 4 * 4?

Although a 10-inch saw can make 4 * 4, the best version for this kind of cuts is the 12-inch version. It will make clean and accurate cuts without the need for sanding.

Final Words

Miter saws allow you to make angled, bevel cuts, and understanding how to choose the best is the first step towards becoming a wood pro. It would be best to choose a saw that can make cuts through steel, wood, and aluminum. This guide will help you analyze info about these tools, and we hope you’ll get a saw equal to your tasks.

Relevant Resources

Hi there, technology lovers and DIY enthusiasts! My name is Alvin, and I am an admin for this blog. I am a techno-geek and a DIY enthusiast, making this blog the right place to share all my knowledge with you to make your life easier in terms of technology.