Do you want to get some woodworking tasks done, and you are confused about whether to buy a Table Saw or a Miter Saw? Well, these two saws are used to cut wood, and they both have circular blades. However, this doesn’t mean that they are the same. A table saw and a miter saw vary in many aspects and in terms of the job they do. Let’s clear things up to differentiate between a table saw vs miter saw.
Understanding the difference between these two saws can help you determine which saw is suitable for your job. This guide explains the main difference between a table saw and miter saw and which one is the best. Read to find which saw to buy.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw Comparison
Before we get into details, let us have a quick comparison between a table saw, and miter saw at a glance.
Works well for all types of cuts
Specialized for trimming and making angular cuts
Type of cuts
Angular cuts, ripping, and crosscuts
Compound cuts, bevel, miter and crosscuts
Prone to accident
It is safe
Best for which jobs
Building cabinets, furniture, and rip plywood
Crown molding, trim work, framing
Fixed blade position and moving stock
Moving blade and fixed stock
What is a Table Saw and When to Use it
A table saw is also referred to as a bench saw or a sawbench. This is a versatile woodworking tool that features a circular saw blade that is mounted on an arbor. This saw is powered by an electric motor using gears, belt, or even directly. A table saw is one of the most popular woodworking tools that you will find in any workshop.
Table saws come in different types, and the most common types available is a Jobsite or portable saw. A table saw is ideal for DIY lovers and homeowners, and it performs a wide range of applications ranging from ripping boards, making miters and crosscuts, among others; however, its primary role is to create straight rip cuts. The following are other ways in which you can use a table saw:
- Making miter cuts
- Making rabbet joints
- Ripping lumbar
- Making crosscuts
- Building furniture and cabinets
- Making grooves and dado cuts
Using a table saw is easy. Woodworkers need to push the specific material across the table then in the blade to make effective cuts. These saws have construction that accepts larger pieces like lumbar quickly, but you can find some models that are suitable for detailed work too. If you would like to enhance the versatility of the tool, you just need to add a miter gauge to the saw.
Pros of a table saw
- Table saws are highly versatile in your workshop.
- They are ideal for cutting larger materials.
- Suitable for sheet materials.
- Table saws are powerful than miter saws.
Cons of table saws
- They are large so they take more space in your workshop.
- They can be dangerous to use.
What is a Miter Saw and When to use it
A miter saw is another woodworking tool that is used to make miters and accurate crosscuts. Since not all tasks require making straight cuts, you might need to cut at various angles, and this is where a miter saw comes in. Miter saws might not be as versatile or popular as table saws, but they are essential tools for carpenters who want to get accurate cuts.
As compared to a table saw, a miter saw features a built-in blade that is mounted on the arm. This means that you don’t have to push the material across the table like in table saws. You need to keep the material in a stationary position when you are making cuts. Therefore, the diameter of the blade determines the length of the cuts.
Miter saws work well when it comes to making repeated cuts with similar length. Other ways in which you can use miter saws include the following:
- Carpentry projects
- When making small and precise cuts
- Crosscutting longboards quickly
- Making window casing and crown molding
- Making frames, windows, and pictures
- Building small items like curio shelves and bird feeders
Since they are portable, you can easily move them to different locations with ease. Also, miter saws do not come with stands, so you need to have a workbench where you can place them. There are several types of miter saws that you can get, which include regular models, sliding, and compound miter saws.
Pros of a miter saw
- Accurate and suitable for making angled cuts.
- Suitable for miter and bevel cuts.
- They are safe to use as compared to table saws.
Cons of a miter saw
- Not ideal for rip cuts.
- Not suitable for larger stock.
Different Between a Table Saw and a Miter Saw
Now that you know what a table saw is and what is a miter saw, let’s check the difference between the two tools. The major difference between the two types of saws is in their portability, accuracy, and functions. The following are the various ways in which the two saws differ. When you are using a sliding compound miter saw, woodworkers also require to move the miter saw blade across the material.
A table saw uses a rotating blade that is in a fixed position. Woodworkers require to move the working material against the rotating blade to make cuts. When it comes to a miter saw, the working mechanism is different. This saw requires you to fix the wood stock and then bring the blade on the wood material to make cuts.
Another major difference between a table saw, and a miter saw is the use. These tools perform different tasks, which makes them different. Like I mentioned above, table saws are versatile tools that are ideal for general cutting projects. You can do a wide range of projects using these tools, but they are not precise. A table saw works best when handling crosscuts and long rip cuts.
Miter saws are suitable for making accurate crosscuts. A miter saw can make up to 6-8 inch crosscuts, and the length depends on the tool.
Additionally, both saws have circular blades that are used for different purposes. A miter saw works well in making straight cuts and angled cuts while a table saw is primarily designed for making straight cuts.
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This is another differentiating factor that makes the two saws unique. A miter saw is the best option if you need to make precise miter and bevel cuts on soft materials. Table saws can also do all these, but miter saws are best when it comes to precision. Table saws need more accessories like a miter gauge that has an extension to achieve precise miter cuts and crosscuts.
Moving miter saws to different locations is easier because the tools are easily portable. So, if you need a tool that you can carry to different job sites, a miter saw can be a great selection. Table saws are large, so they occupy more space, and they are hard to move to different locations.
The price is not so different between the two saws, especially if you are buying the tools from the same brand. However, you need to know that the prices differ from one seller to the other on both table saws and miter saws.
How to Use a Table Saw
After knowing the differences between the two saws, it is wise if you also know how each of these saws works in detail. Unlike miter saws, table saws are dangerous tools, so you need to be keen when you are using them. Just like other power tools, it is essential to ensure that you have the right ear, nose, and eye protection before you begin your projects.
You should also read the manual in detail so that you can understand how the tools work. When using a table saw, always ensure that you keep your fingers far from the blade. For safety purposes, you can even use a small piece of wood to push the material across the blade.
Another danger associated with miter saws is the kickback. This takes place when the tool’s blade binds on the material, and then it throws it back to you. Therefore, you should always stand far from the lumbar feed. Do not stand in front or directly to the blade. And for a better outcome, you should always ensure that the tool is on a stable surface.
How to Use a Miter Saw
In as much as miter saws are regarded as safer than table saws, they also have a spinning blade that you need to think about. With this type of saw, the cuts are precise and quicker, and you will be dealing with narrow boards.
Setting up a miter saw to make cuts takes some time, but it is worth it if you want to get the best cuts. Before you start using the tool, make sure that you mount it securely in an ideal place. You can even choose to use the concrete floor.
You should also ensure that you set the angles pretty well and making adjustments when cutting is easy. When you are handling crosscut projects, ensure that you set the tool correctly at a 0-degree angle. Some miter saws have clamps that hold the wood well when cutting, and this ensures that your hands are free and safe all the time.
Bottom Line- Which one is best for you
Well, we have seen that table saws and miter saws are different tools. They are both used for woodworking, but the nature of the projects they handle is different. If you have no issues with the budget, it can be a great idea to have both tools in your workshop. But if you have the option of buying one tool, then you need to consider various factors depending on the type of job you want to do.
For instance, if you are a woodworker and need a powerful tool, to begin with, you should consider the available workspace, nature, and size of your projects. Since table saws are versatile than miter saws, most woodworkers will prefer to buy a table saw as their first tool.
And for those woodworkers who specialize in making many angled cuts, then buying a miter saw will be a great idea. This tool will help you create miter and bevel cuts perfectly.
Therefore, based on the nature of your job and the versatility you need, you can either buy a table saw and a miter. Both tools are essential to woodworkers and they offer reliable cutting results. I hope this guide has been helpful if you were confused between buying a miter saw or a table saw.