Woodworking has been revolutionized by power saws, which allow DIYers to create large projects in a short amount of time. In-home workshops, table saws, and miter saws are two of the most popular tools. Their uses overlap in a number of areas even though they use different principles to cut wood.
Both of these saws could be just what you need to take your carpentry skills to the next level! If you want to be sure, you should examine the two side by side in this guide to see how they differ and to know the pros and cons of each.
Large pieces of wood are easier to cut with a table saw
Table saws have flat tables that support wood while it’s being cut. Using this tool for cutting large pieces, such as four-foot-by-eight-foot sheets of plywood, the user controls and pushes the wood into a spinning blade in the center of the table.
Miter saws cut pieces of wood by placing them on a narrow base at the front of the machine and manually lowering a spinning blade (via a handle housed in a flexible head) to cut them off.
Cutting angles are easier with miter saws
With a miter saw, you can easily cut angles, such as when you join two pieces at a 90° angle, like how the corners of a picture frame meet. Miter saw heads can be rotated from side to side to cut any degree angle needed.
The miter saw is therefore a staple of the trim carpentry industry, as it enables users to cut the intricate angles necessary to install trim and crown molding. It is harder to cut angles with a table saw because the user must maintain a steady grip on the wood as it is fed through the spinning blade.
Bevels can be cut easily with miter saws
Furthermore, miter saws can be tilted laterally in order to cut a bevel at the same time as cutting an angle, resulting in a sloped edge instead of a flat one. Beveled cuts are mostly used for trim work when installing trim around corners to create seamless transitions.
A table saw’s blade can also be adjusted from underneath the table to cut bevels, however, cutting bevels is also more challenging when using a table saw. For woodworking beginners, it is more practical to use a miter saw instead of a table saw to cut bevels.
On a miter saw, the width of the blade determines the length of the cut
Because miter saws are operated by lowering a spinning blade, they can’t make cuts longer than the width of the blade. The blade width of miter saws ranges between eight inches and twelve inches. For cutting wider materials, such as siding planks or large crown molding, the blades need to be wider.
Slide-arm miter saws, which have a handle that pulls outward while the blade spins to make a long cut of up to 16 inches, are an exception to the blade-width rule. In contrast, a table saw, with a stationary blade and wood fed into its teeth, can cut any length of the board.
Miter saws are more portable
The majority of table saws are stationary and are attached to solid steel legs or built into cabinets, making them heavy (up to 300 pounds), unwieldy, and difficult to move.
Miter saws typically weigh 50 to 60 pounds, allowing them to be loaded into a pickup or a car’s trunk, or carried wherever they are needed. You can bolt the miter saw to an immobile countertop to make it stationary if you plan to use it for all your woodworking projects.
Table saws are less precise
Miter saws are more precise since the wood is held tightly against the fence of the saw throughout the process. As the wood is pushed into the blade of a table saw, it is constantly in motion.
If the user varies the pressure on the wood as it is being pushed into the blade, it may cause slightly jagged areas on the board’s edge. If you install trim using a table saw, the slight imprecision can result in an amateurish look, but it will not affect large projects like building a shed. Use a miter saw when you need precise cuts.
When it comes to power tools, most similar tools cost about the same. The same cannot be said for table saws and miter saws. The price difference between these two tools is noticeable. A good miter saw costs just a couple hundred dollars, compared to a table saw that costs at least $1000.
What is the best option for you?
It’s time to talk about which saw to get now that you know what they are and how they differ. When you need to make precise bevel and miter cuts, get a miter saw rather than a table saw. Let’s take a closer look at each saw and when you should buy it.
The Best Time to Purchase a Table Saw
Cutting planks with a table saw is best for general-purpose cutting. For these sorts of cuts, table saws are the best choice because they produce accurate, long cuts quickly. It is easy to make straight crosscuts with a table saw or cut through long beams.
The Best Time to Buy a Miter Saw
If you will be making a lot of miter and bevel cuts, you might want to consider getting a miter saw. A miter saw is an ideal tool for intricate tasks, such as edging and furniture rails.
If you only occasionally need a tool of this nature, you can get attachments for your table saw, but if you intend to make bevels and miter cuts frequently, you should invest in a miter saw outright.
Miter saws and table saws look the same, but they operate differently. Getting a table saw is ideal if you intend to make general cuts on large pieces of wood, but getting a miter saw is ideal if you plan to make bevels and miters.
Get both types of saws if you expect to make both types of cuts often. If you get both tools, you will have a saw for nearly every situation!