Cutting wood has never been made easier but the decision-making process (knowing what to buy) can be a little daunting. What saw to use, and why, is essential depending on your woodwork needs. When you’re looking to “do it yourself” (DIY) its important to know the difference between these two power tools as well as their specific types. So, let’s get started and click here.
Knowing the difference
A miter saw, also known as a drop saw, is a multi-function electric power tool designed to make accurate, quick, and angled cuts. Miter saws are best for making moldings, trims and angled cuts. A Table saw, otherwise known as a saw bench, is more commonly used because of their versatility on a plethora of different projects such as board cuts and crown moldings. Although both are designed to cut wood, both have their benefits and drawbacks.
Versatility – able to cut most wood, the table saw can cut large and sheet materials, make crosscuts, rips, and rabbet cuts. Whereas, the miter saw is better set for angles.
Size of objects – the miter saw is limited in the size of wood it’s able to cut, with the largest blades only able to cut up to 10”. The table saw has the power to cut through large objects such as lumber.
Precision Angles – miter saws provide a much greater range and accuracy when looking to make precise cuts. More flexibility in the arm allows for the bevel to move left and right as well as angled cuts greater than 45-degrees, which the table saw is limited to.
Power – table saws take the trophy here as well due to their sturdiness and compactness.
Risks – Safety is a priority and the miter saw provides more safety due to their automatic brake stops and lack of kick back.
Understanding the types
Miter saws and Table saws share their differences, but almost as important are their own specific differences and uses within their respective models.
Miter Saw Types
Basic (Standard) – easy to use, lightweight, and lower in price, standard models offer straight cross and wide-angle cuts.
Single Compound – added features from the standard include rotatable blades and increased angle cuts.
Dual Compound – provides more rotation in the head as the single compound and used for more decorative cuts.
Sliding Compound – the body of the miter is able to slide, allowing for greater versatility in cuts and cuts without having to flip the wood piece.
Cordless Sliding Compound – additional features from the standard sliding compound allow for portability, more range of motion, and battery powered.
Laser/LED – some miter saws provide guided light/shadows which allow for precision cuts.
Table Saw Types
Cabinet – the most powerful of the table saws, these types are durable and strong allowing for hefty responsibilities and reduce vibrations as well as increase accuracy. Used in schools and factory shops these models offer the most stability.
Compact – larger and stationary, driven by small toothed belts, these models offer the flexibility to be tilted in different angles.
Contractor – lighter weight, durability, easier to use, and less expensive, contractible table saws are designed to transport readily and provide great efficiency for larger projects.
Hybrid – designed to compete with contractor tables, hybrids combine the lower price of the cabinet models and the durability of the contractor models. They require less voltage, provide an enclosed cabinet to better collect dust, and have easier to adjust table mounts.
Know your purpose for buying either power tools and consider the wood size and type of cut. If you’re looking to cut thick pieces, not requiring the most precise, or angle, cuts, you can’t go wrong with the table saw. Yet, if the thickness is not a problem in precision or an angled cut, is what you’re looking for then the miter saw is your go to. Remember, with table saws you The best tool is the one you can make the most out of. Whether you’re looking to make a hobby out of woodworking, or just a few cuts here and there, consider how often you’ll be using it and purchase within reason!
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