Chop Saw Vs Miter Saw – Which One To Choose ?

If you are also someone who does not know the difference between a chop saw and a miter saw, you are not alone. Both these saws look essentially the same, this often leads people into believing that they also have the same purpose.

The main structure shared by the two saws is also quite similar. They comprise a rotating blade in the center that pierces through the material. Even the way of handling and using both the saws is the same.

This surely makes one truly wonder if a chop saw is even different than a miter saw. The answer is yes! These two saws, although so similar, have different purposes and cut qualities. Moreover, they are designed for two entirely different uses.

If you are interested in finding out about the differences and similarities between the two saws, continue reading. Through this article, we have discussed both these types of saws in detail.

Miter Saw Overview

The main structure of a miter saw is nothing but a rotating blade, installed on a pivoting arm. If you want to make angled cuts, a miter saw would be the go-to option for you. From wood cutting to framing and shaping, it can be used in a number of different ways. Another perk of miter saws is the fact that it allows users to make precise and accurate cuts.

Most of the time, a miter saw is used to make “miter cuts” i.e. cuts that are at an angle other than a 90º degree angle. Miter cuts are specially needed for projects that involve joining wooden pieces together.

The majority of the miter saws come in the 10 inch and 12 inch blade circumference. The 10 inch saw blade is sufficient for regular use but if you are someone who needs a miter saw to work on commercial-scale projects, investing in the 12 inch blade option would be the better option.

Generally, miter cuts are considered more complex. Therefore, people with the basic know-how of woodwork will rarely ever need to make miter cuts. Hence a miter saw is not an essential component for regular, day to day use, a toolkit for home use.

There are three main types of miter saws :

  • Compound Miter Saw – Compound miter saws come with a blade that can be tilted in both the right as well as the left direction. This allows the users to make compound miter cuts. These miter saws are highly recommended for molding. The cuts can be made in one go and the users do not have to go back and forth and the cuts in both directions can be made in a single round.
  • Dual Compound Miter Saw – The compound miter saws can be tilted in only one direction at a time. But this is not the case with dual compound miter saws. The dual compound miter saws can be tilted in both directions together. Therefore, the work can be managed a lot quicker and efficiently when using a dual compound miter saw.
  • Sliding Compound Miter Saw – As indicated by the name itself, this type of miter saw combines the functionality of a compound miter saw with a sliding feature. The blade can be moved in the backward and forward direction with ease and the length of the cut provided is thus increased.

What is Miter Saw used for?

If you are someone who often works on a wide range of projects, a miter saw would be your best friend. A miter saw is adjustable, the blade can be moved and tilted at the desired angles with ease. Therefore, you can make a wide range of cuts that vary on the basis of the angle.

Another reason why people use miter saws is because this saw can be used to make cuts in a wide range of materials. From wood to plastic, you can use a miter saw to create cuts in almost all materials. The cuts will come out clean and will not be rough or textured around the surface.

You can use a miter saw to create cuts on a wide range of angles. You can make 90º degree cuts or even tilt the saw to make cuts that are at some other angle. This makes the miter saw an excellent choice for projects where the users are supposed to make cuts on a wide range of angles.

Lastly, you can use a miter saw to cut through wood and softer metals. So if you need a saw to cut through aluminium, MDF, plywood, or plastic, a miter saw would be your go-to option.

What are the Advantages of a Miter Saw?

Now that we have gone over what a miter saw is and its use and purpose, let’s go over some advantages of using a miter saw:

1. Different Angle Cuts:

The biggest perk associated with the use of a miter saw is the wide range of angles on which the cuts can be made. You are not restricted to a 90º degree angle.

If you want, you can change the blade, and adjust it at the desired angle that will allow you to make a cut that best suits your construction demands. This means that a miter saw allows cuts that are customizable and can be changed based on the project.

2. Precision

Miter saws are preferred because of their ability to make precise cuts. The saw glides through the material and leaves a smoother cut. You will not see the saw leave a rougher surface or damage the material during the process.

3. Efficiency

If you want to make sleek and clean cuts in the blink of an eye, a miter saw will be your best friend. Using a miter saw, the users can make efficient cuts that can be made at a very rapid rate. The cuts are refined and clean so the surface of the material does not end up being abrasive or torn apart.

4. Ease of Use

Using a miter saw is very simple and easy. It does not require a lot of work while being handled. Therefore, anyone can master the art of using a miter saw after a couple of tries. This is why a miter saw is highly recommended for beginners who want to get work done in the simplest way possible without having to deal with a complex and complicated machine.

  • Miter saw is user-friendly tool
  • Used for thicker cuts
  • Lock Feature is available
  • Precise cutting
  • Help finish cutting fast
  • Dependent upon electricity to function
  • It creates more mess


Chop Saw Overview

A chop saw is a lot more powerful as compared to a miter saw. It can only be used to make straight cuts at an angle of ninety degrees. The cuts are not precise and the main purpose of using a chop saw is to cut through difficult to cut materials and divide them into small pieces so that they can be handled with ease. Therefore, this type of saw is a lot more aggressive as compared to a miter saw.

The main component of the chop saw is the metallic blade that is fixed straight up. This cold cut blade spins at a rapid rate and ends up moving through the material to draw the cut. The overall structure of the chop saw is a lot more rigid and firm.

The blade is also very powerful and you might even notice sparks moving upwards when you use a chop saw to cut metals. Since the blade is fixed, therefore, the cut angle cannot be changed. You cannot tilt or move the blade to achieve any cut other than at an angle of ninety degrees.

As for types, a miter saw is actually one of the types of chop saws. A chop saw is a heavy duty saw but it is basic equipment since it offers only one type of cut. A further variation of the saw, that allows the blade to be tilted at the desired angle is what is the miter saw which is an extension of the chop saw.

There are some variations of the chop saw that allow the users to change the angle at which the cut is made. The standard chop saw makes a cut at a vertical angle, but you can use a compound chop saw to make cuts at both the horizontal as well as vertical cutting plane.

The dual compound chop saw is the one that can be used to make bevel cuts without having to move the material, rather than moving the blade and the saw to get the desired cut. Lastly, the chop saw too comes with a sliding variation that allows users to slide through the material and increase the length of the cut.

What is Chop Saw used for?

As already discussed, the main use of a chop saw is limited to making straight cuts. It is a powerful saw therefore, it is highly recommended for commercial and industrial scale projects. But the overall functionality offered by the saw is quite basic. You can only use it to divide the material into two pieces.

Moreover, the chop saw is not a saw that is meant to make detailed and intricate cuts. Rather, the main purpose of this saw is to cut through larger materials so they can be divided into smaller ones. Sometimes, a chop saw is also used to make shapes and trim the edges off from larger pieces.

Since a chop saw is more powerful, it is an ideal choice for cutting through thick materials. You can also use it to cut metals.

What are the Advantages of Chop Saw?

Here are some perks associated with the use of a chop saw:

1. Powerful

A chop saw is a giant and powerful cutting saw. Therefore, it can cut through a wide range of materials. If you are someone who has to cut through thick and rigid material, a chop saw would surely get the work done for you.

2. Commercial Use

Commercial projects vary in terms of the demands of the material that have to be chopped up. A chop saw can serve this purpose very well as it has the power to cut through a wide range of materials with ease. The cuts are not as accurate or precise as those of a miter saw, but the strength of the chop saw allows it to cut even stronger metals and concrete.

3. Straight Cuts

At times people struggle with making straight and aligned cuts. This problem is eliminated when a chop saw is used. The blade of a chop saw is fixed at a 90º degree angle that is why it can move through the material and ensure a clean and straight cut.

  • Powerful and aggressive tool
  • Cuts through variety of materials
  • It has larger motors for more power
  • The cutting time is faster
  • Helps to cut large pieces of materials
  • Limited cutting action
  • These are big in size
  • Stationary platform
what is the Main Difference Between a Chop saw and Miter saw
The main difference between a chop saw and a miter saw is nothing but the angle at which the saw can make the cut. The miter saw can be used to make cuts at a wide range of angles since the blade can be tilted to any desired angle. Whereas a chop saw has a fixed blade that cannot be moved, Thus, this saw can only make cuts at an angle of 90º degrees.
  • Chop saw can only cut at a 90 degree angle while the angle of cutting is adjustable for the miter saw
  • Miter saw makes precise cuts in comparison with a chop saw.
  • Miter saw can be used for both angled as well as straight cuts but the chop saw cannot be used for angled cuts
  • Chop saws are more powerful as compared to miter saws


The Main Similarities between Chop Saw and Miter Saw
Both saws look and feel the same. The way of handling a chop saw is also quite similar to the way of handling a miter saw.
  • Both chop saw and the miter saw consist of a rotating blade
  • Chop saw and miter saw can be handled in the same way
  • You can cut through the wood using both saws
  • Both saws are an efficient equipment to cut different materials

Which Can Use To Cut What?

Material Chop Saw Miter Saw
Wood Can but not recommended Highly recommended
Metal Highly recommended Needs a special blade
Plastic Can but not recommended Highly recommended
Composites Can but not recommended Highly recommended
Concrete Does a decent job Not Recommended
Masonry Highly recommended Cannot cut through masonry


Both miter saw and a chop saw may look quite similar to one another. But these saws have their own features and uses.

A chop saw is a more powerful and heavy duty while a miter saw is quite simple to use. Thicker material and cuts that don’t demand accuracy should be handled using a chop saw. But a miter saw would be more suitable for day to day projects that do require cleaner and more accurate cuts.

People Also Asked

Can I use a miter saw as a chop saw?
Yes, you can. You will simply need to adjust the blade of the miter saw at an angle of ninety degrees and the miter saw will make cuts similar to those of a chop saw.
Can a chop saw cut tile?
A chop saw can cut through a tile but due to the lack of precision and the poor quality of cuts, a miter saw would be a more suitable option to cut through tiles.
Can you cut steel with a chop saw?
Yes. A chop saw is extremely powerful and it will cut through even thicker steel with ease. It can be used to cut both soft as well as harder metals.
Can a miter saw cut straight?
If you adjust the angle of the miter saw blade at ninety degrees, yes it can be used to cut in a straight line.

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