Circular Saw vs Miter Saw – Which One to Buy?

Saw is one of the most important and common power tools in carpentry and construction. There are several types of saws available in the market, but the most commonly used saws are circular saw and miter saw.

These two types of saws are often interchangeable because both are used for cutting. But they have different features, so you must be familiar with the difference in order to purchase the best one.

In this post, I will be comparing circular saw vs miter saw. Let’s start!

What is Miter Saw

What is Miter Saw

A miter saw is a power tool that is used for cutting or trimming wood and other similar materials. It is a very important tool that is used in the construction field for making crosscuts and miter cuts. It is very versatile and is used to cut a wide range of materials.

They are similar to pit saws, except that their grips are mounted like those of a farrier’s saw on a pole, which is used as a lever to increase the force of the saw.

Miter saws have a long blade (typically 12 inches long, but 10-inch options are not less popular) and a short handle (typically 4 to 6 inches long). They are used to saw wood, metal, plastic, fiberglass, and other materials.

Saw blades are mounted on a rotating shaft, with some blades having a spring-loaded tensioning device which can be used to adjust the amount of pressure needed to saw through the material being cut.

The handle is attached to the blade shaft by a hinge. This allows the handle to be folded out of the way when the blade is inserted into the material being cut. When the handle is released, it folds back into the original position, creating tension in the blade.

Miter saw blades can be made out of various materials, including steel, carbide, and hardened steel. The blade is mounted on a shaft, which is rotated by a crank or a gear wheel.

When to use it

When to use miter saw

A miter saw is a cutting tool that is used to cut wood, metal, or plastic. This power tool has a detachable blade that is powered by a motor. It is fitted with a base that allows it to be used as a table saw, a miter box or a crosscut saw.

Miter saw is an electric specialized cutting tool that is used for cutting different types of materials. It is used to cut raw materials to a particular shape or size. It can be used for cutting wood, metal, and plastic. The tool has the ability to cut at different angles.

  • They’re relatively compact and easy to use;
  • Faster and more accurate cuts than circular saws;
  • They are versatile and can be used to cut a variety of materials.
  • Not very portable;
  • It’s quite hard to get a thin cut with a miter saw.

What is Circular Saw

What is Circular Saw

Circular saws are power tools used for cutting various materials, especially wood and metal. It is sometimes referred to as a chop saw. Circular saws come with a circular blade with teeth on one side of it. They are robust power tools that are used to cut both horizontally and vertically. This helps in cutting through a variety of materials with ease.

The tool consists of a motor connected to a rotating disc (blades) through a transmission. The circular saw has a handle at the top to it can be held while operating. It is generally used for straight and curved cuts.

All types of circular saws have a motor and a transmission connected to the disc. The disc is mounted on ball bearings and is supported by two frames. There is also a detachable blade guard which protects the user from the blades. The blade guard also protects the user from the debris which is created while cutting the materials.

The circular saw is a one-handed cutting tool, and this is one of the reasons why it is popular.

When to use it

When to use circular saw

A circular saw is a power tool used for cutting various types of materials such as wood, plastic, metal, and laminate. It is used for the construction and repair of buildings, fences, decks, and other structures.

At its most basic, a circular saw is used to make straight cuts in material. It is primarily used by carpenters, but you can use one to cut out a deck, make a hole for a window or door, and even rip wood. With some practice, you can even make decorative cuts.

  • Can handle large sheets of wood;
  • Provide a very accurate cut;
  • Very good at cutting plywood, particleboard, and OSB;
  • A circular saw feels very light in hand, so good for long periods of operation.
  • Not very good for cutting curves.

Difference Between Circular Saw and Miter Saw

Circular saws and miter saws are both used for cutting wood, but their methods of operation are very different. A circular saw is a tool used to cut wood in a straight line, while a miter saw is used to make precise angles.

What tool do you need – circular saw or miter saw? Let’s discuss the difference between these two cutting instruments.


First of all, we need to understand the workings of these saws. A circular saw has a working disc (blade) that is mounted on a rotating shaft. The shaft is mounted on a square frame. The frame is attached to a table with a clamp. The operator can rotate the table and the frame to change the position of the blade.

Miter saw is a cutting instrument with a vertical blade and a handle for the user to control the blade. It is mounted on a stand and can rotate 360 degrees. It is used to cut wood lengthwise and crosswise.

Types of cuts

There are different types of cuts that can be made with both instruments. Circular saws can make straight cuts, bevel cuts, or miter cuts, while the miter saw can make cross and rip cuts.

In general, miter saws are more versatile than circular saws. They can be used to make a wider variety of cuts and are easier to use.


Circular saws are easier to carry around the job site. They are more compact and light-weighted compared to miter saws. However, they are more difficult to use.


Circular saws are more dangerous to use than miter saws. They have a higher risk of kickback and blade binding compared to miter saws. In case you don’t know, kickback occurs when the blade gets pinched between the wood and the saw’s table and throws the tool back toward the operator.


The price of the circular saw depends on its power and the quality of the materials from which it is made. Miter saw is more expensive than a circular saw because it has more features and is used for different purposes.


circular saw vs miter saw FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we have come across about circular and miter saws.

What is the difference between a circular saw and a miter saw?

Circular and miter saws are both used for cutting wood, but they have different features. A circular saw is used for cutting in a straight line, while a miter saw is used for cutting at an angle.

A miter saw is usually used for cutting the molding and trim for interior design, while a circular saw is used for cutting flooring and trim.

What safety features should I look for in a circular saw?

You should look for a circular saw which has a safety trigger that turns off the instrument if it is not properly in place. It should also have an indicator that shows when the blade is too dull to be used.

A circular saw should also have a dust blower to keep the dust away from the operator.

Can circular saw do miter cuts?

Yes. You can make miter cuts on a circular saw, however, the results can be not as accurate as when done with a miter saw.

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Summing Up

Circular saw and miter saws are power tools used for cutting wood, metal, plastic, and other materials. The saws are mainly used for cutting and shaping wood, but they can also be used for cutting other materials.

So although I would recommend a circular saw for the majority of woodworking jobs that you’ll do, a miter saw is the more appropriate tool for making multiple, precise cuts when a circular saw just won’t do.

Sean Chapman
Sean Chapman

“A good tool stays with you for many years and choosing carefully ensures the job is done right, your work is neat, and the tool is always a pleasure to use”

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