Miter and table saws are the two most common types of power tools. If you want to equip your workshop with all the necessary devices, you need to know the difference between these instruments.
Some people think that one of them is better; others believe they are interchangeable and practically do not differ from each other.
I decided to describe each tool in detail and compare a miter saw vs a table saw in terms of the application area to make it easier for you to choose.
Things to Consider When Comparing Tools
There are several basic points to consider when picking a suitable device. In simple terms, the smaller your project, the less powerful and bulky instrument you need, and vice versa.
When thinking about the difference between a miter saw and a table saw, you need to evaluate the following factors:
- The amount of work to be done. It includes sheet dimensions and material thicknesses, the complexity of cuts, the accuracy required, and the difficulty of the whole project.
- Power. Not every task requires a powerful and productive device. You should correctly assess the importance of these factors for your work. You might not need a professional-grade tool for minor tasks.
- Workspace. If you have a workshop for wood and metalworking, the size of the tools does not really matter to you. However, if you are limited in space or sometimes need to transport the device from place to place, it is better to opt for compact models.
- Versatility. By and large, this factor follows from the first point. Some types of saws are limited in their capabilities and do not allow for advanced cuts.
As a rule, table saws are more expensive than miter ones. However, it might turn out that a rather expensive device will pay off much faster than a more budget model since you will use it regularly.
These tools are floor-standing machines. They look like a table with a blade peeking out of a tabletop. The blade is stationary and fixed to a motor, which is located under the table surface. When working with these devices, you do not control the saw but move the material towards the blade.
These tools are essential for those who work with wood or metal in their own workshop, and they do not have to move a bulky device too often. Indeed, the table saw is quite challenging to transport from place to place without special equipment.
They are extremely convenient for performing a large number of repetitive tasks. For example, if you need to saw large boards into several equal pieces when making furniture and crafts.
Unlike miter saws, you can cut even very thick materials, including lengthwise, with a tabletop device since the height of the tool does not limit you.
When comparing miter saws vs table saws, the latter tend to come with larger diameter blades than their circular counterparts. Thanks to the wide table, it is convenient enough to cut wide sheets of plywood with such a device.
Along with this, the table saw has some disadvantages. For example, it is not as easy to learn as its counterparts. It might be difficult to make bevel or other complex cuts using it, as positioning and holding a sheet at a precise angle is a bit tricky. Although, with certain skills, angle cutting is possible.
Also, when working with a table saw, it is essential to maintain uniform pressure on the material. If you change the speed, it can lead to roughness along the cut line.
Among other things, a compound table saw poses a certain danger, especially for novice craftsmen. Beginners usually hold and push the material incorrectly and are also not ready for kickbacks, which often happen when using such devices. Therefore, if you just start your way in woodworking, I recommend buying a miter saw.
Miter saws are also equipped with a round blade, which is placed above the work surface. You put the material on the small base of the device and lower the rotating blade down.
Although this type of tool is not the most compact one available, nevertheless, it is easier to transport from place to place than the previous one. They can be installed and fixed to any level surface, but it is better to use professional accessories like a sliding miter table or sawhorse.
Such models are an excellent option for those craftsmen who regularly work in different locations and carry equipment with them everywhere.
So, what is a miter saw used for? You can use them for a wide variety of projects where precision and accuracy are critical because they can cut material at almost any angle you want.
The main miter saw purpose is chamfering to cut beveled edges of different shapes on a wide variety of materials. Also, you can use it to make the picture, door, or window frames, saw plastic, and thin pipes.
These saws are more suitable for beginners. In terms of setup and calibration, they are simpler than table counterparts, and, therefore, more secure.
Many models come with a built-in graduation scale, making it much easier to cut material at the desired angle. However, safety precautions should be observed by absolutely all users, without any exceptions.
Among the disadvantages of miter saws, I would first highlight the fact that you cannot cut large pieces of wood with their help. When working with such a tool, you are limited by the height of the lowering mechanism with the blade. It is completely unsuitable for creating large-sized workpieces.
Moreover, with it, you can’t make long cuts in large sheets of wood or metal. Since miter saws are not very versatile, professionals prefer to use desktop counterparts for their work as a rule. They are experienced enough to do bevel and miter cuts on these devices.
FAQ About Choosing Table Saw or Miter Saw
In this block, you’ll find answers to some questions about choosing a specific type of instrument.
Should I buy a miter saw or a table saw?
First of all, you should determine for yourself the size of your project. For large-scale tasks, working with thick materials, and making long rip cuts, choose a table saw. If you want the utmost precision and accuracy for crosscuts and chamfers, buy a miter saw.
What is the best saw for a beginner?
For novice users, I definitely recommend miter saws. They are easier to set up, suitable for small day-to-day projects, and safe to use. Of course, some health risks are associated with them, but you are less likely to make a mistake when using these devices.
Can you use a miter saw on a table?
Any stable surface of any level is suitable for the miter saw. You can definitely place it on your table. These devices have a small base, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the tabletop.
Is a miter saw worth it?
This tool is quite handy for some types of work. It is ideal for novice users. However, you can perform similar tasks with a table or circular saw.
Implement Your Project with a Proper Tool
As you can see, the scope of table saw and miter saw uses is somewhat different. Professionals mainly use table tools for large-scale projects, while novice woodworkers should pick miter saws for small household tasks. Please write in the comments whether you agree with my opinion. Which tool do you prefer and why?