Sliding vs Non-Sliding Miter Saw: Pros and Cons

Let’s discuss the major specifics of sliding vs non-sliding miter saw so that you can choose which one you need for work. While miter saws might look like highly complex machines with numerous levers, knobs, and issues with adjustments, you will find them simple and helpful to use after some practice.

In general, there are only three main types of miter saws: standard, sliding, and compound. Sliding tools are widely used for big logs when you need to make deeper cuts. Do you need a sliding miter saw? If you don’t know it, you have to find out what it is.

Sliding vs Standard: Guide to Miter Saws

I’ve made this article to help you find out the difference between sliding vs non-sliding miter saw and decide which one you need. You will learn “what is a sliding miter saw?” and how it is different from the compound and standard models. Check out the benefits of these types and their minor flaws.

gray miter saw cuts crown molding

Everything you wanted to know about miter saws

Before we dig deeper into whether you need to have a miter saw sliding or not, let’s make sure we are all on the same page here. All three types I have mentioned above belong to one family of saws.

A miter saw we call standard is a chop saw that can create the angled cuts named “miters.” Now you can get the meaning behind the name. As for the compound model, it can make bevels as well as miters since you can adjust any angle you want there.

A sliding saw does not offer you similar features as a compound. Instead, it easily cuts wider boards and big logs.

What is a sliding miter saw?

This is a popular type of miter saw that is widely used to cut boards 12-16 inches wide. It is called “sliding” mainly because of the rails it has. The model simply slides back and forth with the blade reaching everything the standard or compound models can’t.

You can consider the rails one of the major benefits of a sliding miter saw. This model provides you with the possibility to work with longer pieces of wood on different levels of difficulty.

Due to this feature, you don’t need to constantly adjust the angle, like with a compound miter saw. It saves both time and lots of nerves. For the compound type, you need to make sure the angle is correct up to half of the degree.

However, these rails can be the model’s problem as well since you won’t be able to reach the maximum level you need. There are numerous advantages as well as specifics of its use. Before you buy the tool, read the comparison with other models I provide here.

Sliding vs non-sliding miter saws

In its standard classic form, a miter saw moves from the right to the left of the table. Once you need it, you can change the angle of a cut. A highly sharpened blade goes down and cuts the wood.

Yet, the capacity is usually determined by the blade diameter. The arbor stands in the way of the blade, decreasing the cut. You have to exceed the radius by cutting the back of its fence.

Sliding saw

This saw slides from one corner to another to cut the wood. It provides deeper cuts in a short period of time. Still, it is not as compact as the compound tool.

The pros of this model are:

  • the major advantage of a sliding miter saw is the ability to cut wide boards;
  • deep cuts of 1×12-inch and 2×12-inch logs;
  • can perform each function of the compound type on wider boards, lumber, and logs.

Consider the cons it has:

  • not the most compact option;
  • you might not need it for basic work.

sliding miter saw black and white

Compound miter saw

This miter saw type is more compact and beneficial for accurate angle cuts. It combines miter and bevel cuts. I recommend this type to the newcomers who have just started working with the wood.

If you need to cut crown molding for your walls, this instrument provides you with the exact angle you want to make a perfect corner. To use the mitering feature, you have to rotate the blade around its base. You will see the degrees which you can adjust.

The pros of the compound miter saw:

  • less expensive than a sliding miter saw;
  • less bulky;
  • provides both bevel and miter cuts;
  • contains the scale with degrees.

The cons are as follows:

  • you will constantly need to adjust the angle, unlike in sliding models;
  • it is limited to the width it can reach. Even a 10-inch saw can cut only 6 inches of wood.

compound miter saw

Compound sliding miter saw model

As for a sliding compound miter saw vs non-sliding comparison, professionals usually prefer the first option. It contains all the benefits of both models. I use this one.

However, it is expensive and almost immobile. This model is moving on rails, so the blade cuts the wood of any width. Apart from that, there is a bevel you can use to make exact cuts.

The pros of the model:

  • you can cut wood of 16 inches;
  • the option to change the angle of a cut;
  • You can use both miter and bevel features.

Cons:

  • this tool is highly immobile;
  • not an affordable option for everyone.

compound sliding saw

Dual compound sliding model

This is a more advanced tool for mainly professional use. Still, if you work with wood a lot, need precise cuts, and have plenty of room for it, you can get this instrument as well. This saw consists of sliding rails and a miter table.

The beveling tool can go from left to right, so you don’t have to flip the wood once you need to make opposite cuts. All you need is to use this saw. It makes cuts easier and more accurate.

You can adjust the angle you want. It is a perfect tool for crown molding since you don’t even have to move the board. It rarely makes mistakes if you know how to use it and apply it according to the basic safety rules. Yet, it is not the most affordable model on this list.

The pros of this tool:

  • you can move the bevel left and right;
  • you don’t need to flip the material once you need to make cuts;
  • the cuts are accurate;
  • you can adjust the angle up to your needs.

Cons:

  • this tool is massive, and you might need to provide enough space in your workshop for it. If you don’t have a personal workshop, you might find it hard to constantly remove the tool;
  • not an economical option for newcomers.

dual compound-sliding miter saw gray

Extra features you may need

There are other features to pay attention to once you decide to buy a miter saw. No matter its type, you still have to consider them. Find out everything in advance. Here are the features you will need:

  • The right size of the saw. There are different models you can buy. The most popular options are 12 inches, 10 inches, and less than 10 inches;
  • The space it requires. You can save some space even if you decide to buy a sliding miter saw. All you need is to find the model that glides;
  • The cord. You might want to use a cordless instrument outside. It uses the power of a battery;
  • The price. Check out the prices on the market. Make sure the cost is fair and matches the tool quality.

Popular Questions About Sliding Miter Saws

I have found all these questions online from users around the world. I believe the answers can be useful even for professional woodworkers. If you have more to add, do it in the comments.

Is a non-sliding miter saw more accurate?

I would not say so. This is not a simple question since there is no direct answer. If you are making standard cuts and need more depth, the sliding model will provide accurate cuts that a compound saw can’t offer. It will strike the same place. Yet, if you want to change the angle, a compound saw is a better choice.

What is a dual bevel sliding miter saw?

A dual bevel sliding miter saw is the compound one that tilts in both left and right directions. You can bevel it without having to flip the board. Unlike standard miter saws, this one can be rotated to make cuts at any angle you need. You can make a cut and slide crown molding down next, then tilt the blade to the opposite end, and provide the cut you need again.

Do I need a sliding miter saw?

You might not need a sliding miter saw for some types of work. It is less affordable than the compound tool and takes lots of space. However, it works fast and is required for wide logs and other types of wood that a compound saw can simply reach.

Also read:

Perfect Miter Saw for Your Projects

If you still don’t know what you will do with a miter saw, concentrate on your current needs. Find out whether you require one type of saw or another. Think about the width of the wood, angles, and precise cuts.

Consider the mobility of a miter saw and the frequency of use. You can start with a simple model and later buy an advanced tool for your work. If you have more recommendations, share them below. Which miter saw do you like the most?

My ultimate goal is to provide insights that will help you effectively determine whether this or that tool or product suits your needs/budget or not. I test out home improvement tools at work on a daily basis and enjoy sharing my knowledge with D.I.Y-ers who have similar questions to the ones I used to have. I realize how important choosing the right tools is, that’s why my approach to every review I publish is very responsible.

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