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Chop Saw vs Miter Saw – Which One’s Better for You?

Last Updated on October 29, 2019 by Derek Backman

If you’re a woodworker, you should always look to add the right power tool in your kitbag. Whenever it comes to buying a new saw, DIYers and woodworkers can get confused between choosing a chop saw vs miter saw. Both the saws are known for their excellent performance, but there is no need to get both. On the other hand, choosing one among them could put you in trouble.

Well, you don’t have to worry as we will let you know about the differences between a chop saw vs miter saw. In terms of work, both the saws are entirely different from one another and have their uses and features.

So if you’re planning to buy one for your workstation, make sure you select the right saw. We’ll be discussing every vital detail about the chop saw, and miter saw. We’ll also clarify the jobs that one could perform with these saws.

Know About Chop Saws

Chop Saws

A powerful tool is an essential asset to have for every woodworker. Whether you’re upgrading your workshop or preparing a new one, powerful tools are the ones that always serve you for years. Such a powerful type of saw is Chop Saw, which is mostly for commercial and industrial purposes.

It is a reliable and robust power saw that is quite popular among DIYers as well. This device comes with a larger motor and bigger blade (when compared with a miter saw) that are capable of cutting through woods and big sheets of metal as well.

A chop saw looks very similar to the miter saw as both of them feature a round blade mounted on a hinged arm. There is also a stable base that is used for supporting the material. One major factor that makes chop saw different from miter saw is the angle cuts. The blades of a chop saw are perpendicular to the base that allows it to make 90-degree straight cuts.

Chop saw makes use of an abrasive disc that spins quickly to cut the workpiece. On the other hand, miter saw consists of a pretty simple blade with teeth over it. Chop saw doesn’t have any teeth or sharp edges, and this is the reason why it is used to deal with harder materials.

Although, chop saws can be used for construction and framing tasks as they showcase some brilliant cutting capacity. We would recommend this saw only to the professionals as it could turn dangerous for the newbies, because of its high power and speed. So without a chop saw, you couldn’t handle construction projects that involve cutting of large pieces of wood or metals.

Pros

  • Easily cuts hard materials like steel.
  • A fast and powerful tool.
  • Features a foot or knee switch that allows a hand-feeding workpiece.

Cons

  • It cannot be used to perform angled cuts.

Know About Miter Saws

Miter Saws

Just because of the cutting action of miter saws, they are most commonly referred to as chop saws. They also use a chopping motion to make cuts, and thereby mistakenly referred to as “chop saws.” In other words, a miter saw is a power saw which can be used to make miter cuts, cross cuts, and bevel cuts. It does all these tasks quite accurately and quickly.

When using a miter saw, the workpiece is kept against a fence such that it holds the proper position and remains stable when the blade passes through it. After this, a circular blade is moved down slowly to complete the main job. Here, buyers can choose between two types of miter saw: sliding and non-sliding variants.

Some miter saw allows users to cut at any angle, while some include preset angles for standard. Most commonly, 30 degrees or 45 degrees are the most-used measurements by the users. However, some models also allow users to cut at 90-degrees, but they don’t offer the same power as the chop saw do. This saw can be used by manufacturers of aluminum frames and for all woodworkers as well.

The smoother blade of miter saw makes it a perfect choice for making clean and precise cuts. So if you’ve to work with small piping, boards, framing, and all those tasks that involve clean finishing, a miter saw will always benefit you there. Overall, a miter saw is a reliable and handy power tool that can be used by DIYers for general home improvement projects.

Pros

  • It allows you to make angled cuts.
  • Miter Saw provides cleaner and accurate cuts.
  • Comparatively easier to handle.

Cons

  • Not ideal for cutting hard metals.

Difference Between Chop Saw vs Miter Saw

Chop Saw vs Miter Saw

Cutting Blade

A chop saw makes use of abrasive disc or cold-cut blades to make cuts. The blade is generally bigger and appears quite tough & sturdy. Because of tougher blades, this saw gets eligible for cutting hard materials.

On the other hand, miter saw uses a circular blade with teeth that are used for making precise and neat cuts. The blades used in miter saw moves at a rapid speed, but they can be used only for woodworking and light metals like aluminum. Some of the models use carbide-tipped blades that last longer than ordinary steel blades.

Usage

Chop saw and miter saw both have different usage and purpose. A chop saw is useful to cut through a variety of materials. For instance, users can cut different metals (ferrous and non-ferrous), concrete, and even tiles. Most commonly, a general chop saw is used for cutting metals. Talking about miter saw, this type of saw is usually used to cut through the wood.

In some cases, users can also use this saw for cutting other materials. These other materials can be plywoods, plastics, and some softer materials (including soft metals). Moreover, you’re smart enough to acknowledge the usage of a more powerful and less powerful tool.

Ease of Use

You don’t want to trouble yourself with the complexity of usage. Chop saws have got the easiest and straightforward operation. You can only make 90-degree crosscuts with the chop saws, that’s why they are easy to use. The only thing you have to keep in mind is to clamp the workpiece at the correct length before making contact with the blade.

Looking at the miter saw, things go a little more complicated as you have to cut from different angles. So when you have to work with complex materials, you must know the correct angle to work with it.

Safety

Of course, getting a device with the best performance is essential, but the user’s safety is even more important than anything else. When you plug a miter saw with the blade guard, they become safer to use.

A chop saw is relatively less safe to use than a miter saw. As we know, chop saw makes use of an abrasive cutting wheel, which may break on increasing the pressure. In simpler terms, miter saws offer more safety to the users rather than chop saws.

Final Words

We hope that you’re now aware of everything chop saws and miter saws offer. Both saws have different functionalities, features, performance, and usage. However, in most cases, both of them share standard functions. So it’s your job to match an ideal saw with your needs and demands.

Our suggestion is to buy a chop saw, only in the case when you have to deal with harder materials. As only those jobs that demand more power and strength needs a hand of the chop saw. Whereas for general home repairs and woodworking, always turn your head towards miter saws.

About Derek Backman

Hello there, I'm Derek Backman, a full-time woodworker living in Miami, FL. I love to share guides and tips with others in my free time. I'm very passionate about sharing my experience with everyone on TheSawingYard. Thank you.