Miter Saw vs Circular Saw: Pros, Cons, & Uses

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also participate in other affiliate programs and may earn a small commission from qualifiying purchases.

When you plan to start a new woodworking project, various resources will list their own recommended saws. Some might prefer a miter saw, but others may ask you to go for a circular saw. Deciding between a miter saw vs circular saw and which one is right for you may seem like a difficult task, but it’s actually much simpler than it seems.

It depends upon different crucial factors that you need to know before choosing between the two. You must understand what the saw is capable of doing, and whether it can meet your needs or not.

After hours of research and after getting expert advice, here’s what you need to know.

We have put together a detailed comparison between a miter saw and a circular saw to help you choose which one is better for your particular use.. 

We have mentioned our top-notch recommendations for both the models that are certainly not going to disappoint you. These high-quality materials are durable and extremely easy to use.

Miter Saw vs Circular Saw: Head to Head

What is a miter saw used for?

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw (DWS780)

A miter saw is a powerful tool with a specialized purpose, and it works for cutting wood at various angles. It produces quick and precise cuts. When you are using this saw, you can create window casings, pictures or frames, fences, cupboards and much more.

You can swivel the blade easily to make various angles, thus enabling the you to make cuts per their needs and desires. This saw is a stationary machine that comes with a small fence and a workstation.

The arm of miter saw locks in place to allow accurate cutting.

Types of cuts you can do with a miter saw

Crosscuts

A crosscut is the most effortless cut to make among the four types of cut. It requires the user to cut along the board’s length with a standard angle at 90 degrees. If you prefer cutting a two by four in two, then the miter saw will enable you to get incredibly accurate results.

But you can achieve these cuts with other types of saw too. Thus miter saw is not specific for producing crosscuts. It just enables the user to make precise cuts. 

Miter Cuts

This saw will enable the user to get a miter cut by cutting the angle at the board’s end. The best example of a miter cut is the trim over the door at your house.

A 45 degree angled saw is fitted together for achieving two edges that run into each other. These precise and accurate miter cuts are likely to come from a miter saw. 

Bevel Cut

A bevel cut can equally cut all the board’s ends into an angle. The bevel cut, however, passes through the thickness of the wood rather than across the width.

Doorstops and shims are typical examples of bevel cuts. These are the triangular pieces of wood. If we look at an example of a bevel cut, two baseboards meet on an elongated wall area. They are usually created using bevel cuts. 

Compound Cut

A compound cut is the one combining a miter cut and a bevel cut. By looking at the angled crown molding in the home, you will find a typical example of a compound cut.

The compound cuts usually create those trims that fit together elegantly in the corner. You can even customize the wood by your preferences by alternating the depth of each cut.

Check out our picks for the best miter saw

What is a Circular Saw Used for?

DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake, 15-Amp (DWE575SB)

A circular saw is a versatile tool that is ultimately present in every workshop. This type of saw is a handheld tool and comes with a motorized blade. The blade rotates at high speeds, forming straight cuts to make them with the board’s grain or against it.

Types of cuts you can do with a circular saw

Crosscuts

Like miter saws, you can get crosscuts by simply measuring out and marking the line according to your needs for cutting across the wood. Thus they provide precise and accurate crosscuts.

Miter, Bevel and Compound Cuts

A circular saw can create miter, bevel, and compound cuts with precision. You have to set a miter angle on the saw and then lock it into the place before you cut.

Rip Cuts

These are cuts possible only with circular saws. They are similar to crosscuts and helps the user to cut easily across a plank’s length. It extends the usage of boards.

Plunge Cuts

Circular saws create plunge cuts by putting the blade over the plank and then lowering it downwards.

Miter Saw Skill Level

A miter saw enables you to make bevel, miter, cross, and compound cuts. It is excellent for this level of cuts. The cuts are limited only to these four types.

Circular Saw Skill Level

Circular saw it allows the user to create a wide variety of cuts, and they are highly versatile. They are ideal for making straight cuts, but it is not always a preferable option if you want angle or curve cuts.

Portability

Circular saws are small and don’t require much space, whereas miter saw requires a large area, or it may require its stand. Circular saws are more comfortable to move as compared to miter saws. These saws are very bulky and can’t be moved around.

Check out our picks for the best circular saw

Miter Saw Advantages

Precise Cuts

The miter saw creates cross, bevel and miter cuts. They provide you with precise and accurate cuts. Unlike the circular saw it doesn’t require that you use any external guide for getting an accurate measurement.

You only need to adjust miter saw over an appropriate angle for efficient working.

Tightly Fitted Seams

If you plan to cut some tightly fitted junctures then miter saw is an excellent option for you. These saws can provide accurate cuts for windows and doors trims. You can also get precise cuts for crowns and baseboards.

Simple and Fast Process

You can achieve what you want to without measuring the material or having any gauge with a miter saw. If you’re going to install trims in the house or create any cut and create frames, it would be faster and easier when using a miter saw.

Saves Time

Miter saws let you to create broader cuts. They will make cutting on big boards simpler and easy while saving a lot of time. Cutting with this saw is reliably easy when using an automatic blade. It helps you in making accurate cuts very quickly.

Easy Cross and Bevel Cuts

Bevel and angle cuts are structured using a miter saw. It works more efficiently when producing a compound, cross and bevel cut. Most of the saws are good at making these types of cuts.

Safety

Compared to a circular saw, a miter saw is much safer. There is a range of movement of the arm so that the blade can move in an upward and downward direction. It rarely gives you a kickback when you put safety goggles.

Miter Saw Disadvantages

Less Versatile

Miter saws are not as versatile as circular saws. You can carry the material to the place where you want to cut. Because of this, you can’t achieve a maximum variety of cuts. You can’t split boards with miter saws, and you cannot tear extensive woods easily.

Expensive

As compared to circular saws, miter saws are more costly. They are a unique tool as it can make four different types of cuts. It is expensive too, and not everyone can afford it. A niter saw is not found in every workshop probably because it can cost three times more than a circular saw.

Takes up more space

Miter saws are immobile, and you must have to dedicate an area of your workshop for it. If your workshop is small and there is less space than it may not be a good option for you.

Circular Saw Advantages

Versatility

When we talk about the circular saw, it is highly versatile and the most suitable tool in your workshop. It can make various types of cuts, and it can easily cut any material such as tiles, metals and plastic etc. Moreover, you can take the machine anywhere, whether at the job site or the construction area. 

Rip Cutting

Circular saws are ideal for long cutting and rip cutting. If you prefer to cut over the long board length, then the circular saw is an excellent option for you. It enables you to cut a piece of plywood material easily.

Ideal for Straight Cuts

Circular saws allow you to get a limited number of curved cuts for your projects, but they excel at making ideal straight cuts for the majority of your projects. 

Cost-Effective

When compared with a miter saw, a cricular saw is much more budget-friendly. It also allows you to make all those cuts that a miter saw can as long as you’re willing to take manual measurements.

Circular Saw Disadvantages

Not for making angular and curved cuts

A circular saw can make angular and curved cuts, but they are not ideal for making them. It produces sloppy angles, thus not reliable for making these cuts.

If you prefer to create a perfect angle or cuts, you have to connect an angle, gauge thus requiring the worker to do additional work while taking up much more time. The blade makes it unsuitable for creating these cuts.

Not Safe Enough

When talking about miter vs circular saw, the circular saw is a bit risky. As it can easily cut through any material, it is dangerous and you need to take proper safety precautions when using it.

Miter Saws Worth Considering

1. DEWALT DWS780 Sliding Compound Miter Saw

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw (DWS780)

When looking for an extremely portable and durable miter saw, the DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw comes out on the top. With exceptional quality and tough design, it is the best miter saw available on the market.

The miter saw features an XPS positioning system that provides the worker with adjusted line indication. With a powerful 15 amp motor, it can deliver high power and makes it more user-friendly. There is an adjustable handle design that increases its portability.

With a 12-inch long cutting blade, you can easily perform your daily routine projects. It delivers a speed of 3800 RPM that enables the worker to cut hard materials effortlessly. The efficient dust collecting system can capture 75% dust, making the work easier.

Pros

  • Large cutting blade
  • High motor power
  • Incentive portable

Cons

  • The plate features an elevated part that moves the saw towards the bottom when working.

2. Makita Sliding Compound Miter Saw 

Makita LS1019L 10' Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser

The Makita Sliding compound miter saw is another versatile, designed miter saw with innovative features. It comes with laser technology that makes it a worthy option to consider. The unique design makes it highly efficient and user-friendly.

With 15 amp motor, it is highly influential and needs less maintenance. With high cutting capacity for crown moldings and baseboards, it can perform great cuttings, making it reliable. There is a vast aluminum base for improving stability and ensuring efficient cutting.

The miter saw comes with a smooth start-up, thus increasing the life of the machine. It can miter from 0-60 degrees right and left and can bevel 0-48 degrees right and left, allowing the user to make various cuts.

There is a blade guard for more visibility and a clear line of cut. The machine weighs 72.8 pounds that make it highly versatile and reliable. 

Pros

  • Sheerness and accurate
  • A reliable dust collection system

Cons

  • Acreage built-in design

Circular Saws Worth Considering

1. Hitachi C7ST Circular Saw

Hitachi C7ST 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw (Discontinued by the Manufacturer)

The Hitachi C7ST Circular Saw is worth considering. It is our top pick due to its strength and durability. This heavy-duty machine won’t demand your pocket to be deep down when it comes to quality.

With a 15-amp powerful motor, it enables you to tackle tough jobs. The circular saw comes with a blade speed of 6000 revolutions per minute, ensuring faster, smoother and burn-free cuts. It features a dust blower for improved vision and keeps the workplace clean while cutting.

There is a grip handle for increased comfort and reduced vibration. The dust chute cleans the debris, dust efficiently.

There is a single-handed cut lever for simple and quick adjustments, thus making the machine more reliable. This high built-in machine comes with a five-year warranty making it much more user-friendly.

Pros

  • Smoother and accurate
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Not reliable for long hours of cutting

2. DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw

DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake, 15-Amp (DWE575SB)

The DEWALT circular Saw is one of the best buys for your workshop. It is pretty rugged massive best to perform home projects very well. With a compact and durable build, this miter saw is going to be your best partner at the workplace.

With its different cutting options, it is reliably great to use by professionals. It has a 15 amp motor that will help you cut through tough wood effortlessly. Usually, cutting wood will require much strength to focus only on finishing rather than the power and time that it needs.

Once the trigger is released, the electric bake automatically stops the saw from working. The aluminum base keeps the circular saw leveled, thus minimizing the disturbances ensuring perfect cuts. The integrated parts help you to provide comfortable usage and increases durability. 

Pros

  • Comfortable to use
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth operation

Cons     

  • Blade run-out or wobble

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better circular saw or miter saw?

Miter saws can produce precise cuts, whereas circular saws come with a handheld design allowing the worker to cut in different cuts and angles.
Miter saws are quick and efficient as compared to circular saws. Generally, circular saws are less expensive than miter saws and a better option for small workshops.

Can you turn a circular saw into a miter saw?

You can cut angles using a circular saw but to covet it into a miter saw it requires setting a straight edge or jig and then measuring the angle first. Miter saw it allows the worker to adjust angles in different directions.

Do you need a miter saw?

You need a miter saw if squaring edges cutting miters is your preferable work. These saws are great tools and are highly convenient to use. These tools are great to have but are not essential.

Conclusion

It is always a debate on miter saw vs circular saw for finding which one is the best. When you are out to buy a, saw the vital thing you have to do is keep your purpose in mind. Buying a miter saw can be an investment worth for years to spend.

Well, whatever your goal is, the motor should be powerful enough to manage the task. Circular saws feature high built quality with budget-friendly choices making them reliable for the users.

Our top pick is the DEWALT Circular saw that is built with durable quality and versatile features. With its powerful motor, it enables you to perform home projects very well. It is also a reliable and cost-effective tool to place in your workshop.

shares