Miter saws have long been one of the most popular saws to use. They are most often used in metalwork, woodwork, and construction.. Due to their versatility, they are a necessary power tool to have around no matter what type of projects you’re taking on. Whether you’re looking for a tool to use for your business or just a handy tool to have around for your DIY projects, a miter saw is a must-have. Miter saws do come in many varieties, making it important to recognize which type is best for your needs, and to purchase the right tool for the job.

Who Needs a Miter Saw?

Miter saws can be found in all sorts of different environments. Most woodworkers would laugh at the idea of not having a miter saw around the shop. Some frugal and experienced woodworkers forego a miter saw in favor of a table saw and a good bit of skill, but this is more to save money than to save on time. Even metalworkers often keep a miter saw around for those difficult angled cuts. Construction workers are lucky if they have a miter saw lying around, as it can save hours of labor that would otherwise be spent trying to make precise crosscuts with other tools.

Miter saws aren’t just for professional or commercial use, either. One of the most valuable aspects of a miter saw is its simple design. Just about anyone can use a miter saw, and even inexperienced woodworkers can make precise cuts without fail as long as you take your time and adjust the settings correctly. 

If you’re already in the market for a miter saw and you want a more in-depth guide to help you decide which one is right for you, check out this comprehensive beginner’s guide made by the experts over at Straight Kerfs. 

Different Types of Miter Saws

There is a miter saw for just about anybody, but if you’re just beginning to look at your options, the different types can be overwhelming. Here’s a break down of the different types available and what they’re commonly used for.

  • Standard Miter Saw

This saw is simply the best for making quick and accurate crosscuts on lumber, metal, and other materials. Although they are not compound saws, standard miter saws still offer a range of angles. Most commonly used for framing cuts, which are usually done at 45 degrees, these saws are reliable, durable, and the least expensive option. Excellent for DIY projects, small shops, and simple construction work.

  • Compound-miter Saw

With the addition of a rotating blade head, compound saws further expand the possibilities for different crosscuts. This is the most popular miter saw for trim work, as it can make complex cuts quickly and efficiently. Although these are typically a bit more expensive than standard miter saws, they still land well within a reasonable budget for a new saw.

  • Dual Compound-miter Saw

Dual Compound miter saws do everything the compound miter saw can do, but the head can rotate to either side. Where a compound miter saw leaves the user flipping their workpieces around every time they need a cut in the opposite direction, a dual compound saw can simply rotate at the head and jump right back in. This is great for professionals who need to complete large projects fast and often, as they save a lot of time but can be a bit more costly.

  • Sliding Compound-miter Saw

A sliding compound miter saw includes a sliding feature which allows the user to move the saw back and forth. This utility is best suited for the woodworker regularly cutting through large-sized wood or other expansive materials. Because the blade is pushed across the material, you can make long crosscuts without having to constantly shift the workpiece as you move along. If you only work with smaller lumber, like in a lot of trim work, this feature might not be necessary.

  • Laser LED Sliding Dual Compound-miter Saw

This is the miter saw that has all the bells and whistles. Practically speaking, most woodworkers could get along fine without the wide range of helpful features and accessories on these high-tech saws. If you can afford one of these, you would be lucky to have it. However, if you’re just looking to work in your garage at home and disposable income is a matter of contention, as with most of us, this probably is not the saw for you.

Buying your first miter saw, or even just looking for a new one, can be a bit overwhelming. The best way to find the right one for you is to take a serious look at what you will be using it for, and what features you won’t need. It’s always better to lean towards a more versatile option if you can afford it, but if money is tight you can still certainly find a miter saw within your budget that will help you complete your work efficiently, quickly, and easily.