In the heated debate about which tool is better, circular saw vs miter saw, there is so single definite answer. In fact, we couldn’t say that the circular saw is better than the miter saw or the miter saw is better than the circular saw. Simply because they are different tools and we couldn’t compare apples and oranges.
So provided that you start working on a woodworking project or building a workshop, and you are thinking about which tools to buy. A circular saw or a miter saw, which one is better for you?
Circular Saw Vs Miter Saw Which Is Best
You have come to the right place. This article will clear up some information about the circular saw and the miter saw, telling you more about what these tools can do and which one is the most suitable for you.
1. About The Circular Saw
The circular saw is one of the most common and versatile tools for any carpenter. If you read the instructions for cutting woods as well as other tools, the circular saw would come up most of the time.
You can use the circular saw for a lot of tasks as well, from simply cutting a straight line, rip cutting to cross cutting. You can use this type of saw for cutting both short and long cuts. You can also use the circular saw for cutting both small pieces of wood and large plywood.
As you can see, the circular saw is very versatile and functional. Not to mention that it is a handheld tool. That means you can easily carry the circular saw around. It is compact in size. So if you have a small working station, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to place the circular saw.
Last but not least, circular saws on the market tend to be very cheap. You don’t have to pay for more than 500 dollars for a high-quality circular saw. That is the reason why the circular saw is an essential cutting tool for many workshops.
The problem with the circular saw lies in its reliability. In order to make the best of the circular saw, you have to know all of the tricks around it, which needs time and experience.
For example, if you simply cut a long straight line with a circular saw, don’t expect it to be straight and precise, unless you are an experienced carpenter with a strong arm. You need to use clamps as well as other accessories such as a track to help you cut a much better straight line.
2. About The Miter Saw
A miter saw, on the other hand, is not as versatile as a circular saw. However, it definitely helps with some specific tasks. Otherwise, why bother inventing the miter saw when we already have the circular saw?
Just like the circular saw, the miter saw can support you to have precise cross cuts for molding or baseboards, to name just a few. In addition, the miter saw is more precise and efficient when it comes to cutting miters and squaring up edges on boards.
Just as the name of the tool suggest, it is best when you want to cut miters quickly and precisely. These miter cut are needed when you want to have a piece of wood with the 45-degree angle, for picture frames, maybe.
It is worth noting that a circular saw can do everything that a miter saw can do. However, the miter saw is not as versatile. For example, the blade of the miter saw can move up and down. As a result, it can be used to cut thin pieces of materials.
Thicker pieces of more than 6 inches would make the task of cutting them with the miter saw a challenge. You couldn’t use the miter saw to rip boards.
3. Should You Choose The Circular Saw Or The Miter Saw
Let’s me compare these tools for you to see which one should you choose. Basically, when you start building up your workshop, you need to think about your budget and what tools you need the most.
Range Of Use
To sum up, the circular saw can be used more than the miter saw. It can be used for cuttings straight lines and curves as well as ripping boards.
The miter saw is not as versatile. It can work with pieces of wood of limited thickness, depending on the models of the miter saw. Ripping boards, for example, is quite hard with the miter saw.
However, for some cuts such as cross cuts and miter cuts, using the miter saw is a better choice. It provides smoother and more precise cuts in a shorter amount of time.
With the circular saw, you can still cut angles. But it needs skills as well as tools – including the straight edges and jigs in order to have precise cuts. Not to mention that you have to be very steady and stable with your hands.
As I mentioned above, you need to consider your budget first. In term of price, circular saws on the market would be cheaper than miter saws.
In fact, the circular saw is the cheapest power tools that you can have. It is cheaper than the table saw or the miter saw. A circular saw with decent quality and durability will not cost you more than 100 dollars. You can even spend as much as 30 dollars for a circular saw.
On the other hand, a miter saw will cost you around 100 to 600 dollars. A lot more expensive I have to say.
But keep in mind that the miter saw tends to be more durable than the circular saw. So if you keep cutting wood for a long time or through intensive uses, the circular saw will wear out much more quickly. And as a result, you have to spend money on buying a new circular saw.
A high-quality miter that last for a long time tends to be a much worthy investment in the long run.
Ease Of Use
You need to consider the ease of use of power tool before you decide to buy it, especially when you have little experience in the woodworking field.
A circular saw is a versatile tool (Which I have mentioned above). However, it does need you to have skills and experience in order to make the best use of it.
Also, you need to have strong and steady hands in order to move the circular saw along the cutting lines smoothly. Otherwise, you would end up having mistakes with these cut lines.
In addition, sometimes a jigsaw alone doesn’t help you with the cutting tasks that you need. For example, if you want to cut angles with the circular saw, you need to set up a jig. And if you want to cut straight lines with the circular saw, you need to use the straight edge.
A miter saw is better in term of ease of use. You can easily adjustment the angles of the miter saw’s blades in a wide range of angles. Not to mention that some of the more advanced miter saws on the market come with laser, pointing out at the cut lines and make it easier for you to follow these lines.
Still, keep in mind that even though the miter saw is easier to use, it would need you to have proper training and knowledge about how the saw functions in order to operate it safely and efficiently.
And also while the circular saw is difficult to use, especially for some specific tasks, if you keep on practicing, it is one of the best tools that you can ever have. When you know all of the tricks around the circular saw, you will realize that it is as easy as other basic power cuttings tools.
In term of sizes, the circular saw is smaller than the miter saw. As a result, the circular saw is much more portable than the miter saw. Still, both of them can be moved around easily. The thing is you can carry the circular saw with one hand while you can’t do so with the miter saw.
Also while you can bring the circular saw to the pieces of wood that you want to cut, you have to carry these piles of wood to the miter saw. Imagine how much energy you have to spend just to bringing the wood you want to cut to the miter saw.
It is worth noting that to trade off for the portability; the circular saw does not come with its own working table.
You need to find a flat surface to place pieces of work before you work on cutting them. On the other hand, the miter saw comes with a working station of its own, making it harder to move around but more convenient before you start cutting anything.
Both of the circular saw and the miter saw have the same triggering mechanism. You need to pull the trigger with your fingers in order to start and stop the blade. It is quite easy for you to turn off both of these tools when something that you don’t want to happen, happen.
With a miter saw, you can handle it without putting your hands near the blades. It also allows you to have more controls over the miter saw than the circular saw.
Finally, both of the circular saw and the miter saw have a little kickback, especially when you start these tools or accelerate them. You should expect these kickbacks to prevent them from scaring you.
4. What You Should Know When Buying A Circular Saw Or A Miter Saw
When you go shopping for a circular saw or a miter saw, you need to pay attention to a lot of factors to ensure that you get the best model.
- For the circular saw: You need choose the size of the circular saw that is the most convenient for you. The size of the circular saw is measured with the length of the blade. The average size would be 7.25 inches. One problem that many people don’t notice is that the circular saw offers both versions for left-handed people and right-handed people. If your left hand is your dominant hand, ask for the left-handed version.
- For the miter saw: When you go out searching for miter saw, you also need to pay attention to the size of the blade, which would determine the depth or the height of the cuts. You also need to choose different types of blades for different materials as well. There are different blades for wood or metal. And last but not least, you need to think about the number of teeth that a blade has. If you want to have smoother cuts, you should buy a blade with as many teeth as possible.
Overall, both of the circular saw and the miter saw are practical and useful tools. They have their own pros and cons and are worth considering when you start building your own working station. I suggest that if you have a limited space as well as budget, you should buy 1 tool and borrow the other. You should go for a circular saw, especially when you tend to do a lot of tasks for your woodworking project.
Over time, when you start doing more specialized tasks like cross cutting, you can invest in a miter saw to do these tasks for efficiently and precisely. You don’t need both of these tools for a functional workshop. But they do make your jobs easier and more efficient.
After all, the decision of which tool- circular saw or miter saw- is better for you, depends entirely on you. I hope with all of the information above, you would be able to make the most informed decision.