buy table saw or miter saw first

Power saws have revolutionized the woodworking industry and even brought many benefits to those that constantly use these tools. Carpenters and woodwork experts have been given the muscle they require to undertake large projects within a short time thanks to these robust power tools. Table saws and miter saws are two of the most outstanding woodwork tools and are prevalent in many workshops globally.

It can be a challenging hurdle when deciding on which of the two power tools to buy first as each one depends on different principles to cut wood. If you are ready and optimistic to take your carpentry skills and prowess to the next level, then you will ultimately need to own both the table and the miter saw.

 However, due to financial constraints, you may opt to buy one first. Your decision on which power tool to purchase first should be based on your functionality needs; thus, you should go for one which specially meets your carpentry needs and specifications. It can be frustrating to buy an expensive one only for it to conduct subpar work. Thus it is crucial to do thorough research before deciding on which power tool to go for.

Woodwork experts and hobbyists need to precisely understand what each power tool is suitable for and why they require it. While a miter saw is ideal for accurate and precise bevel angle crosscuts, table saws are suitable for all types of cuts as it is a multipurpose saw. Unlike the blades that swing downwards and are movable, the blades for the table saw are fixed.

This piece will give you much-needed insight on whether to buy a table or a miter saw first.

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

Is A Table Saw Better Than A Miter Saw?

The decision on which is better between a table saw and a miter depends on your usability as the two power tools have been specially designed to make different types of cuts.

However, a table saw tends to be more suitable because its versatility will make it favorable for a wide range of woodwork and carpentry projects.

A miter saw is perfect for bevel cuts as opposed to lengthwise cuts on long pieces of wood. Thus, it might restrict you only to particular projects as opposed to a table saw, which can make all types of cuts.

If you are familiar with woodwork, then there is a high possibility that you have seen a table saw up-close, and if you are a woodwork expert, you probably use it on the day to day carpentry projects.

However, if you are not conversant with this power tool, it is a flat table equipped with a saw blade for making a variety of cuts. They have circular blades that protrude from the surface of the table via a slit. The blade is attached to a motor underneath the table and can be lowered or raised. 

On the other hand, a miter saw is a power tool with a circular blade attached to a swing arm and can be lowered onto the work-piece to make accurate and precise cuts.

Although it utilizes the same concept of a rotating blade to cut pieces of wood, a miter saw is specially designed for specific functionality. That is, precise crosscuts and angular cuts as opposed to a table saw that is general purpose.

A table saw is most common in woodwork stations, and it’s used by most renowned carpenters and woodwork experts globally as it is more versatile and multipurpose. However, it would be best to go for a saw that will be ideal for your cutting specialization

Here’s a video that will help you understand the differences:

Which Saw Should I Buy First?

Although both miter saws and table saws have been specially engineered to give precise and accurate cuts, a table saw tends to be more suitable as it multipurpose and can be used on a variety of boards and pieces of wood. If you are undecided on which of the two power tools to purchase first, you should consider buying a table saw due to its versatility and ease of use.

However, if you have the financial capabilities to buy the two robust power tools at the same time, you should go for them. This will help you increase productivity as you will be able to undertake a lot more woodworking  projects with less hassle and time.

Combining the specialty of a miter saw with the one for a table saw will improve your final products’ quality due to improved precision and accuracy.

Choosing Between a Table Saw and a Miter Saw

To avoid making an irrational decision, you should consider a number of factors to decide on which power tool is ideal for you based on your specialty and cutting needs. The following are some vital factors to consider.

  • The Width of the Saw Blade

Before buying any of the two power tools, you should first analyze their ability to cut woods lengthwise. It is important to note that the saw blade’s width will determine the length you can cut with a miter saw. Since a miter saw functions by lowering the circular blades spinning, it may be impossible for it to make cuts that are longer than its blade’s width. Miter saws come in 12 inch, 10 inch and 8-inch widths. The broader blades are essential for cutting more comprehensive wood pieces, such as large crown molding and siding planks.

An exception to the blade-width rule is the sliding compound miter saw, which is equipped with gliding blades that can move back and forth on a rail to make cuts up 16 inches in length. On the other hand, a table saw can cut the length of a board because the saw blade is stationary, and the piece of lumber is fed into the blade.

  • Portability

If you can’t decide between a table saw and a miter, you should consider your project needs and whether you can move it from one working station to another. Although some of the modern table saws come with pre-installed wheeled stands that enable users to roll them from one point to another, most table saws considered stationary are fixed with bolts onto a solid steel leg making them unwieldy, heavy, and impossible to move.

On the other hand, most mitre saws weigh about 50 to 60 pounds and can be quickly loaded on the trunk of a car or the back of a truck or just carried when required. However, if you are not a mobile woodwork expert and intend to undertake all your duties in a workshop, you could opt to bolt it to a fixed counter shop.

  • Safety Features

Before deciding whether to buy a miter saw or a table saw, you should first consider the safety features to avoid unprecedented accidents as you undertake your woodwork duties. It is important to note that all power tools can be hazardous, and thus the manufacturer’s safety guidelines should be followed to the letter. More injuries occur while using a table saw as opposed to a miter saw. Most of these injuries result from kickback, which may arise if the wood being cut is thrown backward as the user pulls the wood onto the spinning blades.

On the other hand, most accidents caused by miter saws are more often a result of attempting to switch a hand, lowering the blade with the hand holding the wood, and, in the process, inadvertently crossing an arm or hand in front of the spinning blade.

It is essential to buy a power tool equipped with advanced safety technological features. This helps to ensure that the power tool is fit and safe to use.

Generally, both miter saw and table saw have been specially designed to help carpenters and woodwork experts in the accurate and precise cutting of woods. However, a table saw tends to be more suitable due to its versatility, making it ideal for making different types of cuts. If you are undecided on which power tool to buy first, you should go for a table saw.