When do I need a miter saw? Options and alternatives

Before dropping some cash on a brand new miter saw you probably want to ask yourself “Do I need a miter saw?”. It’s a fair question, why buy something if you already have the tools needed for the project at hand? Some things you need to consider might be, will I use it often? Do I have another tool that can get the job done? Is there a cheaper alternative? Or should I rent?

No matter what project you have on the go, we got you covered!

If you are simply looking to fix a few pieces of trim around the house, and that’s it. You’ll only need to make a handful of simple cuts. A miter box with a hand saw will be more than enough, and both can be purchased for under $10.

Here’s a great little related video:

Similarly, will you only need a miter saw for a single project and can’t see yourself using the miter saw in the near future? Then the above option might still be a good one. Alternatively, if it’s a bigger one-off job, you can rent a great miter saw from most big box home improvement stores for $30-$50 a day. This will save you in the long run, plus the rental saws are usually higher end models!

If you need to regularly use a miter saw for miter and bevel cuts you may need one, however, you might still have alternative options available to you.

What do I need a miter saw for?

If you need to cut boards and planks to length, frequently, then you’ll want a miter saw. The ease of bevel and miter cuts that a miter saw can complete is parallel to none. Frequent trim work is going to be made much easier with a miter saw.

Someone building decks for a living is going to be best friends with their miter saw, as then they need to cut planks to length all day every day. If this sounds like you go grab a miter saw.

“Do I need a miter saw?” is a common question for beginner woodworkers starting out in the hobby. Owning a miter saw can open the door to many great woodworking projects. However, you should be aware that there are still alternatives to owning a miter saw. 

Hobbyists should consider how they invest in shop tools. That $300-$400 spent on a miter might have gone farther on a table saw or other tools, we’ll get into this below.

Do you need a miter saw if you have a table saw

I’ve written on whether you should get a miter saw before getting a table saw. The answer is pretty simple, unless you have some uncommon specific needs for certain projects. The answer is table saw

A good table saw with a custom sled can perform miter, bevel and compound cuts, just like a miter saw can. The miter saw can do all these much faster and in a more compact space, but if you have access to a table saw and only need a miter saw occasionally, just stick with your table saw.

Again, the money spent on a miter saw could likely be put to better use. Do I need a miter saw? Not necessarily. Especially if you have a tool that can accomplish the same tasks. Speed and ease of use are the only merits a miter saw has over a table saw.

If you’re a beginner woodworking or hobbyist you might be better off spending your money elsewhere.

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