Miter And Chop Saws: Choosing The Right Saw For You!

If you’re in the market for a new miter saw, you have lots of options! You might even be looking at miter and chop saws, thinking they have the same functionality. 

Stop right there! While both types of saws share a lot of similarities, there are major differences.

What a saw is called may vary from region to region, but typically a chop saw does not have a miter gauge and can only make straight cuts.

Miter saws are typically for making various angled cuts to wood. On the other hand, chop saws are for cutting harder material such as metal. 

Here’s a video showing off a chop saw for metal:

Both types of saws are designed for different uses and also come with blades that may not work for the task you have.

The term chop saw is often used and interchanged with chop saw or cut-off saw. These saws share a lot of common features but they are different. Each saw type is better suited for different jobs. Trying to substitute a miter saw where you need a chop saw might result in damaged material or even an injury!

First, miter saws have much more functionality than a chop saw. They are used to cut lighter materials with fine precise cuts. Miter saws allow you to change the angle of the cut and even the bevel.

Related post: Single VS Dual Bevel Miter Saw 

With miter saws you can cut everything from heavy barn wood to fine trim. You’ll get great precise cuts that will make your trim work look professional. You might even be able to cut softer metals with a miter saw, but you might want to rethink doing so.

Miter saws are not as powerful as chop saws. Chop saws run with much more torque to cut through hard metal. Attempting to cut metal with a miter saw, may result in damaging the blade, saw, or worse YOU!

Miter And Chop Saws

Alternatively, chop saws are much more powerful. They give up functionality in favour of raw power. Some chop saws even allow you to make angled cuts! Does this mean you should cut wood with a chop saw?

No! You’ll certainly cut through the material. However, the wood will likely have bad tear out or burn damage from the blade. Using a blade suited for wood will help reduce these things, but a miter saw will always result in a better cut.

Moreover, the type of blade your saw uses also  makes an impact. Most chop saws have a grinding blade needed to cut through tough metals. These types of saw blades will cause a lot of damage to the material if you were to try to use it with wood.

miter and chop saw

A miter saw’s toothed blade is better suited for cutting through wood. whereas , a grinding blade will work better for steel. 

You can certainly purchase chop saw blades that have teeth and will cut wooden material. However, you’ll likely still find a miter saw to be a better fit for your project. 

In short, a blade is designed to cut, and that’s what it’ll do. But, using the right blade for the material will always yield better results.

Decision Time!

Wrapping it up, we hope this makes your decision between miter and chop saws clearer. Choosing which features to go with largely depends on the types of projects you have.

 If you need to be making various angled cuts with wood, you’ll need a miter saw. You’ll have finer cuts with minimal tear out for trim jobs that will look great!

If you need to cut metal piping, steel brackets or angle iron, you’ll need a chop saw. With the right blade for the material you’ll be able to make quick work of the metal!