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Dweller Power here, and we will be discussing what’s the actual difference between a Chop Saw vs Miter Saw in this guide
The thing about these two types of Power Saws is that they both function in a remarkably similar way. The resemblance is almost uncanny between other models of the types. Truth be told, even seasoned woodworkers and carpenters add to the confusion as they call Miter Saw vs Chop Saw interchangeably.
For one, they each have a round cutting surface, a hinged arm, and a fixed stationary base. One might switch one for the other since it’s easy to think they work in the same way.
However, the difference lies between their purpose and the materials appropriate for each.
When you’re into cutting work, it would be wise to know the difference between the two.
Understanding key differences between the Chop Saw vs Miter Saw would save you a whole lot of trouble and time from work error.
This guide will clear up the confusion about Chop Saw vs Miter Saw and guide you on which is best for your needs.
Short Version / TL;DR
Don’t have time to read through the article? Don’t worry, we get you – here’s a brief rundown on our Chop Saw vs Miter Saw guide:
When you’re dealing with projects such as home building, metalworking, and other various projects that need hard metals like rods and thicker sheets to be finished, the Chop Saw is your only option. Unlike the Miter Saw, the Chop Saw is designed for tough metals that require raw power to be cut through. To note, it can also cut through wood with sheer ease, but you are putting yourself in a disadvantageous position if you need different types of cutting.
If you’re planning to work in woodworking and carpentry, with projects that deal with in-detailed precision and accuracy, the Miter Saw is your best bet. You can perform a variety of cuts for your projects with ease and high efficiency.
Here’s a comparison table for Chop Saw vs Miter Saw to easily tell you which is which:
|Features||Chop Saw||Miter Saw|
|Cutting Tool:||Abrasive Wheels||Circular Saw Blade (Toothed)|
|Cutting:||Cross only||Cross, Miter, Bevel, and Compound|
|Method:||Metalworking, Construction, Home Improvement||Woodworking, Carpentry, Frame Work, Trimming, Crown Molding|
|Best On:||Cutting Tougher Metals (Ferrous and Non-Ferrous), Steel, etc.||Wood, MDF, Plywood, Plastic, Softer Metals, Metal Sheets|
|Best For:||Metalworkers, Handyman||Woodworkers and Carpenters|
|Safety:||Moderate – Caution: Abrasive Wheel Breakage may happen||Relatively Safe – Recommended: Blade Guard is a must have|
Don’t have time To read? No worries!
Below are our top picks for your convenience
Dweller Power’s Best Pick
Best Chop Saw in the Market
Dewalt DW872 Chop
- 15-Amp Motor
- Up To 1,300 RPM
- 14-inch Carbide Blade
Dweller Power’s Best Pick
Best Top Range Miter Saw in the Market
- 15-Amp Motor
- Cutting at 0, 33, 9, 45, 48 Degreest
- Dual-Bevel Miter Saw Power House
What is a Chop Saw?
To be simple, Chop Saw is a very powerful saw that can cut through inches thick of hard metal. It is designed for such cutting, where brute force is necessary. It’s tough enough to withstand the force needed to cut through such hard things and to cut through them with ease and precision.
With a Chop Saw vs Miter Saw, however, the Chop Saw has its own limitations. It can only cut at one angle, a 90° Degree angle. Chop Saws are best for making quick straight cuts on tough materials, either singlehandedly or by bulk.
The blade of a Chop Saw has a significant difference from a Miter Saw, a Chop Saw’s blade uses an abrasive wheel. Materials cut from abrasive wheel often tends to be scorching hot afterwards, so it is best to be careful with such materials after cutting.
When it comes to safety, Chop Saws need caution when being used. Three scenarios happen the most when accidents happen. The abrasive wheel can break if not maintained properly or not changed after some wear and tear happen. Second, you guessed it, burns. People get burns from mishandling the material right after cutting. The third one would be eye damage. Cutting with a Chop Saw produces sparks that may reach your eye, and it’s very discomforting to the point of alarming if you’re not wearing proper eyewear.
Chop Saw Pros & Cons
- Fast Cutting for a quick workflow
- Clean 90° Degree Cuts
- Can cut hard materials such as hard metal
- Throws Sparks when cutting
- Extremely Noisy
- Limited Cutting (Can only cut cross)
Chop Saw Recommendation –
DeWalt DW872 Chop Saw
With the DeWalt DW872 in our Dweller Power recommended Chop Saw vs Miter Saw lineup, you can expect raw power. It is unmatched in its power and ability to make smooth, straight cuts with no burrs or tears. Cutting with this Chop Saw would be a breeze because it requires little pressure from the handle. Expect easy cutting with whatever material, whether it’s wood, plastic, heavy pipes, or solid bars.
It comes with a heavy packed 15-amp motor with 1,300 RPM, a 14-inch carbide blade, and a sleek design for anyone who values style.
We put our DeWalt DW872 to the test on angle iron and some rebar. This was no challenge for the saw. Cutting is so easy and smooth that it hardly seems strenuous for the DeWalt DW872.
When we pulled the motorhead down for each cut, we noticed something unusual. Most chop saws have a horizontally aligned spring that tightens when pulled down and loosens when released to hold it up.
The DeWalt spring is oriented vertically. It is much stronger than the lower-end model’s spring, which pushes together rather than coils to create its action. While time will tell if one design is superior, replacing a spring should be easier on the DW872.
As we worked with this chop saw, we noticed quite a few things. One of these was the precision of the fence, vice, and vertical clamp. While most cold saws are awkward to use, this one is designed as a user experience. It is a thoughtful tool that is a step ahead of most other models. With this said, you do want to check for squareness every once in a while. Again, the features that make it great also give it a little wiggle room.
The DeWalt DW872 may be the best and most feature-rich metal cuttings saw you can buy today. It’s certainly one of the most impressive we’ve used. The price will be at the top of the range, but the build quality and feature set make it worthwhile.
Now the price point of this bad boy is what drives some away from it. But just basing the reviews alone shows that it’s not only a worthy buy – it’s actually a great investment. One investment you can never go wrong with for your Power Tool’s Arsenal.
Chop Saw Tutorial for Beginners
What is a Miter Saw?
Not to be confused with a Chop Saw, because they often look alike and have common ground with how they cut material, they make the common mistake of referring to them as a ‘Chop Saw.’
Simply speaking, in this Chop Saw vs Miter Saw guide, Miter Saws are best for cutting angles. The word “Miter,” a verb, means combining two pieces at a 90° degree angle. As such, a Miter Saw’s function is that its head can be adjusted perform at any degree of angle needed. This then makes Miter Saws a must for carpenters, as they can cut and trim wood no matter how complex and sophisticated the project is to get the desired results.
Miter Saw is also fixed in a stationary position, and it is used to make straight or angled cuts for light material (mostly wood).
With that said, it is extremely helpful in projects that deals with woodworking and carpentry. This is because a Miter Saw is designed with accuracy and cutting precision in mind. Miter Saws give your projects a high detailed finish, with accuracy and precision as key.
With technical precision, a kind of Miter Saw, known as a Compound Miter Saw, has the ability to tilt the saw blade on-axis. This gives room for more versatile cuts depending on what kind of project you’re aiming to accomplish.
A quality Miter Saw can make short work of even complicated angled cuts and finish the work swiftly and smoothly.
Miter Saw Pros & Cons
- Designed for Accuracy
- Precision Oriented
- Angular Cutting
- Bevel, Miter, and Compound Cutting
- Safety Assured
- Made for Detail Oriented Projects
- Not suitable for larger material
Not available for making rip-cuts
Miter Saw Recommendation –
DeWalt DWS779 12-Inch Miter Saw
Another one of our Dweller Power’s best recommended Chop Saw vs Miter Saw; Chop Saw lineup.
Best for the taking, the DWS779 12” Sliding Compound Miter Saw is simply beyond the high number of reviews it has. This Miter Saw packs the power enough to make short work of big projects – and with its precision guide, trim work is a no biggie. You can expect your work to be detailed and precise, even if you are a beginner with this beast.
The DeWALT DWS779 Miter Saw is simple to use. You pull the trigger, and the blade gets to full speed while it smoothly lowers down to cut the board. I counted: With the standard configuration, this saw can crosscut up to 13 3/4 inches wide at 90 degrees. If you want to cut something wider than that, you can use the advanced technique of first pulling out the saw toward you, lowering the blade down, and slowly pushing back in.
It comes with an impressive 15-amp motor, but amazingly it’s not overly heavy. Precision wise, it has stops at 0, 33.9, 45, 48 degrees, standard bevel angles.
Another neat feature is that it can cut through lumber that’s up to 6.75-inch thick. Just as impressive, it can cut through a 16-inch-wide piece of wood due to its sliding rails and huge 12-inch blade. Talk about the dimension.
The DeWALT DWS779 12″ dual bevel sliding compound miter saw is one of the top-rated miter saws on the market. At first glance, the most impressive feature is how easy it is to use. However, dig deeper, and you’ll discover that it also has amazing cutting capabilities. This tool can make crosscuts up to 13 3/4″ wide, multiple bevel angle cuts, and more.
Miter Saws often give room for cutting creativity; with the DWS779 12” Sliding Compound Miter Saw, it can bevel both sides beyond 45 degrees. This will save you a lot of time with your projects.
Last, of all, the DEWALT Technology features a state-of-the-art dust containment system, which makes sawdust practically gone. Whoosh. Away. No hassle of cleaning your face afterward.
Miter Saw Tutorial for Beginners
Chop Saw vs Miter Saw: Aspects to Consider
Are you a professional dealing with steel bars, pipes, and other hard metals all the time? Working with metalworking and construction? The Chop Saw can be your tool to finish projects fast and with ease. With a Chop Saws brute force, you won’t wonder why it’s called a ‘Power Tool.’
Even if you’re not a professional metal worker, don’t worry. Having a Chop Saw in your Tool Set can set you apart from the others, with just being able to utilize the efficiency in cutting, you can have a fun time with a Chop Saw.
Are you working mostly on wood and light types of materials? Making detailed precision cuts? Dealing with a specialized kind of project? Then it’s a no-brainer. The Miter Saw is the right one for your work. It’s more suited for people with experience in carpentry and woodworking, but if you’re also invested in DIY creations, then having one in your Power Tool lineup can be a great investment. Sticking with one is a wise choice because it’s versatile for almost all kinds of the woodwork for home use.
Chop Saw vs Miter Saw Best Option: Why not both?
We’ll give you a scenario. If you’re the type who will be building from the ground up, your materials will be needed in cuts, and most of those are steel bars and pipes- this is where the Chop Saw comes in. Now, after the project is constructed, and you need to add additional finishing touches, being an all-around guy with decent to excellent carpentry skills armed with a Miter Saw – trimming out doors and windows with finesse is a walk-in the park.
Chop Saw vs Miter saw Final Thoughts
All that said about Chop Saw vs Miter Saw, We can’t stop you from buying on for your home, but there are very few projects in the home improvement setting that will require the raw power of a Chop Saw. Unless you want to make a hobby out of it, then we completely support your decision.
This ends our Chop Saw vs Miter Saw Discussion.
With that, please always remember that you need a good set. And by ‘good’, a properly organized set of power tools, including power saws, will see you through the best projects. Nothing is impossible with dedication, practice, and patience, and better yet – choosing the right power saw.
We want you to be sure of what you plan to get, please don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
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Henry is a long time Trade Instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology. Henry has been teaching the trade of carpentry for over 15 years and is excited to share his knowledge with the next generation of builders. With his posts you will explore some general terms, tools, and techniques that are helpful for the beginning DIY Enthusiast!. He’ll also provide a list of all the best tips needed to start your building journey right away!