Dweller Power here; we want to clear this small confusion with new woodworkers, carpenters, and DIY handymen.
As we know, the difference between a Table Saw vs Miter Saw can be quite confusing.
Truth be told, you might agree that when you look at these two kinds of power saws, they have a significant resemblance to each other, but a closer look will tell us otherwise.
Both are designed to take tasks that deal with cutting wood (mostly) and metal sheets and perform a wide range of cutting methods – something all woodworkers and carpenters essentially need.
Power Saws have changed the woodworking industry by giving us DIY enthusiasts, carpenters, and woodworkers the machine needed to finish our projects in the shortest possible time.
This guide will clarify Table Saw vs Miter Saw confusion 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 Table Saw vs Miter Saw.
Table Saws are made to make long cuts and rip cuts. It will cut through wood and sheet materials. Table Saws are also cut like Miter Saws, but the table is angled, not the saw.
Miter Saws consists of the blade mounted on a pivoting/moving arm. It makes angled cuts, beveled cuts, and compound cuts. Miter saws are better for creating frameworks, crown molding, and base molding.
Here’s a comparison table for Table Saw vs Miter Saw to easily tell you which is which:
|Features||Table Saw||Miter Saw|
|Versatility:||Multi-purpose Saw for All Types of Cutting||Trimming and Angular Cuts|
|Cutting:||Ripping, Cross, Angular||Cross, Miter, Bevel, and Compound|
|Method:||Fixed Blade – Moving Base||Pivotal Blade – Fixed Base|
|Accuracy:||Fairly Good (Need Guide)||Very Precise|
|Best On:||Plywood, Planks, Logs||Frame Work, Trim Work, Base Molding, and Crown Molding|
|Safety:||Accident prone||Relatively Safe|
Don’t have time To read? No worries!
Below are our top picks for your convenience
Dweller Power’s Best Pick
Best Table Saw in the Market
Dewalt DWE7491RS Table Saw
- 15-Amp Motor
- 10-Inch Blade
- Built-In Stand
- Built-In Fence System
Dweller Power’s Best Pick
Best Miter Saw in the Market
Dewalt DWS715 Miter Saw
- 15-Amp Motor
- Up To 4,000 RPM
- 12-Inch Miter Saw
- Sliding Fences
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Usability
Table saws are the most common type of power tool in the woodworking world, making up roughly 80-90% of the market. Think of it that a table saw is a circular saw that sits on a base, allowing you to control and manipulate your workpiece much like a workbench would allow you to do. The best table saws are typically used by people during trade labor or professional woodworkers.
While these machines have many benefits, three of the main drawbacks with using them is that they are equipment heavy, can be difficult to transport and they do not provide as much support as miter saws.
As a result of their heavy nature, they are difficult to lug to and from work sites. When it comes to moving the machine, the miter saw is much easier. The miter saw is also very convenient as you can move them around much more easily due to the lack of a large base for the saw.
A table saw can cut a variety of wood materials such as 2x4s, plywood and sheetrock while a miter saw excels at cutting wood trim, sheetrock, metal and other materials that require more precise cuts. While both tools have their own strengths and weaknesses, many people find that these two tools compliment each other well by utilizing both in their work process.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Variations
A table saw is categorized into a job site table saw, a cabinet table saw, or a hybrid table saw. A job site table saw is the smaller version of the three that is typically used by wood shops and construction workers. While a cabinet table saw is designed to cut wood for furniture-related projects. Hybrid saws are a combination of both job site and cabinet table saw with special features incorporated into the machine.
For the miter saw, it is divided into two. The compound miter saw and sliding compound miter saw. A compound miter saw has a long base that can be positioned parallel to your body, allowing you to cut angles that are larger than 90 degrees. A sliding compound miter saw is very similar but smaller and portable.
Functionality and controls of both the saws vary. The miter saw has more control options including the ability to raise or tilt the blade, rotate the blade up to 360 degrees, adjust for height of cut and angle tool rest which allows you to make longer cuts.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Capabilities
The two most important differences have to do with the saws’ capabilities. The table saw allows for a more straight-forward assembly, while the miter saw offers greater flexibility when it comes to making cuts.
The table saw is simply designed for assembling materials that are connected end-to-end in a straight line. Its flat surface functions as a platform for positioning parts and boards. A sliding blade can be easily installed beneath this platform to offer support as you slide them against each other through the table’s central opening.
Many people feel that this setup is easier to control than the miter saw because you never have to reposition your hands or arms while working on any particular piece of wood.
The miter saw, on the other hand, is designed to allow its user to cut angles and curves more easily. There are two key differences between the two in this area. First, the table saw’s sliding blade can only be used to make straight cuts. Second, it can only support a single piece of wood at a time. Although you can cut multiple boards with a miter saw at one time, you have to place them in either an angle or beveled position before starting your cuts. While these two design features provide clear advantages for those who take their woodworking seriously, they may not be enough reason alone to choose one type of saw over another.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Types of Cuts
The greatest difference between the two types of saws is also the most important. While all table saws are capable of making multiple types of cuts, a miter saw can only make three distinctive ones: miter, bevel and compound angles. Its ability to make more complicated and advanced curves, such as a radius or a curved cuts allow it to be used for projects that have more specialized design elements.
The table saw is an amazing tool if you need to make straight cuts because you don’t need any additional accessories. You just need the table itself and the flat blade underneath it. By cutting the wood in a perpendicular direction, you can obtain straight cuts without any difficulty. However, this is where the table saw stops offering straight-line cuts at an even length.
If you need to make board-to-board cuts using a table saw, you will not have to worry about cutting one too short or one too long because the flat surface of the table can accommodate all of your boards with equal ease. Any uneven pieces will be cut down to size by using them as scrap wood in other projects.
A Miter Saw is also compared for tongue and groove cuts from table saw and routers.
Nonetheless, both table saw and miter saw can achieve cuts like Miter Cut (also known as Angled Cut), Compound Miter Cut, Rip Cut, Straight Cut, Cross Cut, Bevel Cut, and others as a standard.
You can certainly make angled or curved cuts with a table saw – it just takes more work and a little bit of ingenuity.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Accuracy
Because of the table saw’s design, it is much easier to cut straight lines with it than a miter saw. The main reason for this is that cutting boards on a flat surface leads to more accurate results. On the other hand, miter cuts need to be made at an angle. This means that you always have to hold your hands, arms and body in an awkward position as you grip the board and push it against the blade.
Even so, it is still possible to make multiple exact measurements with a miter saw. The key to doing this is to set your template, mark the wood before the blade intersects it and then try your best to cut along your markings as closely as possible. The results are not nearly as accurate as they would be if you were using a table saw, but they are satisfactory.
If you need an extremely accurate piece of work done, however, a table saw will always deliver better results than a miter saw. The reason for this is simple: because it is much easier to cut straight lines with it.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Power Requirements
Another difference between the two power tools that you should take into account when choosing one over the other has to do with their power requirements. The table saw generally requires a greater amount of power. Since its blade can only be in one position at a time, the motor in the table saw must rev up and down as it cuts different parts of the wood.
The power needed to operate a miter saw is much lower because you can cut at angles and curves much more easily than you can using a table saw. Also, because the miter saw uses gravity as its mechanism for holding boards in place, there is never any stress put on the motor while cutting wood.
If you are building large or complicated furniture pieces, such as beds or desks, tablesaws will always be better due to their larger power requirements. As long as you have an outlet with enough power to supply your saw, you will not have any problems.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Kinds of Saw Blade
Most often both of them uses a circular saw blade but those have a different material composition from each other, as well as blade compatibility. They are equal power tools and generally the only thing you have to watch out for is a good fit.
Table saw uses a high-speed steel blade that can be adjusted to different angles, while miter saw uses both a high speed steel and a carbide blade. Miter saw therefore requires more care in keeping it fastened.
In terms of flexibility, a table saw blade can be a dado blade, standard rip blade, or a thin kerf blade. Something not available in a Miter Saw.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Features
Another feature that would make a miter saw over a table saw is the ability to adjust the angle of the blade. This feature could come in handy on lumber pieces that are not perfectly straight or flat, such as paneling or window sills.
A couple other features that the miter saw has over the table saw include the ability to tilt your board so you can cut at an angle and a laser guide for making straight cutting lines. If you are looking for other features, you should take a look at each of them individually to see which one you like best.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Price
Another huge difference between the two tools is the price. A Miter saw can be bought off-the-shelf for as little as $200 – a low price for such an important and powerful tool. Table saw prices are slightly higher, but still very reasonable.
Miter saws are not only cheaper than table saws, however. They are also still powerful and can even cut boards at angles or curves, making them a good optional saw at cutting compound angles than their table counterpart. This gives you more precise control over your cuts and a greater ability to use them in different designs and applications.
Overall, however, when it comes to the features for price comparison, a table saw can achieve virtually all things a Miter Saw can do and much more.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Safety
While both of these tools are sturdy and capable pieces of equipment when used properly, some people may still want to opt for a miter saw over a table saw because it can be dangerous to cut wood on the flat surface of the table. The widespread use of a miter saw in schools is certainly one reason why people feel this way. However, there are some other reasons that override this concern.
First, the blade can only be in one position at once so there is no chance of accidentally cutting yourself if you use it correctly. Also, the wider surface area of the table makes it significantly easier to work on a larger project. In addition, there are no exposed blades that leave you in danger of being sliced if you are careless.
A Table saw also has more safety features like a stock or external miter gauge, a blade guard, dust collection port, and a blade diameter gauge. This is of course because the risks of running a table saw is higher than running a miter saw.
Table saw vs Miter saw for laminate flooring
For laminate flooring, it is important to keep your fingers away from the blade as it could be dangerous if you get cut.
The table saw can be used for cutting laminate worktops (in sheet form). However, this method is not ideal because of the fact that laminate worktops can only be put on with a special adhesive base pad so as to avoid damaging the surface. A miter saw could also be used with this method since both will use the same sliding table.
Table saw or Miter saw for deck building
Where to use which saw depends on what you want to do. A good general saw is great for any type of building or cutting wood. However, a miter saw is better if you are doing something like crown moulding and cutting it with a compound angle.
If you are looking to build a deck, then look at combination kits and buy the saw that can hold all the necessary parts (including the railings) and accessories (generally a big set of guide rails) in one place. Most often a Table Saw can be more of help here because Decks needed to be constructed from planks of wood which a table saw can easily provide.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I get a Radial Arm Saw if I have a table saw or miter saw?
It highly depends if you are a professional or a hobbyist. If you’re a professional, having a radial arm saw in woodworking is a must. If you’re a hobbyist, the powers of the table saw and miter saw is more than enough for your projects.
Should I get a Band Saw if I have a table saw or miter saw?
It highly depends if you are a professional or a hobbyist. If you’re a professional, having a Band Saw in woodworking is a must. If you’re a hobbyist, the powers of the table saw and miter saw is more than enough for your projects. But most often a personal comparison with a table saw vs band saw is best so you can make your own guided decision.
Should I get a Circular Saw if I have a table saw or miter saw?
It highly depends if you are a professional or a hobbyist. If you’re a professional, having a Circular Saw in woodworking is a must. If you’re a hobbyist, the powers of the table saw and miter saw is more than enough for your projects.
Should I get a Chop Saw if I have a table saw or miter saw?
It highly depends if you are a professional or a hobbyist. If you’re a professional, having a Chop Saw in woodworking is a must. If you’re a hobbyist, the powers of the table saw and miter saw is more than enough for your projects.
Table Saw vs Miter Saw Final Thoughts
Aspects to Consider
- Project Size: Do you work with large or small projects?
- Workspace Availability: Do you have extra room for Power Saws?
- Power: Do you require the output of Power Saws?
- Versatility: What kind of projects do you work on? How about the types of cuts?
When it comes down to which type of Power Saw you want to buy, whether it’s a Table Saw or a Miter Saw, you need to prioritize what types of projects you’re into. Both are magnificent types of Saw Machinery, and I want to tell you – take your time and analyze what you really need.
Location preferred features and workload should be considered when deciding between a Table Saw vs Miter Saw. Whether you are a handyman, a carpenter, a woodworker, artisans should consider both saws and how they can benefit them. That includes you.
Summary: Table Saw vs Miter Saw
To sum up our Table Saw vs Miter Saw discussion here are the key information:
Table Saws make light work of more raw materials- and offers a diverse way of cutting to get whatever you need for your projects. It’s also beginner-friendly, although safety can often be an issue. Fast production of big materials sized by cutting to smaller ones, the Table Saw is your best bet. No other Power Saw can match the diverse cuts this can do- although not as precise as a Miter Saw, it still works wonders.
Miter Saws give your projects a high detailed finish, with accuracy and precision as key. It is often most suited for experienced carpenters who have no room for error when working on projects. But beginners wanting to specialize in detailed work needs to put their foot forward and work with a Miter Saw.
Best Option: Why not both?
Another option would be to have both in your Power Tool Arsenal. It’s surely an investment, but an investment you will never regret. Having the skills of making quick work of chunks of wood and stacks of ply-wood with a Table Saw, at the same time doing various projects with those pieces with a Miter Saw, would simply be amazing!
This ends our Table Saw vs Miter Saw Guide.
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!