Chop Saw vs. Miter Saw: Which is Best for You?
Many people mix between a miter saw and a chop saw, considering it the same tool with just different names. So whether they call it a miter saw or a chop saw, it remains the same meaning in their point of view. It's just that roaring cutting machine that helps you end your massive work in a few moments.
We can't deny the fact that the two saws look almost identical in both appearance and movements they perform. But the vast difference in their function makes them two different tools, unlike what do plenty people think.
We'll clarify every detail about the chop saw and the miter saw, Starting with each tool's presentation, types, where to use, showing the differences between them, then listing the advantages and disadvantages of owning each one.
Once you read all of the information we're going to offer you, you will be expert enough about the topic to explain it to anyone struggling. And more importantly, it will clear your vision wildly to help you make the right decision in choosing which one of the saw suits you and your work better.
What is a chop saw?
If you ever worked or visited a construction site, you've likely already seen a chop saw on that site. As the name symbolizes, the saw can "chop," as in making a downward motion. It is used for trimming materials efficiently. A large construction project could have thousands of pieces of materials that all need to be cut to a specific length. Chop saws are perfect for this and are much faster than using a circular saw. Miter saws would work too, but the larger, more powerful chop saw does it way better. It consists of a motor and cutting wheel mounted on the arm connected to a fixed base plate. Most of them use a 14″ disc for cutting, while miter saws are commonly available in 10″ and 12″. For using a chop saw, one has to pull the handle down, and the blade comes in touch with the material that has to be cut. However, it can only make straight 90 ° cuts through the workpiece. Even though it is limited in the angle of cutting it can do, as we mentioned before, it stays, without a doubt, the perfect tool to make hard materials cuts and cutting long, thin boards, pipe, or metal. We'll be choosing the right blade to invest in according to the type of metal we'll be dealing with.
Chop Saw's Types
We can classify chop saws into various categories. Below enlisted a few of its types:
Wood Chop Saw
Wood chop saws are the most common type; they also are efficient and easy to use, but let's not skip they can't make angled cuts, so if you want to achieve your woodworking effectively, you need to take that into consideration.
Abrasive Chop Saw
This saw is excellent for shops in need of fast cutting of hard metals due to the high blade speed. Besides, it often uses discs with diamond and cubic boron nitride, which last longer than conventional blades. The only con of this type is that they do not leave the workpiece with clean edges, which stays a big worry for some.
Metal Chop Saw
If you work with metal very often, this one is definitely the best match for your work. You will be able to perform clean and fast cuts with it. However, if you ever need to cut through metal but don't have a metal chop saw, you can still accomplish this feat with your regular chop saw. All you have to do is to find a specialized metal cutting blade, and it will do the job for you.
Making cuts with A Chop Saw
Making cuts with a chop saw is relatively easy and does not need any calculations, unlike miter saws. All you have to do is place your workpiece on the cutting board after making the required preparations. The chop's blade only goes upward and downward, making precise straight cuts, making it easy to use. The impressive power of the toothless blades of a chop saw and its size allows you to cut hard materials in several thicknesses while efficiently spinning through it. However, the tool is specially designed for metal and other heavy cutting works, so using it for cutting plastic or any softer materials will quickly reduce the blade's cutting ability. And those materials are precisely the reason why miter saws exist.
What Is A Miter Saw?
As its name refers, the whole purpose of a miter saw is to make miter cuts and crosscuts in your workpiece. It is a fundamental tool for woodworkers since it is primarily designed to cut wood. To have a better understanding of miter saws, let's look back in history briefly.
Credit for the invention of the miter saw is often attributed to Ed Niehaus in 1964. When he had the idea to combine a circular saw with a miter box, he mounted the circular saw on a hinged arm, developing a method of clamping a workpiece in place and using the power saw to crosscut or miter it near-instantly.
Today the miter saw became a quite famous power tool utilized by both professional shops and home workshops. Unlike the previous chop saw, which is frequently used for a massive cutting, this one can even be used for general DIY work such as crown molding, picture frames, boxes, and gates. You will be able to get a lot done in a few time.
Miter saws have a toothed blade mounted on its swing arm that pivots left or right to produce clean and accurate angled cuts. It is safer and simple to use by novices.
Types of Miter Saws
The miter saw is categorized into multiple types, which we want you to differentiate. Here are three common ones:
CORDLESS MITER SAW
This type is the most portable among all types. It is suitable for anyone who works at multiple locations and does not have access to a power outlet since the saw is already battery-powered.
You can even buy additional and replacement batteries if you need to work for a long time.
SLIDING MITER SAW
The sliding miter saw is the type where the blade arm is no longer fixed in a single position, which provides greater flexibility, enables a deeper cut, and allows the cutting of wider boards. You will surely need it if you need to cut in-depth materials.
COMPOUND MITER SAW
Many types of miter saw have different features, such as the compound miter saw, which is designed to perform bevel cuts.
It is especially common as a means of hiding the join between two pieces of wood. Many compound miter saws even have a laser guide in order to locate the cutting point before cutting.
Making cuts with A Miter Saw
There are three main tasks that a miter saw can PERFECTLY complete, and doing it with a different type of power tool will make things more complicated.
- Angled Cuts
These types of cuts are what you would typically call a miter cut. You'll need it for any kind of woodworking project where you need to miter some boards together, in trim work, flooring, and various other DIY projects where you need to cut something at an angle.
The angle is made by turning the saw to one side of the other.
- Bevel cuts
What is a bevel cut? A bevel cut refers to a cut with sharp edges that are not perpendicular to the top of the wood or material. It is a cut in a beveled curve, which is round in profile and has a radius.
One advantage of having a miter saw that would make bevel cuts is to cut an angle into a wide board such as a 1×10. This is easily doable with a sliding saw.
- Compound cut
It is simply a combination of both a miter and a bevel cut. If you have any crown molding in your house, take a look at a corner. Those trim pieces will have been compound cut to meet cleanly in the corner.
Difference between Miter Saw and Chop Saw
Following is a summary of differences between a chop saw and a miter saw from all the information above:
Deals best with tough materials
Deals best with wood and softer materials
Utilized in construction, Home improvement
Used in woodworking, trimming, framing
make straight 90° cuts
Make adjustable angle cuts
Very loud and produce many sparks
safer and easier to use
Too powerful for a home workshop
Suits the needs of a home workshop
It was a long but quite rich, informative article to help you make the best decision to invest your money. We absorbed through it that even if the chop saw and the miter saw have almost the same function, each one has its own place in construction work.
The puissant chop saw will cut through any hard materials when there is a large quantity of work to be done. But when it's time to do the delicate woodworking and small projects, having a miter saw will be broad enough to achieve the best performance and make your work more comfortable. Then we noted different sorts of cutting you can perform. And we analyzed types of both of the chop saw and the miter saw.
We tried our best to give you the complete information you need to distinguish between the two tools clearly. So, it's your job now to decide on what matches your needs and demands better, get your saw, and start working!