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Miter Saw vs Circular Saw – What’s the Difference

Miter saw and circular saw are the most essential and famous tools used in woodworking projects. Miter saw vs circular saw is a common topic among DIYers and carpenters. Many famous craftsmen use each or both of these tools.

So, which one is the best among them? There is no clear-cut answer to this. Both of these tools have their advantages and purposes.

I remember being confused about this when I started my own workshop. I had to make many compressions and charts. Now I have the perfect tool for my work.

So this article focuses on giving you a comparison between the two so that you can also make the right decision.

Circular Saw vs Miter Saw : Which One Is Right For A Beginner?

What is Miter Saw?

Miter saw, commonly referred to as a circular chop saw, is one of the most accurate and beginner-friendly woodcutting devices. There is hardly any carving store that does not have this tool. It replaced the two-way cutting saws and brought about a revolutionary change in the wood carving industry.

What is Miter Saw

It is a specialized power tool that has a 10-to-12-inch circular blade mounted on a movable arm. You have to put the wood on the table, pull the spinning blade down, and it will cut the piece in a short controlled motion.

The distinguishing feature of this machine is, however, the miter index. It changes the angle of the blade. So, you can do precise angle cuts with it. 

Read More- How Many Amps Does A Miter Saw Use

Types of Miter Cuts:

The purpose of a miter saw is to cut, trim, and mold. This power tool can accurately make miter, bevel, compound, and cross chops.

Miter cut is usually done at the edge of the wood piece. It is a sideways slash. You can see this cut in the joint of the picture frame, box doors, etc.

A bevel chop is more like an upward and downward slope. You have to cut the edge of two boards into an angle.

Compound slashes the mixture of the bevel and miter cuts.

Cross chops pretty straightforward. You have to cut the length through the board at a 90-degree angle.

Check out our in-depth comparisonDewalt Miter Saw DWS779 VS DWS780

What is Circular Saw?

The circular saw is another power tool that was invented in the late ’70s. It is a hand-held tool with a rotatory circular blade. In the hands of the skilled carpenter, it can cut in almost all angles.

What is Circular Saw

It can cut just about anything, even metal. The saw comes in the right-hand and left-hand variation. For tight budget people, this tool could be a good option.

The spinning blade rotates back and forth to make straight cuts. For its various cutting facilities, it has gained the title of the most versatile saw for woodworking.

This power tool comes in various sizes. You can find the blade size from 3 to 16 inches. So, you can use any size depending on your work. This blade’s fascinating factor is that you can use either electricity or a rechargeable battery to power it.

Types of Circular Saw Cuts

Like the miter saw, the circular saw can make a cross, bevel, miter, and compound slashes. But rip cutting is the reason why circular saw has gained this much recognition. When we think about comparing miter saw vs circular saw, the circular saw indeed gets an extra point for its chopping versatility.

In the case of cross-cut, you go vertically across the board. It is a small cut. However, in rip slashing, you go across the length of the board. It is an extended continuous cut.

Difference Between Miter Saw and Circular Saw

Difference Between Miter Saw and Circular Saw

Here is some quick comparison between the two:

Price: Money is the main factor for many. So, if you want a budget-friendly tool, then you should go with the circular one. The price ranges from $20-$50. On the other hand, a miter saw is costly, ranging from $200-$500

Accuracy: Accuracy is the main difference between a miter saw and a circular saw. Miter saw is vastly accurate, whereas circular saw is less accurate. But in the hands of an experienced, skilled carpenter, it can cut like a beast.

Portability: Miter saw isn’t portable. You need a table or workbench for it. It is best for permanent woodshop and longtime use.

The circular saw is portable, so you can carry it anywhere. Some even come with a cordless option. You won’t even have to plug it into a socket for it to work.

Easiness: Miter blades are easy to use, but circular blades take time to master.

Versatility: Miter saw is best for angular slash. It is less versatile. Other than the four kinds of cuts, you can’t make any other chops. The circular saw is known for its versatility. You can make various long and short cuts with it.

Pros and Cons of Miter Saw VS Circular Saw

There is no such thing in this world that doesn’t have its merits and flaws. Likewise, miter saw and circular saw have their good sides and less good sides. Both have some minor flaws so, let’s not call them bad sides.

Miter Saw Pros
  • It is very precise and accurate.
  • It is simple to use
  • It saves precious time.
  • Good safety procedure
Miter Saw Cons
  • It is not portable
  • Costly
Circular Saw Pros
  • Easy to move around.
  • Can do all kinds of cuts.
  • Easily affordable.
  • It comes in the left hand and right-hand variances.
Circular Saw Cons
  • Not easily mastered.
  • Less accuracy.

You might also be interestedcomparison between 10 Vs 12 Inch Miter Saw:

Which Miter Saw will be Best if you Work From Home?

If you want to buy a miter saw for home use, then it is best to buy the one that gives you the maximum facility. In that case, you have to widen your budget. Because you won’t find any good miter saw at a low price.

Either the parts will come undone, or the blades will be dull, or there won’t be enough safety measures. You must have proper safety measures if you have children at home who often pokes around your woodworking station. So that’s why a good-quality power tool is necessary

We recommend DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw. You can easily purchase it from Amazon or other local stores. At $350, you will get an excellent cutting experience.

The product comes with a 12-inch blade. Also, it includes a carbide blade, blade wrench, and user guide. The item weighs 56 pounds and has a dimension of 21x17x17 inches.

The most significant feature is its cutting power due to its powerful motor. It can cut up to 6.75 inches. The saw has a safety lock so, don’t brood about anyone getting hurt. Compared to others in the market, this one gives you the most advantages.

What is the Best Small Circular Saw?

People comparing miter saw vs. circular saw often goes with the option of a mini circular saw. It makes both straight-line cuts and cross-line cuts. So many prefer it for its two in one facility.

For a small circular saw, we recommend Compact Circular Saw. Small circular saw WORX WORXSAW 4-1/2” WX429L mini size makes it easily movable. This small tool has impeccable cutting depth for its size. Surprisingly it can cut up to two stock limbers.

Due to its left side blade optimization, you will have a clear vision of your work. It is even lighter than a regular circular saw. It weighs only 2 pounds. So it is easy to control.

For $50, you can get one of the best power tools. It has a speed of 3500 RPM, so it’s best to be careful while working with it. The best thing about this saw is that you can work with it even if you are a complete beginner.

Are Mini Circular Saws Any Good?

Mini circular saws have many advantages. You can easily carry it, quickly use it, and most importantly, effortlessly exercise it. With a little practice, you can maneuver it in various scenarios.

Some call it a circular miter saw for its sideway cutting facilities. Because it is such a lightweight machine, you can quickly learn angular cutting.

But you can’t use it for in-depth cutting. So you can’t cut big boards with it. You can mostly carve small things with it.

Frequently Asked Questions[FAQ]

1. Can circular saw be used as miter saw?

Answer: Yes, with enough experience, you can use it. It is tough to make angular cuts with a circular saw. But with enough experience, you can even make miter cut with a circular saw.

2. Are miter saws dangerous?

Answer: No, it has many safety measures installed. But it is best to be careful while using it.

3. How dangerous is a circular saw?

Answer: Circular saw is generally really safe. But it spins fast while cutting the wood. So, you have to maintain caution while cutting wood.

4. What size circular saw should I buy?

Answer: You have to buy the blade according to your work. If you have heavy work, then buy a large blade. For smaller pieces, you should use small blades.

5. Which is the best miter saw for the money?

Answer: If you can spend money, we recommend DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw, 12-Inch (DWS779)


In the end, there is no clear winner in the battle of the miter saw vs. circular saw. You have to compare these two and find what suits you the best. If money is not a factor for you and you are a beginner, then it is best to invest in a miter saw.

But for versatility or short-time work, it is best to go with a circular saw. You can even go for both if you want to keep working with wood. Either way, you won’t lose anything and have an excellent cutting experience.

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Hi! I'm James D. Miller, a professional pro woodworker, have 10 years of experience as a woodworker and 12 years of expertise as a saw user. I've revealed this power saw review site for you guys who have a genuine interest in power tools. Thanks for showing your affinity for the review blog. Find me on Twitter here. Happy reading.

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