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Scroll Saw vs Miter Saw-Which One Should I Pick?

Scroll Saw vs Miter Saw

Making intricate and angular designs on wood is impossible with just a hand saw, a backsaw or a bow saw—you need something more. Powered gadgets like scroll saws or miter saws spring into action when you are aiming to make some complex wood-working designs.

But how would you know which one to buy? You first need to understand the features of these two different saws and analyze the purposes they serve. When it comes to scroll saw vs miter saw, each stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the other and will not back down no matter what!

Scroll saws and miter saws are pretty different from one another. Scroll saws are great for making intricate designs, thanks to their reciprocating blades and flexible arm designs. On the other hand, miter saws are excellent for making angular cross-cuts—owed to their fence feature and the miter index.

This article will walk you through the descriptions of each, followed by an at-a-glance comparison chart to assist with your purchase decision. Let’s read more to find out what sets the two apart!

Scroll Saw vs Miter Saw

        miter saw vs scroll saw VS scroll saw and miter saw

Scroll Saw:

A scroll saw is quite popular for its multifaceted usability. It is useful when you are looking to make intricate designs on your wood-panel, metallic surfaces, and other materials. The blades of a scroll saw are quite fine making them fit for making patterns, designs, wedges and whatnot.

The name ‘scroll’ has derived from the traditional use of the word that basically meant to make sculptural art and crafts. A scroll saw does not utilize a continuous loop, contrary as to what many may believe. Instead, scroll saws make use of a reciprocating blade, that is replaceable and attachable via a pre-drilled hole, therefore you would not need any entry slots in order to produce precise interior cuttings.

The tooth count of the scroll-saw blade and its razor-sharpness make them the best fit for getting those intricate designs that you have been looking for out of minimal effort. Not only that, but most brands of scroll saws come with some extra perks—take the lamp and dust blower for example.

The lamp attached to the extendible arm of the machine allows illumination in a dimly lit workshop especially if you are planning to work on a DIY project after dark. The dust blower is an amazing addition too—it comes with a pipe and a nozzle that blows air at different pressure intensities to keep your work area neat and tidy.

Also, the table attached to the machine can be tilted, thus you can make angular cuts quite easily.

Types of Scroll Saw:

Scroll saws come in various shapes and sizes. One type is termed as the ‘parallel arm’ where motor devices are attached near the back of the saw arms in such a way so that the two arms are always positioned parallel to each other.

Another scroll saw design has a C-shaped arm, where the blades exist between the two ends of the C. Brands like DeWALT and Hawk use parallel scroll arms that run on motor to make short but complex designs on wood.  

Features of Scroll Saw:

The throat-size of the scroll saws are what sets them apart from one another. The throat is the distance between the blade and the back-frame of the saw.

Scroll saw throat sizes may vary anywhere between 12” and 30”—and the size of the throat is directly proportional to the size of the wood-piece it can cut. Commercial scroll saws use throat sizes as large as 30 inches for cutting gigantic pieces of lumber.

Costlier versions of scroll saws minimize vibration to the lowest therefore a great favorite among woodworkers. Scroll saws are best for cutting intricate curves and joints into timber, and they can produce extremely accurate measurements, the reason why woodworkers simply adore scroll saws and like to keep one in their collection.

Kerfs of scroll saws are almost invisible therefore giving an extremely fine and flawless output to any furniture item or show-piece. Scroll saws are relatively slower and use smaller blades, that’s why they are reasonably safer than other saws.

Blades of Scroll Saw:

Scroll saw blades are typically 5” long. The blades have a skip tooth technology—meaning after every tooth, there is a gap. Certain blades have dual skip tooth mechanisms, that offer a gap after every two teeth.

Scroll saw blades also come with two-way teeth placement, also known as reverse tooth blade, where the teeth face both upward and downward, therefore cutting at both upstrokes and downstrokes.

Spiral blades are also available where the blade teeth are exposed on all sides, followed by diamond blades have a diamond coating for cutting finely through the glass.

Blades sizes vary between sizes 10/0 and 12, so you can make hand-crafted jewelry and also make intricate cuts on lumber.

The reverse tooth blade technology reduces splintering, though not bringing any huge improvement on saw-dust collection. Reverse tooth blades are perfect for cutting through plywood or softwood.

The latest addition to scroll blade collection, is the ‘ultra-reverse’ tooth placement style where 4 or 5 teeth are facing downward, followed by a similar number of teeth facing in the opposite direction. This ultra-reverse tooth positioning plays an effective role in reducing saw-dust accumulation while wood-working. 

Miter Saw:

Miter saws, also known as mitre, chop or drop saws, are good at making miters and cross-cuts on wood-pieces. They are not good at making long rip cuts, however, so before purchase, think twice about the purpose you would need the saw for.   

Miter blades are great for short cross-cuts, but not long rip cuts. The kerf, hook angle and number of teeth on the blades are clearly labelled. Miter blades usually have 24 to 100 teeth, the higher the number the finer the cut, but lower the speed of cutting.

Miter blades have 1/8” kerf to make finer cuts in wood. Miter blades also come with lower hook angles that ensure minimal binding potential. Miter blade teeth could be of various sorts—FTG or flat top grind, TCG or triple chip grind, and ATB or alternating top bevel, a mentionable few.

Another feature to consider before purchasing one is the arbor bolt, that holds the blade to the saw. The size of the blade hole and the diameter of the arbor bolt must harmonize so that the blades remain secured tightly in their position. If the blade hole size is 12”, then the machine requires 1” arbor hole; for 10” blade holes, 5/8” arbor bolts are needed.

Scroll Saw VS Miter Saw-Comparison Chart

To ease your decision making in purchasing the appropriate saw that will meet all your requirements, a comparison chart is given below.

TypeUsesBlade: Size, Type, Tooth CountDominating Feature(s)Saw ArmCutting SpeedDust RemovalPortable
Scroll SawIntricate designsReciprocating blade, 5” long, skip-tooth bladeThroat size saw armParallel arm, C-shaped arm400-1800 strokes per minuteGoodHighly portable
Miter SawAngular cross-cutsCircular saw blade, sized 8-12”, 24-100 teethMiter index, fenceSwing arm that pivots side-to-side3200-4500 RPMNot goodHighly Portable


Scroll saws are amazing when it comes to making intricate designs onto a piece of wood. Miter saws are great at making angular cross cuts. Depending on your needs, you should make your purchase decision. This article on scroll saw vs miter saw will surely help you is making the right choice.

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