Chop Vs Miter Saw: Which One Should You Pick?

"I hope you love the products I recommend! When you buy through links on, I may earn an affiliate commission."

No matter how hard you work, your work will not flow in the right direction or be of much value if you do not use the right tool for the purpose.

For example, if you are into carpentry, you will come across types of electric saws for woodworking and choose the ideal one from among them would be really difficult. I once had a classmate making mistakes in identifying the different saws in the mechanical classes and being penalized as a result.

Knowing about the various saws is thus very important.There are a variety of saws and it will take time for you to get acquainted with them and distinguish them from one another confidently.

Chop saw and miter saw are two such tools that may come in handy for and it identify them may seem confusing to you.


General Overview: Chop Saw VS Miter Saw

Both chop saw and miter saw can be used to cut wood and plastic-like materials and this is what makes many of us feel that they are the same thing. Their functionality, however, differs with respect to the method of application.

A chop saw has a crude miter cutting adjustment. This is probably because its cutting area is a spray of disintegrating blade particles and metal particles that are red hot. Check for more on these saws:

While a chop saw cuts the wood along a single direction and using up-and-down motion, the blade of a miter saw can be spun to give angular cuts across the wood. The word miter basically means a 45-degree angle.

However, miter saws can be used to give cuts of various angles and not just 45 degrees. Check for more.

Chop Saw via Popular Mechanics

Miter Saw

Miter Saw via Homedepot

Chop Saw VS Miter Saw: What Do They Do?

As you must have understood by now and as this explains, the chop saw can only cut at angles of 45 degrees while a miter saw can give angular cuts, the total angular span being 90 degrees.

Based on their way of application, chop saw and miter saw is used to serve different purposes.

While a chop saw is generally used to give square cuts along the wood, the meter saw, a circular saw mounted on a wooden frame finds its application in many other varieties of the woodwork.

A chop saw finds application only in places where the wood needs to be cut along a single direction, particularly in square pieces with comparatively lesser precisions required.

Miter saw can be used to perform a variety of operations such as crown molding, making picture frames and other projects where you need to give angular cuts in two planes.

While a large miter saw can cut up to about 12 inches, the standard ones can cut approximately up to 8 inches. The flexibility of a miter saw enables you to use it in multiple applications. It also finds application in the furniture industry.

Chop Saw VS Miter Saw:
Which one to choose?

The selection between chop saw and miter saw should thus be made on the basis of the operation that you are going to perform. You can choose a chop saw when you need to cut across a single direction and have a huge amount of wood to cut.

Again, if you need to cut along different directions, (say you have some artwork to be performed using woods) and the quantity of wood is relatively less, a miter saw would be the perfect one for you.

Talking about chop saw vs miter saw it should also be mentioned that each of these saws can be of different types based on their appearance and functionality. For example, chop saw can be divided into different categories such as:

Metal Chop Saws

These saws are used to cut metal and also plastics. They are specialized to control sparks, heat build-ups, and splinters while cutting across metal surfaces.

They cut through the metal while minimizing the heat build up, flying splinters and sparks.They can be further subdivided into two categories- the ones that are used to cut steel and those that are used to cut non-ferrous metals.

The blades of the steel saws are featured by carbide tips that have narrower kerfs than those used for cutting wood.

The saws used for cutting non-ferrous materials, however, use serrated blades with the number of teeth on each blade being about 70 or 80.

Miter saw : Cutting disk on black background.

Miter saw : Cutting disk on black background.

Wood Chop Saws

They are meant for cutting doors, windows, and other wooden structures and find application in jobs like molding, cashing and framings.

Mini Chop Saws:

As evident from the name, these saws are meant for smaller and lighter works such as cutting plastic or tubings.

They find lesser applications at the professional world and are used more in the hobby works.

Now let us know about the different sub-categories of a miter saw:

  • Basic miter saw: This type of saw is used for giving cross cuts and miter cuts.
  • Single or Dual Compound Miter Saw: It is capable of giving basic cuts as well as bevel cuts.
  • Cordless Miter Saw: These are specially meant for bevel designs and compound cuts.
  • Sliding Compound Miter Saw: It is a highly versatile saw and can give a variety of cuts such as bevel cuts and compound cuts in both directions.

The Best Chop Saws

I guess you have made up your mind by now and decided which saw to go with. If chop saw is your final choice, have a look at some of the top picks in the category of the chop saw which are the most popular ones of the present times:

DEWALT D28715 14-Inch Quick-Change Chop Saw via Amazon

Dewalt D28715

The uniqueness of this saw lies in the provision for tool-free blade change.

It is quite easy to operate this chop saw since the vertical spring near the head ensures a smooth and easy motion.

Porter Cable PC14CTSD

It is featured by fast cut-off times and negligible vibration.

If you do not have a problem with the chain-and-catch mechanism found in a saw of its type, you can surely use it.

Craftsman 137.375630

It comes with a swing-away blade guard which helps you to access the arbor bolt.

Other features to look for in this saw are portability, distribution of weight and ease of lifting it.

Bosch 3814

It comes with a vise capacity of 83/4 inches and tube-cut time of 13 seconds.

You can restrict access to the arbor bolt by using the wheel cover that is provided with it.

Hitachi CC14SFS

It is among the most ergonomic saws that are straight-handled and is very easy to use.

Ridgid R4142

The specialty of this saw lies in its tool-free miter adjustment. The meter gauge provided is an easy-to-read one.

It also allows for multiple ways for angular cutting.

You can also ensure a safe operation with this saw since the sparks are restricted to the rear part of the machine and are not going to affect you in any way.

Bosch 3814 14-Inch Abrasive Cut-Off Machine via Amazon

So, these were some of the best chop saws of the day. Now let us have a look at the popular miter saws of the modern times.

The Best Miter Saws

Dewalt DW715

It is a 15-ampere, 12-inch compound miter saw. Its miter detent plate allows for more accuracy during work and makes it a durable choice.

The miter capacity of the saw is just the ideal one and allows for versatility. The saw is also very easy to be carried from one place to the other and can give precise, accurate cuts as compared to the others of its type.

It is quite easy to operate this chop saw since the vertical spring near the head ensures a smooth and easy motion.

DEWALT DW715 15-Amp 12-Inch Single-Bevel Compound Miter Saw via Amazon

Hitachi C10FCE2 Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

It is the right kind of saw for tasks that require intense power.

It does not only provide you flexibility for the toughest cutting jobs but also allows you to give precision cuts, thanks to its adjustable bevel stops.

It is quite easy to make miter adjustments in this saw.

Makita LS1016L

It is a Compound Miter Saw that comes with a laser and a direct drive motor which requires little maintenance and is capable of delivering 3200 rpm.

Dewalt DWS780

It is a double bevel sliding compound miter saw. It is easily portable due to the presence of a handle.

It comes with a cross-cut positioning system which does not require you to go for any adjustment.

Other commendable features include extended power and durability.

Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw via Amazon

Bottom Line

Both chop saw and miter saw may seem to be the same to a layman since they are used to perform more or less similar functions.

Closeup side view of a mid 30's man doing some carpentry work at a workshop.

However, they work in two different ways. While the chop saw is used for giving 45-degree cuts, the miter saw can be used for giving angular cuts.

Naturally, their field of application also differs a bit. While the chop saw is mainly used for hard core professional work, a miter saw is used for more intricate works.

Scroll to Top