What Size Miter Saw Do I Need?

If you are looking for miter saws, you may already have considered what type, brand, or features you want. However, does size matter when choosing the right miter saw? Is there significance in choosing the size?

We help you dive in on the details and let you find the answer to “What size miter saw do I need?

Table of Contents

    What Is a Miter Saw?

    A miter saw has a circular blade and a vertical pivoting arm that spins to cut slopes, miters, or make complex cuts. It is efficient if performing various cutting tasks and a couple of projects.

    However, if the material needs to be cut from both sides, you may not need to flip it over because some miter saw blades can swing in both directions.

    Types of Miters Saws

    Miter saws come in a plethora of varieties, much like the majority of woodworking tools.

    To be more precise, several sizes of blades are available in the market and have additional features. It enables you to continue using the precise size you require.

    However, if you’re new to woodworking, this broad selection could make it difficult for you to settle on the best type of miter saw, including the right blade size.

    That said, there are three types of miter saws, each with its own features and strengths.

    1. Standard Miter

    A typical or basic miter saw rotates to the side, enabling you to cut from the top down at the proper angle. This makes it simple to correctly cut corner elements like door, window, and picture frames.

    Sometimes referred to as a chop saw, the standard miter saw cuts through the workpiece by moving down and through it, which is comparable to “chopping” it.

    2. Compound Miter

    Compound miter saws are used to make bevel cuts and miters. Moreover, a compound miter saw angles or tilts. As a result, you can cut at angles both horizontally and vertically, which produces the best cuts for crown moulding.

    There are single bevel compound miters and double or dual bevel compound miters. Both are effective, but the dual-bevel feature eliminates the need to flip the workpiece. Hence, cutting is now simpler, more practical, and less work.

    3. Sliding Miter

    A sliding miter saw possesses all the versatility of a compound miter saw and has a sliding feature, making it a comprehensive tool.

    Through the worpiece or material being cut, the saw’s blade can be drawn toward you and not simply down through it. This nice feature will extend the cutting width, so you can cut wider pieces of lumber.

    Uses of Miter Saws

    Making angled cuts is the miter saw’s primary function. If you’ve invested in one, you’ve already made the decision that you require precise angle cuts and don’t want to spend the time or effort using a table saw or hand saw to do them.

    Aside from making angled cuts, you can use it to make regular board cuts, trim work, or general DIY or woodworking projects such as flooring and remodeling.

    Any miter saw must be used on a sturdy surface, either a strong table or a workbench. You can utilize the ground if you have nothing else, but it should only be a last resort. For quality and safety reasons, you want this saw to remain stable.

    What Size Miter Saw Do I Need?

    Consider the material you plan to cut and the nature of your work while examining the various common miter saw models. It is also important to understand that there might be compromises between portability and capacity.

    Ask yourself, why do I need to carry extra weight if you rarely need to cut using a 12-inch sliding miter saw or a 15-inch miter saw?

    On the other hand, using an 8-1/2″ sliding type frequently gets the job done on different types of projects. A miter saw is, after all, a trim instrument.

    Anyone who usually uses a miter saw on large pieces of wood or other thicker pieces of material either doesn’t know how to use a circular saw properly or performs really specialized work.

    However, if you require the ability to make crown cuts and vertical base, using a 10-inch model or 12-inch miter saw is the best choice.

    On the other hand, a sliding 8-1/2″ saw is the best option if you make most of your cuts “flat” on the base. It offers additional portability, which can help you save a lot of difficulty on a daily basis.

    The Different Blade Sizes to Choose From

    Many blade sizes are available for each of the three types of miter saws. Blade size is the diameter of a blade.

    The three most popular sizes are eight inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches, while some enormous 15-inch blades are available for individuals who require more strength and cutting capability.

    The number of teeth is another factor to consider in addition to the blade diameter. When cutting 2 x 4 or 1 x 6 deck timber, for example, where the cut does not need to be precise, the coarser the cut will be, the lower the tooth count.

    That said, if you want to produce a finer cut, such as those for interior trim like baseboard, crown molding, window frames, door frames, picture frames, and the like, a greater number of teeth is needed.

    Remember that the choices for blade interchangeability are fairly limited. Hence, a new miter saw blade with the same specifications can replace an old one.

    However, using a 12-inch blade on a 10-inch miter saw is impossible. That is the main reason most individuals find it difficult to decide what is the right miter saw to buy.

    what size miter saw do I need

    Are There Different Types of Cuts?

    The greatest miter saws can make four different types of cuts. The type of cut you want to make will depend on what you want to do. There are various applications for those cuts, but there are four fundamental purposes and cuts for a miter saw.

    You may use a miter saw to perform any of the four fundamental cuts after you’ve found the one you prefer.

    Straight through, the wood is sliced with a crosscut.

    A miter angle is a common angled cut that crosses the face of the wood and is mostly used for framing. Beveled cuts are produced in relation to the wood’s edge and are utilized to add weatherproofing.

    1. Miter Cut

    A miter cut is an angled cut often produced at a 45-degree angle along a crosscut face. It’s frequently used for tasks like basic trim molding or fitting trim when two parts must fit precisely in a corner.

    In that situation, it’s used more for its attractiveness than its strength. You can also use it when building baseboards and crown molding.

    Making boxes, framing artwork, creating frames for windows, doors, and pipes, and other woodworking projects are further applications for miter cuts.

    2. Crosscut

    Crosscuts are cuts made across a board and against the grain. Rips are cuts that are almost always substantially longer and run parallel to the wood’s grain.

    Most straight cuts made with a miter saw are crosscut because the diameter of the saw blade restricts the types of cuts that can be made.

    Most saws can be used for crosscutting wood, handsaws included. Using table saws may improve crosscuts with almost any additional effort.

    You can also use a circular saw to produce this cut. However, if you use a miter side crosscut, it’s either because you love how a miter saw works or you don’t have access to another power saw.

    Making crosscuts is useful for various tasks, including getting wood to the proper length for framing and building simple furniture. Although they typically have the crudest appearance, these cuts are also the weakest since there is the least amount of wood-to-wood contact.

    3. Compound Cut

    The trickiest angled cut combines bevel and miter cut, which is called a compound cut. In addition to cutting it at an angle with respect to the edge of the wood, you are cutting it at an angle across the grain. It’s a difficult cut to make because it needs a great amount of cutting efficiency.

    This cut is usually used if you are trying to complete a trim project correctly. Additionally, it’s widely used to create cradles and serving trays. Try utilizing one of these intricate cuts to make something appear a little more sophisticated.

    4. Bevel Cut

    Bevel cuts are another type of angled cuts produced in relation to the baseboard piece and edge. Although you could try to manufacture such cuts using other hand tools, it would be incredibly challenging to do so precisely.

    Most beveled cuts are produced at a 45-degree angle, just like the miter cut. These are not only the strongest but also the most appealing.

    When installing trim and molding, bevel cuts are used to take it around a corner, either by cutting at a negative angle or by flipping the material so that the side that will face the wall is on the bottom.

    Additionally, you can install weather-stripping using beveled cuts or create geometric shapes.

    Finding the Right Size of Miter Saw

    So, what size miter saw do I need? By now, you understand that the best way to find the right miter saw size is to know where and how you will use it. These days there are many commercial miter saws available in the market.

    Studying the features such as battery power, safety features, and other advanced features is useful in making the decision. Check out the reviews, compare them with other brands, and research before making a choice.

    Not only will it help you in determining what type or brand to use, but also the best blade size suited for any project you will be embarking on. Just remember that jobs will be easier if you choose the right size of miter saw.

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