What Are The Different Types Of Miter Saws?
Sliding miter saws are saws that have a rail system to allow you to slide the saw from one end of the wood to the other, backward and forwards creating a smooth and long cut. It also allows for cuts of greater depth due to its sliding ability.
There are many types of Miter saws including Sliding, compound, compound sliding, and dual compound sliding miter saws. Each has different variations and options including different types of sliding, cord vs cordless and other accessories.
Our main focus in this article is going to be on the sliding miter saws but to really understand their abilities, their differences, and which one will suit your needs best, you need to know all the options. Therefore we have compiled a list below of the main types of Miter saws that you may come across.
Standard Miter Saw
Also known as the Basic Miter Saw. The baseline for miter saws. The most simple and standard version. This is the original and most basic form of a mitre saw. If you are looking just for a miter saw with no additional features or options then this is likely what you would buy.
Compound Miter Saw
An adaptation of the original. This version allows you to do more detailed and specialized cuts including beveled, angled, and square cuts. This is the most effective tool for crosscuts and angled cuts. Even if you need to do a beveled angled cut, this tool can do it with ease.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Possibly the favorite version of miter saw. With the additional intricate abilities of the compound version, the sliding compound miter saw adds the rails to allow for deeper and longer cuts giving your work more versatility and capability.
Dual Compound Miter Saw
Equal to the sliding compound miter saw but with the ability to bevel in both directions. In every other way, it is identical but if this is a feature that you require, then it is worth investing in.
What Is The Difference Between A Miter Saw And A Sliding Miter Saw?
Due to its rail configuration, a sliding miter saw can cut through much wider pieces of wood. Standard non-sliding versions can often cut through wood that is about 8 inches wide but they are limited by that width and can go no further.
However, because with a sliding version the blade can easily slide back and forth, you can use this tool to cut something that is 2-3 times wider than anything a normal version would be able to manage. That's a big difference in productivity!
It does all this without you even needing to reposition the material. Sliding mitre saws are heavy-duty capable and designed to cut through larger materials. They are often also used for crown/base moldings due to their effectiveness.
Unfortunately, however, whenever you want something more powerful or more capable you also have to pay for it. A sliding miter saw is much more expensive than its cost-effective non-sliding cousin.
They are also different sizes. Due to the rails, the sliding miter saw will require a bit more storage space than a normal one would.
So if you need the added power and ability, a sliding version is ideal. However, if you are not planning to ever need such capabilities you can save yourself some money and go for the non-sliding version.
Are Sliding Miter Saws Less Accurate?
Whether you choose to select a miter saw with or without the sliding ability, the sliding feature does not appear to be a major component that affects the tool’s accuracy in any way.
Every workman has his favorite tools. Often different woodworkers have varying opinions of which tools are more or less effective. However, when comparing two identical units with and without the rails, the accuracy appears to be almost identical.
What can make a difference is what the person is more used to or more comfortable using. Additionally, the brand and type of miter saw make a huge difference. If you were to compare high quality, good-brand stationary miter saw with a low-quality cheap brand sliding miter saw the comparison would not be fair and your experience with them would become biased.
Which Sliding Miter Saw Is Best?
Every retailer and every brand will tell you that their product is the best. However, the most reliable way to find the best miter saw is to examine its features and abilities.
Though reviews are often helpful when examining what to buy, if you are in the store you don't often have the luxury of other people's experience. Therefore we have compiled a list of some of the best features that you should examine when considering what sliding miter saw is best for you.
- Amps: As with all saws, the more amps you have the more power your saw will exhibit. More power means you can cut through more material with less difficulty. If there is one thing you want in a saw, its power!
- Blade Guard: Safety is important. Make sure that the blade guard is effective and will protect you as designed. However an articulated blade guard is often the best choice as it allows you a better view of what you are cutting.
- Display: An electronic display can be useful. It allows you to easily see your current settings so you know exactly how the saw is configured for use.
- Blade Size: Bigger blades can make longer cuts but you need to make sure that the blade size matches what you want to do. You should make sure it is a common size for easily interchangeable blades. The most frequent sizes are 12,10 or 8 inches.
- Depth Stops: These provide you with the ability to adjust the height of the blade which can be extremely important when wanting to control the depth of your cuts.
- Positive Stops: These are preset points at different angles that you can use to make cuts quicker. The more you have, the easier your future projects will be.
- Brakes: Whether on a saw or on a car, you need to be able to stop quickly. Our recommendation is to use a saw with electric brakes. These reverse the rotational power stopping the blade in as little as 2 seconds.
- Shaft/Spindle Locks: It isn't easy trying to change a blade when it's moving all over the place. The safest and easiest option is to have a lock that allows you to change the blades much easier.
- Dust Chutes/Bags: Whether it has a chute or bag, the idea is to keep the sawdust out of your way so you can keep working without interruption. Dust chutes divert the sawdust away from you whereas the bags collect it for easy disposal.
- Laser Guides: There are many types of cutting guides but the best ones project a laser, light or shadow onto your material so you can accurately cut your piece accordingly.
- Cord/Cordless: Usually cordless versions are lighter and smaller but also easier to use in locations where power may be an issue. Most tools and accessories are usually preferred when they are cordless now. However, despite this, even if a cordless version is preferable, you should compare the amps and power output as they are not usually quite so heavy duty. It really depends on what you need more.
Miter saws are an essential tool for any woodworker, carpenter, or contractor that works with wood or other light materials. They are adaptable tools that can make a variety of cuts and though mostly used with woods can also cut through some metals.
A sliding miter saw is the best option for longer/deeper cuts. It is the heavy-duty version for really wide material and though it can cut standard material, it gives you the ability and option to be able to do more than you would with a standard miter saw.
We recommend that if you think there is even a chance of needing to make longer/deeper cuts in the future then it is best to be prepared and go for the sliding miter saw that will give you the ability to handle those future projects.
On the other hand, if you are never going to need more than what a standard miter saw can accomplish, the upgrade would be unnecessary and would be a waste of your savings.
Sliding miter saws are accurate, effective, and productive. For the best experience with a sliding miter saw, you should make sure that you choose the best one for your needs. Go with a well-known brand and check for unbiased reviews before purchasing.
You should also thoroughly examine our list of available features and decide which ones you think you need before you purchase. Not every Miter saw will necessarily have all of them, so work out which features are most important to you and then you will be able to find the most ideal sliding miter saw for you.