Are you a DIYer? A beginner woodworker or carpenter? Welcome to the world of power tools.
We will take an in-depth look into two widely used power tools, namely, the miter saw and the table saw.
Comparing both of them, you will know which tool is appropriate for your needs.
By the end of this article, you would have learned:
- the advantages and disadvantages of both saws.
- which saw is best suited for your needs
- which is better to have if you are on a budget and can’t afford both.
What is a Miter Saw?
Also known as a drop saw, this saw is used to make precise crosscuts on wood at selected angles.
The working principle of the saw involves
- fastening a piece of wood on a fence,
- moving the saw head left or right on its pivot to the correct angle,
- drop the saw on the wood to cut.
What is a Table Saw?
This is a saw that features a circular blade mounted on a table, where part of the saw sticks out of the table.
To cut wood a worker would push the wood against the rotating blade.
Table saw are common in both professional and DIY workshops.
They can make a variety of cuts. Not all cuts are as accurate as with the miter saw, but they can be regarded as the all-purpose saw.
Uses of Miter Saw
Miter saws are used to make precise crosscuts, angle cuts, and bevel cuts. With these many combinations, many woodworkers use the miter rule more often.
If you need to make furniture rails, picture frames, door frames, window casings, etc. you will use a miter saw.
The true power of the miter saw is in making angle cuts easy. If you are looking for perfect cuts the miter rule is the top choice.
Miter saws are also used to cut metals and plastics
Uses of Table Saw
Table saws are used for making rip cuts, crosscuts, and bevel cuts.
They are also used in cutting rabbets and grooves and cutting joints.
The most common use of the table saw, is for ripping. Ripping involves cutting wood along its grain. Table saws are very useful for cutting large boards into smaller pieces.
If you need to make quick long cuts, then the table saw is the best option.
Rabbets, grooves, and joint cuts are made quicker and easier using table saws. Although you have to be very careful as it involves more risks.
Difference between miter saw and table saw
We will look at five main distinctions; accuracy, portability, price, safety, and versatility.
The miter saw wins here. If you are looking to make precise cuts and bevel cuts on wood, metals, and plastics, etc., the best choice is the miter saw. Even though table saws are capable of making many types of cuts, using them to make precise cuts can be challenging.
The job becomes even more difficult if you need to make a compound cut.
Table saws use extra features and extensions to make cuts more precise. One useful tool is the miter gauge with a sled.
Using the table saw to make precision cuts may need some experience, for newbies, the miter rule is an easier option.
By sheer size and area, the miter saw is much easier to move around. If you are going to need the saw for jobs at different locations, then it is best you get a miter saw.
Table saws are generally stationary equipment and fitted into cabinets. This makes them very heavy and difficult to move around easily.
Some table saws have roll-able stands that enable you to take them from place to place.
For professional use, get a miter saw with a rolling stand
Prices are very similar, with the miter saw being slightly cheaper.
If you buying both from the same brand the prices are mostly the same. So it is down to you knowing which one will be more useful for you. When shopping you should compare prices from retailer to retailer because they all sell at different prices.
The first step to using a power tool and having a good experience with it is to know and understand the safety rules.
More injuries have been reported from table saw usage.
Injuries from table saws arise from kickbacks, and not following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Kickbacks occur when the blade pulls the user’s hand into it or throws the wood into their face.
If you use the table saw, always wear safety gear, read and follow the manufacturer’s safety guides.
The table saw is a multi-purpose saw used for making all types of cuts. Miter saws on the other hand are specially designed for making angular cuts and trimming.
Miter saws have limited capabilities as they cannot be used to cut large pieces of wood. If exact precision is not the main factor, a table saw can make almost any cut a miter saw can.
Making accurate cuts with the table saw is made possible by means of accessories. Note that even with the accessories, complex angle cuts on the table saws need expertise.
If you are a beginner woodworker or new to DIY work, do not try to make angled cuts on a table saw.
Can I use a miter saw as a table saw?
The simple answer here is NO. Unlike the Table saw, which is a multipurpose tool, the miter saw’s design is for specific use. Even with bigger blades, the miter saw is not designed for ripping wood.
The working principle or orientation of the miter saw is a moving blade over a fixed stock. You can not push the wood through the blade.
Owning to its more versatile use, the table saw is a preferred choice for beginners. If your work involves cutting large boards regularly, it is wise to invest in a good table saw. If your job requires you to make miter and bevel cuts, then go for a miter saw. You might want to invest in a circular saw if you need to make a few large cuts from time to time.