Miter Saw vs Chop Saw: A Close Look at Two Popular Types of Saw

For the uninitiated, it is common to think that miter and chop saws are the same thing. After all, they look almost the same. Nonetheless, if you examine closely, you will see that the two are actually different, as we will discuss further in this quick post about miter saw vs chop saw.

If you have no idea on which one is the more appropriate choice for your needs, read on. We will examine their key characteristics, with the intention that these discussions will make it easier for you to arrive at the right decision.

Key Characteristics

Physical Appearance

When you see the two types of saw for the first time, you might be confused, thinking that they are one and the same. They both have round blades, stationary base, and hinged arm. Upon performing a closer examination, however, you will spot the differences.

In the case of a chop saw, one of the first parts that you will notice is the abrasive disc, which appears similar to a grinding wheel. This is the one that is responsible for making the cuts. There is a rotating arm that links to a stationary base. The cutting wheel and the motor are in the arm. The teeth, meanwhile, does not have a uniform shape.

Chop Saw Abrasive Disc

On the other hand, with a miter saw, most of the models have a laser guide, which is the one that allows it to make cuts with precision. Other parts include a safety clamp that helps to firmly hold in place whatever you are cutting, a bag that collects dust, and a cover for the teeth.


If there is one major difference between the two, it would be the axis. With a chop saw, there is a perpendicular blade resting on the table. Its cutting ability is limited only to an angle of 90 degrees. This is contrary to the axis that you can find in a miter saw, which is capable of swiveling.

Chop Saw Axis

Because of the design of the axis, it will be possible to use the miter saw as a chop saw but a chop saw will never be able to deliver the same functions as a miter saw. This is also the reason why many would say that a miter saw is a more versatile option since it is capable of doing more cuts.


When comparing the two, it is also important to take a look at the power that they are able to deliver, which is reflective of how they will perform. The larger one is a chop saw, and for this reason, it also tends to be the more powerful between the two. Its motor is capable of being able to deliver more torque. In the case of most models, the blade has a diameter of up to 14 inches.

Miter Saw Motor

On the other hand, with the smaller size of the miter saw, it follows that it is also less powerful. It is more useful when it comes to making finishing touches and smaller jobs. Its blades usually range from eight to 12 inches.


Regardless of the brand that you will choose, the chop saw will not have a lot of types on the basis of its configurations. The models will differ on factors such as price, safety, ease of use, and power. However, their cutting style will be the same.

In the case of a miter saw, on the other hand, there are three configurations that are available – basic, compound, and sliding compound. You need to consider what cuts you have to make so that you can decide on which configuration will be the best choice for you.


A chop saw is powerful and aggressive, which is why it is perfect for larger jobs, including industrial applications. It is also capable of working with almost any material that is available, including steel.

Woodworking Using Miter Saw

On the other hand, if you are a DIY enthusiast looking for a saw that is perfect for smaller tasks, the miter saw is the better option. It is the perfect choice if you intend to cut a small piece of wood. It will not deliver impressive results when cutting metal.

Final Note 

As you can see from this miter saw vs chop saw post, the two have several differences. They can be both handy tools in your workshop, but you have to decide which one is needed more, unless you have the financial resources to invest in both.

To make it easier, if you are a pro and if you intend to have a tool that you can use in large projects, a chop saw will be a good investment. On the other hand, if it is only for small tasks, including DIY projects, a miter saw will be more than enough, especially if you will be cutting mostly wood.

You may want to our miter saw reviews to find the best one for your DIY projects.

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