Types of Miter Saws Explained

A miter saw is a specialized saw that helps us perform a host of different cuts, on different materials, at a variety of different angles. But hold on. What makes it different from any other saw? Its virtue lies in its ability to perform crosscuts at a variety of different angles or ‘miters’ with high degrees of accuracy.

There are different types of miter saws available in the market, each one unique in its own right. Each allows you to make a range of different cuts. Whether you want to purchase one for your shop-class or simply need that extra help for carpentry, we are here to help you choose the one that is right for you.

Types of Miter Saws

Types of Miter Saws

When choosing the right miter saw for you, there are three different types – the key differentiating factors being their features and price. 

The more the number of features, the pricier the miter saw. Therefore, we must understand our needs properly, and whether the saw we want satisfies those needs before making that purchase decision. Let us look at the different types.

Standard Miter Saws

The simplest one of the lot, it consists of a blade attached to an arm, which in turn is mounted on a flat base and is generally used to make a cross-sectional at any angle 180 degrees from the horizontal. 

These are by far the simplest to use, the best for an amateur trying his hand out at miter cuts. And these are fairly lightweight too, making them easy to shuffle around and transport. The second biggest benefit is their price.

They are entry-level when it comes pricing and therefore offer robust functionality price-to-feature wise when compared with other, more featured miter saws.

Compound Miter Saws

Before we delve into the mechanics of compound miter saws, we need to understand what constitutes a compound cut.

A compound cut is composed of a miter cut along with a bevel cut. A miter cut is made by the side of the length of the wood. The angle can be anything except 90 degrees. A bevel cut, on the other hand, is made at an angle except for 90 degrees across the material-thickness.

In order to create a miter cut, the blade is angled through the parallel plane across the workpiece. For a bevel cut, it’s different. The blade is angled with respect to the vertical. Therefore, a compound cut is a mixture of a mitered and beveled cut, which is exactly what a compound miller saw achieves.

These saws exhibit the same features as that of the standard miter saws, adjusting the degree of inclination of the blade and the arm, plus a mechanism that allows us to tilt the blade.

Some compound miter saws also come with the ability to perform double bevels. A single bevel only tilts in a single direction, whereas a double bevel tilts to both ends. These miter saws do offer more functionality over a standard one, but it is up to you to decide whether you are willing to pay the premium for these functionalities.

Sliding Compound Miter Saws

The main disadvantage concerning both a standard miter saw and a compound miter saw is that the width of the stock (of the material) we can cut is very limited. This is because the arm is welded in position. The sliding miter saw fixes this problem. And the saw can now… slide, as the name suggests. The arm can be moved about.

Also, the arm, along with the blade, is now mounted on a base that can be moved back and forth, meaning the blade is free to move about in all directions. The only downside is that since these contain more features than your average standard and compound miter saws, they are on the pricier side.

They cost more than the other variants. If the sliding bit is a feature that you would not use on a regular basis, then you are better off foregoing this variant.


That basically is all there is to know about the different variants of miter saws you would come across in the market today. I hope reading this article gave you an idea as to what to look out for in a miter saw and the functions concerning each variety, and it helps you in making that purchase decision. Happy sawing!

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