Chop Saw Vs Miter Saw: A Comparison

Chop Saw vs Miter Saw: A Comparison

If you regularly work with materials such as wood and metal in your selected industry, then you know exactly how important it is to have the right tools in order to achieve the desired results.

If you’re fond of taking on DIY projects, or perhaps you work in construction and then you also know how essential a proper woodcutter is to have on hand.

Depending on your needs, you may be able to tell the difference between one saw to the next. However, those who are new to the industry will be confused by which tools work for which purposes, and this is especially when it comes to different types of saws out there.

So the question is what type of saw do you use, should you choose a chop saw, or miter saw for your task?

Well, there is no simple or short answer to that question.

Although a chop saw and miter saw both perform the same standard function, there are, in fact, significant differences between these two types of saws.

If you are thinking your purchasing either one of them, you need to understand the differences between each. So in the following guide, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between chop and miter saws and which one you should be using for which tasks.


Miter vs Chop Saws

A chop saw looks like a larger version of the miter saw. However, these two power tools may look similar; however, they are not the same. Although they both have a circular blade and work on the same principle, they are not interchangeable.

Firstly, the fundamental difference between the chop saw and miter saw is that the chop saw uses cold-cut blades or abrasive wheels to make straight cuts in the material. The blade resembles the same hand and blade guard as the miter saw but is larger, more powerful, and tougher than that of the miter saw. It is, therefore, able to cut through ferrous and non-ferrous materials.

On the other hand, miter saw makes use of a toothed circular saw blade, and this enables it to deliver more precise cuts. The blades also move at superhuman speeds however it’s only suitable for wood and light metals such as aluminum.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of chop and miter saws.

Chop Saws

Chop Saws

The chop saw has a small handle, and blade guard just like the miter saw; however, it’s got a bigger and more powerful blade that can consequently cut through harder materials such as tough metal.

However, it can only cut at 90° angles or basically in a straight line. These powerful machines are used by most professionals, and it’s often used in industrial settings or construction sites to cut through steel pipes and so on.


  • Immense cutting power: The chop saw can cut through tough metals and therefore is used in various industrial settings and construction sites.
  • Powerful: They are also extremely fast and saves you a lot of time and effort, so it’s extremely efficient in the commercial and industrial settings.
  • Hand-feeding workpiece: Since it has a handy foot and knee switch, you can feed the material directly into the saw without having to use your hands to switch the machine on and off.


  • No angled cuts: One of the advantages of the chop saw is its inability to make angled cuts. The blade can only make straight cuts.
  • Higher chances of accidents: Since it has an extremely powerful engine, it can tend to be difficult to control more so in the hands of a beginner. The powerful engine and massive blade also pose a risk accident, especially when feeding material with both hands become problematic.

Miter Saws

Miter Saws

The miter saw is essentially a precision power saw that can make cross cuts, bevel cuts, and, of course, miter saw cuts.

Just like the chop saw, the miter saw also has a circular plate and a top-mounted handle that ultimately cuts in a top to bottom hand motion. The miter saw, however, unlike the chop saw can make angled cuts.

The miter saw can make straight 90° angle cuts and also makes use of a bevel to make miter cuts or cuts made at other degrees aside from a 90-degree angle. It’s essentially a power tool for woodworkers and fabricators of aluminum frames etc.

The miter saw is known for its smooth blade, and therefore, is ideal for making clean and precision cuts on boards, framing, small piping, and other projects that require clean and detailed finishing. Unlike bigger and more powerful chop saws, the miter saw is perfect for do-it-yourself enthusiasts, and woodworkers who want to do home-improvement tasks.


  • Angled cuts: The primary use of the miter saw is to perform angled cuts. It’s therefore suitable for cutting aluminum, steel, light metals, and wood.
  • Cleaner results: Miter saws deliver cleaner results dissolves. Thanks to the precision blade, it can make small cuts on even the smallest of materials.
  • Improved decision: A miter cut is a precision tool that allows the operator to make professional cuts.
  • Safety: The miter saw is safe to use and operate. In fact, it’s much safer than the chop saw since it has a fence that holds the material in place instead of feeding the machine with both hands. So the chances of injuries with the miter saw are much lower as compared to a chop saw.


  • Lower cutting power: The main disadvantage of the miter saw is its low power. It is unsuitable for cutting through tough metals. It can cut through aluminum and wood with ease; however, it can’t handle tougher materials such as iron rods.

miter saw vs chop saw usage

When You Should Use The Chop Saw And When Miter Saw?

A chop saw is generally only used by professionals to cut metal. This is mainly because it’s so big and powerful, so the typical homeowner or woodworker wouldn’t really have much need for one. However, if you are building a house and have to cut steel rebar, a chop saw is the way to go.

Miter saws are used predominantly to cut wood. They are useful for cutting crown molding and baseboards. They are also meant for smaller crafts and projects, such as making boxes, shelves, and picture frames. Most miter saws can be cut to 90° so you can get the same cut you get from a chop saw in a smaller and more manageable package.

Related Questions

Are chop saws and miter saws the same?

They do have similarities but lots of differences as well.

What are the differences between chop and miter saw?

Chop saw is bigger and tougher so it can cut through tough metal material.

The miter saw is smaller but creates more detailed and neater cuts.

Which is safer to use?

While all power tools pose some possibility of risk, chop saws are bigger and more powerful than your average tools, so extra care should be taken if you are new to using it. Miter saws are smaller and easier to manage.


Lots of people believe that a miter saw can be used for the same purposes a chop saw can achieve; however, this is not true at all.

The chop saw and miter saw share some similarities, but there are some jobs that one can get done that the other will not be able to achieve.

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