Miter Saw vs Circular Saw

miter saw vs circular saw

Different woodworking projects usually call for different power tools. For instance, some projects might call for a circular saw while others need a miter saw. Choosing the right one between these two goes beyond your preferences; it mostly depends on various factors and begins with understanding what each saw can do. 

To help you make your choice, we`ve compiled a comparison between a circular saw and a miter saw to see what each one is capable of. 

Here it is;

Circular saw 

This power tool is equipped with a spherical blade that revolves faster to cut plastic, plywood, metal, and wood. It is a relatively user-friendly power tool. Besides, it comes in cordless and corded versions that are handheld. 

Circular saws are flexible and somewhat affordable than other high-end power tools, which is why you`ll find them in almost any garage or workshop. 

Miter saw 

This is a power tool constructed to make precise miter and cross-cuts at a particular angle. Again, they can cut bevel and a blend of both. If you`re new to woodworking, a “Miter” is any angle over 90 degrees. Thus, you can conclude that this power tool is explicitly designed to make angled cuts.

Miter saws and circular saws look alike since they feature circular blades that revolve at increased speeds and cut various materials. 

Nevertheless, they are different in terms of purpose. Let`s see what each is capable of;


How they work 

When using a miter saw, you have to release the blade above the wood to cut it. On the other hand, a circular saw requires the workpiece to be moved against the blade on a vertical path. Similarly, they both feature a bed utilized to hold the material being cut. 

10 vs 12 Miter Saw


While these two power tools are almost identical in terms of appearance, they are two entirely different power tools. 

For instance, a circular saw is a highly versatile tool. It is capable of making various cuts and can be utilized on multiple projects. It is like having a more portable and convenient table saw. Besides, with the right skills and experience with power tools, this saw can be utilized to make all sorts of woodcuts, including bevel and miter cuts, which would typically require using a miter saw. 

However, a miter saw is a specialization tool. As mentioned above, this saw is specifically built to create angled cuts. However, this does not render it useless, considering a circular saw can make these cuts too. 

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Miter saws make it more effortless and swifter for you to accurately make these cuts. The issue with utilizing circular saws for angled cuts is that it is tricky to make accurate cuts, and it needs practice to do it properly. 

The chances of error are much less when handling a miter saw. 

Portability & storage 

A miter saw has to be used on a stand. On the other hand, a circular saw is compact and doesn’t take up a lot of space. 

When it comes to circular saws, they are highly portable thanks to their compact build, particularly for the cordless versions. Moving it from one place to another is as simple as placing it inside your vehicle. While miter saws might not be easier to transport than table saws, they are less movable compared to circular saws. 


When it comes to price, there`s a slight difference. A standard circular saw is more affordable than a typical miter saw, though this is not always the case. For instance, they are high-end circular saws that are more expensive than standard miter saws. The difference is not that big; you will spend about $50 to $70 more for a powerful miter saw. However, if you`re on a budget, it’s a factor worth weighing in. 

When to buy a circular saw 

quality circular saw

When are you supposed to go for a circular saw? A circular saw is ideal for tasks that need you to make plenty of different cuts. The myriad of cuts you can create using this saw are significantly more than those you can make with a miter saw. 

Moreover, there are many ways in which a circular saw can come in handy in your woodworking project. Besides, most modern versions feature a tiltable base, which will be helpful in making bevels cuts, provided you position it at a specific angle. 

Lastly, a reliable, high-quality circular saw will come in handy to maintain your general property, workshop, or garage. 

When to buy a miter saw.

As mentioned above, this is a specialization tool. For this reason, you should buy it for doing particular jobs that need accurate miter and bevel cuts. You shouldn`t buy it and let it remain unused in your garage or workshop, gathering dust. 

These saws can’t be utilized for making cuts on plywood and cutting rip-cuts. Moreover, it can’t make dados and rabbets unless you purchase a pricey high-end sliding miter saw. In case you want to build something that needs plenty of trimming, such as small tables, picture frames, decks with 2x6 or 2x4s, furniture, or anything similar, then you should buy a high-quality miter saw since it will make these tasks easier and quicker. 

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But it would help if you learned how to properly use it before buying or starting a building project that requires it. Furthermore, if you simply need a tool for frequently cutting wood, you should look for another type of saw. For woodworkers, a table saw equipped with a miter gauge is an excellent option. 

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Final word 

In summary, the miter and circular saw almost look alike physically, but they are two different power tools. However, the circular saw is more versatile. Miter saws are ideal for angled cuts, trim, and cross-cuts and are a good investment if you`re doing finish carpentry. 

However, if you`re on a tight budget and need to choose one between the two, go for the circular saw. On the other hand, if you can afford both of them, the better. 

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