Miter Saw vs Circular Saw - Which One Should I Buy?

Miter vs Circular Saw

Miter Saw vs Circular Saw Which Should I Buy

What do you need to know to make the right decision between purchasing a Miter Saw or a Circular Saw? First, make sure that you know exactly what you want to do with the sawof your choice. If you are just going to use a saw maybe once a month or maybe a couple of times a season for straight cutting, a circular saw will work for you. In truth, a hand saw would be cheaper and inexpensive.

Since we are going to compare the Miter Saw to the Circular Saw, let’s look at a chart I created with the main features that will interest a prospective buyer and then I will expand on each feature concerning both types of saws.

FeautresMiter SawCircular Saw
Ease of UseX
Price of SawX
Longevity of SawXX
Versatility of SawX
Sawdust CollectionX
Mobility of SawXX

Ease of Use: Miter Saw Wins

When I talk about ease of use, I mean how easy it is to do a certain job with a saw like cutting angles. You can cut angles with both a circular and miter saw but it is a ton easier with the miter saw. The board is held with a clamp and the blade is stationary on the miter saw. It is a real chore and not that safe to cut angles with a circular saw.

The same applies to a straight cut, with the miter saw you clamp the board down and bring the saw down to meet it. With the circular saw, you hold the weight of the saw while cutting and it is harder to cut a straight cut even with the board marked. Of course, it is easier to cut a sheet of plywood with a circular saw but you will not always be accurate.

Miter Saw Happy Man Cutting

Price of the Saw: Circular Saw Wins

Circular Saw

As you can guess, the circular saw is cheapersimply because you can’t be as precise with it as you can a miter saw and it’s smaller. It is handy and will be okay if you just want to cut straight boards and maybe do some uncomplicated baseboard work.

You can purchase a circular saw that will cost as much as a miter saw but they would be a tool that professional to use every day. If you plan on taking your woodworking to the next level, get both saws at a medium price each.


Longevity of the Saw: Miter Saw Wins

I can assure you from experience, the miter saw will last longer than a circular saw and the main reason being that the user just isn’t as careful with the circular saw as they are with the miter saw. Plus, there is always the problem of the circular saw cord getting in your way when you are working at top speed.

Keeping your saw clean and rust free will also add to the life of the saw. Most Miter Saws come with a dust bag and even though they don’t collect all the dust, it is easier to maintain. Just about every carpenter I have watch work with a circular saw have a habit of setting the saw down before the blade stops spinning. Even with a blade guard, this is an unsafe practice and the blade can still encounter other materials and bend the blade.

If you already know that the miter saw is the way you want to go, but not sure which miter saw to purchase, check out my page on top selling best miter saw reviews.

Miter Saw Man

Versatility of the Saw: Miter Saw Again

Miter Saw

Although you cannot cut a big sheet of plywood or rip long boards with the miter saw, think about all the different angles you can cut. You will be able to do cross-cuts, angle cuts, beveled cuts, and compound cuts with the Miter Saw. That about covers all the cuts you will ever need. The Dewalt dws779 is one of the top selling miter saws on the market, read more about the Dewalt dws779 here.

With the circular saw you will be able to cut plywood and rip boards but for safety purposes, I would suggest you do those jobs with a table saw. You can also cut some angles with the circular saw but they will never be as precise as a miter saw or table saw.

Sawdust Collection: Miter Saw Wins

The majority of Miter Saws come with a dust bag for collecting the sawdustor at least most of it. You can also set your miter saw up to a dust collection system from the port on the back of the saw.

When you use a circular saw most of the sawdust falls onto the floorand some goes into the air and fine dust can cover everything at the end of the day. It’s much safer health-wise to use a miter saw with a dust bag.

miter saw women

Mobility of the Saw: This is a Toss UP

circular saw

Both the Miter Saw and the Circular Saw are easy to move to the work site. Because of its weight, the circular saw is much easier to move, just pick it up with one hand and load it in your vehicle. It will take two hands to lift and move the miter saw but it too has mobility factors.

Since they are both mobile, this is not a big concern when using it as a buying feature. If you don’t have a lot of room in your vehicle but you do need to take a saw with you, grab the circular saw.

So, Which One Do I Buy?

If you are interested in cutting angles with precision, don’t want to fight with saw dust, you want your saw to last a long time and you want to be able to take it with you where ever your job is, I recommend buying the miter saw. But----if you can afford it, purchase both saws and you will find that you will use them both, each for different jobs.


Circular Saw Deck

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