What Size Miter Saw Should I Buy? (10″ Vs. 12″)

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When selecting a miter saw, understanding the various types and their capabilities is crucial. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on choosing the most suitable miter saw size for your woodworking needs.

From the compact 10-inch saws ideal for small projects to the robust 12-inch models for larger tasks, each type offers unique benefits.

We’ll explore the differences between standard, compound, and sliding miter saws, focusing on their specific applications.

10 Inch Vs. 12 Inch Miter Saw

Choosing between a 10-inch and a 12-inch miter saw involves evaluating their features.

The 10-inch saw is favored for its portability and ease of use, ideal for on-site jobs. In contrast, the 12-inch saw, preferred by many woodworkers, excels in larger projects and cutting thicker materials, thanks to its greater power and capacity.

10 Inch vs 12 inch Miter Saw – Comparison Chart

Feature10-inch Miter Saw12-inch Miter Saw
Cutting Capacity at 90*Up to 6 inches wideUp to 8 inches wide
Cutting Capacity at 45*Up to 4 inches wideUp to 6 inches wide
Power and PerformanceHigher RPM for cleaner cuts in thinner materialsMore power for thicker materials, lower RPM
Blade Availability and CostBlades are more common and less expensiveBlades are costlier but last longer
Portability and SpaceCompact and easy to transportLarger, requires more space, less portable
Application SuitabilityIdeal for detailed work, trim, and moldingsBetter for heavy-duty tasks like framing and roofing
Price PointGenerally more affordable, good for entry-levelMore expensive, suited for advanced needs

Types of Miter Saws

There are 3 main types of miter saws: standard, compound, and sliding.  Each has its own qualities and strengths and brings something worthwhile to your shop.

  • Standard Miter Saw: Ideal for simple, straight cuts. It rotates for angled cuts, perfect for frames and moldings. Known for its straightforward “chop” cutting motion.
  • Compound Miter Saw: Offers bevel cuts in addition to angled cuts, suitable for complex projects like crown molding. Comes in single and double-bevel models for added convenience.
  • Sliding Miter Saw: Features a blade that slides forward, allowing for wider cuts. Best for larger pieces of lumber, expanding your project capabilities.
FeatureStandard Miter SawCompound Miter SawSliding Miter Saw
Cut TypeAngled cutsAngled and bevel cutsAngled cuts with extended width
Best ForFrames, moldingsComplex projects like crown moldingLarger lumber, wide cuts
MovementRotates side-to-sideRotates and tilts (bevels)Slides forward for wider reach
Bevel OptionsNoneSingle or double bevelTypically none
Cutting MotionDownward “chop”Downward and tiltedDownward with forward slide
Project SuitabilityBasic woodworkingAdvanced woodworking with detailed cutsProjects requiring wide cuts

Miter Saw Motors

Motor power varies, with options including 10, 12, or 15 amps. A more powerful motor is advisable for heavy-duty tasks like wide crosscuts in hardwoods.

Conversely, a less powerful motor suffices for lighter work such as cutting trim or composite materials. Note that higher power often comes with a higher price tag.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can The Miter Saw Cut a 4 x 4?

A 10-inch saw can handle 4 x 4s, but it may require two cuts or adjusting the blade guard, which isn’t recommended for safety reasons. This is fine for occasional, minor tasks.

However, a 12-inch miter saw can cut through a 4 x 4 in one pass, making it a better choice for frequent or larger projects involving 4 x 4 stock.

Can a Miter Saw Cut a 6 x 6?

Like cutting a 4 x 4, a 10-inch miter saw can cut through a 6 x 6 at a 90-degree angle, requiring multiple rotations and cuts. A sliding miter saw is preferable for accuracy in aligning each cut.

A 12-inch miter saw also needs several passes to cut a 6 x 6. Rotating the piece for multiple cuts is necessary, and using a sliding miter saw ensures straight, aligned cuts.

Can You Cut 5 ¼ Baseboard With Your Miter Saw?

Cutting tall baseboard material, like a 5 ¼ inch size, can be challenging due to potential interference from the miter saw motor. This is particularly true for corner cuts.

With a compound miter saw you can make the necessary bevel cuts. For the first corner cut, the baseboard is positioned upright for a 45-degree angle cut without motor interference. However, the motor might obstruct the cut if the baseboard is upright for the second cut at the opposite angle.

To overcome this, the compound miter saw’s ability to make bevel cuts becomes crucial. By laying the baseboard flat, you can make a 45-degree bevel cut that aligns with the first piece, completing the corner at a 90-degree angle.

Here’s a video that demonstrates this process.

Is a 10” Miter Saw Big Enough For Woodworking?

A 10” miter saw is adequate for most home DIYers and woodworking hobbyists. It’s well-suited for smaller projects like framing doors, windows, picture frames, and boxes.

A compound miter saw is recommended for tasks involving baseboard or crown molding, preferably a dual bevel model if budget permits. Consider investing in a sliding saw for occasional larger projects requiring wider cuts if it’s within your budget.

How Much Does A Miter Saw Cost?

Miter saw prices vary based on type and features. A standard miter saw starts at around $150, a sliding miter saw at about $250, and a compound dual bevel miter saw from $350. Professional-grade saws with advanced features can cost over $800.

Factors like brand and where you buy also affect the price.

Is a Sliding Miter Saw Better For Woodworking?

Sliding miter saws offer the advantage of making wider cuts, although they don’t increase cutting depth. They are compact and fit well in smaller shops where a larger saw might not be feasible.

The sliding feature, which determines how far the blade extends, dictates the maximum width of material you can cut.

If your workspace is limited but you need to cut wider materials, a sliding miter saw is a practical option.

Last update on 2024-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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