What Is the Difference Between A Circular Saw and a Miter Saw?

A Circular Saw and a Miter Saw differences

A Circular Saw and a Miter Saw differences are basically through their functionalities. In your research on the tools you require,  a Miter, and a circular saw come up. Quality woodwork results all come down to appropriate tool choice. However, when you are working under a tight budget, sometimes you have to compromise. So, should you buy a circular saw or should you go for the miter one? Below is an in-depth comparison of the two to assist you in making a choice.

Differences between a circular saw and miter saw

Miter Saw

The miter saw is a new woodwork tool. It came to existence in the 1970s. However, its design has been evolving. So the Miter saw now is not similar to the one your grandfather used. It features a vertically oriented spinning blade that has a diameter of about 12 inches. To operate it, put your wood on the bench-like surface then cut it. You can only perform four kinds of cuts. For you to appreciate the tool, you need to get to know what each cut achieves.

Types of Cuts

1. Crosscut

A cross-cut is the most natural cut you can do. It is a cut you make when you slice your wood at a 90-degrees angle. Do you need to cut a 6×12 into half? Then a miter saw will help you achieve this. Any saw can accomplish this; thus, it is not a feature that makes the Miter saw stand out,

2.Miter Cut

It is cutting the extreme of your workpiece at an angle. One example of a miter cut is one at the door trims when viewed from inside. Where the two parts meets, there is a cut at an angle of 45-degrees, which makes it possible for the two pieces to fit together.

3.Bevel Cut

You achieve it by slicing the extreme of your wood into an angle. Your angle should be at the wood’s thickness. Have you ever taken a closer look at the doorstep? The triangular-like pieces of wood are a perfect example of the bevel cuts. Another example is at the expanse of the wall where there are two baseboards meeting. The builder must bevel the two for them to camouflage and perfectly meet at the joint.

4.Compound Cut

It refers to making bevel cut on your board, and Miter cut at the same place. Take a careful look at the extremes of the crown molding at your house. The trim pieces must be compound cut for them to meet at the edge flawlessly.


1.Quick and Precise Angled or Beveled Cuts

As its name suggests, the device has a design that allows it to make precise miter-angled cuts. It also allows you to make quick cuts as it is easier to reset it for a different complementary angle cut.

You can also make exact cuts repeatedly without even a slight change in the angle or length. It can be challenging to make adjoining angle cuts such as for a picture frame or baseboards using a circular saw. The miter saw can help in achieving perfect adjoining angel cuts.

2.Easy to Operate

The tool is user-friendly. It is simple to operate it, and you do not require some specific skills to handle it. Besides, it is also professional. It helps you to achieve an exceptional degree of precision. Thus, you will get high accuracy of your cuts like a professional.

3.It is Safe

The blade of miter saw can only shift up and down on the working surface. Besides, it is rare for it to have kickbacks. Meaning you will not have to clean any mess it left behind. But you should still put on your glasses so that your only major fear would be not to saw your fingers. It also features a safety button that quickly stops the blade from spinning.

4.Can make Repeat Cuts


1. It is not Easily Portable

A miter saw is portable compared to a table saw. But, you can’t compare its portability with that of a circular saw. It can only work when sitting on a bench. Some miter saws are tabletop versions; hence, you can transport them to your desired location. However, it will still require a lot of effort, as it is not a handheld tool. Also, it affects its versatility as you can only work on stable, secure surfaces.

2.Takes up so much space

A miter table should have its miter table or a saw stand. Thus, they take up much space. You cannot compare it with the circular saw, which is small and require lesser space.

3. It is Costly

Since it offers some specialized cuts, the miter cut qualifies to be a specialized tool. Thus, you have to dig deeper into your pocket to pay up for the convenience offered. For this reason, you will not get the saw in every shop or garage.

4.Zero Versatility

It’s the most significant benefit in its capability to provide four styles of cuts. However, this is also its greatest weakness as it doesn’t do anything else. You cannot get it to perform any other task other than providing the four cuts. It will not allow you to rip boards or perform any other job on large pieces of wood apart from cutting straight lines

Circular Saw

It entered the market in the early 18th century making it one of the oldest tools still standing. However, back then, they were not known as circular saws but as a rip saw. Its primary use was cutting massive logs into lumber.

Circular saw it is a handheld tool with a rotating, vertically-oriented blade. It could have a cord or could be cordless. Depending on the edge used, you can utilize the saw to cut tiles or even a metallic surface. To achieve varying cuts, you will need different teeth and differently spaced blade’s teeth.


The popular blade used is one with a 7-inch diameter. It is a rapidly spinning blade that can cut through any surface, even a wall. Also, you can do rip cuts or make quick crosscuts.


1. Portable and Versatile

You can take the handheld tool to any place you desire to do your job. You can comfortably carry it home to your workshop or the fields. You can do your work while down on the floor, along the wall, or even on the ceiling.

2. Powerful and Quick

When you have a proper blade, you can use it to cut any material such as wood, tile, and metal plastic. You can rip along and also cut across the grain.

3. You can Cut across a Wide Sheet of Wood

Are you searching for a saw to cut along your workpiece lengthwise? A circular saw could be the answer you are seeking. Want to saw plywood into two? Put it on saw horses and start your saw ready for work.

4. Affordable

The saw is cheaper compared to the Miter.

5. Adaptable to different Blades

You can utilize its circular blade to achieve any kind of cuts. You can fit various modules, but it depends on your saw’s body. The modern edge employed is the one with a 7-inch diameter. It will enable you to get your cuts any material.


1. Dangerous

The ability to take the saw with you to any place to cut any surface could also be a disadvantage. It can easily fall while you are working and slice your leg. The saw also features the setback of kickbacks. Besides, you can never be sure of what’s coming next with a circular saw, which makes them even more dangerous.

2. Not suitable for Singles and Curves

Trying to get angled cuts with the tool can be challenging. You will get sloppy cuts and will have to work a lot to get a precise cut. Also, if you have a lot of trimming to perform, you may need to look for an alternative saw. Circular saw they are not suitable for handling too much work.

3. It’s Hard to Repeat Cuts

If you are looking to make cuts on multiple workpieces with precision, then a circular saw may not be of use. Instead, go for a miter saw.

4.Requires some Expertise

You cant handle a circular saw the same way you handle a normal hand saw. You need to have basic knowledge of how you set up the circular saws.

5. You need a Sawhorse to balance the workplace

It can be pretty hectic handling materials while using a circular saw at the same time. Therefore, you need a sawhorse to complete most of the tasks without any issue.

Which is better, Miter Saw or Circular Saw?

Circular saws are more flexible compared to a miter saw. Are you stuck on deciding which one of the two you should get for your shop? Don’t hesitate to pick the circular saw. The device features an endless cord drill. Thus, you can use it on any type of surface.

Conversely, miter saw makes all your tasks, such as squaring up the edges or creating miter cuts faster and convenient. However, you can achieve all these with a circular saw. Thus, rendering the Miter saw far from a necessity. It will make your task more straightforward if you own one, but it is not critical for survival. Conversely, a circular saw is an essential tool for any woodwork shop, a garage, or DIY activity.

Which one to buy: A Circular Saw and a Miter Saw differences

Go for circular saw if you want to create a variety of cuts. The various types of cuts you can get with the tool surpass the ones you can make with a miter saw. Also, it can work on a variety of surfaces such as plastic, metal, or wood. Thus, most of the tasks you want to complete at your shop can get done by a circular saw.

To achieve accurate straight cuts, you will need to make a straightedge cut from the edge of your hardboard and hold it securely using clamps. Then use that edge as a jig when cutting. Alternatively, you can buy some readymade guide rails.

Today, most saws feature a tilt-able base allowing you to set it at any angle and make a bevel cut.

What is a Miter Saw Good for?

The speciality saw is suitable if you are looking to make precise miter angle cuts. Otherwise, there is no need to buy the saw and have it gather dust at your workshop because you cannot get it to do anything else. You cannot make rip cuts or cut plywood with it. Unless you get a costly one, a regular miter saw also cannot male rabbet or dados.


However, if you will be doing a lot of trim work like making photo frames or building furniture, then the saw will be a necessity. It will help you complete the task faster and more comfortably. The saw will help you achieve precise angel cuts within a couple of seconds.


You will reduce the size of a workpiece easily. Start by marking out where you need each cut with a pencil and a measuring tape. You can then get your cuts within a few minutes. The tool is standard in construction sites, especially during the framing stage. Also, fence and roof builders find the device essential in their daily endeavours. That is because it facilitates quick and accurate trimming of roofing materials.


While both the miter saw and the circular saws are crucial to the success of a woodwork project, the circular saw is what you should own first. You will easily make crosscuts and cut along the grain, which means you can use it instead of a table saw. Therefore, getting a circular saw should be your priority should you have a problem choosing which one to buy first.



I am a woodwork enthusiast who is in the Financial Industry. I come from a woodworking family and started handling woodwork tools from a young age. For me, it's not a hobby. its a way of life.

Recent Posts