7 Major Differences Between Chop Saw And Miter Saw

Cutting tools come in different shapes and sizes designed to cut through different types of materials. It is important to know the correct tool to avoid any damage to the material as machine powered cutting tools are dangerous and require skill and expertise to operate. Chop saw and Miter saw are the most commonly used cutting tools globally.

They come with diverse features and differ in various aspects such as application, functionality, and mechanism. An insight into the major differences between these two types of saws is necessary before going into the shop and purchasing the suitable one. A chop saw vs miter saw comparison is a prerequisite for a better understanding. Here is our list of 7 major differences between a chop saw and a Miter saw.

Appearance and Components

Though a chop saw and a miter saw lookalike, they have different applications and differences in mechanism. The blade size and the motor capacity of a chop saw exceeds that of a miter saw as the former is designed to cut through tough materials. A miter saw has a sharper blade that provides more precision while cutting in various angles thus used in making fine wood products such as furniture.


A chop saw is only capable of an up and down chopping motion using an abrasive blade and is less complicated than a miter saw. The circular blade does not have uniform cutting edges and is fixed to a rotating arm. The design ensures a fast vertical motion for instant cutting of hard materials such as metal sheets. Whereas the miter saw is equipped with a laser guiding feature that facilitates accurate positioning and cutting that is used to create detailed artwork on wood. The miter saw comes with a dust bag to collect the sawdust. A miter index that is fixed on the saw provides flexibility to change the angle of the blade at any point in time.

Motor Power and Size

A chop saw is equipped with a more powerful motor than miter saws and provides more torque to the blade rotating it at thousands of RPM. These saws consume more power to be able to cut through hard surfaces and even concrete. The whole arrangement is mounted on a high quality fixed base plate ensuring the safety of the user. On the other hand, miter saws are generally smaller than chop saws and do not require high power motors for the intricate work it is designed to do on wood-based products.

Main Characteristics

The two different types of saws work on different axes which is a major difference between them. The chop saw blade is a fixed tool that is capable of an only perpendicular motion performing 90-degree vertical cuts. Whereas the blade angle of a miter saw can be changed according to requirement providing a major flexibility in carving different designs on wood products. It can also function at a 90-degree angle similar to a chop saw.

Difference in platform

It is understood that a chop saw has a limited cutting angle and is only capable of a vertical motion. For this to happen efficiently, a chop saw is mounted on a stable and sturdy platform to hold the machinery securely and prevent any kind of jerking during operation that can cause inaccurate cutting and raise safety concerns. A miter saw has an advanced platform which can rotate on its axis. This addition was possible due to the easy handling of a miter saw. Rotating the blade allows multiple cuttings on different pieces of wood products on a single platform.


Chop saws are heavy and more powerful thus requires certified professional for safe and efficient handling. The experts use both hands to feed the wood into the saw and control the operations using a footswitch. A miter saw saves a lot of time as it is capable of making very quick and accurate cuts on molding and other wood products. The blades of miter saws range from 8-12 inches which makes it an easily portable device.


The application of both the power tools varies greatly. A 'miter' is a terminology in the woodwork industry whereas a chop saw is used in the construction industry. The latter is suitable for products that are used in building houses due to its huge cutting power, unlike miter saw. Enormous pieces of woods can be put through a chop saw to frame them for use in construction. A miter saw is capable of providing a fine finish to a product like molding. Making beveled cuts require precision and is a time-consuming process if done manually. With the help of a miter saw such cuts can be made in a short span of time-saving both time and money while offering excellent safety margins.


Miter saws and chop saws have their own advantages and disadvantages. With diverse applications, they have become the primary choice in construction and carpentry. The choice of device depends on the requirement, but before purchasing one should have a clear understanding of the features and whether they coincide with the requirements. Proper operation of the device is crucial and the user has to be well versed with the manual to maintain a safe environment. Chop saws and miter saws have versions which differ in features, size and power consumption.

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