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Chop Saw vs Miter Saw


You might have heard people using “Chop Saw” when they actually meant a “Miter Saw”. This confusion is generally down to miscommunication rather than lack of knowledge. But if you want to look professional (while dealing with customers/clients or with fellow professionals), then it is time to know the differences between Chop Saw and Miter Saw. We will learn more details about each saw, understand what jobs they are useful for and also make a quick comparison of Chop Saw vs Miter Saw.

Are you confused between a Table Saw and a Miter Saw? Then head out to this detailed Table Saw vs Miter Saw comparison guide.

What is a Chop Saw?

An Abrasive Saw or a Chop Saw is a type of circular saw that is primarily used to metal, steel, tiles and concrete. It looks very similar to a Miter Saw but instead of a metal blade with teeth, the chop saw consists of an abrasive disk to cut through some of the toughest material.

These disks are usually made from fiberglass with a special abrasive coating such as Silicon Carbide or Aluminum Oxide. Due to the nature of job and also the composition of the abrasive disk, they are a consumable product i.e., they wear out with every cut and you have to replace them after sometime.

Chop Saws are available as table top and hand-held models. Due to the nature of material (metal, concrete), almost all chop saws have a large metal guard to protect you from sparks.

If you want a quick cut in tough materials such as steel, aluminum, tiles and concrete, then chop saws do the job just fine. These saws are not known for their precision but rather their ability for making quick cuts. If you want precision cuts in metals, then you are better off with a metal band saw.

Chop Saws are primarily used for crosscuts and rarely for angled cuts. It is not impossible to make 45° cuts with a chop saw as you can adjust the base and try it.

Pros and Cons

+ They are relatively cheap

+ We use them to make quick cuts in metals (steel, aluminum), tiles, concrete

+ Significantly powerful tools

+ Must have tool for metal working and construction jobs

– Generally, we only make crosscuts (90°)

– Slightly large and heavy

What is a Miter Saw?

A Miter Saw, as the name suggests, is used for mitering i.e., to make angles cuts or miter cuts in wood. The look and feel of a Miter Saw is very similar to that of a regular circular saw, but there is one important difference. Miter Saw also has a spinning disk attached to a swing handle but the base of the saw rotates so that you can make angled cuts in wood.

There are three configurations of Miter Saws: Standard, Compound and a Hybrid. Standard Miter Saw is the simplest of the three with a spinning blade attached to a handle and a base that rotates to adjust the angle of the cut.

A Compound Miter Saw is more versatile in the sense that apart from a rotating base, the handle also swivels left and right (up to 45°) on its axis. This configuration allows you to make bevel cuts i.e., diagonal cuts along the edge of the wood.

The Hybrid Miter Saw takes these adjustments to a next level as it can also slide the handle forward and backward. This will make it easier to work with slightly wider pieces of wood.

Pros and Cons

+ Makes very precise angles cuts (miter and bevel) in wood

+ You can also make crosscuts in wood

+ Portable and relatively safe to use

– Slightly expensive

– Designed for specific cuts in wood

– Cannot be used for metal or other tough materials

Comparison Table: Chop Saw vs Miter Saw

Let us now make a small comparison table of Chop Saw vs Miter Saw.

Feature Chop Saw Miter Saw
Primarily Used For Cutting Metals (steel, aluminum), tiles, concrete Wood
Type of Cutting Disk/Blade Abrasive Disk Stainless Steel with Carbide coated teeth
Lifetime of Disk/Blade Less as the diameter reduces with every cut Very long
Chances of Sparks Definite as you work with metal and other tough materials Very less
Guard Large guard to protect from sparks and shrapnel Small – medium sized guard
Precision Not very precise. We often use it for making rough cuts in metal Very precise
Blade speed and size Fast and 12 to 15 inches Fast and 6-1/4 to 12 inches
Used by Metal and Construction jobs Woodworking (furniture, carpentry)
Weight and Portability Heavy and not easily portable Medium to heavy weight but portable
Cost Relatively less ($100 to $200) Slightly more ($250 to $350)

Which Saw to Choose? Miter Saw or Chop Saw

From the above discussion, it is clear that the Chop Saw and the Miter Saw are completely different in terms of the applications. We cannot simple compare Chop Saw vs Miter Saw as one is primarily used for cutting metal while the other is used for cutting wood.

So, if you work with metal or take up construction jobs, then you will deal with cutting metal (often steel and aluminum but even other metals), tiles and concrete. In this case, a good quality Chop Saw will serve you the best. It can handle some of the toughest materials to make rough cuts. You can only make crosscuts (90°) on metals with chop saws.

The abrasive disk on these chop saws is often a consumable and you need to invest frequently in purchasing more disks from time to time.

But if you are into wood working and particularly making furniture or carpentry, then you will often deal with mitering (those angled joints in frames, furniture, etc.). So, a Miter Saw will help you in making those angled cuts in wood (miter cuts and bevel cuts) very easily.

Unlike a chop saw, a miter saw has a spinning steel blade with carbide coated teeth. This makes it strong and durable and it will serve you for a long time.

Another important thing is the price. Even though we use them for different applications, we have to compare their prices. Chop Saws are relatively low-price tools. You can get a good brand chop saw for $100 to $200. The abrasive disk is a recurring cost and you need to spend $6 to $10 depending on your usage.

Coming to Miter Saws, they are slightly expensive with a good brand saw costing around $250 to $350. The blades in miter saw are lang lasting but when the time come, you have to spend around &40 to $60.

Conclusion

It is not ideal to compare Chop Saw vs Miter Saw as these two saws are made for entirely different applications. But people often confuse miter saws for chop saw as they look very similar. We learned what is the meaning of Chop Saw and Miter Saw, what are primary differences between them in terms of applications, cost, type of disks etc. We also listed out a simple Chop Saw vs Miter Saw comparison table for an easy understanding.



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