What is The Advantage of Circular Saw Over The Miter Saw?

Last Updated On February 10, 2023

Both circular saw and miter saws are basic saws that every artisan, hobbyist, or professional needs in their arsenal. But when you’re first starting out, you may have no idea how the two saws compare. 

For those with a limited budget, which saw to get first? It makes sense to favor a circular saw as you can get the most use out of it and it’s also more affordable. A miter saw is great for making identical cuts on smaller workpieces fast, which is very useful at jobsites and that’s why they are popular.

However, a circular saw offers a lot more versatility and you can achieve the same cuts as a miter saw and then some more. Keep reading to learn more about, “What is the advantage of a circular saw over miter saw?”

Circular Saw Vs. Miter Saw – Basic Difference Between The Two Saws

Let’s first take a look at what each of these saws are like before diving deeper into the advantages of circular saw over miter saw in more detail. Here’s the basic functions of each of the two saws.

Circular Saw

A circular saw is a free-hand tool with a flat base plate that needs to be lined up flat on the workpiece to make cuts. The blade itself is round and moves in a clockwise direction cutting from the bottom up.

There is no supporting material that comes with the saw. You need to support the workpiece on a flat table or on the floor with an insulation sheet below. To make the cut you need to place one hand on the handle to control the direction of the saw while also pressing the trigger.

The saw naturally moves in a straight direction as the blade has a great diameter and a straight path is one of least resistance. However, without a guide, the cuts made aren’t as accurate as some projects may require. Using a tool for accuracy improves that and you get straighter cuts.

Miter Saw

The miter saw comes with a base that acts as a support for the material you place below the blade, which is round and can be lifted up and down vertically to make cuts. The bade can also be adjusted at an angle other than 90° to anywhere between 45° in both the left or right directions.

So, you can make accurate crosscuts and miter cuts with this saw. There’s a fence to guide the material you’re cutting. Place the workpiece on the base and against the fence to line up straight. Hold the handle and press the trigger, before pressing down the blade to make the cut. 

While it’s a good thing that the base is there to support the material and the blade is secure to it, this limits the width of the workpiece you can work with between 8-12 inches maximum.

What Is The Advantage of Circular Saw Over The Miter Saw? – Complete Analysis

There are many reasons why a circular saw may be the better choice for you. In general, a circular saw offers more flexibility than most other saws and it’s one of the first saws you should get if interested in woodworking and carpentry. That’s because of the versatile nature of this saw when making straight cuts.

1. With A Circular Saw You Can Cut Plywood or Board Of Any Length & Width

As we have already mentioned, circular saws don’t have a base limiting them when cutting. You bring the saw to the material, which means that the material can be placed on a flat surface that can allow the blade to cut straight without obstruction.

You can cut smaller 2×4 lumbers too. Wooden beams, large boards, plywood, etc. also can be cut with a circular saw despite their long lengths. In fact, you can cut big sheets of plywood into smaller pieces with a circular saw to make them more manageable for your project.

On the other hand, a miter saw is restricted by the size of the base it comes with, as well as the size of the blade. Getting one that has a sliding compound miter saw allows you to cut pieces as wide s 15 inches, while a regular compound saw only allows 10-12 inches.

That’s a big disadvantage of miter saw as it highly restricts the pieces you can work with and it’s one of the departments a circular saw shines in as it offers such flexibility.

2. Circular Saws Can Perform A Wider Range of Cuts Than Miter Saws

A circular saw also offers versatility when it comes to the type of cut you want to make. You can make rips cuts along the grain of the wood, crosscuts, bevel cuts, miter cuts, as well as compound cuts with a circular saw. You can make rabbets, dados, and plunge cuts as well. 

With a circular saw, you can control the direction of the cut as it suits you. So, if you are skilled enough, you can make curved cuts with a circular saw. That’s not possible with a miter saw at all.

However, you can get faster and more accurate crosscuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts and compound cuts on a miter saw. That’s why, when working with smaller pieces, you may prefer a miter saw for its speed.

3. Circular Saw Takes Less Space

When comparing a circular saw to miter saws, a circular saw definitely takes up less space. They’re also portable more easily, so you can store them in many different places. If you don’t have a lot of space in your home, this may be a factor worth considering.

But if you have a decent-sized shed where you can set up your workstation, you can always keep your miter saw easily there. The base of the miter saw is what adds to its size, but it’s not that much of a difference that you have to take a lot of hassle to store it when you have space available.

4. Circular Saws Are More Affordable

Miter saws are a bigger investment than circular saws. You can purchase a circular saw with $50-$200 when they come with a cord. Battery powered ones are more expensive and can cost up to $500 at the highest.

The starting price of a miter saw is $100 and the more features you want the more expensive it gets. Cordless miter saws with sliding arms can cost more than $1000. The price difference is worth considering when comparing the two saws. Especially for DIYers on a budget.

What Are The Advantages of A Miter Saw Over Circular Saws?

A miter saw doesn’t lose in every department when compared to a circular saw. It has two major benefits one of which is really what ways most heavily.

1. Miter Saws Are More Accurate

The biggest benefit that miter saw offers in comparison to circular saw is their accuracy. You just need to set the miter saw at the miter angle you want by adjusting the pivoting base. For bevel cuts, you tilt the saw blade at the correct angle before locking it. You can do both these things at once to get a compound cut.

All you need to do then is to bring the blade down on the workipiece and you get a perfectly accurate cut with clean edges as the blade is as steady as can be. You can make similar cuts one after another pretty fast. So, they’re best to use when you need many identical pieces for a project.  

2. Miter Saws Are Safer To Use

Less of a miter saw is exposed when compared to a circular saw. A miter saw also has the blade fixed to an arm that comes with a fixed base. Kickback on circular saw is more dangerous than a miter saw.

Circular saw doesn’t have an arm that fixes it in position. It leaves the user at a greater risk of injury if they aren’t careful to keep both hands on the handle and position their body to the side while cutting.

Final Words 

If you are looking to work on woodworking projects, you will be using a lot of both saws. Both miter saws and circular saws have their advantages and you should own them to work on complex projects.

The first saw we recommend is always a circular saw. That’s because of its versatility. If you must have one saw, this is the one. Hopefully, we have justified our recommendation with our detailed analysis of what is the advantage of a circular saw over miter saw.

You want to buy some guides to go with your circular saw to improve its accuracy, which is undoubtedly the saws biggest drawback.

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