How to Choose a Mitre Saw

Whether you are an amateur DIY enthusiast or woodworking is a hobby of yours, you need the right woodworking tools. One of the main staple items of a woodworking workshop is a mitre saw.Mitre saws are probably the most popular of the saw tools available.The reason that they are so popular, is because they are versatile and extremely useful.Whatever the project, you will undoubtedly use a mitre saw.

Because of the variety of mitre saws available, it is a good idea not to rush into buying your first mitre saw. You need to review the features of individual saws until you find a suitable saw for the work you will be doing with it. A good site to help you find the best tool is Straight Kerfs with their buying guides, tips and recommendations.Let’s take a look at the different types of mitre saw that you might consider buying.

Types of Mitre Saw

What type of mitre saw do you actually need? There are three main types of mitre saw.

  • Basic mitre saw. The basic mitre saw is limited to making mitre cuts. If you are not sure what a mitre cut is, a mitre cut is where you cut at a diagonal angle through the wood. The cut is perpendicular to the wood so it is straight up and down. Mitre cuts are normally used when making box shapes.This includes things like picture frames and even doors and simple mouldings. It is how you join two pieces of wood together to make a corner.This type of mitre saw is very basic and only used for simple cutting. They are however cheap to buy so are great if you are a beginner or a hobbyist woodworker.
  • Compound mitre saw.Unlike the basic mitre saw, a compound mitre saw can not only make mitre cuts but can also make bevel cuts. A bevel cut is a cut at an angle through the wood so is cut at a tilt. You could buy a compound mitre saw capable of cutting a single bevel or dual bevel cuts. Single bevel is a bevel cut in one direction.Dual bevel can make both left and right level cuts. This means you don’t have to move your wood to make a second cut. This can be used for complex mouldings.
  • Sliding compound mitre saws.This is without a doubt the most versatile type of mitre saw.Clearly, it’s also going to be the most expensive option. It has all the features of the compound mitre saw but also has a sliding arm.This means you can cut both wider and thicker pieces of wood.These are relatively expensive so are only recommended if you work with large pieces of wood.

Useful Features

Whichever type of mitre saw you choose, they all have slightly different features. You need to take these into consideration when deciding which one to buy.

  • Laser guide. Although not essential a laser guide is extremely useful. It makes the mitre saw more accurate and easier to use. You need to check the quality of the laser guide because some are not particularly good.
  • Dust collection. Some mitre saws have a dust bag to collect dust. These are not always particularly efficient. Other types of dust collection system are available.
  • Generally, mitre saws are equipped with a standard blade for rough cuts. This blade isn’t suitable for wood working or for fine woodworking projects. You may need to buy a higher quality blade.Check how easy it is to change the blade when choosing the type of mitre saw to buy.If it is very difficult to change the blade, this may be a big inconvenience.
  • Check the safety features when looking for a new mitre saw. All mitre saws are safe to use but some have better safety features than others. If this is a concern, then check this feature carefully.

If you have realised that you need to buy a mitre saw to help you around the house or because you enjoy woodworking, you need to do your research carefully.Mitre saws come with a variety of features so work out which features are essential for you before you buy.Remember some of the features are only for professionals so although they seem like nice to have, are you actually going to use them?