Miter Saw vs Circular Saw: Is One Better Than the Other?

We all catch that bug to make our DIY furniture projects every time we scroll through Pinterest or the explore page of Instagram. Amongst all the power tools needed for such projects, there is often a debate between miter saw vs circular saw.

A circular saw comes with good enough power and is easy to use. On the contrary, a miter saw is known for being extremely powerful and will definitely make you look like a professional at work.

Unless you have the money to splurge and buy both, which one makes more sense to invest in and be a part of your home improvement tool kit? To help answer this question, we will talk about both, the miter and circular saws in detail, which will help you make an informed decision.

What Is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw is a type of a power tool which can cut through materials with the help of its round blade. This can either be handheld or table-mounted. It is a common tool used by cabinet makers and carpenters to make different types of cuts.

A circular saw is a fantastic piece of equipment which is typically used for rip cutting. This type of cut is when you have to make a continuous and long cut along the grain.

Circular saws come in multiple sizes, by that we mean its blade comes in various sizes. Most circular saws measure at 7.25 inches. You can also choose between left-handed and right-handed saws. So, keep that in mind if you intend to buy a circular saw.

What Is a Miter Saw?

A miter saw is another type of power tool which is used to make miters and crosscuts in a workpiece by a mounted circular saw blade or a large backsaw onto a board in a rapid motion.

Also referred to as chop saws, miter saws come in multiple sizes. They can be as small as seven inches and can go up as high as 12 inches. This is measured by the blade across the center.

Newer models of miter saws come with lasers which allow you to see far more easily where you are going to cut.

Miter Saw vs Circular Saw: The Differences

Now that you know what a circular saw and a miter saw is, it is time we talk about their differences.

1. The Basic Difference

Both the saws can technically cut any material in any shape you like. However, if you are looking for more accuracy and precision, then the miter saw is far superior to the circular saw. Miter saws also allow crosscuts which you cannot get from a circular saw.

2. Necessary Skills Needed

Thankfully, you don’t need to be educated or skilled to know how to use a miter or a circular saw. Just trying each of them a couple of times will allow you to get the hang of it pretty instantly. You can further refer to each of the saw’s manual to know more about how to use it.

That being said, the miter saw’s structure is quite different compared to the circular saw. Circular saws can cut almost anything whereas miter saws tend to have limited usage. But as mentioned earlier, accuracy and precision are best achieved from a miter saw.

3. Price

Between circular saws and miter saws, the former is going to cost you a little lesser than the latter. Circular saws typically range anywhere between $40 for a compact sized and $120 for a high-end one.

On the other hand, miter saws can cost only $200 for the basic ones, and the nicer ones will set you back by $600. You can find both of these in several hardware stores and online retail stores. This is one of the main reasons why people stick to using circular saws.

4. Ease of Use

When it comes to which one of the two is easier to operate, the answer is straightforward. Circular saws have an easy win here. This saw offers more control over the entire operation in comparison to a miter saw. Also, you can keep your hands at a much safer distance.

That being said, if you are looking to cut at angles, the miter saw allows better adjustment for it, that, too, in multiple directions. While this isn’t completely impossible on a circular saw, it will need you to set up a straight edge or jig, and you have to measure the angle to ensure it is right. Both the saws tend to have a bit of a kickback when they are fired up.

5. Safety

When it comes to safety, it is important to remember that working with any power tool can be risky. Hence, it is imperative that you take all the proper security measures when you work with either of the saws.

Between these two saws, though, the circular saw is definitely far more dangerous to work with due to the circular motion of the blade. So, you must ensure that you are not wearing loose clothing or that your hair is untied when working with this saw.

6. Versatility

We can say this without a doubt that the circular saw is far more versatile than the miter saw. The circular saw is capable of doing so many things than the miter saw. Circular saws can cut through several materials such as plastic, wood, and tiles as well. It is because of all of this and its price that the circular saw is more widely used.

But we would like to repeat that even though a circular saw has a ton of advantages, it may not be able to give you that precise finishing and specific cut you are looking for; that you will only get from a miter saw.


There is no winner between miter saw vs circular saw. Each of them comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Overall, stick to the circular saw if you are looking for more versatility, but if you are looking for accuracy and precision, then we will recommend going for the miter saw.