Do You Need a Sliding Miter Saw – a Beginner Guide

Miter Saws are one of the most popular tools that a woodworker could add to their arsenal. They have a variety of applications which certainly makes them a must-have. From making straight and cross-cuts to a variety of other angles, the possibilities are endless when using a miter saw. However, for people who are still new to woodwork, the burning question you may have on your mind is whether you should opt for the regular miter saw or a sliding miter saw?

Regardless of which miter saw you opt for, there’s one thing common in both of them, and that’s intimidation. From complex knobs and levers to different adjustments, there’s a lot going on with them. Apart from that, they are also often advertised with tricky names like “compound sliding” and “dual bevel”, but rest assured that they’re all the same.

If you want to make angled cuts, then a standard miter saw is going to be more than sufficient. However, a compound miter saw is used for both bevels and miters. On the contrary, an average woodworker may not need to go for bevel cuts too often. While a sliding miter saw, as the name suggests, enables you to slide out the blades making it more convenient to cut wider boards.

So, which Miter Saw is best for your daily woodwork? Let’s dive in and discuss all you need to know about it.

Overview of Regular Miter Saw

If you want to go for regular woodwork and you have a trim project or even large flooring in front of you, then you cannot go wrong with the regular miter saw. Although sliding miter saw does offer a lot of flexibility, but make no mistake, regular miter saw are also quite handy. For starters, regular miter saws also offer a broad scope of angles to make cuts. Apart from that, they are easy to set up, use and move around. Thus, making them highly functional.

Basic Functions

The regular miter saw works best when the piece of wood you’re cutting is not too wide. You can use the miter saw for both straight and angled cuts. If you do want to cut a wider piece of wood, then you would have to frequently flip the wooden piece, which can become a hassle. The width of the cuts with a miter saw is quite limited because it moves in an up and down motion.

Cut Types

Although a regular miter saw is not suitable to make wider cuts, they are still highly versatile. In fact, you could go for angled, straight, and crosscuts with other endless possibilities. Considering how simple it is to operate a regular miter saw, the cuts you make are also quite precise, quick and efficient. All you have to do is set the angle, and you’re good to go!

Blade Types

Depending on your usage, you could choose the type of blade you’re looking for accordingly. Replacing the blade of a miter saw is quite a straightforward process. You can find a number of online tutorials on it, so that shouldn’t be a problem.


One of the main reasons why you see the majority of the beginner woodworkers having a regular miter saw is due to its price. A standard miter saw is easy on the pocket and can be purchased with a few hundred dollars. Although the prices of the miter saw may increase depending on the quality and features.

Overview of Sliding Miter Saw

Apart from one difference, the sliding miter saw is very similar to the regular miter saw. In a sliding miter saw, the blades can be adjusted and pulled towards you. Unlike the regular miter saw where they can only be pulled down. This flexibility with the blades enables the sliding miter saw to be used on wider surfaces. If your project revolves around cutting wider pieces of wood, then you’re going to love using a sliding miter saw.

Basic Functions

The best part about a sliding miter saw is that it is capable of doing everything that a regular miter saw can. From straight cuts to angle and crosscuts, you practically do not have any restrictions and it’s easier to use. However, you know the big twist that sliding miter saw comes with. They are also able to easily cut through wider boards since you can pull its blades in your direction.

Cut Types

While a sliding miter saw can come in quite handy for different types of cuts, there are some minor restrictions with it. If you want to cut an extreme angle, then you might face some difficulties. This is where your experience and craftsmanship as a woodworker may come into play.

Blade Types

There are different types of blades available for a sliding miter saw. When we said that regular miter saw and a sliding miter saw are alike, we really meant it! If you want to change the blade of a sliding miter saw, then it can easily be done as well. Usually, the same tutorials that you would see for a regular miter saw, are also applicable for a sliding miter saw.


In terms of pricing, it goes without question that a sliding miter saw is more expensive. Usually, expect to spend more than $450 on your miter saw. The main reason behind their high price is the portability they offer and the fact that they make cutting wider boards much easier.

Final Verdict

Now that you know what each of the Miter Saw has to offer, the hardest thing is to decide which one to go for. Well, the miter saw you choose mainly depends on the type of project you are working on. If you’re just starting out as a woodworker, then the chances are that you do not really have to work around too complex angles.

If you are especially working on a large floor, then you might want to stick with a regular Saw. However, if you are feeling adventurous and you would like to cut wider boards, then you do not really have much of an option. Cutting wider boards with a regular miter saw can be a hassle and highly time-consuming. So, only if you have to cut wider boards, then you should consider going for a sliding miter saw.

Other than that, there aren’t many instances in our opinion where you would have the need to use a sliding miter saw as opposed to a regular miter saw. Both of them are pretty much the same in terms of portability, versatility and features. Except, the reason why a regular miter saw wins in our eyes is due to its affordability. It is one of the best power tools that a new woodworker could add to their arsenal without putting a huge dent on their pockets.

Thus, if you want to get started with woodwork, and do not have to work with wider boards, then without any second thoughts, go for a regular miter saw and save yourself some money.

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