July 26, 2022

Should I buy a Table Saw or a Miter Saw first?

Choosing between a table saw and a miter saw can be difficult. It’s important to remember that each saw serves a specific purpose and that the right tool for the job is critical to the quality of the work. Whether you are a hobbyist or an expert, it’s essential to understand the uses and applications of each saw. This post will look at the pros and cons of each saw and help you make an informed decision about which saw to buy first. Remember, if you do not have the money to buy both tools at once, you should wait until you can afford both.

What is a table saw?

A table saw is a flat table with an inbuilt saw that makes multiple cuts through a material. Do not refer to a table saw as a random tool since it is a specific tool. It has a circular saw blade that extends out from the table surface through a slit. 

The saw blade is on a saw motor below the table. It can be raised and lowered depending on the project you are working on (diy.com). It is versatile and works on multiple projects, hence its versatility. Table saws come in endless models, and you can find stationary and mobile table saws at any hardware store. A table saw makes a wide range of woodwork and carpentry projects.

What is a miter saw?

A miter saw is a machine tool with a circular blade fixed on a swing arm that comes onto the workpiece as you cut material. A miter saw is almost the same as a table saw in that it utilizes a rotating circular saw blade to cut wood. 

The difference is that a miter saw is meant for a specific purpose, while a table saw is a general-purpose wood cutting tool. Miter saws make accurate crosscuts and angular cuts. Use a swing-mounted blade set to different angles. That explains the precise miter cuts, as you have more control over the cuts.  

What to consider?

The Width of the Saw Blade

Before buying any of the two power tools, analyze their ability to cut wood lengthwise. The saw blade’s width determines the length you can cut with a miter saw, and chances are higher that a miter saw male longer cuts since it functions by lowering the circular blades spinning.


As you look forward to meeting the needs of your projects, consider if you can move your saw tool from one working station to another. Some modern table saws have pre-installed wheeled stands that make them mobile, while stationary saws are fixed with bolts onto a solid steel leg, making them heavy and immobile.

Safety Features

Before deciding whether to buy a miter saw or a table saw, consider the safety features to avoid accidents. All power tools can be hazardous and follow safety guidelines. Injuries occur while using a table saw instead of a miter saw due to kickbacks. 

Most accidents caused by miter saws are due to attempting to switch a hand, lowering the blade with the hand holding the wood. Crossing an arm or hand in front of the spinning blade is dangerous. Buy a power tool equipped with advanced safety technological features.

When to go for a table saw instead of a miter saw?

  • For general-purpose cutting, like cutting large boards of wood, a table saw is the best option. 
  • The table saw also makes long rip-cuts accurately. It quickly cuts through large amounts of wood, which saves you time. 
  • If you need to make crosscuts on short pieces of wood or cut up smaller wooden sheets, then a table saw is your best bet. Any remodeling or carpentry work you can think of will require a table saw. It is time-consuming and easy to make mistakes when using a table saw for miter cuts. If you are confident in your abilities to make precise cuts with a table saw, there is no need to have second thoughts about the saw tool.

When to go for a miter saw instead of a table saw?

  • Invest in a miter saw if you need precise miter and bevel cuts. 
  • If you intend to make furniture rails, frames or edging. These projects require a miter saw’s accuracy and speed. 
  • For a complex project, you will need a miter saw.


  • A table saw is a multi-purpose saw for all types of cuts, whereas a miter saw is for trimming and angular cuts.
  • A table saw makes Ripping, crosscuts, and angular cuts, whereas a miter saw is for crosscuts, miter, bevel, and compound cuts.
  • A miter saw operates with a moving blade and fixed stock, whereas a table saw has a stationary saw blade while the stock moves.
  • A miter saw is more accurate than a table saw.
  • A table saw is for ripping plywood, and building cabinets and furniture, whereas a miter saw is for framing, trim work, base, or crown molding.
  • A table saw is ideal for Woodworkers, whereas a miter saw is for carpenters.
  • A miter saw is safer than a table saw. The chances of experiencing kickbacks are higher when using a table saw than when using a miter saw. 

The verdict 

A table saw makes various cuts but is not as precise as a miter saw. If you specialize in long rip-cuts and crosscuts, a table saw is the ideal saw tool. A miter saw is for use if you need precision miter cuts and bevel cuts of wood or other materials like plastic. 

Table saws can do the same cuts miter saws do, but the chances of making a mistake go up. When adding accessories like sled and miter gauge with extensions to make precise crosscuts and miter cuts, you might as well consider a table saw. 

If you must pick one, a good table saw will do for a beginner. A table saw is more suitable because of its versatility, making it favorable for a wide range of woodwork and carpentry projects. If your financial status permits, combining a miter saw with a table saw improves your final product’s quality.

David D. Hughes

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