Table Saw vs Miter Saw — What are Their Differences and Uses? (2024)

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The functionality of both the table saw vs miter saw is similar, but there are discrepancies that can affect the outcome of your project. Choosing the wrong one for your workshop can be a real headache, and returning the saw might not be an option. I’ve compared these two types of saws extensively to help you make the right decision for your needs.

Table Saw vs Miter Saw

I will meticulously analyze both miter saws and table saws for you. Drawing from my expertise, I’ll elucidate the specific uses of each saw, carefully weighing their pros and cons. This will provide a detailed perspective, aiding in making an informed decision based on your particular needs.

What is a Table Saw

While the name might suggest that a table saw is designed to be placed on a table, it refers to a saw with a spacious work surface. Table saws come in three main types: those with a wheeled stand commonly found in woodworking shops, industrial models featuring a cabinet, and smaller, more portable options without any built-in stand.

orange table saw

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Purpose of a Table Saw

From what I highlighted in the bullet list above, I can confidently say that the table saw is a more versatile tool, delivering exceptional performance across various cuts. In my woodworking journey, I’ve often relied on a table saw for many basic tasks because of its prowess in rip cuts, cross cuts, and angle cuts, particularly when working with larger materials.

It can cut wood, metal and most other materials including sheets. Table saws can come in 10-inch and 12-inch models that can help cut down working time because of the sheer power they can produce.

What is a Miter Saw

Miter saws such as excellent Ryobi miter saws also have a circular blade like the table saws, but instead of coming up from the bottom, the blades of the miter saws lowers down onto the material. A big difference between a miter saw VS table saw is miter saws do not come with a stand, unlike a table saw which can sometimes be accompanied by a wheeled stand or cabinet.

However, miter saws also have different types. The first one is the basic miter saws, which are geared towards straight cuts and angle cut jobs. Users can switch between the two cuts easily with a few simple adjustments. As the name suggests, the basic miter saw is meant for simpler cuts and projects. For more advanced cuts, woodworkers would need to use a miter saw that’s more complex.

Delta S26-263L Sliding Compound Miter Saw

The compound miter saw is the one users should look to for all the cuts the basic miter saw can carry out plus bevel cuts. Within the compound miter saw category the manufacturers can break them down into ones with more specific criteria. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Purpose of a Miter Saw

The miter saw is quite a versatile power tool. Miter saws can be used to cut tiles, woods, or boards. It can make all the difference between clean and precise cuts compared to a table saw if it is used right. Woodworkers and construction workers use a miter saw for trim work, crown or base moldings, picture frames and anything else that requires angled cuts.

While the miter saw can be a great addition to a workshop, I mainly see them being the most useful for carpenters.

(If you are planning to make miter saw projects, here are the top miter saws ideal for beginners)

adjusting miter saw to make a bevel cut

Main Differences Between a Table Saw and Miter Saw

Now, I’ll delve deeper into the nuances between table saws and miter saws. Drawing from my expertise, I aim to provide insights that will guide you in making an informed choice.


Given its size, the table saw is naturally more powerful than the miter saw. From my experience, I’d recommend a table saw for larger pieces of wood and more extensive woodworking projects.

table saw

The smaller miter saw is the better choice if power isn’t your top consideration. Depending on your line of work, it doesn’t hurt to have both a table saw and a miter saw handy in your workshop if you can afford it and have the space.

Cutting Type and Capacity

The blade on table saws is stationary, while the blades on miter saws are more flexible. To use a table saw, you would need to push the piece of wood through the blade but you can lower the saw blade on a miter saw to accommodate your needs. This makes table saws more suited for longer and deeper cut jobs. 

Since there isn’t really a throat, it’s also easier to deal with a larger piece of wood using a table saw. For more intricate cut jobs, the table saw would require a miter gauge or other accessories to be more precise.

circular saw on granite slab

You can still conduct straight cuts using a miter saw, but the cuts are much shorter compared to the table saw. A table saw can make angled cuts but with a lot less precision. Instead, I suggest going with the miter saw to cut angles at 45-degree or a 90-degree angle. The miter saw offers a lot more precision.


Both the miter saws vs table saws have a circular blade, similar to the circular saw. The difference is the miter saw has a blade mounted on an arm that lowers onto your wood project while the table saw has a blade that rises up through the saw table.

(For miter saw blade options, I have excellent 12-inch miter saws listed here)

Precision and Versatility

Due to how the blade is mounted and the adjustability for bevel cuts, the miter saw particularly a compact miter saw model is the winner for precision and versatility. The downside is they cannot handle larger pieces. The moveable arm which the blade is mounted on also gives users more flexibility when angling the cut.

In my experience, the table saw excels with larger pieces of wood, typically resulting in less detailed cuts. It’s perfect for long, straight cuts, but when it comes to smaller tasks, it doesn’t quite match up to a miter saw. Personally, I’d turn to the table saw for a rip job, but it might fall short when dealing with intricate angular cuts.

10-inch miter saw

Since the miter saws are smaller and less powerful in general, they are also the better choice for softer materials like plastic. Using the larger table saws to cut through softer material could be much more dangerous due to the faster blade.  

Size and Portability

Both miter saws and table saws are technically portable. Miter saws are the smaller of the two and more portable. Keep in mind that table saws are larger tools, which contributes to the weight that makes them less transportable. However, some table saws come with stands. You either get a wheeled stand or a wheeled cabinet, which can greatly increase portability.

I suggest looking at the wood projects you work with to decide between the miter saw vs table saw, but if portability is your top priority, then miter saws are the way to go.

Safety Features

Based on my expertise, I find miter saws to be generally safer, as they help keep the workpiece sturdy and stable. On the other hand, table saws can exhibit significant kickback, which, in my opinion, can be quite challenging and potentially hazardous, especially for those who are just starting out in woodworking.

10 inch miter saw thick of wood cut

You should always wear the necessary PPE [1] when operating power tools, but it’s even more essential to have gloves on when operating a table saw to protect your fingers.

Skill Level

Since a table saw can almost make any cut a miter saw can make, another deciding factor for you could be your skill level. Since our experts say the table saw is the more dangerous option, I would suggest choosing a miter saw if you are a beginner. However, what’s most important is still the project at hand and what you want to accomplish. 


Table saws tend to be pricier than miter saws, primarily due to their size. However, if you’re comparing tools from reputable brands like Dewalt that use top-quality materials, there shouldn’t be a vast difference in price between a miter saw and a table saw. I’ve found both of these tools invaluable in my woodworking ventures because of their proficiency with wood. If your budget allows, I’d personally recommend investing in both.


A lot of table saw and miter saw options can come with accessories to help make the cut job safer and more efficient. Such an add-on would be something like a miter gauge, which can help with angles and sometimes bevel settings. 

On another article, you may also evaluate how the Miter Saw and Circular Saw compare.


Is a table saw better than a miter saw?

No, a table saw is not better than a miter saw. The two types of saws are meant for different cut jobs. The miter saw is the better tool for angles and precision, while the table saw is better for large woodworking projects and powerful straight cut jobs. Choose which is best for your workshop depending on the type of cut you need and the projects you take on.

Should I get a table saw or miter saw first?

You should get a miter saw first if you work with smaller projects. These tools are excellent for more precise and intricate angles and are better suited for beginners. Table saws are better for experienced workers because it can have a kickback that could be dangerous for inexperienced users. 


As I wrap up this comparison between miter saws and table saws, I’d like to emphasize that neither is inherently superior. Both are proficient for woodworking and have their own strengths in various cut jobs. The primary distinctions lie in angle versatility and blade mounting—while the miter saw blade is mounted on an arm, the table saw blade emerges through the table. Your choice should align with the specific requirements of your woodworking projects.

(See also: Festool vs Makita Track Saw)

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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