Stewarttools Logo

A Miter Saw Beginner’s Guide

What Is a Miter Saw

Miter saw a.k.a. chop saw is an instrument/tool used mainly in carpentry. The main function of the miter saw is to cut wood, aluminum, PVC, and other materials at certain angles. People often confuse a miter saw with a table saw and bandsaws.

Miter saw offers a lot of accuracy and precision to the work, that’s why it’s extremely practical to ensure a perfect quality finish in different projects in which it is used like wood frames, windows, etc.

If you’re using a miter saw you have to maintain the highest security precautions such as wearing protective gloves and glasses to avoid any mishaps and accidents.

However good maintenance of this tool is equally essential, it is advisable to clean it at the end of every job you do on my dresser and frequently clean all dust particles and pieces of wood, as well as time to time greasing of the component, is also recommended. Have a Look at our Beginner’s Miter Saw List.

Parts Of a Miter Saw

Its job is to elevate (rise) and lower the cutting blade.


It works together with the handle and serves or is used to release the arm that cuts.


It is the most important protection component that covers the cutting disc (blade). The blade guard is moveable and allows the disc to be released and cut the object.


A piece against where the word or the fiber plates rest and then secures or prevents them from moving during the cut.


In simpler words, it’s a rotating circular-shaped blade, it can vary in diameter and thickness but only the good sharpness of the disc can make your cuts precise and accurate.


with this element, you can select the desired cutting angle. It can go from 45 to 90 degrees.


This component allows you to make a cut with a bevel effect with ease. A few miter saw models don’t come with this feature, however, it is not something that is commonly used.


This component is also called a vacuum cleaner or dust port. Its functionality is to collect the dust and chips that are produced in the cutting process and it also allows you better visibility of the work area.


It is an extension that allows you to cut larger board pieces.

Types Of The Miter Saw

There are many types of miter saws available in the market. If categorized, there are manual and electric versions of miter saws. But electrical miter saws are more famous and in demand.

1. Manual Miter Saw

These are the old fashion models that have been used for generations. They are generally the lightest and most efficient in cutting common angles the most basic version and also known as a miter box.

Some manual miter saw models come with a built-in saw and allow to cut the wood at 45°.

Manual Miter Saw

2. Electric Miter Saw

Miter saws powered by electricity has been gaining popularity over the past few years in woodworking they have a motor powered by electrical energy that is what generates the movement of the circular saw if you’re looking to purchase an electric miter saw, you must take into account its size the power of the motor and the disc

According to the features it’s further divided into many types, like the one with table, telescopic and motor powered.

Electric Miter Saw

Miter Saw With Table

It’s like an upgraded version of a traditional or manual miter saw but with a table and has the capability to cut different materials with precision, thanks to its rotating circular blade.

This could be the best choice for you if you’re looking for a miter saw for DIY projects.

Telescopic Miter Saw

The most prominent feature of this type is that it can work with more angles than just 45°. It has the ability to cut larger pieces and different materials which expands the possibilities of its use.

It has a built-in laser that gives you more precision when making cuts, blades are replaceable, and come with quick-adjusting pliers.

Motor Inn Miter Saw

This is very similar to telescopic but the difference between them is that the engine is powered by gasoline. This type is not common or easy to find and generally used in areas that have limited access to electricity.

If defined further, many miters saw manufacturers incorporated multiple features in a single miter saw to make them more efficient for the users. And commonly available in these types:

3. Sliding Miter Saw

As its name, a sliding miter saw has a sliding rail that allows the circular blade disc to move forward and backward. It has the capability to handle and cut much wider material than a basic miter saw or compound miter saw. However, it acquires more space than a compound miter saw due to its sliding feature.

Makita LS1019L
Makita LS1019L
Linear ball bearing system engineered to deliver "dead-on" accurate cuts

4. Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

It allows you to cut larger capacities for different materials like siding and 4×4. It is also very important to know that this is a dual bevel miter saw which is going to allow you to keep your piece in one spot, change the angle of the saw rather than constantly maneuvering your material.

Best Double Bevel Sliding Miter Saw in the Market:

Metabo Dual Bevel Miter Saw
Metabo Dual Bevel Miter Saw
AWARD: Rated Best Miter Saw for the Money for Pros by Pro Tool Reviews 2022; MOTOR: Powerful 15 Amp motor to tackle tough cutting jobs with ease

5. A Compound Miter Saw

Compound Miter saw has a single bevel which allows you to cut 45° to the left but it also reduces the cut capacity as well. It’s important to keep in mind when you’re looking at the material you need to cut and how much reach that blade to make

Best Top Of The Line Compound Miter Saw:

Metabo Compound Miter Saw
Metabo Compound Miter Saw
LIGHTWEIGHT: Only 24.2 lbs. to facilitate maneuverability and portability; MITER ANGLE RANGE: 0-52 degrees, to the right and left for increased flexibility

6. Dual Bevel Compound Miter Saw

If you want the nice compact style but you want to have that dual bevel feature, the dual bevel compound miter saw maintains the compact compound miter saw style but it allows you to bevel 45° to the left and 45° to the right for your convenience.

Type Of Cuts Made With Miter Saw:


A simple 90 degree cut straight. Cut perpendicular to the grain of the wood. 0° miter and 0° bevel


Angles cut on the face of the wood.45° miter and 0° bevel


Angled cut to the edge of the wood.0° miter and 45° bevel


A combination of both miter and compound cut. Angled cut to the face and edge of the wood.45° miter and 45° bevel.

Cut Sizes of Miter Saw

The size of the cut is also an essential part when choosing the miter saw. If the saw is fixed, the size of the cut will be slightly smaller than the disc you can use.

For instance, if the blade has a diameter of 200mm, then how much it can cut? The correct answer is 200mm or less. This is because when you’re lower the disc there’s always a gap behind the wood support.

It means the diameter of the disc is completely related to the dimension or size of the cut we can achieve. And if you select a miter saw with a telescopic arm, the cuts will be a bit larger than the size or disc.

Making a Simple Cut in 5 Steps with a Miter Saw

Follow these steps to make a precise cut with a miter saw

  1. Draw a line on the wood with a bevel or ruler.

  2. Place the wood on the table and push it against the fence. Line up the furthest end of the mark towards the middle of the open part of the fence.

  3. Release the table lock, turn the saw according to the desired angle or keep it straight if you want to make a cross-cut, lower the blade and lock it securely.

  4. Raise the blade, press the trigger and wait till the blade reaches its maximum rotational speed. Then, slide down the arm with a rotating blade on the wood until it stops falling further.

  5. Release the trigger, raise the blade and wait for the wheel to stop before removing the wood

How To Make Accurate Cuts

Miter saw cutting is pretty simple and straightforward, as long as you draw precise lines, make all adjustments and follow safety guidelines, it became very easy to achieve amazing results. However, some kind of cuts like compound cuts can be challenging than others and requires techniques and experience.

There are some pro tips, you can follow them to make an accurate cut with a miter saw

  • Your blade should be in perfect condition, a rough or old blade will not be able to give your wooden plank the finish you’re looking for or can damage the piece with chipped sides.
  • Do not cut short pieces, make sure that the piece you’re going to make a cut on is more than 8 inches. Avoid cutting thin pieces as well because they can get damaged or lost in the fence open space also put your hand/fingers at high risk.
  • If you want to make cut a piece of wood less than 1 inch wide, place a sacrificial piece of wood against the fence. Cut both pieces, shorter pieces will fall safely on the table.
  • Do not start cutting until the blade has reached its full rotational speed. If you start earlier, the blade can chip the wood and ruin delicate parts, such as trim or baseboards
  • The metal fence on most miter saws is not tall enough to support wide pieces of trim. When you unpack your new saw, it’s a good idea to upgrade the fence by screwing in a 4- or 6-inch piece of hardwood to act as an auxiliary fence. The fences on most good saws have holes pre-drilled for this purpose.

Video Guide For Using a Miter Saw: For Beginners

Tips to Follow Before Buying Your Miter Saw

  • Keep these points in mind while purchasing the miter saw,
  • Make sure that you’re my dresser has clearly marked scales so you can an accurate cut.
  • Make sure that your miter saw has solid detent presets.
  • Also, make sure that the fence support is good and study for your material
  • Check your saw that if it has a smooth gliding action
  • And also look for a dust collection port
  • It’s also important to have a good blade guard system and trigger lock feature
  • You can also check for some other features and accessories that come along with the saw such as lasers or a light guide system.
  • Last but not least, the most important factor before purchasing or selecting a miter saw is the space, you’re going to keep your saw because a sliding miter saw takes more space than a compound miter saw.

Safety Precautions:

You should take these safety precautions before using while using, and after usage of the miter saw in order to prevent any accident

Before The Use:

  • Before starting the work check the blade guard if it’s functioning properly.
  • Validate the condition or sharpness of the cut-off wheel.
  • Must use the correct disc, required for the model of your miter saw.

During The Work:

  • Do not wear jewelry, chain, or loose clothes while using the tool
  • It’s not recommended to hold the piece to be cut with your hands.
  • Always work on a firm, clean, and leveled surface, it allows you to stand flat on the floor in an upright manner.
  • Your body must remain on the side of the disc.
  • The power cable must remain behind the circular saw as well as away from any cutting area.
  • Do not exceed the posted speed limit for work

After You’re Done:

  • After finishing your work, disconnect the tool from the electricity supply.
  • Clean the exterior and interior of the circular saw with a damp cloth
  • Store your tool in a safe place, clean and dry place, and keep it out of reach of children and unauthorized persons.