What Is A Compound Miter Saw: A Complete Guideline.

Have you been suggested by a colleague or friend to buy a compound miter saw for your project work? Well, before investing you need to know about it. So, what is a compound miter saw and how will you benefit from buying it?

Compound miter saws are an invaluable tool in your workshop. Among the vast assortment of miter saws available in the market, a compound miter saw is one of the best in the category which helps you to have precise angular cuts.

The fantastic thing about a compound miter saw is that along with cutting at angles it can also be used to cut bevels, making it a perfect choice for crown molding projects.

The compound miter saws are an invaluable tool if you are building something that requires cutting door frames, picture frames, window casing,.

Regardless of the fact if you are a beginner or a professional, these miter saws are a must-have if you desire to become a wholesome builder.

Compound miter saws, commonly known as bench miter saws are facilitated for both bevel & miter cuts. Even though the miter saws can cut through both metal and wood, compound miter saws are best suited for woodwork.

Unlike a chop saw which only makes straight cuts at 90º, an awesome fact about the compound miter saw is that these miter saws can adjust its miter angle.

Being a novice builder, you must be wondering what be a compound miter saw and how can it impact your project work. If you are working on a project for crown molding, you would witness the extraordinary ability of a compound miter saw to make a bevel cut.

Mitering occurs when the saw blade is rotated around the base. This base has a scale that shows you the rotating angle.

When you manipulate the saw on both axes simultaneously, it yields a compound miter cut.

How to cut using a compound miter saw?

Now that you have known about these compound miter and also their features, you must be wondering how to begin your cutting.

Let me tell you, this is not at all tough and can be mastered with experience. To make a precise cut, follow the below-listed steps.

  • At first, you need to keep your material on the cutting table and against the fence.
  • Now, use your miter saw to set up the required angle & bevel for your cut.
  • Once you are done with this, make a final check before you begin cutting. Check and adjust the board if necessary.
  • You can start the saw now. Gently drive its blades onto the surface of the material to make a fine cut.

Any Risk Involved?

Didn’t you find the cutting procedure easy? I know you have got it well and will soon expertise in the cutting work.

Although being simple, there are always chances of injuries while you work with a compound mitre saw. Generally, users get their arms and eyes injured while working and that can be nasty at times.

Can this be avoided? Certainly, you can avoid getting injured. All you need to do is adhere to the safety measure while working.

Here is a list of the dos and the don’ts that you need to follow to be safe.

The Dos

  • Before starting, give a thorough read to the user-guide and try to understand all the instructions given.
  • Only use professional machines that have approved standards.
  • While you are working, always wear your gloves, mask, protective footwear, and safety goggles.
  • Use recommended hearing protection since the cutting process will be too loud and can harm your hearing ability.
  • Make sure all the nuts & screws are fixed properly and the blades are perfectly in place.

The Don’ts

  • Never wear loose clothing or jewelry like rings & bracelets.
  • It is advisable not to stand behind the material that is being cut.
  • Never remove cuttings from the head of the blades using your hands, they are sharp.
  • Never leaving your machine running if you are not there at the spot.
  • No removing blades unless you have switched off the power.

Types of Compound Miter Saws

The miter saw comes in a varied range of options and different prices. Has it ever happened to you that you have gone to buy a saw, but got bewildered when you came upon the array of choices there is in milter saw family? You must have experienced this.

Whenever you are going to buy a saw, you need to know exactly what purpose is served by which miter saw. Once you are done with this, decide which saw fits your requirement.

Do you want to know about the various kinds of compound miter saw available? This article will provide you with all the information that you require for this topic.

Basic Compound Miter Saw

Once you have the required knowledge with a compound miter saw you will be able to tell about the myriad of functions that a compound saw affords you.

You might be thinking what is a compound miter saw best suited for? The saw as it names suggests, is an expert at giving cuts to the end of the board at specific miter angles.

Most of the saws that are available on the market these days are compound miter saws. Not only do they cut at angles but also the swing arm tilts to a side (mostly left) to give a bevel cut.

Thinking about how does it differ from other saws? This miter saw use a greater cutting arc in comparison to others of its kind making it a unique choice.

You must also be wondering if there are any limitations involved. To be truly speaking, these saws are not much reliable when it comes to materials with sizable width. For example, a 10” saw can cut up to 6-inches.

Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Are you also facing problems due to the cutting capacity of the compound miter saws? There is no need to worry.

The limitation of compound miter saws with regards to material width has been sorted by a sliding compound miter saw.

Previously, non-sliding saws gave uneven cuts with improper lining, and also the depth of cut was shallow. To cut a wide board properly, the user had to turn it over which gave unsatisfactory results.

Fortunately, the sliding miter works better in such cases and once you lower the swing arm, you can manipulate it to cut the entire board without needing to turn it over, unlike compound miter saws, giving a wider cut.

The crosscut capacity of this saw is better since they are flexible to cut deeper. Ryobi sliding miter saw is one of the popular brands available in the market.

Dual Compound Miter Saw

The Dual Compound Miter Saw gives any budding woodwork artist the best of both worlds.

In addition to the miter table and sliding rails, the swing arm can swing both ways and can make bevel cuts in both left and right direction. That makes it convenient and timesaving as well.

The same function can also be performed by the standard compound miter saw but it requires more work as the user now needs to turn the board over to cut the bevel in the opposite direction.

This is especially helpful in case of longer materials if you opt for making your crown.

The dual-compound miter saw is a tad bit expensive than the others. So, if you don’t need bevel-cut crowns, you might want to invest in more economical options.

Differences between Single Bevel & Dual Bevel Miter Saw

Based on the way the bevel cut is achieved, there are two types of circular compound miter hand saw available. They are single bevel and dual bevel compound miter saw.

Do you want to know what they are and how are they different? Here we go with the details below.

Single Bevel Compound Saw

The single bevel compound miter saw can only swing in one direction, i.e., either left or right.

So, it cannot pivot much which is why single bevel compound miter saw is only able to perform one-directional bevel cuts. But the plus point is that they can do both bevel cuts and miter cuts independently or together.

The advantages of single bevel saws are that they are versatile, easy to use & cheap costing lesser than a dual bevel one from the same brand.

Dual-Bevel Compound Saw

The advantage of dual bevel miter saw is that unlike the single bevel model, this one can adjust to both left and right direction.

No more of turning your head completely over the board for cutting since the saw head can rotate bi-directionally making the bevel cuts cleaner & precise, thereby saving time.

The dual bevel sliding miter saw is also very powerful that can cut even the toughest lumber. These saws are heavy-duty machinery. They can accomplish more work and can cut efficiently.

There are also different options in blades that you can use with a miter saw. They are:

  • Crosscut blade
  • Combination blade

Sliding Miter Saw VS Compound Miter Saw

A major difference between a sliding miter saw and a compound miter saw is that a sliding miter saw is equipped with rails that are not there in a compound miter saw as it remains stationary.

This allows the blade of a sliding miter saw to move forward and backward smoothly across wide pieces of material.

A compound miter saw is like an all-purpose saw that has its uses in a professional workshop and a residence as well. It is also inexpensive and can cut thicker material even.

The miter saw harbor freight brand ones are very good options to invest in if you looking to buy. You can also find numerous other brands available in the market.

What Is Better: Cordless or Corded Miter Saw?

Don’t you prefer the cordless miter saw more because it is easy to operate? Knowing that the cordless saws are portable too, you might start liking it more.

Portability has been an issue when handling heavy-duty saws. For years, the convenience of portability needed to be sacrificed for high performing saws, but things have changed now.

Now, some of the best saws run on battery power. When it comes to portability, cordless saws are a clear winner. You can easily move the cordless saws from one place to another and they can operate on low power.

But if you want to do heavy-duty cuttings all day, you should go for the corded one.

Moreover, corded miter saws also have reasonable prices and costs less than cordless ones. Also, the Corded Miter Saw is lighter in weight compared to the Cordless one.


You will have a range of options to choose from when you think about investing in a saw for your use.

There are sliding and non-sliding miter saws, single bevel, and dual bevel compound saws. Every saw has a unique feature along with its respective set of advantages & disadvantages.

For an amateur, a sliding miter saw will not be very useful, but a professional woodworking artist will love to get his hands on a sliding miter saw.

An important point to note for buyers is the space a miter saw will occupy and the price of the miter.

Usually, a sliding miter saw is comparatively more expensive and is heavier in weight. It is rarely bought for residential use and is found more often in workshops.

We understand that so many choices can feel utterly overwhelming and since you wanted to know what is a compound miter saw, we have compiled all that facts so that you could easily make your choice regarding buying the required saw for your project.

Frequently Asked Question

What is a compound miter saw used for?

The compound miter saw is commonly used for picture frames, crown molding, or any kind of woodwork projects that require angle cuts.

What is a sliding compound miter saw?

This saw is like any other standard compound miter saw with the added feature of sliding rails. This miter saw uses its reel to increase its crosscut capacity which is why sliding compound miter saws cut deeper.

What is a double bevel compound miter saw?

The double bevel compound miter saw has such a design that the blades can adjust to both left and right direction thus enabling it to cut in any direction.

What is a single bevel compound miter saw?

The single bevel compound miter saw can only adjust its positioning in one direction which is either left or right. That is why the cuts made by a single bevel compound miter saw are one-directional.

Can you use compound miter saw to cut tile?

The miter saw usually is not meant for cutting tiles, but if you cannot afford a wet saw which is meant for the purpose, invest in a diamond blade. Fixing diamond blades to your miter will enable them to cut tiles.

Read More : Top Portable Table Saw

Read More : Best Metal Cutting Blade

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