What is a Sliding Miter Saw and Why You Need One?

A miter saw is a tool that is used to cut wood, plastic, and metal. The saw is commonly used in construction sites and in wood shops. It is used to cut materials to make them fit in a certain place.

There are two types of miter saws: compound and sliding miter saw. Today we will explain what is a sliding miter saw, how it differs from a compound one, and compare the main types of saws. Let’s start!

Major Types of Miter Saws


There are different kinds of saws made for different purposes. Here are the main types of saws you can choose from.

Sliding miter saw

A sliding miter is the most popular type of power tool used nowadays. It can be mounted on a stand and used for cutting pieces of wood at different angles. It is characterized by the fact that it can make crosscuts and miter cuts of wood. It can also make angled cuts but not compound miter cuts.

They are simple and relatively inexpensive. Their main drawback is that they have a limited cutting range, a small number of preset angles, and a small work area.

What is a Sliding Miter Saw?
A sliding miter saw is a specialized tool designed for making precise cuts in wood. It consists of a blade mounted on a sliding carriage that allows the blade to be moved back and forth, as well as up and down. Benefits of a sliding miter saw include the following: It is much more accurate, allowing for very precise cuts. These tools also allow for a wider range of motion, making it easier to cut complex angles and shapes. In addition, sliding miter saws are typically much easier to control than other types of saws, making them safer to use.

Sliding miters are not very accurate, and they can’t make a 90-degree angle. They are good for cutting small pieces of wood, though.

Compound miter saw

This power tool has a long arm that can be rotated to make different kinds of cuts. The tool can cut at angles up to 60 degrees which makes it highly convenient.

Compound mitre saw Metabo

The saw head moves on a rail. This type offers a greater cutting range and a greater number of angles than a sliding miter saw.

A compound miter saw features a vertical sliding head. It cuts various angles and cuts both sides of a project at the same time. It is a very flexible and convenient tool since you can adjust it to any angle and cut different pieces of wood at once.

Compound sliding miter saw

This kind of power tool is just like the compound angle saw, but it has an additional feature – a sliding head. It is the most popular saw in the world because it is versatile and has a very easy setup. You can set up this model in three different ways: standing, sliding, and tilting.

If you are looking for a tool that allows you to make repetitive cuts, you should buy a compound sliding miter saw. It has a sliding head that allows you to make accurate cuts. The instrument can cut both sides of a board at the same time.

A compound model can make bevel cuts, miter cuts, and compound cuts.

Dual compound sliding miter saw

This is a combination of two compound mitres in one. The tool has a dual sliding head, allowing it to make cuts in both directions. It is one of the most versatile tools in the world of construction.

It is known as a highly accurate tool, and it is often used in carpentry, construction, woodworking, and home improvement.

Saws Comparison

Now that you know what is a compound miter saw and what is a sliding one, the main types of saws, and their purposes, you can compare them and decide which one you should choose.

Sliding miter saws vs non-sliding miter saws

These are the two most popular types of miters. The sliding models are generally better at cutting wider materials, and they are faster than the non-sliding models.

Sliding vs non Sliding Miter Saw

On the other hand, the non-sliding miters can be used for making cuts on more complicated shapes and they do it better than the sliding models.

Sliding miters are more expensive than non-sliding ones. They are also more versatile because they are capable of performing different types of cuts compared to non-sliding miters.

The non-sliding miters are more compact, lightweight, and portable. Because of their size, they are easier to handle, which makes them great for small projects.

Chop saw vs miter saw

Woodchop saw and miter saw is both woodworking tools we use for cutting. They both use a circular blade, and it can cut any object to desired shape and size.

However, the main difference between sliding chop saws and miter saws is that the first ones use a rotating blade to cut the object with continuous motion, whereas miters use a reciprocating blade to cut the object with back and forth motion.

Miter saw vs compound miter saw

Compound miters are used for cutting angles while sliding miter saws are used for crosscutting. Sliding and compound miters are both used for cutting wood.

However, they both have different mechanisms for cutting. Compound miters cut at an angle while sliding miters cut across the material.

Compound miters – also known as sliding compound miter saws – are the most expensive and the most versatile type of miters. They can be used to make bevel cuts and compound miter cuts, which makes them the best tool for cutting crown molding and making custom moldings.

Single vs dual bevel miter saw

The main difference between single-bevel and dual-bevel miter saws is the ability to cut different bevel angles. The main difference is that the single-bevel models can cut bevels on both sides of the material, while the double-bevel models can only cut bevels on the right side of the material.

On the other hand, the single-bevel models are more compact and lighter than the double-bevel ones.
Generally, the single-bevel model is better at making bevel cuts, but the dual-bevel miter saw is better at making compound miter cuts.


Woodworker using sliding mitre saw

What is a sliding Mitre saw used for?

This type is used for cutting materials to various angles. The sliding feature allows the blade to be extended out to cut wider pieces of material. They are ideal for DIY projects, especially for cutting wooden frames for doors, windows, furniture, etc.

What are the different types of Mitre Saws?

There are three basic types of Miter saws available on the market.

  • Sliding Miter – It is the most popular type used for both commercial and home use. It consists of a motor, blade, folding stand, pivot arm, sliding mechanism, miter gauge, and an arm lock.
    It has a moving base that allows you to slide the tool left to right under the fence which allows for greater accuracy. The sliding miter saw can be used for both left and right-hand cuts.
  • Compound Miter – It is basically a sliding miter saw with an additional pivot arm. The pivot arm allows the power tool to tilt back and forth.
  • Circular Saw Miter – It is a portable instrument that has a miter mechanism. It is not as accurate as the sliding miter saw.

What is the advantage of a sliding compound miter saw?

Compound models really shine at compound miter cuts. A compound miter is when you make both the left-to-right and front-to-back angle cuts on a single workpiece. Compound miters are used in crown molding, picture frames, and other cases where the workpiece must be framed out or mitered at both ends.

The main advantage of sliding compound miters over non-sliding models is that they allow one to make these compound miter cuts without having to re-adjust the saw between the two cuts.

This model will give you the ability to make cross-cuts in a variety of materials that are wider than the instrument itself.


Sliding miter saws are highly versatile and highly efficient tools. Although they can be a bit more costly than a standard miter saw, the added benefits and uses and time and cost savings they provide make them a worthwhile investment.

Now you know what is a miter saw and how it works so you can make the best decision on the type of miter saw you will buy. Though, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section.

Ronnie Collins

Ronnie Collins

I’m Ronnie Collins. I’ve been passionate about gardening and woodworking all my life and even earned an MS degree in Botany from the University of Maryland. I’ve been working at a gardening company for a while, so I know the ropes about a whole lot of dedicated equipment such as the table saw, track saw, lawnmowers, chainsaws, garden hoses, and much more.

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