SawingPros is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

3 Different Types of Miter Saws & Their Uses (with Pictures)

Last updated on:

types of miter saw and their uses

If you build anything at all out of wood, you know the necessity of having a miter saw. These saws can be adjusted by the degree to make any precision angle cut that you need. There are several different kinds, though. Let’s discuss what types those are and what each can do.

List of 3 Different Miter Saws:

1. Standard Miter Saws

a standard miter saw

Image credit: Mark Hunter, Flickr

A standard miter saw is really any saw that is mounted to a base and will allow you to cut cross-grain on at least a 90° and 45° angle. Many of them are capable of making a variety of cuts between -45° and +45°.

The standard is the most straightforward of all miter saws and is easy to use. It cuts faster and more accurately than handsaws. It’s also lightweight, so it’s simple to take with you.

What it’s used for:

  • Any simple crosscut, on at least a 90° and 45° angle

2. Compound Miter Saws

A compound mitre saw

Compound miter saws are capable of cutting miter, angled and crosscuts, as well as bevel, or sloped cuts. These saws have the same variety of angles that can be cut by making adjustments to the angle of the blade and the handle on the base. Compound saws, though, add in the ability to tilt the blade itself up to 45°.

  • Single compound: the blade can only tilt in one direction
  • Dual compound: the blade will tilt in both directions

What it’s used for

  • Crosscuts
  • Miters
  • Bevels
  • Compound (miter and bevel)

3. Sliding Compound Miter Saws

A sliding compound miter saw

With sliding compound saws, the arm that the blade attaches to isn’t fixed. Instead, it is mounted on rails that allow the blade to move from the front to the back, as well as up and down. This movement gives you the ability to make larger and broader cuts.

If you are in new construction work and need to be able to make these cuts with no power, there is the option of getting a cordless one. These are battery-operated. Just remember that the battery only lasts so long, so you may want to have a second one to use while the first is recharging.

  • Single sliding compound: the blade tips to one side
  • Double sliding compound: the blade tips both left and right
  • Cordless sliding compound: runs on batteries

What it’s used for

  • Crosscuts
  • Miters
  • Bevels
  • Compound


Precision angled cuts are a must-have in any type of construction work. Miter saws are the best for doing just that. The kind that you purchase will depend significantly on how you will be using it. The price increases with each added feature, so you’ll have to decide if you’ll use the additions enough to make the extra cost worth it.

RELATED GUIDES: an overview of our 5 favorite mitre-saw stands of 2020.

Header image credit: Spc. Gary Yim, United States Army Reserve