There are countless categories or miter saws. Each kind has some benefits over the others. As such, the benefit of a miter saw depends largely on its purpose. The main distinction among miter saws is size – some units are made for 10-inch blades and some for 12-in blades. Each type has some benefits over the other as well as some down-sides. Below is an analysis of their respective pros and cons.
Advantages of 12-Inch Miter Saws
- Power: Most 12-inch miter saws are more powerful and, due to the blade size, have a higher tooth-speed. What that means is more blade teeth impact the material in a given time. A more powerful motor allows you to work quicker, which increases efficiency. Also, the more RPMs (full revolutions per minute) your saw can deliver, the smoother your cuts will come out.
- Size: The blade isn’t the only thing that’s bigger on a 12-inch miter saw. A larger fence means being able to perform longer vertical cuts. Plus having a larger work table means being able to handle larger materials. Finally, the stock extensions on a 12-inch model are almost always longer than those on a 10-inch saw.
- Capacity: The main reason why a 12-inch miter saw is preferred for larger projects is the capability to work with larger stock materials. A 12-inch saw can cut 4×6’s in a single cut and its maximum cutting width is 12-inches (in two cuts), which is impressive compared to the 10-inch saws, which can cut 4×4’s, if you’re lucky.
Advantages of a 10-Inch Miter Saw
- Cost: Sure, there are some 10-inch saws that are more expensive than low-cost 12-inch ones, but any 10-inch is more affordable than a 12-inch of comparable quality. That aside, maintenance is likely to cost more for a larger saw. In addition to that, a 12-inch blade, with the same exact tooth-count as a 10-inch one, costs almost twice as much. Furthermore, sharpening it will be a more expensive process, so we’re not just talking about short-term cost. Moreover, let’s not forget electricity. If you use it often enough, a 12-inch saw can double your normal electricity bill.
- Accuracy: It’s basic physics – larger blades will be subject to more deflection from the material. As a result, a 12-inch will wobble more, which decreases accuracy. Sure, it won’t make much of a difference for framing work, but it’s significant for finer cuts, such as ones you need to make when working on interior trim.
- Versatility: Firstly, 10-inch saws are portable. That means you can easily carry the saw and it stores in smaller spaces. Most units even have a carrying handle. Also, if you have a table saw, it’s most likely a 10-inch one, which means you can switch blades, or have just one for both saws.
In conclusion, think about your long-term needs before deciding on miter saw size. Remember, there are other factors you’ll need to consider, such as sliding capability and dual-bevel features. Plus, if you need a 12-inch for one project, you’d be much better off renting one at your local hardware store. Either way, make your choice wisely – there are many great units of both sizes to choose from.