You may or may not know, but miter saws come with a variety of blade sizes and types that are used for different materials and projects. With that said, the two most common miter saw blade sizes are 10 inches and 12 inches. Since both blades are different, it’s important for you to look closely at the differences before choosing the one that’s best for your needs.
This guide compares 10-inch vs 12-inch miter saw and will discuss the main differences between both sizes of blades. It will also help you figure out which of the two miter saw sizes will work best in your exact situation.
What Sizes of Miter Saws Exist?
You can find blades for miter saws as small as 7.5 inches all the way up to as large as 20 inches. All that said, 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches, are the most common sizes, with the latter two being the most popular.
Miter saw blades are measured by their diameter, the larger the diameter, the longer the cuts it can make. In general, miter saws are known for having relatively smaller blades compared to other types of power saws. If you are looking for a saw similar to a miter saw but with a larger capacity, you might want to take a look at a chop saw.
Main Differences Between 10-inch and 12-inch Miter Saw
10 and 12-inches are the most commonly used diameters for miter saw blades. However, as stated previously, you can find blades that are 7.25-inches to 20-inches if needed. The choice of a specific size directly depends on how much work you have to do with it.
If you’re going to remember anything, it should be this. If you make a small project, take the tool that has a smaller diameter; when working with a large amount of material, take the tool that is larger in size. Here are the reasons for it:
- Most modern power tools today give you the option to adjust the cutting depth. A 12-inch miter saw will give you more flexibility when working with a variety of materials.
- Small power tools are not suitable for cutting thick sheets of wood. If you work with hardwood, it is best to go for a 12-inch miter saw.
- Smaller blades spin at a faster speed than larger blades do. The faster speed results in a smoother cut so that means there’s less of a chance of chips. This is crucial, especially when working with delicate materials.
- Since a 10-inch miter saw blade has a smaller diameter, it weighs less than a 12-inch blade. This makes the total weight of the miter saw less than that of a 12-inch saw.
- Compact or smaller tools tend to be cheaper than the larger versions.
10-Inch Miter Saw
The 10-inch miter saw is very popular, and for good reason. The 10-inch miter saw blade can cut pieces of wood that are up to 6 inches wide. This covers most molding and trim boards. Trim boards are rarely more than 4 inches. This means you’ve got plenty of wiggle room with a 10-inch miter saw.
A 10-inch miter saw is also less expensive. The saw itself is smaller and lighter than any 12-inch version. The blades are also cheaper. If all of that is not compelling enough for you, I would like to mention that 10-inch miter saw blades are easier to find, come in a wider variety of choices, and are cheaper to sharpen.
It’s important to note that a 10-inch blade spins faster than a 12-inch blade; this will result in smoother cuts. Equal motors powering the two blades will result in a higher RPM rate on the 10-inch blade, and higher RPMs mean a finer finish. Additionally, when you’re connecting trim pieces, a smoother cut will mean a snugger joint. Smaller blades also generate less wobble, another contributor to smooth cuts!
Overall, if you’re looking for a miter saw that will make smooth and precise cuts, a 10-inch saw is the way to go.
- Less expensive than a 12-inch saw
- Weighs less and is more portable than the 12-inch models
- Offers a higher blade speed which means you get a smoother finish
- Minimal wobbling
- Can’t make cuts in harder and thicker wood
12-Inch Miter Saw
One of the first things you’ll notice about the 12-inch miter saw is that it’s much more expensive than the 10-inch miter saw. It’s also harder to find, has a smaller selection of blades, it’s heavy, hard to transport, and makes less precise cuts.
However, as I’m sure you expected, a 12-inch miter saw can cut boards that are wider and thicker than the 10-inch miter saw. If you’re going to be working with larger crown molding pieces and heavier pieces of wood, the 12-inch will be a time saver for you.
The 12-inch usually has a stronger motor than a 10-inch, meaning it can power through those thicker and wider boards with ease. Additionally, since 12-inch miter saw are intentionally designed for heavy-duty cutting, these tools tend to last longer. Knowing that you’re receiving a product that was built to last might make you feel better about the higher price tag.
The last thing I would like to mention is that if you have a 10-inch miter saw already you can fit the 10-inch blade on your 12-inch saw. This is assuming that the arbor holes are the same size. However, you cannot put 12-inch blades on a 10-inch miter saw. The 12-inch miter saw gives you more versatility between the larger blade, the workability, and the smaller blade, it’s really a master of precision.
- More powerful than a 10-inch saw
- Can make deeper cuts compared to a 10-inch saw
- Has a smaller selection of blades
- You will need a 10-inch blade to make precision cuts
Miter Saw Size Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about choosing between a 10-inch and a 12-inch miter saw, you will find answers to some of them in the section below.
Q: Which is better, a 10-inch or 12-inch miter saw?
One is not better than the other. It’s all going to depend on the tasks you’ll be completing. For home use and those who work with thin materials, the 10-inch miter saw is “better”. If you plan on creating a large-scale project or need to cut thick sheets of wood, the 12-inch miter saw is “better”.
Q: How big of a board can a 10-inch miter saw cut?
A 10-inch miter saw can make a wide variety of cuts even with its small size. If you need to make a straight cut, the 10-inch tool can cut a piece of wood up to 2×6 inches. The depth you can get out of a 10-inch miter saw when making a bevel cut is slightly less. When making a bevel cut, you can cut 2×4s with it. If your miter saw is equipped with a sliding arm, whether it’s 10-inches or 12-inches, the width will be much larger, but the depth will remain the same.
Q: Can a 10-inch miter saw cut a 4×4?
Technically, yes. It is possible to cut a 4×4. However, I would like to mention that it’s not simple. To cut a 4×4 you’d have to make several runs. If you need to cut a large amount of material, it will take a long time to turn the boards over and re-cut them. Therefore, for cutting 4x4s, you’re better off going with a 12-inch miter saw.
What Size Miter Saw Should You Get?
There is no simple answer to this question. The size you should get is going to completely depend on you. You will want to find the right miter saw for the job instead of looking for a miter saw that’s one-size-fits-all. A 12-inch miter saw can help you achieve deep cuts and is typically used for thicker materials. On the other hand, a 10-inch miter saw is suitable for wood, and relatively thin wood at that.
If you’re looking for a miter saw that can be used at home for minor projects, the 10-inch miter saw will be perfect for you. In fact, most DIYers and hobbyists will stand by this type of miter saw.
However, if you’re an experienced woodworker and normally involve yourself with bigger projects, a powerful 12-inch miter saw will be the ideal choice for you. A large 12-inch miter saw is more efficient and can help you finish the task quicker by not adding too much extra work.
In general, I would say go for the 10-inch miter saw. It’s the safer buy between the two. It’s also cheaper and can do anything the 12-inch miter saw can do, just on a smaller scale. If you are looking into a 12-inch miter saw, then you probably already know that the 10-inch will not work for your project, so go for the 12-inch.
There was 10-Inch vs 12-Inch Miter Saw! Now that you know the main differences between the two, hopefully, you can find the right one for you. No matter which option you choose, you’ll be able to work on the projects you want with ease.
I was to stress that it’s important that you keep the main differences of both saws in mind when looking at options. If none of them seem to work for you, remember there are other types of blades out there that will work with a miter saw. Don’t be afraid to branch out because it may make all the difference for whatever project you’re working on.
These saws are one of the most important tools you can have in your shop and buying the right one will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.
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