If you’re looking to buy a miter saw one of the most important things you need to look out for when buying is the size of the blade. Many new users often ask the question, what size of sliding miter saw do I need? And the answer is, it depends.
Commonly, you have three sizes to choose from, 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches. The bigger the size, the deeper the cut they make, so for cutting 4 by 4 wood, you need 12 inches. Here, we will go into further detail.
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Why Is The Size Important For A Miter Saw?
The size of the blade of a miter saw is a good indication of what the miter saw is capable of and used for. It determines the cutting power of your miter saw, with bigger-sized blades being able to cut thicker pieces of wood.
Having a smaller miter saw won’t allow you to cut larger pieces of wood and won’t help you do heavy-duty work.
Blade size is directly correlated to the power of your miter saw. So having the wrong blade size will make it impossible to do a certain type of work with your miter saw.
Miter saw blades are not interchangeable so knowing what saw you need becomes very important, or else you’ll end up wasting a good deal of money. Although you can replace a blade of the same size, you cannot use a smaller or bigger blade on the same machine, so keep that in mind.
What Are The Sizes Available To Me?
Although custom-made saw blades exist, we will not count them as they are usually made for very specific purposes. We’ll mostly examine the common blade sizes you’ll find in the market. These are the most used sizes, and you can find them sold in most places.
There are generally three commonly used types of miter saw sizes, as mentioned above. They are:
8 Inch Size Blades
These are the smallest of the commonly seen blade sizes. Since they are the smallest, they are also the least powerful out of all the other options available. In exchange, a great degree of control and precision is offered alongside being much easier to use.
8-inch blades are commonly seen used for small-scale work where precision is key and not much power is needed.
They are also used to teach new users or beginners how to use miter saws. Since they don’t exert much power, they are safer and easier to use, and a beginner can use these smaller blades to accustom themselves to the operations of a miter saw.
You can see these on mobile or movable miter saws. Although this size of the blade is one of the common blade sizes, its uses are mostly restricted to small scale and furniture work. Many professional workers will often keep a miter saw with this size of the blade along with one of the other two.
10 Inch Size Blades
Next, we have much bigger blades at 10-inch size. These are the most popular as they are the perfect mix of power, precision, and control. Almost every user of a miter saw has a saw that uses a 10-inch blade due to its incredible versatility.
It cuts through most wood types and sizes and is easy enough to pick and control for making angled cuts. 10-inch blades also tend to be much cheaper, which is also another reason why they are so widely used.
Although 10 inch blades aren’t as easy to work with like 8-inch blades due to the increased power, they are not difficult to get used to either. After a few trials, operating the saw is quite easy.
Many professionals can achieve great precision and control when using these blades, which is why they are the go-to size for miter saw blades.
12 Inch Size Blades
Finally, the third size of saw blades you will see are 12-inch size blades. These are the powerhouses of miter saw blades that are able to cut through thick wood easily.
For large-scale work, these are the ones you will tend to use. They have incredible cutting power and, at the hands of a professional, very accurate and precise.
These blades are generally dual-beveled, which allows them to easily make bevel cuts on wood.
Due to their size and power, they can be difficult for newcomers to use, and they need to be extremely careful when using or have expert supervision. The learning curve for this blade size is the steepest, but the payoff is great.
Although they lack the sheer versatility of the 10-inch blade since not as many tasks require such great power, they are still a mainstay, especially for industrial usage. They are also quite expensive as blades of this size are also very high quality.
Aside from the three sizes mentioned, 15-inch size blades are also available on some miter saw models. They are generally more powerful but have much of the same characteristics as 12 inches saw blades though they are not as common as the other three listed above.
A Different Miter Saw Blade For A Different Job
There are several jobs available that a miter saw sees use in. We’ll go through some of the common jobs and look at what size blade is best for each task. Having the right miter saw blade size for the right project is the first step to ensuring that your task goes smoothly.
Let’s examine some real-life applications of a miter saw:
One of the common uses of miter saws is crown moldings. Fitting a crown molding properly requires precise miter cuts, and the angle needs to be correct.
Cutting deep or wide isn’t an issue for installing crown molding, so power is often not an issue. This rules out the use of 12-inch blades for the installation of crown moldings.
So that leaves us with 10 and 8-inch blades. While 8-inch blades can be used, most people would prefer to use 10-inch ones. They have enough power to cut 5 inches deep, which is needed in most cases. You can also control them easier, which allows you to make angled cuts.
Even for more complex crown molding designs, a 10-inch miter saw will suffice. You will need to make careful use of the sliding feature.
Miter saws are also used for cutting baseboards and baseboard molding. What size blade you will require will depend heavily on what type of baseboard you will need to install. For home use, a 10-inch blade will suffice. Usually, 6-inch baseboards are used in homes, and a 10-inch blade is enough to cut them.
However, industrial baseboards are much stronger, and often a 10 inch sized miter saw is not enough to cut them properly and fast. Hence, for industrial use, a 12-inch size blade is preferred.
They can cut deeper and faster. Accuracy and precision for baseboards aren’t as important as crown molding, as fitting them is easier.
Cutting Floorboards Or Laminated Flooring
For cutting floorboards or laminated flooring, there are some factors to consider. The first is how thick or strong the material is. In most cases, a 10-inch sized blade can cut through the material in a single pass, but some laminated flooring is much tougher, so you will instead need a 12-inch blade.
The other factor is how big the flooring is. If the material isn’t too tough, but the floor is large, you can opt to use an 8-inch blade. These are used in more mobile miter saws, which are perfect for covering a large floor area.
Moldings In Furniture
Although miter saws are not commonly used for this task, an 8-inch blade saw can suffice for furniture moldings. 10-inch and 12-inch blades are avoided because they can easily damage the furniture instead due to their higher power.
So, what size sliding miter saw do I need? You will mostly have to decide between getting a 10 inch or 12-inch size saw blade. 8-inch ones aren’t needed as often, and sometimes a 10-inch one can do the job adequately enough.