As you have probably noticed, buying a miter saw isn’t all that straightforward. The first challenge you will encounter is picking one miter saw out. There are dozens of miter saws out there and picking the right one might be difficult.
When it comes to miter saws, the movement of the miter saw matters. This is what determines if your miter saw is dual bevel, single bevel, sliding, or non-sliding. The movement of your miter saw also determines the types of cuts you can make with the power tool.
In terms of the movement of the miter saw, there are two main types asides others. It’s either you get a sliding or a non-sliding miter saw. So what is the difference between the sliding vs non-sliding miter saw and most importantly, which should you get?
This post will identify all you need to know and more about both the sliding miter saw and the non-sliding miter saw as well as which of the two you should get for your task.
So let’s get on with it. First, let’s check out sliding miter saws.
What Is a Sliding Miter Saw?
A sliding miter saw simply put is a miter saw that has a sliding arm that makes it possible to move the blade forward towards you to make cuts. Miter saws have a distinct way of making cuts.
The blade is usually lowered on the material to be cut. The blade of the miter saw is suspended and mounted on an arm so when you want to make cuts, you lower the blade to cut. That is how the regular miter saw works. Sliding miter saws on the other hand have an advantage.
With a sliding miter saw, you can pull the blade towards you and cut. This makes it possible to cut wider and larger boards easily. The sliding miter saw is more suited to woodworkers that work with and on large boards and sheets.
The sliding miter saw can make every cut a regular miter saw can make with the added advantage of having a sliding blade. With a sliding miter saw, you can make straight cuts, square cuts, bevel cuts, miter cuts, and so much more on larger boards.
Miter saws are already very versatile power tools and the fact that the sliding miter saw can be pulled forward only gives it an extra pop. Just like every other miter saw, a sliding miter saw uses a thick circular steel blade to make cuts. The blades vary in size, thickness, and number of teeth.
The downside to the sliding miter saw is that it’s usually more expensive than regular miter saws and it requires a good deal of experience to use it.
On the bright side, the saw is very versatile and its main strength is its sliding blade. The sliding miter saw is popular in the hands of carpenters that deal with large tasks and materials. Now let’s check out non-sliding miter saws.
What Are Non-Sliding Miter Saws?
Non-sliding miter saws simply put are miter saws that make it impossible to move the blade towards you. Either the miter saw is a compound miter saw, a dual bevel miter saw or a single bevel miter saw, it doesn’t matter. As long as you can’t extend the blade forward towards you, the miter saw is a non-sliding miter saw.
Though non-sliding miter saws can’t extend the reach of the blade, they are still very good miter saws. Non-sliding miter saws make light work of bevel cuts and miter cuts. Non-sliding miter saws can make every type of cut a miter saw can make ranging from straight cuts to intricate angled cuts.
The main downside to non-sliding miter saws is that you can’t extend the reach of the blade. This means non-sliding miter saws are restricted to working on wood that isn’t very wide or large.
If you wanted to use a non-sliding miter saw to cut a large board, you will have to cut the board a bit, flip it, and then cut again. This makes your task more tedious and time-consuming especially if you are working on a heavy wooden sheet or board.
Asides from that downside, non-sliding miter saws are great power tools to have. They are easier to set, easier to use, and even cheaper. Non-sliding miter saws are suited to both beginners and professionals in the woodworking world.
You can make any needed cut with the non-sliding miter saw easily and the fact that the blade only moves in a few directions limits the possibility of injuries. Just like all other miter saws, non-sliding miter saws also use a thick circular blade to make cuts.
The main strength of the non-sliding miter saw is that it is easy to use. This makes non-sliding miter saws a great power tool to have. But how great are they when compared to sliding miter saws? Let’s find out.
Sliding vs Non-Sliding Miter Saw (Head to Head)
Both the sliding miter saw and the non-sliding miter saw are both great power tools to have but when you want to buy or lend one, it’s important to know where both power saws stand when compared to the other.
Before we go on to compare both power saws, you should know that both miter saws are very similar in terms of their uses.
The main distinction between both miter saws is the sliding feature that the sliding miter saw has. Now that we are done with that, let’s move on.
Miter saws are known for one main feature and that is their versatility. There is hardly any power saw out there that can carry out the same types of cuts that a miter saw can carry out. Not to mention the level of accuracy too. Miter saws are very accurate with the cuts and they are versatile power tools too. So which miter saw is more versatile?
The sliding miter saw is a tad more versatile than the non-sliding miter saw. This is because of the sliding feature that the sliding miter saw has. Asides from the straight, bevel, miter, and other intricate cuts that most miter saws can make, sliding miter saws can also cut large sheets and boards.
As versatile as the non-sliding miter saw is, it can’t cut large boards and sheets easily. You will have to adjust, readjust, lift, and reposition the sheet before you can cut it with a non-sliding miter saw.
Sliding miter saws make this look like child’s play. You can easily extend the arm and blade of the miter saw and cut the wide wooden sheet or board in one go. This makes sliding miter saws more versatile.
The Size of the Task That the Saw Can Handle
One thing to always consider before choosing a power saw is the size of the task the miter saw can handle.
Sliding miter saws can handle larger tasks than non-sliding miter saws. If you want a miter saw for large tasks or large wooden boards and sheets, the sliding miter saw is the best bet.
Non-sliding miter saws on the other hand can’t handle large tasks. The miter saw is largely restricted to easier and smaller tasks.
The Size and Weight
When it comes to using power tools, the weight and size matter because most times, you will want to lift the power tool from place to place.
In terms of size, sliding miter saws are just a bit larger than non-sliding models. They also weigh more than the non-sliding miter saws.
A sliding miter saw can weigh up to 65 pounds. Non-sliding models don’t weigh up to that. The reason for the increased weight and size of the sliding miter saw is because of the extra parts.
So if you want a miter saw that you would want to take from your workshop at home to your job site, then a non-sliding miter saw will work for you because it’s lighter and smaller than the sliding model.
Ease of Operation
No one wants a miter saw that is difficult to use. While it should be stated that both the sliding and non-sliding miter saws are easy to use, the non-sliding miter saw is an easier power saw to use. This is why non-sliding miter saws are usually recommended for beginners.
A general rule with miter saws is that the fewer moving parts that a miter saw has, the easier the miter saw will be to use.
The non-sliding miter saws are easier to set-up, work with, and even maintain than the sliding miter saws. For starters, the sliding blade of the sliding miter saw will take some getting used to.
This is why you find the non-sliding miter saws in the hands of beginners. Most beginners don’t even handle large-scale tasks so there is usually no need to cut large wooden boards or sheets that will require a sliding miter saw.
In terms of safety, the non-sliding miter saw is a tad safer to use than the sliding miter saw. When it comes to power saws, the fewer the moving parts, the safer the saw is to use.
The possibility for the blade to be moved forward means that the blade can now travel in a new direction and this increases the risk of being cut accidentally by the blade of the sliding miter saw.
Though there are extra features like the blade guard and the fence that protect the user from any injury, these features would be best suited to someone that is experienced.
The cost of the miter saw also determines the type of miter saw you will get. Though there isn’t much difference between the price of the sliding and non-sliding miter saw, you might care to know that the sliding models are more costly than the non-sliding models.
Should You Buy a Sliding or a Non-sliding Miter Saw?
Both the sliding miter saw and the non-sliding miter saw are great power tools to have. Both saws have their advantages and disadvantages and they are both very versatile power tools to have. So which should you buy?
The answer to that question depends on several factors. Let’s check them out.
The cost is perhaps the biggest factor that determines which miter saw you will get. If you need a pocket-friendly option, then you should go for the non-sliding miter saw.
But if you can afford the sliding miter saw, you should get that instead. Either way, you will enjoy any of both saws.
The Size of the Task
Another factor that determines the miter saw you go for is the size of your task or the size of the wood you want to cut. If you are or would be working on regular 2 (two) by (X) 4 (four) lumber, then you can use or in this case buy a non-sliding miter saw.
This doesn’t mean sliding miter saws can’t cut 2 by 4 lumber, it would just be best to save cost and go for the non-sliding miter saw if you know you will be working on short or moderate wooden logs and boards.
On the other hand, if you will be working on broad or large boards or wooden sheets like plywood and the likes, then you should buy the sliding miter saw. With a sliding miter saw, you will be able to make quick work of large boards and sheets.
The type of task you want to complete also matters. For instance, If you are renovating an old building with large moldings, baseboards, frames, and the likes, a sliding miter saw is better because you will be working on larger frames and wooden sheets. Generally, if you know the wood you want to cut is more than 8 inches in width, you should get a sliding miter saw.
You will still be able to cut an 8-inch board on a non-sliding miter saw but you will have to flip it and cut the board twice. That wouldn’t work in your favor if you are on a tight schedule.
Your Level of Experience
Though miter saws are generally easy to use, the ones you get will still depend on your level of experience.
Sliding miter saws require a better level of experience to be used than non-sliding miter saws. The sliding miter saw has more moving parts so it will require a good deal of experience to use it.
So there you have it. Hopefully, we gave you all the information you need to know the differences between a sliding vs non-sliding miter saw.