What Is A Compound Mitre Saw

Mire saws are practical tools in a DIY-er’s bag, especially if you want to make precise slopping cuts or many identical cuts. However, you need to learn which device fits your needs best.

Otherwise, you’ll spend your hard-earned money on a useless piece of… tool.


There are three types of mitre saws to consider: standard, compound, and sliding.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a compound mitre saw is and how to use one. We’ll also compare compound mitre saws to sliding mitre saws so that you can make the best purchase.

Psst. Of course, you can always add both models to your prized tool collection.

The Standard Mitre Saw

The standard mitre saw is a tool used for angled crosscuts. Some products allow you to set the angle yourself, while others only have preset options at the most common angles (e.g., 15ᵒ, 30ᵒ, 45ᵒ).

After choosing the angle, secure the blade, and start cutting.

The standard mitre saw is best for:

  • Boards under 8-inch wide
  • Thick materials

The Compound Mitre Saw

Compound mitre saws have an extra pivoting arm to create different angles. That means you can use this tool for making both:

The difference between these two is that mitre cuts (angles) are horizontal, while bevel cuts (slopes) are vertical from top to bottom.

A compound mitre saw is best for:

  • Thick, narrow materials
  • Precise angles and slopes

Sliding Vs Non-sliding Mitre Saws

Non-sliding mitre saws are best for:

  • Beginners
  • Narrow pieces of lumber
  • Plunge cuts

Sliding mitre saws:

  • Allow more horizontal motion
  • Best for wider boards
  • Best for crown moulding or framing works
  • Retain less heat than non-sliding mitre saws because it engages fewer teeth during the cut

That means sliding mitre saws are more versatile than their non-sliding siblings, plus they save you money in the long term because you won’t need to buy as many replacement blades.

What Is The Difference Between A Compound And A Sliding Mitre Saw

We discussed before that compound mitre saws allow you to make both angled and bevelled cuts. Basically, you’re moving both on a vertical and horizontal plane with these mitre saws.

One example where you’ll need a compound mitre saw is making picture frames.

You can also consider purchasing a dual compound mitre saw if you need to create bevels at all angles. That’s because dual-compound mitre saws tilt in both directions, so they’re more versatile.

Enter sliding mitre saws.

These tools have an extra siding feature: rails on which the blade moves forward and back.

So basically, compound mitre saws work on two planes (vertical, horizontal), while the sliding mitre saw works on three planes: vertical, horizontal, and depth.

You’ll need a sliding mitre saw to increase the length of your cuts and, thus, to cut through broader materials.

Remember that the compound mitre saw’s maximum width is 8 inches. If you want to cut through a wider board with your compound mitre saw, you’ll need to reposition it constantly.

Conversely, sliding mitre saws don’t need this constant repositioning. On the downside, sliding mitre saws are more expensive and take up more room.

In Conclusion

Compound mitre saws are best for creating angles and slopes for narrow pieces of material, whereas sliding mitre saws are better if you’re constantly working with wider boards. Remember, though, that sliding mitre saws cost more money and need more space.

So, if you’re doing just small-scale DIY, you can do fine with a compound mitre saw. Consider a sliding mitre saw if you want to scale up your projects and move on to crown moulding.


Read more: Best Mitre Saws in the UK

How to use a mitre saw


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