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Miter saws come with many different blade sizes. Because miter saws can only accept the blade size they were designed for, choosing the correct size miter saw is important. The most common sizes for a contractor and home use are 10-inch and 12-inch. If you buy a slider miter saw then there is no difference in 10 inches vs 12 inch.
10-inch miter saws are very popular. They have generally the default saw size for most woodworking purposes This size miter saw can cut pieces of wood up to 6-inches wide, which includes most molding and trim boards. You can’t cut a wider board with a 10-inch saw.
Firstly, 10-inch miter saws are usually cheaper than 12-inch ones. They are also lighter and smaller, allowing them to fit into small workspaces and be more portable. One of the most important things is the depth of the cut while cutting high moldings such as tall baseboards or large crown. So you can buy new 10-inch slider saws have that capability.
10-inch blades are also easier to find because 10-inch saws are more popular. You can usually find a 10-inch blade in just about any style for a good price. A 10-inch blade will also spin faster than a 12-inch one. Usually, both size saws have the same size motor, resulting in the smaller, lighter blade spinning faster. This faster speed leads to a finer finish and faster cutting time.
Many 10-inch miter saws are also compatible with a table saw blades which means you can grab a blade off of your table saw and use it for your miter saw. If you buy a 10 inch slider it will give you the same cutting capacity as 12 inch and blades are less expensive too.
For obvious reasons, it is also cheaper to have a 10-inch blade sharpened than it is to have a 12-inch blade sharpened. Smaller blades also tend to wobble and deflect less option than larger blades. While this is not typically that big of a problem, it is something to keep in mind.
One of the best thing about 10” is you can cut molding up to 12″ when working on a flat table and using the bevel and sliding feature.
12-inch miter saws are more robust versions of their smaller cousins. Besides their larger blade, they are pretty much exactly the same as a 10-inch miter saw.
12-inch miter saws usually host powerful, 15-amp motors. This means more power, and more power means you can cut harder materials. Some 12-inch saws are also compatible with 10-inch blades. A 15-amp motor spinning a 10-inch blade creates insanely fine, smooth cuts. Since they’re designed for heavy-duty cutting, 12-inch saws are usually more durable and tend to last longer.
A larger saw can also cut through larger pieces of wood. With a 12-inch saw, you’ll be able to cut through 4x6s in just one pass. They’re also ideal for any harder materials like plywood, which tend to come in larger sizes anyway.
The major negative about 12-inch miter saws is their higher price tag. They’re just larger and more powerful, which can mean steep price increases. The blades are also pricier and cost more to sharpen, leading to less money in your pocket over time.
When it comes to purchasing a saw, what DIY projects you plan on using a saw for (framing, finish carpentry, some cabinetry, and an occasional deck.
For most homeowners, a 10-inch miter saw is probably your best option. They’re cheaper, take up less space, and produce smoother cuts. These saws are also best for those with smaller jobs like cabinet making and smaller trim. You can buy a 10” slider which has all the features like dual arbor adjustments, set table angles, motor brake etc.
12-inch miter saws are a must-have for more ambitious, larger projects, however. They can cut bigger, harder pieces of wood and stand up to regular heavy use. Of course, they also cost more. The disadvantage of 12” er is its weight and the other con is a deflection of the blade; a 12″ blade will deflect more, which matters a lot more while cutting for furniture when framing a deck.
If you are buying slider miter saw, you can go with a 10” smaller blade saw without too many regrets and If it’s not, go with 12″. A 12″ sliding compound miter saw doesn’t buy you much. You’re better off with a 10″ SCMS, less blade deflection and more accurate cuts than a 12″.
David Vieira has been a woodworker for most of his life — in his dad’s cabinet shop. After using the tools himself, he decided to share it his woodworking and power tools knowledge with DIYers.