Fine woodworking is a fantastic field of work, whether you pursue it professionally or as a hobby. It requires the patience and composure of a true artist. If you are interested in this work line, you already know how important it is to have an excellent miter saw in your workshop.
But buying a miter saw is not that simple. There is no one tool for everything rule when it comes to any power saw. If you spend any time looking around in the market, you will notice quite a hefty number of miter saws available for you to buy.
The biggest challenge that a woodworker has to face when buying a miter saw is choosing the right size. More often than not, you are stuck with two size options, 12-inch and 14-inch.
In this article, we will pit these two sizes against each other and help you determine your best choice between a 10-inch and a 12-inch miter saw.
10-inch Miter Saw
The 10-inch miter saw is obviously the smaller option between the two. But the smaller radius has its advantages.
- Faster Spin
For one thing, a 10-inch miter saw has a faster spin. Any decent 10-inch option will have an RPM of around 5000. When you compare it to a 12-inch miter saw, the maximum RPM you are likely to find is around 4000. With a faster spinning blade, the 10-inch saw can make smoother cuts.
- Precision and Control
The precision of the saw is another field where a 10-inch miter saw shows better performance from its bigger counterpart. It causes less deflection and provides overall better stability and control. If you want precision and accuracy when working on delicate projects, a 10-inch miter saw is typically the better option.
- Blade Availability
When you need to change the blade on a miter saw, a 10-inch blade is more readily available in the market. A 12-inch blade is a specialty tool that will require some searching around to find. Since a 10-inch blade is easy to find, you will have an easier time if the blade in your miter saw gets dull and needs replacing.
- Cost of Purchase and Maintenance
A 10-inch miter saw is also quite cheaper than a 12-inch unit. In fact, even if you disregard the cost of buying, it is far more affordable to maintain a 10-inch unit compared to the 12-inch option. And a miter saw requires maintenance costs such as sharpening of the blade or replacing it from time to time.
Because of the smaller size, a 10-inch unit also tends to be quite lightweight. This directly translates to the portability of the device. Besides, a 10-inch miter saw is extremely versatile because of its precision and control allowing you to take on a wide range of projects without any hassle.
Despite its many advantages, there is one major setback of a 10-inch miter saw, its cutting power. With this tool, you can cut up to 6-inches of materials at best. Although it might be sufficient for most woodworkers, if you need to cut through thicker materials, you need to consider buying a 12-inch miter saw.
12-inch Miter Saw
If you go with the larger 12-inch miter saw, the major benefit that you will get are:
- More Power
Because of the larger blade that you get with a 12-inch miter saw, you can expect a significant boost in its cutting prowess. This fact is further enhanced thanks to a powerful 150amp motor that you get with this type of machine. As a result, cutting through thicker materials is extremely fast and easy with this tool.
Because of the added power of the 12-inch miter saw, it also tends to last longer even when you use it regularly. Since it comes with a high amperage motor, this means that the blade and the machine do not work as hard as it does in a 10-inch unit. This results in a longer lifespan for both the tool and the blade.
- More Blade Options
A 12-inch miter saw can also accommodate a 10-inch blade if you require more precision and control from your cuts. This allows you to get all the benefits of a 10-inch saw with the bonus that you get with a more powerful motor than the 12-inch miter saw.
- Cutting Capacity
Its cutting capacity is also much higher than that of a 10-inch miter saw. With a 10-inch unit, you are limited to only about 6 inches of material width. But when you are using a 12-inch saw, you can cut through 4×6 pieces of wood in just one pass and 12 inches of materials in as low as two passes.
- Efficient Cutting
As you might have already guessed from the cutting prowess, a 12-inch miter saw is much more efficient than a 10-inch unit. This means you can cut through thicker blocks of wood in a shorter period allowing you to get through your projects faster with a lot less hassle.
The major disadvantage of a 12-inch miter saw might be its cost. Since you can easily replace the blade of a 12-inch miter saw to get better control, the cost of this unit is something that you cannot really avoid.
Clearly, there is a lot of difference in performance between a 10-inch and a 12-inch miter saw. So you need to make your choice based on your particular needs and projects.
If you are a small-time woodworker or a hobbyist, you might have a better experience with a 10-inch miter saw. It will allow you to do most woodworking projects without too much trouble.
However, for people who are professionally involved with this type of job, a 12-inch miter saw might be more appropriate. Even if you do not use it all the time, you should consider investing in one because of the sheer number of possibilities it opens up for you.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.