Radial Arm Saw vs Miter Saw

Radial Arm Saw Vs. Miter Saw: What’s the Difference?

Woodworking is an artwork, and some tools make it possible. Both radial and miter saws lessen the effort in work and complete a project faster. Radial arm saw is traditional while miter saw is relatively modern and has more features. To decide which one to choose, first learn the comparison between the two saws

Radial Vs. Miter Saw

A radial saw is a powerful tool that comes with versatility and does various works, including crosscuts. The machine contains a circular blade that rotates at high speed, and users have to apply the edge to cut the object. Whether you are doing finishing works or need rip-cuts, use a radial arm saw. The radial saw makes crosscuts, miters, bevels, compound, dadoes, rabbets, and ripping. Therefore, it means radial arm saw makes a variety of cuts than a miter saw.

The miter saw is a modern design tool that has an adequate cutting capacity. Professionals use the product for trimming works and miter cuts. It also does crosscuts, bevels, and compound cuts.  It can cut objects like wood, and you choose the angle of chopping. The tool is best in accuracy, and you can even select the level cut with it.

Other Differences Between Radial Arm Vs. Miter Saw

Modern miter saws are portable and easy to carry. It’s the best fit when doing projects around the compound that requires movement. On the other hand, the radial arm is bulky and quite challenging to carry it around.

Regarding ease of use, the radial arm has many operating issues, especially when putting too much force on the object. The wooden pieces can split back and cause dangerous incidents. Miters can work in a sliding table and have fewer chances of accident issues. They also come with a blade guard that keeps the rotating blade secure and can’t touch the user’s fingers or arm.  For safety measures, miter saw emerges the best.

The two saws make different types of cuts. Miter saw cuts objects at different angles, which vary, and this includes a bevel cut. On the contrary, a radial arm cuts materials in a particular miter, and most of them can’t make an angle or bevel cut. However, both make crosscuts.

Accuracy also differs in both saws. Radial arm saw requires more energy for the perfection of work. In comparison, miter saw has a high level of accuracy.  Radial arm saw has a higher cutting depth allowing it to cut through thicker lumber, whereas a miter saw can’t cut thicker wood.

What is the Primary Advantage of a Radial Arm Saw Over a Miter Saw?

Radial arm saw can perform various cuts that miter saw blades perform and others like rip, crosscuts, etc. It favors a woodworker in performing may function, unlike a miter, which does few tasks. Radial saw also features a simple design that allows carpenters to quickly and efficiently cut thick wooden boards. It’s, therefore, an easy to use solution. Again, the saw has a higher cutting depth, unlike the miter saw.

Are Radial Arm Saws Obsolete?

Radial arm saws are not in any way obsolete. Although a table or miter saw does an excellent job of finishing crosscutting boards up to 12-inch-wide, nothing beats a radial arm saw. The saw crosscut more extensive stock and rough boards.

If properly adjusted, it can cut accurate dados referenced on the opposite side of the board. Again, it needs a small space in your workshop for storage. However, you have to observe safety precautions while using the device.

Which One Should I Get: A Miter Saw or a Radial Saw?

It depends on the tasks you are carrying out though miter saw proves to be the best. For most home improvement projects, a miter saw will perfectly suffice to provide you with all the wood cutting you need. It can handle those tasks like adding extra frames within your bedroom and others. But if a project calls for a powerful tool to cut multiple and thick boards with advanced shaping flexibility, a radial arm is the best choice.  While purchasing,  ensure you go through training and use it with utmost caution.

If you don’t mind spending a little time chopping wood and don’t require specific cuts go for a miter saw. The saw is more valuable to purchase, affordable, and portable. It also comes with safety accessories and has a dust collection system.

Why are Radial Arm Saws So Dangerous?

Radial saws are dangerous because of their power that spins a razor-sharp blade at 3000 RPM.  They become stuck; you could snag clothing on edge, causing an accident. Fingers and arms are close to the cutting-edge if an accident occurs, thus the likelihood of a severe incident.


Radial saws are less popular since they are bulk and expensive, while miter saws are lighter, easy to use, and maneuverable especially if you get a portable miter saw stand. Despite all this, choose the one that fits your workshop needs.