10-Inch vs. 12-Inch Miter Saw: Which Is the Right Size for You?

10-Inch vs. 12-Inch Miter Saw: Which Is the Right Size for You?

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Miter saws come with a variety of blade types and sizes suitable for different uses. That said, the two most common miter saw blade sizes are 10 and 12 inches. Since both blades are different, it’s important for you to look closely before choosing the one that best suits your project’s needs.

This comparison guide will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both sizes of blades. It will also help you figure out which of the two miter saw sizes will work best in your exact situation.

What Sizes of Miter Saws Exist?

You can find blades for miter saws as small as 7.5 inches and some as wide as 20 inches. All that said, 8, 10, and 12 inches, are certainly the most common sizes with the latter two being especially popular.

The blades are measured by their diameter and, the larger the diameter, the longer the cuts. In general, miter saws are known for having relatively smaller blades compared to some other types of saws. If you are looking for a similar type of saw with a larger capacity, you might want to take a look at the chop saw.

7.5-Inch Miter Saw

10-Inch vs. 12-Inch Miter Saws: What Are the Differences?

With the basics out of the day, let’s take a look at the differences between the two most common blade sizes. What are their advantages and disadvantages?

The Advantages and Disadvantages of 10-Inch Miter Saws

Let’s start with the smaller, 10-inch blades.

Advantage #1: Affordability and Availability

The 10-inch blade is the most common size of a miter saw out there. It is both easier to find than the 12-inch blade and cheaper. A typical 10-inch miter saw will cost you as little as $100 while a 12-inch could cost twice as much.

You will always have an easier time finding a replacement with most hardware stores having a large selection of 10-inch blades. Your project will never get bottlenecked because you have to wait to order a blade because you can’t find a 10-inch miter saw blade anywhere.

Advantage #2: Versatility

Miter saws are known for making a variety of different kinds of cuts, and the smaller the blade the greater variety you have. The 10-inch blade seems to be the solid middle ground between being able to cut large pieces of wood in many different ways.

Also, 10-inch miter saws are smaller and lighter than their 12-inch counterparts, which makes them more portable. They are great to use in different locations if needed, and they do not take up a lot of storage space.

Disadvantage #1: Power

One disadvantage of a 10-inch miter saw is its cutting constraints. This saw can cut into roughly 4- or 5-inch thick wood so if you are undertaking a massive project like replacing a deck, it will take much more work with this kind of saw.

However, for most woodworking projects, this blade will work just fine. Even if you need to cut a larger piece of wood, you can always just flip it over and cut it from both sides.

Disadvantage #2: Durability

A smaller blade will always mean that it cannot take as much use. The reason there are so many 10-inch blades available in hardware stores is that they will need to be replaced eventually if used often.

If you push the limitations of the blade, this is especially true. As stated in the previous disadvantage, you can cut large pieces of wood with a little extra effort. However, this will dull the blade, and you won’t get too many projects out of this saw before it needs maintenance.

10-Inch Miter Saw

The Advantages and Disadvantages of 12-Inch Miter Saws

Let’s move on to the larger, 12-inch miter saw.

Advantage #1: Strength

Twelve-inch miter saws have, generally, more powerful motors than 10-inch miter saws. That will increase your cutting efficiency and allow you to cut through tougher materials.

The larger blade size also produces a higher tooth speed which means that, when using this saw, more teeth on the blade will be touching the material at any particular time. This further increases the ability for faster and stronger cuts than a 10-inch can pull off on its own.

Advantage #2: Consistency

While the 10-inch miter saw boasts versatility the 12-inch ones are trademarked by their consistency. It is easier to move around a smaller blade but this leaves more room for human error which can lead to a lot of lost material.

With a 12-inch blade, so long as it’s set up correctly, you can expect the same cut every time. So if you need a more simple cut but lots of them, this blade is perfect for that kind of project.

Disadvantage #1: Not Beginner Friendly

A larger, faster blade is certainly more dangerous on an already very dangerous power tool. If you aren’t somewhat experienced in woodcutting, you may want to opt for the smaller blade for your miter saw.

Also, this type of blade will make the saw heavier which wears on the arms after continued use, so if you’re not used to it, you will get tired and all of sudden your project will become a lot harder than initially thought.

Disadvantage #2: Bulk

Of course, a bigger blade means it will take up more space. Plus, a 12-inch miter saw will need a larger motor to run. All in all, it won’t be too big of a difference from a 10-inch miter saw. But, if you are low on space, this type of saw could be too big for your workshop.

If you’re working with larger material as well this can prove to be an issue and, because of its bulk, this saw is not easy to move around from place to place.

12-Inch Miter Saw

Can You Use a 10-Inch Blade on a 12-Inch Miter Saw?

You can put your 10-inch blades on your 12-inch saw assuming the arbor holes are the same size. That said, the blade will likely run faster due to the 12-inch saw’s larger motor so be careful of that.

You, however, cannot put 12-inch blades on a 10-inch saw. The blade will not fit nor will the motor be able to get the blade to spin quickly enough. Not to mention, the blade would stick out and make the saw way less safe to use.

If you are inexperienced with these saws, it is not recommended you try to put a blade on them that isn’t made for it. Putting a different blade on improperly can result in major injury to yourself or irreversible damage to your saw.

What Size Miter Saw Should You Get?

The answer to which miter saw you should get is simply, find the right miter saw for the right job instead of looking for a one-size-fits-all solution. A 12-inch miter saw can help you achieve deeper cuts and is typically used for thicker materials. On the other hand, a 10-inch miter saw is suitable for mostly wood, and relatively thin wood at that.

If you want a miter saw for use at home for minor projects, the 10-inch miter saw will be perfect. In fact, most people who are DIY woodworkers will stand by this type of saw as your do-it-all solution.

However, if you’re experienced and normally involved in bigger projects, a powerful machine like the 12-inch miter saw will be the ideal choice. A large miter saw is more efficient and can help you finish the task without too much extra work.

In general, I would say the 10-inch miter saw is the safer buy. It is cheaper and can do anything the 12-inch miter saw can do, just on a smaller scale. If you are looking into a 12-inch blade, you probably already know that the 10-inch will not work for your project.

Summary

Now that you know the main differences between these two blades, hopefully, you can find the right one for you and pull off the projects you’ve been working on with ease.

Be sure to keep the advantages and disadvantages of both saws in mind when looking at them and, if none seems to work for you, remember there are other types of blades out there that will work with a miter saw for whatever project you’re working on.

These saws are one of the most important tools you can have in your woodcutting workshop and buying the right one will save you plenty of money and headaches in the long run.