A Complete Comparison: Sliding Miter Saw VS Compound Miter Saw

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When it comes to miter saws, there are many options available on the market and knowing the difference between each type is crucial for you to do your work properly.

This is why we made this guide to help you get a better understanding of 2 particular miter saw types: the compound one and the sliding one.

The Definition

sliding miter saw

Sliding Miter Saw

The sliding miter saw comes with rails that enable the blade to move backward and forward across wide pieces of material. It has the ability to cut across some materials that a compound miter saw’s blade won't work with.

Compound Miter Saw

The compound miter saw, on the other hand, doesn’t have rails so the area around the cutting arm is clear. This makes it ideal for thicker material.

A More Detailed Comparison

Generally, miter cuts help you join things together. A good example of this is a picture frame, which its corners meet to form a 90-degree angle thanks to the meeting of two 45-degree miter cuts at the end of each side. Also the miter cuts can be found in crown moldings or baseboard.

On the other hand, bevel cuts don’t just exist on the surface or the face of the material but rather go through the whole thickness of the material.

Simply, the miter cut goes through the horizontal plane while the bevel cut goes through the vertical one.

Bevel cuts are usually used to finish up the project you’re working on, but they’re also useful for cutting crown molding as well as any job that requires an angled cut on both the horizontal and vertical plane.

Moreover, a standard miter saw’s blade only tilts in one direction, so you can move it either to the left or to the right.

This means that if you want to make a cut in the opposite direction, you have to turn your workpiece around and work on it from the other side.

This is not the case with a double bevel compound miter saw whose blade pivots both right and left. It’s a very good option for you if you do a lot of jobs that require both miter and bevel cuts and where the constant moving of the workpiece can become tedious.

Sliding Miter Saw

The sliding miter saw has the ability to make both miter and bevel cuts, just like a compound miter saw.

The difference lies in the width of the material that each can handle.

The whole difference lies in the word “sliding”. A sliding miter saw can basically do everything a compound miter saw can in addition to having rails that enable you to slide the saw backward and forward.

The great benefit of the sliding feature is how it significantly increases the capacity of your cuts to enable you to cut much thicker pieces of material.

Compound Miter Saws

The compound miter saw is much more specialized than a basic miter saw because it can perform both miter and bevel cuts.

Compound miter saws operate in a similar way to standard ones but with one unique characteristic. Their blades have pivoting arms that you can tilt to angles other than the 90-degree one. This particular feature is the reason it’s able to make bevel and miter cuts.

It beats the standard miter saw because it’s more versatile as the ability to make bevel cuts gives you more options when it comes to the types of projects you can do.

The Pros and Cons

Sliding Miter Saws


The ability to cut across wide material with no need to reposition your workpiece. Thanks to the rails, cutting across wide material becomes a very easy task. If you’re working on a project that includes a lot of miter and bevel cuts into wide boards, a sliding miter saw will serve you well.


Not the most affordable price. If you’re going to use your saw to work on big projects or if it’s your job to make cuts, a sliding miter saw would be an amazing investment. However, if you’re a hobbyist or want the saw to do some DIY work, a sliding miter saw could be a little bit too expensive. Sliding miter saws also need a lot of space. Due to the fact that they’re designed to move backward and forward, having sliders necessitates having a lot of room to operate your sliding miter saw.

Compound Miter Saws


The greater cutting arc of the compound miter saw is one of its most prominent advantages. The fact that there are no rails enables you to cut thicker material than a sliding miter saw, even with a blade of the same size. They take less space than sliding miter saws. This gives you some room to spare in your workshop where you can stand freely.


Limits you to narrower pieces of wood. A compound miter saw falls short of the mark when it comes to the width of the workpiece.

Final Thoughts

A rule of thumb is that knowing what kind of projects you’ll be working on will help you a long way when it comes to deciding which miter saw would suit you better.

After all, the size of the material each saw is best-suited for is the key difference between them.


If you’re going to work on wider projects, you should opt for a sliding miter saw.

However, if you’re not concerned with the width of the workpiece, don’t want to break the bank, and want to save up some space, you should go for the compound miter saw.

Sliding Miter Saw VS Compound Miter Saw
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Sliding Miter Saw VS Compound Miter Saw
In this comprehensive comparison guide, you will learn about all the difference between a compound miter saw and a sliding miter saw. Check it now.