10-Inch vs. 12-Inch Miter Saw: Which is Better for You?

If woodworking is your profession or you are just a hobbyist it is will always be important to invest in a good miter saw because it will make your work easier. There are many options in the market, but before you settle on one because it is a reputable brand, it is important to ensure that you know how to make the right choice.

The first and presumably the most important decision that you need to make is whether to go for a 10-inch or 12-inch miter saw. Both are very helpful for woodworking but are also suitable for different purposes and situations. Although their blade size is their main difference, there are many things that you need to understand before you make your pick.

10-Inch vs 12-Inch Miter Saw

#1. 10-Inch Miter Saw

The 10-inch miter saw has a smaller radius than the 12-inch one, and this means that it tends to spin faster than the latter. A top quality 10-inch saw will spin at about 5000 RPM while most 12-inch ones can only manage a maximum of 4000 RPM. The quick turn of this saw means that it will make smoother cuts.

Since the 10-inch blade is small, it also tends to produce more precise cuts. Unlike with the larger ones, it will not be subject to a lot of deflection, and it does not wobble a lot. And so when making cuts that require a lot of accuracy like when working on an interior trim, it is the best option.


  • Availability: The 10-inch blade is easier to find than the 12-inch blade, and so you will always have an easier time when you need a replacement. Most stores will have a large selection of 10-inch blades, and so you can always be sure of finding something for your particular miter saw. This availability means that you will never have to stop or delay your project to shop for a new blade.
  • Affordability: Apart from being widely available, the 10-inch blades are also cheaper than the 12-inch ones. Although there are some that can be more expensive in general they are cheaper and so the 10-inch miter saw is both cheap to buy and own. Also, the cost of sharpening them is lower than what you pay for a 12-inch blade one which is a significant advantage when doing woodworking projects on a tight budget.
  • Versatility and Portability: 10-inch miter saws are smaller than the 12-inch ones. And this makes them very portable, and so they are perfect for use in different locations, and they do not also take up a lot of storage space. Also, most table saws come with a 10-inch blade, and so it is possible to switch blades between the two machines or just have one for both of them.


  • Cutting Limitations: The greatest disadvantage of a 10-inch miter saw is its cutting constraints. This saw can cut up to 6 inches of material which is sufficient for most woodworking projects. However, if you are undertaking a massive project like replacing a deck, it will not be very suitable as you have to keep turning the material to make the cut.

#2. 12-Inch Miter Saw

The 12-inch miter saw comes with a larger blade and has more power than the 10-inch ones. Most will have a 15-amp motor which will provide enough power to cut large and thick blocks of wood. The ability to cut large blocks will help you finish large cuttings fast.

A 12-inch miter saw can do all the cuts that the 10-inch one makes but the vice versa is not true. And this means that it is an ideal and handy tool to have at home for both small and big woodworking projects.

Most 12-inch miter saws can also accommodate the 10-inch blade if you need to use one which makes then quite versatile. And so this also means that you can get the benefit of many revolutions from the 10-inch blade and the power of a 12-inch blade in one saw.


  • Durability: The high amperage of the 12-inch saw means that it does not have to strain as hard as the 10-inch one to make a cut or go through a piece of wood. If the saw never has to struggle when making a cut, it will remain sharp for long and also lasts longer.
  • Capacity: A 12-inch miter saw is always the best for larger projects, and the main reason for this is its ability to cut or work with dense materials. This saw has a maximum cutting width of 12 inches which it can make in two passes, and it can cut a 4 by 6 piece of wood in a single pass, and so it helps to speed up your projects.
  • Power: Most 12-inch miter saws have a very powerful motor, and because they also have a larger blade size, they produce a higher tooth speed. What all this means is that when using this saw more teeth on the blade will be touching the material at any particular time. The massive amounts of power that you get with this tool will increase your cutting efficiency and hence help you work faster than when using the 10-inch saws.


  • Cost: 12-inch miter saws are in most instances more expensive than the 10-inch ones. Apart from the original cost of buying the saw, replacement blades are also expensive, and so it has a high cost of ownership.
  • Although the large motor on a 12-inch saw consumes a lot of energy, it also makes the cut fast. The fast cutting helps to balance this out, and so this is not necessarily a disadvantage.

10-Inch vs. 12-Inch Miter Saw Summary

When making a choice between the 10-inch and 12-inch miter saw there are many things that you will have to take into account so as to make the right decisions. First, you should think about your long term needs.

If you want something for use around the workshop for the small projects the 10-inch saw will be just fine. However, if you are a professional that deals with large projects, something more powerful like the 12-inch saw is the best for you. A large saw will increase your efficiency and ensure you can finish the projects fast and move to the next one.

Also, if you need something more powerful once in a while, it is better to rent a 12-inch from a hardware store than buy one.

Finally, if you decide that the 12-inch saw is the best for you, it is a better idea to go for one that can work with both 12-inch and 10-inch blades as it will offer you more convenience and versatility.

Last Updated on February 5, 2020 by Tom Bradly

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Tom Bradly

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise. See more at TomBradly.com

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