A Guide to Buying Electric Mitre Saws

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A Guide to Buying Electric Mitre Saws

Saws are near-ubiquitous sights in wood shops, at garage work benches, and on construction sites. Various types of saws exist, each designed for different projects and outcomes. Whereas smaller jobs can often be accomplished with a simple hand saw, more detailed projects may require additional functionality. A reciprocating saw, for example, is often used in construction or for window fittings, and it even has uses in operating rooms and dentists' offices. The power hacksaw, on the other hand, is ideally suited for cutting sheet metal, not wood.

When it comes to projects involving wood crosscuts, edging, or bevelling, the mitre saw is a popular choice. While manual mitre saws do exist, the electric versions deliver much greater functionality and on a larger scale. Before making a purchase, however, carpenters should identify their project's needs and the overall objectives to ensure they obtain the right electric mitre saw for the job. Taking a look at upcoming projects is a good idea, as well, to ensure a purchase that fulfils not only current but future needs. Armed with this information, informed consumers can visit eBay to find just what they need.

An Overview of Mitre Saws

Also called a chop saw, a mitre saw makes precisely placed cuts in wood via a spinning circular blade. The unit's mitre index controls the angle of both mitre cuts and crosscuts. Through secure placement against a fence, the mitre saw is held stationary while in operation, preventing kickback and keeping hands safe. Because of this positioning, the mitre saw is a safer tool than many other power tools.

Both experienced and novice carpenters are well aware of the functions of mitre saws. When they want to make decorative bevel or mitre cuts, or more functional crosscuts or compound cuts, the mitre saw is their tool of choice. Different products are designed to accomplish a variety of tasks, from crafting picture frames to fitting joints, to designing moulding and other room accents. Other considerations include the amount of cutting to be performed, the types of cuts needed, the size of the wood pieces, and the availability of electrical power.

As with any power tool, care must be taken when using an electric mitre saw. Prior to operation, would-be carpenters should fully familiarise themselves with the tool, including reviewing the instruction manual. It is important to wear safety eyewear and avoid loose clothing, as well.

Types, Capacities, and Capabilities of Electric Mitre Saws

Mitre saws come in a wide range of sizes and weights .While the smaller, simpler models may have just one blade, more advanced mitre saws often include interchangeable blades for greater flexibility and productivity. While carpenters can make some of the same cuts and notches with less-functional saws, a mitre saw specifically geared to the project almost always produce the best results. For this reason, a thorough review of available products is in order.

Types of Electric Mitre Saws

The type of mitre saw depends on its bevel and slide functionality, not blade diameter. Both compound and sliding compound mitre saws have a bevel that is either single or dual, yet only the sliding compound one has a slide. The basic mitre saw, on the other hand, has neither bevel nor slide.

Mitre Saw Type

Bevel Options

Available Cuts




Crosscuts, mitre cuts

Convenience, affordability, lightweight operation


Single, dual

Crosscuts, mitre cuts, bevel cuts, compound cuts

Expands upon basic mitre saw versatility by enabling both bevel and compound cuts


None, single, dual

Crosscuts, mitre cuts; single- or dual-bevel models also make bevel and compound cuts

Portability or convenience

Sliding Compound

Single, dual

Crosscuts, mitre cuts, bevel cuts, compound cuts

Versatility, wider board capacity

Amongst the more common tasks performed by mitre saws are crafting ceiling and chair rail moulding, picture frames, and interlocking notches. Depending on the degree of complexity of these cuts, compound or sliding compound electric mitre saws provide the greatest functionality and allow for quicker job completion.

Cutting Capacity of Electric Mitre Saws

While all three types of mitre saws come in varying blade diameters, the more advanced the tool, the more size options exist. Standard blade diameter sizes are 10 and 12 inches, and although the latter allows for a greater capacity, the added expense may be unnecessary. For smaller jobs, a blade diameter of as little as 8 inches may be more appropriate, as it can deliver greater precision.

Bevel Capabilities of Electric Mitre Saws

It is the bevel that enables the mitre saw to cut on an angle. Whereas a dual-bevel blade allows for tilting both left and right, the single-bevel model tilts to one side or the other but not both. While the less expensive, less heavy, single-bevel tool is sufficient for smaller carpentry projects, larger jobs with many bevel cuts are best handled with the dual-bevel mitre saw.

Portability of Electric Mitre Saws

If a source of electricity is readily available, a corded mitre saw provides the most power and the best buy. When portability is a concern, however, cordless mitre saws are lightweight and can easily be moved from room to room or site to site. Length of use is a definite concern, however, as even the largest batteries may not last through an entire day of heavy use.

Selecting the Right Electric Mitre Saw

The truth is that there is no single electric mitre saw that is best for every carpenter and every project. From the most affordable to the most expensive, each model is right for someone. This makes the act of identifying the proper electric mitre saw an important one. After a thorough assessment of the tasks that require the mitre saw, the handyman's needs should be evaluated according to the tools' features and functionality.

Selecting the Right Electric Mitre Saw Type

As mentioned, the cutting project itself is the most important determinant for choosing the type of electric mitre saw. If the woodworking project is detailed and complex, a basic mitre saw is far from being sufficient. However, if the job is simple and straightforward, there is no need to spend the extra money for the added bells and whistles.

When the wood is subject to multiple bevelled cuts, a compound electric mitre saw should be on the shopping list. Along these same lines, if the boards to be cut are long or wide, the sliding compound electric mitre saw is best geared to tackle these projects.

Selecting the Right Electric Mitre Saw Features

A standard electric mitre saw blade is 10 inches; however, both larger and smaller blades are available. In general, larger blades are not necessary unless wider boards need to be cut. Another consideration may be seeking a tool that can attach to a workbench or table, in the event that most or all of the cutting should occur in a single location. If the buyer plans to use the electric mitre saw in a close or clean environment, some mitre saws come with a dust bag to control sawdust output.

Selecting the Right Electric Mitre Saw Blades

Electric mitre saw blades are made of three materials: steel, high-speed steel, and carbide. Steel blades, which are the least costly of the three, are best for cutting soft woods; however, if the carpenter plans to work with harder woods, either on this project or down the line, he or she should consider investing in a more durable and high-quality blade. Another blade-related consideration is the blade guard. A transparent guard allows the carpenter to see where the blade meets the wood and is therefore preferable to one that is opaque.

In the same arena is blade diameter. As discussed, the larger the diameter, the thicker the wood that can be cut. While the 12-inch diameter electric mitre saw can tackle the most projects, the steeper price tag is a deterrent to many. Due to the reduced functionality of a blade that is 8 inches in diameter, most carpenters prefer an electric mitre saw with a 10-inch blade diameter.

Setting the Electric Mitre Saw Budget

It could be argued that identifying a spending limit is the first and most important step in purchasing an electric mitre saw. As prices can range from the reasonable to the quite expensive, unless money is no object, this is not a decision to overlook. Price tags go up along with blade diameters, with other cost determinants being the electric mitre saw's number of capabilities and features. Of note too is that, in general, multiple capabilities also mean a heavier weight and decreased portability.

Other Considerations When Selecting Electric Mitre Saws

A few more electric mitre saw variables that bear consideration include the blade head tilting or compound. To avoid flipping the board or approaching the wood from another angle, workers who rely on multiple angles may want to spring for the more expensive compound or sliding compound electric mitre saw. As a sliding model facilitates the cutting of extra wide boards, the added expense may be worth the increased functionality.

How to Buy an Electric Mitre Saw on eBay

By now, you have gained a solid understanding of electric mitre saw features and functionality. You have assessed the projects before you, both current and expected, and created a wishlist of the power tool's capabilities. Of course, you have to balance these ideals with the money in your pocket, as electric mitre saw costs can vary greatly, from the very simple to the fully loaded. On eBay, you can find exactly what you want by perusing categories or searching for more precise keywords, such as compound or sliding compound mitre saws.

eBay search results return a comprehensive list of products for sale, each with a photograph, pricing information, title, and brief description. Clicking on each takes you to a page with detailed information and often additional photographs. Seller information is displayed, as well, along with the seller's feedback numbers. You should also take note of postage and delivery information, along with the return policy, if applicable.


Although an electric mitre saw can be a somewhat costly investment, it is a near-essential part of a carpenter's arsenal of tools. When cutting bevels or angles, such as those found in ceiling and chair rail mouldings and picture frames, nothing beats a mitre saw. With price variations in the hundreds of pounds, buyers have their choice of not only basic mitre saws but also the more functional compound and sliding compound models. Choosing one of these tools is highly dependent on the types of bevels required, as well as the width of the boards to be cut.

Prior to making a purchase on eBay, potential buyers should evaluate their needs. If the electric mitre saw is to be used for the occasional project, then a lower-cost model is probably sufficient. However, if the large power tool is frequently used site in workshops and on job sites, a better model would be best. Buyers who consider the various types of electric mitre saws and their needs can find the one suited to them on eBay.

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