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

If you often work with tools, you can attest that choosing the correct model from the sea of options is never easy. Leave alone picking the ideal model, identifying the perfect size to buy can be more overwhelming than it may look. That’s especially true when it comes to saws.

Let’s take miter saws as an example. Although they come in a wide variety of sizes, 10-inch blades and 12-inch versions are more common. That’s why if you are planning to buy one, you will often have to decide between the two options.

“But the two are almost of the same size”—well, you may say, and to some extent, it makes sense. But does the 2-inch difference make any impact? Well, the most straightforward answer to that question is Yes. Although the difference in size may look insignificant to a layman, the fact is that some applications need one size more than the other.

For that reason, before you settle for one size over the other, you have to ensure that it’s the one that works best for your needs. So, what does what? Well, that’s what we will be looking at today. Take a walk with us to discover the size that works ideally for your needs.

10-Inch Miter Saws

Before we proceed to examine a 10-inch miter saw, let’s begin with first things first. Why are they called 10-inch saws? Well, the “10-inch” doesn’t mean that these saws measure 10 inches wide, deep, or something of the sort.

We get the size of the saw from the diameter of the blade. Therefore, when we talk about a 10-inch miter saw, we mean that it’s one with a blade measuring 10 inches wide (or diameter).

The smaller size of blade means that a 10 inch version is smaller and lighter than the 12-inch version. Hence, the 10 inch miter saw is recommendable for shops with a limited amount of space.

Bestseller No. 1Top Pick
Metabo HPT 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw, Single Bevel, 15-Amp Motor, 0-52° Miter...
  • 10" Compound Miter Saw
  • MOTOR: 15 Amp motor delivers high power for the toughest of cuts generating a no-load speed of up to 5,000 RPM
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Only 24.2 lbs. to facilitate maneuverability and portability

Additionally, the smaller size is cheaper. That renders the 10-inch version a candidate for buying for people under a tight budget. It’s also worth knowing that the smaller diameter means the saw spins faster than other options with larger blades. That’s especially true when all the units are using motors with an equal rating.

When it comes to using, 10-inch miter saws work well for cutting hardwood and softwoods. Usually, they will work on workpieces that are up to 6 inches wide. While that’s not the best capacity you will get from a miter saw, it still covers most molding and trim boards.

Now, the 10-inch size is the most popular miter saw in the market. That means you may never have to walk into two shops looking for their replacement blades. In fact, some units will work just fine with the cutter from your 10-inch table saw.  

Usually, a decent 10-inch miter saw can hit a top speed of 5000 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute). That’s more than you can attain with a larger version like the 12-inch. In saws, higher RPM means smoother cuts. Therefore, if you are handling projects that need smoother cuts, a 10-inch model will work better than the bigger version.

Advantages of 10-Inch Miter Saws

  • Make smoother cuts.
  • Replacement blades are readily available in the market.
  • Cost less.
  • No wobbling.
  • More portable.
  • Take less amount of space.

Disadvantages of 10-Inch Miter Saws

  • Not ideal for workpieces wider than 6 inches.
  • Not compatible with a larger blade.

12-Inch Miter Saw

Like the 10-inch version, the “12-inch” in the name represents the size of the blade. Hence, these blades of this variety have a diameter of 12 inches. Now, as seen above, 10-inch versions are cheaper and seem to work just fine.

So, why would anyone opt to pay the extra bucks for a 12-inch version? Well, as said earlier, each size is well suited for some applications than others. That means there are some projects you can execute effectively with a 12-inch version than when having a smaller 10-inch model.

So, where do you need a 12-inch miter saw? That’s a good question. This article still gives answers to that. In fact, that’s what we are going to talk about shortly. Keep following closely to find out.

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DEWALT 12-Inch Miter Saw, 15-Amp, Single Bevel, Compound (DWS715)
  • Stainless-steel miter detent plate of 12-inch miter saw blade comes with 14 positive stops
  • The mitre saw features the precise miter system and machined base fence support
  • Tall sliding fence of DEWALT miter saw supports 5-1/2-inch base vertically

Firstly, you need to understand that the larger blade usually comes with a larger motor. With that said, 12-inch miter saws are generally more powerful than their smaller 10-inch competitors. As a result, these motors are well suited for heavier cutting applications than those with a 10-inch blade.

Secondly, since they typically are more powerful, 12-inch miter saws work better for more demanding applications. In other words, if you often deal with hardwoods, you will appreciate how a 12-inch miter saw makes the work look easy.

Thirdly, the extra 2 inches in diameter of the blade increases the cutting capacity of these saws. That means if you often find yourself interacting with larger boards, you should consider settling for this option.

Also, the 12-inch miter saw is more versatile than the smaller counterpart. In other words, a 12-inch unit will do everything you can with the 10-inch miter saw. However, the smaller saw can’t do everything the bigger one can.

Furthermore, for jobs that need a 10-inch saw, some 12-inch miter saws will even allow you to mount a smaller blade. That’s not the case when you want to mount a 12-inch blade onto a 10-inch miter saw.

At this point, I believe you can now see the reasons why some people opt to spend a few bucks for the larger version. You should also be knowing why most people choose to buy the 10-inch version. Below, we’ve summarized the advantages and disadvantages of the larger miter saw.

Advantages of a 12-inch Miter Saw

  • More powerful.
  • Can cut wide and thick workpieces.
  • Very versatile.
  • Some will work with 10-inch blades.
  • It saves time.

Disadvantages of a 12-inch miter saw

  • You have to pay a few more bucks for it.
  • It needs more space.

The table below brings out the differences between the two miter saw sizes. It summarizes everything we’ve looked at so far.

10-Inch Miter Saws Vs. 12-Inch Miter Saws—Comparison table

Aspect of comparison10-Inch Miter Saw12-Inch Miter Saw
PowerUsually less powerfulUsually more powerful
Quality of cutSmoother cutLess smooth cut
Blade compatibilityCan’t work with larger bladesUsually compatible with smaller 10-inch blades
Size of materialSmaller and thinner workpiecesWider and thicker workpieces
CostLess expensiveCosts more
SuitabilityDIYers and beginnersProfessionals
Wobble and deflectionNoAt times minimal
PortableBetter portabilityNot portable

10-Inch Vs. 12-Inch Miter Saw—Which Is Better For You?

As stated earlier, it all depends on what you want to do with the miter saw. If you want a unit that will allow you to cut deeper and wider, then a 12-inch miter saw comes with you in mind.

However, for smaller cuts, a 10-inch miter saw comes in ideally. Where space and money aren’t an issue, we recommend you consider buying the larger version. While they cost a few more bucks, they offer more than what you get in the smaller versions.

The Bottom Line

The fact is that you have to factor in several things when choosing between a 10-inch miter saw and a 12-inch miter saw.

Before you settle for one, you have to know the strengths and weaknesses of each. After going through this article, I believe you are now able to make the correct decision.

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