Is an Expensive Miter Saw Worth It?

April 16, 2020

miter saw

I’m starting a new segment of episodes on Tool Crave, where I’ll try my best to answer reader questions. If I don’t have the best answer I will share resources to help you find the information you need.

The first question is one I get asked a lot and that is, “Is an expensive miter saw worth it?”. I don’t always get asked about miter saws, but any tool can be substituted.

Many people need guidance on whether or not they should invest their money on an expensive tool, or will the cheaper one work just as well.

In my opinion, there are a lot of variables to this, but the number one thing is how will this tool be used and what is your budget. Tool application is important and can really help guide you towards the tools you should be considering.

Check out the podcast episode below and if you have any questions of your own, please send me an email at

Read below for a full transcript of the episode.

I’d like to do more of these special reader question episodes and answer questions sent to me via email, Twitter, or some other social platform. 

My friend is looking at starting to build some of his own furniture. In fact, what he wants to build right now is a farmhouse table dining room table, which is a pretty popular furniture build. There are a lot of interesting plans and DIY tutorials on YouTube out there that he’ll be able to find, but he’s kind of starting from square one when it comes to tools. 

So he asked me he was looking at miter saws and what is kind of the difference between a, you know, sub $200 miter saw, as opposed to the ones that are in the $500 range and above. And if I give us a lot of thought because I feel a lot of people out there in this same in the same situation that he’s in, where you know the cheap ones, the price point looks great. 

But you kind of wonder how long it’s gonna last. And if you really get what you pay for, where’s the other ones? Are just, you know, it’s a pretty big cost for something that you might use for a week or one off at a time every few months. And do you really need to spend that much money on something like that? So try to break it down a little bit here and no, I’m not a contractor, so I don’t rely on tools every day for work.

I’ve handled plenty of saws, and I work with a lot of people who are in the trades, and, uh, the first question that he asked me regards to the price point. Um, I feel like a right away.

I noticed that he was kind of skipping over kind of the mid range prices when it comes to the size that are, you know, over $200. But they’re more like the $300 to $400 range, and that gets you into the waltz and the riches of the world. And those are great, amazing awesome sauce. And if you see plenty of of other of trades, people using them of YouTubers who build the most amazing piece of furniture and projects use those. 

So there’s a very, very capable because that’s kind of what I pointed in that direction towards. But the main, the main piece here, is really the first question would ask yourself, is what they’re using it for And is it going to be a project, a craft or projects around the house where basically, with the cheaper saw there, the clearances are not as tight? 

The, uh, it’s not going to be as accurate, and it’s not gonna be quite a durable. So when you have some things not as durable, and I was accurate already, if it gets bumped around a little bit, if it sits in your garage, if something, you know, some hockey sticks lay on it. If something kind of you know, if you happen to kind of drop it a little bit or something, it’s a lot more likely it’s going to get knocked out of whack and become even less accurate. 

So, you know, out of the box, the size might have to be tuned more. Uh, I might have to be kept in two and Maura and maintained more than a more professional saw. But the cheaper salt will get you going on your project right away. So again, if you were working, something isn’t what quite require the accuracy then and you’re not using it that much, then a cheaper stop, you know, could be great. And also, if you’re a great craftsman, you can make anything work. You know how to overcome certain.

I say drawbacks from the song where somebody who’s a beginner, they might not even know that there’s an issue until it comes to putting things together and things are out of whack. So I’ve found that myself with some of the cheaper size I worked with, But I also understand that when you go with a more expensive saw, it kind of sits there. It collects dust and you bought it for that one project would be cutting a bit of trim here and there, which was great for and you needed. 

You know, some of that might, during action and some of the other features, and you knew it was gonna be very accurate, and you had to be very accurate. It worked great for that. And now it’s just kind of sitting waiting for the next project, and you invested quite a bit of money into it. So there are saws like that, um again, the more expensive saws, you know, they could. You could have that. I think buyer’s regret. 

But you definitely I don’t feel like need to spend the money on that, that you’re gonna get back from it. So again, you’re not putting it in your truck, taking it to the next job site, making sure that it’s aligned correctly. You don’t have to worry about that.

So to answer my friend’s question, who is going to be a very casual woodworker who is getting into working for the first time and looking at building a project, Um, that hopefully he will maybe be building more of and so he’ll want something that can kind of grow with his skills, but also kind of a price point that you could get into. 

I recommended there’s a DeWalt, the model number in front of me, but there’s a rigid that are very solid. And again when you kind of go with these bigger, pro brand names. Even at the lower end of the price, you are getting something that’s, you know that’s solid. That they put their name on that usually have a great warranty.

Rigid has one of the better warranties around, so you can definitely be more comfortable with that, as opposed to something that’s not quite a name brand. And again, those might work great for certain people, especially the more experience. 

But I would definitely point you more towards a pro brand. If you’re going to be building something like a farmer’s table or a piece of furniture, or work on trim or something really around the house that, um, that you want to make sure it’s accurate and you don’t have time to fiddle, they don’t have expertise to fiddle with it too much to make sure it is Ah is lined up, so that kind of answers the question for the miter saw.

But the same thing applies to other tools. Um, one thing I want to add to is we’re seeing a lot more as you see the Cordless kind of revolutions taken over power tools, and they were now a lot of basically Cordless everything. 

But that adds a lot more price with the batteries many being well over $100 and many times you should buy. Two charges are also expensive. So unless you need the functionality of having a Cordless power tool, we’re out of a job site or an area where you cannot, you know, reach a sea power.

Then that’s a great option, and you’ll pay the premium to get it done, as opposed to cutting it somewhere else, hauling it in So a Cordless miter saw, for example. Um, we’re in a premium, but you don’t. You don’t you really don’t need it if you’re working on something on your house, especially if you’re working your garage or somewhere where you have power, you put that extra money towards a better quality saw. Then you wouldn’t necessarily a Cordless option if you already have the batteries, for instance, The DeWalt, um, flexible, too. 

They have a Cordless miter saw already have that, then you know they cost. You’ve already sunk that into the batteries, and it’s not as much same that goes for Milwaukee. If I already have an M E M 18 battery of that system, then it’s not gonna be expensive for you.

That’s something to consider as well. But generally, you don’t need to look at a Cordless miter saw when you’re investing in a tool that’s they want to keep in the 304 100 a range with a song of that nature you’re gonna be great with Accorded saw, and you’ll have plenty of power and you’ll keep it for many, many years and be very happy with it. Um, the miners are is a little bit. I wouldn’t say it’s one. 

The first D I. Y, um, our power tools that somebody kind of coming into power trailed a certain we’re working would be getting, um, I think that a Jake saw a circular saw track saw would be one of the first tools that somebody kind of invests in. But ah, again, you can do plenty of work with Kent if you’re gonna do some Kraftwerk Jigsaw. Jigsaw is great. Um, I think that again it can be courted.

It could be Cordless, but with the jig sites. Actually, I might recommend going for quarters option because dealing with that cord when it kind of round corners when you’re cutting shapes, it’s actually kind of nice. It’s very nice to be courted. Our sorry, Cordless. So, um, going on if a bit of a tangent there on jigsaws because I love them so much. Yeah, that’s just a quick update on a friend. 

Ah, readers reader question. I’ve had a lot more here that I think I can help some people out on, and I hope, and I was able to help my friend and I think on the website tool crave dot com. We’re going to be diving into that a bit more again. There are plenty of review sites out there that offer a lot of great information. I read them all the time. 

I watched that YouTube channel, for example, the tools and action guys which have had the podcaster great same for pro tool reviews. I’ve also had Clint on the podcast. I definitely want to get Ah, my friends at Toolbox Buzz on the podcast who have been doing it for a long time, and I really like what they’re doing Regards to two reviews. So a lot of guys doing really cool stuff out there, and I definitely think you should check them out as well. 

So I hope to check in again with another one of these quick-hit podcasts, and I hope to I know we’ll get better this without having an a person to kind of let speak for me. So if I can kind of get on a roll and, uh, and just go for it, then I’ll just pick up the mic and hit record. And hopefully, that will get me a lot more podcasts that I bring to you. 

Okay, again, hopefully, the next time next episode will be in a totally different world, and we’ll be looking forward to getting back to work, to being outside, to enjoying each other and having fun and exploring things under a new lens and appreciating things. Ah, from a new perspective. Okay, take care, be safe

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