Choosing a miter saw can seem very daunting: there are just so many choices out there, and so many types of miter saws to boot.
You may have seen that miter saws broadly come categorized as two types: single bevel and double bevel. So in this post, we’ll take a look at:
- single bevel vs double bevel miter saw
- when to use each one
- and which should you get?
Single Bevel vs Double Bevel Miter Saw
A single bevel miter saw has a saw head that can only turn in one direction, usually towards the left. A double bevel miter saw has a saw head that can go to a certain degree in both directions, allowing you to make bevel cuts to the left and to the right.
The key difference between a single and dual bevel miter saw is the speed at which you can work. Say you are working on a piece of wood and need to make bevel cuts to the right and to the left.
With a single bevel miter saw, you’d make your first bevel cut, then remove the wood, flip it over, fit it back, and make your second cut.
With a double bevel miter saw, you can just flip the toolhead to the other side to make the opposite cut without needing to flip the lumber around.
It all boils down to convenience: do you really mind needing to flip over the lumber every time you need to make two opposite cuts? Or would you prefer efficiency and speed?
It also depends on the kinds of cuts you make every day. If you do need lots of bevel cuts and and in both directions, a dual bevel saw would make life easier for you.
What is a bevel?
While we’re on the topic of single and dual bevels, it would be useful to recap what a bevel cut really is!
Miter saws can typically do 4 types of cuts: a miter cut, a bevel cut, a crosscut, and a compound cut. A miter cut goes across the board at an angle.
A good example of this would be a doorframe where two angled pieces of wood meet to form a joint.
A bevel cut, on the other hand, is when the cut goes through the thickness of the wood. Image you had a rectangular block of wood and you wanted to make a doorstop out of it: you’d cut the block down the thickness of it to make two doorstops.
A crosscut is a simple 90-degree cut that goes across the board, and a compound cut is a combination of the miter and bevel cuts.
Single Bevel Miter Saws
As we mentioned above, single bevel miter saws can only move in one direction. Usually, this will be to your left if you are facing the saw. Using a single bevel saw, you can make up to a 90 degree cut in one direction. If you need to cut the other way, you’d have to remove the board, flip it over, place it in again, and make the opposite cut.
What can you use a single bevel saw for?
Single bevel miter saws are very effective for angled cuts. They’re also quite lightweight, making them easy to move around from place to place. Miter saws are very versatile, and you can use them for many different projects. The only difference is that you need to turn over the board for an opposite cut.
There’s a bit of mental work involved with flipping the board over. You need to make sure the cut is aligned the way you want it, and position the board exactly where it was before so your cuts match.
Single bevel miter saws are effective for simple unidirectional cuts like molding and frames.
Pros of single bevel miter saws
- Great for beginners
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to use
- Very affordable
Cons of single bevel miter saws
- Cumbersome if you need to make opposite cuts
- Difficult to work with longer pieces of wood if you need to keep flipping them
What’s the best single bevel miter saw?
DeWalt DW715 15-Amp Miter Saw (12 inches)
The fences on this saw are adjustable, durable and accurate. The motor has an output of 15 amps which allows it to be powerful enough for most projects but not so much that you’ll need a whole house worth of electricity!
It also features 4000 rpm when cutting wood or plastic with less horsepower needed in order to get the job done quickly without sacrificing precision thanks to matched base support from Precise Miters systems along with stainless steel detent plates ensuring stability during cuts while improving productivity whether its standard miter angle adjustments (0-50 degree) up through ten different angles.
The DW 715 DeWalt Miter 15 amp 12-inch single bevel compound miter saw is a great way to start improving your workshop, work area and material handling capabilities.
These affordable tools are easy enough for anyone in the family (or not) but also offer greater flexibility than many other equipment options out there today which means they’ll find their place quickly! With such an assortment of blade angles at 0 degrees up through 3 degrees as well as 50 degree miters right off the bat – we’re confident you won’t regret adding this one into any arsenal!
Ryobi TSS102L 15 Amp 10 Inch Sliding Miter Saw with Laser
This 15 amp motor features a 5500 rpm speed and is powerful. It also has positive left stops at 0 degrees, 15 degrees (and 22.5), 31.6 and 45 degrees with right-angled accepts that go up to 50%.
Other great tools for cutting wood efficiently include the miter range’s positive action makes accurate cuts easy; single bevel lets you make smooth convex or concave angles accurately without worrying about sliding while adjusting your blade height – all this in order help aid quick workflows!
This Ryobi miter saw has a cutting capacity that’s more than enough for most homeowners. You’ll be able to cut 12 inches at 0 degrees, as well as 7/4th-inch wood with ease on either side of 45 degree angle range!
The dust collection system keeps your workspace clean so you don’t have messy cuts or clouds hovering over everything while working – plus it’s backed by some great reviews from owners who love its affordability along with all those premium features included in other models costing much more money.
Double Bevel Miter Saw
Double bevel miter saws bevel to the left and to the right. While a single bevel saw can only pivot to the left, dual bevel saws can work both ways. So if you need to make a bevel cut on both sides of the wood, you can just swing the toolhead over instead of moving the wood.
What can you use a double bevel saw for?
Since you can bevel left and right, these saws are really good for making complex projects that have a lot of trim and molding. Crown molding is nearly impossible to do without a double bevel.
This way, you don’t have to keep moving the wood around when you need to make cuts on both sides.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is that you don’t need to worry about getting the alignment right when you do flip the wood! Even if you do align it correctly, you’ll need to get it right down to the millimeter to accurately finish your project.
Pros of dual bevel miter saws
- Great for professionals
- High quality and precise cuts
- Great for intricate cuts and designs
- Absolutely critical for moldings
- Saves a lot of time and hassle from not needing to flip the board
Cons of dual bevel miter saws
- Costs nearly double that of a single bevel miter saw
What’s the best double bevel miter saw?
DeWalt DWS780 12 Inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
The fence design is one of the most important tools in any woodworker’s arsenal. The XPS cross cut positioning system provides accurate, positive stops for both 1×4 and 2×2 pieces with its stainless steel detent plate that can be adjusted to ten different positions – perfect for your needs!
With a 75% dust collection rate, the DeWalt DWS780 12 inch double bevel sliding compound miter saw is one of the best options for keeping your workspace clean. It doesn’t come with an included stand but you can purchase and attach one if needed! Some people might complain about how low quality certain aspects are like its performance or durability (though these aren’t deal breakers).
Why you should get a single bevel saw
- If you’re working on simple projects like picture frames
- You just need to make simple angled cuts
- You don’t mind flipping the wood if you need to bevel both sides
- You work with smaller pieces of wood
- You’re a weekend woodworker and this is not your job
Why you should get a double bevel saw
- If you’re a professional and this is your work
- You’re an advanced hobbyist
- You don’t need to flip the board
- You need extreme precision
- You make lots of molding
- You need this saw for a lot of different projects
Miter Saw Buying Tips
Understand the different saws available
When shopping for miter saws, the first thing to know is that there are 3 types of miter saws: basic, sliding, and compound.
Basic miter saws are used for essential cuts like crosscuts and the like. These saws don’t have a rotating toolhead that lets you make bevel cuts.
Compound miter saws let you make bevel cuts. They’re actually called compound saws because they can make both bevel cuts and miter cuts.
Sliding compound miter saws are compound saws that have a sliding arm that lets you accommodate larger pieces of wood. They require some more skill to use, and are also quite expensive, so professionals and experienced woodworkers will find these as better choices.
What features do you really need?
One of the most underlooked yet critical features of miter saws and indeed any kind of saw is dust collection. Miter saws that have dust collection ports will make cleanup much easier, as well as protect you from breathing in too many harmful sawdust particles.
Another useful addition in miter saws is a laser guide. These guides help you plan very exact cuts before you make them.
Safety features like blade guards are also very important.
Do your research
There are so many saws out there that it may be overwhelming to try and choose one that really fits all. Try to find a balance between function and budget that works best for you.
Remember, the choice between a single bevel or a dual bevel miter saw boils down to your budget and use. At-home DIYers and weekend woodworkers will be happy to save some cash and pick up a single bevel miter saw. If you ever need to do two opposite cuts, just go ahead and flip the board over!
If you’re looking to use your new miter saw in any professional capacity, you should definitely get a dual bevel miter saw as the added convenience will really compound in the long run.
As a professional, it does not make sense to really skimp out on the very tools you depend on for running your business!