Miter saws have become a favorite power tool of many beginners and professional woodworkers.
Although they appear in numerous models and display multiple quality functions, the 2 most outstanding types are sliding and non-sliding miter saws.
It is hard to find the winner of sliding vs non sliding miter saw, as each type has its unique pros and cons. Every user will decide on a suitable product depending on their purposes.
This article will show all the differences between these two saw types. We hope you will have an easy time finding a suitable model for your requirements.
Let diving into it!
Table of Contents
Sliding Miter Saw Overview
Sliding miter saws are a special power tool for cutting woods. The manufacturers give the miter saw a sliding mechanism.
Most woodworkers choose this machine to cut wooden boards of about 12 inches to 16 inches long.
What makes the sliding miter saw appealing is the function of the blade. This piece of equipment can slide out backward and forward as the machine works, supporting cutting wide and large wood boards.
The adjustable mechanism makes this basic miter saw type highly versatile. While it is quite difficult to completely cut a big board by pulling off a fixed saw (non sliding type), woodworkers can rely on a sliding miter saw model to do the task.
With the help of the moving motion of the saw head, the woodworkers can perform different kinds and ways of cuts.
This function makes the machine ideal for DIY projects or home furniture renovations.
All the features above are not enough to determine that sliding miter saws are better than non sliding ones. Besides the advantages, this type of power tool still has several limitations.
Because this model has a more flexible mechanism than its rival, it is more expensive. But with all the conveniences of operation this model offers, it unarguably deserves the high price.
Compared to the non sliding miter saw, the sliding model is bulkier and heavier. The extra weight is because it has more components.
Although modern adjustable miter saws nowadays come with safety features like a protective guard or an auto shut-off system, they are still more dangerous than the fixed type.
You will need to be extremely careful when moving the blade forward and backward. Anything that goes wrong can lead to risks of injuries.
Non-Sliding Miter Saw Overview
Non sliding miter saws have another name, which is fixed saws. While sliding machines have rails for the sliding mechanism, the manufacturers do not give the fixed saw a sliding miter mechanism.
As the name describes, this standard miter saw does not allow the woodworkers to adjust or move the blade backward and forwards.
You will have to place and align the board under the blade and pull off it to perform the cut.
Because this cutting component can only go up and down, it can’t cut wide boards. Most models can only get along well with a wood that is of maximum 6 inches long.
The non-sliding miter saw features an angled and pivoting arm. While the sliding blade must work under the restriction of the expansion rails, the non-sliding is not in the same bad situation. Hence, the model offers a wider cutting arc than its rival.
As the fixed saw offers a wide cutting arc, you can rely on it to make cuts on tricky angles. On the other hand, the non sliding miter saw is also suitable for trimming materials in traditional ways, such as:
- Miter cut
- Bevel cut
- Compound cut
Another great point is, non sliding miter saws are safe to use. You do not need to have plenty of experience to control the blade up and down, facing fewer risks of injuries during work.
The fixed machine does not have as many components as a sliding model does; thus, it is compact and light. Many woodworkers prefer using a non sliding machine because of its high portability.
Of course, this type of fixed miter saw is a lot cheaper to buy than sliding miter saws.
The only drawback of a non sliding machine is that it can not perform wide cuts on large objects. But on the positive side, the model can serve well with joint moldings.
Sliding Vs Non-Sliding Miter Saw
Now we will come to the comparison of sliding vs non sliding miter saw. You will have a full view of every specific feature of the 2 saw types to decide the winner based on your needs and preferences.
The name has said everything about the mechanism of the 2 miter saws.
A sliding miter saw allows the blade to move forward and backward, up and down.
The non sliding compound miter saw only allows users to move the cutting component up and down, not back and forth.
If you require high flexibility of work, choose the sliding model. Otherwise, go for the non sliding one.
In our opinion, the sliding miter saw has a better mechanism than its rival.
The non sliding miter saw’s main function is performing straight or angled cuts on pieces of wood. This machine gives the best results when working with small objects.
Every time you wish to cut a wide board, you must trim a section of it. After that, you will need to flip the object and cut the other section.
The sliding compound miter saw does most of the tasks that a non-sliding model can do. Woodworkers can use it for straight cutting or performing light angled cuts.
As the machine works under the restriction of the expansion rails, it works better with wide wooden boards.
You may need prior experience to control the sliding blade when using a sliding miter saw.
As the cutting equipment does not stand in a constant position, it may be difficult for beginners to adjust it to the right cutting place.
With a beginner, you should buy a non sliding machine. In case you have experience in using this type of miter saw, don’t hesitate to buy the sliding type.
When it comes to primary functions, the non sliding saw will show the advantage.
Types of Cuts
Non sliding compound miter saws support cutting in all traditional ways. You are free to make bevel cuts, crosscut, angle cuts, and compound cuts with this model.
With a wide arc, the fixed device can conveniently help you perform difficult and tricky angled cuts.
The sliding saw also supports all types of traditional cuts as a non sliding does. However, it can not work on complex angles since its arc is smaller than one of the fixed saws.
If you want to do multiple kinds of cuts, then you should put the non sliding saw on your buying list right away!
This machine is a clear winner, as it has a better ability to make cuts on complex angles
But the blade on non-sliding miter saw will have tends to wear faster because its cut from top to bottom so it will have more resistance from wood.
Safety In Use
Both saws come up with multiple safety functions, such as:
- Lights: Brighten the working area for a high visibility.
- Guard: Prevent direct contact between the user and the cutting teeth.
- Shut Off System: Automatic stop working when the motor overloads.
- Lock: Secure the blade in place.
The fixed miter saw’s blade is in a constant position, promoting easy controllability. Thus, there will be fewer risks of injuries, as the cutting component can not come closer to the users.
All you have to do is avoid putting your hands directly on the running blade. Also, you will want to wear safety glasses, as the saw produces wood dust while cutting.
In fact, sliding saws are not dangerous to use. However, it gives more risks of injury than the fixed type does.
While you move the saw head backward and forwards, you may accidentally put your hands on the blade, leading to severe injuries.
Go for the non sliding machine if you have no experience! If you have confidence in adjusting the saw head, choose the sliding model.
The non sliding machine will be the winner for safety features.
Non sliding miter saws are quite easy to find and cheap to buy. A high-quality machine with all basic features may cost around 120 – 300 dollars (depend on the store). The more functions the model has, the more expensive it will be.
There is no wonder that a sliding machine has a higher price than its rival. The additional cost is due to the expansion rails that the manufacturers add to the machine. Typically, a good sliding miter saw may cost 400 dollars or more.
If you have a low budget, non sliding will be the best deal. However, we chose the sliding saw as the winner for the price.
Although this model has a higher price, you can get more benefits from it.
Size of The Saw
The sliding miter saw has more components than the other type. Some basic parts of it, which the fixed type does not have, are:
- Expansion rails
- Board base
Due to this reason, sliding saws are bigger than non sliding tools. They will take up more space in the working place and the storage.
Most woodworkers choose non sliding saws as a great solution for space-saving.
The non sliding saw beats its rival at the point of portability. With fewer components, the fixed saw is a lot lighter than the sliding one.
Therefore, woodworkers do not need much effort to move the fixed machine from place to place.
Normally, a sliding miter saw is about 50 – 60 pounds heavy. A non sliding machine weighs about 25 – 45 pounds.
If you often change your workplace, the non sliding will be the better option.
Size Of The Wood
The non sliding miter saws get along well with small objects, while the other type gives the best results with wide wooden boards.
Suppose you seek a sliding model to cut a wood piece that is 6 to 12 inches long. If you use a fixed machine, there will be a lot of flipping jobs to do.
The wood size under 6 inches will be suitable for a non sliding miter saw.
Of course, the sliding miter saw surely beats the other type. It is able to cut more woods at all sizes.
Go for the sliding machine if you have multiple big tasks to complete!
The sliding miter saw is suitable for giant crown moldings, cut baseboard, big furniture constructing, large DIY projects, and house renovations.
Otherwise, non-sliding miter saws are more supportive of light tasks. You can rely on them for making decoration pieces, light crown moldings, and so on.
A sliding saw is ideal for big projects. It will be the perfect choice for any professional worker.
It is important to know the difference between a sliding and non sliding miter saw. You want to determine every specification and feature of each product to pick out the most suitable one for long-term usage.
This article has answered the questions of most woodworkers about the differences in functions and designs of both saw types.
Now it is easy to pick out the winner of the battle between Sliding vs non sliding miter saw.
You can benefit from a sliding miter saw if:
- You are an experienced woodworker or an enthusiast DIYer;
- You have big projects to do
- You often cut wider wooden boards than 10 inch or 16 inches;
- You have a generous budget.
A non-sliding miter saw will be your best supporter if:
- You are a beginner or an amateur in this field.
- You seek an economical saw option.
- You often have small wood pieces to cut.
- You want to make difficult angled cuts.
- You need a miter saw that has high portability.
A rule of thumb is that the best sliding miter saw will support doing heavy-duty projects. On the other hand, the best non sliding miter saw will give convenience in doing light tasks.
The final decision depends greatly on your experience and projects as well as budget.