If you’re used to taking care of installations and construction chores on your own, you probably already have a home workshop or at least a set of essential tools for quick fixes and DIY projects. As you take on more involved and detailed projects where you need more precision when cutting wood, plastic, and even steel, one tool that you need in your workshop is a miter saw or more commonly known as, a chop saw. If you didn’t know it already, a chop saw has fast-rotating blades that can help you make quick, precise cuts. However, the inarguable utility of a chop saw demands careful hunting when you’re finalizing on your purchase – and we can help you with it. We have put together a list of top-of-the-line, best chop saws in 2021, reviewed them, and listed the pros and cons of each. So, sit tight, read along, and finalize on a chop saw best suits your needs!
Whether it’s wood, metal, PVC, or other materials you’re cutting, a chop saw is an absolute necessity. Not to be confused with a miter saw that can rotate and cut at an angle, a chop saw is often used by professionals to quickly make straight cuts in most raw materials.
Are Chop Saw and Miter Saw the Same?
These two saws are often confused with one another, and while they do have a ton of similarities, there are important things that distinguish them from each other as well. Here are some of them.
In general, chop saws are bigger than miter saws. Standard chop saws often use blades that are no smaller than fourteen inches, while miter saw blades range from eight to twelve inches. Because of this, chop saws are often more powerful than miter saws.
Both chop saws and miter saws are used to cut raw materials like glass, tile, PVC, and more. However, chop saws are used to cut straight, while miter saws are mostly used to create angled cuts. A chop saw is considered more of a power tool, while the miter saw is more often used as a finessing tool.
It’s not uncommon for builders, professional or not, to use different tools and equipment for the different materials they’re using for their projects. Chop saws, for example, are often used to cut larger pieces of materials like metal sheets, PVC pipes, concrete slabs, wood slabs, and more. On the other hand, Miter saws are often reserved for creating detailed cuts on smaller areas like trim and molding.
What Should You Look for When Choosing the Best Chop Saw?
Choosing the best chop saw can be challenging. They’re not exactly cheap, so you’ll want to get something that you won’t regret spending your money on. Here are some things that you need to consider when buying a chop saw:
Different materials call for different blades. Most chop saws will either have a diamond abrasive blade or a carbide-tipped blade. Carbide-tipped blades are used mostly for harder materials like stainless steel and other metals. Diamond abrasive blades are more suitable for softer materials like soft alloy metal.
If you intend to use your chop saw for minor DIY projects around your home, a lightweight one with a cutting parameter of at least 40mm would be an ideal choice. For heavier projects, you can opt to get one with a cutting parameter that ranges anywhere from 50mm to 65mm cutting parameter instead.
Your chop saw should be comfortable and easy to use, and one of the things that can affect that is the elevation of your saw’s base. A good chop saw should have a base that’s tall enough so that the blade doesn’t touch the ground when it’s pressed down while cutting materials.
Even the sharpest blade would be useless if your chop saw’s motor is weak. Your chop saw’s power depends largely on its motor’s strength, so this is vital to watch out for that when choosing your chop saw.
Branded products are usually pricier compared to their nameless or generic counterparts. However, buying from a good and reputable brand assures you that you’ll get the most value when it comes to quality, durability, and after-sale support. Branded products usually have warranties on them, so you don’t have to worry about your money goes to waste when the product doesn’t live up to its claim or malfunctions due to a manufacturing error.
Chop Saw Safety Guide
It’s important to stay safe when using machines such as the chop saw to keep yourself from any injury.
Always wear protective clothing and gear like a face shield and/or safety goggles and gloves when using a chop saw.
To prevent accidents, avoid wearing clothes and accessories that may get caught in the chop saw. Make sure to turn off the chop saw and unplug it after using it.
Inspect the chop saw before use, making sure that all parts are in good working condition. If you see anything that needs repair or replacement, do not use the chop saw until it has been repaired or replaced.
Secure all guards in their proper position before starting your chop saw. Ensure that everything is tight and secure so it doesn’t move while you’re cutting materials with your chop saw.
Never operate a chop saw free-handedly. All materials to be cut with your chop saw must be secured against the fence so that you don’t lose control of it or have your hands dangerously close to the blade.
Always wait for the blade to come to a complete stop before raising it or removing the material from the workplace.
A: Chop saw is a versatile tool that can cut through non-ferrous metals such as lumber, moulding, and aluminum as long as the workpiece doesn't exceed the saw's size restrictions. If you're working with materials that might be too wide for your chop saw, consider investing in a circular saw instead.
Q: What is the difference between a chop saw and a miter saw?
A: Chop saws and miter saws have many similarities. They are both tabletop saws equipped with a pivoting arm and a rotating blade. However, a miter saw offers more versatile cuts due to its ability to rotate and pivot in both directions. A chop saw, on the other hand, only cuts at a 90-degree angle.
Q: Can a chop saw cut metal?
A: Chop saws are heavy, powerful tools meant for cutting metal with extreme precision and ease. However, this feature makes them more expensive than regular power tools.
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