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whataboutj 12-01-2011 08:39 PM

10" table saw or compound mitre saw - which would you choose?
Which would you choose if you could only have one - a 10" table saw or a 10" compound mitre saw?

Here's the situation:
I am a home owner/DIY'r and I do a fair amount of work around my house. I have a need for either a table saw or mitre saw a couple times a year. A couple good examples are:
1. This past summer when an old section of our fence fell in a wind storm (broke at the base of the posts) and I needed to cut up the wood to get rid of it. I had to use my battery powered circular saw and my recip saw to get it all cut up. It was a major P.I.T.A. If I had either a table saw or a mitre saw I could have done the work a lot faster.
2. I needed to rip a piece of plywood to convertmy kids train table into a lego table - again used my cirular saw which worked but was annoying

Over Black Friday Lowes had Skil 10" table and 10" compound mitre saws on sale for $69.99 so I picked up both (I also used a 10% off coupon so I got them at a great price IMO). I am not sure I really need both and am trying to decide which one to return - or keep both.

I would add that I have a project to build lockers for our entryway by the garage which I know the table saw will be very helpful to have. I also will need to cut up at least one more section of wood fence that I know will be crapped out after this winter

So what would you choose if you could only have one of the two types of saws? Should I really keep both saws given the price?

Thanks for the input

titanoman 12-01-2011 08:50 PM

I wouldn't be able to return either one of them once I had them at home. Who made the mitre saw? It's not radial-arm, is it. If I absolutely had to keep only one, it would be the chop-saw. You can do a lot of ripping with a 77.

joecaption 12-01-2011 08:51 PM

For one I never ever would have bought a Skil brand anything. But that's not what your asking.
Two totaly differant tools with very differant uses.
By far I use my compound miters saws more then the table saws.
You could build a whole house with a ciruler saw and a compound mitre saw and never once need a table saw.
By buying a 10 compound saw instead of a 12" your very limited on what you can do with it. But trim, pickets for fences, 4 X 4's, deck boards (but not anything wider then a 2 X 6 because your saws to small)
A small table saw (I own two contractor sized table saws) is fine but no fun trying to rip plywood by yourself on that small a saw, it will keep moving or try to tip.
Your going to have to rip cut it with the ciruler saw to make it small enough to handle.

DexterII 12-02-2011 07:10 AM

I have all of the above mentioned tools, but, as far as the first two projects that you mentioned, I'm not sure that I wouldn't have done them the same way that you did. For the fence posts, rather than hauling the old rotted wood all the way into the shop, I probably would have pulled out a cord, or, if it was more than say 20' from the shop, would have grabbed my cordlless, and cut them with a circular saw. For the plywood, depends on how big it was. Yes, I most likely would have cut it on my table saw, but I have extensions, outfeed stands, etc. that I can't imagine are on a $69 table saw, so probably would have cut them with a circular saw as well. Personally, I have always considered a table saw the center piece of a shop, but with a few clamps and a straightedge, a circular saw can do an awful lot of functions. As for miter saws, I hear a lot of guys today who "can't get by without one", and that is true in a lot of cases, particularly for guys who do a lot of finish work, but quite a few of us here remember when powered miter saws were virtually non-existant, or at least not justifiably affordable, and we got by quite well with a miter saw and back saw. In fact, I still carry the latter sometimes for smaller jobs, just to save lugging around the weight. As for your lockers, the table saw would most likely be the most useful, but if your question is based on practical application, counting dollars, etc., you need to seriously consider the types of projects that you have in mind, and how much you would use the miter saw, because you may decide that there are tools outside of this particular conversation, such as a router, jig saw, sander, or whatever, that may be even more important as far as your particular wants and needs. Just my 2 cents worth.

Ironlight 12-02-2011 07:28 AM

Mitre saw is more useful for housebuilding, *in general*.

Table saw is more useful for cabinetry and woodworking, *in general".

If you are cutting a lot of dimensional lumber for building projects, keep the mitre. If you're ripping down dimensional lumber to build furniture, keep the table.

In my mind, a table saw can do everything a mitre saw can do, sometimes with some effort and planning, but the reverse is not true. That said, a mitre saw and circular saw gets you @ 90% of what a table saw can do.

That said, table saws are hugely convenient. It's there, you don't need to set it up or make a jig or whatever, you just go and get it done.

ratherbefishing 12-02-2011 08:24 AM

I use my table saw more than my miter saw. Much more versatile, IMO. If you frequently work with trim or boards longer than 4' or so, the the miter saw wins. But, for the two examples you gave, a circular saw or recip would be my first choice. Get a speed square and a 4' straight edge for the circular saw. Pick up some GOOD blades for the recip.

Since they are already home, unless you'll miss a meal, keep 'em both. ;^)

Blondesense 12-02-2011 10:26 AM

I have both, and use both.
If I just have to do one or two cuts for a small project I generally pull out the table saw rather than mitre saw simply because in my very cramped garage-slash-workshop it is a lot easier to get to and set up.
Just something to think about if you have limited space.

Other than that, I agree with 'Fishing and the others.


Originally Posted by ratherbefishing (Post 783884)
Since they are already home, unless you'll miss a meal, keep 'em both. ;^)

forresth 12-02-2011 09:04 PM

I wouldn't return a purchase that worked as I expected. I'd consider doing that a form of dishonesty.

Blondesense 12-03-2011 12:50 AM


Originally Posted by forresth (Post 784440)
I wouldn't return a purchase that worked as I expected. I'd consider doing that a form of dishonesty.

From re-reading the first post it sounds as if it is a never-been-out-of-the box, new item, with receipt. I don't see anything unethical about returning it. And I work retail.

If he used it and then boxed it back up, or is trying somehow to get more money than he paid for it, then I'd agree.

Heck, it would make an awesome Christmas gift. Any other DIYers on your list, Whataboutj?

Tizzer 12-03-2011 03:13 PM

I'd return the table saw and use some of that money towards a good blade for the miter box.
Or as mentioned, use it for a Christmas gift.

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