Miter Saw Vs. Hand Saw with Miter Box (What Should You Choose?)

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray

Whenever you are renovating a room, making something, or have a DIY project in mind, you need to ensure that you have the proper tools to get the job done correctly. My friend wanted to redo his kitchen cabinets but didn’t want to buy new tools. So he asked me if a hand saw is enough for the job or if he needs to get a miter saw.

Miter saws are power saws that make cross-cuts, bevel cuts, and miter cuts. These cuts are difficult to make and require a saw that cust with precision. A hand saw can make these cuts with the help of a miter box to hold the saw and wood in place at the right angle.

I know that using the correct type of saw is essential to get the cuts I need and get straight and precise cuts. That is where the big question of miter saw vs. hand saw comes in. After advising my friend, I decided to share my experiences about which saw to use for different applications in this post.

My Recommendation

Depending on what kind of project you’re working on, if you are a beginner and want to save money, you might want to try using a hand saw with a box to make the complex curves and 90 or 45 degrees angles.

If you are more experienced and are working on a bigger project or need to save time, then using a miter saw will work best for you.

In either case, as long as you can make the cuts you need to get your project finished with clean straight cuts, you should be fine.

Miter Saw Vs. Hand Saw

Long ago, when I started taking on more DIY projects at home, I wanted to get the best saws I could to get straight and accurate cuts, only to find that to do that, I might need more than one kind of saw. That led me to consider the two types of saws that could make most of the cuts I would need; a miter saw, and a hand saw. 

Miter Saw Specifications And Uses

using miter saw job site

A miter saw is a saw that specializes in making difficult cuts like miter cuts, bevel cuts, and cross-cuts. These cuts can only be made by saws designed for specialty cuts. A miter saw has gauges on the foot-end used for miter cuts. A miter saw comes with pre-set angles to make these cuts easier and more precise. 

The standard angles that a miter saw has as pre-sets are 45 and 90 degrees cuts. Miter cuts are perfect for cutting custom corners, trim, and frames. 

A miter saw is a big bulky power saw that remains stationary, and you bring the wood or other material that needs to be cut to the saw. Miter saws are not made to be portable and light. 

Hand Saw Specifications And Uses

using hand saw with miter box

Hand saws are manual saws that come standard with one type of blade attached to the handle. Unlike power saws, you will need to have different hand saws with different blade types to get all the same types of cuts you can make with a power saw. 

Hand saws work well if you only have a small project or you need to work in a tight space that can’t accommodate bigger power saws. There are different types of handsaws for different uses:

  • Standard Hand Saw: The standard hand saw has a wooden handle at the back of the blade. This saw is used to cut 2 x 4’s and make standard cuts.
  • Hack Saw: A hack saw is a hand saw with a metal c-frame handle. It uses a thin blade with more teeth than a standard hand saw and is used to cut plastic and metal sheets without ripping them apart.
  • Chop saw: A chop saw has a c-frame but is smaller as it is used for precision work. This saw has a thin tensioned blade with lots of teeth to make more accurate cuts. Artists use it because it is so thin they can thread it through a drilled hole to clean its sides. It comes with interchangeable blades for wood and metal.

The one thing that helps you make the best possible cuts using a hand saw is buying a box. This box has the pre-set cut slots to put the material you need to cut at the marked angle, place the saw in the slot, and cut the angle. 

Depending on the width of the material you are cutting, you might need to secure the material with clamps to keep it still while you cut. Using a hand saw is easy, and with a box, you can make almost any cut. The downside to using a hand saw is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Differences Between A Miter Saw And Hand Saw

making precise cut with miter saw

When you think about the differences between a hand saw and a miter saw, the most obvious difference would be one is manual and the other is a power saw and works with electricity; there are other differences to look at between these two saws like:

The Blades

The blades on a miter saw and hand saw are different as you need to change blades with a hand saw to make specific cuts but with a miter saw, you can buy combination blades that you don’t need to change, saving you time and effort.

The Power Needs And Mobility

While a hand saw has is excellent to use on-site when there aren’t lots of cutting to do because you don’t need electricity to use it. A miter saw needs a power source to work. Hand saws can also get into tight places that a miter saw won’t be able to do. 

A hand saw is very mobile and can be used on-site in places with no power or generator. A miter saw is a bulky stationary machine that only works with power or a generator.

The Accuracy

When it comes to accuracy, a hand saw can cut accurately with the help of a box, but the cuts won’t always look perfect. Miter saws are designed to make precise cuts at complex angles, and they are flawless. 

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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