4 Alternatives When You Need to Use a Miter Saw

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray

I recently needed to use a miter saw for one of my DIY projects, and mine decided to go into early retirement. I didn’t want to go and buy a new one; if I could use one of the other saws, I had to help me cut what I needed to in a pinch. I decided to speak to a friend of mine who was a contractor and asked him what I could use instead of a miter saw?

When you need to make cuts that a miter saw makes but you don’t have one, you can use another saw as a table saw, circular saw, or hand saw with a miter box to make cuts like cross-cuts, bevel cuts, and miter cuts. Miter saws can’t make rip cuts, but the other saws can also make these cuts.

I had other power saws and hand saws that I could use, but I needed to determine which ones could make the same cuts as my miter saw did. My friend said he would show me the ins and outs of what other saws I could use instead of a miter saw. I wanted to share the helpful tips I discovered in this article.

What Can I Use Instead Of A Miter Saw?

If you don’t have a miter saw, you can use many other tools to make the same type of cuts that a miter saw is famed for making. Here are a few other tools you can use:

Using a Hand Saw and Miter Box

using a hacksaw instead of a miter saw

If you have a hand saw and a miter box, you won’t have any problem making miter cuts. Hand saws have a few advantages, like not needing a power source to work, and you don’t need to use the pre-set gauges. The downside to using a hand saw and a miter box is it takes more time, is less accurate, and is labor-intensive. 

A hand saw with a miter box is very affordable; you can buy both for around $10. It’s worth having a hand saw and miter box in your toolbox for smaller tasks, power outages, and when a power saw breaks. 

You place the material you need to cut in the miter box and use the pre-cut slits to guide the hand saw to cut at the correct angle.

Using A Table Saw

using a table saw instead of a miter saw

A table saw can be used to make many of the same cuts you would make with a miter saw. Table saws are more expensive and dangerous if you are a beginner. The safety concerns are because with a table saw, there are safety gauges that you need to remove if you want to make certain cuts that are standard with a miter saw.

Most table saws have a wheel at the controls that you use to move the table saw’s blade into the right position to make bevel cuts. You can tilt the blade to different degrees to make varied angled cuts. Bevel cuts are only as accurate as the alignment on the saw, so you need to ensure the alignment is right by making a few test cuts and adjusting the alignment as needed. 

You can also use the miter gauge that comes with the table saw. The gauge helps tilt the blade at an angle to create a miter cut. You can also use a miter fence; it helps you use the table saw to make miter cuts with better accuracy.

Using A Circular Saw

using a circular saw instead of a miter saw

If you don’t have a miter saw on hand, you can use a circular saw to make some of the same cuts. Circular saws can make bevel cuts and repetitive cross-cuts. Many beginner woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts buy a circular saw before buying other power saws

Circular saws are more budget-friendly than a table and miter saw and can make most of the same cuts with the help of a few add ons. A circular saw has no pre-sets, which means you need to set the machine to the right angle manually. 

A circular saw has a learning curve, but it makes a great addition to your toolbox when you need to make cuts a miter saw is usually used for. Beginners will find a circular saw can be less accurate, but you can buy a stand or adapter to help you make miter cuts easier.

Using A Jigsaw 

using a jigsaw instead of a miter saw

When you have no other saw available, you can use a jigsaw. It’s no one’s favorite power saw to use as a replacement for a miter saw. It’s a last-ditch option, but you can adjust the jigsaw footplate to make cross-cuts and bevel cuts. 

Jigsaws are notoriously slow, so if you need a faster option, a jigsaw will only cause frustration. Most woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts use a jigsaw to cut out shapes. When making cross-cuts, a jigsaw is hard to keep in place, but you can use a clamp to keep the material in place while cutting for a straighter cut.

What Kind Of Cuts Does A Miter Saw Make?

Miter saws are made specifically to make cross-cuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts, most angled cuts, or any 45-degrees to 90 degrees cuts. The only cut a miter saw can’t make is a rip cut; rip cuts are cut vertically as the saw’s diameter only allows you to place the material across the cutting path, not along it.

what kind of cuts does a miter saw make

The cuts that a miter saw alternative should make are:

Miter Cut/Angled Cuts

Miter or angled cuts are used to make frames or install crown moldings. These cuts are made at angles of around 45-degrees. These cuts are made using the pre-set gauges situated at the foot of the machine.

Bevel Cut

A bevel cut is made at an angle where the top of the wood is not at 90-degrees(perpendicular) to the edges of the wood. These cuts are great for angled edges for countertops or tables to prevent sharp edges.


A regular cross-cut is cutting the material straight across in various lengths or as you need. There are other saws that can easily make cross-cuts.


Replacing a miter saw or buying it for the first time is expensive. You can use other saws to make the same cuts as a miter saw, such as a table saw or a circular saw. Both saws can make the same cuts as a miter saw, and the circular saw is more versatile than a table saw in this case. 

A jigsaw should be a last resort as it’s very difficult to use for making the same cuts as a miter saw, but it will do in a pinch. Ensure to clamp the material down when you make cross-cuts, or the cut will be skewed.

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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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