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Sliding vs Non-Sliding Miter Saw – Which is Best for Your Needs?

Sliding vs Non-Sliding Miter Saw

Sliding vs Non-Sliding Miter Saw

At this point, you have already decided that you need a miter saw. Now comes the more difficult task of choosing the features that your miter saw has. Two types of miter saws are the sliding and the non-sliding miter saw. Each saw is very functional and able to complete various projects; however, there are some significant differences. In this guide, we will help you see what the difference is between a sliding and a non-sliding miter saw. We will also include a few tips to help you choose one that will work best for you.

tool divider Non-Sliding Miter Saw Overview

Compound saw The non-sliding miter saw will be your best friend if you’ve a large flooring or trim project in front of you. Non-sliding miter saws are capable of making cuts at a variety of angles. They are easy to set up, easy to move around, and durable.

Basic Functions

The primary function of a non-sliding miter saw is to cut wood at an angle or straight. The non-sliding miter saw does best with wood that is not very wide. If you try to cut a wide piece, you have to cut part of it, flip it, and cut the other part. Since a non-sliding miter saw is just lifted up and down over a piece of material, you’re limited to the width of your cut.

Types of Cuts

Non-sliding miter saws do a great job cutting crosscuts, angles, bevels, and compound cuts. If you have tricky angles to cut, the non-sliding saw does a great job of getting this done quickly and efficiently. Non-sliding miter saws are easy to set, and you can keep the angles set to make work more efficient.

four types of miter saw cuts


Your miter saw blade with match the size of your non-sliding miter saw. You can purchase different blades for cutting metal.

Non-Sliding Miter Safety

As with any saw, it is imperative to follow the proper safety protocol while operating. You should always wear safety glasses when working with a non-sliding miter saw. Overall, a non-sliding is not a very dangerous saw as long as you are always aware of the saw and the blade.

Always ensure your hands and fingers are out of the way when pulling the blade down for a cut. Many non-sliding miter saws also have automatic safety shut-offs and lights for better visibility.


Non-Sliding miter saws will vary considerably in price. Most cost a few hundred dollars. The higher quality saws with more features cost more.
Non-Sliding Miter Saw Pros
  • Powerful
  • Quick
  • Easy to use
  • Great for extreme angles
Non-Sliding Miter Saw Cons
  • 6″ cutting clearance

Sliding Saw Overview

DEWALT DWS715 12-Inch Miter Saw

A sliding miter saw is very similar, except that you can pull it towards you instead of just pulling the blade down. So, the sliding miter saw can cut a much wider board than a non-sliding miter saw can.

You will not have to flip the board and cut the other side as you would with the non-sliding. If you frequently cut larger boards, you will enjoy the sliding miter saw.

Basic Functions

The sliding miter saw can do all the same cuts as the non-sliding saw. The fact that it can slide does make it a little easier to work with.

Types of Cuts

The only time that a sliding miter saw will struggle is with complex angles. Sometimes, the extreme angles will be restricted when working with a sliding miter saw.


The blades for your sliding miter saw have to match the blade size of the saw you have. You can get different blade types to match the material you are cutting.

collection of saw blades

Sliding Miter Safety

Sliding miter saws are not very dangerous, but they are more dangerous than non-sliding miter saws. Anytime you add more moving parts and a different way that a blade can travel, you open yourself up to potential injuries. There are safety features built into the sliding miter saw that help, but the saw is designed for a person who has experience with using a saw.


No question that sliding miter saws are more expensive than non-sliding miter saws. The ability to cut further into a piece of wood and the sliding mechanism drives their price up quite a bit. Most sliding miter saws will be more than $450.
Sliding Miter Saw Pros
  • Extended reach
  • Clean, precise cuts
  • Can accommodate large boards
Sliding Miter Saw Cons
  • Expensive
  • Complicated to readjust
  • Not good for extreme angles

Which Saw is Right for Your Needs?

Now that you understand the difference between the sliding and non-sliding miter you have the difficult task of deciding which one is a better fit for you. We have broken down a few things you should consider to help you make the right choice.

choosing the right saw blade

Size of Wood

If you are cutting 12-inch boards, you will be doing a lot of flipping if your saw is a non-sliding saw. Working with 2 to 4-inch boards, you may enjoy the simplicity of the standard miter saw. Consider how often you will need to cut through wider strips of wood. If you only occasionally need this feature, you can use the non-sliding miter saw.

single bevel vs double bevel miter saw

Size of the Saw

The sliding miter saw is bigger and heavier than the non-sliding miter saw. As you can imagine, it has quite a few more parts and a broad base. You can move a sliding miter saw around a job site if necessary, but it is not ideal. If you are looking for a saw that will stay in your shop, the size and portability may not matter as much.

sliding miter saw Angle of Cut

A sliding miter saw is not capable of cutting at extreme angles. Since the sliding miter saw has extra rails, it will block you from making this type of cut. Think about the angles you will be cutting before you buy.

If you have a lot of varying or extreme angles, you should go with the non-sliding miter saw since it is easier to set the angle and stick with it throughout your project.

The sliding saw can extend its reach to 12 or even 16 inches, more than twice the width of a non-slider. If you’re routinely working with boards that wide, you will thank yourself daily for buying the sliding miter saw. Since you’re only cutting once, all your cuts will be cleaner and more precise.

tool divider


It’s hard to say that a sliding saw is better than a non-sliding one. The sliding saw has additional features that make it better suited for specific projects. If your budget restricts you to the non-sliding miter saw, don’t feel as though you are getting a bad saw. Both the non-sliding and sliding miters saws are essential tools for any woodworker or builder.

So why does anyone use a sliding style? Nowadays, many higher-end homes include massive crown moldings, and some historical renovations require oversized baseboards. These boards are over 6 inches wide and sometimes as wide as 12 inches. You can cut them on a non-sliding saw, but you will have to cut them twice. Doing this occasionally isn’t very time-consuming, but if you cut wide boards frequently, you’ll want a sliding saw.

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