Once you have purchased a miter saw to fit your woodworking needs you will want to get the best miter saw blade for your new tool. Saw blades are not all the same, and the information below will help you determine what to look for. This is followed by reviews of several products, one or more of which may be right for you.
How To Choose The Best Miter Saw Blades
For most woodworking shops a steel blade will be used in the miter saw. There are blades made from different materials that are intended for ceramic, metal, or stone cutting. If you are overwhelmed by the selection of blades available, you can fall back to the manufacturer’s label that indicates what the blade is designed to cut through.
Steel blades will dull after limited use, so most products are designed with blade tips made from other materials. Carbide tipped chop saw blades will tend to last longer. Diamond tipped blades are found in professional settings and can handle wood as well as masonry work. Other advantages of tipped steel blades, like carbide teeth, is that they can be sharper and make straighter cuts.
Miter saw size
One of the first things you need to consider is the size of the blade that your chop saw will take. Your saw will have a size that it is marketed as, such as a 10-inch miter saw. That will help you determine the size of the blade that your saw needs.
You will find saw blades ranging in sizes from five to 12-inches. The more popular sizes of miter saws are the 8, 10, and 12-inches. You will find the greatest variety of blades in those ranges. A larger, 12-inch miter saw allows you to make a longer cut through your lumber. Although, for most hobby woodworking applications, a 10-inch miter saw will do just fine.
Another feature that manufacturers often list is the blade thickness. Thinner blades will usually cut faster, while thicker blades tend to last a bit longer.
With many products, the blade thickness is not listed, and the width of the cut made by the blade is described instead. This will be listed as the blade’s kerf and it indicates the width of material removed by the blade’s offset teeth. Fortunately, my grandfather was able to show me the differences here using the blades in his shop.
You will notice a wide selection of tooth count on blades, ranging from as little as 14 per inch up to 120 teeth per inch. The number of teeth on a blade will help you to determine the material to use it on as well as the type of cut you should make with it.
For a miter saw blade, you will want to go with a blade with approximately 80 teeth per inch. A higher tooth count here will make cleaner crosscuts. These cuts are also smaller, so the slower speed of the cut will not burn your wood.
Again, if you are in doubt, the manufacturer will usually indicate the type of cuts the blade is best used for.
Blade teeth designs also take into account the shape of the tooth for the best performance. Teeth are shaped to make good crosscuts, rip cuts, as well as combination blades that are decent at both.
For your miter saw, Alternative Top Bevel (ATB) teeth are best, as this pattern was made for crosscuts. Other tooth patterns may work, but they will leave rougher edges or might even slightly damage the wood.
Blades for different materials
You will also want to consider the materials you are working with when selecting a miter saw blade. The typical crosscut blade you will use on a 2 x 4 will usually chip plywood or plastic veneers on boards.
There are blades available with a hook-tooth design and angles on the teeth that help eliminate chipping on these materials. Most product lines will carry blades marked as “plywood” or “veneer” that are designed with these features.
A gullet on your saw blade is the space between the teeth. It is the rounded section cut into the plate and is used to help remove debris during a cut.
Miter saws will use blades designed for crosscuts, which means more teeth and smaller spaces between them. The gullets will be smaller on your preferred blades but there will be more of them across the blade in total.
One of the more frequent issues I have come across since I was a kid in my grandfather’s woodshop is blade wobble in circular blades. There are a variety of sources for this problem and it is something you will likely come across as you use your miter saw.
This issue can cause vibration in your saw. It can also make cuts rough and uneven. Finally, a wobbly blade could reduce the accuracy of your cuts.
Five Miter Saw Blades Worth Looking At
Now that you know the basics of what makes a good miter saw blade, let’s actually take a look at 5 blade models that make the cut.F
Makita A-93681 – Best 10-Inch Blade, 80 Tooth
Makita is known for its power tools and accessories. This 10-inch blade is designed with 80 teeth, a feature that should do well as you make crosscuts with your miter saw.
Each tooth has been micro-polished with 600 grit materials. That will help to create a smooth edge on the cuts that you make with this blade. It will also help to reduce the friction built up as the blade turns against your wood project, which should help to extend the life of your purchase here.
Freud D12100X – Best 12-Inch Blade, 100 Tooth
Diablo offers a great blade for fine cutting in the 12-inch range here. It will work well with wood composites as well as with most standard woods. 100 teeth give you a smooth cut while avoiding surface burns caused by a slow feed time.
Its larger size makes a great addition to most professional settings where clean cuts are needed on the first pass.
Freud LU85R010 Ultimate Cutoff Blade, 80 Teeth
This standard-design for a 10-inch miter saw should make adequate crosscuts for you. It should also provide plenty of gullet space between the 80 teeth along its edge, keeping material out of the way as the blade moves through the wood.
Ati-wobble technology should help keep your blade running smoothly once it is installed as well.
Diablo D1083X – Best For Trim And Hardwood, 80 Teeth
Imported from Italy, Diablo blades are well crafted and trusted on the market. That will add to your customer confidence from the moment that you buy the blade. All components have been laser cut and ground smooth for maximum performance during rotation.
Freud D1060X Fine Finish Saw Blade, 60 Tooth
This 10-inch blade from Diablo has 60 teeth, a lower count than other blades on this list. That will not prevent it from making fine cuts into softer woods or even molding that has a tendency to chip.
It comes at a lower price point than most Diablo products. That is rare with many import blades. This blade will also work well in your table saw when it is not installed in your miter saw.
The Clear Cut Winner
Each blade listed above has a chance to shine under particular circumstances. With that being said, I found that the Makita A-93681 10-inch 80 Tooth Micro-Polished Blade stands out as the best miter saw blade on the list. To start with, it is a 10-inch blade, which seems to be a bit more popular than the 12-inch size.
It provides you with 80 teeth for cutting. That is ideal for crosscuts without going into higher counts that may slow down a blade or burn the wood as you cut. Those teeth are also carbide tipped, which should give them a longer life than standard steel-tipped teeth would.
Something that really stood out for me was the sides of the blade. They are very smooth thanks to the clean up using 600-grit materials that leave behind a smoother surface. That equates to smoother cuts and less friction.
Finally, this offering comes at a lower price point than many Diablo products I have reviewed.