The miter saw is considered one of the most important tools in any woodworking shop. Of course, one of the most important components on a miter is the blade. The best miter saw blades can have a major impact on the quality of cuts, the finished project, and how easy or difficult your job will be. Most miters will come with a stock blade, which can offer a decent performance, but if you want to upgrade, or use a specialty type blade, then my guide on the top blades will help to point you in the right direction by showing you the other options out there, what to look for in a blade that’s durable, powerful, and designed to last, and how to choose the right blade based on application.
Each type of miter blade can serve a specific purpose. There are many factors to take into consideration, especially if you find yourself taking on a wide variety of project types and you work with several different kinds of materials, often. If you’re a beginner or you only take on small DIY wood projects, you may be able to get by with just a top of the line general purpose blade, since they can be so versatile and you won’t waste time changing out different types of specialty blades, which can be a hassle, even for the experienced woodworker.
Finding the toughest blades on the market wasn’t easy, but I tested out several different makes and models, narrowing it down to the leading six blades, each of which is designed to make short work of any type of lumber. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists the products on my best-of list, the standout features they offer, and other important specs that will help you determine which blade is right for you, based on application and budget.
Miter Saw Blades Comparison Chart
|DEWALT Miter Saw Blade||10-Inch||Genral Purpose||60|
|A.G.E. Series||12-Inch||Genral Purpose||100|
Top Crosscutting Blades
Below you’ll find the best choices for blades that are specifically designed for crosscutting.
Makita A-93681 Micro Polished Miter Saw Blade
This blade is specifically designed for fine crosscutting. It features micro-grain carbide teeth that have been honed with up to six hundred grit, giving the blade a beautiful mirrored finish. The expertly hand tensioned steel and fully hardened saw plates are designed to provide true cuts, providing, a cleaner, smoother finish. The ultra-thin kerf comes in at .091 inches with a five-degree hook angle and a plate thickness of .071 inches.
- Carbide teeth
- Eighty-tooth count
- Mirrored finish
- Designed for fine crosscutting
- Not designed to handle laminate or melamine
This blade is built tough, durable, cuts with impressive precision and speed, and offers a beautifully smooth, clean cut, the type any woodworker, DIYer, or beginner is looking for. While the blade is limited in terms of what it can handle as far as cuts and material type, this is a great buy if you’re looking for a blade that can handle fine crosscuts.
General Purpose Blades
These products are specifically designed as general purpose, so they’re more versatile than specialty blades, however, they do have their limitations.
Neiko 10768A Carbide Tipped Miter Saw Blade
This carbide-tipped blade offers excellent resistance to abrasions and can easily handle high heat, for smoother, cleaner cuts. This is an eighty-tooth crosscutting blade that’s designed for cutting across the grain. The blade is designed to retain an edge for a longer period of time, so it’s relatively low maintenance and ideal for woodworkers.
- Eighty tooth design
- Carbide tipped
- Handles heat well
- Designed for crosscutting
- Cannot handle tougher materials such as metal
This blade is designed to retain a sharp edge longer, so you won’t find yourself having to resharpen this blade very often. It provides smoother crosscuts and offers max blade RPM of five thousand, which is pretty impressive.
Dewalt Miter Saw Blade
This popular general purpose blade by Dewalt is versatile and built tough. The tungsten carbide is designed to keep the blade sharper, longer, which is a huge selling point for beginners and pros alike. The thinner kerf provides smoother, faster cutting action and features an arbor size of 5/8 of an inch. The plate is computer balanced, which helps to reduce vibration. This will provide a better finish and improved accuracy.
- Durable tungsten carbide is designed to hold an edge longer
- Low price
- Can be used for both slide miters and basic miter saws
- Cannot handle melamine or plastic
This low-priced, durable and versatile miter saw blade can handle a variety of materials, although it can struggle when it comes to melamine or plastics, in which case, you’re better off with purchasing a specialty blade. However, if you often work with a variety of material types, then this blade is a great investment and one that’s low-maintenance and beginner-friendly.
A.G.E. Series – Heavy Miter
This blade is pro-quality and can be used by DIYers, woodworkers, and contractors. The blade features laser cut expansion slots, which allows the blade to contract and expand from heat, in order to prevent warping. The extra-large carbide tips allow you to resharpen regularly, without fear of wearing out or damaging the blade. This is a general purpose blade, but it’s definitely tough enough to handle a variety of materials including metals, plastic, and melamine.
- Durable carbide tips
- Can handle regular resharpening
- Laser cut expansion slots
This blade may be pricey, but considering how versatile it is, it’s a worthy investment. The blade’s durability and the fact that it can expand in response to heat to prevent warping shows me this is a blade that’s built tough and designed to last.
These blades designed for ripping are extra-tough, durable, and are considered one of the most popular specialty blades on the market.
Freud D12100X 100 Tooth Diablo Ultra Fine Circular Saw Blade
This ripping specialty blade features an axial shear face grind that will allow you to cleanly cut through even the toughest wood while offering a high-quality finish. The ultra-thin kerf is designed for effortless and fast cuts, so you can get all your ripping work done in the fraction of the time you could if you were using a basic general purpose blade.
- Works for miter saws and circular saws
- Fast and efficient cuts
- Ultra-thin kerf
- Low price
- Cannot handle plastics
- Not recommended for metals
This ripping blade features an advanced laser-cut stabilizer vent that helps to reduce vibration and noise while preventing sideways movements. This results in cleaner, more precise cuts. If you find yourself ripping often, then you need a blade that’s more durable than a general purpose blade. This is a model that can deliver the type of performance and durability you need.
Bosch DCB1024 10 In. 24 Tooth Daredevil Table and Miter Saw Blade
This is a ten-inch ripping blade that’s equipped with a total of twenty-four teeth and offers triple sharp carbide teeth that are designed to cut smoothly through thicker wood. The speed coat finish is designed to reduce pitch buildup and friction, for effortless, fast cuts, even when you’re working with wet or treated lumber.
- Perfect for plywood, hardwood, and soft wood
- Triple sharp carbide teeth
- Durable speak coat finish
- Low price
- Cannot handle melamine
- Not recommended for plastic or metal
This tough ripping blade can be used for a wide range of wood types and is specifically designed to minimize friction. It’s so versatile it can even handle cutting through wet or treated lumber and both hard and soft wood. It’s not recommended for metal, plastic, or melamine, but if you rip often, then this blade will quickly become your go-to choice.
Miter Saw Blades Buyer’s Guide
The blades of a miter will come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each of which is designed to serve a different purpose.
Typically, this style of saw requires a rotating blade, so you’ll be shopping for a circular blade. There are many different types to choose from based on application, so, choosing the right type of blade will be dependent on how you plan to use it, which is why it’s crucial that you learn what type of material each style of blade is designed for and how choosing the correct blade can have a major impact on the quality of the cut and your work in general.
Types of Miter Saw Blades
If you’re a beginner, blade specs may not seem very important, or you may not know how they can impact your work, but using the right blade will make a huge difference in terms of cutting ease, speed, and the final results. In order to cut different types of materials, you’ll need to use different types of miter saw blades. Below is an extensive list of the options available.
These are the stock blades that come with all miter saws. Of course, you can also choose to upgrade the general purpose blade and purchase a more durable blade that can handle heavy-duty use. These blades are used to make all types of cuts including slicing through plywood and other types of lumber. But it does have it’s limitations. If you find that you need to cut through a particular type of material often, such as melamine, then it’s definitely worth it to buy a blade that’s specifically designed for that particular material.
If you’re trying to minimize feed resistance that’s usually associated with ripping lumber, then a rip blade is the best option. In most cases, these blades will measure in at ten-inches and feature a total of twenty-four teeth.
These blades are often used to cut across wood grains. This is usually a difficult job for other blades, however, when you use this type of blade on your miter, you’ll find that it provides the cleanest and smoothest cut through the grains.
Laminate or Plywood Blades
Plywood can be difficult to cut through, without causing chips or cracks in the veneer on the backside of the wood. Additionally, plastic laminates can also be difficult to cut through since the plastic veneer is so thin and can easily crack or chip. Because of this, blades that are designed for cutting this type of material usually come with a triple-chip design with plenty of teeth and a hook angle that comes in at ten-degrees. This makes the blade perfect for cutting laminate and plywood without chipping or cracks.
Melamine is a type of wood that’s very challenging to cut through and it’s often used to make cabinets. Both sides of this type of wood have a coating, so slicing through it is very difficult, especially considering that the material is very prone to chipping. This is why blades that are designed for melamine have a large number of teeth, which are designed to promote smooth, clean cuts.
With a miter, you can cut more materials than just wood. You can also cut different types of non-ferrous materials that are often used in construction projects. This includes aluminum, copper, and brass. Blades that are designed for this job often have special characteristics that allow them to slice through harder materials, such as metal.
Just like the name suggests, this type of blade is used to slice through steel of any form or shape including channel steel sections, rebar, steel pipes, rods, and studs. This type of blade is often made out of carbide grade steel. This type of steel is very resistant to breaking and damage and can last significantly longer than a basic steel blade.
Each model of miter saw will require a specific blade size that it’s compatible with. If you use the wrong size of blade then it’s definitely going to result in ongoing problems with cutting quality and the saw’s performance in general.
Common blade sizes include:
- 5 inches
- 5 inches
- 10 inches
- 12 inches
When you use the wrong blade size it will have a negative impact on the saw’s cutting range and can prevent the blade from fitting in the slot appropriately.
Each type of blade will come with a determined number of teeth. The number of teeth that a blade has is important since this is a factor that will determine a cut’s effectiveness. Cleaner and smoother cuts will require a blade with a higher tooth count. Keep in mind, the larger the blade is, the higher the teeth count will be. As an example, a twelve-inch blade would need approximately eighty to one hundred teeth, in order to provide a clean, smooth finish. Blades that are eight and a half inches in diameter will only require around sixty teeth total.
When to Change the Blade of Your Miter Saw
These blades must be properly maintained in order for them to last longer and continue to provide that type of powerful, precise cutting action that you need them to. Maintaining your blades properly will save you big in the end, since you won’t have to replace the blades often.
When you use a blade often, it tends to become dull or can become caked with material both of which will cause a dip in the saw’s performance in terms of cutting speed and efficiency. Pitch on a blade is often characterized as a type of coating that’s due to the previous material that you used the saw for. In order to remove pitch, you’ll need to use a cleaning solution that’s specifically designed for miter saw blades.
Some blades have teeth that are made out of carbide, which is an expensive material, so proper maintenance must be done regularly in order to keep the blade in good working order. The carbide teeth of the blade are very brittle and are prone to breaking and chipping when it comes into contact with certain types of metals or if it’s dropped. Make sure you’re extra careful when handling this type of blade, especially during installation and when storing the saw. Ensure that the blade doesn’t come in contact with any other tools when stored.
Blades should always be kept sharp, otherwise, you’ll find yourself struggling to cut through most types of materials. You’ll know when the blade needs to be sharpened once you notice a dip in the quality of the cuts and feel an increase in feed resistance. If you don’t know how to sharpen a saw blade, then take it to a professional.
If you’ve tried resharpening the blade, but you’ve still noticed a dip in performance, then it’s time to replace it.
How to Change a Miter Saw Blade
To change the blade, you’ll start by removing the spindle cover, then you’ll rotate the blade guard to its top position. Next, take the front screw off the spindle cover, allowing the cover to pivot onto the back screw, before dropping away. Take the blade off, then press the spindle lock, to secure it in place. Now you’re ready to replace the blade. Be sure to use the direction arrows that are printed directly on the blade in order to install it correctly. Once the blade is on you’ll replace the bolt and washer, press the spindle lock, then tighten the bolt using a wrench. The last step is replacing the spindle cover screw and lowering the blade guard.
To learn more about miter saw use, click here to read my article on miter saw tips and tricks.
If you’re not sure if you need to upgrade a stock blade or purchase a specialty blade, ask yourself what type of cuts you plan to make, how often you use a specific type of material, do you often make crosscuts? Do you find yourself ripping lumber often? Are you looking for a saw that can provide smoother cuts when you’re working with delicate materials? A general purpose can handle a wide range of materials, but if you’re working with one type of material more than any other, or you often make the same type of cuts, then you’ll definitely benefit from using a specialty blade. Having a variety of blades to choose from in your workshop can help speed along the progress of any project, can allow you to get the job done in a fraction of the time, and can provide the type of pro-quality results you’re striving for.
The term gullet refers to the amount of space that’s in front of every tooth. It’s designed to allow for chip removal. If you’re commonly ripping material, then the chip sizer will be bigger and the feed rate will be much faster. Because of this, the gullet will need to be deep enough to handle more material. With a crosscutting blade, there are fewer teeth and the chips are smaller, so the gullet will be significantly smaller. On a crosscutting blade, the size is much smaller in order to inhibit a faster feed rate, which can be an issue especially on sliding miter saws and radial arms. With a combination blade, the gullets are designed to handle both crosscutting and ripping. The larger gullets between the teeth are designed to help clear a higher level of material that’s typically generated with ripping.
The shape of the teeth and how they’re grouped together will also have an impact on how the blade cuts. The teeth configuration on a blade has a lot to do with whether the blade will be a good fit for laminates, crosscutting, or ripping.
The flat top tooth style is found on blades that are designed for ripping soft and hardwoods. Since the wood is not likely to splinter or chip when it’s being cut with the grain, blades that are designed for ripping can do so efficiently and quickly. The flat tooth design is more efficient for raking and cutting material out of the cut.
Alternate Top Bevel
With this style, the blade teeth will alternate between the left and right-hand bevel. This type of design results in a smoother cut when you crosscut veneered plywood and natural wood. The alternating teeth are designed to form an edge that’s knife-life on each side of the blade, which results in a much cleaner cut compared to the flat tooth design.
This type of tooth design is perfect for ripping and crosscutting. The teeth are placed in groups of five with one FT tooth and four ATB teeth, complete with a large gullet between the groups.
The triple chip design does an excellent job of cutting harder materials including plastics, MDF, and laminates. The teeth alternate between a higher trapeze tooth and a flat raking tooth. This configuration is commonly used for non-ferrous blades.
High Alternative Top Bevel
This design is used for extra fine crosscuts and works to cut into materials that are prone to chipping and melamine. The higher bevel angle helps to increase knife-cutting action on the blade’s edge.
This type of tooth configuration is also referred to as hook angle and it has an impressive effect on a blade’s cutting performance. Blades with this type of configuration will yield an impressively fast feed rate and a more aggressive cut. A negative or low hook angle slows the feed rate and prevents the blade from attempting to climb the material it’s cutting. Blades designed for ripping thick lumber often have a higher hook angle, whether a faster, more aggressive cut is definitely needed. sliding compound miter saws require a blade that has a negative hook angle or a very low hook angle in order to prevent a feed rate that’s overly high since this will prevent the blade from climbing the material.
On most high-quality blades, the teeth will have thick, carbide tips that have been brazed or fused to the steel blade plate. How long the blade is able to remain sharp, how often it needs to be resharpened, and how cleanly the blade cuts, is all dependent on the cutting tip quality. On top of the line blades, the carbide is specifically formulated for the blade’s application. Because of this, a tri-metal brazing process is often used in order to attach the blade plate to the carbide cutters. With this process, a layer of copper alloy is placed between layers of silver alloy. This will provide impact resistance and extra flexibility. If you’re looking for top-quality teeth, then look for a model that has a C3 grade micro-grade teeth. These teeth are tough and thick enough to tolerate ongoing resharpening, without breaking or chipping.
Finding the best miter saw blades can be a challenge, especially if you take on a variety of different projects. When you’re shopping for a new blade, pay attention to the teeth design, type, and configuration, blade diameter, blade type, and even the brand. Take into consideration the type of material you work with the most. If you plan on cutting several different types of materials and don’t want to spend the time it takes to change out one specialty blade for another, then finding a high-quality general purpose blade may be your best bet.
But for the serious woodworker, having a wide selection of specialty blades on hand to choose from will allow them to achieve the type of pro-quality results they need. This guide is designed to help you choose the right blade, based on application, material type, and your general cutting needs. The included product recommendations feature some of the most versatile and durable blades on the market, so you should have no trouble finding a blade that’s the perfect fit.