In the world of tools a saw that can sit on a workbench and has a handle to pull down for cutting, doesn't make it a universal saw type. Did you know that chop saw and miter saw are not synonymous? That's right! Each fills their own industry needs and cuts very different materials.
The Chop Saw
This tool, also known as a cut-off saw, was designed specifically for cutting metal. During its days of origin, professionals didn't have much faith in a saw's ability to cut through metal, but with a specific rotational speed and a uniquely designed blade, eventually, the chop saw became a metal industry standard for cutting. The chop saw is designed to cut straight lines and only moves up and down from its fixed position on the saw stand. When looking to cut at an angle, the fence that is fixed to the saw's base is turned to determine the angle of the cut.
The Miter Saw
A miter saw, found often in woodworking is quite a versatile tool. Much like the name implies, this type of saw can create a miter - in many cases, these saws are dual bevel compound miter saws, which allows them to make many different adjustments to create combination cuts to the material. For example, you can tilt the saw leaning it both left and right creating an angled cut to the cut profile. You can also turn the saw, rotating it left or right away from the 90-degree starting point creating different cutting angles. And when you make adjustments to both the tilt and the rotation of the saw you are able to make a compound cut that is angled in multiple directions.
Though this type of saw is often found in woodworking, the ability to change the blade makes it useful for other materials as well. You can cut things like foam board, PVC, and even non-ferrous metals.
Both the miter saw and the chop saw have a similar design, in their abilities to be lowered to the material being cut, which allows the user a great amount of control. They both also allow for angled cuts, though the setup for creating an angle is done differently with each saw. Each saw serves a great purpose in their intended industry and though you may see both in a workshop, they will each have their own job to do.
Now, what was the difference between those other things?