The blade you get with your miter saw is usually a pretty average old stock standard blade, and chances are you’ll get sick of it before long. So in this review we’ll show you what you need to consider when choosing your next blade.
When selecting the best miter saw blade, we recommend a 40-60T combination blade to most people. It’s an all-purpose blade that gets most jobs done well, with the exception of non-wood materials such as non-ferrous metals. For that, you’ll need to step up to a dedicated triple chip grind (TCG) blade.
But, for the most part, we’d say your general woodworker will be happy with a high quality combination blade and call it a day. That’s all you need for 90% of your jobs.
This can be a confusing decision to make, so we’ve provided some explanations of the best miter saw blades for a range of different purposes in this review. You can also scroll to the bottom to get an explanation of terms like TCG, ATB, etc. which can be a little confusing for beginners.
But to start off, we’ll show you our table of the best miter saw blades for different purposes.
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Best Miter Saw Blades – 10 and 12 Inch
|<h4style=”text-align: center; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;”>Purpose|
|1.||Diablo D1260X Combination Saw Blade||Medium Tooth Count ATBR||For Everyday Woodworking|
|2.||DEWALT DW3128 80-Tooth ATB Thin Kerf||High Tooth Count ATB||Fine Cuts and Smooth Finishes|
|3.||Freud D12100X 100 Tooth Diablo Ultra Fine Circular Saw Blade||High Tooth Count Hi-ATB||Soft Plywoods|
|4.||Freud LM72R012 Heavy-Duty Rip Blade||Lot Tooth Count FTG||Hardwoods|
|5.||Freud LU77M012 Non-Ferrous Metal Blade||High Tooth Count TCG||Non-Ferrous Metals and Plastics|
|6.||DEWALT DW3106P5 Combo Pack||1x High Tooth Count & 1x Low Tooth Count ATB||Crosscutting and Rip Cuts|
1. Best for Everyday Woodworking
For most enthusiasts and even small business people, swapping out blades for different dedicated purposes isn’t worth your time. It’s just not practical to be swapping out blades every five minutes. So this is a great all purpose ‘set and forget’ choice of blade.We recommend to 80% of our friends to simply get a 40-60T combination blade. These blades are designed to do everything well. But because they’re designed as your jack of all trades, they’re not the best at any one thing.
We tend to stick with a nice combination blade for everyday use.
Another decent enough option is a 40T general purpose blade. 40T general purpose blades do slightly better with rip cuts than combination blades. But, combination blades do a fair bit better with rip cuts. Overall, both blade types can do both rip cuts and cross cuts of most woods fine, given that you’ve got a decent enough machine.
The only time we’re really inclined to swap out to a dedicated blade is when we need to cut non-ferrous metals, plastics and PVC pipes. Then, we’re inclined to swap out for a triple chip grind blade.
2. Best for Fine Cuts
Overall, if you’re doing woodworking with mid-range or soft woods and you’re running a decent 15 Amp motor, you’re likely to do okay with a 60 or 80 tooth ATB blade. ThisIf you want a fine cut and a smooth finish, you’d generally be aiming for an ATB saw with more teeth. The more teeth, the more likely it is that each tooth will take a little bite at the wood, rather than big chunks at a time. This leads to a smoother finish. As always, there’s a trade-off here. The main one is that these blades tend to struggle with harder woods or when the motor is under too much load.
3. Best for Soft Plywoods
Most plywood is soft wood, but not all.There are so many different types of plywood that it’s hard to say there’s just one best miter saw blade for plywoods. But an 80 or 100 tooth ATB blade would be a good choice for softer plywoods. You’ll be able to cut through them like butter at high speed. As they’re softwoods, you won’t need to worry too much about warping under load. This means you can get away with a nice sleek, high tooth count thin kerf blade.
A harder plywood (e.g. one you might be using for decking) might be better served by a lower tooth count FTG blade or, simply, a 50T combination blade. The benefit of a 50T combination blade, of course, is that it can be used for many different purposes, meaning you’re not swapping out blades every 5 minutes.
4. Best for Hardwood
However, most people don’t want to swap out their blades every 5 minutes when switching woods. Your general hobbyist would prefer just one blade to do all their woodworking jobs. If that’s you, you’ll probably be happy with a 50T ATGR combination blade as a good compromise. This will serve you well as an all-purpose blade that can handle hardwoods when required.
Hard woods often place more load on the motor, meaning many people choose to feed their hardwoods slower and use a low tooth count blade. A 24-40 tooth FTG full kerf blade, for example, would do a good job.
5. Best for Non-Ferrous Metals and PVC
This is one decision that really matters. You can’t just use a general purpose blade for metals, PVC and plastics. In fact, you’ll want to get a dedicated general purpose blade for these purposes.
Most miter saw blades that work for non-ferrous metal jobs are triple chip grind (TCG) blades. These blades are designed to tackle hard and abrasive materials such as non-ferrous metals, but also laminated particleboard.
Make sure the blade you select is sold as a dedicated non-ferrous metal & plastics blade. This is usually not only written on the description on the packet, but it’ll also usually be written on the blade itself.
6. Best for Cross Cutting
We’ve already established that, as a general rule, most people will get by with a 50T combination blade. But if you’re really dead set on a dedicated cross cutting blade, we’d lean toward a higher tooth count ATB blade, such as the 80 tooth blade from Dewalt.
You’d probably want to lean away from a low tooth count blade or a flat top grind (FTG) blade, as they’re more dedicated for rip cutting.
Rip cutting is another story. You’re looking for almost the exact opposite. Good rip cutting blades have less teeth and deeper gullets. However, you’re not going to be doing rip cuts with a miter saw for obvious reasons – they’re just not designed for that.
Overall, if you’re really keen on getting dedicated rip cutting and a cross cutting blades, consider this combination package from Dewalt. The package gives you both a crosscutting and rip cutting blade so you can get that rip cutting blade for your table saw, if applicable.
What is the Ideal Tooth count for a Miter Saw Blade?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question. More teeth tend to lead to faster cuts, while less teeth tends to lead to more efficient cuts. As a general rule, we aim to use blades with more teeth when cutting softer woods, while lower tooth count blades are better for and hardwoods.
A low tooth count can lead to ‘grabbing’ of the wood, which can pull the wood into the blade rather than letting it push through smoothly. But, you also often get a better finish by feeding the wood more slowly and using a lower tooth count. It’s a bit like going down a gear on a car to get up a steep hill.
Too many blades also leads to shallow, short gullets which impedes the blade’s ability to carry away sawdust. This can lead to overheating and lower performance.
So as a general rule, you usually want a higher tooth count for cross-cuts and lower tooth count for rip cuts (which are usually done on a table saw).
It’s not realistic to swap out your blades between cuts. And that’s where a 40 to 50 tooth combination blade comes in. The purpose of a combination blade is to provide a range of deeper and shallower teeth to allow your blade to cut through a range of different materials at different angles. You’re not going to get the perfect cut every time, but you’ll get a blade that works for most everyday purposes.
What are Gullets (and what’s their purpose)?
Gullets are those gaps between the teeth on your blade. Deeper gullets allow the blade to more efficiently carry away sawdust. If there gullets aren’t efficient enough, the blade will work slower and hotter, and potentially scorch the wood. This is of particular concern when you have high tooth count thin kerf blades.
What’s the Ideal Hook Angle for a Miter Saw Blade?
A positive hook will lead to faster cuts but they won’t be as clean. A negative hook will lead to slower cuts but they will be cleaner. For sliding compound miter saws, a neutral or negative hook is ideal. On a miter saw, look for -5 to +7 as an acceptable hook angle. You don’t want your blade to grab and pull the wood during the cut. But for table saws, a more aggressive positive hook usually works well.
Thin Kerf vs Full Kerf Blades
A thin kerf blade is – simply – thinner than a full kerf blade. Thinner kerf blades are best for weaker motors such as those on your small-motor jobsite saws. This is because there’s less wood to cut through if your cut is thinner. In turn, your motor has to deal with less resistance and get you to where you need to go!
Some people also prefer thin kerf blade because they cause about 25% less dust than full kerf blades.
But a full kerf blade tends to give smoother, straighter cuts (if your motor can handle it) because it’s less likely to warp under load or heat.
Chris Says: You can compensate for motor weakness by simply feeding the wood more slowly. This means your blade takes smaller bites out of the wood at a time, and thereby also reducing the load on the motor. But beware that feeding stock too slowly an cause heat build up, leading to charring of the wood and (in a worse case scenario), warping of your saw blade.
There’s also the issue of thin kerf blades warping. They’re more prone to warp and wobbles under load, which is why you’ll often find a thin kerf blade being sold alongside a metal stabilizing blade which can help minimize this eventuality.
Benefits of Thin Kerf
Benefits of Full Kerf
They require less power – If you are feeling your motor is struggling under the load of cutting thicker hardwoods, you can step down to a think kerf blade to get a little more efficiency out of your motor.
They create less saw dust – As they’re thinner, they also create less saw dust than full kerf blades.
They’re less affected by heat – They are less likely to warp under heat pressure.
They’re less likely to warp under load – Your cuts are likely to be straighter and cause less splintering.
Overall, as a general rule, if you feel the motor on your miter saw is struggling under load, consider a thin kerf blade. If you have no problems with the power of your motor, full kerf will likely deliver better results.
Types of Miter Saw Blades
Flat Top Grind (FTG) – Good for Rip Cuts
Flat top grind teeth are dedicated for rip cuts, but tend to struggle with cross cuts. Full kerf FTG blades on table saws are also embraced by joiners. They’re ideal for joinery because the joinery cut doesn’t leave ‘bat ears’. The end of the cut will be square, much like a dado set. But, this is more a concern if you’re working with table saws than miter saws as table saws are what you’d want if doing rip or dado cuts.
Alternate Top Bevel (ATB) – Good for Cross Cuts
ATB is probably the most common blade type for miter saw blades. The teeth on these blades have angled tops which form a point on one side or the other. The points alternate along the blade (left, right, left, right). Their purpose is to improve cross-cut strength. You can tell you have an ATB blade because the end of the cut creates an X-shape rather than a square shape that you’d find in an FTG blade.
If you find you’re doing a larger proportion of cross-cuts than rip-cuts, then consider an ATB blade with 60 to 80 teeth.
But overall, we’d probably recommend 80% of people still stick with a general purpose or combination blade as they can handle cross-cuts fine.
Alternate Top Bevel + Raker (ATBR)
ATBR blades are the same as ATB blades, except every 5th tooth is ground flat. We also call these ‘combination blades’, as they work well enough for both cross cut and rip cuts when used in table saws. See also: Combination Blades below.
Triple Chip Grind (TCG) – Good for Non-Ferrous Metals
On a TCG blade, every second tooth is ground flat across the top, while all others have the corners angled. Cornerless teeth (also known as triple chip ground teeth) are supposedly able to cut through tough materials abrasive non-ferrous metal, particle board, flexi-glass, etc.
40-60T General Purpose Blades
General purpose blades usually have ATB teeth, but usually have less teeth overall than a dedicated smooth cross-cut ATB blade. They usually have only about 40 teeth, and are designed to do an “okay job” at everything. They fare better with rip cuts than 80-tooth ATB blades, making them ideal as an ‘all-round’ blade for a hobbyist. It means you don’t need to swap out your blade for different cut types. In other words, if you don’t want to fuss around swapping out blades for that extra 5-10% performance, a GPB will probably be your go-to choice.
40-60T Combination Blades
A combination blade is essentially a general purpose blade, but it adds 10 flat teeth to create an ATBR, in effect making it easier to do rip cuts on table saws. These tend to cut slower than a 40T General Purpose Blade, but achieves much cleaner rip cuts than a 40T general purpose blade. In general we tend to go with 50T combination blades for everyday jobs.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to choosing a blade for your miter saw! Make sure you do your research, read the reviews online, and read the package information carefully. While this is general information, we can’t make a decision for you or advise you on your own personal circumstances.
But in our opinion, a decent 50T combination saw is ideal in most circumstances. You don’t want to be swapping out blades every 5 minutes, so this ‘jack of all trades’ serves your everyday woodworker well enough.
We hope this review of the best miter saw blades has helped!