Chop saw vs Radial arm saw

Chop saws and radial arm saws are both great for cutting wood. They both have their pros and cons, but the best one for your project depends on what you’re looking to cut.

If you want to cut long pieces of lumber at an angle, then a radial arm saw is probably the better choice. But if you need to make quick cuts in smaller pieces of material, then a chop saw will be much more efficient. It can also handle thicker materials than a radial arm saw because it has less depth capacity.

Choosing between these two tools really comes down to what kind of projects you plan on doing with them most often. You should consider how big those projects are going to be as well as how often they’ll take place before making your decision about which type of tool would work best for your needs. For more information Stay tuned!

Chop saw vs Radial arm saw – Which is better?

We will compare the chop saw vs radial arm saw and help you decide which one is best for your needs. Both of these saws have their pros and cons, so read on to learn more about them!

1: Chop saw

A chop saw, also known as a miter saw, is smaller and more compact than a radial arm saw. Because miter saws are smaller and lighter weight, they’re often used on job sites where portability is necessary. The reason they’re called miter saws is that it’s one of the most common types of cuts you can make with the tool – it slices through wood at an angle to create angled end pieces.

They typically come equipped with a safety guard that covers up the blade when not cutting into wood.

In terms of blades, some chop saws have thin-kerf blades that cut almost as thin as paper while others have teeth that are more similar to a circular blade on a chop saw.

Chop saws can be used to cut almost any type of material, including thick pieces of wood and metal.


Great for making angled cuts

Can cut through thick materials



Cannot make long rips as radial arm saws can ​

Requires two hands to operate

Can’t handle projects that will require lots of angled cuts because it can only cut at a maximum of a 45° angle

2: Radial arm saw

Radial arm saws are bigger than chop saws and feature a strong motor with a longer blade that makes it possible to plunge deep into thick pieces of wood. They’re also designed for accuracy and stability when making long cuts, so they’re great for cutting lumber at an angle or across the grain.

They come equipped with safety features such as a riving knife which is able to stop the blade from spinning in cases where your hands get too close while working with the tool.

There is also usually a straight edge guide on board this kind of saw, making it easier to guide the material you’re working with.

Radial arm saws are meant for heavier duty jobs, so they’re better suited to cutting plywood or thick pieces of lumber.


The radial arm saw is more accurate.

A radial arm saw can cross-cut wider materials.

The radial arm saw will last longer.

Best choice for professionals or people that use their tools frequently.


Expensive (can be over 10k)

Can sometimes jam if you’re not careful.

Portable models can be pricey as well (over $1000)

Radial arm saws take up a lot of space and require safety precautions to operate safely.

Can’t use feather boards (added guides for keeping materials pressed flat against the blade) due to arm movement.


Which do you think is better for home projects- a chop saw or radial arm saw? 

A radial arm saw is the better choice for home projects. If you are purchasing tools specifically for cutting thicker wood, then a radial arm saw can do this faster and more accurately than a chop saw. A radial arm saw will have safety features to help prevent injuries while using it as well so if safety is your concern, you should purchase this type of saw.

Which would you recommend for someone who is just starting out in carpentry-?

If you are just starting in carpentry, it would be best if you purchase a smaller tool. A miter saw is not only easier to transport around but can make angled cuts as well. If you are looking for something more heavy-duty, then the radial arm saw is the way to go.

Is a radial arm saw an upgrade from a chop saw?

In short, yes. A radial arm saw is built to be more accurate and it can handle thicker materials as well as make cuts across the grain of the wood. In terms of comparing a radial arm vs chop saw, you may need both but you should start with one first and see which you like more and upgrade later.


In conclusion, when it comes to the choice between a chop saw and radial arm saw, there are many factors to consider. Both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks which we explored in this article. We hope that after reading this post, you feel confident enough in your knowledge to make an informed decision about which tool is right for you and your needs.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment below. we will happily answer them for you.