Cut-Off Saw vs Chop Saw | What’s the Difference?

When it comes to saws, there are a lot of options on the market. So, which one should you choose for your next project, Cut-Off Saw vs Chop Saw?

In short, a Cut-Off Saw is perfect for making straight cuts through metal or other materials. If you need a saw that can handle tougher jobs and bigger projects, then you need a Chop Saw.

If you want to learn more about these two saws then in this article, I will be comparing the features of these saws. Stay tuned!

Cut-Off Saw vs Chop Saw – Difference

A chop saw is a type of circular saw designed for cross-cutting wood. A cut-off saw is also another name for a cutoff machine or bench grinder, it is used to make clean, straight cuts in metal.

It has around grinding wheel that spins very fast but does not have enough power to cut through metal.

One other way that they are different can be seen when looking at the guard over the blade on a chop saw the guard sticks out past the end of the blade whereas on a cut off machine, you’ll notice that there is no guard over the end of the blade because it rotates too fast and doesn’t have enough power to grab anything being cut.

Most chop saws can be used as cut-off machines, but some cut-off machines cannot be used as a chop saw.

A lot of people prefer to use a cutoff machine when cutting metal because it will not heat up and warp the metal as a grinder would.

Another reason that you might want to choose a cutoff machine over an angle grinder is if the job requires precision for example if you have to fit pieces together precisely with no gaps or if you need specific angles on your cuts. 

Chop saws do not require much finesse they are meant for rough cutting straight lines quickly with little regard for leftover material.

In addition, there is no chance of your blade heating up which would cause it to bend and ruin your project.

So, Which Do You Choose, The Chop Saw Or A Cut-Off Machine?

When choosing between a cut-off machine and a chop saw there are several things to consider.

1) Do I need to make precise cuts with little waste left over? 

If so, then you should use either a cutoff machine or a band saw (we will write about band saws in the future). Either of these tools is much more accurate than using an angle grinder or chop saw.

2) How quickly do I need this done? 

Angle grinders are much faster but often leave jagged edges that must be cleaned up by hand. A cutoff machine is much slower but leaves straight lines cleanly cut through metal. Chop saws are somewhere in the middle.  

3) What am I cutting? 

If you’re working with a thin metal, a grinder will distort and warp the material. A cutoff machine provides more power and is better for thicker or denser materials.

4) Do I need to make multiple cuts on one piece of material? 

Chop saws are not as precise and can leave undesired variations in your cut. Cutoff machines require no repositioning of the material- just place it down and push it through the machine using gravity as your guide.

When Would You Use Each Type Of Saw? 

It might sound like a cutoff machine is the best choice for all of these tasks, but it really depends on what you’re trying to cut. We will go over some examples below:

Cutting Metal

cutoff machines or bandsaws are great choices for cutting metal. Angle grinders and chop saws will warp the material.

Cutting Wood

Angle grinders can be excellent choices here because they don’t require much finesse and they allow you to shape your pieces fairly quickly.

Chop saws are good if you need straight lines quickly with little force needed, perfect for thicker woods.

Cutoff machines are my preferred method when I’m doing precise cuts because there is no risk of warping or heating up the metal.

Cutting Plastics

This material is very dense and typically too thin for cutoff machines or chop saws to be an effective method. Angle grinders are great here because they make quick work of the job with little force required.

If you need precise cuts then choose a band saw over an angle grinder because it requires less effort to operate.


The chop saw is a more versatile tool because it can do both cross and rip cuts. If you only need to make straight cuts, then the cut-off saw will work just fine, but if you need to make any other type of cut, the chop saw is the better option.


Which saw do you think is better for the average homeowner?

In general, chop saws are a great choice for the average homeowner who needs to cut through metal or thicker woods. Cutting metal does require more finesse and accuracy than wood so I would recommend a cutoff machine over a chop saw for this task.

However, if you own both of these tools then it’s advantageous to have both of them in your garage because each tool is suited for a different type of material.

When would you not use a cutoff machine?

Pick up some tips on safety when using Chop Saws, or alternatively (if working with metal) maybe grab some helpful knowledge on Cut Off Saws.

If you’re still unsure of the difference between Chop Saw and Cutoff Machines, this article might help you out.

Again, if you’re unsure of which is better between a Chop Saw and a Cutoff Machine, this guide might help.