How to Choose the Right Miter Saw Blade Type? (Explained for Beginners)

miter saw blade with 45 degree cut

Are the endless number of miter saw blade types available in the market making it hard for you to pick one? Are you a beginner who needs some guidance in making the right choice?

If you are, this article is what’s right for you. It is not always easy to find the right miter saw blade to check upon so many boxes. This guide makes the process easier by helping you understand the miter saw blade types in depth. 

A miter saw blade is worth the money you pay if the size and type of material, among other things, are perfect for your project. As you read on, we will walk you through the features to look for in a miter saw blade.

Choose the miter saw blade type for the purpose.

The most crucial factor to consider before picking a blade is what purpose it serves. You will have to consider the type of material you will be cutting and the type of saw you use for fixing it. There are numerous miter saw blade types with designs for a particular purpose. 

Some are specialty blades that are particularly for cutting only a specific type of material. You can choose this if you are going to use it to cut mostly one kind of material. For example, if you cut only melamine, then pick the one explicitly made for melamine.

Additionally, if your project requires you to cut more than one type of material, do not hesitate to buy more than one type of blade. Also, there is multipurpose miter saw blade types as well. 

Choose the miter saw blade type based on the material.

The following are the commonly found miter saw blade materials where you can choose.

  • Carbide- Its primary use is for precision cuts on softwood as well as hardwood. It is also ideal on non-ferrous metal profiles, chipboard, plexiglass sheet, and plastics.
  • Tungsten Carbide or Treated Tungsten Carbide- It is perfect to use for chipboard and composite material. It is a regular use material.
  • Chromium- Chromium is an intensive use material. You can use it for cutting the coating of medium-density fiberboard and bi-laminated panels.
  • High Carbon Steel- It is suitable for cutting wood. It is also a regular use blade material.

The diameter of the miter saw.

Every miter saw has a provision for a specific miter blade, and you can use an edge of only that size in it. The wrong size of the blade of your miter saw will cause trouble, especially when you start the cutting. 

Hence, it is vital to check your blade’s size and the recommended blade size for your miter saw. You can always use the user manual or call up your product’s customer support for more information on the size.

Miter saw comes in four regular sizes. They are 7.5-inch, 8.5-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch saws. If the blade you purchase does not suit your saw’s size range, the blades will not fit in the slots. For example, if the size of the miter saw is 10, you will have to fix a 10-inch miter saw blade only.

If you use the wrong size blade, it only delays the cutting process and leads to unfortunate accidents. However, most of the miter saw can prevent the wrong size of the blade from fitting. 

Given that, some manufacturers incorporate built-in defense against wrong blade sizes.

Trying to fix a blade of the wrong size can cause bugs. Furthermore, it can be a waste of energy, money, and time if you purchase without checking the correct diameter.

Blade Specifications

Miter saw blade types come in various ranges of specifications. Some blades are multipurpose blades that can not only fit in miter saw, and they can also work wrong size blades in radial saws and table saws. 

Here are some of the crucial specifications you should not miss out on while picking the right miter saw blade type.

Tooth Count of the Blade

The number of teeth of the blade determines if the blade is suitable for your purpose. It decides the effectiveness and precision of your cut.

Generally, the higher the tooth number, the smoother the cut will be. Plus, the lower the tooth number, the material can move faster. For example, a 10 inches blade you use for ripping lumber has 24 teeth. 

Its design is ideal for removing material quickly along the length of the grain. This blade is not for a smooth cut but to rip through hardwood with only a little effort without scoring.

If you require the blade to cut thicker materials, then a blade with a lower tooth number is suitable. However, if you have to cut something with a smooth finish, you will need a blade with a higher tooth number.

Another example, if you are using the miter saw to cut plastic, a blade with many teeth can melt it. Hence, always opt for lower tooth numbers for materials like plastic.

If you need a polished surface, you can choose a crosscut blade. It provides a smooth cut across the material without any tearing or splintering. 

This miter saw blade type usually has about sixty to eighty teeth. The blade makes more individual cuts. As a consequence, it moves through the material rather than ripping through it. It results in a slower feed rate.

Blade Tooth Configuration

The way the blade teeth work together affects the performance of the blade. The shape of the blade is also an essential factor to look for while picking the miter saw blade type. 

It can be a deciding factor to choose the application of the blade, such as crosscutting, ripping, or laminating. Some of the typical blade tooth configurations are listed below:

  • Flat Top Gringo- Flat top gringo or FTG are usually used on woods for ripping. Wood is easier to rip through, and a rip blade effectively removes the material. 
  • Triple Chip Grind- Triple Chip Grind or TCG is suitable for cutting hard materials such as plastics, medium density fire boards, and laminates. You can also use it for non-ferrous materials.
  • ATB w/Raker- It can be known as an ATBR blade. In this type of blade, the teeth alternate between a right-hand bevel and a left-hand bevel. It is for smoother yields, especially for crosscutting wood.
  • Alternating Top Alternating Face- The acronym is ATAF. It is a modified type of ATBR, and it lacks a final raker tooth. ATAF is suitable for cutting materials that are brittle and rigid. It gives fine and smooth cuts.
  • High Alternate Top Bevel– It is commonly known as Hi-ATB or HATB. It has a slope of an angle of 25 degrees or more that can provide you with perfect cuts. It is for easily marred materials such as veneers, melamine, and plywood. 
  • Combination Tooth- Combination tooth or comb performs both ripping and crosscutting effectively. There are five teeth, and it contains 4 ATB teeth and one FTG tooth. 

You can apply it for mitering, ripping, and crosscutting. You can use combination teeth on materials such as veneers, plywood, softwoods, and hardwoods.

Type of Gullet in a Blade

A gullet in blades is the space in front of a tooth that gives room for chip removal. The shape and the size of the gullets vary in different miter saw blade types.

In a crosscut blade, the gullet is smaller to prevent a fast feed rate. A crosscut blade has more teeth so that it can yield a smoother cut across the material.

However, in a rip blade, there are fewer teeth required for cutting. It has larger gullets that can allow faster removal of chips. The gullets in a combination blade create a balance between ripping or crosscutting alongside chip removal. 

The larger the gullets are, the faster and easier the chips get removed. However, smaller gullets contribute to precision cutting and surface smoothness.

Quality of the Blade

The quality of the blade is undoubtedly a deciding factor for picking a miter blade type. It is more accurate when it is specifically about blade teeth. The high-quality industrial-grade components should be the material of the saw. 

Also, make sure you purchase a miter blade from a reputed manufacturer and at a reasonable cost.

Final Verdict

Always make a mental list of the things you need in a miter blade. With that list in mind, you can examine which feature suits your project’s specific needs the best. 

We hope that this article helped you know the features to note before buying any miter saw blade types. You can walk through a store or surf through the internet and make the right choice.

Hopefully, you can use the knowledge you have acquired after reading this article to pick the most suitable miter blade.

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