Single Bevel vs. Double Bevel Miter Saw: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

One thing that I love about woodworking is that there’s always something new to learn. The other day I was asked, “What’s the difference between a single bevel vs. double bevel miter saw?”

The answer, in a nutshell, is that the single bevel saw only cuts in one direction. You must then swing the wood around to cut the bevel on the opposite edge. The double or dual bevel option is more convenient. The saw can cut in either direction.

There’s a little more to it than that, of course. Want to learn more? Then read on and find out which wins in the ultimate single bevel vs. dual bevel miter saw showdown.

Our Top Pick is the DeWalt DWS 780. Overall, though, despite the expense, the DeWalt is the best long-term value for money. It’ll keep going for years with minimal maintenance.

The Best Single- and Dual-Bevel Miter Saws Are:

ProductDetails
1. DEWALT DWS780

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2. Hercules Miter Saw

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3. Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw

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1. Best Sliding Model – DEWALT DWS780

This DeWalt model comes out on top for those looking for a compound sliding, double-bevel miter saw. It’s got a 12-inch blade. The 15-amp motor is ready and willing to chew through hardwood. The stainless-steel casings keep the inner workings safe.

The cherry on the cake? You can also use a 10-inch blade.

This is the compound miter saw that all other saws want to be when they grow up.

Pros

  • Exceptional quality
  • 3-year warranty
  • Easy to carry
  • Powerful

Cons

  • The sliding mechanism sticks sometimes
  • Should have adjustable bearings

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2. Hercules Miter Saw Review – Best Budget Buy

Did the price tag of the DeWalt leave your eyes watering? Then look to the Hercules from Harbor Freight instead. It has many of the same features at a much lower price.

It’s got a powerful 15-amp motor and double beveling. The oversized bevel scale makes it simple to make adjustments. The blade features a precision guide. The detent plate has ten stops.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Affordably priced
  • Double beveled
  • Useful design features

Cons

  • Only has a one-year warranty
  • Heavy

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3. Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw – Best Value for Money

Wanting something a little simpler? This 10-inch single-bevel compound saw costs under $100. Don’t count it out, though – it’s got a 15-amp motor and delivers a stellar performance.

Pros

  • Good price
  • Powerful motor
  • Reputable manufacturer
  • Compact
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • The base could be sturdier
  • There’s some kickback on starting

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In-depth: What’s the Difference Between a Single and Dual Bevel Miter Saw?

To understand the single vs. dual bevel miter saw debate more thoroughly, we need to understand what a miter saw is. I’m afraid I’m in full teacher mode again. If you know the answer, please don’t spoil it for the newbies.

A miter saw is a powerful tool that makes clean cuts. It’s used for a wide range of applications, such as frame-making, molding, and so on. It’s a handy tool that takes the guesswork out of the process.

Miter saws can make:

Angle Cuts On The Wood’s Face

If you’re making a frame, these cuts would be for where the four corners join together.

Bevel Cuts On The Wood’s Edge

This would be the recessed part of the frame that the picture fits into.

Now that you understand more about beveling, let’s look into the single vs. double bevel miter saw comparison in more depth.

Single Bevel

Cutting in one direction only means working more slowly. On the bright side, it’s an easier and cheaper technique for the beginner.

Double Bevel

Being able to cut in both directions requires a little more skill. It produces accurate results a lot faster, but the saws are more expensive. Professionals prefer to use double bevel saws.

Which Type of Miter Saw Do You Really Need?

Do you need a single or dual type? That gadget addict in you is going to insist that you need the dual type. Let’s get real for a second here, though.

How often are you going to use this tool? If the answer is daily, then, by all means, get the dual type. If the answer is once a year, you need to give some serious consideration to a single bevel saw.

Why?

A cheaper dual-type costs in the region of $300 if you’re lucky. It’s big and takes up a fair amount of space in your workshop. Instead, buy a basic miter box for about $15.

It’s not something that gives you bragging rights with your buddies, but the money you save can buy you something a lot more impressive.

If you don’t want to apply the elbow grease, you can use a circular saw instead. It’s a bit more complicated, naturally, but it’s doable.

I’ll admit, I do have a dual bevel saw. In my defense, though, I use it often. It’s excellent for molding, door frames, and several household and industrial products.

I use a 12-inch model because it allows me the most versatility. It’s got plenty of power to cut through thick stacks of hardwood fast. If I want finer cuts, I just switch out the blade for a 10-inch.

Naturally, the 12-inch model is bigger and will cost more. If you’ve got a small workshop, or only work on smaller projects, an 8 ½- or 10-inch model may suit you better. The downside of the smaller models is that they are generally less powerful, and you can’t change to a bigger blade.

Does Brand Matter?

Does the brand that you buy make a huge difference here? I’d have to say that it does. It’s always best to stick to reputable brands with power tools. It’s especially important when you’re working with a tool that can chop your hand off.

You can get good, refurbished Metabo (formerly Hitachi) for under $100. There is no reason to choose a cheap, unknown brand.

Whether you’re buying a reconditioned model for $100 or a high-end DeWalt model for $400, you’re investing. Cheap in regard to a miter saw means that:

  • You’ll be frustrated by the performance
  • Your cutting abilities will be restricted to a smaller piece of softwood
  • You can overstrain and blow the motor easier. As Murphy’s Law dictates, this will usually happen just as the warranty has expired.
  • You’ll battle to claim against the warranty.
Save yourself the heartache and spend a bit more upfront. Choose correctly, and you’ll get a machine that lasts a lifetime.

What signifies that you’re getting a good deal?

A Good Warranty

Most good manufacturers offer a one- to three-year warranty at the very least on miter saws. Anything over that is a bonus. Look carefully at shorter warranty periods. If the company doesn’t stand behind its product for longer than six months, they know something you don’t.

Useful Features

Do the features on offer add value, or are they just there to pump up the price? Laser sighting is nice, but is it essential? On the other hand, having extendable arms is a feature that can come in handy.

Cost of Consumables

What are replacement blades going to cost? How often will you need to replace the blades? Can the blades be sharpened again? These are all good questions to ask.

Types of Single- and Dual-Bevel Miter Saws

When discussing miter saws, they fall into three basic types:

Compound

These are the simplest type – they’ll cut several different angles. They’ll only tilt in one direction, though. That means that you’ll have to turn your wood around to change the angle of tilt.

Double-Bevel

These are capable of tilting in both directions, and so make creating even bevels on both sides a lot simpler.

Sliding

You’ll find sliding models of both the above. The benefit of a sliding model is that the saw is mounted on rails. This mounting makes it easier to move. It also makes it possible to cut longer stretches of wood and make deeper cuts.

If you want the maximum amount of versatility and convenience, a sliding, double-bevel miter saw will hit the spot. Whether you choose a 10- or 12-inch model or something bigger, I’ll leave to your discretion.

The upside of the 10-inch model is that you can exchange the blades with your circular saw. If you’re on a tight budget or tight on space, this can be useful.

The upside of the 12-inch model is that it’s a beast of a machine. They do take up more space, but these usually have all the power a pro might need.

As a compromise, consider getting a 10-inch sliding compound miter saw. That way, you get a good balance between value and convenience. If I’m candid, that’s more than enough machine for most DIYers.

Final Thoughts

All things being equal, it makes sense to stick to the DeWalt DWS780 if you’ll use it frequently. If not, save yourself space and money and look into the Metabo.

The downside of the DeWalt is that it’s expensive, and it’s cumbersome. It’s an investment piece that takes up a fair deal of space. Frankly, it’s more machine than most DIYers need, but it gives you awesome bragging rights.

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