How to Choose the Appropriate Miter Saw Blade

Miter saw blade

12 inch miter saw blades with different tooth counts.

For those who have more recently started using their miter saw, the difference in blades might not seem like a big deal. However, choosing the right blade is very important because there is more than one type of miter saw blade and each one works best in different situations.

Miter saw blades are available in a number of price tags with each having its unique features, tooth count, and size. If you choose the wrong miter saw blade, you will have problems when you want to cut with it. There are also different brands and models of miter saw blades as well as different new and used miter saw blade in the market.

In the light of the above, there are a lot of factors that you should consider when it’s time for you to choose a blade for your miter saw. Here are some factors to take into consideration:

Diameter of Your Miter Saw

Each miter saw has a particular size of miter saw blade that is supposed to be used in it. If you use a wrong blade size on your miter saw, you will definitely encounter a problem when you want to cut with your saw. This is why it is important that you check the user manual of your miter saw in order to find out what the recommended miter saw blade size is.

Miter saws come in 4 regular sizes: 7-1/2in, 8-1/2in, 10in, and 12 in. If you have a 12 inch miter saw, you will not be able to use any other blades except for 12 inch miter saw blades. Differently sized blades would not full accommodate the cutting range of the tool, nor would they be able to fit in the blade slots appropriately.

Most miter saws have a built-in defense against using the wrong sized blades. The circular slot in the center of the blade is usually a different size for each size of saw blade. This means that a 10 inch blade won’t fit properly on a slot meant for 12 inch blades. If you buy an improperly sized blade, you will have unfortunately wasted your money and you won’t be able to run your tool at all. ;p/.p

Purpose of the Blade

Another important point to consider when you want to choose the right blade for your miter saw is the purpose your miter saw is meant to serve. In other words, you should consider the type of material that you will be cutting with the miter saw.

There are specialty blades meant for the cutting of a particular type of material and multipurpose types of blades. As a rule of the thumb, make sure the blade you are buying is designed or is meant to cut the type material you will be working on before you start any new projects. Blades are identified by the manufacturers according to their different configurations.

Because it’s easy to change out blades on most saws, don’t be afraid to buy more than one type if you have some projects that require flexibility. This is a better option than relying on the same blade for every type of material and hoping that it works out for you!

Specifications of Blades

Design of blade

Blades are available with various specifications. Some blade types are designed to be used in multiple different types of saws such as miter saws, table saws, and radial arms. If there is a particular type of blade made strictly for your saw, it will be indicated on the user manual and you should not try to use a different kind of blade. While your saw manufacturer might list specific types of blades, they may also mention that you can use general purpose miter saw blades as well. This is all dependent on the make of your saw.

Miter saw blades have 2 general features to pay attention to:

1. Tooth Count

The number of teeth a blade has matters a lot because it determines how effective cutting with the blade will be. If you want a smoother finish and cleaner cuts, then you should go for a blade with many teeth. If you are cutting a thicker material, then a blade with fewer teeth will be most suitable for you. If you are going to cut plastic with the miter saw than a suitable blade for it should have just an ample number of teeth so that the plastic will not melt, as too many teeth can cause the plastic to melt.

Keep in mind that the larger the blade is, the higher the average tooth count will be. Whereas a 12 inch blade needs 80-100 teeth to create a finer finish, an 8-1/2 inch blade will only need around 60+ for a smooth finish.

2. Design of the Teeth

When it comes to the tooth design for a blade, experts and manufacturers are not agreed on what should constitute the right option. There are different recommendations, some of which are contradictory. It is possible for two different designs to be used for a particular type of work. Here are different designs of blades for miter saws:

  • flat top gringo (FTG)
  • alternating top bevel (ATB)
  • triple chip grind (TCG)
  • alternating top alternating face (ATAF)
  • ATB w/Raker (ATBR)
  • high or steep alternating top bevel (HATB).

These types are largely based on the shape of the teeth on the blade. You’ll see that some miter saw blades have simple triangular teeth with a slight positive or negative rake (slant of the teeth either forward or backward) while some have very intricately designed teeth. For most wooden projects, simpler teeth prove to be effective enough and are easier to maintain and sharpen.


The above are some of the factors that you should consider when it’s time for you to purchase your miter saw blade. With these tips in mind, you will be able to choose the right type of blade for your miter saw and carry on with your projects worry-free.

11 thoughts on “How to Choose the Appropriate Miter Saw Blade

  1. Hi GARY
    It’s not really advisable to use a larger blade than the recommended size but you should be OK.

    If in doubt, rotate by hand to check if you have adequate clearance

  2. Hello, I plan on buying my husband the Hitachi 12 in Dual Bevel Laser Compound Miter Saw for Christmas. However the Hitachi Viper 12 in 80 tooth Blade is not getting the best reviews. Is it okay to go with another brand of blade?

    • Hi Kristen,

      Of course you can. There are many other options such as:
      – Freud D1280X Diablo 12-Inch 80 Tooth ATB Crosscutting Saw Blade with 1-Inch Arbor
      – DEWALT DW3128P5 80 Tooth and 32T ATB Thin Kerf 12-inch Crosscutting Miter Saw Blade

      All available at

  3. Hey,
    I recently got a new miter saw, but there seems to be some kind of problem. Every time I put wood underneath the blade the blade gets stuck about halfway into the crosscut. It’s a 12” blade and I’m mostly using maple tree planks for my projects.

    With respect,

  4. What kind of miter saw blades are most commonly used for making wooden children’s toys? Also, does the number of the teeth and the rake impact the ability of the blade to cut at different angles?

  5. How many teeth should a blade made to cut through wood that is not fully dry have? My current blades are all with about 80-90 teeth.

  6. I know this is a safety question, but are the safety measures the same for when you use blades with positive and blades with negative rack?


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