Power consumption at least 1,000 watts
The performance of the chop saw is of course important. This should not be too low, since there is a risk that the engine speed will drop significantly in the case of stronger and harder materials. This usually affects the quality of the cut edge.
I recommend an output of at least 1,000 watts (gladly more). This means that you do not constantly work at the performance limit and you get a solid pulling power even with thicker / harder workpieces.
Maximum cutting width and cutting height
The maximum cutting width and cutting height are also the most important. These should be as large as possible.
If you buy a chop saw with a larger max. Cutting width, you will also be more flexible in practice with this. When cutting laminate / parquet, most entry-level models have a relatively low max. Cutting width is already over, since this is no longer sufficient to fully absorb the material. My recommendation is therefore a so-called pull cross-cut saw (next point more on this).
Pull function: pull cross-cut saw
A pull-cross-cut saw (or pull-cross-cut and touch saw) is equipped with a pulling function that allows the cutting of significantly wider workpieces. The saw head including the saw blade can be moved forwards and backwards.
While with a pure chop saw max. Cutting widths of approx. 120 mm are common, the pull function allows max. Cutting widths of 300 mm and more (depending on the saw). Anyone who has once enjoyed a chop-saw has no desire to do without it.
Rotatable saw plate
In order to be able to make a miter cut (horizontal) with the chop saw, the saw plate must be rotatable. Usually this is from -45 ° to max. + 45 ° possible.
Professional devices are also usually equipped with a kind of undercut function. This means that the angle can be set smaller and larger than 45 ° (eg -47 ° to + 47 °) and thus undercuts are possible. The hobby handyman will tend not to need this function. But the professional does.
Tiltable saw head
In addition to the saw plate, the saw head (incl. Saw blade) should of course also be adjustable in its angle. This means that vertical angle cuts can also be made.
Usual angles (often with entry-level models) are 0 ° to 45 °, i.e. only in one direction. In professional devices, the saw blade can usually be swiveled both to the left and to the right, which in turn is more flexible. An undercut function (e.g. -47 ° to + 47 °) is also not uncommon here.
Adjusting screws for adjusting the saw
One of the most important points is the presence of adjusting screws on the chop saw. These should be used to precisely adjust and fine-tune the saw and the angles in their basic position.
You should take some time for this because the quality of all subsequent cuts depends on it. Not all angles are always set exactly in the zero position at the factory, but this can be corrected thanks to adjusting screws.
If the saw has a laser for cutting line marking, this should also be adjustable. However, this is often the case.
High quality saw blade
Another very important point is the saw blade. You can find more information about choosing the right saw blade for the chop saw here.
In any case, you should use a carbide saw blade (HM) and do not save money here. The sheet finally makes the cut. In addition, the rule of thumb applies: the more teeth the saw blade has, the more precise and less tearing the cut will be.
Price / performance ratio
The last point is the price / performance ratio. Of course, this should be correct. In my opinion, it is not necessary for the hobby handyman and occasional user to invest several hundred euros in his chop saw. A cheap model is usually sufficient here.
The other way around, someone who uses the chop saw often or daily should not save money and should rather pay attention to quality, workmanship, durability and precision when cutting.
The price / performance ratio should of course be consistent and the choice of the cross-cut saw should be based on his own needs and plans.
Is there anything else to consider?
In my opinion, the above points are the most important. In the following, however, I list a few more things that are either almost always present on today’s chop saw or are the so-called Nice-To-Haves:
- Laser– Displays the saw edge.
- LED lighting– especially useful for mobile use.
- Extendable saw table– for handling long workpieces.
- Chipcollecting bag – For collecting the sawdust. In practice, however, connecting an external extraction system is usually more sensible and effective.
- Clamping device– Allows the workpiece to be fixed. You have both hands free
- Spindle lock– Allows easy and safe saw blade changes.