Exploring What Happens If You Don’t Lock Miter Saw and 4 Ways To Lock and Unlock It Safely!

Every miter saw comes with one or several locks. Many miter saw users, especially those who are just getting started with a miter saw may not understand why these locks are important. So, today I’m going to shed some light on what happens if you don’t lock miter saw.

The locks ensure that the miter saw doesn’t move from a certain position, which is mandatory when you’re transporting the unit. Also, these locks are excellent for making your miter saw experience safer by reducing the probability of accidents.

If you don’t understand how these locks increase your safety, make sure to go through the entire article to get the explanation.

What Happens If You Dont Lock Miter Saw

What Happens If You Don’t Lock Miter Saw?

Depending on the model you have, a miter saw can have multiple advanced features. In order to allow the miter saw to perform better, it may have several moving components. For instance, most basic miter saws come with a single lock, and the head moves to cut the material beneath.

When the miter saw is in a normal state, the upper side of the blade is protected by the blade guard. However, the lower part of the blade is exposed. So, when you are not using the miter saw, keeping the blade exposed like that can cause accidents.

The primary function of the locks is to protect the user and increase convenience while transporting the miter saw. When the miter saw is locked, the blade goes between the kerf edges, making the blade exposure minimum. So, it becomes more compact and safer for the user to carry the miter saw.

By considering the benefit of locking a miter saw, you can also determine the downsides of not locking a miter saw. If you are carrying your miter saw without locking it, the miter saw will move and become troublesome to carry.

With DIY miter saws, it may not cause much trouble. With sliding miter saws, and other models that allow beveled cuts, it can be dangerous to carry the miter saw without locking it. Besides, if you leave the miter saw unlocked when not using it, the next time you enter the workshop, you can injure yourself by accidentally moving the miter saw parts.

To answer your question more simply, you can’t ensure the safest experience with your miter saw if you don’t lock it. So, make sure that you’re keeping your miter saw locked when not using it.

How To Lock And Unlock A Miter Saw?

As I have mentioned, how many locks your miter saw has depends on the model. Some only have one, whereas some have four. Let’s take a look at how you can lock and unlock your miter saw using these locks.

Head Lock

The one common lock every miter saw has is the head lock. When you first buy the miter saw, the head stays down. You need to unlock it before you can use the miter saw.

The lock system can vary depending on the brand and model. It can be a push-and-pull lock or a knob that will require loosening and tightening. To unlock the miter saw, you will have to push the head lightly downward and then push or pull the locking pin.

If the pin is stuck for some reason, you can check my article on miter saw lock pin stuck.You can lock the head using the same way you unlocked it.

Slide Lock

If your miter saw is a sliding miter saw, you will find a knob on the slide. Loosening it will allow you to adjust the slide. That means you can slide the head front and back and secure it in a place using the same knob.

After ensuring the proper place by moving the head front and back, tighten the knob, and it will be secure in its place.

Base Lock

In some miter saws, you can move the base to cut the material at an angle. The miter saws also have preset stops to make cutting more convenient. The base will have a knob on the front that you can turn to loosen.

Loosening the knob will allow you to move the base at a certain range of angles. Choose your preferred angle and then tighten the knob again to secure the base in place.

Bevel Lock

In advanced models, you can also tilt the head of your miter saw. There will be a lock near the head of the miter saw. When you loosen the knob, you can tilt the head at certain angles. Then, tighten the knob to secure the head in place.

Some Tips To Remember

Tips and Tricks Saw School
  • Always make sure that your miter saw is not plugged in when you are locking or unlocking the miter saw. Except for when you are using the miter saw, it should be disconnected from the power source at all times.
  • All parts of your miter saw are made to function smoothly. So, do not put too much pressure on any lock pin or knob. It can break the component. If the locks are stuck, you can try lubricating them.
  • If you don’t tighten the knobs and lock the pins, the miter saw will have moving parts. This is not ideal when you think about safety. Besides, most of these locks require tightening when using the miter saw, except for the head lock.
  • It’s mandatory to lock your miter when you are moving it from one place to another. If you have company, ask for help when moving the miter saw. Nonetheless, if you are carrying the miter saw alone, hold it in safe places.
  • To understand the locks and how they work, always refer to the user manual. Every miter saw is unique, and the procedure will vary depending on the model you have.
  • Keeping your miter saw locked is not only essential for your safety but also increases the life expectancy of your machine. The better you maintain your miter saw, the longer it will stay functional.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Saw School

Does it require an expert to unlock a miter saw?

A miter saw will be locked when it’s delivered to you because it’s convenient that way. However, you won’t need an expert to unlock your miter saw. Read the user manual to check how to unlock your miter saw.

Most of the time, pressing down the head lightly and pulling or pushing a pin is all it takes to unlock a miter saw. There’s no reason why you should spend money on doing such an easy task.

Can I use my miter saw without the blade guard?

One of the most important safety features of a miter saw is the blade guard. It creates a barrier between the blade and the user’s hand to ensure maximum safety. It also helps direct the sawdust in a certain way and prevents small particles from reaching the user.

So, you should never use your miter saw without the blade guard. For more information on that issue, you can check my article on can I use my miter saw without the blade guard.

Concluding Words

You would be surprised about how often these little things can turn into major accidents. When you consider what happens if you don’t lock miter saw, the alternative becomes easier. It doesn’t take long to push a pin in place when you’re done using your miter saw.

So, take a few extra minutes to lock your miter saw. This will not only prevent injuries to you but also keep your miter saw organized in your workshop. As for when you’re moving the miter saw, it’s non-negotiable that you must lock the miter saw for your own convenience. The manufacturers wouldn’t have placed the lock in your miter saw if it wasn’t necessary.


Hey there — I’m Elton Dunn, founder and Head Writer of sawschool. Though I personally think myself as a self-made entrepreneur, I am DIY woodworker. This blog is a humble attempt to help people choose the right saw from too many options. That’s why I stress on comparing various saw with one another than attempting to review each. Hope my reviews and comparisons benefit you. Have any feedback, questions, or recommendations? We would like to hear from you! Feel free you can anytime Contact with me.

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