This post discusses the differences between reciprocating saw vs Jigsaw. If you’re finding it challenging to find the right option for your case, you’ve come to the right place.
Reciprocating saws are powerful tools that can be useful for different purposes, such as sawing and cutting pipework. On the other hand, a jigsaw is more appropriate for woodworkers and carpenters. Both options can provide accurate cutting depending on the use you give them.
Both reciprocating saws and jigsaws can be powerful tools that can serve diverse tasks, including heavy-duty applications. However, if you’re finding it hard to choose one option over the other, there are a few differences you should get to know.
Reciprocating saws and jigsaws are similar tools, but they are useful for different purposes. Here we’ll help you find the right option based on your needs.
What is a Reciprocating Saw?
Firstly, a reciprocating saw includes a horizontal blade. All modern models are based on the basic hacksaw, and the user can use them to cut different materials. These tools are more appropriate for outdoor use, as they tend to leave a lot of dust and debris behind.
Reciprocating saws have this name because of their push-pull way of functioning. In other words, they cut in a “reciprocating” manner. These saws are more appropriate for intricate and precise cuts in comparison to circular saws.
At the moment, you can find both corded and cordless models that can give you similar results.
What is a Jigsaw?
Jigsaws can be considered reciprocating saws, but instead of cutting at a horizontal angle, they are angled in a vertical manner. So, instead of a push and pull motion, the blade moves via an up and down motion.
They can be used to cut straight lines, bevel cuts, and other precise cuts. Jigsaws tend to be less powerful than reciprocating saws. Therefore, they are only appropriate for thinner materials, like plywood, certain plastics, and thin metal sheets.
Furthermore, a jigsaw will generally be less heavy than a reciprocating saw, making them more appropriate for precise cuts, straight lines, and even bevel cuts. You can find corded and cordless jigsaws in the market, too.
Purpose of a Reciprocating Saw
What is a Reciprocating Saw meant for?
Well, these saws are more appropriate for demolition work and light remodeling tasks. You can also use them for DIY home projects. Hence, we can certainly say that reciprocating saws are more “versatile” in this regard, allowing you to take care of different tasks at the same time.
A reciprocating saw is capable of cutting through harder and thicker materials, like ceramic or wood. These tools are also appropriate for plumbing and electrical tasks, to mention a few. If there’s a task that requires a particular amount of cutting power, choosing a reciprocating saw would be wise.
Purpose of a Jigsaw
Unlike reciprocating saws, jigsaws are tools intended for precise cuts. These tools allow you to perform more intricate cuts and handle finesse jobs, as the blade is smaller and thinner. A jigsaw can be useful for most small jobs you may have on your list. A jigsaw can also be helpful for stencil cutting.
Typically, you can switch the blade of a jigsaw. Hence, it is easy for you to adapt them to whatever task you’re trying to complete at the moment. However, they don’t have the same power as other saws, but that doesn’t mean that they are not useful for tons of projects.
A Jigsaw can be used in metalwork, woodwork, installation of countertops and small remodeling tasks, and so many other uses. Some jigsaws are also capable of cutting through concrete.
Working Mechanism of a Reciprocating Saw
You’re required to place the reciprocating saw horizontally. These tools work using “reciprocating” motion, similar to chainsaws. The motor is constantly moving the blade in a “push and pull” motion.
Typically, reciprocating saws include a variable speed adjustment feature that allows you to adapt the tool to the work you’re completing at the moment. You can switch the blade to be able to work on other materials. It’s possible to find blades that work better on metal or concrete, for instance.
Working Mechanism of a Jigsaw
Unlike reciprocating saws, jigsaws have vertical blades, which are located in the “shaft” the motor has control over in an up-and-down motion. Some jigsaws possess variable cutting speeds. Lower speeds mean that the Jigsaw may be unable to cut through thicker material.
You can find different blades that can help you complete different tasks. However, metal blades tend to have a better performance than other blade types.
Main Difference Between a Reciprocating Saw and a Jigsaw
Besides the appearance and way of functioning, reciprocating saws and jigsaws have several other differences that make them more appropriate for specific jobs. For instance:
- A reciprocating saw works better in heavy-duty applications and rough cuts. Therefore, they are not meant to be used as precision tools.
- A jigsaw is better for intricate cuts, allowing you to cut through different materials with precision. Plus, they’re relatively easy to use.
- If you need a tool that helps you with tasks that are not related to the finish of the product (demolition, for instance), a reciprocating saw is a better option.
- Again, jigsaws are more appropriate for accurate cuts, whether they are circular, parallel, or in any other form. With enough practice, you will be able to make 45-degree bevel cuts.
- Reciprocating saws are very powerful tools. You can use them to cut through anything that comes to your mind, including but not limited to metal, wood, plastic, and concrete.
- Jigsaws are more delicate tools without too much power. They can be useful but can only cut through thin materials, like plywood, plastic, and thin metal sheets.
Although many people insist on categorizing jigsaws and reciprocating saws in the same niche, the truth is that both tools are meant to be used in different applications. Reciprocating saws can be excellent for demolition and similar heavy-duty jobs, while jigsaws can be helpful for precise cuts.
Understanding the differences between each option can help you find the most appropriate option for you in less time. Still, both are tools capable of working at variable speeds, making them appropriate for distinct applications.
Comparison of Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw
Here we compare each of the aspects that compose the power tools of the title. Each one is good in its own way for certain applications, but here’s what you can expect from each other once you start using them in their respective applications.
Jigsaws don’t possess that much power compared to reciprocating saws. However, it is possible to find jigsaws that cut through concrete, although those are very specific models.
Hence, if you need a more “powerful” tool that can cut through any material, maybe you should get a reciprocating saw. On the other hand, if the job you have at hand requires more detail, you should opt for a jigsaw.
Speed and Accuracy
Jigsaws are less powerful than reciprocating saws, but they tend to be more accurate. On the other hand, reciprocating saws tend to have variable speeds, allowing you to adjust the tool to the material you’re working with at the moment.
Typically, you can change the blades of a reciprocating saw so you can cut through the material you’re working with smoothly. The same happens with jigsaws.
However, keep in mind that jigsaws are only capable of cutting through relatively thin material but have more precision. On the other hand, the blades of a reciprocating saw can cut through thick material with ease, regardless of whether it is metal, wood, or even concrete.
Both tools have similar performances. It all depends on the applications you’re using them and the particular product you’re using them. Of course, you can’t expect a reciprocating saw to have a good performance while trying to make precision cuts with it.
You can’t also expect a jigsaw to cut through thick material. Hence, both tools should have relatively good performances as long as you use them for their main purpose.
Types of Cuts
Reciprocating saws are better for overhead cutting, demolition, remodeling, and similar applications. You can use them for vertical and horizontal cuts, thanks to their way of functioning. Plus, the variable speed adjustments allow you to take advantage of them even more.
On the other hand, a jigsaw is more appropriate for intricate cuts that require special detail. Although they can also be useful for stencil cutting, precise cutting is the main purpose of a jigsaw.
Both tools are equally versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. For instance, reciprocating saws can be used for demolition, remodeling, and similar applications. On the other hand, a jigsaw is more appropriate for precision cutting, allowing you to complete more intricate jobs and tasks.
Firstly, reciprocating saws are intended to be used in heavy-duty applications, such as demolitions and certain remodeling tasks. You can also use them for DIY projects and other small applications, making them quite versatile.
On the other hand, a jigsaw is meant for very specific applications. You may want to use them if you’re looking for a tool that helps you with precision cuts. You can also use them for stencil cutting and many other tasks, either in metal, wood, or other materials.
Comfort and Convenience
Both tools are quite comfortable to use once you get used to them. They are quite lightweight and quite uncomplicated to use, depending on the project that you’re trying to complete.
Still, keep in mind that you may need more experience while using a jigsaw if you’re trying to use it for specific projects. As they’re meant to be used for intricate cuts, you may need to practice for a while before you can achieve the results you want.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind what the final result will be, a reciprocating saw is more appropriate for you. These tools are meant for heavy-duty applications and can perform vertical and horizontal cuts, allowing you to complete diverse tasks with the same tool.
Pros and Cons of a Reciprocating Saw
- It’s a lightweight tool that is easy to use.
- It can cut through most types of materials, including metal, plastic, wood, and concrete.
- You can adjust the stroke, speed, and other aspects in most models.
- It’s excellent for demolition, remodeling, and even overhead cutting.
- It can only make rough cuts.
- It’s not useful for tasks that require special detail.
Pros and Cons of a Jigsaw
- It’s useful for intricate cuts, including bevel cuts and similar applications.
- It can cut through different materials, such as wood, plastic, ceramic, and even thin metal.
- They’re lightweight and quite uncomplicated to use.
- You can find cordless and corded jigsaws, depending on your needs.
- Jigsaws are not appropriate for heavy-duty jobs like demolition.
- You may not be able to make flush cuts the right way.
When to Choose a Reciprocating Saw?
You should choose a reciprocating saw whenever you need to perform heavy-duty tasks or cut through thicker materials, like concrete or wood. If you need a tool that helps you complete electrical or pipework projects, a reciprocating saw is the best choice you can make.
Still, you can also use reciprocating saws for DIY projects and small home repairs. These tools are quite versatile and can be used for tons of purposes.
When to Choose a Jigsaw?
You should choose a jigsaw when the task you’re trying to complete requires special detail. Jigsaws cannot cut through very thick material, but you will be able to polish the finish so it looks as perfect as possible once you’ve completed the job. Furthermore, jigsaws are excellent for stencil cutting.
Which One Should you Get?
It depends on what you’re trying to complete. For instance:
- You should get a Jigsaw if you’re trying to cut curves and detailed shapes. You may have to practice for a while before you can achieve the results you want if you haven’t used one of these tools yet. You can use this tool to cut and round the tabletop edges, for instance.
- On the other hand, reciprocating saws are more appropriate for demolition work. You can use this tool to cut through very thick material. For instance, reciprocating saws are commonly used in plumbing or during the manufacturing of door or window frames.
This post has explained the differences between a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw. Although both tools are quite useful, they’re meant for different applications. It’s common for people to be confused and think they have the same purpose, as they’re often put in the same category.
If the task you have requires special detail, maybe a jigsaw could be a good option. On the other hand, if you don’t mind if the end result looks a bit “destroyed” afterward, maybe a reciprocating saw is the best option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is Better? Jigsaw or a Reciprocating Saw?
Neither option is better than the other as it depends on what your intention is. For instance, jigsaws are better for more intricate jobs that require special detail, while reciprocating saws are better for heavy-duty applications, such as demolition.
Can you Rip with a Reciprocating Saw?
Of course! Reciprocating saws are excellent for ripping, especially because that’s part of their primary purpose. You can use them to cut and rip through thick material, such as wood or metal, to achieve the results you need.
Can a Jigsaw Cut a Straight Line?
Yes. You can use jigsaws to cut straight or curved lines. It’s possible to do so in different materials, including plywood and metal. Since it is quite easy to use, it may be a good option for first-timers.
How Thick of Wood can a Jigsaw Cut?
Typically, a jigsaw can cut through 1″ or 1/2″ thick. When it comes to hardwood, it may be able to cut through 3/4″ thick.
How Thick of Wood can a Reciprocating Saw Cut?
It depends on the blade. Typically, a 0.035-inches blade will allow you to perform standard cuts. The blades of a reciprocating blade tend to vary in thickness, allowing you to conduct different tasks. For instance, a short blade that has a tapered back can help you with plunge-cutting tasks.
On the other hand, a blade 0.05 inches thick may be more stable but should be able to cut through most materials with ease.