Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw – Main Difference And Uses 2023

In this article, you will learn the key differences between a reciprocating saw vs jigsaw. In addition, helpful tips on using the different types of saws will help you get the best results when working with work-pieces in the workshop. 

A reciprocating saw and jigsaw have a primary function — to cut wooden work-pieces. However, the design, cutting style, and function of these powerful tools are completely different. Therefore, the main consideration when choosing to use a reciprocating saw or jigsaw comes down to one thing — the type of cutting task at hand. 

Reciprocating saw vs Jigsaw

In my experience, you might end up wanting to have both in your workspace. The reason because both serve different purposes and are quite helpful with each of their applications. 

Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw — Pros and Cons at a Glance

 Reciprocating sawJigsaw
PowerThe bestGood
AccuracyPoorExcellent
BladeLarge blades for rippingUse T-shank or U-shank blades
Cutting intricate shapesImpossibleExcellent
Flush cuts in landscapingExcellentImpossible
Variety of materialsYesYes

What is a Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw is a powerful cutting tool with a horizontal blade that “reciprocates” — in other words, it moves backward and forward. The reciprocating blade has large, sharp teeth that make rough cuts in a variety of materials — a piece of wood, drywall, sheet metal, and even brick. 

Also called saber saws or Sawzalls, the rough, toothed blade is primarily for heavy-duty cutting where precise control or accuracy is unnecessary. A reciprocating saw has two grips for stability and safety to get the cutting job done quickly. 

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It comes in both corded and cordless variants. The corded reciprocating saw delivers more power because it connects directly to the main power source. The cordless saw is driven by a battery that makes it more portable than the corded one. 

Even though you can use a reciprocating saw for a variety of applications, each type of material requires a specific type of blade — one for wood, metal, stone, and drywall. 

When You Should Choose a Reciprocating Saw

Using a reciprocating saw depends on the types of materials you must cut. Typically, this type of saw is a tool for demolition work, slicing through lumber, or roughly cutting wood or other materials. First, let’s look briefly at when you should use a reciprocating saw. 

A reciprocating saw is a demolition tool

The saber saw is the go-to tool for demolition purposes. You can easily insert a demolition blade that is thick and strong with a high number of teeth. This type of blade will easily cut through a variety of materials, including concrete, brick, wood, and metal.

Use a reciprocating saw for landscaping

A reciprocating saw is a great alternative to using a chainsaw to cut tree limbs and branches. If you choose a cordless model, you will be free to go where you need to in your yard to trim and prune shrubs and trees.

Various DIY projects

A reciprocating tool is a versatile tool for various projects around the home. For example, the handheld power tool is useful for cutting through metal and PVC pipes, cutting lumber into smaller pieces, or slicing through masonry. 

What is a Jigsaw?

The uses of the jigsaw

A jigsaw is a type of reciprocating saw — only for more accurate precision cutting. The jigsaw blade is at right angles to the power tool, therefore, cuts in an upward and downward motion.

Additionally, the blade has finer teeth and is relatively thin, allowing you to cut intricate shapes and curves.

When choosing between reciprocating vs jigsaw, the position and size of the blade is the main difference between both. The blade in the jigsaw is positioned at the bottom at a 90-degree angle. It’s also more compact than the blade of a reciprocating saw. 

When a Jigsaw is the Best Choice

If you have to make precision crosscuts, intricate curved shapes in wood, or rip cuts, a jigsaw is perfect. The thin jigsaw blade and fine teeth allow for cutting wood with accuracy. Additionally, you can change the types of blades on the jigsaw to easily cut through different materials.

Use a jigsaw to create intricate shapes

A jigsaw is the best choice when you need to make precise cuts with accuracy. The thin blade allows you to cut lettering for signs or other patterns with curves and straight lines. Additionally, some top-quality jigsaws have a laser guide to increase cutting accuracy.

Jigsaws are ideal for cutting circles

Most of the saws fail when it comes to circle cutting. whereas, the jigsaw is best suited to cut circles. It makes the cut so perfectly to achieve the level of accuracy in a circle shape. You can somehow use a reciprocating saw for this purpose, but high-level precision can’t be achieved with it. 

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Use a jigsaw for detailed woodwork

Jigsaw has the ability to make cuts of ½ inch deep at a 45-degree angle. It is an excellent tool to be used for detail work and tiny cuts. You can get the work in addition to achieving high accuracy and precision. 

Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw — Pros and Cons

When comparing a reciprocating saw vs jigsaw, it’s impossible to say which one is best. Like any basic power tool in the workshop, each has its own use and function. This means you must choose the right tool for the right job. 

The best way to compare the differences between jigsaws and reciprocating saws is to look at their pros and cons. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

Reciprocating saw

  • Blade replacement is straightforward and easy
  • Suitable for heavy-duty work, basic demolition tasks, and home improvement projects
  • A versatile tool for cutting tough materials
  • Variable speeds allow for a wide variety of cuts
  • Make a variety of tasks in the workshop or yard much easier
  • Convenience — use in a variety of projects, including cutting brick, wood, drywall, and metal
  • Portable

    Jigsaw

    • Ideal for creating accurate and precise cuts on sheet materials
    • Ideal for working in tight spots
    • It makes crosscuts, bevel cuts, and curved cuts and is perfect for ripping
    • Cuts precise vertical angles — up to 45-degree angles
    • Portable, especially if you choose a cordless jigsaw

      Cons

      • Unsuitable for precision cutting
      • It can be a dangerous tool if not used safely 
      • Not as powerful as reciprocating saws
      • The thinner blades tend to break more often than other saws
      • Unsuitable for heavy-duty jobs
      • Not practical for cutting lumber or using in landscaping

      Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw — Features 

      When a Jigsaw is the Best Choice

      A reciprocating saw and jigsaw are excellent power tools for various DIY jobs around the home. However, the saber saw (reciprocating) is more useful for heavy-duty work like plumbing, construction, landscaping, and demolition. In contrast, a jigsaw is better for making accurate cuts and cutting complex shapes.

      Let’s look at the features you expect to find on these saws. 

      Blade

      Both types of saws have several blade options, depending on the type of material you are cutting. Usually, the blade speed is controlled by a variable speed trigger. However, most DIYers use the saw at full speed when cutting. 

      One key difference is that a jigsaw comes with a U-shank or T-shank blade. However, most modern jigsaws only have an attachment for T-shank blades. 

      A reciprocating saw has more blade choices than a jigsaw because there are options for cutting concrete, metal, brick, tree limbs, plastic, and fiberglass. 

      Materials

      A jigsaw and reciprocating saw are useful handheld tools for cutting various materials. The type of material you can cut depends greatly on the choice of blade. However, a jigsaw tool is usually limited to cutting wood and metal. 

      One of the differences between a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw is its blade guard and shoe. This goes flush with the surface and increases stability and precision when cutting straight lines or various shapes on wood.

      Versatility

      Both types of saws are exceedingly versatile for DIY projects. However, no single tool can be used for all types of cutting. As a general rule, use a reciprocating saw for heavy-duty, rough cutting where precision is not important. But use a jigsaw when you need to cut wood with precision. 

      Convenience 

      A jigsaw and reciprocating saw make cutting various types of wood much easier. All you need to do is choose the right tool for the task. However, cordless options for these power tools will give you even more convenience. This means you are no longer limited by the length of an extension cord.

      Safety

      One of the key differences between the two saws is safety. Because a jigsaw has a shoe and a blade guard, there is little risk of causing serious injury.  However, there is no guard on the blade of a reciprocating saw, making it riskier and more dangerous to use. 

      Of course, when using any power tool, safety gear is a must. Therefore, remember to wear protective clothing, eye protection, and sturdy footwear. 

      Features of Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw

       Reciprocating sawJigsaw
      Various blade optionsYesYes
      Blades to cut wood and metalYesYes
      Blades to cut concrete, brick, and drywallYesNo
      Cordless optionsYesYes
      Variable speedsYesYes
      Blade guardNoYes

      Head-to-Head — When to Use Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw

      The choice between a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw depends on two things. First, the type of material you are cutting. And second, the accuracy of the cut. Generally, a jigsaw is best for making precise cuts in wood or metal. At the same time, a reciprocating saw is better suited for heavy-duty work like plumbing, construction, landscaping, and demolition.

      Here is a helpful comparison chart to help you decide which tool to use.

       Reciprocating sawJigsaw
      Demolition workYesNo
      Cutting through tough materialsYesYes
      Cutting high-up placesYesNo
      Pruning treesYesNo
      Cutting intricate shapesNoYes
      Remodelling workYesNo
      Cutting concrete and brickworkYesNo
      Installing countertopsNoYes
      Cutting large sheets of materialNoYes
      Jigsaws are ideal for cutting circles

      Main Difference Between Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw

      The biggest difference between a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw is their blade type. A jigsaw uses a blade that cuts in an upward and downward motion, usually at right angles to the cutting surface. On the other hand, a reciprocating saw has a blade that is straight with the cutting tool. This moves in a forward and backward motion. 

      Therefore, the biggest difference between the two saws is precision. 

      When You Should Choose a Reciprocating Saw

      A reciprocating saw is the go-to choice for heavy-duty work like plumbing, construction, landscaping, and demolition. It is also great for making rough cuts in materials like concrete, metal, brick, tree limbs, and plastic. Also, if you have to cut above your head height, a reciprocating saw is better than a jigsaw. 

      When a Jigsaw is the Best Choice

      A jigsaw is the best choice when making precise cuts in wood or metal. Its blade guard and shoe provide stability and accuracy when cutting straight lines or various shapes in wood. It is also great for making curved cuts and intricate designs. Additionally, a jigsaw is ideal for working with thin and delicate materials such as plywood, ceramic tile, particle board, and plastic laminate.

      FAQ’s-Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw

      1.What does a reciprocating saw do vs jigsaw?

      Reciprocating saw is a big beast when it comes to tearing apart tough materials. Unlike jigsaw, it’s not used to make delicate cuts but heavy cuts. You can you this sturdy tool to deal with materials like hardwood, ceramics, tiles, and metals, etc. 

      2. How a reciprocating saw works?

      Its blade has reciprocating (inward and outward) motion that cuts the sturdy materials effortlessly. All you need is to hold it from both hands. Put one hand on the upper handle with a trigger and the other on the back handle.

      Make sure to have a tight hold on the tool because it creates a lot of movement and vibration that makes it a bit hard to handle. In the end, turn the power on and start making the cuts. 

      3. How to put a blade in a jigsaw?

      To start with, take off the blade that is fitted to the saw. Loosen up the screws to release it from the stronghold.

      Then take the blade out and insert the new one you’ve already chosen as per your project requirement. Once you’ve inserted the blade, tight the screws and boom! Your saw is ready to use. 

      Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw — Conclusion

      In conclusion, a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw are great tools for cutting various materials. However, the choice of which one to use depends on the material type and the accuracy required. For example, a jigsaw is best for making precise cuts in wood or metal. At the same time, a reciprocating saw is better suited for heavy-duty work, including pruning trees and cutting brick, concrete, wood, or metal. 

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