Woodworking Tool Reviews

Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw

Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw

When it comes to cutting there are a variety of power tools available for almost any type of job. Two of the most popular designs are the circular saw and the jigsaw. While they do share some common traits, there are plenty of differences between them. Let's take a closer look at a jigsaw vs circular saw to help determine which one will suit your needs.

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What Do They Do?

Both saws are used to cut into wood and other lightweight materials. Each is capable of working through materials a few inches thick, depending upon the size of the blade installed. A wide range of blades is available for both styles that allow you to match the blade with the material and cut needed.

These powered saws are guided by hand, but guides can be purchased or made that assist with straight cuts. With that being said, there are noted differences that allow each tool to stand out from the other.

Features Of A Jigsaw

The stand-out design element of this power tool is its ability to cut curves. Unlike other types of power cutters, the blade is thin enough that it can be turned at fairly tight turns without jeopardizing the tool or operator. However, due to their small size, jigsaw blades will break during use. This can be caused by the density or thickness of materials worked on, or by excessive turning or bending of the blade.

If you are looking to cut circular patterns or curved cuts, then this tool will win in the jigsaw vs circular saw battle.

Features Of A Circular Saw

Circular saws are noted for their ability to cut through thicker stock more quickly than other types of cutting tools. Also, the side of the blade acts as s sort of edge guide, allowing you to cut straighter than with a jigsaw. While a cut can go off the mark at the start, this saw will usually cut straight once the cut gets going. It uses thicker blades that will cost more than a jigsaw's, but these blades will last a lot longer.

If you are looking to cut thick materials or a straight line, then this power tool will win the jigsaw vs circular saw battle.

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Which Saw Is Safer To Use?

When it comes to safety, jigsaws win over circular saws by far. One reason is that a jigsaw employs a smaller motor. While it has the potential to cut off a finger, it isn't powerful enough to take off your hand. Not only will circular saws be powerful enough to cut through larger bones, the blades they use possess both the strength and the width to take off a hand. Most circular saws use 7 1/4-inch blades or larger and that gives more than enough depth to do some serious damage.

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Which Drill Is More Powerful?

The circular saw is the clear winner here. Due to its design and purpose, this saw needs to be able to cut through thick materials. A jigsaw blade can begin to bind and struggle in stock that is two or more inches in thickness. A circular saw blade is larger, which allows it to move through cuts more quickly than a jigsaw blade. It is also fair to say that the RPMs generated by a circular saw is greater than the maximum reciprocal motion of a jigsaw.

Which Saw Cuts Better?

The answer to that question will depend upon the types of cuts needed.

Bevel Cuts

Most of today's hand powered saws have adjustable shoes that allow you to set the blade to cut at an angle. The winner here would depend upon the material being cut. If the job small and requires delicate cuts, then the jigsaw may be the right tool. Conversely, thick and long cuts are where the circular saw would shine.

Straight Cuts

While a jigsaw in the hands of a proficient user can cut pretty straight, these types of cuts are what a circular saw was designed for. Without a guide, jigsaws will have a tendency to wander off of the line no matter who is operated it. Once a cut is established with a circular saw, it cuts a straight path in relation to the angle it went into the material being worked on.

Circular Cuts

The jigsaw wins here, hands down. A circular saw's blade cannot turn, and attempting to turn the saw once it is cutting can cause binding and would be very unsafe. Jigsaws can turn easily due to the thin blade it is equipped with.

Cutting Curves

Again, the jigsaw is the winner. Even with multiple passes through the material from various angles, a circular saw will not be able to provide you with an edge that meets your needs. The jigsaw, on the other hand, will be your best friend when cutting out curves.

Which Saw Is More Affordable

While prices can vary widely with both types, you will most often pay less for a jigsaw. Their smaller motor and blades cost less to manufacture than a bulkier circular saw with larger blades that are also thicker.

Which Saw Is More Versatile?

The jigsaw edges out the circular saw here. Circular saws are designed to cut straight. Jigsaws can perform a wider variety of cuts. A jigsaw is usually easier to control, allowing you to stop at a marked point. A skilled user can come close with a circular saw, but the cut will often fall short or go longer than the point marked.

Final Thoughts

In the battle of jigsaw vs circular saw, either can outshine the other, depending upon what the job is. If you need a versatile saw that isn't overpowered and is safe to use, pick a jigsaw. If you need power and straight lines, then a circular is what you need.