Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw: Which is Best for the Job

There is no doubt that you need the right type of saw if you want to finish your woodworking projects in the best way possible. For most people, having a good woodworking studio at home has become a necessity. But you need to choose the best equipment from hundreds of options. Reciprocating saws and jigsaws are two types of saws that most people get confused between.

Both types of saws have become pretty popular in the last few years, and there is an increasing demand among Americans. But how do you understand which is the best for the job? We had the same doubt when we started with woodworking, but our ideas are clear now. To help you get out of this misery, we have prepared a comparison between a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw.

In the article, we shall compare different aspects like power, ease of use, and recommended scenarios for the two types.

Main Differences Between Reciprocating Saws and Jigsaws

Let’s talk about reciprocating saws and jigsaws first.

What is a Reciprocating Saw?

A reciprocating saw comes with a horizontal blade that resembles the original design of hacksaws. Because of their generic design, reciprocating saws are great for various needs. For example, you can use it for various cutting and trimming projects with ease. In addition, compared to the other type, they are lightweight and do not have a bulky design, per se. So, carrying a reciprocating saw around for multi-surface use will be easier than you think.

Reciprocating saws are pretty popular among woodworkers who are into tasks like remodeling, demolition, overhead cutting, etc. You can also choose between different stroke lengths based on the purpose. Last but not least, you do not need much expertise to get started with a reciprocating saw. On the flip side, a reciprocating saw is not a good choice for cutting works requiring precision. As a result, you might end up having rough cuts on the material.

What is a Jigsaw?

A jigsaw comes with a vertical blade and comes with a complex design philosophy. Unlike a reciprocating saw, a jigsaw is not that powerful. Therefore, you cannot use this piece of equipment on rigid objects. On the other hand, if you are dealing with plastic, plywood, or thin metal sheets, jigsaws are the go-to option in the market. You need a jigsaw instead of a reciprocating saw if you want to get advanced precision cuts like curved, cross, and bevel cuts.

Even though they are not made for heavy-duty work, jigsaws are bulkier. It happens due to the complex design that we talked about. Fortunately, you can find corded and cordless jigsaws in the market, giving you freedom as per the project. We recommend getting a jigsaw only when you upgrade to a complex project. Beginner-level woodworkers can live without a jigsaw. Again, if you want to get started with precision cuts and the best control, you must have this type of saw with you.

As you can see, the differences have to deal with the desired project and the control you need during all the steps.


What Are Saws Used For?

Saws, even though they belong to different categories, are used for various tasks. Woodworking, demolition, carpentry, flooring, cutting, trimming, and cutting are areas where you can find saws. Based on the nature of the project, different saws are chosen. For instance, you need a jigsaw if you are looking for carpentry and designing works requiring precision, whereas hacksaws are generally great for demolition work.

Not all saws can work with all surfaces, though. For instance, you may need a heavy-duty saw if you want to work on tiles or metal sheets.


What Is A Power Saw, and When Is It Used?

A power saw is a type of saw that is powered by electricity. Based on the model, a power saw could use a battery or a power plug. While ordinary saws require manual power from the woodworker/user, power saws work with the single press.

Power saws can be found in different categories such as orbital saws, table saws, band saws, panel saws, track saws, chop saws, radial arm saws, reciprocating saws, and jigsaws.

How Do I Decide Between a Reciprocating Saw vs. A Jigsaw?

You should consider the specifics of the model before choosing any saw. However, if we are allowed to oversimplify, we can recommend a method.

You should choose a reciprocating saw if you want to cut/trim different materials. However, the saw might not provide you with the best precision or control. More importantly, you may end up rough in the end. Reciprocating saws are the best choice when you want heavy-duty performance all day. They are small and lightweight as well.

You should go for a jigsaw if precision is more important to you than power. You can use jigsaws on only the delicate kind of materials like plastic and plywood. Even though jigsaws are expensive and heavy, the design focuses more on maneuverability and precision. Therefore, we do not recommend using the saw for needs like demolition.


How Much Does a Jigsaw Cost Vs. a Reciprocating Saw?

Nowadays, you do not have trouble finding jigsaws and reciprocating saws from different price brackets. But if you want to focus on trusted brands and build quality, there are some ideas you can follow.

You can get a jigsaw by spending anywhere between $30 to $200. So, on average, you must be ready to pay an amount of $70 for a good jigsaw. A product in the price range must offer advanced precision, among other things.

As you can see, you have to pay for the advanced features and power you are looking for. On the other hand, you may have to spend between $20 and $1000 for a reciprocating saw. You can also find hybrid saws that cost a lot.



Now that you know the differences between a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw, will you not be able to make the right pick? You may also have noticed that the wrong type of saw can land you in trouble. For instance, you do not want to use a jigsaw for precision cuts and vice versa.

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