Last Updated on July 4, 2020
Choosing between a reciprocating saw or a jigsaw is a tough choice. They both are chart-toppers for versatility and are excellent options for the average homeowner and the professional handyman. Although there is some overlap in what they can do, they each shine in different situations. Let’s do a quick run-through on their design and then look at a few common scenarios to see how they stack up. We hate to tell you, but you may end up needing a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw in your arsenal.
A reciprocating saw gets its name for a reason. A reciprocating saw moves back and forth, in and out. As it moves, its massive tooth-like blade works to break down and cut through the objects in front of it. A reciprocating saw is used for more rough-cutting projects. If you don’t have a detailed or delicate cut to make, you will make fast work with the reciprocating saw. When working with a reciprocating saw, you usually hold it out in front of you with one hand on the handle and another supporting the center base of the saw.
Although a jigsaw is a type of reciprocating saw with the blade anchored only at one end, it sticks out of the bottom of the tool. Jigsaw blades are smaller, narrower, and more fragile than those used in a recip saw but also come in a wide array of styles to match the material you’re working with. You can use a jigsaw out in front of you, but it is more often used while you’re leaning over the work surface.
A jigsaw is considered one of the safest saws on the market. If you follow proper safety protocol and steps while using a jigsaw, there is very low risk for injury. A reciprocating saw, on the other hand, can be a bit dangerous. You will notice that the blade itself is not very well protected, so you are exposed to it while you are cutting. Especially when using a reciprocating saw on demolition or landscaping work, you need to be very aware of where that blade is so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of it.
There is no significant difference in the pricing of these saws that would make price a factor in determining which saw is best for you. Both jigsaws and reciprocating saws are offered in standard versions and high-end models.
One of these saws is not better than the other they are used for very different things. It’s almost impossible to use a jigsaw for some of the same projects you would use a reciprocating saw for and vice versa. Although we usually try to help and find you tools that are versatile and great for a variety of projects, you may end up needing both a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw as part of your saw collection.
Kyle comes from a long line of woodworkers, craftsmen, and carpenters. When he’s not managing SawingPros, Kyle can be found in his workshop, testing and using every type of saw and power tool he can get his hands on. His favorite tool is a horizontal band saw and his favorite wood is maple.