Jigsaw vs Circular Saw: Which One to Choose?

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Whether you’re a professional or an entry-level DIYer, you must have been faced with the question of whether to pick a jigsaw or a circular saw, and you may be wondering if you should get both.

A circular saw is a powerful one that cuts with a circular motion. It can make various cuts through materials such as metal, wood, plastic, and even masonry.

On the other hand, a jigsaw is a power saw that is capable of making precise and intricate cuts at right angles.

There are differences between them in application, design, and operation. Let’s delve right into it.

Design

In its design, a jigsaw is like a sewing machine. Its blade is perpendicular to the saw and cuts in an up and down reciprocal motion. The saw rests on a shoe that enables it to bevel and pivot at different angles to make intricate cuts.

On the other hand, a circular saw has a blade that rotates around an axis at high speeds to make –typically- long, straight cuts. Moreover, it has a blade guard and usually a laser guide to help the user make more accurate cuts. Finally, it has a circular disk that protrudes downwards from the base.

Operation

Also known as a saber saw or a pike saw, a jigsaw is quite easy to operate, and that’s why it’s the choice of many entry-level woodworkers and DIYers. It’s also compact and can be operated one-handedly as the blades are small and unexposed.

Contrarily, the circular saw is a powerful tool that needs both hands to be handled. Otherwise, it may put you at risk of injuries, so safety precautions should be taken strictly.

Cutting Capabilities

Using the right blade, the jigsaw is able to cut through laminate, softwood, plaster, drywall, wood, metal sheets, plastic, ceramic, PVC, and much more.

On the other hand, circular saws can cut through sheet materials, metal, pipes, wood, and more. That’s using their standard blade. But if you want to make more precise cuts, you’ll need 50-60 blade disk or diamond-tipped blades for masonry and other tough materials.

Types of Cut

A jigsaw can make straight, bevel, miter, and even compound cuts. You can also use it to make plunge cuts, carvings, curves, and any type of delicate cuts.

The circular saw is very versatile as it can make straight, long cuts, right-angle bevel cuts, and quite rough beveled rips and many others.

Blade

A jigsaw uses fine, delicate blades that make very precise cuts. However, it can snap easily under pressure. Depending on the jigsaw you buy, you can use T-shank, U-shank blades, or both.

The circular saw uses a disk with several teeth for cutting, and there are various teeth types, including standard steel type, carbide, and diamond blade, among others.

Pros and Cons of a Jigsaw

Pros

Versatile functionality. In the hands of a professional or a seasoned DIYer, the jigsaw can make many cuts with ease and smoothness.

Portability and compactness. Jigsaws are made to be portable and mobile thanks to their lightweight designs. If you buy a battery-powered model, it’ll give you maximum maneuverability and control.

Ability to cut diverse materials. You can change the blade on your jigsaw to match the kind of material you plan to cut.

Cons

Not the most precise. While jigsaws can cut through many materials as well as make a wide range of cuts and designs, it’s not very precise. The chance of error is also increased with the one-handed operation of the saw.

Not very powerful. I’m not saying it lacks power, but rather lacks grit. So if you need a tool that cuts through tough materials quickly, it won’t be the best option.

Pros and Cons of a Circular Saw

Pros

Ideal for straight cuts. If you’re going to cut a lot of plywood sheets and make several long, straight cuts, a circular saw will serve you well. They’re powerful, fast, and deliver cuts with precision.

Capable of cutting different materials. A circular saw can cut through several materials and as long as you use the right blade.

Versatile cutting capabilities. Circular saws are the ideal tools for making straight cuts. But they’re not limited to that as they can also make bevel cuts and smooth angle cuts.

Cons

Not able to make curved cuts. They’re just better at making straight, long ones.

Not very precise. This is a major drawback of a circular saw as they leave splinters at the edges of the material it cuts. Slowly pushing the saw over the material or drawing a line on the workpiece with masking tape can minimize this occurrence.

Safety features are lacking. If you’re not experienced or not very careful, operating a circular saw can be very dangerous. It’s of utmost importance to use the safety features on a saw such as the cutting edge brake and pole lock.

Final Thoughts

There are several differences between a jigsaw and a circular one, and you should know them very well before you choose one over the other. Professionals may need to use both saws for various applications. However, homeowners and casual DIYers may benefit more from a jigsaw.

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