Reciprocating Saw Vs Jigsaw

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Reciprocating saws and jigsaws operate in a similar way but there are some key differences between the two. If you are interested in woodworking and looking to buy one of these for your next project, here are the most important differences you need to know:


A Reciprocating Saw is more powerful and used for big projects such as remodeling, pruning trees and demolition. It can cut through steel and several tougher materials with ease.

To get a more in depth look at how to use these tools for your projects, check out my favorite woodworking program: Teds Woodworking – The best on the internet.

Skilsaw SPT44-10

One of the best reciprocating saws Skilsaw SPT44-10 (opens in a new tab)” href=”” target=”_blank”>this Skilsaw SPT44-10 here that comes with a powerful 15-amp motor. I like this one because it has great vibration suppression and the power is very constant.

The orbital mode lets you cut faster while the variable speed dials help you cut specialized materials. It’s made from aluminum, so it weighs only 11.3 pounds and comes with a well-designed carrying case.

See the current price of the Skilsaw here.

If you have a small workshop and planning to cut small sheets of wood or tiles, a jigsaw can serve your purpose however if your project is huge and requires tough and powerful blades, a reciprocating saw is the best choice.

A Jigsaw blade reciprocates also but it is not as robust as the reciprocating saw. It is generally used to cut sheet materials, wood, ceramic tiles and table tops to get the desired size and shape.

BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw Smart Select

If you have one or a few small woodworking projects on hand and looking for a Jigsaw tool, BLACK+DECKER makes a good choice. This tool has only 5 amps, pretty standard but does the job well. It’s low cost but will hold up well over time.

See the current price of the BLACK+DECKER here.

Speaking of woodworking, my favorite resource for projects is definitely Teds Woodworking. Check it out here for lessons and project ideas, they have 100s.

It is important to determine the purpose of your project before making any buying decision.


The blades used in the reciprocating saws are powerful, protrude straight out of the tool and made out of steel, tungsten carbide or bimetal. While the blades are generally longer, there are shorter ones available too.

However, given the purpose for which reciprocating saws are used, the longer blades are usually in demand and more preferred. These saws are largely used in electrical, plumbing and construction projects since the thick blades can easily cut through fiberglass, metal, wood, stone and drywall.

Jigsaw blades are similar to the ones used in the reciprocating saws. They are also made up of tungsten carbide, bimetal or steel but they are not as strong as the reciprocating blades. They are fragile, narrower and best suited for plunge cutting, crosscutting, ripping and bevelling.

They can cut through a range of materials such as ceramic, wood, plastic and light metals. They can make sharp cuts, are designed for versatility and truly do the magic for your woodworking projects.


Obviously, the stronger and larger ones cost you more. Reciprocating saws cost you anywhere between $100-$200, depending upon the brand you go for. On the other hand, jigsaws are relatively cheaper and available for affordable prices on Amazon. Check out the main selection here.

However, when looking to buy a saw, do not look at the pricing alone. A good product definitely costs a bit more but you will be getting quality for your money. Compare the product features and prices before buying.

Cutting style

Both reciprocating and jigsaw blades oscillate but the difference lies in the way they reciprocate while cutting. While the blades of the reciprocating saws oscillate horizontally, jigsaw blades move back and forth vertically.

However, since the blades of both the saws are made of steel, tungsten carbide or bimetal, you will need to take care of them in the same manner.

When to use Reciprocating Saw/Jigsaw

Try to remember that a reciprocating saw helps you cut through strong and tough materials quickly. It is more of a demolition tool that enables you to remodel your garage or kitchen with the least effort. You can use the full power of the blades and get rid of anything that gets in your way.

They are more of heavy duty tools and are not a basic or necessary tool to have in your workshop. However, it would be great to have one if you’ve been using saws for quite sometime and are confident of taking on larger projects. The saw also comes in handy if you have a yard or garden where pruning of plants and trees is often required.

Jigsaws, on the other hand are less powerful but offer precision cuts. If woodworking is your hobby and you often work on small projects that require exact, curved and sharp cuts, a jigsaw is a must-have in your workshop. Band saw and Scroll saw also do the job but they are large and take up quite a big space.

Jigsaws can be used to cut holes in any part of the material. Since they are handheld tools, you can place them anywhere on the material you are cutting and get the cut and holes required for your project. The tool is portable, occupies negligible space in your workshop and is highly reliable for simple projects.

It is also easy to get stared with this cutting tool; you require minimal experience to begin using a jigsaw. This tool is the perfect option if you are looking to cut signs precisely. Just trace the letters on the wood and gear the saw around the sign lines. Since it is designed to do precision and detailed cuts, the look post-work will be remarkable.


Both reciprocating saws and jigsaws come with cordless and corded options. A cordless saw of any kind is portable, so it only depends upon your project type when looking to buy a cutting tool.

Both the saw types are small and light in weight, you will not have any problems when transporting them while working on your project.


Jigsaws score more points when it comes to safety. Reciprocating saws, since are large and come with powerful blades, require better control and demand handling experience. Jigsaws are designed to be smaller, come with shorter blades and are easier to handle. If you are yet to start using a saw, a jigsaw is what you need to begin with. Moreover, it cuts slower hence safer than the reciprocating saw.

Pros and Cons

Reciprocating saws Pros:

They are powerful, designed for bigger demolition projects, come with powerful motors and blades and adjustable cutting speed for better control.

Reciprocating saws cons:

Work done using reciprocating saws look messy. They take on large tasks but cannot be used to make curved or angled cuts. They score low when it comes to precision.

Jigsaws pros:

They can be used for making accurate cuts on a wide variety of materials. They are safe and perfect for beginners looking to try some simple woodworking projects. Jigsaws are best suited for intricate projects that require complex carvings.

Jigsaws Cons:

Jigsaws cannot make flush cuts and need an even surface to rest upon.

So, which one do you choose?

To conclude, both reciprocating and jigsaws are wonderful cutting tools that have made life easier for both wood cutting professionals and hobbyists. While both are valuable additions to your workshop, a jigsaw is like a must-have. A reciprocating saw is only required if you have a pipeline of demolition tasks ahead.

If you are tight on budget and want an inexpensive cutting tool, a jigsaw would be an ideal choice. While a reciprocating saw is useful for contractors and woodworking professionals, a jigsaw can be used by professionals as well as amateurs.

So, go for a reciprocating saw if you have destruction projects on hand and choose a jigsaw if you are looking to create some wonderful art out of wood!

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