A jigsaw and a circular saw are two staple power tools in your workshop for both experts and beginners. The shape of the saws are distinct and they are used for different projects and lines. To make sure you don’t make the wrong cuts with the wrong tool, our team will illustrate the difference between the jigsaw vs circular saw and probably help you which you need to buy first.
Jigsaw vs Circular Saw
Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these indispensable tools to understand the differences between the two.
What is a Jigsaw
A jigsaw is usually of a smaller profile compared to circular saws. A jig saw has a narrow and thin blade that is held in place in a vertical position. Workers use jigsaws for a curved cut due to the easy maneuverability. Also due to the smaller and more compact profile, a jigsaw is more suited for more intricate and detailed types of cuts.
Since they can be smaller when compared to circular saws like the Dewalt DCS391B, they are usually more lightweight as well. Other than more detailed and complex cuts, jigsaws can also make long straight cuts like a disk-shaped saw can. But to do this, you need to ensure your jigsaw blade has the pendulum option, making it not ideal for to making long cuts. This feature allows the blade to make cuts with both an up and down as well as a back and forth movement.
Purpose Of A Jigsaw
The purpose of jigsaws and circular saws comes down to the detail and complexity of the job. The key is to use jigsaws when you need the utmost accuracy. Just to give you an idea, our experts say jigsaws like the Skil-4495-02 we reviewed are the tools to turn to for bevel cuts, straight, plunge and if you need to make curved cuts. When it comes to creating precise cuts, jigsaws even exceed scroll saws. You can get the best results if you use a stencil that usually accompanies this tool.
Jigsaws can come in both corded and cordless options to suit your needs. Our team advises the cordless options for a smaller workshop or for more portability and a corded option for longer performance.
What is a Circular Saw
As the name suggests, a disk-shaped saw has a circular blade. You’re looking at anywhere between 85mm to 250mm in width, with a lot more power than a jigsaw would offer. Circular saws are excellent for powering through materials and make straight lines. There are even top circular saws with dust collection making your work clutter-free. The RPM or revolutions per minute  of disk-shaped saws can vary, with ones reaching speeds of 6500 RPM. That is a lot of power, which makes them slice through quickly.
However, also due to the power, a disk-shaped saw won’t be able to give you the intricacy and accuracy a jigsaw provides. Our team suggests using a blade guide to make sure the disk-shaped saw blade doesn’t veer off course.
Purpose of a Circular Saw
As a very powerful saw, the disk-shaped saw, whether it is a 6 ½ or 7 ¼ circular saw, able to cut through different materials including masonry metal, glass, plastic wood, and more, but you need a different type of saw blade for each. A circular saws is often the first saw DIYers and woodworkers go for. They are excellent for larger jobs such as large wood pieces and can get you a straight cut in the shortest amount of time. more often it is use for home improvement projects.
If you need to cut a beveled, using a circular saw can do the job, but it cannot get you the same precision as the jigsaw for curved cuts. This is why our team recommends the circular saw for projects that are larger scale rather than small ones that requires precision.
Main Differences Between a Jigsaw and Circular Saw
Both of these tools are great choices for a wide variety of materials. They are used in private home workshops and at work sites. The main differences come down to the cutting blade, and what type of cuts you would want to make. It’s always useful to have both types of tools on hand because some projects require differing cutting jobs.
A jigsaw is a more optimal choice to make curved cuts because of the smaller blade. For large pieces, a circular saw is ideal. You can use a circular saw when cutting concrete blocks, for instance. The circular saw is also much more durable with a very robust blade to hold up to the powerful motor and RPMs.
However, don’t believe that a circular saw is only good for cutting and ripping through large piece of timer, but it’s also an excellent tool for angled cuts and the depth can be adjusted as well. A jigsaw can also be used for the same purposes of a circular saw, however it will take at least twice the time and less precision for straight clean cuts.
Our team suggests having both types of saws in your arsenal. They are suited to different materials and can be used to cut curves or straight lines differently depending on your project.
Jigsaw blades are more delicate than those on circular saws. That’s not to say they snap easily, but if pitted against one another, circular saw blades are tougher. On the other hand, even though jigsaw blades are weaker, they are also cheaper to replace.
Circular saws such as a high-powered Rotorazer circular saw also have more blades to choose from to slice through separate types of materials. When you know how to use circular saw in laminating floors, you will be impressed that it can do the job well depending on the blade.
The teeth count on these blades would not be the same with the other. For example, blades for ripping materials have fewer teeth, and ones for cross cutting will have more teeth but they will also be smaller in size. A great tip for longevity and durability of the blade is to look for carbide-tipped options.
Cordless or Corded Saws?
As we mentioned, both types of saws have corded and cordless models, so which should you choose? Knowing which type of saw is only half of the equation.
Our team suggests users to get a cordless option such as the 20-Volt Dewalt DCS331B if you have a smaller workshop and require a lot of movement. Cutting through large pieces of wood but being restricted by a short cable isn’t something you would want. A tool that doesn’t have a cord also presents more options for off-site jobs. These tools are easily portable, but you do have to be aware of the runtime by keeping a close watch on the battery life.
For larger jobs and ones that require a lot of cutting power, our team would advise going for a corded tool. A corded tool is excellent for cutting through thicker and tougher materials such as metals as they tend to possess more power.
You also never have to worry about battery life as long as you are close to a power source. You will be able to cut through more materials and make quick straight cuts easily and one without a cord is usually lighter in weight due to the absence of the battery pack.
(If you are confused about different power tools, you can start with our comparison between circular saws vs table saw here)
What is better a jigsaw or circular saw?
A jigsaw such as the PCE345 from Porter Cable is better than a circular saw if you require to cut curves and precision. Precision is the same area where saber saws fall short of jigsaws. However, we would recommend a circular saw if long and straight cuts are what you need and for larger projects. A jigsaw has more versatility as it can make a variety of differing cuts but a circular saw is better for more materials with exchangeable blades.
When it comes to comparing the circular saw vs jigsaw, our team doesn’t conclude that there is a clear winner because they are geared towards different types of projects. For cutting jobs that are more intricate, the jigsaw is the tool to use. However, if most of your tasks involve large pieces of materials, then a circular saw is the tool for you. If you are a first-time woodworker, our team would suggest adding both jigsaws and circular saws as handy power tools to your workshop.
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