Scroll Saw vs Jigsaw: Differences Explained

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Unsure whether to pick a scroll saw or a jigsaw for your intricate design? Save yourself time and money by understanding their differences before diving into your project. Dive into this easy guide below and discover which tool is perfect for your crafting needs!

What is a Scroll Saw?

A scroll saw consists of a work table with a central blade similar to a band saw. The saw is equipped with a blade and an arm that extends over the table. As it is not a cordless model, using this saw requires a work table or a separate stand for support.

Porter-Cable PCB375SS Scroll Saw design

How Does a Scroll Saw Work?

A scroll saw has a blade that extends downward until the end of the table. With this reciprocating blade, you can make precise cuts. Push the material into the scroll saw to get the desired cut. 

Unlike other tools, the form of a scroll saw is distinct since it is used for deep cuts and creates complex shapes and designs. 

Uses of a Scroll Saw

This stationary tool is simple to operate and doesn’t produce any noise, which is great for someone just starting. You can develop a deep plunge cut and more detailed designs with more control. Thus, a scroll saw is perfect for home décor and crafts.

(Read more about the uses of a scroll saw here)

operating a Scroll saw

Pros and Cons

What i like

What i don't Like

My Top Jigsaw Recommendations

#1: DeWalt DW788

DeWalt DW788

This model provides simple and intricate cuts, and has a refined design and sturdy construction. It has a cutting quality that is second to none.

#2: WEN 3920

WEN 3920

With a 16-inch throat depth and a motor speed range of 400 to 1600 strokes per minute, you can make delicate and intricate cuts for different projects with this WEN unit. 

#3: Delta Power Tools 40-694 20”

Delta Power Tools 40-694 20”

This well-designed scroll saw can offer simplicity, user-friendliness, and quality. It can cut deeper with the right balance of blade and saw and can greatly help if you plan to make an intricate design.

What is a Jigsaw?

A jigsaw may be the best of the best when it comes to hand-held saws. They offer convenience and versatility, but it’s not the best for intricate cuts. 


With a jigsaw, you don’t have to detach the blade or make any adjustments for cutting.

How Does a Jigsaw Work?

A jigsaw moves in a circular motion, and its blade sticks out of the machine. However, its functional components give it versatility. It has a spring-loaded clamp that can be activated and a trigger that will bring the blade to a stop.

Uses of a Jigsaw

It is ideal for DIY projects because, with the right blade, it can handle curved cuts on plastic, thick wood, metal, particleboard, ceramic tile, and PVC tubing. 

yellow Jigsaw

You can also use it during demolition and remodeling projects, and it takes less space so that you won’t have any problems with storage.

Pros and Cons

What i like

What i don't Like

My Top Jigsaw Recommendations

#1: Bosch JS470E

Bosch JS470E

It is our top pick because it’s easy to use and affordable. Its blade-changing system is great, and the variable speed operation is a breeze.

#2: Black and Decker JS660

Black and Decker JS660

A no-nonsense, budget-friendly jigsaw with a speed dial and seven operating speeds, ‘Smart Select’ technology, and an easy blade changing system that doesn’t require tools. 

#3: DeWalt DCS331M1 (20V MAX)

DeWalt DCS331M1 (20V MAX)

It’s a little more pricey than the others, but it’s worth every penny. This handheld power tool is about mobility and ease of use: it features an excellent 20V MAX battery system, dust blower keeps, and three bevel-degree settings.

What are the Differences Between a Scroll and Jigsaw?

Cutting Depth and Capacity

Both saws’ maximum cutting depth will be determined by various variables, such as the material being cut and its tensile strength [1]. The kind of blade you select will also have an impact.

Because a jigsaw blade is only secured at one end, a larger portion of the blade is exposed when cutting.

Scroll saw blade

As a result, it can cut through thicker materials and go deeper into the material. Jigsaws can cut 4 inches deep, nearly twice as deep as a scroll saw’s depth. 

Types of Cuts

In many cases, scroll saws will be used to make delicate and complicated cuts, and you can use these for various applications. A scroll saw can cut wood and various materials.

In contrast, jigsaws are commonly used to cut straight lines, perfect circles, and curved lines out of wood and other materials. You’ll need a lot of practice with these saws if you want to use them for other types of cutting.


Jigsaws employ a narrow and straight blade, while scroll saws use a thinner blade that is 1/8-inch small. Both saws can be equipped with different blades when cutting different materials for a particular design.

Jigsaw blade

The blades for a scroll saw and jigsaw are both standards, however, the jigsaw blades have either a “T” or “U” part.

Ease of Use

The scroll saw is more difficult to operate than a jigsaw. The blade of a scroll saw is in the open, and if you’re not careful, you may easily injure yourself.

A jigsaw necessitates bringing the blade directly to the material rather than the other way around. Most jigsaws provide an additional layer of safety by including a soleplate for directing the blade and creating curves.

Size and Portability

The jigsaw is a hand-held power tool, and it is often smaller in size to make it possible to handle and more portable. Jigsaws are lighter and more compact than scroll saws.

wood board and scroll saw

There are models available in battery-powered, cordless jigsaw varieties, making them easier to tote anywhere. 

You won’t get the same level of convenience using a scroll saw. And a cordless scroll saw is rare, so you’re limited to utilizing the saw in the garage or workshop, just like a large sewing machine.


Compared to band saws and other equipment, a jigsaw is a more inexpensive option. Scroll saws, on the whole, are more expensive, with good ones costing anywhere from $100 to $500. It is a more expensive saw to produce because of its larger size.

cutting aluminum with a Jigsaw

Compared to a scroll saw, the availability and affordability of jigsaws are increasing. It is possible to get a simple model for about fifty dollars, while the most expensive saws rarely cost more than three hundred dollars.

Which One Should You Buy or Use?

Based on our experience, jigsaws are a great tool if you like a wide range of options. There is no limit to where they can travel because they are hand-held and can cut through any material with the correct blade.

Because of this, jigsaws can cut through thicker materials than scroll saws, as long as you utilize the correct blade length. They can have maximum size blades, but they are more commonly found with blades between 1 and 3 inches long. 

Scroll saw and Jigsaw

On the other hand, a scroll saw is ideal for decorations and crafts since it gives the operator great flexibility and eases the process of creating complex designs and patterns with the use of a scroll saw, such as a jigsaw puzzle.

A scroll saw is your best choice if you need precise and detailed cuts. You don’t need to sand edges because they’re designed to cut cleanly through thin materials.


If you’re a seasoned woodworker, you already know there’s no need to pit the jigsaw against the scroll saw. Both tools have their own magic! The scroll saw shines when you’re aiming for intricate and detailed cuts. 

On the other hand, if you’re just starting out in the DIY world, a jigsaw is your go-to — it’s versatile and user-friendly for all your woodworking adventures.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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