Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw – How to Know Which One You Need

When it comes to power saws, there is rarely anything as versatile as the jigsaw and the circular saw. Both of them can help you with almost any kind of woodworking project. Though closely similar in function, the jigsaw and the circular saw have their differences.

A beginner’s common mistake is hastily choosing between a jigsaw and a circular saw, not taking into account their individual features and capabilities. If you want to get the best power saw for your woodworking kit, you need to understand the differences between the jigsaw vs. circular saw. To help you with that, read the guide below.

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Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw: Differences in Features and Function


The jigsaw has gained a great reputation among woodworkers for being able to perform a wide range of cuts on plenty of materials. Like the jigsaw, the circular saw is also known for its versatility. It can cut through metal, masonry, plastic, and more. However, it is a misconception to say that you can use a jigsaw in the stead of a circular saw and vice versa. Before buying a power saw, it might help to know their features and function.


Blade

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Jigsaw: This power saw makes use of a long, thin blade like that with a serrated knife. Because of this, it is sometimes known as a saber saw. When cutting using the jigsaw’s blade, a rapid downward motion is necessary. All jigsaw blades are made from high-speed steel, hardened steel, or bimetal composite metals.

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Circular saw: There’s a reason this saw is called circular. Its blade is circular in form. Most blades of the circular saw come with 24 teeth. However, there are also those with about 60 teeth. This cutting disc rotates quickly to make long straight cuts. This cutting motion gave the circular another name, the buzzsaw.  It is considered sharper than the jigsaw blade and should be handled with extra care.


Design

Jigsaw: The jigsaw is a handheld power saw shaped like a sewing machine. The shoe or the metal base is used to make sure that the blade is fixed at the right angle. The blade protrudes from the shoe, and its teeth are angled upwards. Above the shoe is the blade roller guide. This gives the blade support. The on-off switch, lock-on button, orbital action dial, and variable speed dial are all located near the handle for easy manipulation.

Circular saw: The circular saw is largely made of the rotation blade. Around the rotation blade is the retractable guard which you can adjust to expose a part of the blade. To secure the blade when unused, it also has a pole lock. Most circular blades come with a laser guide to make sure that you are following the cutting path correctly. The switch lock and the on-off switch are located on the handle.


Styles and Sizes

Jigsaw: The jigsaw blade design changes depending on the kind of cut you want to make and the material you want to cut. Some jigsaw blades include the progressive tooth blades, U-shank blades, reverse tooth blades, and the standard tpi blades. When choosing which style and size of blade to use, you just have to remember that the fewer the teeth, the faster the cut will be. The smaller the teeth, the smoother the cut you will make.

Circular saw: Like the jigsaw, there are also different blade styles and sizes for the circular saw. The standard blade is the 24-tooth blade. This blade works best with wood. There is also the diamond blade for cutting masonry, the fine tooth carbide for cutting pipes, and metal cutting blade for cutting iron and thin metal.


Operation

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Jigsaw: Operating the jigsaw is easy enough. You just need to push it forward and into the material. The jigsaw tends to bounce over, so if you’re making a cut, guide it by twisting its back to the opposite direction of the blade’s chosen route. Keep the blade aligned with your cut line.

Circular saw: Push the saw into the material to keep on cutting it. However, since the blade is sharp, you need to handle it with great care. Avoid pushing too hard. When you do, the motor speed will decrease, and the blade will be bound.


Types of Cut

Jigsaw: The jigsaw is usually used in making curve cuts. However, you can also use it when making intricate cuts, cross cuts, and inclines. You can also use it to make slanted slices. You just need to use the right blade and the right technique.

Circular saw: The circular saw can make smooth angle cuts, rough beveled rips, right-angle bevel cuts, and more. You can also use it to make straight cuts with or without a cutting guideline.


Materials It Can Cut

Jigsaw: You can use the jigsaw to cut different materials including hardwoods, soft woods, plywood, particleboard, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, and countertops. Just remember to pick the right blade.

Circular saw: Cut through sheet materials, wood, metal, masonry, roofing, and pipes with the circular saw. Again, be careful in choosing the right blade for the right material.


Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw: Comparisons on Capabilities


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The jigsaw was invented in 1946 by Albert Kaufmann. He designed it by replacing the sewing machine needle with a saw blade. It is easy to learn to use this saw. For this reason, it’s one of the top picks among beginners. You can use it in accomplishing a wide number of projects including:

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    DIY table
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    Cabinets and magazine rack
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    Wooden cutting board
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    Cover for speakers and other equipment
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    Marquee with metal edge
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The circular saw was invented in the 18th century and was commonly used in sawmills. Its sharp teeth make it a reliable tool for performing several projects including:

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    Furniture
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    Cabinets and racks
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    Plastic bag saver
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    Wooden tool box

Conclusion


Without any background with the jigsaw and the circular saw, it will be difficult to pick which one to buy. The key is knowing each of their features, function, and capabilities. Have you decided which one you’re going to buy yet? Let us know which power saw you bought and why you’ve bought it in the comments section below.


References


Ethan Johnson
 

I’m Ethan Johnson. I’m a mechanical engineer, and I’m passionate about Home Improvement. I hope my skills and experience can help you remodel your home by turning simple, inexpensive, and innovative ideas into easy tasks that you can DIY! So no need to go too far, just read on and you’ll be ready to get the ball rolling.

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