Jigsaw VS Circular Saw: Which Should You Get?

Jigsaw VS Circular saw, can’t decide which one is right for you?

Jigsaws are a great choice if you’re working with thinner materials that require accuracy, they’re also great on a budget.

A circular saw is going to be your best bet when you need to cut through thick materials like butter. You won’t have the precision jigsaws give you, but you will have the power to get tougher jobs done.

If you’re still wondering about the intricate details of the jigsaw vs circular saw debate, you can find everything you need to know below.

Let’s get into it!

What is a Jigsaw Used For?

A jigsaw is a highly powerful power saw that uses a small, thin toothed blade that moves in a back-and-forth motion to cut through materials. It is held easily in one hand and can be used easily by both left- and right-handed people.

The movement of the blade is called a stroke, and it refers to the length that the blade covers when cutting the material. The higher the stroke rate, the more distance it covers as it cuts. 

Jigsaws are best suited to more intricate cutting tasks since they are smaller in stature and can make a variety of cut types with no learning curve.

The jigsaw excels at intricate cuts, beveled cuts, straight cuts, and curved cuts, so it can be used on a number of projects. 

Though smaller than a circular saw, a jigsaw is powerful enough to cut through wood, metal, plastics, and even tiles – though the model and blade type may change to match these materials.

Check out the best jigsaw buying guide.

Benefits of a Jigsaw

  • Can start cuts in the middle of a piece
  • Great for intricate cuts like numbering, lettering, or stencil work
  • Precision cuts are simple with the small blade
  • Blade motion is safer than a circular saw
  • No learning curve – great for beginners
  • One of the best options for cutting curves

Downsides of a Jigsaw

  • Blades break easier than many other saw blades
  • Not as powerful as a circular saw
  • Cutting longer cuts can be more time consuming 
  • Long straight cuts are nearly impossible to achieve without a guide 

What is a Circular Saw Used For?

A circular saw is one of the most popular tools across garages and workshops since it is such a versatile workhorse. It is available in a variety of blade sizes and is therefore quite adaptable for a variety of straight and curved cutting tasks.

Circular saws use large circular blades that spin from the bottom to cut through large pieces of (most commonly) wood. They often reach a depth of two or more inches, making quick work of thicker board pieces. 

A circular saw is a solid choice for beginners as it’s affordable, has a retractable guard blade for safety, and is very simple to learn. It can make a variety of cut types with very simple adjustments to the depth of the blade. 

There are a few different types of circular saws to choose from:

  • Worm drive saws are best for right-handed individuals 
  • Sidewinder saws are best for left-handed individuals due to the placement of the motor 
  • Hypoid circular saws, which have a smaller motor and are less efficient, don’t require oiling and are more convenient to use for that reason

Check out the best corded circular saw buying guide.

Benefits of a Circular Saw

  • One of the few tools with left-handed and right-handed design
  • Ease of adjusting blade depth
  • Requires minimal prep before making cuts
  • Can be outfitted with attachments for different cut types if required
  • Can cut long straight lines with more accuracy 
  • Portable design 

Downsides of a Circular Saw

  • Cut edges are often rough and splintery (i.e., tear-out)
  • Not as safe as the jigsaw 
  • Most don’t have kickback protection if blade pivots 
  • No dust collection
  • Cutting curves is more difficult 

When to Use a Jigsaw Over a Circular Saw

A jigsaw is an essential choice for precision projects like stenciled designs, numbering, and circular or rounded cuts. The jigsaw blade cuts up and down rather than spins, so they are a safer option for beginners with no risk of kickback.

The jigsaw can also reach into tight spaces with a high level of accuracy, which makes them ideal for cutting holes or other shapes out of the middle of a wood piece with just a simple drilled hole to start your cut. 

Jigsaws are commonly used on work sites for complex cutting tasks that require more skill and precision, such as cutting pipes or flooring to fit around curves, corners, and jut-outs from electrical and plumbing appliances. 

Jigsaws can be quite effective for straight lines as well, but they are best for shorter cuts rather than long edges. They’re commonly put to use for complex curved cutting tasks like waves as well since they are high-precision tools.

Jigsaws can also be used in more cramped cutting areas where a circular saw has no hope of fitting. They can cut vertically, horizontally, and in tight spaces with ease. 

When to Use a Circular Saw Over a Jigsaw

A circular saw is needed for the larger cuts on long or wide pieces of wood. Most commonly, this includes applications such as deck building, table or chair building, cutting firewood, and cabinetry when working with wood. 

Circular saws can be used on a variety of material types like hard plastics, masonry (with a diamond blade), and metals, so it is also a good choice for things like cutting tiles for a bathroom or kitchen, cutting bricks to size, or on stone and most types of pipes. 

Circular saws are more powerful than jigsaws, making them better for cutting large or thick pieces of wood. Despite their cutting efficiency, they’re accurate for all types of straight lines. 

Circular saws are recommended over jigsaws for harder materials since they don’t break as easily and operate with greater power and heat while cutting. Circular saws are considered to be safer than jigsaws through thicker, tougher pieces since jigsaw blades break more easily. 

Circular saws are recommended for any cutting job where power is more important than intricacy since allowing a blade to struggle through a material is a safety hazard. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand the differences and real-world applications of circular saws and jigsaws, you can make an informed choice between the two on your next project.

Both of these power saws can be an invaluable tool in your shop, and now you know how and when to use them!

You’re probably ready to buy the right piece of equipment, you can check out the best jigsaws and the best corded circular saws to help guide you.

You can also find more power tool informative guides below:

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