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Differences Between Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw

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There are so many tools woodworkers use for their projects. Depending on the project, a few tools become essential, while many others are not required.

Cutting tools like saws and chisels are ever present in most woodworking activities, since cutting the wood down to size is paramount.

Most people cannot afford all the cutting tools, so they go for the most versatile options that can do many cutting activities. When looking at saws, two of the most popular saws are reciprocating saws and jigsaws.

The jigsaw and reciprocating saws are diverse. Their diversity makes them hugely attractive to professional and DIY lovers.

Selecting between a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw can be tricky since they have slightly varying uses and advantages. However, making the right decision is easier with the complete information about each saw.

Remember that these saws are not the same, and you may find that having the two can be a great advantage.

The two saws share similar mechanisms and power sources. They both come in cordless and corded versions and are handheld. Aside from these apparent similarities, most of their other features are different.

This piece seeks to discuss, differentiate, and show similarities, where possible, between the two saws in question.

Understanding the Saws And Their Function

1. Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw is a saw with a knife-like blade that cuts in a back-and-forth motion. The saw carries many teeth that give it the power and grit to make decisive cuts. The energy in this engine is rated at 3500 rpm.

Such high-capacity engines make it possible to cut heavy logs and for the destruction of structures.

Working Principle

The reciprocating saw moves in a motion to cut with the saws going back and forth. The thin, long blade moves back and forth, powered by the big engine. Cutting becomes easy when you turn on the engine and adjust the speed.


The reciprocating saw’s blade is long and narrow, like a knife. The edge is solid and durable to accommodate the extra power. The blade is unshielded and protrudes from the end out. It is in line with the body, acting like an extended part. The size of the reciprocating saw blade ranges from 4 inches to 24 inches, with the majority under 12 inches.

Cutting Speed

The cutting speed of a reciprocating saw is enabled by the 3500 spm motor it has. This powerful motor allows the teeth to move fast, so it can cut and break any resistance.

When to Use Reciprocating Saw?

While the reciprocating saw may handle many other activities, it is best suited to a few. Due to its power and strength, the saw is ideal for breaking down drywall. It can cut through thick wood logs, heavy materials, and more. There are different types of blades for other materials, and choosing the right style is the first step.

The diversity and strength of the reciprocating saw make it highly attractive to busy professionals and craftspeople.


  • Powerful motor
  • Cuts large materials
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Speed adjustments are available
  • A narrow blade makes cutting in weird positions possible
  • It can cut diverse directions


  • Rough cuts
  • Not ideal for precision works

2. Jigsaw


The jigsaw looks similar to the reciprocating saw with a sturdy handle. However, the blade protrudes downward and is not aligned with the body. The blade is also narrow but doesn’t pack the same power, which is one of the most noteworthy differences.

The jigsaw comes in corded and cordless styles, with soleplates guiding your cuts. This hand-held tool moves downward and upward like the reciprocating saw. The user can hold the one-handed saw in one hand, which is why portability is essential.

How a Jigsaw Works?

The working principle of the jigsaw is like the reciprocating saw as it moves in an upward and downward motion against the forward and backward movement of the other saw.

Put on the saw and adjust the speed before placing the saw blade on the marked point and using the pivoting shoe as a guide. Keeping this show on the materials is a way to maintain control while cutting.

The soleplate allows the craftsperson to put the jigsaw in different positions while maintaining stability.


The blade here is narrow and long. There are also several blade types available depending on the material to cut. Selecting the right blade for the material to cut is vital. The blade is of decent durability and can be used for several activities.

The blade comprises more teeth, which make cuts finer.


This saw is not as powerful, but decent enough to cut clean sides. The jigsaw’s motor power influences the speed and can reach up to 3200 spm.

You can adjust the pace with the help of the variable trigger that increases the speed when it is squeezed. Some jigsaws have speed adjustment dials and knobs that make it even easier.

Again, better speed control here helps to make cleaner cuts.

When to Use a Jigsaw?

The jigsaw is lightweight, with less power than the reciprocating saw. Its smaller and thinner blades make it more precise in straight lines and curves. It can cut circles, fine details, and more. The soleplate attached to the jigsaw helps to improve its accuracy.


  • Great precision
  • Can cut patterns and circles
  • Smaller and easier to use
  • Lightweight
  • Ideal for smaller materials


  • Blades prone to breakage
  • Cannot handle large materials

Also Read:- Jigsaw vs Bandsaw: The Ultimate Guide

Similarities Between Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw

Similarities Between Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw

While many people will be more interested in their differences, their similarities are just as important. The two saws share several similarities.

1. Narrow Blades

The two saws have narrow blades that help them make cuts in awkward positions. Narrow needle-like blades are unique as they dictate the type of material and cut to expect.

2. Variable Speed

Reciprocating saw and jigsaw both have variable speeds. Therefore, you can adjust the speed of the blade to match the required speed to cut different materials.

For example, increasing the squeeze will make it go faster. A trigger by the handle is generally in charge of changing the speed.

3. Hand-held Power Tool

The reciprocating saw and jigsaw are not only hand-held power tools, but are also one-handed. We can only hold them with one hand, so your other hand is free to hold or adjust the material. The hand controls their direction as they cut.

4. Cordless and Corded Variants

The two saws both have corded and cordless variants available. Powered by electricity, the corded variants will give you consistent usage as long as the power is available.

5. Portable

Since the two saws are both hand held, it is a necessity that they are portable and not cumbersome.

Also Read About: Best Cordless Tool Set & Combo Kits

Differences Between Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw

Differences Between Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw

The jigsaw and reciprocating saw may share some similarities, but they also have a lot that sets them apart. These differences are why there is an argument about which saw to choose between them.

1. Power

The power of the saw determines the speed and type of material you can cut. The reciprocating saw has a capacity of 3500 spm, making it a powerful motor. The jigsaw has an SPM of 3200, giving it less power than the reciprocating saw.

2. Blade Length

Even though the blades of the two saws are narrow, the jigsaw has a shorter blade than the reciprocating saw. While the length of the jigsaw can get to 12 inches and 24 sometimes, it is considerably shorter for jigsaws.

3. Safety

No one wants to get injured while using their saws, which is why safety is essential. The jigsaw is considered one of the safest, as its blades are well protected. Unlike the reciprocating saw with its blade out with no protection.

The lower power in the jigsaw is more measured and manageable than the powerful reciprocating saw motor.

4. Accuracy

The measured speed and soleplate, which serve as a guide, have an improved accuracy compared to the reciprocating saw. The reciprocating saw makes rough cuts and thus affecting the accuracy. Jigsaw, however, produces clean cuts.

5. Application

The Reciprocating saw focuses on cutting large and thick materials. It can cut trees, drywall, and door frames. Jigsaw, on the other hand, handles light and thin materials, including plastic and plywood. The jigsaw makes round cuts, including further straight cuts, while the reciprocating saw makes vertical and horizontal cuts only.

6. Blade Position

The blade is perpendicular to the saw’s body for jigsaws while in line with the body for reciprocating saws.

7. Blade Motion

The position of the blades in the two saws affects the blade motion. For example, reciprocating saw blades move forward and backward while the jigsaw makes upward and downward movements.

8. Ease of Use

The jigsaw is easier to use with its user-friendly features. You do not have to get prior knowledge first before handling the jigsaw. The reciprocating saw is slightly more complex.

Reciprocating Saw Vs Jigsaw: Which One You Should Choose?

Which saw to choose between the two depends on your present condition. Since they share similar price ranges, focusing on other reasons is ideal. For example, the jigsaw is excellent when cutting a flat surface.

It is also prevalent when accuracy is essential. The same way if you’ll be making round cuts and patterns.

Choose the reciprocating saw if you’re dealing with large and touch materials like pruning trees, breaking down drywalls, and more. It is excellent where a lot of power is needed.


The Reciprocating saw, and the jigsaw is similar but has different working principles and styles. Knowing the right one to choose among them is a privilege, and it saves you resources you would’ve spent on the two saws.