Reciprocating Saw VS Jigsaw


A saw is a standard tool among professional builders and homeowners; it is used for carpentry, undercutting, demolition, and many other projects. There are many different types of saws, among this wide variety are the reciprocating saw and the jigsaw. These two saws are one of the best-known saws and are commonly used for remodelling and renovation. Choosing between reciprocating and jigsaw can be a tough decision for many people; however, it’s not about which is better but about the best tool for the job. Having a bit of knowledge of both tools goes a long way in choosing between them. In this article, we will look at the differences between these tools and their functions.


The reciprocating saw is a machine-powered handheld tool uses a push-and-pull or reciprocating motion to cut through materials; hence its name. It is commonly referred to as “Sawzall” because it can cut through just about everything. It can cut through wood, fibreglass, and any metal which includes aluminium, copper, cast iron. It is ideal for projects that don’t require precise or smooth cuts which is why it is commonly found at demolition sites. It can also be used to take down walls and cut through lumber because of its powerful cutting ability.

There are different types of reciprocating saws, including the corded, cordless, compact, pneumatic and HVAC reciprocating saw. The corded reciprocating saw is different from the cordless in that the latter is powered by a rechargeable battery why the former gets power directly from an electrical outlet. The HVAC reciprocating saw looks different from the other types of reciprocating saws and is built to work around pipes. To know more about the different types of reciprocating saws, see The Reciprocating Saw, What Is It?.


The jigsaw is a type of reciprocating saw that has its blade at the bottom of the tool. Its blade uses a reciprocating motion to cut irregular curves in wood, metal and other materials. The jigsaw works with different types of blades that are categorized by the kind of shank they have. There’s the T-shank (tang shank) blade and the U-shank (universal shank) blade. The T-shank blade has a tang at its top that easily fits into the blade clamp of the tool. It is more compatible with modern jigsaws and trendy among professionals. The U-shank, on the other hand, has a U shape cut on its head, it is less common than the T-shank and needs to be screwed into the jigsaw. The jigsaw blades are usually small and weak and require blade rollers to cut properly.

There are three types of jigsaw, corded, cordless and pneumatic jigsaw. The corded jigsaw is very common; it works by connecting its cord to a constant supply of electricity. It is reliable and known to be more powerful than the cordless jigsaw. A battery powers the cordless jigsaw; it is not limited by a power cord and does not restrict the user’s movement like the corded. The pneumatic jigsaw needs an air compressor to function. It is also very powerful and used for heavy-duty projects. For a detailed explanation on the jigsaw blades, see:

Are Jigsaw Blades Universal?

Which Jigsaw Blades to Use?

Significant Differences Between The Reciprocating Saw And The Jigsaw


The blades of a reciprocating saw are broad and thick, allowing the saw to cut through any material. The blades serrated and look like knives; they are designed to make irregular cuts and for demolition works. Jigsaw blades are much thinner and more fragile; they are suited for making precise cuts. Its blades are also serrated, but it needs to be guided appropriately to cut in a curved or straight line.


The first noticeable difference between the reciprocating saw and the jigsaw is the difference in design. The reciprocating saw is made of an external blade, a shoe, front grip, orbital setting, vents, trigger and a rear angle. Some models feature dust collection and clamp. The jigsaw looks a bit more complex, it looks compact and has up to sixteen parts, which include the blade, blade guard, blade roller guard, clamp mechanism, shoe, handle, lock-on button, laser guide and other features. It is built to appear vertically layered and compact.


Both saws are lightweight and portable; the jigsaw, however, is more massive than the reciprocating saw because it weighs about six to twelve pounds while the reciprocating saw weighs about three to five pounds. There are other types of a reciprocating saw that may weigh more than the regular jigsaws but keep in mind that both saws are lightweight and easy to handle.

Cutting Stroke

The reciprocating saw and the jigsaw both use reciprocating motions to cut through materials, but they cut with different strokes. The reciprocating saw can make short and blunt cuts with horizontal and vertical strokes while the jigsaw makes circular and parallel cuts.

Type of Material

These two saws can be used on various types of materials. The jigsaw is commonly used to cut wood, ceramic, metal, plastic, plywood and particleboard. In contrast, the reciprocating saw cuts through any metal ranging from aluminium to cast iron and even nails in the wood, and it also cuts through wood, lumber and plywood.


The reciprocating saw is majorly used for demolition work. This is because it can powerfully cut through everything with its powerful long struck. It is especially good at tearing down walls and cutting through lumber. The reciprocating saw doesn’t need to be directed to make precise cuts; it makes irregular cuts and cuts at a very high speed. The jigsaw, on the other hand, is used for more accurate cuts. It is perfect at cutting circles and curves or well-detailed cuts. It is not very good at cutting through metal, but it has enough power to cut wood and plastic. It is ideal for cutting in tight spaces, for making straight edge cuts on wood and for cutting holes for electrical outlets.


The reciprocating saw and the jigsaw are similar but have different functions; the reciprocating saw is best suited for demolition work while the jigsaw is used to make more precise and regular cuts. Deciding between the jigsaw and reciprocating saw is not about which saw is better, it depends on which is best for your project.