Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw – Which One Do You Need?

Do you need a power tool that can demolish a building, or do you need one that can just do delicate tasks? Well, you’re faced with two options. Either choose a jigsaw or a reciprocating saw.

The unending debate on which one is better between the two is overly complicated. And that is why I’m here to clear out that confusion.

Start by understanding that both saws work very differently. For instance, one saw can make different sorts of cuts such as straight lines, curves, and much more. The other tool, on the other hand, boasts the ability to cut through different sorts of material like masonry, metal, wood, and more.

What’s more? One saw has good speed, whereas the other retails with the ability to execute cuts differently.

Having said that, I hope you get my main point. Ensure you think of the sort of cut you would like to acquire according to the type of work you’d like to do. Then, when you have that figured out, make a decision on the tool you would like to acquire.

But as you think about that, I am here to clear the difference between the two products. And hopefully, at the end of the content, you will have made a purchase decision.

Let us start by defining the two products.

What is a reciprocating saw?

reciprocating saw

A reciprocating saw is a power tool usually used to cut horizontally in a reciprocating motion, which means the push and pull motion. The design of this saw also makes it a great power tool to use during heavy-duty jobs like pruning trees, renovation, demolition, and others.

In addition, the saw looks like a smaller chainsaw. But instead of the chain on a chainsaw, the reciprocating saw has a reciprocating blade that will be jutting out of the tool.

Both the jigsaw and the reciprocating saw work by you moving their blades in a push and pull motion. However, reciprocating saws have a distinct feature, i.e. the protruding blade. If you come across a power saw with a horizontal blade on the other end, then you are most likely dealing with a reciprocating saw.

Reciprocating saws are also unsafe and difficult to operate using one hand, just like the most powerful chainsaws we are used to. A jigsaw, on the other hand, is more suitable for one-hand operations as well.

Reciprocating Saw’s area of use

When is the reciprocating saw a perfect tool to employ? Well, anytime you are dealing with tough materials. These include concrete, brick, tile, masonry, plaster, stucco, drywall, cement, fiberglass, hardwood, cast iron and more.

All you ought to do is find the perfect blade for the materials you would like to work on. Once you do that, you can let your reciprocating saw do the rest. A reciprocating saw is also an aggressive machine. And that is why I called it the demolition saw.

When it comes to demolition, the tools will do a great job in exposed surfaces. Such surfaces include construction and plumbing & electrical tasks. This is where experts need to demolition and make repairs. And if you’re framing out windows or cutting pipes for plumbing, a reciprocating saw’s power saw will come in handy as well.

Let us look at its pros and cons

Pros

  • Very easy to use despite being a powerful beast of a tool
  • Perfect for overhead cuts. This is a feature professionals in the construction industries will appreciate
  • Versatile as it can cut through a wide array of materials, including fiberglass, concrete, metal, wood, and others.
  • Perfect for remodeling, renovation, and demolition projects. The tool’s cutting force can easily cut through cement, nails, doors, windows, and even walls.
  • Durable. If you take good care of the tool, you can rest assured that it will keep serving you for years to come.

Cons

  • Makes very rough finishes. I realized that aesthetics was not a very strong suit for the reciprocating saw. If you aim for clean, smooth cuts, then this is not the power tool for you.
  • Could not make delicate cuts. If you work nature needs you to execute intricate cuts, then the reciprocating saw will not be an ideal tool.

Now that you understand what a reciprocating saw is as well as its advantages and disadvantages are, let us look at the jigsaw in more detail.

What is a jigsaw?

jigsaw

Just like the reciprocating saw, a jigsaw is a power tool that cuts using a reciprocating blade. However, unlike the reciprocating saw, the reciprocating blade action of the jigsaw’s cut is usually vertical. And not horizontal. This implies that the blade usually points downward.

A jigsaw is a lightweight tool. And it can also be operated using one hand. This will you give you, the operator, more flexibility as required.

In case you’re looking for a versatile appliance that will easily handle a wide array of materials, then this is the power tool for you. That said, the jigsaw has one main difference from the reciprocating saw. This tool can easily execute intricate cuts.

Thanks to its cutting action and build design, the jigsaw can quickly make intricate and delicate cuts of a higher precision and accuracy. The tool can also execute angled cuts just like the miter saw and bevel. This is something that a reciprocating saw cannot do.

Jigsaw’s area of use

reciprocating saw vs jigsaw

The jigsaw can easily cut drywall, PVC, ceramic, metal, plastic, laminate, wood, and others. It all depends on the blade you are using. Given it is a handheld tool, a jigsaw is also perfect for DIYers.

Note though, the tool lacks the overwhelming power of a reciprocating saw. But it can deliver more precise and cleaner cuts compared to the reciprocating saw. The jigsaw is also mostly used by woodworkers. However, lately, I have been seeing other artisans using it as well.

When you want to make curved, intricate cuts that are smooth and precise, then the jigsaw is the perfect addition to your workshop.

Let us look at this product’s pros and cons

Pros

  • Can execute complex cuts. Would you like plunge cuts, bevel cuts, or miter cuts? Then rest assured you can the jigsaw can pivot its shoe in order to make those complex cuts at the sharpest angles. Plunge cuts, which are usually created at the middle of a working material is a department that a jigsaw excels in.
  • Free hand. Since it is lightweight, you can operate this tool using only one hand. This further permits you to quickly cover more ground.
  • Can make curved cuts. This is something that even the best reciprocating saw cannot do.
  • Delivers precise cuts. The jigsaw quickly delivers more precise and cleaner cuts compared to a reciprocating saw. That said, you will require the astounding precision of an expert for specialist tasks.
  • Durable. If you take good care of this appliance, you can rest assured you won’t need a new one anytime soon because your old one broke down.

Cons

  • Not ideal when it comes to cutting the hardest materials. Depending on the blade, it could cut some hard materials, but generally, the tool itself is not designed for heavy-duty tasks
  • Not advised for flush cuts. This tool isn’t suitable for creating flush cuts due to the location of its blade.

I hope you now clearly understand the difference between the two products. Now let us skip to the most exciting section of the post. This is where we will look at the best product from each category.

DEWALT DCS380B – The Best Reciprocating Saw

DEWALT DCS380B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Reciprocating Saw - best reciprocating saw

Are you scouring the internet looking for a cordless reciprocating saw? Or better yet, would you like one that was designed with versatility and comfort in mind? If you answered yes to both questions, then DEWALT DCS380B is the perfect product for you.

In fact, you can check out any list on the best reciprocating saws out there. Without a doubt, you’ll realize DEWALT DCS380B is in most, if not all of them.

That said, after acquiring the product, I realized it’s not well suited for day-long tasks such as cutting tough materials compared to a corded saw. But it came with sufficient power to handle all hard obstacles such as steel or aluminum conduit when I needed it to.

If you’re familiar with different power tools, then you must know about DeWalt’s ease of use features incorporated in all their products. DEWALT DCS380B is no exception. Speed control and setting up of the blades is not a hassle even for people who have never used a reciprocating saw before.

Add to that the fact this power tool also boasts a comfortable grip. This has been ensured by the rubber over-mold that is taking the edge of the tool’s vibration. DEWALT DCS380B also retails with DeWalt’s 3-year warranty.

This means that should anything happen to the tool within the first three years of buying it, DeWalt will repair it for you for free.

But you will need to acquire the tool’s charger and 20V batteries separately. But if you’ve been shopping for some time, then you know this is a normal thing when it comes to these appliances.

All things considered, DEWALT DCS380B is a great addition to any DIYer’s workshop. The tool can handle anything you decide to throw at it. Just make sure that you always have new batteries in close reach if the task you are carrying out is likely to take a while.

Pros

  • LED lights will illuminate your work surface if you’re working in a dark environment
  • Has sufficient power to cut through concrete and metal
  • Ability to swap the blade fast makes changing jobs efficient and quick
  • Very easy to use
  • Durable
  • Retails with a 3-year warranty
  • Comfortable to operate

Cons

  • You will need to acquire the charger and batteries separately

Bosch JS470E – The Best Jigsaw

Bosch Power Tools Jig Saws - JS470E Corded Top-Handle Jigsaw - The Best Jigsaw

Bosch JS470E is ideal for any woodworker who is looking for a user-friendly and lightweight jigsaw.

Using T-shank blades to operate, this power tool model retails with a tool-less blades change mechanism. This makes it easy to replace the blades. This is even if you have no prior experience operating a jigsaw in the past.

The power tool also retails with a 45 degrees beveling capacity and a one-inch stroke length. This makes it very suitable to use on steel, wood, and even aluminum.

Let us talk about the tool’s lightweight construction.

The overall of Bosch JS470E is approximately 5.3 lbs. This actually makes it one of the most lightweight products in this power tools category. What’s more? Compared to other cordless jigsaw products I have ever come across, Bosch JS470E is 28% lighter compared to them all.

This tool also retails with a compact dimension that makes it quite easy for a beginner to operate the tool. So besides being able to easily carry the unit from one place to another, you can also store it in your workshop without a hassle.

Now let us talk about the T-Shank blade and how to change it.

The fact Bosch JS470E incorporates a T-Shank blade is of importance when it comes to changing the blade with a different one. All you need to do is twist the knob at the side of the jigsaw. This will effortlessly eject the blade.

This also implies that if you wish, you can quickly replace the blade at the end of the day. Or at times, in between jobs without wasting a lot of time. I think you’ll also appreciate the in-built LED lights that award you a clean line of view amidst operations.

Pros

  • Convenient and efficient to use
  • Very durable
  • Easy to change the blades
  • Easy to operate
  • Versatile
  • Heavy duty
  • Retails with a powerful motor

Cons

  • It doesn’t accept U-shank blades like most models
  • The vibration is quite too high amidst operations

Conclusion

There you have it: my detailed review on reciprocating saws vs jigsaws. I hope the content has enlightened you and you now know what product would best fit your needs and requirements.

You may also like: Chop Saw vs Miter Saw – Which One Do You Need?

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