Overview Of Reciprocating Saw & Jigsaw
Spending hours holding a hand saw and making the same repetitive cuts can be tiring, not to mention it limits how much you can accomplish with each project.
This is why many woodworkers choose either a reciprocating saw or jigsaw instead of a hand saw for speed and accuracy when cutting curves, angles, tight spaces, or where there are obstructions.
Knowing the differences between these two tools will help you decide which one is best for your needs.
A reciprocating saw has a short blade with tiny teeth that go back and forth allowing the blade to cut through materials like metal, plastic, drywall, fiberglass insulation, or wood (like door jam).
The handle on top contains a trigger, an on/off switch and a locking mechanism for continuous cutting.
There are two options available: cordless or electric models.
Cordless reciprocating saws have a rechargeable battery that provides power to the blade.
They often come with two batteries so you can keep working without interruption when one battery loses its charge.
These models are lightweight, compact, portable, and easy to use for home projects.
Some people even prefer them over corded models because there is no need to worry about restricting your movement.
With an electrical cord attached to the base of the tool while making delicate cuts in tight spaces.
Electric reciprocating saws include a long-lasting rechargeable battery in the handle combined with a removable blade in the top.
The handle also contains a switch and trigger for controlling the blade.
Additional features include variable speed, an adjustable shoe that protects nearby objects from contact with the blade.
And a depth gauge that limits how deep you can cut (which makes them perfectly safe).
A jigsaw is equipped with a thin metal or plastic blade held in place by two pieces: one above and one below.
The blades typically come in three sizes: 7-1/4 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches; however you can find blades as small as 4 inches if required.
This tool has a front handle to help control the direction of the blade when making curves or moving at odd angles against surfaces like wood trim or finished walls.
Some models offer additional features like interchangeable blades or adjustable blade angles.
Comparing The Two Tools
When it comes to flexibility, jigsaws provide more options because the blades can be replaced with one that is made of different materials (giving you more control over the types of cuts you desire).
Each tool has its benefits and drawbacks depending on your needs, but you should think about how often you will use them before making a final decision.
Reciprocating saws are safer for working overhead or in tight spaces where a jigsaw may not have clearance to cut a clean line around an object.
However, they are less accurate because their teeth don’t allow for as much control as those found on jigsaws.
For more in-depth comparisons consider the following
Jigsaws are easier to handle because they don’t require as much pressure to cut. You can almost push your way through when cutting instead of pulling it back like you have to do on a reciprocating saw.
This makes them great for beginners or those who lack strength due to injury and may need some assistance controlling the saw.
Many models come with a retractable blade which makes it easier to grip when cutting, while there is no such mechanism on reciprocating saws.
However, on some electric models, you can remove the blade from the top so it will be on an even level with your hands.
Making them the optimal choice for overhead use.
Models that come with a removable long-lasting battery can be used for up to an hour which helps save time and money because you won’t have to stop working to wait for it to charge.
Most models also offer a quick-release mechanism so the blade is easy to remove if necessary without having too much wobble.
In terms of noise, reciprocating saws are about half as loud as jigsaws.
They also produce fewer vibrations which means they’re more precise.
This provides better control and the ability to create clean cuts that don’t have chipping or tearing on both metal and plastic surfaces.
Since you have to hold the front handle on jigsaws, it can be difficult to make precise cuts because your hands are typically in front of the blade.
It’s also easy to apply too much pressure with this tool which leads to broken blades or damage to the surface you’re working with.
Most models require additional accessories like hard cases, batteries, and battery packs that increase the cost. If you only require the tool occasionally, this won’t be an issue.
But it can become expensive if you use them often especially if you need to purchase blades on top of everything else.
Reciprocating saws are more difficult to control when making repetitive cuts or using them in tight spaces because they vibrate so much.
It’s easy to miss your target which can lead to damage that requires time and money to fix.
Common uses of Reciprocating and Jigsaw Tools
Jigsaws are what most people think of when it comes to woodworking or DIY projects in the home.
They are useful for making straight cuts when you need something quick.
But can also make curved lines by altering your hand position on the tool.
Since jigsaws will cut through both metal and plastic they are also great for cutting through roofing materials.
If you need to replace specific parts or add ventilation.
Reciprocating saws are more suited for heavy-duty tasks, which is why they have been the go-to tool for construction workers and DIY enthusiasts for decades.
They can be used to cut through metal beams up to 1/2″ thick, making them great for wiring as well as plumbing projects around the home.
They’re ideal for working with rebar if you ever need to renovate your foundation or garage, and also work through thicker pieces of metal that can become difficult using a hacksaw.
is easy with both reciprocating saws and jigsaws.
You can find them in many garden supply stores but also online, where you’ll find the best deals on tools that can last for years to come.
With so many refurbished options available it’s become affordable to replace broken models without feeling like you’ve wasted hard-earned money.
You can also find them at home improvement warehouses or appliance stores.
Jigsaws are ideal for making signs when you need something beautiful but aren’t concerned with price.
They’re also uncommon in many hardware stores so if your home supply does not carry them it might be time to visit a specialty lumber yard or sign-making store near you.
Both tools are great for demolition work in the home when you need to remove parts of your foundation to access crawl spaces or complete plumbing repairs.
You can also find them in many hardware stores that sell specialty items which makes it easy to stay within budget since they’re priced affordably even when new.
Reciprocating saws are slightly more portable than jigsaws.
They weigh less, so you can carry them from place to place without worrying about added stress on your joints or back after a long day of work.
Their blades tend to last longer as well which saves money since you don’t have to replace them as often.
Safety Precautions Of Both Tools
The blades on both saws are extremely sharp so it’s important to take the proper precautions.
Reciprocating saw users should always wear protective eyewear and a dust mask to avoid injury or worse.
Jigsaws tend to throw wood particles back at the user.
This is why you see most professionals wearing a face mask.
In addition, make sure you always wear gloves to avoid getting blisters or worse from the reciprocating saw’s vibration.
Jigsaw vs Reciprocating Saw: Which One Should You Buy?
The reciprocating saw will generally be more expensive than a jigsaw upfront, but the cost of operating it will be less over time since you won’t have to pay for fuel or repair costs.
They also offer more power so they can make deeper cuts up to 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters) through metals and wood which makes them ideal for such tasks as removing doors.
Sawing through decks, and cutting pipes.
Jigsaws can cut any material you need to including wood and metal, but they are not as powerful so the cutting depth is only about 1/2 inch as well.
Additionally, their blades can’t cut as fast as those found on reciprocating saws so this limits their use in industrial settings.
However, it does come in handy for other tasks.
Jigsaws have a smaller tool footprint which means they fit in tighter spaces and will often be lighter as well.
They also provide more control because they don’t require as much pressure to cut.
Which is good for those with smaller hands or who lack strength due to injury.
If the price of the reciprocating saw is not a factor consider purchasing one if you need to power through thick metal or wood.
If you’re on a tight budget then opt for the jigsaw instead because not only are they priced more affordably but they can also cut through any material if it’s less than 1/2 inch deep.
No matter which tool you choose always remember to wear a dust mask and protective eyewear, as well as gloves for added protection from injury or germs.