Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw: Pros/Cons

Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw

Whether you are seasoned DIYer, professional woodworker or even a beginner hobbyist, a power saw is one of the essential tools that you should have in your toolbox.

While it is obvious, you need a power saw to make cuts for your projects, choosing the type to buy first can be a little overwhelming. And in most instances, the dilemma arises when you have to pick between the circular saw and jigsaw.

Both saws can be handy for almost any woodworking project. And although their functions are quite similar they are different saw types that will be useful in different situations.

But once you understand what each is all about and its pros and cons it should be easy to pick the best for your projects.

Jigsaw Reviews

The jigsaw or the sabre saw like many woodworkers prefer to call it is a helpful saw that will feature a long, thin blade that looks similar to what you get in a serrated knife. The saw will cut in a rapid up and down motion, and it can handle various types of cuts.

Jigsaws are one of the most versatile power saws that you can have in the workshop due to the variety of cuts that they can make. With this saw, you can make everything from long straight cuts to beveled and curved ones provided you have the right blade on your saw.

For most woodworkers, the jigsaw will be the go-to tool when you need to make curved cuts. And although most are handheld it is still possible to get some that you can mount to a platform if you prefer to or your project requires it to be stationary.

The fact that you can also use it to cut a variety of materials is another factor that makes the jigsaw a fantastic power tool.  And they will include both soft and hardwood, plywood, plastic and ceramic tiles. However, the quality of the cut in each of these materials will depend on your choice of blade.

Pros

  • Makes various cuts. The jigsaw is very versatile as you can use it to make a variety of cuts. From long straight cuts to curves and bevels this saw can make almost any type of cut. And you can even use it to make slanted, cross, incline, and many other intricate cuts.
  • Cuts different materials. If there was one power saw that you could use it to cut almost any material in the workshop, the jigsaw would be it. Provided you have the correct blade you can use it to cut both hard and soft wood, plastics, ceramic tile, metal and many other materials.
  • Makes plunge cuts. One of the best and top features of the jigsaw is that it can make plunge cut or cuts that will require you to start at the center of the material. And to do this, you can begin with drilled holes or plunge into the workpiece directly.
  • Compact and easy to store. You do not need to dedicate any significant space for storing or working with the jigsaw as it is a compact and lightweight saw that is easy to store even for woodworkers with small workshops or garages.

Cons

  • Not very accurate. If you intend to make precise and accurate cuts like when you are making a jigsaw puzzle this saw will not be ideal. The fact that it is handheld means that it will not be very accurate.
  • Bounces all over. The jigsaw tends to bounce over, and this can make cutting long and straight cuts hard as it is not always easy to guide the blade along the cut line.

Circular Saw

circular saw

The circular saw is another great power tool, and it features a circular blade that will rotate exceptionally quickly to make some long, fast and straight cuts.

Like the jigsaw, the circular saw can cut through various materials types such as wood, roofing metal, sheet materials and many types of pipes. But, the quality of the cuts that you get will depend on your choice of blade.

Although most circular saws will come with a 24-tooth blade, you can still get blades with 50 or 60 teeth when you want something that produces smooth cuts.

Circular saws are useful when you need to make some smooth angle cuts, right angle bevels, rough bevel rips and many other cuts. And they are handy when doing projects like DIY cabinets and racks or even when you want to make a wooden toolbox.

This saw will be helpful when doing some roofing, masonry work, and even plumbing as it makes some neat cuts on various materials.

Pros

  • Produces straight cuts. Most of the tasks in the workshop will require you to make straight cuts, and the circular saw can be very handy for this. The fast rotating blade can make some perfectly straight cuts with or without guidelines. And if you have a fine tooth blade they will also be very smooth.
  • Cuts various materials. Circular saws can cut into a variety of materials, and this is what makes them handy to have around. Provided you have the correct blade you can use it to cut wood, sheet materials, roofing, masonry, metal, and pipes.
  • Makes various cuts. Just like the jigsaw, the circular saw will be handy for making various types of cuts. The most common ones that you can make with the power saw are smooth angle cuts, right- angle bevels and rough beveled rips.

Cons

  • Produces rough edges. Although the circular saw makes some long straight cuts, it also provides some splintery edges or what woodworkers refer to as tear-outs. 
  • Not ideal for curved cuts. If you are looking for a power saw that you could use for both straight and curved cuts, the circular saw will not be ideal. The nature of the saw and design of the blade makes it almost impossible to make some accurate and precise curved cuts.

​The Bottom Line

Jigsaw vs. Circular Saw - infographic

If you do not have enough experience with the jigsaw and circular saw you are likely to have a hard time picking between the two. But, things should be less tedious for you once you know their features, functions, uses, and capabilities.

Eventually, you might end up having both the circular and jigsaw in your workshop but what to buy first depends on your particular needs.

If you are looking for something for making long and straight cuts on various materials, the circular saw will be the best pick. It is also the saw to buy first if most of your projects involve cutting moldings, shelves and roofing materials.

However, if you want a versatile and convenient saw that you could use to cut everything from wood and metal to ceramic tiles and plastics the jigsaw will be the right choice for you. It is one of the handiest saws for home improvement and other uses around the workshop, and it will also be safer for use than the circular saw.

Best Jigsaws

#1. Bosch JS470E

Bosch JS470E 120-Volt 7.0-Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw

Bosch is famous for making high-quality power tools, and their Bosch JS470E jigsaw leaves up to this reputation. It is a high-quality, and high performing power saw that would be an excellent purchase for both beginners and professional woodworkers.

The jigsaw runs on a 7 AMP motor that generates up to 3,100 SPM, and so you will always have the power and speed you need to cut into almost anything. It also features a tool-less blade change system that will ensure that you will never have to touch hot blades.

This Bosch saw comes with a reasonable price tag and it features 4-orbital action settings that let you make both smooth and aggressive cuts by providing different blade strokes. And so this is a versatile saw that you can use for various materials and thickness.

The precision-machined plunging system and the low-vibration enhance the accuracy of this jigsaw and also provide a smooth operation.

#2. DeWalt DCS331B

DeWalt DCS331B

DeWalt DCS331B is another great jigsaw from a reputable company, and it will be handy to have in the workshop. Whether you plan to cut hard or soft wood with the saw or even other materials like ceramic tiles, this will be a very efficient power saw for you.

This cordless jigsaw provides a keyless blade change to make it easy and quick for you to change the blades and also ensures that you never touch hot blades. Also, it has an all-metal and keyless shoe bevel that provides versatility to make bevel cutting easy.

Like many other jigsaws from DeWalt, it is quite powerful, and it also offers the 4-position orbital action for better control of the quality and speed of the cuts that you make.

There is also an adjustable blower on this jigsaw that will help to enhance accuracy by keeping by keeping chips out of the cut line. And you can adjust the speed between 0 and 3,000 SPM to make it ideal for various applications and cutting different materials.

Best Circular Saws

#1. DeWalt DWE575SB

DeWalt DWE575SB 7-1:4-Inch Lightweight Circular Saw

The lightweight and compact DeWalt DWE575SB is easy to handle even for beginner woodworker and DIYers.  It is also an easy-to-use power saw with a blade diameter of 7 1/4-inch, and it features an electric brake to stop it when the user releases the trigger to ensure safe operation.

Despite the small size of this circular saw it still provides enough power to make a variety of cuts in different materials and you can get up to 5,100 RPM. 

This DeWalt Circular saw will feature a 57-degree bevel capacity and 22.5 and 45-degree dents to make it ideal for a variety of cuts. And it also includes an integrated dust blower that will clean your line of sight to ensure you get accurate cuts.

#2. DeWalt DCS391B

DeWalt DCS391B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Circular Saw

If you are shopping for a high-quality and powerful circular saw on a tight budget the DeWalt DCS391 will be a good pick as it is both affordable and high performing.

The 5,250 RPM motor will deliver both power and speed to make sure that woodworkers have an easy time making even the most demanding cuts. And the saw also features a lightweight magnesium show that will provide both durability and accuracy.

There is also an over-molded rubber grip on this saw to provide optimal balance and control to ensure that you always have an easy time using the saw.

The 0 to 50-degree bevel capacity of this circular saw will allow you to make aggressive bevel cuts and so it will be suitable for various applications in the workshop.

This affordable DeWalt circular saw will come with 6.5-inch carbide tipped blade that will cut 2x materials at 90 and 45 degrees.