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Reciprocating Saw VS Jigsaw: Which is Best?

Are you doing some sort of renovation soon? Or a new DIY project? You’re probably looking for tools that will make those jobs smoother and the most common ones would be: reciprocating jaw and jigsaw.

Reciprocating Saw VS Jigsaw

While they sound like they could be used for the same jobs or projects, they are actually two different saws. You probably don’t know the difference between the two, which is why you are here. Today we are going to talk about the difference between the two saws, and some of the best ones that you can find on the market.

What is a reciprocating saw?

Unlike a circular saw, a reciprocating saw is a saw that makes back and forth motions called “strokes”. You’ll usually see many teeth on the blade. They’re usually powered by the saw’s motor with speeds up to 3500spm.

What is a jigsaw?

A jigsaw is a saw that is a singular toothed blade that moves in back-and-forth motions. It can also cut a variety of materials and they’re usually lightweight.

Reciprocating saw features

The reciprocating saw usually has these features. Orbital action, variable speeds, adjustable shoe, easy blade replacement, saw blades, vibration reduction, metal housing and more. They’re pretty similar to the jigsaw features.

Jigsaw features

The blade is obviously one of the most important features of the jigsaw since it makes cuts upon the materials. Blades can be found in different forms, and some are made out of different materials, so it really depends on what you’re trying to cut. The stroke length is important too because for every reciprocating movement, it is a stroke. If there’s a higher stroke rate, it means the blade can cover a lot more than the ones with lower stroke rate.

The motor is important too because it gives energy to the saw and additional features such as LED lights. You’ll want to look for ones that have a decent size motor for your DIY needs.

How to choose a reciprocating saw

How to choose a reciprocating saw

Cord vs Cordless

This is the first decision that you’ll need to make because it depends on how long you plan on using the reciprocating saw for. A cordless one will give you the freedom to move around and do your work in a different area if you need to. But it doesn’t last as long as a corded one as it usually runs on batteries. A corded one is best for longer projects and if you are going to be staying in the same room/space so that an extension cord can be used.

Motor/Power

It’s important to know how powerful the reciprocating saw is. The higher the amps, the more powerful it is. With that said, it’ll usually be more expensive to buy a 15-amp reciprocating saw vs a 7 amp one.

On cordless saws, they are usually based on voltage. You’ll often see 18 and 20 V. Just because you see 20V, it doesn’t mean it’s the most powerful one out there. It just means that when it’s fully charged it’s at 20V, but when it’s in use, you’ll get the same power as 18V.

Variable Speed

Most or all reciprocating saws come with some variable speed controls. Some have triggers or dials. It depends on what you are comfortable with so that you can decide from there.

Blade Change

You’ll have to change blades when using reciprocating saws. It might get dull, or you may need to cut another material which requires a specific blade. You’ll want to look for tool-less blade change so that it can be done safely and quickly.

Stroke Speed/Length

Reciprocating saws usually have Strokes Per Minute (SPM) of 2700 to 3000. Of course, you’ll want to be in between that so you can get the perfect speed, such as 2900 SPM. Stroke lengths with this saw usually are 1 to 1 ¼ inches but you’ll typically see 1 ⅛ in most reciprocating saws.

Vibration control

Because of the way you move with reciprocating saws, there can be vibration issues. But if you look for one that has vibration control or even anti-vibe, it’ll be better and easier on your hands while you’re cutting.

How to choose a jigsaw

How to choose a jigsaw

Orbital Action

A typical jigsaw movement moves the blade up and down only as the jigsaw moves forward and backwards in an orbiting action jigsaw, and the blade moves gently forward and onto the piece on the upswing.

Variable Speeds

You’ll of course want to look for a jigsaw that has variable speed control. For some cuts, you’ll have to use slower speeds, while for others, you’ll have to use faster speeds.

Motor Power

The higher the amperage, the more powerful the tool is. You’ll want to get one that has high amperage so it can have enough power to do any job.

Cord vs Cordless

Of course, you’ll have to choose between cord vs cordless. Cordless gives you the freedom to move around, whereas a corded one will last you much longer if doing a bigger job.

Shoe Bevel

While most jigsaws have adjustable shoes, you can angle the instrument to bevel cuts, the better devices have commonly adjustable stops, such as 22 1/2, 45, and 60 degrees. Avoid saws with aluminum stamped shoes; stronger equipment is based on cast steel which is what you want.

Additional Features

Some jigsaws come with dust ports/bags and LED lights/lasers (the newer ones do) so if you are wanting those features, you’ll definitely want to look into the newer ones as it’ll make doing your project a breeze.

Jigsaw vs Reciprocating Comparison Chart

FeaturesBlack & Decker JigsawDewalt Reciprocating Saw
Stroke Per Minute30003000
AccuracyExtremely AccurateAverage
Ease of useTakes time to get used to itFairly easy to use
PriceCHECK FOR LATEST PRICECHECK FOR LATEST PRICE

The Best 3 Reciprocating Saws

Dewalt Reciprocating Saw

Dewalt Reciprocating SawView in gallery

Dewalt is a very popular brand for tools such as reciprocating saws. This one by Dewalt, the DCS380B model, is one to consider because it has a variable speed going up to 3000 strokes per minute. It also has a 1 ⅛ inch stroke length for cutting. There is a keyless lever action 4 position blade clamp that allows changing blades go smoothly and quickly. This saw also allows flush cutting and a variety of applications. There is a pivoting shoe that helps keep the saw stable and it helps extend the blade. This saw runs on battery, but you’ll need to buy it separately. It’s extremely light weight at just a pound.

Pros:

  • Reliable
  • Keyless lever
  • Pivoting shoe

Cons:

  • Battery sold separately
  • Vibrates too much

Black & Decker Reciprocating Saw

Black & Decker Reciprocating SawView in gallery

BLACK & DECKER makes really good power tools and this is no exception. This model, the BDCR02C, has a 3000 SPM motor which is very powerful. There’s also a variable speed trigger too and an electric brake so that you can stop the saw exactly when you need to. There’s also tool free blade change feature and of course an adjustable pivoting shoe that makes using this saw extremely easy to use.

Pros:

  • Powerful
  • Tool free blade change feature
  • Adjustable pivoting shoe

Cons:

  • It dies a lot according to some users
  • Vibrates a lot

PORTER-CABLE Reciprocating Saw

PORTER-CABLE Reciprocating SawView in gallery

If you are looking for a reciprocating saw that’s compact, you’ll be happy with this PORTER-CABLE PCC670B model. With 3000 strokes per minute, it’s extremely powerful and aggressive that it can pretty much cut through anything. It can do 1-inch strokes. Speaking of speed, there is variable speed control. There is a contoured over-molded handle for your comfort if you are doing long jobs/projects. The pivoting shoe keeps in contact with the material for stability. There’s also a tool free blade change system that can let you change your blades quickly and easily. This does run on batteries, but they are sold separately.

Pros:

  • Aggressive speeds for cutting
  • Variable speed control
  • Comfortable handle

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with batteries

The Best 3 Jigsaws

Black & Decker Jigsaw

Black & Decker JigsawView in gallery

The BLACK & DECKER BDEJS600C jigsaw has a powerful 5-amp motor with speeds up to 3000 SPM. It has a ¾” blade orbital action for precise and accurate cuts. A unique feature of this jigsaw is the curve control technology that has four curve settings so that you can have control over the rounded cuts. The good news is that it’s very lightweight at 4.6-pounds so you don’t get fatigued while cutting. The shoe is adjustable so that it can level the circular saw. It makes beveled cuts up to 45-degree angle. There’s also a wire guard that helps provide a straight line of cuts while cutting.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Curve control technology
  • Adjustable shoe

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work well with U shank blades

Bosch Jigsaw

Bosch JigsawView in gallery

The Bosch JS470E Jigsaw is another one that you should consider. It boasts a 7-amp motor with SMP no load from 500 to 3100.Bosch has developed the constant response circuit so that you can get perfect cuts and never worry about inconsistencies. The Bosch has the following additional features:

  • Toolless blade system
  • Ambidextrous lock button
  • Variable speed dial
  • 4 in 1 orbital action settings
  • Comfortable handle and low vibrations

This circular saw has the capability to cut ⅝ inches of wood and if you’re cutting aluminum, you can cut up to ⅞ inches. The maximum bevel cut is at 45 degrees. It’s a great circular saw for those who work with tools a lot and it’s reliable as the pivoting foot is made out of heavy-duty steel so that it has stability that holds this jigsaw in place.

Pros:

  • Good for professionals
  • Durable
  • Constant response circuitry

Cons:

  • May be confusing to use for the new user

Dewalt Jigsaw

Dewalt JigsawView in gallery

The Dewalt MAX XR cordless jigsaw saw has a powerful motor with speeds up to 3200 SPM with variable speed trigger and dial. There is a 4-position orbital action that lets you adjust so that you can cut a variety of materials. This circular saw has a bright LED light that helps illuminate your workspace and it’ll make it very easy to follow the cut lines. The blade clamp is an updated all metal lever action and keyless that helps you make quick, easy blade changes. The shoe bevel is also keyless, and you can adjust with detents at 0, 15 30 and positive stop at 45 degrees. The Dewalt MAX XR has a removable shoe cover that will help protect materials from scratches and a dust blower to keep dust and debris away from your workspace as well.

Pros:

  • Powerful motor
  • LED light
  • Updated blade clamp

Cons:

  • Battery and charger not included

Pros and Cons of Reciprocating Saws

Pros and Cons of Reciprocating Saws

Pros:

  • Portability
  • Variable speeds
  • Versatility
  • Convenient
  • Improved stroke lengths

Cons:

  • Not ideal for cutting accurately
  • Unsafe: This is because it’s a heavy-duty saw and if not used correctly, it can be a dangerous situation.

Pros and Cons of Jigsaws

Pros and Cons of Jigsaws

Pros:

  • Easy to handle
  • Powerful motor
  • Keyless blade change
  • 4 position orbital
  • Optimal cutting

Cons:

  • Not very durable
  • Very thin blades
  • Cheaper models vibrate a lot

FAQ

Can you use a reciprocating saw as a jigsaw?

Yes, you can, since a jigsaw is a form of reciprocating saw. They can’t provide the same amount of attention to detail like jigsaws can.

What can reciprocating saws be used for?

The reciprocating saw can be used for:

  • Cutting wood
  • Cutting most metals
  • Lumber
  • Plywood
  • Wood with nails in it

What is the difference between a jigsaw and a saw?

An ordinary saw can cut through wood with no issues. A jigsaw can cut through much more and is usually accurate in its cuts.

Can I use a Jigsaw to cut tree branches?

It’s not recommended, but it can be done. You’ll have to slowly cut with the jigsaw while stabilizing the branch. You’ll also want the best blades on here too.

Bottom Line

Which one is better? Reciprocating saws or jigsaws? They’re both great tools that’re geared for different projects and they each have their own specialty performing different tasks. If you need to make precise cuts, you’ll want to use the jigsaw. If you want to cut through tougher materials, the reciprocating saw is for you. In order to decide, you’ll want to consider what project you will be taking on and decide from there. If you’ve found this guide about reciprocating saws and jigsaws useful or have additional questions, please let us know below!