Jigsaw vs circular saw

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The jigsaw and circular saw are some of the essential tools for any DIY enthusiast. Although these hand tools may seem similar, they deliver different performance levels. So, what is the difference between these two? Which one should you purchase for your DIY project?

This article discusses each power tool in detail to help you differentiate the two. Read through to know which of the two is ideal for you.

What is a Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a hand tool built explicitly for cutting irregular curves with stenciled designs in wood, metal, ceramic, and other materials. It comes with a vertical blade and is designed to work by the action of an electric motor and reciprocating blade. In addition, it comes with a metal shoe and a see-through blade guard to guide the blade to prevent accidents. Also, it comes with control features for powering the blade and adjusting blade speed.

Although jigsaws are specifically designed for curved cuts, some come with a sole plate allowing you to cut in angles up to 45 degrees. Also, you can use it to make straight lines that do not require a lot of precision. Like other power hand tools, a jig saw comes as corded or cordless.

Features to Look at When Selecting a Jigsaw

Here is a list of things you should look at to help you choose the best jigsaw.

Blade type

One of the key features you should look at is the blade type. Modern-day jigsaws come with a detachable blade, mainly of two kinds: T-shank and U-shank blades. Most craftsmen would recommend a T-shank knife as you can fit it into the saw with just a flip. On the other hand, the U-shank edge requires a wrench for loosening and tightening the nut, a lot of work, you can say.

Blade tooth design

The spacing, shape, and cutting angle of blades are important features that provide the required speed, neatness, and performance. Blades with more teeth per inch are ideal for fast and less precise cuts, whereas knives with low teeth count per inch are suitable for clean edges. For example, you would want blades with milled teeth for fast and rough cuts and taper-ground teeth for slow, clean cuts in wood.

Blade material

The material used in making the blade will determine whether you will cut through the wood, metal, plastic, or ceramic. Also, it will determine the durability of the blade. You want to go for one that will give you the required performance for a long time. A blade made from bi-metal is an excellent choice that gives you the required strength, durability, and versatility. You can use it for both soft and harder materials.

The base plate of the jigsaw

The base plate is the part responsible for sawing line control. However, you want to go for a jig saw with heavy cast sole plates for better control.

Why Get a Jig Saw?

So, why should you go for a jig saw? A jig saw is an excellent option if you want a handheld tool to create tight curves and angles. The thin narrow blade makes it easy to maneuver tight spots with excellent curved shapes. Also, it comes with an angle adjuster that allows you to complete bevel cuts. You can also use it to make straight line cuts that do not require a lot of accuracy.

Limitation of a Jigsaw

One of the main limitations of the jigsaw is the narrow blade that breaks easily compared to circular saw blades. Because of this, this power tool is not ideal for doing larger jobs. Also, it is extremely hard to do clean straight lines with a jig saw.

Carpenter working with circular saw

What is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw is a handle power tool designed to make precise straight cuts through various materials such as wood, metal, ceramic tiles, and plastic. Like a table saw, it cuts through materials using a spinning blade. The blade is technically a circular toothed disc with a powerful rotor that cuts through any material at a fast rate. It has a base plate that allows you to control the sawing line for straight or bevel cuts.

Features to Look at While Selecting a Circular Saw

Size of the blade

The circular blade comes in different sizes, but the standard size is 7.25″. This is an excellent option for cutting materials that are thicker than 3″, and they come with various blades for making a wide range of cuts. However, if you are looking for a saw mainly for minor repairs, you can settle for a 6.5″ blade and 8.25″ for heavy-duty construction activities.

Corded vs. Cordless

A cordless circular saw is ideal where ease of movement is highly desired. The saw will allow you to easily maneuver for high accuracy. However, batteries in cordless power tools are known to give in faster, so you want to go for corded models for long-lasting service.

Power Rating

The power rating determines the cutting power of your saw and is commonly expressed in amperage or voltage. For example, corded circular saws are expressed in amperes and voltage in cordless options. Technically, a power tool with higher amperage has more cutting power. So, you want to ensure you go for a power rating that will give you the required performance.

Ergonomics

You want to settle for a circular tool that will give you the required comfort to carry out your DIY project at ease. So go for a circular saw that perfectly fits your hands, is lightweight, and is well-balanced. Also, you should be able to adjust the blade to make it visible to you.

Blade tooth spacing and count 

Tooth count on a circular blade is an important feature that determines how fast and clean the saw cuts. A blade with a high tooth count is an excellent option where high accuracy and performance are desired. Conversely, a blade with a low tooth count is ideal for faster cuts. Also, sharp blades deliver cleaner cuts than old blunt blades.

When to Get a Circular Saw

So why a circular saw and not a jigsaw? A circular saw is a versatile tool that can cut through different materials. You can use it for home repair or on construction sites to cut through plastic pipes, wood pieces, concrete blocks, or metal. Also, unlike a jigsaw, it has a powerful rotor that allows you to cut through a large board.

Another great selling point that distinguishes the circular and jig saw is its ability to make precise straight-line cuts. As a result, this saw is ideal for you if you want to make clean straight lines through large boards.

Limitation of Circular Saw

One main limitation of a circular saw is the inability to make curved cuts. Therefore, you cannot use this saw to create complex shapes such as a circle. Also, a circular saw is one of the most dangerous handheld tools and it comes with many circular blades operating at high speed; thus, you should take a lot of care when using it.

Conclusion

Both jigsaws and circular saws can be used to cut through various materials. However, while a jigsaw is good at making curved cuts, a circular saw is suitable for doing straight line cuts. As a DIY enthusiast, it would be wise to invest in both as they perform different functions that are essential for any DIY project.

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