Circular Saw vs Jig Saw - Which One To Be Used When?

Circular saw vs Jig saw

Unlike other tools, jigsaws and circular saws are not similar in looks and therefore, confusing one for another is nearly impossible. However, contrasting these tools is important for many people since defining a function is important when thinking of which one to go for. Jigsaws and circular saws have been in use for a long time, and they are necessary for your woodworking needs. In this article, we look at the jigsaw, and the circular saw. We contrast the two as we seek to identify their key differences.

Circular Saw vs Jig Saw – The Differences


Circular Saw

Jig Saw



Almost perfect


Used for making straight cuts, crosscuts & rip-cuts

Used to make curved cuts

Cuts Plywood



Ease of Use

This power tool takes time to master

Can be easily operated

Blade Shape


Long & Thin; like a serrated knife

 Safety of Use

High Safety Requirement

Relatively Safer to Use 


Very cheap compared to other types of saws

Quite expensive


Very light and portable

Light and portable

Major Brands

Dewalt, Makita, Porter Cable, Ryobi, Skil

Dewalt, Makita, Bosch, Makita, Rockwell, Ridgid

Key Differences between Jigsaw and Circular Saw

  • While a jigsaw cuts with a straight flat blade that has an up/down reciprocating motion, the circular saw cuts in spinning motion with a circular blade.
  • The circular saw is built purposely for making straight cuts on different types of work-pieces. The blade can either make crosscuts or rip cuts. On the other hand, the jigsaw is built to cut curves through work-pieces.
  • The jigsaws are generally safe for use without causing excessive physical trauma while in use. On the other hand, circular saws have been known to cause serious injurious harm to careless users.
  • The design of the jigsaw is different from that of the circular saw. The jigsaw is long and with a thin blade that looks like a serrated knife, which cuts in an up and down motion. On the other hand, the circular saw is a compact circular tool with a circular blade that cuts through a circular motion.
  • In most cases, using a jigsaw requires you to clamp down your work-piece. However, there is often no need for you to clamp your work-piece down when the circular saw is in use.

What is a Circular saw?

Circular SawA circular saw is a compact power tool, which uses either an abrasive disc or a toothed circular blade to cut through various types of materials through a spinning rotary motion. Circular saws can be used to cut a wide range of materials, from wood to metal.

The blades of the circular saw are specifically made for cutting and in wood, they create both crosscuts or rip cuts. They also come with bevel adjustments as well as the adjustments for height and depth.

How is the Circular saw used?

While using a circular saw, it is important that you first have safety gear on you.

Find the blade, which suits the work you should do. Tightly fasten the blade using the arbor nut. The sole plate comes in handy to adjust the height and bevel. You can then plug the saw in, disengage the safety switch and press the trigger switch.

Pros of using the Circular Saw

  • The circular saw is much heavier than other types of saws. They can handle thick work-pieces with relative ease, even hardwood.
  • They are the perfect tool when working towards cutting straight lines. They will work on full boards.
  • The blades last longer and in case they get blunt, you can have them sharpened. At times, you can also re-tip them if necessary.

Cons of using the Circular saw

  • They do not create great curves.
  • They are heavy and make much
  • They are not as clean, and they make more dust than the jigsaw.

What is a Jig saw?

Jig Saw UsingA jigsaw, which is occasionally referred to as a sabre tool is a versatile handheld power tool that is known for its unmatched prowess in cutting curves in both wood and metal work-pieces.

The jigsaw is made up of a motor and a reciprocating blade that is useful in cutting irregular curves.

With a bevel function on the sole plate, the jigsaw has a capability of cutting angles up to 450 in relation to the vertical stroke when crating miter joints.

The jigsaw could use either a T-shank or a U-shank blade. The type of cut made a jigsaw depends on the blade. The shape of the cutting teeth, the size of the teeth, and the spacing of the teeth are factors that influence how the saw performs and how clean the cut is.

How is the Jig saw used?

The purpose of the jigsaw is to cut smooth curves through wood. Start by firmly pressing the shoe of the saw firmly on the workpiece. The blade of the saw should be farthest from the edge of the work-piece.

After ensuring proper placement of the jigsaw on your work-piece, start the motor and then guide the blade along your curve.

Ensure that the saw is moving in a pace that will allow for cutting, without deflecting the blade or overloading the motor. Also, to avoid binding of the jigsaw blade when the curves are tight, make relief cuts to remove the waste while ensuring enough space for cutting through your work-piece.

Tips for working with a Jig saw

Jigsaws can only work well when working on cutting softwood that is not thicker than 1 ½” thick. When working on the hardwood, ensure that the thickness does not exceed ¾”. When plunge cutting, start by making an entry cut on the middle of your workpiece. To make this entry cut, the following steps should help you.

  1. Place the blade parallel to the work-piece in a way that the weight of the tool rests on the lip of the lip at the front of the shoe.
  2. Start the saw at maximum speed and simply tilt the blade to stab in the wood and create your point of entry.
  3. A coarse blade may help in creating the plunge cut and in general cutting but will require more sanding in the end.
  4. When working on pieces that require fine work, a down stroke cutting process is easier and does not cause a lot of dust.

Pros of using the Jig saw

  • Unlike the circular saw, the jigsaw can work on some versatile functions and is smaller than a circular saw.
  • Jigsaws are made for creating curves out of their workpieces. They are purposely created for cutting curves.
  • The design of the jigsaw makes it safer for use than the circular saw. Although the blades are sharp, they are smaller, and the chances are meager that you will lose a full appendage while using this tool. On the other hand, a circular saw with a blade of 7 ¼” poses a great danger in case it came to physical contact with the user while running.
  • When it comes to dust, the jigsaw is much cleaner than the circular saw. It produces less dust and the cutting is finer than that of a circular saw.

Cons of using the Jig saw

  • The major problem with jigsaws is that they are under-powered and can therefore only handle limited tasks and light workpieces.
  • Due to the reciprocating motion of the blades while at work, they tend to break a lot, no matter how high quality they are. While working on curves, the blades can also stick and end up snapping. This problem significantly raises the cost of running a jigsaw.


To wrap it up, both of these tools are of absolute necessity, and you should have them both in your toolbox. However, it is important to learn how you can safely use the circular saw if you are new to using power tools. A jigsaw is crucial when cutting curves and intricate patterns while the circular saw is necessary for cutting your longboards. Both tools are quite versatile in use, and their availability is crucial for every serious woodworker.

Nonetheless, ensure that you know what your work will need before making your purchase. If you are looking to have some rip cuts or cross cuts on your workpiece, then you should go for the circular saw. However, if your work entails cutting curves, making cuts in the middle of material, or creating intricate cuts on your wood pieces, you should go for the jigsaw.


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