Is A Circular Saw Better Than A Jigsaw?
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Regardless of whether you are a seasoned DIYer, a professional woodworker, or a beginner outdoor tasks hobbyist, investing in a power saw is a prudent idea. Whereas it remains obvious that you need power saws to make easy cuts through your woodworking projects, identifying the type to buy can be overwhelming. In most cases, the dilemma arises when you have to choose between a circular saw and jigsaw.
Both circular and jigsaws are handy for nearly all woodworking projects. They have strikingly similar functionalities but useful in different situations. Choosing one for your woodworking tasks comes down to understanding the differences between these two saws and the pros and cons of each.
What is a Jigsaw?
A jigsaw, also referred to as sabre saw, is a helpful tool with a long and thin blade that resembles that of a serrated knife. Jigsaw cuts in a rapid up and down motion thus can handle various types of cuts. These saws are among the most versatile power saws that all woodworking enthusiasts should have in their workshop due as they can make various cuts. Experienced woodworkers can make long straight cuts to curved and beveled cuts provided they select the right blade.
For most professionals, jigsaws are the go-to tool when they need to make curved cuts. Although the majority are handheld, some heavy models that require mounting to a platform for stationary projects are available. The fact that jigsaws can be used to make cuts in various materials is an additional factor that makes them a fantastic power saw. Users can make precise cuts on soft and hardwood, plastic, ceramic tiles, and plywood with ease. However, note that the quality of cuts in each material depends on the choice of blade.
Features of Jigsaws
Some of the outstanding features of jigsaws include;
Standard jigsaws operate by moving the blade up and down. However, as for the orbital type, the direction of the blade’s movement changes slightly. For instance, during the upstroke, the blade moves forward, cutting deep into the work piece and backward during the down stroke. This gives off a slightly elliptical movement that facilitates cutting.
The importance of cutting speed in a jigsaw and other power saws cannot be underestimated. Beginner woodworkers may not understand the importance of having a jigsaw with variable speeds. However, having a jigsaw with variable speed comes in handy when working on various materials. You will need a different speed setting when working on metals and a different setting when working on plastics. Similarly, you can’t use the same speed settings when making straight and curved cuts.
Jigsaws have varying motor power. This determines the cutting power of the saw. Most brands with efficient cutting power have between 6 to 7 amps of motor power.
Depth of Cut
Jigsaws have different cutting depth depending on the type of material you are working on. For instance, when working on woods, jigsaws can provide up to 2-inches deep cut and 0.5-inches on metals. Making deep cuts on tough materials may break or bend the blade.
This is a common feature of most modern jigsaws. Such saws have a laser guide that guides the woodworker on where to follow to make precise cuts. This is a valuable inclusion for professionals who need to make clear cuts with desirable finishes.
Maintaining a clean working platform is important when working on your projects. As such, most jigsaws feature a dust blower that blows air, preventing the accumulation of dust and other debris when making the cuts. This makes it possible for enthusiasts to follow straight cut lines and make the working environment tidy.
When to Use Jigsaws
Jigsaws, as mentioned, have thin blades that resemble a serrated knife. They cut in up and down motion rapidly and have different types of blades. With these features, when should jigsaws be used? Well, they are perfect for small jobs, including home DIY tasks and crafts. If you want to make impressive curved cuts for artistic creations, this is the go-to tool.
How to use a jigsaw
Compared to circular saws, jigsaws are more versatile as they can be used to make both straight and curved cuts. They are also good since they are small and manageable, thus they can be used to make cuts even in tight spots.
- Good for making various cuts
- Used to cut different materials
- Makes plunge cuts
- Compact size and easy to store
- Not very accurate
- Lightweight makes it unstable
Best Jigsaws on the Market
Bosch JS470E Jigsaw
Bosch is a well-known and well-reputed manufacturer of most DIY tools and home improvement equipment. The Bosch JS470E Jigsaw is one of the brand’s products that leaves to its reputation. It is a high-quality and high-performance saw that makes an excellent purchase for both beginner and professional woodworkers.
The saw runs on a 7-amp motor that delivers more than 3000SPM. This provides the much-needed power to drive the blades and make cuts through almost everything. It also comes with a tool-less blade changing system that eliminates risks involved with changing blades, such as burns from the hot used blades.
Despite the incredibly amazing features of this blade, it is available at an affordable price. You will also like the four orbital action settings that enable users to make smooth and aggressive cuts with different blade strokes. It is also a versatile saw that can be used to make cuts on various materials with different thicknesses.
As for the control, you will like the tool’s variable speed dial, which enables users to set a maximum speed and the accelerator trigger controls. It also features a lock-on button for assured steadiness and user comfort.
- Great power and precision
- User comfort and ease
- Lacks a laser guide
See price on amazon
Dewalt DCS331B Jigsaw
The Dewalt DCS331B Jigsaw is another incredible jigsaw from a reputable company that comes in handy in various workshop operations. Regardless if you plan to make precise cuts on soft or hardwood or other materials such as ceramic tiles, the tool provides efficient power that meets your needs.
The jigsaw is a cordless saw that provides unlimited convenience when working on your tasks. Like other great products on the market, it has a keyless blade change that not only makes it easy but also quick to make blade changes. It also ensures no contact with the blade for great safety.
The Dewalt DCS331B Jigsaw comes with an all-metal and keyless show bevel that provides the much-needed versatility for easy bevel cutting. Like other Dewalt jigsaws, this unit is powerful with four orbital actions that assure better control of the tool’s quality of cuts and speed. It also has an adjustable blower that enhances accuracy by eliminating chipped pieces from the cut line.
- Keyless blade changing
- Cordless saw
- Three-year warranty
- Battery and charger sold separately
See price on amazon
What is a Circular Saw?
As the name suggests, their circular motion defines circular saws. The saw used toothed discs that cut materials using rotatory motion. The round disc with teeth spins around the arbor enabling it to make straight cuts. Like the jigsaw, circular saws can be used to cut through various materials, including wood, sheet materials, roofing, and other types of pipes. Also, the quality of cuts is significantly reliant on the type of blade chosen.
The majority of circular saws have a 24-tooth blade, but others can have up to 50 or 60 teeth. Blades with more teeth are best if you need to make smooth, precise cuts. Circular saws come in handy if you need to make smooth angle cuts, rough bevel rips, and right angle bevel, among other cuts.
Features of Circular Saw
Unlike jigsaws, circular saws have variable depth adjustments that enable woodworkers to adjust the depth of the cutting blades. With this feature, you can make varying levels of cuts depending on your intended project.
Circular saws are heavier than jigsaws. This is what makes them stable when operational and best for use in large projects. Note that circular saws can be either corded or cordless. Cordless are heavier due to the addition of battery weight, even though they provide unlimited convenience.
In a bid to ensure maximum safety of the user, circular saws feature a trigger safety switch. From the switch, you can easily stop the blade from running in case of accidents and emergencies. This prevents potential or further damage. The switch is also easily accessible.
When to Use Circular Saw
Circular saws are best for cutting straight lines and provide more power for working on more wood and other materials than you can manage with jigsaws. This makes circular saws best for large-scale woodworking tasks such as constructions. Circular saws are not the right tool if you need to make curved cuts or fancy craft-style projects. However, if you need to frame a house or garage, cut along straight lines through huge sheets of wood, circular saws are the best.
Pros of Circular Saws
- Produces straight cuts on materials
- Used on various materials
- Make cuts of varying depths
Cons of Circular Saws
- Cuts often have rough edges
- Not good for curved cuts
Best Circular Saws on the Market
Dewalt DWE575SB Circular Saw
The Dewalt DWE575SB Circular Saw is a compact, and lightweight circular saw that provides easy handling suitable for beginner woodworkers and DIYers. The unit has a 7.25-inch blade diameter with an electric brake that brings the blade to a complete stop if the user is unsure of safe operations.
Despite the seemingly small size of the saw, it provides enough power to make various cuts through different materials. The powerful motor delivers up to 5100RPM delivers enough power and accuracy making it ideal for use by both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
- Lightweight and compact
- Electric brake for safe operation
- Powerful motor
- Integrated dust blower
- The blade can wobble or run out
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Dewalt DCS391B Circular Saw
If you are searching for high quality and powerful circular saw, but on a budget, the Dewalt DCS391B Circular Saw should be your product of choice. The saw is both high performing and affordable. It comes with a powerful motor that runs at 5250RPM to deliver both precise cuts and speed, ensuring that avid woodworkers stay on top of their projects.
The saw also features a lightweight magnesium show that provides accuracy and durability. For optimal balance, control, and ease of use, the Dewalt DCS391B Circular Saw has an over-moiled rubber grip. The 0 to 50-degree bevel capacity of the saw enables users to make aggressive bevel cuts, thus suitable for various applications in the workshop.
- Powerful saw
- High strength and lightweight
- Over-mold rubber grip handle
- Battery and charger sold separately
See price on amazon
The Bottom Line
You will certainly experience a hard time making a decision between a jigsaw and circular saw if you haven’t used them extensively. However, identifying the various specific features, functionalities, and capabilities will make it easy to make a distinction. For professionals, you might end up having both the jigsaw and curved saws in the toolbox, but choosing which to buy first can be challenging.
That said, if you want a tool for making long and straight cuts, circular saws are the best choice. You should consider purchasing it if most of your projects involve cutting moldings, roofing materials, and shelves. However, if you are looking for a versatile and convenient power saw, the jigsaw should be your saw of choice.