October 31, 2020

Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw: What’s the difference?

Wondering what the difference between jigsaw and reciprocating saw is? In the case of reciprocating saw, this kind of tool is known to many by different names such as Recipro saw, saws-all, sabre saw. The Milwaukee brand has even been coined the name of sawz all. Whatever name you choose to call the tool. This powerful tool in question has can cut through wood, metal, masonry, fiberglass, and many other types of materials. 

Craftyman reciprocal saw

A key point to remember is that this is a vital tool for many contractors. And a lot of DIY workshops globally. To them, this tool is the everyday handyman’s weapon of mass deconstruction.

Sounding a lot like a phrase from one of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Reciprocating saws come with a powerful motor and are usually used to cut in a fast manner as well as cut deep when needed to. The major question is, how is a reciprocating saw diverse from other saws? 

jigsaw blades

According to my research, using simple English, a jigsaw is another type of reciprocating saw. The main difference is that technically, the jigsaw and Recipro saw are different saws. Very confusing I know but since in reality, they do about the same thing in terms of work, they can be considered as interchangeable. This article is going to lay out the differences between the two saws for good measure.

The jigsaw power tool.

The jigsaw is definitely a good choice and offers the cutting power that is needed when it comes to cutting especially for many craft and construction projects. Besides being able to deliver both straight and curved cuts, the jigsaw is a versatile saw that is capable of doing crosscuts, ripping, bevelling, and plunge cutting on a number of materials such as but not limited to wood, light metals, plastic, as well as cutting through ceramic and drywall. 

Each and every jigsaw is able to handle a number of cutting projects but bear in mind that each saw may offer a different set of features that may or will better suit the individual that is going to use it for specific applications. An example, let’s say you are using your jigsaw for maybe scroll cuts or crafting and you may want one that has a knob-style kind of auxiliary handle that is capable of producing precision cutting as well as steering control. 

Another key point is that if you need to use this kind of tool primarily for a straighter cut, you should definitely look for a built-in laser line that will maximize the efficiency. The other option that you may be happy to find on the jigsaw includes the anti-vibration which boasts precision cutting. The saw also comes with a dust collection port to maintain a cleaner cut as you work as well as built-in lights for greater visibility. The jigsaw also comes with handles that offer a more comfortable grip for greater comfort and reduced fatigue.

Reciprocating Saw

This is the most commonly used saw when it comes to construction, plumbing, and electrical work. Reciprocating saws, also known as Recipro saws or sabre saws or even saws-al are more linked to that of a demolition styled saw that is mainly used for cutting down the material. They are known to deliver a lot of power to the blade which then enables the saw to slice quickly through material such as metal, masonry, ceramic, wood, fiberglass, stucco, drywall and not forgetting composites.

For those that are interested in using the reciprocating saw for demolition work, please look at its power capabilities. The Cordless model version of the saw has a tendency of losing power as the battery drains. Though most believe that the corded saw remains reliable and consistent throughout the entire job, with an unlimited run time. The corded reciprocating saw has a range of fewer than five amps to 15 amps or even more. A reciprocating saw with 10 amps is able to provide optimal power for heavy-duty use.

Reciprocating saw vs. Sawzall 

The majority of the people have been asking if there’s a difference between reciprocating saw and Sawzall. The answer is No. Sawzall is actually the brand name of the reciprocating saw made by the one and only Milwaukee Tool Company. The saw was invented a few decades ago around 1951. Better known as a revolutionary tool, the saw was claimed to be the very first portable electric hacksaw, as stated by the Milwaukee site which I am sure they are very proud of. Back to the future that is today, the name Sawzall has over time been made into what most would consider as a more of a colloquial term. In turn, this has become a household name that means which basically means reciprocating saw in general.

The reciprocal saw uses.

A reciprocal saw is a versatile tool that can be used in so many different ways it’s quite fascinating. An example, a tear-down project that would normally take let us say many hours of literally blood, sweat, and tears, yes grown men are allowed to sit down and cry, to rip down and break apart with a crowbar, has been made so much easier with a reciprocal saw. The saw that just cuts through all the material instead of in a quarter of the time that a whole day of work cuts down into a quarter. The saw can tear down windows, walls, plumbing, doors the list is endless. It’s so easy with a reciprocating saw, one might say just cut away and toss.

You also will wonder where this enchanted little tool has been all your life. This is what one will own when they finally graduate to being a Serious DIY kind of person. Let’s not forget the times they would have been around the hard knocks block before getting the promotion. This is the very tool that sets you apart from what we can call the novice or wannabes. The reciprocating saw is not really for fine crafting. Its major use is for breaking down and as well as tackling the bigger projects at hand. The saw was designed for the ability to get into those tight areas with an exposed blade as well as different positioning for precision angle cutting.

Understanding the jigsaw

The jigsaw, or as some call it the saber saw, is actually another version of the reciprocating saw, the only difference is that the jigsaw is more for delicate work, while on the other hand, the reciprocating saw is more for demolition work. Reciprocating saw blades were designed for a more horizontal kind of action that is for rough, multiple angle cutting to rip as well as tear-away material fast work. The Jigsaw offers more flexibility and can easily cut straight or curved designs. Not forgetting as well as crosscuts, ripping, bevelling, and purge cuts.

Skil jigsaw on a white table

With that having been said, take note that there are different crossover blades for the reciprocating saw. The saw is known to do more precision work that comes with longer and slimmer blades that will emulate the work of a jigsaw. They are labelled as reciprocating or sabre saw blades. They are made out of high carbon steel, bimetal, or tungsten carbide that is for cement board, brick, and concrete. These blades are found in different shapes, thicknesses, and teeth per inch.

Jigsaw blades – benefits

As mentioned already, the jigsaw has a narrower and more fragile blade. This then means they are more suited for precision cutting. There are some things you can do with a jigsaw including but not limited to crosscutting, plunge cutting, bevelling, and ripping.

A jigsaw blade can come in a variety of styles to better suit the material you want to cut. Generally, the blades are able to cut through wood, ceramic, light metals and plastics. The Jigsaw blade can as well cut through drywall plus ceramic tiles. This in turn can be an alternative to being one of the best-wet tile saws. In summary, the jigsaw is intended for function and adaptability. 

Reciprocating saw – benefits

Reciprocating saw blades are considered to be very strong and thick. Due to the fact that a reciprocating saw has more powerful motors, they are able to cut through materials quite faster. The blades were made in such a way that they come across as being rough cutters strictly for demolition work.

It actually makes sense that the reciprocating saw is commonly in construction, plumbing, and electrical works. The serrated knife-like blades of the saw can cut through anything that is stone, ceramic tiles, metal, wood, fiberglass, stucco and drywall.

In a nutshell, these saws are similar and different and it all comes down to what you want to use them for. Each saw has its own strengths and weaknesses but makes sure you choose the right tool for the job lest you are left disappointed for a really long time. For me, the jigsaw still remains undefeated hands down

David D. Hughes
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