Jigsaw vs Circular Saw (2022 Guide)

Are you looking for a comprehensive jigsaw vs circular saw guide

Fantastic stuff – you are in the right place!

In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com guide you will learn

  • Key Differences between jigsaw and circular saw; 
  • Similarities between these tools
  • When to use which one;
  • And So Much More!
Jigsaw vs Circular Saw


Jigsaw

Circular Saw

Cutting Motion

Up and Down

Rotational

Variable Speed

Yes

Yes

Best Used For

Intricate Cuts

Cutting Straight Lines

Types

Corded and Battery Powered

Corded and Battery powered

Best Rated

Jigsaw DeWalt
Circular Saw

What Is A Jigsaw

A jigsaw is practically a power tool that is generally used by DIYers, woodworkers and carpenter for creating very intricate curved cuts through and around various materials such as wood, fiberglass, drywall , tiles and metals.

Generally after one owns a drill, one of the next power tools to be included within the toolbox, would be a jigsaw purely because of its versatility.

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When looking for a jigsaw, there are a multitude of features that one can look for. However understanding if the tool has an orbital action and/or the variability in speed are very critical and key to making an informed purchasing decision

To give you an idea there are typically 3 types of jigsaws, namely:

1. Corded jigsaws

These are run and operated using a main electricity supply. In any experienced DIYers toolkit, you will find a corded jigsaw. 

The reason being they are very powerful tools, can operate uninterrupted when connected to the mains supply, without the intermittency (caused by pausing to charge and recharge) of the battery powered options. 

Henceforth, making them very convenient especially when they are used for extended periods of time. Most jigsaws range between 450 to 850 W. You also get 900 W to 1000W corded jigsaws on the higher end of the power spectrum.

2. Cordless or battery powered jigsaws

These are jigsaws that are driven by a battery. The added flexibility without the cord provides a tradeoff between weight, power and flexibility.

The market uptake of these tools has been quite phenomenal – especially amongst part time DIYers or your typical weekend warrior.

This with good reason too, cordless jigsaws are simple and easy to carry around.

They do not have the complexity and added safety hazard of a power cord. Plus, furthermore they generally have battery lives that range anywhere between 2.0 Ah to 2.5 Ah.

3. Pneumatic Jigsaws

In all honesty, these are quite rare. The pneumatic jigsaws run and operate off of compressed air, as the name suggests.

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D-Handle and Barrel Handle Jigsaws

Within this family of jigsaws you generally get two types of handles. These handles are described based as below. 

Top Handle and Barrel Handle JigSaws

D- Handle Jigsaw

This is probably the most common and regular shape. One might even refer to this as the standard jigsaw handle.

This handle is really good for top down stability as one cuts and moves through sheet material. Especially were precision is more important than power.

Barrel Handle

With the barrel handle the grip actually overlays the motor of the jigsaw.

This design is not as common and the D-handle. Due to the barrel handle grip being much closer to the saw blade. 

This configuration tends to provide the user with a better sense of close control. However, there is a slight increase in vibrational energy due to the lighter overall frame and the close contact with the motor.

With that being said, we are here to discuss comparisons between jigsaw and a circular saw. But before we get into those let’s look at the other half of this entire equation. The circular saw.

What Is A Circular Saw

A circular saw is a power tool that uses an abrasive or toothed blade to make cuts through a variety of material. The nature of a circular saw lends itself towards making bevel, cross or rip cuts.

The rotational spinning action of the blade allows for smooth and consistent operation through the cutting range of motion. This tools is by far one of the most common power tools within any wood worker or DIYers toolkit.

They are very lightweight, compact and convenient to own.

In fact over the years the manufacturers have put in a lot of research and development budget into making them a lot more ergonomic, safer and operationally friendly - with very low vibrations.

Following on the above, what I really like about this tool, is that modern circular saws are inundated with a number of features.

These include things such as your blade guard, bevel adjustments, trigger switch, front grip and your depth lock knob.

Unlike the jigsaw option above, there are actually quite a number of different circular saw types. I will go into just 3 below in detail.

1. Worm Drive Circular Saw 

This type of saw differs from your common circular saw in that the motor is mounted right at the back of the machine.

Now there are many complaints about this type of machine because you would generally find that the blade is situated on the left hand side of the motor, resulting in a weight imbalance that can often be problematic if you are not right handed.

For me however – if you are a contractor or pro-level DIYer, the benefit of additional torque, especially when cutting through materials tougher than softwood is a huge benefit.

2. In Line Circular Saw

This is my favourite on the go circular saw. The reason being that the motor practically is mounted inline allowing for a lighter configuration that is more user friendly.

Of course as you know the world of power tools is a game of trade-offs. So you sacrifice the additional torque that you would get from a worm drive circular saw for the lighter more ergonomic design.

Depending on your actual use case – both the inline or the worm drive could work perfectly fine.

I would say if you plan on cutting anything stronger than your typical plywood or softwoods, and you envision using the circular saw more than once a week. I would generally prefer the worm drive option over the In line saw.

However if it’s purely just for occasional usage, the Inline circular saw is a formidable tool.

3. Concrete Circular Saw

Some people refer to these as slab saws. They are perfect for contractors or DIYers taking on heavy duty jobs that require cutting through masonry or concrete.

They are typically also equipped with a diamond tipped blade for cutting through this tough material. These tools are very robust and fit for purpose.

Read More:>>> Find best Corded Circular Saw Options

Jigsaw vs Circular Saw: Key Differences

When thinking about the key differences between a jigsaw and a circular saw, one needs to always think along the lines of a couple of questions:

  • How complex is the job at hand?
  • How fast do I need to work?
  • How intricate does the final finish need to be?
Jigsaw or Circular Saw


By answering these questions you will get an idea of which tool is better for which specific situation. Jigsaws due to their up and down blade movement provide for a lot more intricacies in the job at hand.

What is even more impressive about jigsaws is that you can create faster cuts if you opt for one that allows for orbital action.

Whereby circular saws on the other hand really lend themselves to cutting straight lines. The reason is quite simple – they generally have blades that range typically from between 4 to 10 inches in diameter.

They are also a lot more powerful and in the hands of a skilled operator can be a lot more precise.

Jigsaw vs Circular Saw: Key Similarities

Both the jigsaw and the circular saw are fully capable of cutting through a wide variety of materials such as wood, ceramics, masonry, plastics and metals.

They both can operate either battery powered or corded, and they have the capacity of cutting through a variety of different materials

Both are supported on a surface when performing cutting operation and therefore weight is not such a major contributing factor.

When To Use A Jigsaw

I don’t want to over complicate this, so I want it to be as simple as possible.

You should endeavor to use a jigsaw whenever you find yourself needing to make intricate curved cuts. This can happen in almost any remodeling activity that you undertake within your home.

Be it applying finished touches to your kitchen or when you are finalizing the installation of a carpet.

When To Use A Circular Saw

A circular saw should be used when you want to perform straight cuts through a range of materials precisely and at speed. Straight cuts can also happen at a specific angle.

Final Thoughts On Jigsaw vs Circular Saw

I often see posts on the internet stating thing like which tool should I purchase first and can a circular saw do the same thing as a jigsaw. I hope this article really provided some insight into both of these incredibly handy tools.

I had a lot of fun putting this article together and in my opinion, having them both truly makes your life easier. Especially if you are someone that will be cutting sheet material quite often.

Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale is a professional engineer (PrEng). With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale is a professional engineer (PrEng). With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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