Circular Saw vs. Jigsaw: Which One to Choose?

Circular Saw vs. Jigsaw: Which One to Choose?

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If you are going to be doing work at your home or workshop, then getting the best tools for the job is an important part of the process. When you need to cut wood for a project, then you will need to decide what type of saw to use.

Chances are that a circular saw or a jigsaw will be among the contenders.

While you may think that both of these are roughly the same tools, just with different form factors, that is not the case. They are completely different tools made for separate types of jobs.

So, which one should you choose for your project?

Well, find out here.

Circular Saws and Jigsaw: The Basics

Before we start talking about what makes these two types of saws different from one another, let’s go over what each option is and what they are designed for.

What is a Circular Saw?

Circular Saw A circular saw is a saw that is made with the blade perpendicular to the motor so that you can cut straight lines into the material. These are typically handheld and are designed for smaller cuts, but can accommodate larger pieces of material.

As the tool’s name suggests, the blade used in this type of a saw is disc-shaped. While generally a circular saw is used for cutting wood, there are special blades to accommodate other types of materials as well.

What is a Jigsaw?

Jigsaw A jigsaw is a handheld cutting tool that allows you to make straight or curved cuts into wood and other materials. This is mainly used for curved and other patterned cuts that other tools cannot do.

Unlike a circular saw, jigsaws use a straight blade that reciprocates up and down as it cuts through the material. While commonly used in woodworking, depending on the blade you use, this type of saw can also cut thin pieces of metal and some plastic too.

Circular Saw vs. Jigsaw: What Are the Differences

With the basics out of the way, let’s go over some of the main differences between the two tools.

Main Use

Though both of these options are saws primarily made for cutting wood, the main use for each one is vastly different. The circular saw has a fixed blade that rotates in a circle, which cuts only straight lines. That said, the circular saw can be used for a variety of different projects.

However, the jigsaw is designed for curved lines and shapes. This is ideal for home projects, making décor, or cutting curved sections of wood. The jigsaw can also be used on other materials in the kitchen and bathroom, which makes it the perfect saw for cutting areas for replacements appliances, a new sink, or cutting a hole in the wall for piping or wiring.

Jigsaw in Use

Width of Blade

It is easy to see the difference between the two blades when you are looking at them, and this is one of the main differences between these saws. The circular saw has a large, round blade with teeth along the edge that rips through the wood. The jigsaw has a long, thin blade that moves up and down to cut through wood little by little, which allows for easy turning.

The width of the blade for a circular saw is bigger since it has to do a larger amount of work and it can be used for bigger jobs. The jigsaw is better for smaller jobs and could be broken or damaged if used on bigger jobs.

Depth Adjustment

With a jigsaw, the blade is moving up and down to cut through wood, which means that there is a certain depth that it uses every time. The circular saw, since it is used on top of the wood and cuts larger pieces, has a depth adjustment that makes it simple to raise or lower the blade to fit the depth of the cut needed.

If you have a thick piece of wood that the current position wouldn’t allow the blade to go through all the way, then lowering it will allow you to cut completely through the wood. This makes it versatile.

Circular Saw in Use

Angled Cuts

A jigsaw is more versatile when it comes to the angle of cuts that you might need for a job. The jigsaw is easy to maneuver and allows you to cut at pretty much any angle you need. The circular does allow for a slight angle, but this is very limited. The guard on the side will keep the blade from going too far over, which limits the angle you can cut.

Clean Cuts

It is no secret that doing something easy will have a better effect that trying to do something harder for the first time. So, when using a jigsaw, you will likely have cuts that are not as clean. There may be wood pieces left behind along the cuts, or small nicks. However, the circular saw is very good at making clean cuts.

With the guard on the side to help you keep the line straight, you can get a very clean and precise cut without much effort.

Which of the Two Should You Use?

When you have a job that needs to be done, you want to ensure that you are using the right tool. So, if you are cutting long pieces of wood from end to end to build a table, then using a circular saw will make it easier and more precise. The jigsaw would not be able to handle the same amount of work with the thinner blade, and you would not have as clean of cuts.

However, if you are remodeling the kitchen or bathroom and need to cut into a slab of wood to make room for a sink, then this is the right tool. The blade will allow you to cut through the wood from the top so you can adjust your curves to fit better.

The circular saw would not be able to make this cut without cutting into the outer area of the circle. Also, it would not be able to curve in the same way, which means that the whole created would likely not be as round.

However, if you normally do bigger projects that only require a slight amount of angling, then you can do this with the circular saw and still be able to handle big projects without needing to use a jigsaw.

Straight Cut with a Circular Saw


Woodworking at household projects requires you to have the necessary tool for the job and knowing the differences between your two options will allow you to know which is the best for your current job.

So, take a second look at the differences again if you need to, then you will know which option will be the best to purchase for your garage or workshop. Then, you will be able to get right back to work. Before deciding, also check my jigsaw and circular saw recommendations.

How Do Circular Saws and Jigsaws Compare with Other Tools?

See how circular saws compare with: angle grindersbandsawshypoid saws | miter saws | plunge saws | reciprocating sawsrotary sawstable saws | track saws

See how jigsaws compare with: bandsaws | coping sawsoscillating multi-tools | reciprocating saws | rotary sawsRotozips | routers | scroll saws