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Jigsaw Vs Saber Saw | What are the Differences? Which One to Buy?

Large table saws and band saws are very useful for making long cuts or curve cuts in large pieces of wood. But smaller power saws help in more intimate and precise cuts. Two such saws are the Jigsaw and the Reciprocating Saw, which is also known as the Saber Saw. Both these hand tools are useful for professionals as well as DIYers. If you are looking to add either or both of these tools to your amazing collection, then you have to understand their basics, their capabilities, and even their differences. To help you out, we decided to make a simple Jigsaw vs Saber Saw comparison guide.

In this guide, we will lay out everything you need to know about a Jigsaw and a Saber Saw (a Reciprocating Saw). After going through this guide, we hope that you will be in a better position to make a buying decision.

What is a Jigsaw?

JIGSAW.If you are familiar with Band Saw, then it is the best tool to make curve cuts in wood. But the thing is it is a large stationary tool that occupies a significant place in your workshop.

Assume you need to make a quick and accurate curve cut in wood. You need something handheld and portable. The jigsaw is exactly that.

It is a handheld power tool that allows woodworkers to make the curve as well as straight cuts It has a thin blade that reciprocates back and forth or rather up and down. If you don’t have a band saw at your disposal, then a Jigsaw is an excellent alternative.

Sometimes, the portable Jig Saw is a better choice than a stationary Band Saw. If you are working on a large piece of wood, instead of wasting time setting up the band saw, you can use a handheld jig saw and finish the work.

Another situation where a Jigsaw is useful is if you want to cut in the center of the wood. The blade of the Jigsaw is exposed without any frame around it. you can plunge the blade through a hole and maneuver it in any shape or direction without disturbing the edges.

Jigsaws are available in two forms, corded electric and cordless battery-powered. Both these types have a trigger that controls the speed of the blade. Another important characteristic of a Jigsaw is the style of the grip. Some jig saws have an overhand grip while others have a barrel grip.

How to Use a Jigsaw?

Using a Jigsaw is very easy when compared to other portable or stationary power tools. Just place the workpiece (wood or any other material) on a table and make sure that the area you want to cut is not in contact with the table (it must be hanging in the air).

You can use clamps to secure the work material. If you want to make a curve cut, make use of masking tape at the edges of the design. Now, position the blade of the jigsaw close to the starting point (but not in contact) and start the tool.

Simply glide the jigsaw along with the design and make sure that the base of the jigsaw is flat to the surface of the wood. Always use two hands to operate a jigsaw.

If you are a beginner, you may find it difficult to follow the “guide” lines while using a jigsaw. So, we recommend you practice on a waste or non-work piece.

Jigsaw Blades

Similar to other power saws, the blades of the jigsaw are easily replaceable. They are available in different lengths, tooth directions, tooth styles, and also TPI (Tooth Per Inch) count. You have to choose an appropriate blade depending on the material and smoothness of the cut (high TPI count means a smoother cut).

Most jigsaws nowadays have a T-Shank type blade. The top of the blade (the part that goes into the saw) has a T-Shape lock. The benefit of this lock mechanism is you can fit the blade without any special tool.

Pros Cons
Simple and easy to use Not suitable for demolition
Best for curved cuts and rounded cuts You need a table to operate the saw
Produces more precise cuts than other saws Not powerful
Relatively safe tool Slow and time-consuming
Make accurate cuts with practice
Versatile tool

What is a Saber Saw?

SABER SAWA Reciprocating Saw is another popular power tool. It is a handheld saw. The name “Reciprocating Saw” come from the fact that it can make cuts in a material by reciprocating movement of the blade i.e., the blade moves to and fro or back and forth.

As the blade is thin, long, flexible, and pointing, the Reciprocating Saw is sometimes known as Saber Saw (due to its resemblance to a sword).

The blade of the Saber Saw is long and thick. Also, the front part of the saber saw is quite exposed and this helps the blade to make cuts in any material. Hence, when Milwaukee Tools launched this tool, they marketed it as Sawzall (as in it saws all kinds of materials). But keep in mind that you need different kinds of blades to cut different materials.

A Saber Saw or a Reciprocating Saw is not the best tool for fine shaping or precision cuts. It is a demolition saw. You can use this saw to make rough and heavy-duty cuts in wood, metal, tiles, pipes, concrete, etc.

Hence, firefighters and police use Saber Saws in rescue operations to cut through walls, obstacles, or debris.

By changing the type of blade you fit the Saber Saw, you can use it for small, light-duty, or heavy-duty jobs. Apart from different types of blades, most Saber Saws also support various accessories that help in scaling, scalping, grating, cleaning, brushing, etc.

Similar to many portable power tools, most Saber Saws have variable speed trigger. So, you can control the speed of the blade by adjusting the amount of trigger you depress.

A Jigsaw a vertical saw, where you place the saw on a material with the blade facing down. The blade moves up and down to make the cut (hence a vertical saw).

But the saber saw is very versatile. You can use it in any orientation and direction, be it horizontal, vertical, overhead, etc.

Saber Saws are primarily electrical tools and they are available as Corded Electric and Cordless Battery Operated.

Pros Cons
Very versatile power saw Not suitable for smooth cuts or precision works
Can cut anything (acts as a demolition tool) Less accurate than the jigsaw
Very powerful tool
Comfortable to hold in hand
You don’t need a surface or table to operate it
Fast, efficient, and accurate
Use it horizontally, vertically, overhead, etc.

Jigsaw vs Saber Saw: Differences

Now that we have seen the basics of both the jigsaw and the saber saw, let us have a Jigsaw vs Saber Saw comparison by understanding their differences.

1. Design

The design of the Jigsaw and Saber Saw is quite unique. The jigsaw has a “boxy” design with the blade protruding from the bottom. A base plate or shoe helps you to seat the jigsaw flush to the surface you are working on.

Saber Saw or Reciprocating Saw has an elongated design where the blade extends from the front part of the saw. In both these saws, the blade is exposed without any frame around it.

2. Type of Material and Project

Both jigsaw and saber saw are suitable for a variety of materials. However, you have to use the jigsaw in a “vertical position”. For this, you need to place the material on a table and clamp it properly.

An important part of this setup is you have to suspend the part you want to cut in air and it mustn’t come in contact with the table. In this way, you can make straight or curved cuts using a jigsaw. But the strength of a jigsaw is its ability to move in any direction on the surface to make smooth curves and intimate designs.

In this sense, the reciprocating saw or the saber saw is truly versatile. You can use it horizontally, vertically, or in any other position, you want as long as you look after your safety.

Hence, the main purpose of a saber saw is demolition. You can use this to cut wood, metal, plastic, or any other material without regard to precision or accuracy.

3. Blade

The blades for the jigsaw and the saber saw look quite similar but upon closer observation, you can find out that the blade of the saber saw is a lot thicker.

Also, we use the reciprocating saw or saber saw primarily for demolition jobs. Hence, the area between the saw and the blade is open and exposed.

Blades of both these saws have the usual specifications such as tooth style, direction, tooth per inch or TPI Count, etc.

4. Accuracy

The design of the jigsaw, along with the blade and also the orientation of usage means you can make very precise and accurate cuts using a jigsaw. This is applicable even for curves and complex shapes.

On the other hand, when we are using the saber saw, we usually don’t care about precision or accuracy. If you want to make fast, rough, and demolition-style cuts, we use the saber saw.

Parameter Jigsaw Saber Saw
Best Suitable for Making curve cuts and complex designs Demolition works
Design “Boxy” design with a vertical approach. The blade is perpendicular to the material with the help of the base plate (shoe) Elongated design with the blade protruding in front of the saw. Use it in any orientation
Power Medium power Very powerful
Accuracy and Precision Very precise and moderately accurate No regard for precision or accuracy
Blade Thin and flexible blade with T Shank (earlier tools use U Shank) Thick and large blade
Safety Relatively safe to use (but take necessary safety measurements) Dangerous tool. Always keep safety a high priority. Be extremely cautious
Advantages Easy to use

Make curves, designs, or complex shapes

Saw any material in any orientation

Very powerful tool

Disadvantages You need a base or table

Works in only one orientation

Cannot cut curves or complex designs (at least not accurately or precisely)

Which One to Buy, a Jigsaw or Saber Saw?

Now, it’s time for the important question. Which one to buy, a jigsaw or saber saw? From the discussion until now, you might have got an idea about the purpose and applications of both jigsaw and saber saw.

Even though both are reciprocating saws (in the sense that their blades reciprocate back and forth or up and down), how we use them is entirely different. Both these saws are very useful for specific applications.

Hence, rather than owning either one of these saws, we recommend you get both of them and understand when to use the jigsaw and when to use the saber saw.

So, when to use a Jigsaw? If your work involves making complex curves in a piece of wood, then there is no alternative to a jigsaw. If you make cuts by putting the material flat on a table, then the jigsaw is the best tool for the job.

Band Saw is a lot more powerful, accurate, and precise tool for making curve cuts but for making quick curve cuts or cutting in a relatively large piece of block, the jigsaw is the only tool.

Using a Jigsaw, you can make cuts and holes in countertops (to fit taps and faucets), and cut large pieces of wood, metal, ceramic, etc. into small sizes.

A saber saw or reciprocating saw is a powerful hand tool that can cut through any object you place in front of it. Whether it is wood, metal, trees, plastic, or pipes, you can use a saber saw to demolish them.

Making plunge cuts is also very easy using a saber saw. Another advantage of a reciprocating saw or saber saw is you can use it in any orientation (horizontal, vertical, angled, or even overhead).

You can use a saber saw for remodeling a house and cut through wood, plywood, metal, plastic, etc. You can also use it for pruning trees and branches, scraping glue or resin, and sanding wood or metal (with appropriate attachments).


Jigsaw and Saber Saw are two types of reciprocating saws. Confusingly, the saber saw is also known as a Reciprocating Saw. The blades in both these saws reciprocate to and fro (up and down in the case of a jigsaw and back and forth in the case of a saber saw).

In this guide, we saw the basics of both the Jigsaw and Saber Saw (Reciprocating Saw) along with their advantages and disadvantages. After that, we saw the Jigsaw vs Saber Saw comparison by listing out the differences between them. We also had a simple side-by-side comparison of Jigsaw vs Saber Saw.

Finally, we understood when to use a jigsaw and when to use a saber saw. In simple, if you are remodeling or into construction, then a saber saw will serve you better.

On the other hand, if you are a carpenter or furniture maker who works with a lot of complex shapes and designs, then a jigsaw is a better option.

We hope that this guide helped you in understanding the differences between a jigsaw and a saber saw and making a buying decision.

If you feel we missed something or want us to add anything, do let us know in the comments section below. It will not only help us but even other readers.

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