Bandsaw Vs Jigsaw: Two Essential Power Saws Compared

At a glance, a bandsaw and jigsaw appear similar. Both saws have thin blades for cutting corners and straight lines.

Although these two saws perform identical tasks, they are not interchangeable. Each serves a specific set of functions in the workshop.

Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a handheld power saw that uses a thin reciprocating blade to make cuts.

Note: The main strengths of a jigsaw are its ability to create intricate curves on various materials and its high level of convenience.

The saw’s blade is mounted in the upper body and cuts perpendicular to the working table in an up and down motion.

The narrow blade of a jigsaw allows you to cut all types of curves with high precision and accuracy. It is instrumental when making complicated curved cuts in thin wood stocks.

Features

male with electric jigsaw

A jigsaw is an essential tool to have in your workshop due to its versatility.

One of the main features of a jigsaw is replaceable blades. When equipped with a proper blade, it cuts a variety of materials from woods to soft metals.

Jigsaws come with varying speed options to help cut through different materials with ease. For instance, you need a lower speed when cutting metal and hardwood to prevent the blade from overheating. Higher cutting speed has reduced vibrations, making it perfect for softwood.

A few modern models of jigsaws have laser guide technology which aids in making perfectly straight cuts. It also gives the saw the ability to cut the interior of the material without harming the outer edge of the piece. It makes small radius curves, which is impossible with other types of powered saws.

Jigsaws are lightweight and portable for both their corded and cordless models. They weigh between 5 and 20kgs.

The cordless version is easier, safer, and more convenient to handle in any workspace. It allows you to perform multiple curved patterns with ease.

The corded models are the most powerful. They are also reliable as you will not need to worry about your battery losing power in the middle of a task.

Some jigsaw blades have an orbital action whereby the blade moves marginally frontward into the material on an upstroke and marginally backward on a downstroke. These movements reduce the wear and tear of the blade.

Jigsaw Uses

  • A jigsaw is the safest option for DIY home projects, especially for beginners. You can use it on drywall, particle boards, wood, foam, and fiberglass.
  • The saw is ideal for making neat designs and curves on wooden art pieces. It allows you to cut inside of the wood without interfering with the edges.

Jigsaws are perfect for cutting thin materials such as plywood and veneer.

You can also use it to cut lumber. However, its small narrow blade limits the depth of a cut. Longer blades are available, although few, the problem with using them is that they are prone to blade wander.

Shorter blades can also wander/ vibrate at the tip, causing one side of a cut to become bigger than the cut nearer the saw.

Bandsaw

bandsaw maintenance

A bandsaw has a long continuous sharp blade running across two or more wheels in a similar direction. The wheels support blade motion making the teeth cut through a range of materials with ease.

The long blade distributes workload throughout the cutting surface, thus minimizing wear and tear and preventing overheating.

Bandsaws come in the cabinet, bench-top, and mounted models. All these models are motor-powered.

Cabinet models are pricier than the rest, but they have larger motors and better performance features.  Mounted bandsaws are cost-friendly but have fewer features.   

Features

One prominent feature of a bandsaw is blade tensioning. The saw has a spring that holds the blade in place, resulting in consistent straight and uniform cuts.

The band saw folded steel frame is solid and sturdy. It can withstand the pressure created by blade tensioning without crumbling.

The saw comes with a well-designed fence. The fence allows you to resaw boards, rip through rough rubber and produce accurate cuts.

Bandsaw Uses

Resawing: The saw slices large and thick pieces of wood or lumber into smaller pieces.

Industrial use: It has sharp blades that are great for cutting wood, metal, and meat.

Fast repetitive cuts: A jigsaw can slice large pieces of material that require similar cuts.

Differences Between Bandsaw and Jigsaw

BandsawJigsaw
Type of CutsSuitable for broader cuts on thicker materials. They are mainly used for large-scale cutting and resawing of timber and wood.They are used for narrow and more intricate curves and cuts. They are suitable for general cutting of wood and other softer materials.
Tool SizeA bandsaw is cumbersome to carry around. It comes as a bench-top, cabinet, and mounted model.Jigsaws are handheld power tools that are small, lightweight, and highly portable.
Safety and UsagePerfect for large-scale and more complex tasks. It should be operated by experienced and qualified personnel.The saw is ideal for beginners and homes DIY enthusiasts since the risk of injury is lower.
Types of MaterialsBandsaws can cut through hard and thick wood or metal.Suitable for softer wood and metals.
Type of BladeBandsaw blades connect to a band and are attached to the wheels.The blade is thick, flexible, and continuous.The blade of a jigsaw is reciprocating, thus connected to the top part of the saw.The blade is thin and moves in an up-and-down motion.

Bandsaw Vs. Jigsaw: Which One is Good for You?

You should go for a Jigsaw if your job involves:

  • Simple tasks such as paneling and cutting thin materials of veneers or plywood.
  • Cutting different curves, shapes, and designs on your material
  • Cutting awkward angles, like when you need to cut out a part of your drywall.

You should go for a Bandsaw if your job involves:

  • Resawing large and thick pieces of timber or lumber
  • Making large diameter curves in dense woods, complex designs, and intricate angle cuts.

Conclusion

When comparing bandsaw vs. jigsaw, none is better than the other. The most suitable saw for you depends on your project requirements, skills, and experience.

When using either of the saws, having the right blade for the specific material you are cutting is essential. It helps you achieve efficient, consistent, and accurate cuts.

Marcus Weldman

Marcus Weldman is the main author of WiseMakr.com. Marcus is a tool and DIY enthusiast. He spends his time discovering the comparative differences and practical limits for all kinds of tools.