Jigsaw and Sabre Saw

There are so many power tools out there on the market now that unless you were a professional and used to dealing with different kinds of saws all day, you might be partial for getting the jigsaw and the sabre saw mixed up.

Don’t feel embarrassed - you’re not the first, and you certainly won’t be the last to make such a minor error. 

Some people still believe that there is absolutely no difference between the jigsaw and the sabre saw and that one tool simply has two names for some unknown reason. We are here to dispute that claim and tell you that there is in fact a difference between the two, both in looks and uses. 

In this article, we’ll be looking at both of the two saws and their uses, as well as how to determine which option is the best for you. Let’s dive right in, shall we? 

Introducing the Saws

Both the jigsaw and the sabre saw come from the same family, and to the untrained eye, it might look as though there are no distinct features that set the two apart.

However, once we explain the two saws, you’ll wonder how you ever mixed them up in the first place! 

The Jigsaw

The jigsaw is not just a terrifying puppet in a popular gore-filled horror movie franchise, but it’s also a very popular power tool that can be found in many different toolboxes. They’re used by beginners and professionals alike and are very versatile in what they’re able to be used for. 

The first jigsaw was created by a man called Albert Kaufmann in 1946, who had the genius idea of putting a blade where the needle should be on a sewing machine. Luckily for us, the newer models are a lot less cumbersome and much safer to use. 

Jigsaws have a handle and that gives you great control over the blade and often gives you the opportunity to either use them with or without a cord attached. Using a jigsaw is usually incredibly easy and doesn’t take you long to learn at all, which is why they’re often found in so many people’s homes. 

These types of saws don’t tend to take up much space and can be stored away out of sight until you need it. The blade is rather thin, making it easy to cut tight shapes out of your material. Overall, a jigsaw always comes in handy at one time or another. 

Benefits

  • Can be used on intricate jobs thanks to the added accuracy of the blade. 
  • Very easy and safe to use. 
  • You can cut around corners without having to stop. 
  • Doesn’t take long for beginners to learn how to use a jigsaw.

Drawbacks

  • The blade is quite small which can take longer to cut than other saws. 
  • Not as powerful as a lot of other options. 

The Sabre Saw

The sabre saw is another name for the reciprocating saw, which features a blade that travels up and down thanks to the fast-acting motor.

The sabre saw is often large and bulky which makes it harder to use for beginners, and not as many people have a sabre saw in their personal collection. 

You’ll find that the main use for a sabre saw is to roughly cut a piece of material before using a jigsaw to clean-cut the edges. For example, if you needed to cut a piece of wood down to a third of the size, you would use the sabre saw to get the job done in as little time as possible. 

What would take the jigsaw five minutes to do takes the sabre saw mere seconds; however, the cut is not going to be accurate or clean. Sabre saws are favored in demolition work where it doesn’t matter what the cuts look like. 

Essentially, a sabre saw is ideal for when you need to get something halved in size quickly. You don’t need to lay the material on a table beforehand, and you can use it with only one hand. You can opt for a corded or cordless sabre saw, although cordless options are most favored around job sites. 

Sabre saws are also easy to store away and don’t take up much space in a toolbox. They offer more vibration which tends to give them a jumpy feel, which is another reason why they’re not the best for intricate cuts. Higher-end sabre saws are more accurate than lower-end alternatives, but neither is as accurate as a jigsaw. 

Benefits

  • Great for demolition work. 
  • Straight to the point saw that gets the job done. 
  • A durable blade that can cut through lots of different materials. 
  • Quick cutting saw. 

Drawbacks

  • Useless for intricate cuts. 
  • Leaves you with rough edges and wonky lines. 
  • Tends to jump around during the cutting process. 

Jigsaw vs. Sabre Saw Features

Now that we’ve looked into the differences between the jigsaw and sabre saw, let’s delve deeper into the features that you can expect to find on each one.

This will help you to decide which option is best for your needs. 

Motor

The motor is the most important part of a saw, as you’ll be hard-pressed to get the job done manually. The motor powers the blade and allows the saw to cut into the material. Both the jigsaw and the sabre saw have powerful motors that are powered either through a battery pack or an electrical cord. 

A sabre saw tends to be more powerful than a jigsaw and therefore cuts the material in less time than the latter. If you want a more powerful saw that doesn’t focus on accuracy, the sabre saw is the better option for you. 

Blade

The blade is the second most important feature on a saw as this is what actually does the cutting. The blade for your saw can often be replaced with a better option depending on the use, so you can decide how many TPI your blade needs for both a jigsaw and a sabre saw. 

The blade is smaller on a jigsaw than on a sabre saw, making it much easier to cut intricate and accurate lines from your material. On the other hand, the sabre saw uses a thicker blade to chop material into pieces. 

Sabre saws usually come with more durable blades compared to a jigsaw, because they’re more commonly used around job sites and demolition sites. This means that they’ll need to be cutting through a lot of different materials, such as wood, metal, and plastic. 

That being said, you can still replace the blade on your jigsaw to make it more durable and therefore usable on these harder materials. Bear in mind that these blades tend to be more expensive than normal ones. 

Stroke Length

The stroke length means how far the blade can move up and down between strokes, determining how quickly the blade can cover the desired distance. Jigsaws are made for more careful work and can be used to cut corners and semi-circles out, so the stroke length tends to be shorter than that of a sabre saw. 

Sabre saws are designed to be tough enough to take no prisoners and get the job done as quickly as possible. For this reason, the stroke length on a sabre saw is typically much longer than a jigsaw so that your material can be cut within a fraction of the time. 

Shoe

The shoe of a saw is what protects the blade from snapping and helps to keep the saw steady against the material.

Both the sabre saw and jigsaw have a shoe, but the former often depend on it more. This is because the sabre saw doesn’t need to be used against a table, so the shoe is really the only thing that guides you while you’re cutting. 

The shoe can be adjusted which is particularly helpful when trying to complete angled cuts or cutting through harsh materials. 

Which is the best saw for you? 

Whether you opt for a jigsaw or a sabre saw depends on what you’re going to be using it for most regularly. If you’re looking for something to cut difficult shapes out of your material and don’t mind spending some extra time maneuvering the tool, then a jigsaw should meet your needs perfectly. 

On the other hand, if you work around job sites and need a tool to help you rip up materials in the blink of an eye, the sabre saw might fare you well. Jigsaws are more commonly used around the house while sabre saws are reserved for job sites or woodworking. 

Ultimately, which tool is best for you comes down to your personal opinion - only you know what you need your saw for! Go with your better judgment and opt for the saw that sounds the most helpful to you. 

Remember that you will find it incredibly difficult to use a sabre saw in lieu of a jigsaw, and using a jigsaw instead of a sabre saw will double the time it takes for you to complete your tasks, so try not to opt for the wrong tool! 

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