Band Saw vs Jigsaw – What are the Differences?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 18, 2022
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If you are unfamiliar with saws and other cutting equipment, a huge confusion might surround you in the world of saws. There are tons of saws for woodworking and metalworking which have various specifications and features. It is tough to get yourself the right one among so many pieces.

Bandsaws and jigsaws are commonly used in a personal workspace and professional workshops. But which one should you use? the band saw vs jigsaw – what are the differences between these two?

Band-Saw-vs-Jigsaw

In this article, you will find all the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of band saws and jigsaws to have a better understanding of these two and use the one you think is more suitable.

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Jigsaw

A jigsaw is more likely an electrical power tool having a reciprocating saw blade. The blade runs in a vertical motion by an electric motor. It is easy to operate and control because of its handheld feature.

You can have different cuts, including straight line, curve cuts, shaping edge, slow and fast cuts with a jigsaw. With this tool, the woodworkers and carpenters can move to other working places as it is portable and easy to carry.

This handheld tool is a favorite among users for perfect and precise cuts. It makes perpendicular cuts, and the small blade ensures accuracy while shaping curves. There are mainly two types of jigsaws: the cordless saw and the corded saw. People can use them according to their type of work.

1. Working Principle

There are a series of eccentric gears in a jigsaw that mainly work as off-centered gears. Once the tool is turned on, the blade cuts moving up and down in a rotary motion. Thus, the blade runs and cuts various materials.

Jigsaws have narrow blades and come mostly in c-shape. While working, the edge should face forward to the user. You can change the blade according to your work type.

There has been a considerable revolution of jigsaws from the previous times. Nowadays, jigsaws come with variable speed feature that makes it easy for the users to control speed according to the cuts, size, and thickness of any material.

2. Versatility of a Jigsaw

Among a vast range of different saw and cutting machines, nothing could stand out like a jigsaw in the sector of supremacy in versatility. A jigsaw can do almost every type of cut. That includes straight, curved, and angled cuts, irrespective of the material and thickness of the block.

Jigsaw working on wood

As they are individual tools, you can even cut internal shapes, which might not be possible for any large-sized cutting saw. Besides, they can be used for cutting rough edges that can go wrong if using any other saw.

If you talk about a wide range of different materials like wood, plastic, metal, and drywall, jigsaws are suitable for all of them. It can work on any surface which stays vertical.

3. Types of Blades

Choosing the right blade is the first thing to do when you are using a jigsaw, as a single kind of blade may not be suitable for the various size, thicknesses, and materials of the piece you want to cut.

Besides, the blade’s length, width, and tooth formations are also different for each type of cut.

Narrow blades with small teeth are suitable for curve cutting as the narrow blade slides according to the curve size for a flawless cut. Small teeth help to run the blade slowly on curves so that the edges don’t become rough and uneven.

On the contrary, wider blades with large teeth are essential for straight cuts as they run fast for a smooth straight finishing on your working material.

4. Utilization and Usability

Jigsaws are primarily used in places where you need an accurate cut on any small or medium-sized material piece. Curve cuttings are the main specialty of a jigsaw. You will not find another saw around that can precisely cut curves like this one.

Carpenters use jigsaws as their portable working tool that can be taken to their workplace on smaller jobs. It is an excellent tool for beginners for its easy operating feature. They can easily learn how to cut different materials using a jigsaw in the first place.

Band Saw

A bandsaw is a solid structured cutting tool that uses reciprocating blade motion for cutting various materials. An electric motor provides power to the machine for creating this motion.

For proper utilization, you need to mount a bandsaw on any stationary table while working with it. The construction of a bandsaw makes it more reliable for every type of cut, including resawing, whether on wood or metal.

The bandsaw blade (like these top brands) is placed by creating a band that rotates diagonally on two wheels. A bandsaw is generally used for thick and large material blocks as it is strong enough to cut any hard one.

1. Working Principle

After you set up your bandsaw with the suitable blade, turn on the electrical motor that will run the knife. The bandsaw will work well if you set it up so that the table remains square to the blade. While you hold your workpiece, the blade will swing downwards and cut through the marked line or design.

For cutting in straight lines, fasten the speed of the blade as it makes flawless cuts and smoother edges. On the other hand, run the blade slower while cutting curves. Take smooth turns to shape the curves because unclean turns can make the edges uneven, making sanding difficult.

2. Selecting the Right Blade

Bandsaw blades are generally vertical blades with small or large teeth. By making a loop, a bandsaw blade is used as a band on the wheels. There are blades of various features that are used for every specific cut.

If you want quicker cuts on large workpieces, hook-tooth blades can be the game-changer as they have bigger teeth. Otherwise, go for the regular-tooth blades, which work on almost every type of material and surface quite nicely.

You can also use the skip-tooth blade to cut thin woods, plastics, and different non-ferrous metals. As they have tiny teeth, cutting these softer materials becomes easy without damaging the shape.

3. Performing Different Cuts

Bandsaws can be used for various cuts, rips, and even for resawing. Compared to the other saw used in metalworking and woodworking, bandsaws have a larger capability of cutting massive workpieces by ensuring perfect and even cuts.

While cutting, mark on your workpiece according to the desired cut. It will be convenient for the cutting process. Keeping the blade guard at a minimum distance from the block maintains the necessary tension of the blade.

When you are going for straight cuts, put your workpiece aligned to the blade and push further after turning on. Using a fence or clamp makes it easier for you as they keep the block at a standstill. For curve cutting, go slow with a narrow blade so that the edges remain plane and even.

4. Using Purposes

There are versatile applications of the band saw. Since the invention of bandsaws, it has been widely used for ripping lumber. It can cut down perfectly shaped large pieces effortlessly in a short time.

Besides, resawing and rip cutting are two sectors where bandsaws work well without cracking the thin woodblocks. For cutting circles with specific height and radius, a bandsaw is a viable option. You can cut multiple pieces with it and have seamless cuts like the single and large pieces you have worked with before.

Difference Between a Band Saw and Jigsaw

Every cutting tool is unique for its specific features and uses. A bandsaw and a jigsaw are both cutting tools with many similarities in specifications. But there are also some differences as their working principle and functionality are not the same.

We will now discuss some of their noteworthy differences that will give you a better understanding of these two saws.

1. Measurements and Weight

Jigsaws are individual tools that don’t need any additional surface for setting up. So, the measurements of them are pretty decent for working with your hand. As they are a type of handheld saw, they are not that heavy, and you can carry them to places conveniently.

Talking about the bandsaws, they are large-sized and heavy cutting equipment that can’t be moved easily from one place to another. Because they are generally designed to work in a fixed workspace, nowadays, you will find some bandsaws which claim to be portable. But yet, they are heavier than jigsaws.

2. Blade Size and Design

There is a massive difference in the blade design of band saws and jigsaws. Both blades are entirely different as band saws have rounded edges that are mounted on the wheels, and jigsaws have straight blades attached to a fixed point.

Jigsaw blades are super essential for internal cuts with a straight blade. On the other hand, bandsaw blades work well on large workpieces for external cuts, which are difficult with a jigsaw.

If we talk about the blade width and teeth configuration, bandsaws and jigsaws have narrow, wide, thin, and thick blades with similar teeth arrangements.

3. Cutting Method

As jigsaws have straight blades, they move up and down through the cut and are mainly used for narrow cutting. The blades are best for cutting different curves and rough pieces, but they are not so reliable for large logs of wood and metal.

On the contrary, nothing can compare with a bandsaw for expansive cuts and cutting thick and large woodblocks. They are also suitable for straight, curved, angled, and circle cuts like jigsaws.

If you notice the depth of various cuts, a bandsaw will always walk ahead of a jigsaw. Because of their band-sized blade, they go only downwards while cutting and create much deeper cuts.

4. Safety Issues

I have seen many people saying that bandsaws are dangerous to work with and jigsaws are safe because they are small and portable. But honestly speaking, safety depends on the user of any tool.

If you maintain the necessary safety rules of band saws and jigsaws, then these tools are safe to use until any uncontrollable situation occurs.

While you work with a jigsaw, don’t hold the material with your other hand near the blade. Hold the saw carefully and work within a safe boundary.

For a bandsaw, use a push stick for driving any material towards the blade. Don’t remove the wood chips with your hand and maintain a safe distance. Use safety glasses and hand gloves whether you work with a jigsaw or a band saw.

Which One Should You Get?

If you are an individual worker going to different places for your job or working on your workspace, a jigsaw is a better option for you. This is a portable tool which you can carry to places to do your job.

For use at home as a personal cutting tool, a jigsaw ensures accurate cuts with convenient usability.

In case you are working in a workshop cutting a mass amount of wood, metal, and lumber, then nothing is best than a bandsaw. With a bandsaw, you never have to worry about large and thick blocks of wood as it can cut them easily, and you won’t have to think about any rough cuts either.

For beginners at woodworking and metalworking, it is better to start with a jigsaw as it is easy to operate. After a while, go with bandsaws to gain professional experience when you have learned the basic principles.

Final Words

When you are working on any project, know the requirements and understand your working capability with these tools to choose the suitable cutting saw for your task. After going through this article, you shouldn’t have any confusion regarding band saw vs. jigsaw.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.
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