With the thousands of woodworking power tools in the market, it is not always easy to tell which ones you need. And things become even more complicated when you have to choose between two pretty similar tools like the sabre saw and jigsaw.
These saws both fall in the reciprocating saws category given that they cut in a reciprocating or up and down motion. Also, they have a similar-looking blade that protrudes at the front.
But despite the many obvious similarities, these are still different tools that have been built for different purposes. Here we point out their main differences to help make it clear what each will be ideal for and hence ensure woodworkers know what they need to buy.
Sabre Saw Overview
Sabre saw is also what is fondly referred to as the reciprocating saw, and it is a powerful handheld power saw that cuts in a reciprocating motion using a long-toothed blade. This saw is very handy for cutting through wood and various other soft materials like plastics.
While sabre saws do not deliver the accuracy of other saws like the jigsaws, they are great for making fast, rough cuts such as when you want to rip through the stock.
Overall the sabre saw will be larger than the jigsaw, and unlike the latter, it will also not have a sole plate which means it can be a little hard to control, and so it will not be the best for making intricate and curved cuts.
However, the longer exposed blade on the sabre saw makes it great for making overhead cuts, something that would be pretty hard to achieve when using the jigsaw. And this blade design also makes the saw great for cutting tree branches and other things like PVC piping.
Most of the typical applications that the sabre saws are meant for, will not demand high accuracy, and so you will hardly ever have to worry about the misguided and misaligned cuts that it makes due to lack of a plate guide.
But, sabre saws tend to be larger and bulkier when compared to jigsaws which can affect their portability, but these saws should still be easy to carry around, and this is more so if you go for the cordless types.
- Great for ripping stock
- Cuts a wide variety of materials
- Ideal for overhead cuts
- Larger and bulkier
- Not very good for intricate and accurate cuts
Jigsaws will also cut using a toothed blade that protrudes from the front of the saw, and it will be a thin blade designed to cut in a reciprocating motion.
These saws are built for more detailed work, and they can make more intricate and accurate cuts than sabre saws and many other saws in their class.
Overall, jigsaws tend to be more powerful when compared to the sabre saws which allows them to cut through harder materials faster. And because most also have variable speeds, you can easily fine-tune them to suit any cut type.
You can find jigsaws with two blade fitments which are the locking slot types and those with a screw for holding the blade in place. And the blades will also come with different tooth counts ranging from 7 to 25 TPI depending on their intended use.
By switching out the blades, you can use your jigsaw for a wide variety of cuts and materials. And when compared to the sabre saws, these will also be much safer saws to use as they do not have a long and fully exposed blade.
Because jigsaws will come in a smaller and lighter size, they will be easier and more convenient to carry around. Better yet, these saws are designed to give you an easy time as they will allow for quick and easy blade change.
- Greater ability to cut curved lines and odd angles
- Often more powerful
- Lighter and more portable
- Higher safety rating
- Straightforward blade change
- Blade is more delicate and breaks easily
Thicker and longer
Thinner and shorter
Demolition, cutting tree branches and ripping stock
Cutting curves, angles, and other intricate shapes in wood
Who Is It For?
DIYers, hobbyists, regular homeowners and anyone else into home improvement
Professional woodworkers and craftsmen
Wood, metal, laminate, plastic, and PVC piping
Soft and hardwoods, ceramic tiles, metal and laminate
Larger and less portable
Smaller and highly portable
Sabre Saw vs. Jigsaw
While both sabre and jigsaws are reciprocating saws they will be ideal for different kinds of jobs. Besides the differences in applications, they will also differ in various other things from blade size to cost. Keeping these differences in mind should make it easier to decide which between the two will serve you well.
At a glance, the blades on these saws might look identical as they are both thin and long, but they are not entirely the same. The blades will differ in everything from the thickness to the length. But with both saws, there will be many blade length options.
Sabre saws will often have more blade exposed at the front than the jigsaws given that their typical uses require more cutting area.
While you can get sabre saw blades that are as short as 3 inches and as long as 12 inches, many users seem to prefer the 7 and 8-inch blades as they are more ideal for cutting different kinds of materials, and they will not require very powerful motors to run them.
Also, when compared to the jigsaw blades, the sabre saw blade will be relatively thicker which makes them tougher to ensure they can withstand more abuse when rough cutting.
Because jigsaws are meant for more intricate and delicate cuts, they will typically come with thinner blades which are meant to ensure more cutting precision. But, with that said, these blades are also more prone to breaking.
Also, the blades on the jigsaw will be typically shorter when compared to the sabre saw. On average, jigsaws will have blades that are between 3 and 9 inches long.
Another important thing to note is that jigsaw blades will come in different TPI ranging from 7 and 25 TPI which makes these blades ideal for different applications.
Read More: Types of Jigsaw Blades
2. Best Uses
Given that these saws will both cut in a reciprocating motion, it is easy to assume that they will be good for pretty much the same uses which could not be further from the truth. Because they will differ in various aspects from the power output to blade size and design they will be perfect for different applications.
Sabre saws will not give you much control over your cuts and will hence be best suited for making rough cuts such as when you are doing demolition works or ripping through lumber.
However, these saws can also be handy for cutting PVC piping, cutting nails that are hard to pull out and also making cuts in hard to reach places and overhead. When you want to make indentations on walls or cut tree branches, the sabre saw will also be very useful.
Jigsaws will be more ideal for making intricate and delicate cuts into wood and various other materials. You can use them to make beveled and compound cuts in wood or make long, straight cuts effortlessly.
Also, the power saws can be very useful for other applications like cutting ceramic tiles and laminate for home improvement projects. And some experienced craftsmen can even use them to make patterns in wooden workpieces.
Read More: What is Jigsaw Used for?
3. Who Is It For?
Whom each of these power saws will suit best will depend on the specific projects that you do, and some woodworkers will even have both around for different jobs.
With that said, the sabre saw is often a more useful tool for DIYers, hobbyist and home remodelers who need to make rough cuts more often. Also, these tools will be great for regular homeowners that want something to use around the home for tasks like pruning trees.
Given the more cutting accuracy and increased versatility, the jigsaw will be a more useful tool in the hands of a professional woodworker as it will be very helpful in the workshop. Also, the jigsaw is a great addition to a craftsperson’s tool collection.
4. Table Guide
One of the main reasons why the jigsaw provides more precise cuts than the sabre saw is the fact that it includes a handy table guide that helps to direct the blade.
With the table guide, it will be easier to follow a precise cutting line or shape when using the jigsaw which besides ensuring precision also allows you to make some highly intricate cuts.
Sabre saws will not include any table guide, and so if you are looking to make more accurate cuts, it will mostly be up to you to direct the blade something even the most experienced users will have a hard time hacking.
Provided you have the right blade on your saw, both the sabre saw and jigsaw will be highly versatile, and you can use them to make a wide variety of cuts into different materials.
Sabre saws are perfect for ripping through wood and other soft materials like plastics. These are some of the best power saws to use when you want to cut PVC piping which makes them very popular tools with plumbers. Also, there are some sabre saw blades that will be ideal for cutting harder materials like metal.
Like sabre saws, the jigsaw will be a great tool for cutting wood, and it will be useful for cutting both hard and softwoods. Also, jigsaws are very handy for cutting laminate material, ceramic tiles and metals.
In many instances, you will need to use your power saw in different locations, and so portability is always a crucial element to consider when deciding which type to buy.
For most users, both the sabre saw and jigsaw will be portable enough given that they are overall smaller than many other saw types like circular saws.
However, when comparing the two, the sabre saws will be larger and bulkier which makes them less portable. Jigsaws, on the other hand, will come in a smaller and more compact size and are also more lightweight which makes them easier to carry around.
Both sabre saws and jigsaws are available in budget and high-end models to ensure there is something for every kind of user.
But while you can find a basic model of both saws for as little as $50 or slightly less, the jigsaws are overall more expensive when it comes to the mid and high tier models.
To get a top-quality sabre saw with all the nice extra features and a powerful motor, you will hardly spend anything over $150. But when it comes to the top tier jigsaws with extra powerful motors and more versatile performance, you need to spend a minimum of $200.
Before you buy any saw, you need to make sure that it will be ideal for your specific uses. And this is even more important when it comes to choosing between two similar saws like the sabre and jigsaw.
However, the choice between these saws does not have to be a complicated one as you will only need to keep their key differences like blade sizes and types, best uses and cost in mind. And if you can afford both, the better, as they will be useful for different jobs.
But, when you have to choose one, the sabre saw will be perfect for you if you do a lot of rough cutting or want something for household tasks like pruning trees. Jigsaws, on the other hand, will be perfect for those that want something more powerful for making delicate, precise and intricate cuts.