If you’re trying to figure out just what tools you need in your workshop, there is much to consider. There are so many different types of tools out there to choose from. When it comes to woodworking, you have a number of different saw options and it seems like they all do their own unique things.
It is often thought that if you have a good jigsaw then you don’t need a bandsaw and vice versa. The truth is, while these saws are similar in some ways, they are both unique and have a solid purpose for your work shop.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the jigsaw vs. band saw and see just where they come out in the end.
Jigsaw Vs. Bandsaw – A Complete Comparison
At first glance, you might think of the bandsaw as just a glorified jigsaw. While this is a simple way to describe the bandsaw, there is actually so much more to know about both of them. In this article, we will take a look at first the jigsaw and then the bandsaw.
We will cover an overview of each one, talk about some products and uses, and then wrap up with an overview for a close-up comparison of these two tools. Our hope is that you can be fully informed on their differences and why you might need one or both in your arsenal.
Jigsaws are small, handheld tools that use a reciprocating blade. With that blade, you can make a variety of different cuts. It is exceptionally helpful for cuts that have curves or maybe awkward angles and styles to them.
These saws fit comfortably in your hand, can be taken on the go, and are generally easy to use. They also can cut through a variety of materials so you aren’t limited to just wood or anything like that.
These saws almost look like a circular saw by design but are slightly smaller and also lighter. On the bottom, they have a blade that is open. This allows you to take it anywhere and cut anywhere and to easily control the saw as you maneuver it around whatever it is you may be cutting at the time.
With this tool, you pretty much just have to control the movement. The blade moves up and down on its own in a perpendicular fashion. It’s a pretty small blade overall but it is usually long so you can work through thicker materials when needed.
The thin blade is what affords you the freedom to move it around and cut those curves with ease. Where people use the scroll saw for intricate designs, the jigsaw can be comparable to the motion but it is handheld instead.
Really, the jigsaw operates almost exactly like the band saw, but again it is a handheld saw making it perfectly portable. It also may be more limited as far as overall use capability.
Jigsaws are great for DIY projects, on site work, and workshop use as well. They’re convenient because they are portable and they definitely are not excessively heavy or take up a lot of space either. You can sharpen and replace the blades easily but that is about the only piece you will ever have to deal with malfunctioning, apart from maybe the guard.
The blade moves up and down in a gentle motion and since it is only about 5 inches long, you can use it perpendicular to your table and you can make complicated curved cuts on demand through a variety of materials. You may need specialty blades for some uses.
The unique thing about the jig saw is that it can also make holes within a full frame, rather than starting from the edge. You can start your cut anywhere on your material and complete the cut without having to cut into the wood or the edge of your project to get there and cut it.
Types of Cuts
The jigsaw does not just have to be used for circular cuts. It can be versatile and useful in far more ways than that. These saws certainly can handle circular cuts and curves but they can also handle cutting angles as well as cutting straight lines just fine.
You can easily change the blade and use a variety of different blades so you can choose the blade that is suitable for the cut you are making or the material you are cutting. Ultimately, you have enough versatility here that you can make just about any cut you want with ease and the right blade in your hands.
The jigsaw has the ability to handle just about any material you throw at it as well. Here are a few.
It’s been known to be used for pipes and other surfaces as well. Wood is typically actually not the first material of choice but it certainly can handle wood. It’s just useful for so many materials that wood is almost an afterthought.
In addition, the jigsaw can even be used for some rough cuts, although it may not be as stable as some of the other options out there that are built for this type of cut. This saw is sometimes labeled the “poor man’s saw” for this reason.
We want to point out here that the ability to make these versatile cuts on just about any surface relates directly back to the blade being used. While you certainly can make just about any cut you like, you need to have the right blade to do so.
Long, straight cuts might need a longer or wider blade but if you’re cutting curves or circles, you most likely need to focus on using a narrower blade instead. Finally, the teeth on the blade are also important as larger teeth cut fast and smaller teeth cut slow but the slower cuts are typically smooth in comparison.
We recommend the jigsaw anytime you’re making a cut that is on the insider of a piece. For example, maybe you need to cut a circle for piping for the drywall in your bathroom. The jigsaw is very helpful here.
The jigsaw is a go-to for any type of curved cuts but its usefulness extends far beyond just curves by design.
Now let’s take a look at the bandsaw. The bandsaw uses a thicker blade that is larger overall. It’s not a handheld saw but rather found on a stand with its own built-in table space. Like the jigsaw, the bandsaw can be used for circular cuts as well as curves but it can also be used for straight cuts and a variety of other functions, including ripping lumber.
This saw is unique by design. Much like the name suggests, the blade is a band. We’re talking a very long band that when held up may reach to your shoulders. This rounded blade runs through the machine and typically runs over at least two wheels within the compartments of the machine.
The blade runs in a continuous circle over the wheels when you have it operating. It’s a circular band that is fully connected and mounted to the wheels that help it circulate and move smoothly. Rather than moving in an up and down motion, it moves in a continuous circle. The blade runs through the cutting table and the teeth move consistently and evenly when it’s in operation.
While it is moving in circular form, there is still an up and down motion of the blade as well. This is what forms the cuts, with the sawing motion. All band saws are power tools but not all are created equally.
We Think You’ll Like: How to Use a Band Saw
You can find benchtop models, miniature portable models, models on their own stands, and even compact models that are handheld. All band saws operate with large and powerful motors so you can cut and work through whatever your task is without the motor overheating or seizing.
Much like jigsaws, you will choose your blade wisely. Thanks to the continuous and controlled motions of the bandsaws, you can get consistent results and do some incredibly unique things as well.
Band saws get their names from the banded blades that you use. These blades are typically very narrow, measuring just slightly over an inch. There are some variations and different sizes and types of blade. You can also choose your blade based on the materials or the teeth as well so keep that in mind.
Band saw blades can be pretty costly to purchase so having a backup or knowing how to maintain your blade and keep it operational is a must. The blade moves consistently since it circulates and moves.
Since the blade is narrow, it can be used for curved and rounded cuts and it can also work for cuts in a variety of shapes and sizes. The bandsaw is rather unique but is incredibly versatile, which is something a lot of people don’t realize.
Types of Cuts
Now, let’s talk about the types of cuts that a bandsaw is most commonly used for or can be used for. Band saws are incredibly versatile and often their versatility is taken for granted. Here are some of the most common uses for a bandsaw
- Circular cuts
- Straight cuts
- Ripping lumber
These are just the basics so keep in mind you might be able to find another use for your bandsaw and it still works just fine for that purpose.
The band saw can easily cut curves and angles thanks to the narrow blade. While you can’t start it in the center of a large piece, you can start it at an edge and work your way around curves of any kind. This is where it varies from the jigsaw, which you can start at any point in a project.
You can also make straight cuts. In these cases, fences and guards can come in handy because they act as a guide. The nice thing is that your blade stays in the same place and operates on a static motion so you don’t have to worry about keeping your blade straight. You just have to be able to keep your materials that you’re cutting straight for this one.
Ripping lumber is a unique appeal for the bandsaw and one that is often overlooked. When you look at the band saw, you probably don’t associate ripping lumber with it at first glance but that is actually one of the most popular uses for the saw.
It’s so nice because you can often adjust the bandsaw height and depth to handle a variety of sizes. You can work with a single, thin material or you can kick it up a notch with thick materials. You can even work with a stack of materials and cut them all at one time, rather than having to cut them individually instead.
Next up, you have re-sawing capabilities. If you’re not familiar with the re-saw, it’s basically when you have an odd piece of material that perhaps was cut and then compiled and now you need to saw in another manner. The length and form prevent you from using something like the table saw.
A band saw is perfect. You can easily re-saw because there are little to no limitations on the length that you can work with when you use a band saw and it’s adjustable so you can start anywhere you like on your material for cutting, if that makes sense. There are aftermarket rails and guards that are perfect for re-saw use as well.
Jigsaw Vs. Bandsaw: Where Do They Measure Up?
Now that you’ve seen a breakdown of each of these types of saws, let’s compare them here in a summary for you so you can see how they measure up.
Remember that the jigsaw is a small, handheld saw whereas the bandsaw is actually a large saw. It can be compact at times or even portable, but it’s designed to be a larger saw that is stable and attached to a surface.
The jigsaw can be used to start even in the center of a material while the bandsaw doesn’t have that ability. However, both can be used for a variety of cuts, including circular and straight cuts. The bandsaw has far more functionality than it is given credit for and can be used to cut multiple pieces at one time or even rip lumber if you need to.
Both of these saws can be used on a variety of materials and both saws are incredibly versatile and functional. They are effective. Both saws can be used to cut curves and intricate cuts but keep in mind your bandsaw needs a starting point.
The band saw runs on a large banded blade that operates in a circular motion that is continuous. The jigsaw operates solely on an up and down sawing motion. The blade on a bandsaw is slightly more narrow than a jigsaw and perfect for those delicate circles.
We hope that you find this guide to comparing the jigsaw and bandsaw to be a valuable resource. Both of these tools can easily serve a purpose in your workshop, depending on the projects that you are working on.
Which saw do you plan to check out – or do you need them both?
- HIGH PERFORMANCE ELECTRIC JIG SAW - 5 amp electric jig saw with a 3⁄4” blade orbital action for increased precision
- CURVE CONTROL TECHNOLOGY - Four curve settings for maximum control over rounded cuts
- BEVELED CUTS - Makes beveled cuts up to 45 degrees
- HIGH POWER - Variable-speed motor generates up to 3,000 SPM of cutting power
- ADJUSTABLE SHOE - Adjustable shoe with wire guard for enhanced stability and line of site
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- 4 ORBITAL SETTINGS: The higher the setting, the faster you can cut into wood. These higher settings are ideal for making straight cuts into lumber, with lower settings for making curves or cutting into metal
- BUILT-IN DUST BLOWER: This feature on the tool will help you clear debris away from your work, giving you clear vision
- LED LIGHTING gives you improved line-of-sight in poorly lit conditions
- BLADE SAVING BASE: If your jigsaw blade is wearing out, you can drop the base of the tool to let you utilize the unused blades on your tool, improving the longevity of your accessories
- TRIGGER LOCK SYSTEM: Pull the trigger and press the button on the side of the unit. With this feature, you can focus all of your energy on controlling your cuts the way you want to
- 3.5 amp motor creates cuts up to six inches deep and 9-3/4 inches wide
- Uses 72-inch blades anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 inches in size
- Spacious 14-1/8 x 12-1/2 inch cast aluminum work table bevels up to 45 degrees
- Operates at two speeds of either 1520 or 2620 FPM
- Includes a 2-year warranty, a work light, a 3-in-1 dust port, a fence, a miter gauge, and a 3/8-inch blade (6 TPI)
- Huge cutting capacity makes cuts up to 5 inches wide and 5 inches deep
- Variable speed operation adjusts the blade speed anywhere from 60 to 420 feet per minute
- Powerful 10-amp motor glides through metal, plastics, and more
- Lightweight portable design weighs in at a mere 14.5 pounds
- Features a 10/14 TPI metal-cutting blade, an adjustable front handle, ball-bearing blade guides, an external blade tensioning lever, and a two-year warranty
- Solid Steel Design- The 10-305 is a scaled down version of the popular 10-345 and 10-325. Frame is made of steel plate, stronger than plastic frames used by other manufactures
- Cast Iron Table-Large 13-3/4-Inch by 12-1/2-Inch sturdy work surface, a feature not typically found on a bandsaw of this size
- Rip Fence- A quality rip fence is now included. Easily removed to do free hand work
- Motor - 1/3HP motor provides ample power for cutting bowl and pen blanks
- Micro Adjustable Guide Post- Raise and lower the guide post height with the turn of a handle