Jigsaw Vs. Bandsaw


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.

Jigsaw Vs. Bandsaw compared
Image by Aleksandr Sobolev from Pixabay

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.


Jigsaw Vs. Bandsaw – A Complete Comparison
Image by BOSCH JS260 120-Volt Top-Handle Jigsaw,Blue,6.0 Amp from Amazon

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.

  • Drywall
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Wood

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
  • Re-sawing
  • Crosscuts

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?

Jigsaw Vs. Bandsaw: Where Do They Measure Up?
Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

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?

Amazon Recommends:

Jig Saw
SaleBestseller No. 1
BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw, 4.5 -Amp (BDEJS300C)
  • VERSATILE APPLICATION – 3/4 in. stroke length for cutting wood, metal, and more materials.
  • VARIABLE-SPEED MOTOR – 4.5 Amp motor generates up to 3,000 spm of cutting power.
  • COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT – Electric jig saw is designed for easy maneuverability and reduced vibration.
  • BEVELED CUTS – Base plate tilts to make beveled cuts up to 45 degrees.
  • WIRE GUARD – Supplies a clear line of sight for enhanced cutting precision.
Bestseller No. 2
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  • Michael Spierig (Director) - Josh Stolberg (Writer) - Mark Burg (Producer)
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SaleBestseller No. 3
BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw, Smart Select, 5.0-Amp (BDEJS600C)
  • 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
Band Saw
Bestseller No. 1
WEN BA3962 3.5-Amp 10-Inch Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight, Black
  • 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)
SaleBestseller No. 2
BILT HARD 2.5-Amp 9-inch Band Saw, Benchtop Bandsaw for Woodworking, with Blade and Miter Gauge - CSA Listed
  • More Powerful Motivation: Product size: 29 x 19 x 14 inches, Product weight: about 39 lbs. Bilt Hard band saw equipped powerful 2.5 amp ball bearing induction motor, no-load speed up to 1,450R/min, cuts different types of wood at 2,500ft/min. Max depth of cut 3 1/2-in and Max wide of cut 9-in.
  • Sturdy Adjustable Table: Cast iron table measures 12-1/4 x 11-7/8-in providing for a large and sturdy work surface. Upper table trunnion adjustment quickly tilts table up to 45° for accurate bevel cutting.
  • Include Dust Port: The benchtop band saw included a 2-1/2in standard diameter dust port that can accept a vacuum hose (not included) to help minimize dust and debris around the work space.
  • Blade Design: Two-wheel design, with a 59-1/2 in. long * 1/4-inch-wide blade, Support blades from 1/8 in. to 3/8 in. wide. Rapid set blade tensioning system can quickly replace the blade.
  • WARRANTY - We guarantee this product to be free from defects in materials and workmanship 30 days from the date of purchase. Our support team is on standby for YOU.
Bestseller No. 3
RIKON Power Tools 10-3061 10" Deluxe Bandsaw, Includes Fence and Two Blade Speeds
  • HIGH QUALITY MACHINE – This product includes the 10-3061 Deluxe Bandsaw and 5/16” x 70-1/2” 6TPI bandsaw blade. Great for producing smooth cuts in wood, metal, and more, this machine is perfect for any craftsman's project. Toggle between two different blade speeds to cut nearly anything.
  • MOTOR DETAILS - The increased cutting capacity and increased 1/2HP motor make this bandsaw great for small to medium sized projects. Motor: 1/2HP, 5.5Amp, 110V (60Hz), 1720RPM, Blade Speeds: 1515 or 3280 ft/min
  • TABLE DETAILS - The tilting, 0-45° cast iron table makes for easy operation. Table Size: 13-3/4” x 12-1/2”, Table Tilt: 5 degrees left, 45 degrees right
  • DIMENSIONS – Fence Size: 12-1/4” x 2-3/8”, Dust Port Size: 2-1/2” OD, 2-1/4” ID, Base Size: 15-7/8” W x 9-3/8” D, Overall Size: 34-1/4” H x 21” W x 16-1/4” D
  • FEATURES – Features tool-less blade guides; quick-release blade tension lever; large blade tracking knob and viewing window; dust port for shop vacuum hookup; and a safety paddle on/off switch. Comes with 5/16" x 6TPI regular blade and a 5-year limited warranty. RIKON Power Tools is dedicated to designing and manufacturing woodworking machinery of the highest quality that enhances the woodworking experience.

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