Sawzall Vs Jigsaw: Different Design, Similar In The Way They Operate

Sawzall vs jigsaw, are they similar? Although it seems so, they have different uses even if they are similar in the way they operate.


Sawzall and jigsaw belong to a category called reciprocating saws due to their mode of operation. A common definition of a reciprocating saw is that the blade uses a push and pull movement to perform the cut.

Let's dive into the detailed comparison between jigsaw and Sawzall.

What is a Sawzall Saw

Milwaukee 6520-21 13 Amp Sawzall Orbital Recip Saw

The Sawzall is a popular reciprocating saw, and the name "Sawzall" is a registered trademark, manufactured by Milwaukee Electric Tool. The Sawzall can also be called hognose saw, saber saw or recip saw.

Sawzall is a type of recip saw and is one of the best tools for cutting materials such as wood, metal, fiberglass or plaster. The design of this type of saw can look like a small chainsaw.

Unlike most other electric saws, it is particularly suitable for demolition and rough cuts. Equipped with a powerful motor with a short and solid blade, it is one of the most common cutting tools for hydraulic, construction, and electrical systems.

What is the Orbital Cutting Feature?

One of the characteristics of the Sawzall that deserves to be emphasized is the orbital cutting feature, which ensures that the blade follows a circular motion that allows you to see faster in a straight line. A more orbital action allows a faster cut. The less orbital action you use, the more precise your cut will be.

What is a Jigsaw

Bosch 120-Volt Top-Handle Jigsaw Kit JS365

The jigsaw is a type of electric saw with a long and thin blade that is suitable for jobs that require precise and delicate cuts.

While coming under the category of reciprocating saws, the jigsaw is, therefore, a cutting tool suitable for completely different tasks, which we can define as finishing or realization.

In fact, these power saws are ideal for making straight or curved cuts in the middle of the workpiece. With the right blade, it is possible to work or reshape materials such as wood, metal, or ceramic tiles.

Different Reciprocating Saw Blade Types

reciprocating saw blades

Users have different preferences, and that's why manufacturers made different blades for these types of saws. The main differences are in teeth per inch (TPI), blade material, and blade shape. These are the types:

Jigsaw Blades

  • Low TPI for wood.
  • High TPI for cutting metals.
  • Mid TPI for cutting plain and fine wood.

Sawzall Blades

  • Wood Cutting Blades
  • Demolition Blades
  • Combination Blades
  • Metal Cutting Blades
  • Carbide-Tipped Blades
  • Carbide Grit Blades

Differences Between Sawzall And Jigsaw

From their definitions above, you can conclude that these two types of saws have differences in almost every aspect. True to the saying, there is a sea of differences, although some do not hugely differ.

Well, that said, you must be eager to know these differences, and that is precisely what you are going to find in the next lines.


Jigsaw has relatively narrower and fragile blades. For this reason, the jigsaw is mostly used in precision cutting such as plunge cutting and beveling. Jigsaw blades can cut through a variety of materials such as wood, ceramic, and plastics.

Although it can cut metals, they are the lighter ones. Some of the things that it can cut through not much used and not ideal are drywalls and ceramic tiles.

On the other hand, Sawzall blades are stronger and thicker. Thanks to the powerful electric motor, it makes it cut faster through different materials such as stones, metals, ceramic tiles, drywall, and fiberglass and others.


In a nutshell, Sawzall is more powerful than a jigsaw and a serious worker who wants to complete bulk tasks within a short period then he would go for this tool. Irrespective of the price, it would be a good investment.

Comparison Under Different Criteria

Meanwhile, it is important to make a comparison of these two-closely-related saws based on different criteria.


Jigsaw has relatively high precision compared to Sawzall. When making cuts or even holes, jigsaw produces smooth cuts while Sawzall does the other way.


Jigsaw has smaller blades that work. It can work best with T-shank and U-shank blades while Sawzall has bigger blades that have different features that cannot be found in jigsaw blades.

Power Consumption

Jigsaw does not use much energy since it is made with relatively small motors with a low power rating. Sawzall has bigger and powerful motors which require high power for them to operate well and give the best results.

Blade Alignment

Jigsaw's blade is perpendicular to the body while Sawzall's blade alignment is in line with the saw body.


Jigsaw is quite safe since it is small, and therefore, it can be held with one hand and operate comfortably. On the other hand, Sawzall is bigger and cannot be held with one hand. Therefore, we can say that jigsaw is safer than Sawzall.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Jigsaw can be used to produce smooth curves, while Sawzall is mostly used in remodeling and demolishing.

Biggest disadvantage: Jigsaw cannot be used to handle thick materials while Sawzall is used in rough surface finish.

Sawzall or Jigsaw: Common Uses

Since Sawzall and jigsaw have different blades and motors, this means they have different potentials when it comes to the industry of construction and plumbing (this is where they are commonly used).


As stated earlier, Sawzall has stronger blades, and this makes it suitable for a variety of uses.


Demolition of structures and other stuff requires a piece of more powerful equipment. Under saws, Sawzall is more suitable in demolition than any other saw since it has all that takes to bring down a structure.

Sawzall can cut through drywalls faster with easy than a jigsaw. Following this, one cannot conclude that jigsaw cannot be used in demolition. It can be used, but it will take longer to complete the task which may otherwise be irksome.


Sawzall is a good fellow in pruning if at all you want it done with ease. Theoretically, a jigsaw can perform this task, but it is quite weary since there may be existing thick branches that need to be worked on. In a nutshell, these are the uses of a Sawzall;

Constructing doors and windows

  • Working with harder materials that jigsaws cannot do.
  • Making rough cuts.
  • Pruning branches of trees and plants.

Video: Milwaukee Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw


Carving a sign on a wood

Again, jigsaw wins. This is because if you want to make a sign out of plywood, you would probably do that perfectly using one hand and not both. For that reason, a jigsaw can help you carve that sign with easy, and it will be precise. However, if you think you can execute it with both hands, then Sawzall can still be your choice.

Making circles

Circles of almost any size are made using a jigsaw. It can be achieved through freehand or through using a circle cutting guide.

Video: Bosch Power Tools - JS365 6.5A Top-Handle Jigsaw

Jigsaw vs Sawzall: Do I need Both?

Because of the diversity of uses, you may ask yourself, "should I buy one of these saws since it may cater to my needs?"

Well, if you want to be more productive in your work and produce the best results, then the answer will be YES. This is because the two saws have many differences and you should look at them one by one.

For example, if you want to have circular cuts, then it is a must to have a jigsaw. This means if you bought Sawzall thinking that it would satisfy all your needs, then you will have to exclude this type of cuts. This cannot change even after changing blades.

Other Pros And Cons

These types of saws have a lot of advantages to users. This is why they are commonly used across the world, and in their absence, a lot can be left undone. However, they come along with disadvantages apart from the benefits.


These saws are not in the same category, and by far cannot compete. Therefore, they can be carried by the users to their destinations and complete their tasks comfortable.

Under both saws, users can change blades and use them for the purpose intended. This feature increases productivity; it is economical and gives user flexibility.

Jigsaw and Sawzall are user-friendly since they are made with excellent features that enable the user to operate with them comfortably.

For example, some of the features enable the user to operate for a long time without developing blisters or any other thing that would evoke inconvenience.

They can be used by all people, including children, since they do not have a complicated manner of operation. However, if children are to use them, it's safe to be under parental control.


They use electricity and therefore, cannot run in case of a power blackout.

They are powerful machines, and if a blunder is made, it can lead to severe damages.

Are You A Newbie? Check This Out

Before anyone becomes experienced and professional in any field, he/she may encounter problems and limitations that are as a result of being new in that particular field.

So, if you are a first user, then pay extra attention to this section before heading to the market to get yourself any of these saws.

To start with, you are highly recommended to go for jigsaw because it is small, handheld, and easy to maneuver. In a nutshell, whether a newbie or professional, go for a jigsaw if you want to work on any of the following;

  • Cutting profiles for complex templates.
  • Making curved cuts or intricate cuts.
  • Cutting large metal sheets, ceramic tiles, plywood, and soft plastic sheets.
  • Making straight cuts.


Can a jigsaw cut through wood with nails?

Yes, with the proper blade, your jigsaw can cut through wood with embedded nails.

Is a reciprocating saw the same thing as a Sawzall?

The Sawzall belongs to the category of reciprocating saw, but the exact definition would be saber saw or hognose saw.

What can you cut with a Sawzall?

Saber saws cut through just about everything: all type of wood even if it is incorporated with nails, or metals such as steel, aluminum, copper or iron.

Can I cut plastic with a jigsaw?

The jigsaw is the ideal tool for creating straight or curved cuts in plastic, either with thin or thick pieces.

Can a Sawzall saw cut curves?

Yes, but it would be challenging to get the desired curve. The tool suitable for this task is the jigsaw because its blade is much smaller and has thinner teeth.

Do recip saw blades fit all saws?

Reciprocating saw blades have a universal shank that is standardized to fit all saber saws and jigsaws.

What are the best Sawzall blades for cutting metal?

The best blades suitable for cutting metal are those that have a higher TPI (Teeth per Inch) and made specifically of hard metal.

For sheet metal cutting, 18-24 TPI bimetal blades can be used. To cut steel tubes or corner irons, use 14-18 TPI blades. For aluminum, an 8-10 TPI blade is the most suitable.

How thick can you cut with a jigsaw?

Typically, jigsaw blades are 4 inches long, and usable length is 3". For particular tasks, longer blades are available on the market to cut thicker pieces of wood.

Do Bosch blades fit Black and Decker jigsaw?

Yes, the most recent Black and Decker jigsaws accept both T-shaped and U-shaped blades.

What is the difference between jigsaw blades with T-shank and U-shaped shank?

Most manufacturers now use standard T-shaped blades, which makes it easier to change blades between different machines. The U-shaped shank blades are still available, but the T-shaped shank is more popular as most jigsaws are now equipped with a tool-free blade change to make changing blades faster and easier.


The type of saw you buy depends mostly on what you want to do.

Although these two tools fall within the definition of reciprocating saw, they are used differently in different fields and for different tasks.