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Difference Between a Sawzall & a Jig Saw

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As the saying goes, "Not every saw sees the same." True to the saying, a reciprocating saw and a jig saw (or jigsaw) have significant differences. One of the most popular "recipro" saws is the "Sawzall," a trademarked brand, manufactured by the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company.


According to "Tools for Building," a reciprocating saw can be described as simply a linear jig saw, with the saw blade moving primarily in a side-to-side motion while the jig saw cuts in a downward motion. Also, the recipro saw has more power and weight.


A jig saw, also commonly called a scroll or saber (or sabre) saw, works well for making curved cuts. Some designs allow the blade motion to be switched from vertical to circular. The reciprocating saw works wells for rougher work, including emergency situations such as freeing trapped persons from vehicles.


Jig saw blades typically cut wood or metal, whereas reciprocating saw blades can cut through nearly any material, notes "Residential Construction Academy." These materials include wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic and ceramics. Recipro saw blades have wider size ranges, usually with a thicker width.


  • "Tools for Building"; Fine Homebuilding Magazine; 1988
  • "Residential Construction Academy: Construction"; Floyd Vogt; 2002
  • "Fire Engineering's Handbook for Firefighter 1 and 1"; Glenn Corbett; 2009

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including and "The Portland Upside."

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  • construction site, silhouettes image by Rina from