If you are in the market for a new saw, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which would be the best option for you! There seem to be so many different options available, and if you are still new to the hobby, it becomes even more confusing.
The two saws which most people have a problem deciding between are reciprocating saws and circular saws. Both are great for different uses and have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are using them for.
What is the difference between a reciprocating saw and a circular saw? A circular saw is a good option to achieve a clean, accurate cut, whereas a reciprocating saw will offer you power and good flexibility. A reciprocating saw is generally used for rough-cutting jobs and demolition, and a circular saw is mostly used for household woodworking.
We have listed all the differences between reciprocating saws and circular saws which are worth knowing, to help you decide which would be the best option for you!
The Differences Between Reciprocating Saws And Circular Saws
If you are planning on doing quite a bit of woodwork, or if you are taking on new projects at home, it would help to have both types of saws.
However, if your budget only limits you to one for now, take a look at the below differences to work out which saw would be better to start with.
The blade types between reciprocating saws and circular saws are quite obviously different. A circular saw has a disc-like blade that has many carbide or diamond-coated teeth around the edge. A reciprocating saw has a knife-like blade instead.
The different types of blades mean that either saw is suited for a different type of work.
A reciprocating saw and a circular saw have different shapes and sizes. A circular saw has a circular, disc-like blade in the center of the tool with a serrated edge. A reciprocating saw looks almost similar to a chainsaw, where the knife-like serrated blade extends from the handle of the machine.
Both saws require two hands to operate them safely, but the two saws, due to their shape and size, are held very differently from each other when being used.
The cutting and sawing abilities between the two saws are very different, due to the different blades that each has.
A reciprocating saw can easily slice through a piece of wood in next to no time, but in doing so, it will leave a rough cut edge. A circular saw, on the other hand, offers clean and precise cuts but cuts slower than a reciprocating saw.
For rough jobs where clean lines are not an issue, a reciprocating saw is best, however, where you need clean, well-placed lines, you should use a circular saw.
Generally, reciprocating saws are lower in price than circular saws. This is because a circular saw has more versatility and offers better performance, while a reciprocating saw does not offer the most refined results.
Reciprocating Saws: All You Need To Know
Reciprocating saws work with a push and pull motion to roughly cut through wood and other materials. The knife-like blade has jagged teeth along the edges, which makes for easy work through the wood.
A reciprocating saw is also able to cut through metal or plastic if it is of good quality.
When using a reciprocating saw, you would need to use both hands to keep it stable. All reciprocating saws will have a handle that allows you to have a good hold of the machine.
You will not be able to achieve angled cuts with reciprocating saws. As it is powerful, it creates quite a vibration when in use, which means that you cannot always create straight lines or even predict the outcome.
You can, however, rely on a reciprocating saw to cut through dense material, and even if a rough edge is left behind, you will easily be able to break material down when demolishing a project or looking to break wood down into smaller pieces.
- A reciprocating saw is versatile enough to give you both horizontal and vertical cuts. The knife-like blade allows you to cut solid lines through many materials.
- You can find corded and cordless reciprocating saws, and both are travel-friendly. This means you aren’t very limited to where you can use the saw.
- Most reciprocating saws allow you to adjust the speed to suit the material you are cutting. You can also control the vibrations that the saw creates by adjusting the speed as well.
- Does not give smooth cuts and edges, always leaves rough edges.
- You are not able to achieve angled cuts when using a reciprocating saw, only straight cuts.
- Most reciprocating saws do not have a blade guard, which can make them fairly unsafe to use if handled incorrectly.
A reciprocating saw is best used for rough work. It is great to use to cut down hedges and branches and is ideal to use in the yard.
You can also easily demolish different materials with a reciprocating saw, such as old doors, furniture, and waste. You can also use a reciprocating saw to make flush cuts and size down pieces of wood before shaping them properly with a circular saw.
Circular Saws: All You Need To Know
Circular saws are your best bet to achieve a precise, clean, and smooth cut. They feature a disc-like blade that has many teeth along the edge.
These teeth are often coated with diamond or carbide, making them insanely strong. This means the blade can cut through timber, metal sheets, or even granite.
Using a circular saw, you can make cross-cuts, angular cuts, and plunge cuts. There is so much versatility that a circular saw has to offer, making it ideal for home projects and woodworking.
There are different types of circular saws to choose from, including corded, cordless, battery-powered, and even gas-powered. They can also be rotated upside-down, and even attached to a table to be used as a table saw.
The one problem with circular saws is that they do not have the raw cutting power of a reciprocating saw, and are more for finishing touches and smooth edges.
- Gives a precise, smooth cut with clean edges.
- Circular saws are very versatile; they can create straight, rip-cut, angular, and cross cuts.
- Use a circular saw to create effortless angular cuts on wood.
- Attach a circular saw to a work table to create a table saw.
- Can be hard to use as they tend to be heavy.
- Does not cut as quickly as a reciprocating saw.
- Not as suited to demolishing work.
- Need a flat surface to be used.
Circular saws are ideal for creating clean and accurate lines, with beautifully smooth edges. They can help to create both straight and angular cuts with ease, even on dense materials, such as wood or metal.
You will enjoy quite a bit of versatility with circular saws, with the number of materials they are able to cut through, and the cuts that they can give. Just keep in mind that a circular saw needs to be used on a flat and stable surface.
Reciprocating Saw Vs Circular Saw
To summarize, a circular saw will give you smooth and clean lines and cuts, whereas a reciprocating saw will give you a rough cut, but will provide power and flexibility with cutting materials down.
Circular saws are best used for woodwork and daily projects around the house, but a reciprocating saw is best used for demolition projects and to roughly cut wood and other materials.
In the long run, it would be worth having both a reciprocating saw and a circular saw in your tool kit, but to choose which would be best, you need to consider the project that you would be working on first. If you need to break wood and materials down, opt for a reciprocating saw, but if you need to cut the wood down cleanly for a project, then a circular saw should be on your buying list!
Are reciprocating saws loud?
Reciprocating saws can be very loud. As they are powerful and create a lot of vibration, they can create quite a bit of noise, but the amount of noise they create also depends on the material that is being cut.
How loud the saw is will also depend on how powerful it is, and the speed setting that it is on.
What is the difference between jigsaws and reciprocating saws?
Jigsaws have long, slim blades which are ideal for delicate cuts and more smooth edges. Reciprocating saws are designed for rougher cut edges and cutting wood more aggressively.
Up Next: Can You Sandblast Wood?