9 Jigsaw Alternatives (Power Tools & Hand Saws)

Jigsaws are one of the most versatile of all powered saws. But what if you need to make the cuts of a jigsaw, but do not have one around?

Although jigsaws are quite handy and relatively inexpensive, there are other types of saws that can do many of the same cuts.

Jigsaw Alternatives

Jigsaws excel at cutting complex shapes, including curves, although they can also make straight and angled cuts. So, let’s begin with the alternative power tools that you can use instead of a jigsaw to cut curves and shapes.

Jigsaw Alternative for Cutting Curves

If you need to cut curves, then you can choose from one of the following two types of powered saws. Each saw has its own advantages when a jigsaw is not handy.

1. Scroll Saw

The scroll saw is essentially a non-portable version of a jigsaw. You place the material on the table and then push it through the saw blade. The scroll saw allows you to make curved cuts with relative ease, especially through thinner materials such as plywood.
Scroll Saw cutting wood
You will need to draw your design on the material, then push it through the scroll saw. One consideration is that it does take some practice to cut properly with a scroll saw. Try out some curves on scrap wood first. Plus, since each blade may be slightly different, it pays to practice just a bit when you put in a new one.

2. Band Saw

You can also cut sharp curves on the band saw as well. The bandsaw is functionally similar to the scroll saw. You feed your workpiece against a moving blade to cut the workpiece to the desired size and shape. However, because the blade rotates between two large wheels, it is even less portable.
Cutting Wood guitar with a band saw.
The band saw allows you to make curved cuts, although you may want to make some relief cuts on the really sharp angles. You can also make straight cuts with ease and is the primary choice for resawing wood. If you are looking for a jigsaw alternative to cut metal, then the band saw is the tool you are looking for.

In short, the vertical band saw is one of the most versatile powered saws you can have in your shop.

The only downside, which is shared with the scroll saw, is that the band saw is not very portable.

Hand Saw Alternatives

But what if you do not have power or only need to make a few cuts? There are a number of different handsaws that can do the job of a jigsaw.

3. Coping Saw

One of the simplest manual saws available, the coping saw is known for its C-shaped frame. The saw itself has pins on each side which are held by the frame. This allows you to adjust the blade to create tight curves when cutting.
Coping Saw Cutting Curves
The coping saw is easy to use. You can separate the blade, put it through a hole, and reattach it to make cuts from within the material. Perhaps the best part is that a coping saw is fairly cheap, with the blades being even cheaper.

4. Fret Saw

A fret saw looks similar to a coping saw, although the frame is more elongated. This allows you to really get inside the material when needed. However, the other important difference is how the blade attaches to the frame.
Fret Saw
There are no pins to a fret saw; the blade is held in place by clamps for easy releasing and attaching. This means that you can work quickly to find the right blade and make the cuts you want. About the only downside is that fret saw blades can be quite thin and delicate. This means you will need to have plenty of spare blades around.

Alternative Saw for Straight Cuts

But what if you need to make a simple, straight cut? While jigsaws can make straight cuts, there are several other types of power saws that are even better for the job. While the table saw is arguably the best, it is also quite expensive and not very portable.

What follows are the powered saws that are quite good at making straight cuts.

1. Circular Saw

This may be the most common portable powered saw on the market. It is perfect for making straight cuts quickly into the material. You can quickly change out the blade. And the saw itself is fairly straightforward to use. However, making curved cuts is somewhat out of its reach.
Circular Saw cutting angle

Can I use a circular saw instead of a jigsaw?
A circular saw is a perfect alternative to a jigsaw for straight cuts and angled cuts. In fact, a circular saw is a better power tool for these tasks. But, a circular saw is not designed to cut curves and complex shapes like a jigsaw.

2. Track Saw

A track saw is a circular saw on precision guide rails.
Track saw Cutting Large OSB Board
This saw is perfect for ripping boards, cutting trim, and making smooth cuts across panels. It is well-suited for use as a plunge saw since you can easily set the depth of the blade.

3. Dremel Saw-Max

The Dremel saw-max is a compact cordless circular saw designed to work with one hand. It has a unique design. This saw looks more like an angle grinder with a base shoe attached to it.

Dremel US20V-01 Circular Saw - Alternative to Jigsaw

This type of saw is small but quite versatile. You can use this saw to cut wood, metal, tiles, drywall, laminate, countertops, plastic, plexiglass, etc.

It’s handy, fast, and you can change the blades out quickly.

4. Reciprocating Saw

The reciprocating saw works on the same principle as a jigsaw. In both cases, the reciprocating blade with its cutting teeth pointing towards the base shoe of the tool cuts through the material.

Using Reciprocating Saw
So, can you use a reciprocating saw as a jigsaw?
Yes. You could use a reciprocating saw to cut curves, shapes, and straight paths. However, this is a type of saw that creates rough cuts. So, unless you want to spend a considerable amount of time smoothing out the cuts, this saw is best used for demolition work.

For more information, see this detailed comparison between jigsaw vs reciprocating saw here.

The reciprocating saw is relatively simple to use. It’s also fast and can make precise cuts. However, it does leave rough edges.

5. Hacksaw

The hacksaw is often used for metal cutting than wood, but it can also cut wood with the right blade. Hacksaws are easy to use, adjustable, and quite durable. You can find a wide variety of blades available to make curved cuts.
Hacksaw Cutting wood
While the coping and fret saws are arguably better for making curved cuts in wood, the hacksaw is more versatile and can be used with different materials.