Making the decision between a Jigsaw and a bandsaw is a tough call.
The jigsaw is the go-to tool for both professionals and DIYers alike. It’s small and lightweight and, depending on your budget, you can purchase a cordless version for the ultimate in portability.
The bandsaw, on the other hand, is a stationary tool. It’s made for workshops and is too large to transport to a job site. But it can do jobs that a jigsaw can’t.
In this article, we’ll compare the two saws and help you make the right decision.
Bandsaw Vs Jigsaw Comparison
There are similarities between the bandsaw and jigsaw, most notably the thin blades that are used to cut through the material. Both devices will move the blade so the teeth can cut both straight and curved lines. In addition, both devices are relatively easy and straightforward to use. It doesn’t take long to figure out how to properly use both devices.
But there are substantial differences between each saw, most notably in their appearance. The bandsaw is a large device that sits in one place while a jigsaw is a smaller, portable device that you can take with you easily. Some jigsaws are corded while others may be cordless, operating off battery power to get the job done.
The major difference between both devices is that with a bandsaw you move the workpiece when it is operating. While with a jigsaw you move the device itself across the fixed workpiece. The jigsaw will also allow for plunge cutting which is something the bandsaw cannot do.
With a jigsaw, you can cut internal profiles relatively easier while the band saw excels in making accurate straight cuts which makes it an ideal power saw for resawing.
Another key difference between a band saw and a jigsaw is that a band saw has a continuous blade that moves in a circular motion whereas a jigsaw has a blade that moves up and down (reciprocating action).
The long bandsaw blade which runs between two drums produces less heat and has a longer life. It can be thin and flexible and cuts curved, delicate, and intricate shapes that are difficult to achieve with the jigsaw. Since the cutting area is highly visible, you can very precisely control the cut path almost to the accuracy of a scroll saw. However, cutting internal profiles would require a blade welder on the machine and is time-consuming.
Size & Weight
A bandsaw is considerably bigger and heavier compared to a jigsaw. This is because the jigsaw is a portable device meant to be used by hand. While the bandsaw is set into place. A typical bandsaw will weigh upwards of 250 pounds depending on the size chosen while a jigsaw will only weigh a few pounds.
It is true that there are smaller bandsaws with some weighing 50 pounds or perhaps less, but the weight and size of the bandsaw is part of its operation. You lock the bandsaw into place and its weight will help make it secure as you push materials through to be cut.
A jigsaw is meant to be light and portable, using your weight to push the device through the materials that are meant to be cut. Therefore, the weight is minimized which allows for the operator to use their hands, arms, and the weight of their body to push the device.
Depth of Cut
This is where the bandsaw is supreme. While the jigsaw can make deep cuts, the bandsaw can cut into the material at a far greater depth. You simply run the material through the saw, and you can make very deep cuts that go all the way through.
Jigsaws can also make deep cuts, but they are limited by the length of the blade. Because of its reciprocating design, the jigsaw is limited in the depth of cuts that it can make. However, for most materials that are to be used for building items, the difference in depth may not be important.
Bottom line, if you have some thick wood to cut, a bandsaw is a better option. For most circumstances, both saws can make deep cuts.
Both the jigsaw and bandsaw are relatively safe when used properly. To argue which is safer will depend on the use and precautions taken. A bandsaw may appear more dangerous in the respect that you must push the material through. To do so by hand does put your fingers at risk. However, with a little practice, the right techniques and fences you can use to keep your fingers and hands at a distance.
In fact, a bandsaw, when compared to a table saw, is a much safer option since there is no kickback.
Jigsaws are smaller, portable tools that present a different type of danger. This means that proper protection combined with moving the device carefully will maintain a good safety margin. It might be argued that a jigsaw is safer to use than a bandsaw, but that will depend on the operator.
While the bandsaw does have some versatility, this is where the jigsaw is supreme. Not only because you can make a wider variety of cuts, but the jigsaw is portable. This means that you can use it on different sizes of materials that cannot be put into a bandsaw. For example, if you are working on an existing piece that is too large to lift or move to the bandsaw, you can always bring the jigsaw to it.
The versatility of the jigsaw is such that many people use it in place of a bandsaw. However, the bandsaw does have its uses as well, which makes it perfect for the woodshop setting.
Although you can create a wider variety of cuts, particularly curves, the bandsaw is arguably more accurate because of how it is used. Since you push the material through the saw, you can employ guides that direct the cut to greater accuracy than you can by hand. Since you must push the jigsaw through the material, it does make it somewhat less accurate.
For straight cuts, the bandsaw is generally more accurate and desired. However, for curved cuts, the jigsaw is the better option even if it is more difficult to get 100% accuracy.
Which One Should I Choose; Jigsaw or Band Saw?
In terms of cuts, the jigsaw is better for cutting curves while the bandsaw is better for cutting straight lines. However, any decision on which one is best for you should be based on whether you are bringing materials to be cut by the saw or going to the places where cutting is needed.
For woodworking shops, a bandsaw is a must. Especially if you are cutting large pieces of wood. Bandsaws are also quite good at making accurate cuts thanks to the fencing. While jigsaws are meant to be taken to the job site. However, many woodshops will have both bandsaws and jigsaws as the latter is quite good at cutting curves.
So, if you are taking the saw to the site, then a jigsaw is the one for you. For example, when you want to install a kitchen sink on your new countertop, the jigsaw is the best tool for the job. However, even if all your work will be done in the workshop, you might want to consider a jigsaw for making curved cuts as it is generally better at that task compared to a bandsaw.
Band saw: Ideal for woodworking and carpentry shops. For resawing, ripping, and making accurate cuts on manageable size workpieces.
Jigsaw: When you need a portable tool that you can take to the job site and when the workpiece is large or fixed. Jigsaw works better than bandsaw when you want to cut bevels, and plunge cut internal profiles.