Reciprocating Saw vs Circular Saw – What are the Differences?

While there are several kinds of power tools available on the market, some stand out more than others in terms of popularity and effectiveness, with reciprocating saws and circular saws being among them, with so many people not being sure about what sets them apart. Let’s take a look at how they differ from each other so you can choose what works best for your needs!

Reciprocating Saw vs Circular Saw – What are the Differences?

The Circular Saw v/s Reciprocating Saw are two different power cutting tools used to cut various materials. While in many cases, both saws can cut the same materials, and one tool can be used in place of another. And cut and maintenance of these tools may seem similar at first glance. There are many substantial differences in functions, uses types of cut, and of many factors between these blades. Both Circular saw v/s reciprocating saw provide specific types of advantages. If you want to select one saw over another for meeting your requirement, you will need to know about these differences and advantages. It’s important to know how each operates before choosing one over another. So let’s take a look at both cutting systems, so you can make an informed decision when you need to choose between these two popular power tools.

Weights of the Reciprocating Saw vs Circular Saw

Before knowing the weight difference, let’s see why it’s important and how weight affects your saw cutting works. The weight of a saw is important to know because the weight determines many things, such as

  1. How handy the saw is (The higher the weightless handy your saw becomes because more weight means you will need to use both of your hands to balance and use a saw.)
  2. How flexible the saw is (Again, the matter of flexibility is related to weight closely, more weight reduces a saw’s flexibility of work.)  
  3. How stable are the saw remains while making a cut? (Stability of a saw is important for accurate and smooth cutting, and stability of cutting can give you the advantage of different angle cuts.)   

Now, if we talk about Circular saw, it is heavier because of its size and the materials used to make it. A circular saw body is larger and made of metal that increases its weight. On the other hand, a reciprocating saw body is made of hard plastic that reduces the overall weight of the saw and makes it lighter. Using a battery-powered cordless circular saw and reciprocating saw can increase the weight, but even in that case, the reciprocating saw will be lightweight.

Blade Type of the Saws

The type of blade of these two types of saw is apparently different.

  1. A circular saw blade is shaped like a circular disc made of metal with lots of teeth, and the teeth shapes are designed based on the cutting requirement and the type of materials being cut. Circular saw blades are used for cutting mostly inflexible moving cutting areas where you can freely move your circular saw and when there are lots of spaces for cutting.
  2. The shape of a reciprocating saw, on the other hand, is like a regular saw and called jigsaw blades. Reciprocating saw blades are lightweight and cut in a different way. At the same time, circular saw blades are cut by spinning in a direction reciprocating saw blades cut by moving back and forth.

Portability and Flexibility

The portability of a saw comes with the easy movement of that saw, and a saw is considered more portable when it can be packed and moved to another place easily for working. And it is easy to use saws portably when it is battery-powered/cordless. A cordless circular saw and reciprocating saws are highly portable compared to their corded version. And talking about work flexibility, a reciprocating saw is more flexible compared to a circular saw. Because a reciprocating saw is lightweight, the cutting style of a reciprocating saw is different and allows you to cut in different areas of an object where you cannot cut with a circular saw. Besides, circular saws are used only from on top of an object, while a reciprocating saw can be used from different sides, giving it greater work flexibility.

The shape of the Saw

A circular saw is shaped like a round plate. A circular saw is centered on a thick circular disc blade. A handle above the saw body allows controlling and grip of the saw. A reciprocating saw is shaped like a drilling machine and has a sharp knife type saw attached in front of it. That saw moves bake and forth with the help of torque inside the saw blade. A reciprocating saw is held like a rifle and can be used with a single hand. But a circular saw is heavier and requires both hands for better control.

Use of the Saw

A reciprocating saw is considered a great tool for remodeling any object by cutting different parts. It makes demolition easier and requires less struggle; reciprocating saws are used to handle different tasks such as

  1. Cutting through metal pipes and nails
  2. Cutting wooden furniture parts
  3. Cutting plasters
  4. Cutting stones, ceramic tiles, etc.

A circular saw also has a variety of types. It is used for cutting different types of materials, such as wood, metals, stones, concrete, etc. basically, for a smooth cutting experience, a circular saw is recommended over a reciprocating saw. However, both types are useful for cutting the same materials. If you are cutting material for a precise and smooth edge with less dust, a waste circular saw is best.

Cutting Ability

The cutting ability of both saws differs greatly due to the way they make the cut and the blades used for cutting. Usually, a reciprocating saw takes less time to cut an object compared to a circular saw, but it leaves a rough cutting edge on the object. But although it takes greater time for a circular saw to cut an object than a reciprocating saw, a circular saw makes smooth cuts. And if you want a precise cut with less dust, then it is recommended to go for cutting with a circular saw. Although it takes time, circular saw cuts are best for precise work. 

Cost of a circular saw and reciprocating saw

Although cost is not a functional or appearance difference of the saws, and it does not affect the work anyway, it can help you decide which blade you should purchase when you have budget constraints. A circular saw is priced higher than a reciprocating saw because of the metal body and the motor used in the saw. Generally, a circular saw motor comes with different power based on the type of saw and its use of it. For metal cutting circular saw, the power of the saw is greater, and the motor used in it is expensive, too, increasing its cost. An average circular saw can cost you extra 50-100 US dollars.

Bottom Line

Selecting the right type of saw that will best fit your requirement is important, and it will save both your money and your work hours; with these differences and uses of saws, you will find it easier to select a saw that will serve you best and meet your requirement.