Jigsaw Vs. Sabre Saw: Features, Uses, and How They Compare

People often identify jigsaw and sabre saw as terms describing the same tool. However, industry professionals believe they are separate tools with noticeable differences.  

So, what is the difference between a jigsaw and a sabre saw? 

While they are both from the same saw family, the sabre saw is larger than jigsaw. Sabre saws have thicker blades and are generally more compact. Also, both saws make similar cuts. However, jigsaws have better precision while sabre saws pack more power and are better for demolition jobs. 

Sabre saw and jigsaw share notable similarities and differences.  Read on to learn more about their features, uses, and how they compare to each other. 

Jigsaw Vs Sabre Saw

Jigsaw and sabre saw are both from the scroll saw family. They are used to make intricate curved cuts in wood, metal, plastic, and other materials. 

Both saws make reciprocating motion cuts. In this type of cut, the blade cuts through the material by moving back and forth. 

To better understand both tools, we’ll take a closer look at their features in the following paragraphs. 

What is a Sabre saw?

using sabre saw

Also called reciprocating saws, sabre saws are powerful tools that are used to cut wood and other materials. They have a wild blade that is shaped like a tooth.

Due to their power, sabre saws are regularly used for tough jobs like demolition in construction. Hence, they are not built to make clean and precise cuts.

Sabre saw often requires both hands to keep it steady when cutting through materials with brute force. It comes in corded or cordless varieties. The corded variety is connected to a power outlet while the cordless variety comes with a battery. 

Features of Sabre Saw

sabre saw

The following are some of the key features of a sabre saw:

  • Motor: The motor is the powerhouse of the saw. It carries energy from the battery or a power outlet to the blade to power its cutting action. 
  • Blade: The blade is the most important part of the sabre saw. It is used to cut through materials and is between 2 to 12 inches long. 
  • Trigger Switch: This switch is used to turn the saw on or off. The switch also acts as speed control. The tool runs faster when you press the trigger switch further inwards. 
  • Speed Range Selector: This feature is close to the handle. It is used to set a maximum speed range for the tool. Once selected, you cannot exceed this speed even with a trigger switch. 
  • Blade Guard: Also called the shoe, the blade guard protects your hands and is placed on the material to act as a footing for starting plunge cuts. 

What is Sabre Saw Used for? 

sabre saw in use

Below are different ways you can use a sabre saw

  • Cut through Wood: This is one of its primary uses. A sabre saw can cut through wood and pieces of metals like nails, pins, and screws that are found inside construction materials.
  • Cutting Plumbing Pipes: With a sabre saw, you can cut through lead, copper, plastic, and PVC pipes in your home plumbing project. It’s also quite helpful that sabre saws can cut vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. This means you can cleanly cut through pipes regardless of the plumbing line’s position. 
  • Pruning Trees: You can prune trees, shrubs, or bushes with a sabre saw. If you’re cutting through thick branches, you’ll need a corded saw which packs more power. However, a cordless saw will serve better when cutting through dense vegetation
  • Demolition: Sabre saw is excellent for demolition, especially in awkward spaces. You can easily slice through a wooden or metal framework using a sabre saw. 

What is a Jigsaw?

using a jigsaw

A jigsaw also has a reciprocating blade but it doesn’t pack as much power as a sabre saw. Instead, it’s used to make precise cuts on wood, plastic, and metal.

Jigsaws are built for easy handling and have a working mechanism that’s easy to understand. Hence, it’s the tool of choice for most beginners

Unlike the sabre saw, the jigsaw has a large soleplate. The soleplate helps you to exert more control as you make the cuts. Like sabre saws, jigsaws come in corded and cordless varieties. 

Features of a Jigsaw

jigsaw tool

The following are the major features of a jigsaw:

  • Blade: The blade is the most important part of a jigsaw. It moves in a reciprocating motion when held vertically and in an up and down motion when held horizontally. 

There are different types of blades for different cuts. The reverse teeth blade cuts on the downstroke while the general-purpose blade cuts on the upstroke. 

  • Blade Guard: The blade guard is located at the front of the blade. It keeps your hand safe from the blade. It also deflects debris from the material so they accumulate in a convenient area. 
  • LED Light: Some jigsaws have LED lights. This improves your vision and helps you make more accurate cuts. 
  • Trigger Switch: Just like in sabre saw, the trigger switch turns a jigsaw tool off and on. It also acts as the tool’s speed control. 
  • Footplate or Shoe: The footplate helps to keep the jigsaw’s blade at the same angle when cutting through a material. They are usually adjustable and can be positioned to make cuts of up to 45 degrees. 

What is Jigsaw Used for?

You can use a jigsaw for the following purposes:

  1. Cut Through Wood: Jigsaws are primarily used for cutting through softwood. They have thin blades which makes them perfect for cutting circles and curves. Some jigsaws come with angling which allows them to create beveled cuts. 
  1. Cut Through Metal: Jigsaws can also cut through metal. They make more precise cuts than metal shears and are safer to use than a cutting torch. Hence, they’re the best saws for cutting through sheet metals. 
  1. Cut Pumpkins: You can use a jigsaw to carve a face on your pumpkins for Halloween. All you have to do is draw the face you wish to carve on the pumpkin and make the cut using a jigsaw. 
  1. Laminate: With a jigsaw, you can make precise curved cuts for laminate flooring installation. 

Jigsaw Vs Sabre Saw: How They Compare

Here’s how jigsaw and sabre saw compare to each other:

1. Blade

Jigsaw and sabre saw blades may look the same, but there are key differences between the two. Sabre saws require more area for cutting, hence their front portion is more exposed than jigsaw. Their blades are also thicker which allows them to make cuts with brute force. 

However, Jigsaw blades have different Teeth Per Inch counts (TPI.) This feature makes them more versatile than sabre saw

2. Portability

Portability comes into play when you have to use your tool in different places. Both saws are relatively portable.

However, sabre saws are typically heavier than jigsaws. So if you’re going for the more portable option, you should consider the jigsaw. 

3. Precision

Jigsaws make more precise cuts than sabre saws. They also come with a guide that shows you how to cut through different lines or make different shapes. 

Jigsaws also have a soleplate which gives you more control while cutting. However, sabre saws don’t have soleplates and have less precision compared to jigsaws. 

4. Power Source

Both tools are either powered by a battery (cordless) or connected to an electric outlet (corded.) However, their power distribution is quite different.

In the case of the sabre saw, power is distributed through the entire tool. However, power is only transmitted to the blade in jigsaws. The power concentration of the jigsaw’s blade allows them to make powerful cuts with better precision. 

Final Thoughts

People assume that jigsaws and sabre saws are the same tools because they both cut through materials in a reciprocating motion. 

There’s also the fact that they’re both from the same family. However, they are different tools. The jigsaw is smaller and makes more precise cuts while the larger sabre saw makes rough cuts. 


Do jigsaw and sabre saw make different cuts? No, they don’t. Both saws make curved cuts 

Can you use Jigsaw and Sabre saw interchangeably? Although people often use them interchangeably, it’s incorrect. They are unique tools with different qualities. 

Which is cheaper between Jigsaw and Sabre saw? They are high-end and budget options for both saws. The cost depends on the product you’re buying. 

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

Leave a Comment