Saber Saw vs. Jigsaw

There are tens of different tools in the woodworking world. The surprising thing is that you can use one tool to do so many different things that it overlaps the functionality of various tools. Moreover, woodworkers have a knack for calling different tools with a same name.

One such debate is saber saw vs. Jigsaw. You will find different views on this debate. Some people say these two tools are 100% the same and are just two different names used to describe one tool. Many people believe the saber saw is more like a reciprocating saw. In this article, we will discuss all things you need to know in this debate: saber saw vs. jigsaw.

Saber Saw vs. Jigsaw

The Main Differences


The motor is an essential part of any saw. It powers the blade and provides the force to the blade required to cut through the material. Jigsaws and saber saws have motors of different capacities powered through a battery or AC power.

A saber saw has a more powerful motor than a jigsaw and lets you cut quickly through materials. This is the reason saber saw is not used for making delicate cuts. It is best for making rough cuts, whereas a jigsaw is used to make accurate and delicate cuts.


The blade is the second most important component responsible for cutting through the material. Both saber saw and jigsaw allows you to replace the blade depending upon the nature of your project or the material you are cutting.

Generally, a jigsaw uses a thin blade that is more suitable for accurate cuts. On the contrary, a saber saw uses a thick blade that is good for quick cuts with less focus on accuracy.

Stroke Length

Stroke length determines how far the blade can move in each stroke. It determines the speed at which the blade can cut through any material. Saber saws or reciprocating says are designed to power through the material quickly.

Jigsaws have a shorter stroke length that is best for cutting corners, curves, and circles. Hence, the stroke length tends to be shorter than a saber saw.

The saber saw has a long stroke length because it is designed to cut through quickly without focusing on quality. You can use it to cut through sheets that you may need to use for cutting circles and curves on a jigsaw.

Blade Shoe

A blade shoe protects the blade from snapping or breaking while handling demanding cuts. Both saws have a show, but the jigsaw’s functionality makes it a necessary component of the design as it needs to be rested against the material it is cutting. Saber saws are like reciprocating saws that you can use without resting them on a wood sheet.

The Similarities

  • The weight and dimensions of the saber saw and jigsaw are almost the same.
  • You can use both tools to cut through metal, wood, plastic, and various other materials.
  • Though there may be a difference in motor power in some saber saws and jigsaws, the overall power is the same for both tools.
  • Saber saw and jigsaw are both handheld tools.

What is a Jigsaw?


A jigsaw is a handheld tool that you can use to cut through various materials like metals, wood, plastic, Plexiglass, etc. It is a versatile tool that can be used for DIY tasks, home workshops, or professional uses at shop or on-site.

Jigsaws come in corded and cordless versions. The power rating for both variants is similar, but corded models have some edge in motor power and long working hours. On the other hand, cordless models are great for lightweight users and on-site jobs.

A jigsaw uses a short blade to cut through various materials in a reciprocating motion. The most important jigsaw components include a motor, blade, trigger, and grip. You can replace the blade according to your project need and the material you cut with your tool.

The common cuts you can make using a jigsaw are curved cuts, circles, and straight cuts with accuracy and precision.


  • Great tool for delicate and accurate cuts
  • Can cut circles, curves, and angled cuts
  • Safer than saber saw


  • Cuts slowly
  • Time-consuming
  • Underpowered for various projects

What is a Saber Saw?

Saber Saw

The older generations of woodworkers used Saber saw as a terminology to define a reciprocating saw. Now it is commonly known as a reciprocating saw, which is why you will find these terms used interchangeably. Some people even treat saber saw and jigsaw as the same tools, which is correct to some extent. The major difference between these tools is the cutting speed, type of cuts, and cutting quality.

A saber saw is slightly larger than a jigsaw and delivers brute force to enable you to cut through quick cuts. Moreover, a saber saw, or a reciprocating saw can handle cuts without a table.

The components of this tool are pretty similar to a jigsaw. The major difference is the blade. The blade is thicker and has a larger stroke length.


  • Durable and stable
  • Great demolition tool
  • Versatile cutting: can handle a lot of tools
  • Quick cutting


  • Produces rough cuts
  • Can’t cut circles
  • No angle modification
  • Bounces a lot

Why are saber saws known by so many different names?

There is no specific reason behind a saber saw having so many different names. The tools you know as of today have a history behind them and have evolved in various dimensions. Essentially, a saber saw is a mix between a handheld jigsaw, a reciprocating saw, and a scroll saw.

Another reason behind a saber saw having so many names that different generations used to call this tool with different names. Moreover, manufacturers started calling saber saw by other names due to increased demand for that particular tool and diminishing differences.

Evolution of Jigsaw and Saber Saw

Jigsaw and saber saw have evolved from a small stationary tool known as a scroll saw. A scroll saw is a tabletop tool secured from both ends and has a blade that moves up and down to cut the material.

From this idea, the tools like reciprocating saw, saber saw, and jigsaw were born.

Final Words: Which is best for me: Saber Saw or Jigsaw?

The right tool for you depends on what kind of tasks you need to do. As already discussed, the saber saw is used for making rough and quick cuts. On the contrary, a jigsaw is used for making delicate and accurate cuts.

For example, a saber saw is best for cutting PVC pipes as it doesn’t have a base plate. On the contrary, if you cut through Plexiglass, wood sheet, or metal, the jigsaw is a better option.

Saber saw is best for demolition projects. If you are looking to take down something already built, a saber saw is better.

Jigsaws have more features compared to saber saws. It is safer to use the two, and it can also make angle cuts.

You may not be able to find a saber saw online or from a tool store because a saber saw is now popularly known as a jigsaw or a reciprocating saw. A simple search on Amazon reveals this fact.

as a jigsaw or a reciprocating saw. A simple search on Amazon reveals this fact

However, there is one tool that is good enough for both tasks. Workx has made sure to take care of all the people who need the functionality of both a saber saw (reciprocating saw) and a jigsaw on-site and at the workshop. The Power Share Axis Cordless Reciprocating & Jig Saw has some great reviews and is affordable.

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