Inside this article, you will discover which of the two machines is better, or good enough for your woodworking project. As with most things in life, there are pros and cons of using either one of them. If you’re looking for a jigsaw vs band saw comparison, then keep on reading.
To make it easier to understand the differences between the two machines, we will cover this in this article.
Jigsaw Vs. Band Saw
1. Design and Footprint
To make it easy to understand, let’s compare the design of both saws. The jigsaw comes with a measuring tape built in its body; they usually come with one handle on top which is what you use to guide the tool by pushing it left or right. On the other hand, band saws come with a hole located at the bottom of its body where you can insert your arm in to guide it (I know it may sound scary but yes they do). Both tools are designed to cut straight lines; however, band saws are capable of cutting arcs and circles too.
Jigsaws offer a smaller cut depth than band saws. Lastly, we can say that band saws come with a larger footprint than a jigsaw.
2. Throat Capacity and Maximum Depth of Cut
The throat capacity is the distance between the table and the blade measured at 90 degrees, whereas the Maximum depth of cut is the maximum depth you can cut using the blade without moving the workpiece.
Jigsaws usually come with a throat capacity of about 16″ (400 mm) and its maximum depth of cut is 9/16″ (14mm). On the other hand, band saws come with a throat capacity of 12″ (300 mm) and their maximum depth of cut measures 0″ (0 mm). This means that with a jigsaw, you can cut deeper than with a band saw using the same blade.
3. Blade Changing and Tensioning Systems
Jigsaws come with an easier blade changing system; you simply need to move the lower arm down and replace it. Making adjustments on tension is simple as well. On the other hand, band saws come with a more sophisticated tensioning system that requires you to flip the tool upside down for adjustments (it’s safe if you lock it properly).
4. Blade Types and Speed
Jigsaws come with the same blade since there is no need to change them; they are made of high-grade tungsten carbide. On the other hand, band saws can use different blades depending on the type of cut being performed. For example, a coarse-toothed blade is best suited for cutting through metal or wood with nails. However, if you’re going to cut miter joints then a fine-tooth blade is preferred.
We can say that band saws run at a slower speed than jigsaws. The speeds vary depending on the machine you use, but usually, they come with a variable speed control dial from 550 to 3100 FPM (feet per minute). In addition, most models these days come with a riving knife for safety purposes.
5. Power Source
Both machines come with a power cord that connects to a 120V power source. However, you can also use both of them using a portable generator.
For safety reasons, jigsaws don’t have an upper guard because the blade rotates in front of the tool instead of behind it. The only downside is that this may cause kickback if you’re not careful. On the other hand, band saws come with an upper blade guard to prevent accidents that may happen when feeding materials into the blade.
Jigsaws are suitable for cutting curves and circles; it is perfect for making intricate cuts like those found on mouldings and crown moulding (it’s important to mention that a jigsaw can’t make cross or rip cuts, but it can do plunge cuts). In addition, jigsaws are well-suited for making curved cuts in thin pieces of wood.
Band saws are ideal for cutting straight lines and curves; they cut faster than jigsaws and they can also cut thicker materials. Finally, they are ideal for cutting miter joints on crown moulding because of their rounded base which can fit perfectly on the profile.
Band saws are more expensive than jigsaws but both tools provide excellent value for money. For example, you can purchase a good quality jigsaw for under $100-150 and a band saw for under $300 from most major tool retailers.
In general, the cheaper the jigsaw is the harder it will be to control and it will vibrate more. In addition, most affordable models don’t provide an accurate cut line because they don’t have a laser guide. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy a cheap jigsaw; just look for one with a good design and quality construction.
On the other hand, band saws provide excellent results whether you’re using them on thicker or thinner materials. Their blades are adjustable and they don’t vibrate as much as jigsaws; plus, their motors deliver more power than electric woodworking tools in general.
So, if you’re on a strict budget then I recommend buying a good quality jigsaw; this way you can save some money and spend it on the blades instead. Nevertheless, band saws are great for experienced woodworkers who know how to use them properly and identify their limitations.
I hope that you found this article helpful and that it helped you learn more about these woodworking tools. Check out our website if you want to learn more about band saws, jigsaws and other power tools that are suitable for making furniture.
If you have any questions then feel free to leave a comment below or contact us via email. We recommend watching the videos embedded above since they give you more insight into both tools. Thanks for reading! And happy woodworking!