What Is the Difference between a Jigsaw and a Scroll Saw?

Is a jigsaw and a scroll saw the same thing?

People often ask me this question. And I always reply with a big clear no. The reason for the confusion is probably the cutting action that is similar with both devices i.e. reciprocating actions. But trust me apart from that everything is different in the scroll saw vs jigsaw.

Their action and usage both vary a lot. On one hand, the jigsaw is a versatile device that is widely known and used. While the scroll saw has a very specific function that makes it limited and hence less popular than the jigsaw.

If you have an interest in DIYs then they are both handy tools for you. I am going to tell you about the key differences that exist between a jigsaw and a scroll saw. So you are better able to recognize them.

Let’s start with knowing a jigsaw and a scroll saw. And then I will tell you that what is the difference between a jigsaw and a scroll saw?

What is a Jigsaw?

jigsaw under 50
  • Jigsaw is very easy to use.
  • It can be handled in hand.
  • You can move it anywhere easily because it is portable
  • It is cheap to buy.
  • The cuts are not clean and refined.
  • It is messy to work with.

Jigsaw is a type of reciprocating blade that cuts anything through the special operation of push-and-pull. Mainly it is used for cutting small curves of irregular type. Any piece of metal or wood even ceramic can be easily cut with the help of a jigsaw blade. Jigsaw is master of making any cut or curve and considered as the master of all trades in the circle of tools handled by hand.

With the selection of the right blades, you can make a different cut like plunge cut and bevel cut. Jigsaw is a versatile and innovative saw that is easy to use and operate. You can make different types of cuts in different metals. But when it comes to fine quality cutting, then it lacks here.

Structure of the Jigsaw

Jigsaw can have a cord or it can be without one. If it does not have a cord then it will have a portable battery for power. Jigsaw can be held in hand and have following different parts:

The jigsaw blade

This is the most important part responsible for doing whole business. It is of different types and selected according to the need. You hold the jigsaw in your hand and move the blade in a reciprocating way. There are numerous teeth on the blade which are in the upwards direction which implies the need to use the jigsaw in an upward direction.

Blade Clamp

It is the part of the jigsaw responsible for securing the blade in it. This clamp makes sure that the blade is properly aligned with the cuts it is making along the lines. The clamps can be of two types. U type or universal clamp is traditional and old one while T clamp is modern and serves multidirectional purposes.

Other parts present in the jigsaw are following:

GuideThis consists of two rollers present on the shoe for guiding the blade.
HandleThe handle is the part where the blade is held in the hand.
ShoeFootnote or shoe places the jigsaw at the right angle. It is responsible for ensuring the right placement of the blade.
LaserThis is present in a few modern jigsaws and helps you in focusing on the workpiece. It is usually an LED light that helps in making the exact cut.

What is a Scroll Saw?

  • It makes a precise and intricate cut.
  • They make smooth cuts that do not require sanding
  • Due to the dust blower, it does not let the dust accumulate.
  • It can be used easily.
  • Scroll saw is best for cutting thinner woods.
  • It is not portable.

A scroll saw is a battery-operated or pedal-operated saw with a blade in middle. You cannot hold it in hand but it requires some support to stand on. The scroll saw has two saws in it. One is attached above while the other one is attached below. You can pivot it on the table and cut different curves with fine edges.

It is given the name of scroll saw because it is used to make scroll works traditionally. Scroll saw is also used in working with sculptural works. Scroll saws have a significant part named mainly as throat. These saws are categorized into different types according to this part.

Scroll saw cuts in a slow and precise manner and hence they are safer than jigsaws and other such heavy-duty tools.

Structure of a Scroll Saw

Scroll saw has different important parts which are following:

BladeDisposable part of a scroll saw that cuts the material
Blade GuardIt is a protective guard present around the blade and its purpose is to protect the hand from getting a wound.
Lock KnobThis knob is for adjusting the table for making finer cuts in wood.
Blade Tension KnobThe tension knob needs to be adjusted whenever you are using the blade. Its purpose is to adjust the blade tension.
ThroatThis part is the distance between the backside of the scroll saw and the blade.
Blade ClampsThese clamps are for locking the blade to the two sides. The blade is locked on the upper side of the table as well as on the lower side of the table.
Dust BlowerIt simply keeps on blowing the sawdust away from the cuts and makes your work neater.

When to use a jigsaw and a scroll saw?

Jigsaw vs scroll saw

Jigsaws have the quality of being versatile and making a deep cut in any kind of metal. But it depends upon the type of blade you select for it. You can successfully use it by keeping in mind what material requires to be cut and select the type of blade that makes an appropriate cut into that metal. The blade can be between 3-10 inches range. You have to select the size according to the material. It is good for making deep cuts in doing some DIYs.

The scroll saw has a powerful blade that can make elegant and intricate cuts. When you have to do some sort of detailed work and metal is difficult to work with, then you should go for a scroll saw. Its usage ensures precision and quality in the work. The cuts are always neat, intricate, fine and smooth. Moreover, you do not need to make any extra effort like sanding etc to make those cuts more refine.

Jigsaw Vs Scroll Saw

Use a JigsawDo not use a jigsaw
Deep and long CutsRefined and intricate cutting
Material with up to 10 inches of thickness
Curved Cuts
Use a Scroll SawDo not use a scroll saw
Refined and clean cutsLong and deep cuts
Thin material Thick material
Curved cutsStraight cuts

Scroll saw vs JigsawWhich of the two you should use?

For cleaner work, you should use a scroll saw because it provides refined work. While for DIYs and cutting random material for that DIY, you should opt for a jigsaw. Because jigsaw is good for deep cutting but it does not ensure accuracy. So the selection depends upon the type of work you are trying to accomplish.

What Is the Difference between a Jigsaw and a Scroll Saw?

Serial NoJigsawScroll Saw
1- BladesJigsaw contains a narrow and straight blade. The blades of the jigsaw may reach up to 3/5 inch in size and their shank can be T-shaped or U-shaped. The only top surface has the blade secured with it.The scroll saw uses a thinner and small blade for making accurate cuts. The size of the blade can be up to 1/8 inch. Scroll saws use a standardized blade. The blade of a scroll saw is secured between both top and bottom surfaces.
2- Exposed SurfaceJigsaw has a blade with a more exposed surface area because it is secured at only one end. That is why it makes deeper and thicker cuts.The attachment of the blade to both surfaces limits the blade to cut in depth.
3- HandlingJigsaw is easy to use because you can manage it by hand. The user also does not presently face the blade. They provide a super-safe way of usage because they have a sole that guides the blade.Its handling is tricky because it needs a surface to get attached to and the blade is exposed in the middle which poses harm to the user. The harm is because of the exposure and speed both.
4-Types of CutsThey are used for carving irregular and straight cuts in materials like wood and metal.They make very detailed and intricate cuts in different materials.
5- PortabilityBecause of easy handling by hand, it can be moved anywhere. So jigsaw is easily portable.Moving scroll saw proves to be tricky because of its attachment with the table and the whole setup needs to be moved if one does not want to disintegrate the assembly.
6- PriceJigsaws are fairly cheap and can be managed for under 50$.Scroll saws are a little bit expensive than jigsaws. One needs to spend between 100$-150$ to buy a scroll saw.
7- 3D artworkAs mentioned earlier, jigsaw makes straight cuts only and is incapable of doing 3D cuts.A scroll saw can make pierce cuts and 3D fractals. It can also do a special type of artwork like marquetry and intarsia.


Q: Is a scroll the same as a jigsaw?

No! Scroll saw is way different from a jigsaw in every way. It is rather tricky to use and makes neater cuts with the two-way secured blade.

Q: Which saw makes finer cuts?

Scroll saw is known for making finer cuts.

Q: Which saw is more economical?

Jigsaw is both economical and easy to handle. It falls under the range of 50$100$ and hardly exceeds this limit.

Can you use a jigsaw as a scroll saw?

It depends on the use, if you want very precise and fine cuts with no margin of error then you can not use a jigsaw instead of a scroll saw. But, if the cutting is not very intricate, then a jigsaw with a sharp blade can replace a scroll saw.

Is a scroll saw the same as a jigsaw?

No, both are different tools with different functions. A jigsaw can make rough but deep cuts. While for fine cutting scroll saw is the best choice.

Is Sabre saw the same as a jigsaw?

Yes, they are essentially the same devices. The only difference between them both is in size. Sabre saw is essentially a large jigsaw with a big blade. But nowadays, both terms are used interchangeably.

Final Words

When it comes to the choice of saws, you must select a saw based on the material you need to cut. For tough material and deeper cuts, you need to choose a scroll saw. But if you want to make a simple and DIY cut, the jigsaw is good to go.

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