Reciprocating Saw vs Circular Saw – Differences Explained

The saw is one of the tools that have varied usages in different industries as well as household chores. It has been used since the very early stage of civilization. During ancient times, saw was a hand tool. Among many of its types, reciprocating saw and circular saw are widely used.

Last month, I was working with my Grand-father in our basement. For some work, we needed a saw. When we went to purchase, we have faced the problem to choose between reciprocating and circular saw. As we did not know anything about these two, we thought of conducting a quick research.

Our research was based on the information provided by different shopkeepers who sell saws in our area. I have written all the factors that we used to choose the saw we need. These details could be handy for you to select your desired saw.

What is the Saw?

Saw is a tool with something sharp attached to it, to cut material such as wood, board and sometimes harder metal too. Saw is basically used for intersecting or cutting. The saws can be categorized into two; hand saws, and motor saws.

Hand Saws

A saw that does not require any kind of power supply from outside is called hand saws. Hand saws basically consist of two parts; something very sharp and a handle to hold. Some examples of hand saws are; bow saw, coping saw, crosscut saw, etc.

Motor Saws

A saw that requires outsourcing of power is called motor saws. Motor saws are sophisticated machines which have expanded the usage of classic saws.

Reciprocating Saw

From the name itself, we can identify that this saw crosses the material through moving back and forward. This particular motion is called reciprocating motion and the saw using this motion is called reciprocating saw. Simple!

This saw is used for more substantial material which is difficult to break through such as wall, iron, etc. Thus, it is used in the construction field widely.

Different Kinds of Reciprocating Blades

Reciprocating saw uses a different type of blades. These blades are used for various purposes. Some of the blades are:

Wood Cutting Blades

These blades have five-ten teeth per inch. Thus, they are utilized for cutting softer materials such as woods.

Demolition Blades

These blades are good for more dense materials. Thus, they consist of more blades than wood-cutting blades. Usually, these comprises six to eleven teeth per inch.

Metal Cutting Blades

Metal cutting blades help having a smooth cut with mostly ten to eighteen teeth per inch. These blades can also have up to twenty-four blades and cut materials with more density.

Carbide Tipped Blades

These blades including eight teeth per inch have solid carbide edge. Their most usages are cutting alloy, cast iron, and stainless steel.

Carbide Grit Blades

Carbide grit blades are made of grit outward without any blade. These blades are used for carving tiles.


  • Cutting pipes.
  • Fitting windows.
  • In construction sites.
  • In the rescue mission.
What We Like:
  • Known for being comfortable in application.
  • Used in restructuring and scrapping of structures.
  • Best used for cutting above the height.
  • Can cut almost every material.
  • Very powerful.
What We Didn’t Like:
  • Cannot be used to cut angle and in finishing.

Circular Saw

The name circular saw is self-explanatory. This saw uses the rounded motion for cutting any particular material. It is a power saw.

Different Kinds of Circular Saw Blades

There are different types of blades for a circular saw. Different blades have different characteristics and usages. The number of teeth per inch influences the quickness of the machine and the smoothness both.

The speed of the tool increases proportionally with the number of teeth but as the speed increases, the smoothness of the cut decrease. Some blades are;

Framing Blades

These blades have twenty-four teeth in total which is quite less. So, it is swift and rough.

Plywood Blades

These blades have hundred plus teeth. Thus, it can be used for sophisticated curves.

Abrasive Blades

These blades are made of aluminum oxide or silicon carbide without any teeth. They are used to cut hard materials.

Continuous Rim Blades

These blades are made of the diamond surface to cut materials such as tiles or slates.

Turbo Rim Blades

These blades are also made of diamond with a hole in the disc of the leaves. These blades are used for concrete materials without finishing.

Segmented Blades

These blades’ plates are segmented and made of diamond edge. They can be used for very rough cut and materials.


  • Curving woods
  • Cutting tiles and slates
What We Like:
  • Very easy to use
  • Easy to carry
  • Different blades can be used
What We Didn’t Like:
  • Cannot be used without a table
  • Needs precaution to avoid accidents

Reciprocating Saw VS Circular Saw – Decision Time?

There is one similarity between the reciprocating saw and circular saw. Both use alternating motion. Jigsaws having smoother and smaller teeth are used for sophisticated cuts.

Contrarily, reciprocating saws are used for hard uses such as taking apart. If you are looking for something to cut a beautiful angle, you should definitely use this saw.

The above descriptions state about the details of these two saws. Now, the choice between these two will depend on the work you are doing.

If you are looking for something that requires fine finishing, then a circular saw is appropriate. In case you are looking for something to tear apart, you should opt for a reciprocating saw.


Saws have now a variety of implications. It will depend on one’s need which saw will be used. Even a single saw can be used for different purposes with different blades. Hopefully, this article will help you to identify your preferred saw.