Circular Saw vs Reciprocating Saw

circular saw vs reciprocating saw

If you've at some point bought a power saw, you understand how frustrating it can be since the market is filled with a wide range of confusing products. 

What`s more, if you're a beginner and don't have any experience in woodwork and associated power tools, choosing the right saw will be even more confusing. Nevertheless, you might notice the prevalent competition between circular saws and reciprocating saws. 

Now, in this write-up, we'll cover all the different aspects of these saws to make it easier for you to choose. 

Let's get started!

Reciprocating saw 

Also referred to as a "recip saw," a reciprocating saw is a tool engineered to cut through various materials utilizing a fastback & forth countering motion. 

To achieve this, a reciprocating saw uses a narrow blade that's usually saw-toothed on one side. Typically, the blades come in different designs enhanced for cutting through masonry materials, metal, wood, and so much more. 

Furthermore, this saw's build is lengthened. At the rear end, you will see a trigger and grip. All the same, the exterior blade is located at the opposite end. For enhanced stability and support, you simply have to position your hand behind the chuck. 

Circular saw 

As the name suggests, this is a powerful tool whose primary form factor is spherical. That being said, this is a powerful tool that uses a circular blade to cut through a wide array of materials effectively. 

When working, this power tool's blade revolves at increased speed, letting it make rip, cross, and plunge cuts quite easily. Usually, these cuts are smooth. 

When it comes to user control, this saw has two handles. Typically, you have to position one hand on the support handle situated close to the top and the other hand on another support placed close to the back, where the ignition key is located. 

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Lastly, circular saws have a hood at the blade housing's top to hinder dust and debris from being aimed at the user. 

Circular saw vs. reciprocating saw 


The most prevalent difference between these two saws is their blades. The reciprocating and circular saws have blades with different shapes, translating to various functions. For example, a reciprocating saw features a knife-shaped blade, and on the other hand, a circular saw features a circular blade offering it a disc shape. 

This difference is distinct, making it easily noticeable. 


Cutting capacity 

Circular and reciprocating saws have different cutting styles thanks to their different blades. This as well impacts their cutting capacity and volume. 

For instance, when you utilize a reciprocating saw for cutting a timber plank, it will be swift though it will also leave rugged edges. However, using a circular saw in the same situation will take a bit longer and leave neat edges. 


Due to the difference in blade shapes, power means, and forms, these power tools vary in precision and working versatility. 

Typically, a reciprocating saw is designed to deal with rugged cutting and in projects where fineness is not an issue. On the other hand, a circular saw is most suitable for fine woodwork. 


In terms of forms for both saws, the difference is quite prevalent. A reciprocating saw is longer and looks more like a riffle, whereas a circular saw is spherical. Moreover, you need to hold both of them with two hands, though the posture is different. 


Considering circular and reciprocating saws have different forms and functions, it only makes sense that they have different prices. A reciprocating saw is somewhat affordable than a circular saw. 

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Usually, a reciprocating saw costs half the price of a circular saw. This is because circular saws offer smoother cuttings than reciprocating saws. A reciprocating saw is typically used to deconstruct and demolish, whereas a circular saw is perfect for neat woodwork. 

These two saws are user-friendly; a circular saw is easy to use and doesn't bounce back as often as a reciprocating saw. Thus, in this aspect, the former is better than the latter. For this reason, it will serve DIY woodworkers better. 

Reciprocating saw summary 

This saw utilizes a push-and-pull movement to cut through different materials. It features a knife-like blade serrated on one side. You can effortlessly cut through plastic, wood, or metal. Plus, you require both hands to hold it, and the dual grip offers additional stability. 

Reciprocating saws cannot maneuver angled cuts. When operating them, they vibrate a lot, leading to unpredictable results. Besides, they can cut through a wide variety of materials, though they leave behind rough edges. This would mean putting in additional effort to achieve a neat texture from the cut. 

Circular saw summary 

If you're looking to make clean and accurate cuts, then you probably need a circular saw. The spherical blade has many teeth coated with diamonds or carbide, making it capable of slicing metals sheets, wood, and dense granite. 

You can make several cuts with this saw, including plunge, cross, and rips cuts, relatively quickly. Besides, you can make great angled cuts with it. What's more, it is easy to carry and use. 

They also come in a wide array of makes, such as corded, cordless, gas, and battery-powered. Plus, if you place it upside down on a table, you can utilize it as a table saw. 

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The circular saw is the ideal choice thanks to its versatility, portability, and ability to make smooth cuts relatively easily. On the other hand, a reciprocating saw is best suited for demolishing and deconstructing, where no smooth edges are required. 

Your decision comes down to your project's needs and budget. The reciprocating saw is better if you don't require smooth edges and are on a budget. On the other hand, if you don't mind spending a lot of money, you can buy both, as they serve different purposes. 

So, whether you're searching for a circular or reciprocating saw depends on your budget, needs, and preferences. It would be best to purchase both, but if you can only afford one, go for the circular saw as it is highly versatile and will create smoother cuts more effortlessly than a reciprocating saw. 

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in helping you choose the right saw.


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