Scroll Saw Vs Jigsaw: Which One to Choose?

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Both of these power tools are used for cutting, but while they certainly share similarities, they also have their differences in both structure and function. 

Scroll Saws and Jigsaws are a great addition to any DIYer’s Workstation, and knowing how they function and how they differ is key when selecting which one will best suit your needs. Join us as we take a look at each of these tools in more detail and understand their functions and applications.

First, let’s kick off with a brief comparison chart.

Scroll SawJigsaw
BladesThe blade is typically smaller and thinnerThe blade is typically narrow but longer
Cutting DepthMay offer up to 2″May offer up to 10″.
OperationJigsaws are handheldScroll saws are stationary
Types of CutsBoth can be used for straight and curved cuts, but scroll saws may play a greater role in neat smooth, detailed cutsBoth can be used for straight and curved cuts, but jigsaw’s don’t offer neat smooth, detailed cuts
PortabilityScroll saws are bigger and heavier, so hard to moveJigsaws are less in size and weight, so easier to move

What is a Scroll Saw?

DEWALT Scroll Saw, Variable-Speed, 1.3 Amp, 20-Inch (DW788)

A scroll saw is a powerful machine for cutting irregular shapes in multiple materials, including metal and wood. It can be either electric or pedal-operated and typically consists of a base table, arm, blade, and blade tension knob.

The blade is attached to the arm above, from below the work table, and into the arm extended out above, which holds it taut. Additional features may include a dust blower and blade guard. The saw operates by the vertical blade pivoting up and down at high speed while the user moves the material beneath it. The blade has teeth which makes it possible to cut wood or metal objects.

What is a Jigsaw?

DEWALT 20V MAX Jig Saw, Tool Only (DCS331B) , Yellow

A jigsaw is a handheld portable power tool with a narrow blade and frame. It offers quick and accurate cuts in various materials, such as plywood, plastic board, metal sheets, and others. Jigsaw blades are available in two types: corded and cordless.

A jigsaw blade is secured at the top and operates manually with the user guiding the machine freehanded. The blade is surrounded by a metal frame which is designed to give the user more control, stability, and safety when cutting.

Also Read: Best Cordless Jigsaw

Tech Specifications

  • A scroll saw offers clean, precise, and intricate cuts that aren’t too noisy, are easy to use, don’t spread too much dust, and have replaceable blades.
  • A jigsaw is portable, easy to store, very versatile, offers quick cuts,  is affordable, and has replaceable blades.
  • A scroll saw can cut materials up to 2″ thick, is suited for thin and clean cuts, offers better control over the material being cut, and holds the blade taut.
  • A jigsaw can cut up to 10″ thick materials, is not suited for delicate cuts, and may leave a rough finish, but it is safer to use.


A scroll saw has narrow, fine blades, which are small and thin, typically the size of 1/8-inch. These blades are made of metal, with teeth on one side that help to cut the material, while the other side is smooth and flat.

A jigsaw has a long narrow blade, which is thicker than that of a scroll saw, and cuts material in the same manner. The typical jigsaw blade size used is 3/5-inch. Both scroll saw and jigsaw blades come in various sizes, with different cutting teeth configurations.

Cutting Depth 

The scroll saw’s cutting depth depends on its throat length, as it affects the height and thickness of the cut. On the other hand, a jigsaw has no throat length and, therefore, will always be able to cut thicker materials. Furthermore, jigsaw blades are available in bigger sizes, making them more likely to cut thicker materials.

Ease of Operation 

A jigsaw has a simple construction and design with all parts attached directly to the main, movable arm. A scroll saw. Instead, it is attached to the table, which, while helping to keep it stable and reducing vibrations, makes it complicated to work with as you drive the wood into and around the blade. 

Types of Cuts

A scroll saw is suited for making clean straight lines and curves, whether they are simple or complex; similarly, jigsaws can cut in tight spots that are hard to access with other tools but lacks in making tidy smooth, intricate designs.


A jigsaw is much more portable than a scroll saw as it can easily be taken anywhere due to its smaller build and weight, whereas a scroll is a much less portable. However, remember that the larger structure makes it more stable and less likely to shake, even when the pressure on the blade increases.

Conclusion: Scroll vs Jigsaw: Which One Should I Buy? 

In conclusion, a scroll saw offers clean, precise cuts which are not suitable for projects that require thicker materials.

On the other hand, a jigsaw offers quick cuts and is more versatile, meaning it can cut through thicker materials.  Therefore,  which one you should buy depends on the type of project you are working on.

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