Router vs Jigsaw – What Are The Differences?

Routers and jigsaws are entirely different tools that perform different jobs. A router uses a spinning bit to cut slots, grooves, and finish edges. For example, tabletops often have their edges finished. A jigsaw uses a blade to cut through wood and can cut out different shapes. Keep reading Router vs Jigsaw to find everything you need to know!

If you are new to woodworking, you are probably wondering what tools you will need. This is especially true if you’re working with a limited budget since you’ll need to prioritize which tools you buy now and which tools to buy later.

Two very important tools for woodworking are jigsaws and routers but again, if you’re new to woodworking then you may not know what these tools are, what are the main differences are between them, and if you had to choose one to purchase which should it be.

Before we begin, are you looking for some general information on tools like miters saws, chainsaws, table saws, etc.? Check out our complete resource guides on Miter Saws, Table Saws, Chainsaws, Band Saws, and Circular Saws

What is a Router? 

A wood router is a unique power tool. It can be defined by a rotating cutting bit that extends downward from the base and the flat base. A pneumatic and electric motor drive the router bit and the spindle which routs a shape into the wood. Routers are most often used with wood, although they can be used for other materials like plastic. 

You’ll find that woodworkers often use routers for decorative work, which also makes them a popular choice for those completing cabinetry. While routers can cut the wood into separate pieces, their main job is to create routes, lines, shapes, or slots into the wood to achieve a decorative function.

What is a Jigsaw?

A jigsaw is a cutting power tool that uses a reciprocating blade. The blade moves up and down, it has a thin design which means you can cut both curved and straight lines into metal, wood, and other materials. The name “jigsaw” comes from the tool’s ability to cut materials into irregular shapes, much like something you would find in a jigsaw puzzle. Router vs Jigsaw – How Do They Compare?

Router vs Jigsaw – Comparison



Cutting Tool

There is quite a difference between the router and jigsaw when it comes to the type of cutting the tool can do.

A jigsaw has a reciprocating blade and a router uses a rotating bit. This is arguably the most noticeable visual difference between the two tools. It’s this difference that makes them both complementary and distinct in some ways, but quite different in others.

Type of Cuts

Another big difference between these two tools is the types of cuts that can be made. A router can cut slots and steps into the wood pretty easily. While a router cannot cut as deep as a jigsaw, you can have greater control over how deep the cut will be. This results in you being able to create different shapes easier.


Power tools are pretty dangerous, so you always need to be careful when using them. This means you need to wear the proper safety gear, like goggles / protective glasses. However, while the jigsaw presents the more obvious danger because of its reciprocating blade, believe it or not, the router is the more dangerous one out of the two.

The router is more dangerous because of the bit. It spins at such a high speed, 24,000 revolutions per minute. This means it creates both a loud noise as well as sawdust. Ear and eye protection are strongly recommended, but the most important thing is that you must always have firm control. If you don’t the router can get away from you easily.


While setting up both tools is pretty simple, the jigsaw is arguably the easier of the two to use. All you need to do is draw a line that you want the jigsaw to follow and you can begin cutting. At the very most you may need to clamp the wood down so it doesn’t move.

For the router, it’s a little more complicated. You will need a separate guide to keep the tool on track. This is because the design of the router can make cutting along lines difficult depending on the circumstances. 

A jigsaw is designed to cut through most types of wood. The main purpose is to separate the pieces with a precision cut as opposed to cutting into the wood to create steps or slots.

Which One Should You Choose? 

Deciding between a router and a jigsaw should be a relatively easy option because they differ quite dramatically. Neither tool can do the other one’s job, which means that your decision between the two tools will be based on what job you need to complete. 

If you need to cut slots, joinery, beautiful bevels on edges, or recesses then you should instead choose the router. However, if you need to cut curves through large, thick pieces of wood or for example, cut a hole for a sink in a thick plywood countertop, then the jigsaw is the way to go.  

Wrapping Up

There is Router vs Jigsaw – What Are The Differences? We hope this article helped you understand the difference between a router and a jigsaw! Do you prefer one of these over the other? Do you own a router or a jigsaw? If not, are you considering purchasing one now? Please feel free to leave a comment; we would love to hear from you! 

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