Do You Want a Barrel or Grip Jigsaw for Woodworking

Do you want a barrel or grip jigsaw for woodworking? Choosing the right tool can make a significant difference in the outcome of your woodworking project. Understanding the key differences between barrel and grip jigsaws is crucial in making an informed decision. In this article, we will explore the features, benefits, and drawbacks of both types of jigsaws to help you determine which one is best suited for your woodworking tasks.

When it comes to woodworking, having the right tools can make all the difference. One essential tool to consider is the jigsaw, but with different variations available, such as barrel and grip jigsaws, it’s important to understand how they differ and what benefits each type offers. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced woodworker, knowing which type of jigsaw will best meet your needs is essential for successful project completion.

In the following sections, we will delve into the specifics of barrel and grip jigsaws, discussing their features, advantages, and limitations. We will also examine real-life examples and case studies to demonstrate how choosing between a barrel or grip jigsaw can impact the overall outcome of woodworking projects.

Additionally, we will provide insights on important factors to consider when deciding between these two types of jigsaws for woodworking tasks. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with valuable information to help you make an informed decision based on your specific woodworking requirements.

What Is a Barrel Jigsaw

A barrel jigsaw is a type of power tool commonly used in woodworking projects. It is distinguished by its cylindrical shape, which allows for a more comfortable grip and better control while cutting through different types of materials. The barrel design also enables the user to make intricate cuts and curved designs with ease, making it an ideal choice for detailed woodworking tasks.

One of the key features of a barrel jigsaw is its versatility. This type of jigsaw can be used to make straight cuts as well as intricate curves, making it suitable for a wide range of woodworking projects. Additionally, the barrel design allows for better maneuverability, especially when working on tight corners or angles.

In terms of benefits, using a barrel jigsaw can result in smoother and more precise cuts compared to other types of saws. The ergonomic design also reduces hand fatigue and strain, allowing users to work on their woodworking projects for longer periods without discomfort. Furthermore, barrel jigsaws are often equipped with variable speed settings, giving users greater control over the cutting process.

Versatility in making straight and curved cutsPrecise and smooth cuts
Ergonomic design for reduced hand fatigueVariable speed settings for greater control

What Is a Grip Jigsaw

A grip jigsaw, also known as a top-handle jigsaw, is a versatile and powerful tool that is commonly used in woodworking tasks. Unlike the barrel jigsaw, which has a handle that juts out from the side, the grip jigsaw features a handle situated on top of the tool. This design allows for better control and maneuverability, making it ideal for intricate cuts and curved lines.

One of the main features of a grip jigsaw is its ergonomically designed handle that provides a comfortable and secure grip, reducing user fatigue during extended use. The placement of the handle at the top of the tool also offers better visibility of the cutting line, allowing for greater precision in woodworking tasks. Additionally, many grip jigsaws come with variable speed settings, allowing woodworkers to adjust the cutting speed based on the material and type of cut they are making.

When it comes to advantages, one must consider that using a grip jigsaw offers greater stability when cutting curves and intricate shapes due to its top-handle design. This makes it an excellent choice for detailed woodworking projects such as crafting furniture or creating decorative items.

Additionally, its ability to make bevel cuts adds to its versatility and makes it suitable for various cutting angles. On the downside, some users may find that gripping the top-handle for extended periods can cause hand fatigue compared to using a barrel jigsaw.

Overall, there are several factors woodworkers should consider when choosing between a barrel or grip jigsaw for their projects: comfort level with handling each type of saw, specific project requirements including precision types of cuts required as well as personal preference. When deciding which type of saw to use ultimately depends on what kind of woodworking task you will be doing.

FeatureGrip Jigsaw
Handle StyleTop-handle design – provides better control and maneuverability
VisibilityBetter visibility of cutting line due to top-handledesign
AdvantagesGreater stability when cutting curves; Suitable for detailed woodworking projects requiring precision cuts; Ability to make bevel cuts; Variable speed settings;
Free Corner Shelf Woodworking Plans

Pros and Cons of Using a Barrel Jigsaw for Woodworking

A barrel jigsaw is a popular choice for woodworking projects due to its unique features and benefits. One of the main advantages of using a barrel jigsaw is its stability and precision.

The design of the barrel jigsaw allows for more control over the cutting process, making it ideal for intricate woodworking tasks such as creating curved or circular cuts. Additionally, the ergonomic design of the barrel jigsaw provides better handling and reduces hand fatigue during prolonged use, making it a favorite among woodworkers.

Another benefit of using a barrel jigsaw for woodworking projects is its versatility. Barrel jigsaws are capable of making bevel cuts, allowing woodworkers to create angled edges and shapes with ease. This versatility makes it a valuable tool for various woodworking applications, from cutting intricate designs in furniture to creating custom trim work.

However, there are also some drawbacks to using a barrel jigsaw for woodworking. One limitation is the bulkiness of the tool, which may make it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces or corners. Additionally, novice woodworkers may find it challenging to master the technique required to achieve smooth and precise cuts with a barrel jigsaw. Despite these limitations, many experienced woodworkers still prefer using a barrel jigsaw for its stability and precision.

Ultimately, when deciding between a barrel or grip jigsaw for woodworking projects, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of the project at hand and personal preference. The advantages of using a barrel jigsaw, such as stability and precision, must be weighed against its limitations in terms of maneuverability and ease of use for beginners.

By carefully evaluating these factors, woodworkers can make an informed decision on whether a barrel or grip jigsaw is the best choice for their woodworking tasks.

Pros and Cons of Using a Grip Jigsaw for Woodworking

A grip jigsaw is a versatile tool that offers numerous benefits for woodworking tasks. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional woodworker, understanding the pros and cons of using a grip jigsaw can help you make an informed decision when selecting the right tool for your projects.

Advantages of Using a Grip Jigsaw

One of the key advantages of using a grip jigsaw is its maneuverability. The compact design and ergonomic handle make it easy to control, allowing for precise cuts even in tight spaces. Additionally, grip jigsaws are lightweight, which reduces user fatigue during extended use. Another benefit is the ability to change blades quickly, making it convenient to switch between different materials and cutting styles. This versatility makes it suitable for various woodworking tasks, including curved cuts and intricate designs.

Limitations of Using a Grip Jigsaw

While there are many advantages to using a grip jigsaw, there are also some limitations to consider. One drawback is the power output compared to barrel jigsaws, making it less suitable for heavy-duty cutting through thick or dense materials. Additionally, the smaller size of grip jigsaws can lead to reduced stability during certain cutting applications. It may also require more frequent blade changes due to the smaller blade capacity compared to barrel jigsaws.

Overall, when deciding whether to use a barrel or grip jigsaw for woodworking tasks, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and limitations of each type based on your specific project requirements and preferences. By carefully considering these factors, you can select the best tool for your woodworking needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Barrel and Grip Jigsaw for Woodworking

When choosing between a barrel and grip jigsaw for woodworking, there are several important factors to consider in order to make the right decision for your specific needs. One of the primary considerations is the type of project you will be working on. Barrel jigsaws are typically better suited for straight cuts and larger projects, while grip jigsaws are more versatile and can handle curved cuts and smaller, intricate tasks with ease.

If you primarily work on larger woodworking projects that require straight cuts, a barrel jigsaw may be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you frequently work on smaller, detailed projects that involve curved cuts, a grip jigsaw would likely be more suitable.

Another crucial factor to take into account when deciding between a barrel and grip jigsaw for woodworking is the type of material you will be cutting. Barrel jigsaws are generally better equipped to handle tougher materials such as hardwood, metal, or thick plastic due to their more powerful motor and larger blades.

Grip jigsaws, on the other hand, are ideal for cutting softer materials like plywood or thin plastic thanks to their maneuverability and ability to make intricate cuts. It is essential to assess the type of material you commonly work with in order to choose the appropriate jigsaw for your woodworking projects.

Personal preference also plays a significant role in determining whether a barrel or grip jigsaw is the right choice for your woodworking tasks. Some woodworkers may find that they prefer the feel and control of a barrel jigsaw when making straight cuts, while others may appreciate the versatility and maneuverability of a grip jigsaw when working on intricate designs.

Who Makes The Best Band Saw For Woodworking

Ultimately, considering your own comfort and familiarity with each type of jigsaw is essential in making an informed decision that aligns with your preferences as a woodworker.

Real-Life Examples and Case Studies

Woodworking enthusiasts often face the dilemma of choosing between a barrel or grip jigsaw for their projects. The choice of jigsaw can have a significant impact on the outcome of the woodworking project. Real-life examples and case studies can provide valuable insights into how the choice of barrel or grip jigsaw impacted the final result.

Custom Furniture Manufacturing

In a custom furniture manufacturing workshop, skilled woodworkers were tasked with creating intricate designs on wooden tables and chairs. The team initially used a grip jigsaw for the project but found it challenging to maneuver around tight corners and curves. As a result, they switched to using a barrel jigsaw, which provided greater control and precision in cutting the intricate patterns. This change resulted in a smoother finish and improved overall quality of the furniture pieces.

Home Renovation Project

A homeowner decided to take on a home renovation project that involved cutting various types of wood for shelves, cabinets, and moldings. Initially, they opted for a barrel jigsaw due to its versatility and ability to handle different materials effectively.

However, when faced with intricate cuts in hardwood, they found that the grip jigsaw offered better handling and control in shaping the wood precisely. As a result, they utilized both types of jigsaws throughout the project based on their specific needs.

Crafting Wooden Toys

In a small woodworking workshop specializing in crafting wooden toys, artisans experimented with both barrel and grip jigsaws to create detailed designs on toy cars and figurines. They discovered that while the grip jigsaw allowed for more freedom of movement when making straight cuts, the barrel jigsaw excelled in creating curved shapes with smooth edges. Ultimately, they incorporated both types of jigsaws into their workflow based on the specific requirements of each toy design.

Real-life examples and case studies demonstrate that the choice between a barrel or grip jigsaw can significantly impact woodworking projects. By understanding how each type of jigsaw performs in different scenarios, woodworkers can make informed decisions when selecting the most suitable tool for their specific needs.


In conclusion, the choice between a barrel or grip jigsaw for woodworking ultimately depends on several factors such as the type of project, the material being used, and personal preference. Both types of jigsaws have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. When deciding between a barrel or grip jigsaw, it is important to carefully consider these factors and weigh them against your specific woodworking needs.

The barrel jigsaw offers excellent stability and control, making it ideal for straight cuts and curved lines. It also tends to have a longer lifespan due to its lower vibration levels, which can result in less wear and tear on the tool. On the other hand, grip jigsaws are known for their maneuverability and ease of use in tight spaces. They also tend to be more versatile when it comes to blade changing and bevel cutting.

Ultimately, when deciding between a barrel or grip jigsaw for woodworking, it is important to test out both types if possible to see which feels more comfortable and efficient for your specific projects. Additionally, considering the unique features and limitations of each type will help you make an informed decision that meets your woodworking needs. Whichever option you choose, both barrel and grip jigsaws can be valuable tools in achieving precision and quality in your woodworking projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Barrel Grip Jigsaws Better?

Barrel Grip jigsaws are considered better by some users due to their ergonomic design, allowing for better control and precision during cutting. The grip on a barrel grip jigsaw is typically more comfortable and intuitive for many users compared to the D-handle of a regular jigsaw.

What Is the Difference Between an Orbital Jigsaw and a Regular Jigsaw?

The main difference between an orbital jigsaw and a regular jigsaw lies in the blade motion. Orbital jigsaws have a circular action that not only moves the blade up and down but also slightly forward on the upstroke before cutting on the downstroke. This feature allows for faster and more aggressive cuts, making it suitable for rougher materials.

What Are the Two Types of Jigsaw Handle?

There are two main types of jigsaw handles: top-handle and barrel-grip. Top-handle jigsaws have a handle positioned near the top of the machine, resembling a power drill in design, while barrel-grip jigsaws have a handle at the back or rear of the tool, which is held like a pistol grip.

Each type has its own advantages, with top-handle offering better precision and control while barrel-grip provides greater comfort during prolonged use.

Send this to a friend