Safest Saw for Beginner DIYers, and how to chose one

A Jig saw if the safest saw for a beginner DIYer or woodworker. However, when considering versatility, the Circular Saw is the best saw for aspiring woodworkers and DIYers.

Which saw is the safest for beginners and why?

JigsawCircular saw
SafetySaferLess safe
PowerLess powerMore powerful
VersatilityLess versatileMore versatile

The Jigsaw


While a jig saw may be the safest saw that a DIYer can use, they are not as versatile and cannot be used in many situations. Even though the jig saw causes the fewest injuries in comparison to circular, miter, and table saws, its limitations may require for woodworkers to use other saw options. The jigsaw is not as powerful and cannot cut thicker pieces of lumber.

Any power saw can be very safe, when necessary, protocols and precautions are followed. I will explain what causes a jigsaw to be unsafe, and what are its limitations down below.

The Circular saw

Circular saw

For aspiring DIYers and woodworkers, a circular saw can tackle many projects, and be used in most scenarios. A circular saw can do almost any cut of a jigsaw, miter saw, and table saw.

Additionally, it is very safe when the right measures are followed. However, due to its popularity and the power of the saw, circular saws cause more injuries than jigsaws.
Its main limitation with a circular saw is that it does not have the precision, accuracy, and speed that you will get with the table and miter saw.

You can cut through many types of wood while using a circular saw, and you will feel less vibration and more control during your cut, in comparison to using a jig saw.

A circular saw is ideal for aspiring DIYers because not only will you have more safety with cutting thicker wood in comparison to a jigsaw, but you will also have more versatility than getting a miter or table saw alone.


What causes a jigsaw to be unsafe?

A jig saw will be less safe than a circular saw if you use it incorrectly. These are the main reasons that decrease the safety of the jigsaw.

  1. Not holding the saw correctly
    • Not holding the saw with both hands when needed and not gripping the saw in the right positions can lead to injury.
    • Just like any work equipment, you will need to use the equipment correctly to prevent injury.
  2. Not securing the work piece
    • Not securing the work piece will cause it to move up and down with the saw blade.
    • A loose or wobbling wood piece can cause for kickback and wood slippage.
    • If the wood slips, keep both hands on the saw and let it fall. Do not take any hand off the saw to catch the piece.
  3. Dull or bent blade
    • A dull or bent blade will not only cause your motor to work harder than it should, but it can lead to kickback
    • It is necessary to replace a bent blade to prevent accidental injury.
  4. Cutting wood that is too thick
    • A jigsaw can become unsafe when used to cut wood that is too thick for the saws use. You should never attempt to wood over 3.5″ thick with a jigsaw, because it will cause excessive vibration and possible kickback which could lead to injury.
    • Additionally, you can snap the jigsaw blade which will cause the jigsaw to kickback or your blade to go flying.

Is a Jigsaw safer than a Circular saw?

In the right conditions, a jig saw is safer than a circular saw.

Reason One: You have both hands on the jigsaw

This is because with a jig saw you have both hands on the saw and you are guiding a blade that is going up and down through the wood. You are less likely to an extremity by having both hands on the saw. Additionally, you are less likely to injure yourself with kickback because the saw is moving up and down.

Reason Two: Jigsaw is less likely to cause kickback

A circular saw is inherently more dangerous than a jigsaw because you have one hand on the saw, the blade is moving in a circular motion towards you, and it is more powerful. Later on I explain what beginners do that make a circular saw dangerous. However, when beginners make those mistakes, the injuries can likely be more severe.

When you have one hand on the saw, you are more likely to lose control when faced with kickback. A circular blade moving towards you highly increases your chances of kickback in comparison to a jig saw. Finally, a more powerful saw equates to a higher likelihood of losing control, especially since you have one less hand on the saw.

A jig saw in inherently safer than a circular saw when used correctly. However, when a circular saw is used correctly, it is also really safe and may be a better option for aspiring DIYers. Next, I will talk about the safety mechanisms with a circular saw and how to prevent injury.

What makes a circular saw dangerous?

A circular saw is a safe, portable saw that is used by many woodworkers. However, any saw can be dangerous when not used correctly. The circular saw has many mechanisms to make it safe, and I will go over how not following protocols can lead to injury.

These are 5 most dangerous things beginners woodworkers do when operating a circular saw:

  1. Placing hands in front or behind the saw
    • You never want to have your hand in front, or behind the saw. You especially never want to put your fingers underneath the wood.
    • Even if your hand is behind the saw, you will get cut if the saw happens to have any kickback.
    • You want you have your hand resting besides the saw on top of the wood, or on the handle. This prevents accidental cuts to your free hand when operating the saw.
  2. Adjusting saw while in motion
    • I’ve seen DIYers on YouTube adjust the saw while in motion to make plunge cuts. The circular saw is not made for plunge cuts, and doing this will can cause kickback and injury.
    • It is safest to adjust your saw beforehand.
  3. Taking off blade guard
    • Taking off the blade guard is something that many have seen professionals to. However, I highly recommend against it, especially for beginner woodworkers and those who work in a shop with many other people.
    • The reason people take off the blade guard is to make cutting and aligning the blade quicker. But normally, it is only quicker by a second or two at most.
    • The reason the blade guard is so important is because it is there to protect the moving blade when you are done cutting.
    • When you finish cutting it takes the blade a few seconds to stop. The guard prevents accidental touching of the moving blade and what we like to call runaway saws.
    • A runaway saw is a saw that is sat on the floor while the blade is in motion. The blade guard isn’t there to protect the saw from contacting the floor and shooting across the room. This can result in serious injury of yourself and others nearby.
  4. Starting saw with wood contact
    • This is a common mistake that woodworkers make.
    • Starting a circular saw with the blade touching the wood will cause kickback or the wood to chip.
    • Kickback is more dangerous in circular saws than table saws because you only have one hand on the saw and the saw blade is actually kicked back instead of the wood.
  5. Twisting the saw mid cut
    • Twisting the saw while it is in motion will cause for the side of the blade to contact the wood and potentially cause kickback

Is a Circular Saw safer than a table saw?

A table saw is the “most dangerous” saw in comparison to the miter and circular saw. The table saw is a very common carpentry and woodworking tool and is designed to cut pieces accurately and quickly. As a result, some people make a mistake when trying to cut quickly.

When using a table saw, you may be faced with issues that you will need to know how to handle. Many injuries arise from table saw use that includes stuck wood while doing rip cuts, cutting smaller wood pieces, cutting longer pieces, and the power of a table saw.

Table saw

Wood getting stuck mid cut

A common problem that a table saw user may encounter is having trouble feeding the wood through the table saw.

The wood may get stuck due to something obstructing it, something being in the wood like metal, or a large wood knot.

If this happens, you should turn off the saw and try to access why the wood is not being fed through the saw.

Never try to force the wood through the table saw, because it can lead to serious injury.

Cutting too thin pieces

Additionally, cutting thinner pieces can cause the wood to be lodged between the opening of the saw table and the blade. Additionally, if your hands are too close to the blade, then you will be more likely to get cut.

If you want to cut thin pieces on a table saw, it is advisable to use the proper jig to prevent injury.

To learn how to make a crosscut jig, then you should check out my article “Table saw jigs”.

Not using an outfeed table

Cutting longer wood pieces through a table saw can cause for the wood to fall on the on the other side. If the wood is heavy enough it can cause you to slip or the saw to tip over.

Luckily, there are features that you can, and should, include with your table saw to prevent injuries like this. Using an outfeed table to have your wood rest on while you are cutting larger pieces will prevent the wood from tipping as you are cutting.

To learn more about table saw accessories, you should check out my article “7 Table saw accessories everyone should have”.

Is a table or circular saw safer than a miter saw?

A miter saw is a fairly safe saw to use. You do rip and miter cuts with miter saws and while following safety precautions, your risk for injury is pretty low. Many miter saws also have integrated clamps to prevent the wood from moving.

The biggest risk to using a miter saw is kickback of smaller wood pieces. Cutting close to the woods edge will create smaller pieces that can send the wood into the crevice of the saw and shoot it back at the operator.

To mitigate this risk, you will need to cut through the wood, release the trigger, wait for the blade to finish spinning, and then lift the blade.
You can make a miter saw dangerous by removing or not using its safety counterparts.

Overall Safest Saw for beginners

The best saw for a beginner is a circular saw. It is very a versatile and safe tool that every aspiring woodworker and DIYer should have in their workshop.

A jig saw is the safest saw that a beginner can own, while the circular saw is the best saw when considering the safety and versatility of the saw.

The jigsaw has its limitations and is not as accurate, powerful, and cannot cut wood that is greater than 3″ thick.

A circular saw is a common, portable power saw that causes more injuries, partly due to its popularity. However, there are more risks with operating a circular saw like a runaway blade and the ability to operate the saw with one hand.

A table saw is a powerful and accurate power saw that also cause many injuries.

The miter saw is more of a specialty tool that is designed to accurately cut miters and bevels. This saw is also inherently safer with fewer risks.


In this article, we learned about the different types of saws and which one was the safest for beginners. We then went over some of the limitations between the saws and common reasons for injuries while operating the saws.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I wish you luck on your woodworking journeys!


My name is Rachel Blanding and I am a woodworker. I started woodworking at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I mainly create and refurbish furniture and create art. In this site I will share with you the knowledge I have gained over the years, and what worked for me and what didn't.

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