How to Cut Drywall with a Jigsaw?

By | March 25, 2023

Hey there, fellow DIY enthusiasts!

I’m excited to share my expertise in cutting drywall with a jigsaw. In my years of experience as a handyman, I’ve seen and tried it all.

Today, we’re diving into the world of jigsaws, a versatile tool that can be a game-changer for certain drywall cutting tasks.

You might be wondering if it’s even possible or practical to use a jigsaw for drywall, especially with so many other tools out there. But worry not! I’m here to share my personal experiences, tips, and tricks to help you make the right choice and achieve professional-looking results.

So, let’s jump right in and explore the ins and outs of cutting drywall with a jigsaw!

Can I cut drywall with a jigsaw?

Absolutely! A jigsaw is a versatile tool that can handle a variety of materials, including drywall. With the right blade and technique, you’ll be able to make clean, precise cuts in no time.

But, like any other tool, a jigsaw has its limitations. There are situations where a jigsaw might not be the most efficient or suitable choice for cutting drywall.

Don’t worry, though! We’ll dive deeper into these scenarios later on, helping you decide when to reach for your trusty jigsaw and when to consider alternative tools for your drywall cutting project.

Why do you want to cut drywall with a jigsaw?

There are several reasons why you might choose to cut drywall with a jigsaw:

  • Limited tool availability: Sometimes, a jigsaw might be the only power tool you have on hand, and that’s okay! With the right approach, you can still get the job done.
  • Intricate cuts: A jigsaw is excellent for making detailed and intricate cuts in drywall, such as curves or irregular shapes that other tools might struggle with.
  • Holes for switches and outlets: When it comes to cutting out openings for electrical switches, outlets, or other fixtures, a jigsaw provides the precision and control necessary to make clean, accurate cutouts.
  • Versatility: Jigsaws are known for their versatility, and having one in your toolkit means you’re prepared to tackle various cutting tasks, including drywall.

While a jigsaw may not be the most efficient tool for every type of drywall cut, it certainly has its place in the world of DIY projects. Its ability to offer precision and control in specific situations makes it a valuable tool for any handyman or DIY enthusiast.

When to Use a Jigsaw for Cutting Drywall?

There are a few instances where using a jigsaw for cutting drywall can be your go-to choice:

  1. Cutting holes for switches and outlets: When you need to create openings for electrical switches, outlets, or other fixtures, a jigsaw’s precision and control make it the perfect tool for the job. You can easily maneuver the jigsaw around tight corners, creating clean, well-defined cutouts.
  2. Small, precise cutouts: If you’re working on a project that requires intricate cuts or custom shapes in your drywall, a jigsaw is an excellent choice. Its ability to make curved cuts and navigate tight corners allows you to achieve the desired results with ease.
  3. Irregular shapes: For situations where you need to cut non-rectangular shapes, such as circles or complex patterns, a jigsaw is the ideal tool. Its maneuverability lets you follow the outline of your design with accuracy and control.
  4. Limited access areas: In tight spaces or areas where other cutting tools might be too large or unwieldy, a jigsaw can be a lifesaver. Its compact design allows you to work in hard-to-reach areas without sacrificing precision.

Remember, the key to successful drywall cutting with a jigsaw lies in choosing the right blade and technique for the job. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be able to tackle a wide range of drywall cutting tasks with your trusty jigsaw.

When a Jigsaw is Not the Best Option?

While a jigsaw can be an excellent tool for certain drywall cutting tasks, there are situations where it might not be your best option:

  1. Longer cuts and edge cuts: If you need to make long, straight cuts or edge cuts, a jigsaw may not be the most efficient choice. In these cases, a drywall knife or a straightedge and utility knife will offer quicker, smoother results with less effort.
  2. Large-scale projects: For big projects that involve cutting a significant amount of drywall, a jigsaw may not be the most time-efficient tool. Tools like a drywall T-square and a utility knife, or a powered rotary saw, can speed up the process considerably.
  3. Fragile or delicate drywall: A jigsaw’s cutting action can sometimes cause vibrations that may damage fragile or delicate drywall pieces. In these situations, using a drywall knife or another less aggressive cutting tool is advisable.
  4. Dust generation: Cutting drywall with a jigsaw can generate a significant amount of dust, which can be a concern for indoor projects or when working in confined spaces. Tools like a drywall knife or a track saw with dust collection can help minimize dust production.

As a handyman and DIY enthusiast, it’s essential to understand the strengths and limitations of each tool in your arsenal. By knowing when a jigsaw is not the best option for cutting drywall, you can make informed decisions and choose the most suitable tool for your project, ensuring a smoother and more efficient process.

Tools and Accessories You Need to Cut Drywall With a Jigsaw

To achieve clean, precise cuts when working with drywall and a jigsaw, having the right tools and accessories is essential. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  1. A jigsaw: Choose a reliable jigsaw with variable speed settings, which will give you more control over the cutting process.
  2. Fine-tooth blade for drywall: Select a blade specifically designed for cutting drywall. These blades usually have fine teeth that produce less dust and create smoother cuts.
  3. Pencil or marker: You’ll need a pencil or marker to draw the cut lines on the drywall. This will help ensure your cuts are accurate and follow the desired design.
  4. Straightedge or T-square: To make precise measurements and straight lines, a straightedge or T-square is invaluable. These tools will help you achieve professional-looking results.
  5. Dust mask and safety goggles: Drywall cutting can generate a significant amount of dust, so it’s essential to wear a dust mask and safety goggles to protect your lungs and eyes.
  6. Drill with a small bit (optional): If you plan to make plunge cuts or need to create pilot holes for starting your jigsaw cuts, a drill with a small bit will come in handy.
  7. Work gloves: To protect your hands from potential injuries, it’s a good idea to wear work gloves while handling drywall and cutting tools.
  8. Drop cloth (optional): To help with dust management and make cleanup easier, consider placing a drop cloth under your work area.

By gathering these tools and accessories before you start cutting drywall with a jigsaw, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle your project efficiently and safely.

How to Cut Drywall with a Jigsaw?

When cutting drywall with a jigsaw, different techniques are required for various types of cuts. Here’s a step-by-step guide for making some common drywall cuts using a jigsaw:

Making Plunge Cuts

  1. Mark the location where you want to create the plunge cut.
  2. Carefully tilt the jigsaw so the blade is at a slight angle to the drywall surface.
  3. Start the saw, and gently lower the blade into the drywall while maintaining a steady hand.
  4. Once the blade is fully inserted, level the jigsaw and continue cutting along the marked line.

Cutting Rectangular Cut-Outs Into Drywall With a Jigsaw and a Drill

  1. Mark the outline of the rectangular cutout using a pencil or marker and a straightedge or T-square.
  2. Drill pilot holes in each corner of the marked rectangle, making sure they are large enough to accommodate the jigsaw blade.
  3. Insert the jigsaw blade into one of the pilot holes and start cutting along the marked line.
  4. Carefully connect each corner hole by following the lines, making sure to maintain control and accuracy throughout the process.

Cutting Large Openings Into Drywall With A Jigsaw

  1. Mark the outline of the opening on the drywall using a pencil or marker.
  2. Drill a pilot hole along the outline, ensuring it’s large enough for the jigsaw blade.
  3. Insert the jigsaw blade into the pilot hole, and start cutting along the marked line.
  4. Maintain control and accuracy as you follow the outline, keeping a steady pace to ensure a clean cut.

Keep in mind remember that while using a jigsaw to cut drywall, it’s crucial to use the suitable blade, the appropriate safety gear, and effective dust control procedures.

You can use your dependable jigsaw to produce a variety of drywall cuts confidently and precisely after having some practice.

What Alternative Tools Can Be Used to Cut Drywall?

While a jigsaw can be a versatile tool for cutting drywall, there are many other tools that can also get the job done. Each tool has its own advantages and is best suited for specific types of cuts. Here’s a list of alternative tools for cutting drywall:

  • Drywall knife: A simple and efficient tool for making straight cuts, the drywall knife is perfect for scoring and snapping drywall sheets.
  • Roto-zip: This high-speed cutting tool is great for making precise cutouts for electrical boxes and other fixtures.
  • Keyhole saw: Also known as a jab saw, this handheld tool is ideal for cutting small openings and tight spaces.
  • Reciprocating saw: Useful for cutting large openings or demolition work, a reciprocating saw can make quick work of drywall.
  • Oscillating multi-tool: With a variety of attachments, an oscillating multi-tool like Fein FMM 350QSL MultiMaster is versatile and perfect for making small, detailed cuts.
  • Spiral saw or rotary saw: These high-speed tools are great for making precise cuts and can easily handle curves and shapes.
  • Track saw with dust collection: A track saw can make long, straight cuts with minimal dust, making it perfect for indoor projects.
  • Handheld drywall saw: A simple tool for cutting openings and small shapes, the handheld drywall saw is easy to use and maneuver.
  • Utility knife: For quick, straight cuts, a utility knife is an essential tool in any drywall toolkit.
  • Rotary tool: With the right attachment, a rotary tool can be used for cutting small openings, curves, and intricate shapes.
  • Hole saw: Ideal for cutting perfectly round holes for recessed lighting and other fixtures, a hole saw is a must-have for any drywall project.

You’ll be prepared to handle any drywall cutting operation, regardless of the project’s size or complexity, by becoming familiar with these other instruments.

Dust Management and Tool Preservation

When cutting drywall with a jigsaw, managing dust and preserving the lifespan of your tools are essential considerations.

Here are some tips to help you minimize dust and maintain your jigsaw’s performance:

  • Drop cloth: Placing a drop cloth under your work area will help catch dust and debris, making cleanup much easier. When you’re finished cutting, simply roll up the drop cloth and dispose of the dust properly.
  • Vacuum attachment: Some jigsaws come with a dust extraction feature or can be connected to a shop vacuum. Using a vacuum attachment can significantly reduce the amount of airborne dust generated during the cutting process.
  • Dust mask and safety goggles: Always wear a dust mask and safety goggles to protect your lungs and eyes from dust particles.
  • Clean your jigsaw regularly: After each drywall cutting session, take the time to clean your jigsaw, paying special attention to the air vents and internal components. This will help prevent the buildup of dust, which can lead to overheating and reduced tool performance.
  • Use the appropriate blade: Choose a jigsaw blade specifically designed for cutting drywall, as these blades typically produce less dust and help preserve the jigsaw’s internal workings.
  • Alternative tools: If you find yourself cutting drywall frequently, consider using alternative tools that may produce less dust and are better suited for this type of work, such as a roto-zip or oscillating multi-tool.

These suggestions will help you manage dust properly, preserve the functionality of your jigsaw, and guarantee that it will continue to be a trustworthy tool for all of your future DIY tasks.

Safety Tips and Techniques

Cutting drywall safely and accurately is crucial for any DIY project.

Here are some safety tips and techniques to keep in mind while working with drywall:

  • Measure carefully: Before making any cuts, double-check your measurements to ensure accuracy. Use a straightedge or T-square to mark your cut lines on the drywall clearly.
  • Cut slowly and steadily: When using a jigsaw or any other cutting tool, maintain a steady pace and avoid rushing. This will help you achieve cleaner, more precise cuts and minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear: Always wear safety goggles, a dust mask, and gloves while cutting drywall to protect yourself from dust particles and potential injuries.
  • Check for wires and other obstacles: Before making large cuts or openings in your drywall, carefully inspect the area behind the wall for any electrical wires, plumbing, or other obstacles. Cutting a small hole first and using a small mirror and flashlight to examine the area can help you spot any potential hazards.
  • Keep your work area clean: Regularly clean up dust and debris from your work area to prevent slips and falls.
  • Use the right tool for the job: Choose the appropriate cutting tool based on the type of cut you need to make. This will help ensure cleaner cuts and minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Maintain your tools: Keep your cutting tools sharp and well-maintained to ensure safe and efficient operation.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Always pay attention to your surroundings, especially when using power tools. Make sure your work area is well-lit and free from distractions.


A jigsaw can be a valuable tool for cutting drywall in certain scenarios, such as making precise cutouts for switches, outlets, and other fixtures. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons, including factors like dust production and potential tool wear, to determine if a jigsaw is the most suitable option for your specific project.

Always be open to using alternative cutting tools when needed, and be patient and precise when using your jigsaw.

You’ll be prepared to tackle your drywall cutting jobs with assurance and skill if you stick to these recommendations.

I’m wishing you luck with all of your DIY projects!