Whether you’re planning a new home improvement project, replacing an aging tool, or just beginning to build up a power tool collection, a jigsaw can be a very wise investment.
These small, hand-held saws feature reciprocating blades that allow for easy, fast cuts of almost any material – wood, plastics, and light metals included. It’s much easier than using a hand-held saw, hacksaw, or pretty much any other non-powered saw, which allows for less stress on the material, quicker and cleaner cuts, and increased ease-of-use.
But what’s the best jigsaw on the market for you? Well, there are a few main factors that come into account when considering the purchase of a new jigsaw. Let’s take a look at them now.
What to Consider When Buying a Jigsaw
POWER. Power is one major factor when it comes to jigsaws. Typically, this is measured in amps, and consumer jigsaws generally range from 3-8 amps in power. The higher the amperage, the more power the motor can develop.
Typically, consumer models come in around the 5-amp mark. This target gives you plenty of power, as well as a long motor life, and an easy-to-control cutting experience.
ORBITAL ACTION. Jigsaws are reciprocatingsaws – that is, the blades move forward and backward, just like a normal handsaw, but orbital action incorporates an up-and-down action, which allows for faster, more aggressive cuts, but requires greater finesse for delicate operation and precise cuts.
Corded vs. Cordless
Cordless Jigsaws. Give you a better range of motion, but at the cost of heavy batteries which can increase user fatigue and make jigsaws harder to operate. You’ll also need to recharge often, especially if you’re working on a bigger project.
Corded Jigsaws. Are lighter, easier to operate for extended periods of time, and usually more reliable, and fit for heavier-duty projects.
The choice mostly depends on what you plan to use your saw for – infrequent, hard-to-reach spaces? A cordless may be right for you. Consistent, the daily operation for long periods of time? It’s probably better to go corded.
Anti-Vibration Settings. Anti-vibration options can be very handy when it comes to jigsaws – these designs use various shock-absorbing methods to reduce hand-strain and impact on the user, and allow for more precise cuts, and longer, easier operation.
Dust Collectors and Blowers. Dust collectors function slightly differently than dust blowers – capturing and keeping sawdust, metal dust, or whatever’s flying off the object you are cutting.
Dust blowers, on the other hand, move material away from where you’re cutting, allowing unobstructed vision, but often causing a bit of a mess.
Either way, both of these are very useful features to have in a jigsaw, as they allow for easier operation and cleanup.
Built-In Lights. Built-in lights can be a godsend for a jigsaw if you’re operating it in an area with less-than-ideal lighting – these bright, usually LED-based lights allow you to get a clear view of what you’re doing, no matter how poor lighting conditions may be, and allowing you to work without extra work lights.
Quick-Change Blades. Some jigsaws offer keyless/tool-less “quick-change” blades, which allow you to snap in fresh saw blades without using any extra tools, making it quick and easy to replace a rapidly-dulling blade with a fresh, new one.
Comfort Grips. This may seem obvious, but just like any tool you’ll be working with, you’ll want a comfortable, easy-to-use grip. A cushioned handle and a good grip shape – either barrel-style or D-shape – can work wonders when it comes to comfort. Remember – after everything else is said and done, the best jigsaw is the one that you’ll love using, time and time again.
Basic is not necessarily a bad thing, and the Tacklife PJS02A Jigsaw proves that. Despite its reasonable price, it manages to incorporate great features into its corded design – a 6.7 Amp motor that provides ample power, and variable speeds of up to 3000 SPM (strokes per minute).
It is also designed with a dust blower that helps keep sawdust and other materials out of your work area, which combines with a clear, well-designed sight-line channel on the front of the tool that helps to give you a great view of the material that you’re cutting.
To help with your cutting line, it comes with a built-in LED light that illuminates the front area. This is helpful when working in dim or low visibility lighting.
It’s lightweight, and also incorporates a quick-change, tool-less blade design that makes changing blades easy as can be.
Given its low price point, great features for the price, and jack-of-all-trades build, this jigsaw can handle just about anything up to professional-grade cutting jobs, and for those reasons, it’s one of the best jigsaw choices that a consumer can make.
The Porter-Cable PCE345 is a slight step up from the Tacklife, incorporating more premium features that users who are seeking a more powerful, versatile jigsaw will certainly appreciate.
Not only does it pack 6 amps of power, it also has a variable-speed, 0-3200SPM (strokes per minute) control function, allowing you slow and precise cutting when you need it, and maximum power when you’ve got to really bear down on what you’re working on, and a 7-position speed dial integrated into the trigger.
In addition, it incorporates orbital action, with a 4-position orbital lever allowing you to adjust the aggressiveness of the cutting action, depending on what material you’re using it for.
Its design also features a keyless blade-changing technology that makes it a snap to replace a dulled blade and requires no additional hardware.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive step-up from our #1 ranked jigsaw, this is the right tool for you.
Cordless jigsaws aren’t for everyone, but if you’re in the market, the Dewalt DC330B is top-of-the-line, featuring a 3000SPM, 6.5 amp motor that can cut through just about anything – including plywood, laminate, countertops, plastic, metals, and even nail-embedded wood that would trip up a less powerful saw.
It’s got top of the line features, too, including keyless blade changes, a 4-slot bevel selector to adjust the baseplate for beveled cuts, and a four-position orbital switch that controls the intensity of the orbital action of the tool and a blower that keeps material from gumming up the blade.
Even though it’s heavier than a corded tool, it weighs in at only 5.1 pounds and has a comfortable, cushioned handle that’s easy to grip and easy to move.
If you need a cordless jigsaw and are willing to pay for top quality, this DeWalt DC330B won’t disappoint.