Take the Puzzle out of Choosing a Jigsaw
Whether you’re a novice or seasoned DIYer or at the home or shop, a jigsaw is one of the most versatile and portable woodworking tools to have in your arsenal. This multi-faceted power tool works remarkably well for a wide range of applications from carving precise holes in a counter, openings in sinks, electricity sockets to rips, straight or curved cuts, bevels or plunge cuts. Dubbed by some manufacturers as a bayonet or sabre saw, it can be used to create cuts in a wide range of materials including metal, wood, ceramic tiles and more.
What to look for in the Best Jigsaw Tool
Jigsaw tools are available in two distinct types—barrel and D-handle, where the former are somewhat easier to control (depending on the project), and latter more traditional. Buying the best jigsaw for your needs can be a complex affair given the myriad options available, and features that can mean faster, efficient cuts, while causing little or no damage to the material you’re working on.
However, what you want to steer clear of are cheap jigsaw tools, because they will in most cases disappoint when it comes to performance and longevity. That said, here are a few factors to consider when on the shopping trail for the best jigsaw tool.
Power of Motor
Measured in volts for cordless and amps for corded, the power of a respective jigsaw motor is what dictates the speed of cuts and ability to work on hard materials. Even though the power of the motor is a crucial factor to consider, the presence of other key features such as bevel settings, orbital settings, adjustable speed, etc should not be overlooked.
Corded or Cordless
This is truly a matter of personal choice, where mains-operated jigsaws are more powerful than their cordless counterparts. Cordless jigsaws offer better portability, but on the downside their battery juice tends to run out quickly on tough materials.
This is represented in strokes per minute (SPM), where most high quality models offer a top speed of 3000 SPM, which is a great number for most projects. But what you should pay attention to is if the jigsaw tool offers variable speed settings that can be adjusted on the fly for more flexibility and precision. Most of the best jigsaw tools offer a choice between 4 and 7 speed settings, where higher speeds are recommended for deep cuts in dense hardwoods and slower blade reciprocations for hard steel.
This is considered the backbone of the jigsaw, and can be had in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials. T-Shank and U-shank are the two most common types of jigsaw blades available, where the former are the most common and do not require additional tools to change the blade, and latter requires an Allen wrench to make the switch.
If you’re going to be working in low light conditions, you should buy a jigsaw with an onsite LED light for better visibility.
Onboard Dust Blower
Whether you’re cutting a small hole or a large one, there’s bound to be some dust that’s going to originate from the task consequently resulting in deteriorated visibility. Jigsaws with an integrated dust blower help resolve this issue by applying an air stream to get rid of the dust, and some are even fitted with a collector or offer the option to add one separately to suck the dust in.
Adjustable Base Plate
Jigsaws fitted with these allow you to make bevel cuts either with an onsite Allen wrench or lever.
Pendulum and Orbital Action
Pendulum and orbital settings are important features of a quality jigsaw, where the first increases cutting speed and simultaneously reduces wear and tear of the blade, and second works great for detailed work as well.
Just like most tools, you should buy a jigsaw that is safe to use, and rings in with a one or more safety features such as lock off button, safety switch and blade guard.
Now that you know what to look for, here are 5 of the best jigsaw tools with a mix of features, cordless and mains-powered models.
Bosch PST 800 PEL Jigsaw
When it comes to power tools, Bosch is a name that tops the list, and for several good reasons. Powered by a robust 530 watt motor, the Bosch PST 800 PEL Jigsaw sprints at an impressive 3000spm and along with a 4 stage pendulum action delivers clean cuts up to 40 percent faster than other reciprocating saws.
It is fitted with a CutControl attachment for superior tracking of the cutting line and ‘Bosch Electronic’ feature for enhanced user control. The air blast function of the feature rich PST 800 PEL Jigsaw eradicates sawdust from your line of site for better visibility and more accurate cutting.
Features of the Bosch PST 800 PEL Jigsaw
- Powerful 530 watt motor
- 80 mm cutting depth in wood
- Air blast function and dust extraction port
- Onsite storage compartment to store up to 6 saw blades (not included)
- Ability to change saw blades without any additional tools
The compact and lightweight Bosch PST 800 PEL Jigsaw is fitted with an adjustable sole plate that can be swivelled in 45 degree directions for bevel cuts and more. If you do not have any blades, the Bosch PST 800 PEL Jigsaw with 10-Piece Accessory Set is an excellent choice.
When it comes to comfort and safety, the Bosch PST 800 PEL Jigsaw takes home the gold with an ergonomic soft grip, and a lock-off switch and transparent splinter guard. If you would like the same premium features of the PST 800 PEL Jigsaw such as CutControl, but only in a cordless design, the Bosch PST 18 LI Cordless Jigsaw with 18 V Lithium-Ion Battery is worth a second look.
VonHaus Compact 400W Electric Jigsaw
Next up on the list is the mains powered VonHaus Compact 400W Electric Jigsaw, which can be had in 400 watt and 800 watt variants. Both models showcase an ergonomic design, and are perfect choices for several different materials including glass, plastic, wood, particle board and plywood.
Backed by a 2 year warranty, the VonHaus electric jigsaw boasts a high speed of 3,000 RPM, and features a splinter guard for top notch safety.
Features of the VonHaus Compact 400W Electric Jigsaw
- Integrated dust port and soft grip for great comfort
- Available in 2 different power variants
- Ideal for several different materials including wood and glass
- Splinter guard
- Pendulum jigsaw creates a range of cuts including circular cut, curved cut, cut out (plunge cutting) and straight cut
Tipping the scales at a modest 1.45kg, the VonHaus Compact 400W Electric Jigsaw is fitted with a dust extraction port to get rid of dust from the cutting line, and a variable speed switch to adjust the speed accordingly. It is compatible with easy to change, T-shaped blades, and comes with a 3 piece blade set, so that you don’t have to buy them separately. If you’re looking for a jigsaw that does what it is designed to do i.e. provide great cuts every time, look no further than the VonHaus Compact 400W Electric Jigsaw.
Apollo Heavy Duty 600W tool
If you’re looking for sheer performance in a mains-powered jigsaw, the Apollo Heavy Duty 600W tool is not to be missed. Designed to be used on metal, wood, acrylics, sheet steel, plexiglass, fibreglass insulation or tile, it is powered by a 600 watt motor to cater to the toughest reciprocating cutting tasks with ease.
Boasting a compact footprint, the Apollo Heavy Duty 600W jigsaw is a joy to use owing to its onboard lock-on-button that allows you to cut over extended periods while reducing fatigue and strain.
Features of the Apollo Heavy Duty 600W Jigsaw
- Weighs just 1.4kgs
- Powerful 600 watt motor
- Tool-free and easy blade change
- Lock-on button and adjustable speed thumbwheel
- Package includes metal and wood cutting blades
The Apollo Heavy Duty 600W Jigsaw is appointed with an adjustable bevel shoe that allows you to make cuts up to 45 degrees, and even straight, curved, circular and plunge cuts without the need to pre-drill.
When it comes maintenance and visibility, the Apollo Heavy Duty 600W Jigsaw features a dust extraction port to suck up the mess, and simultaneously offer a clear line of site. For a powerful and durable jigsaw that works remarkably on several different types of materials, the Apollo Heavy Duty 600W Jigsaw won’t disappoint you.
DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion Jigsaw
The Dewalt power tool stable is full of hits, and the DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion Jigsaw is just one of the many! A little on the expensive side, but ringing in with a ton of bells to justify its price tag, the DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion Jigsaw is equipped with a motor with replaceable brushes and integrated fan to keep it cool, and allow it to perform at an unmatched 3000 strokes per minute resulting in optimal user productivity.
It features a variable speed trigger, and a lock-off switch for top notch safety and control.
Features of the DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion Jigsaw
- 3 position pendulum action
- Compatible with T-shank blades
- Rubber coated grip to reduce fatigue and vibration
- Key-free blade change system
- Anti scratch cover and adjustable shoe for 45 degree cuts
The DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion Jigsaw is fitted with an adjustable shoe coupled with an anti-scratch cover to allow you to perform 45 degree cuts in both directions. Further, it features XR Lithium Ion Technology, and a modular design that consists of a rubber grip and a dust port and blower to blow the dust out of sight.
The package includes 2 lithium ion batteries, carry case, 1 dust port and multipurpose charger, all backed by a 3 year warranty when registered online. If you like the features of the DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion Jigsaw, but don’t need the 2 included batteries, Dewalt does offer a bare unit version of this model for a discounted price. This might be a great choice if you intend to bundle up with your other cordless tools in the same brand – see our Cordless Drill Buying Guide.
Makita 4329/2 Orbital Action Jigsaw
The Makita 4329/2 is an orbital action jigsaw that’s ideally suited for light tasks, and for novice and seasoned DIY professionals alike. It gets its power from a 450 watt motor, and features three orbital settings to adjust its speed on the fly, and somewhere between 500 and 3000 strokes per minute.
It can be used over longer periods without causing operator fatigue, and is equipped with a sliding dust cover to prevent the scattering of chips.
Features of the Makita 4329/2 Orbital Action Jigsaw
- 450 watt motor and weighs just 1.9 kgs
- Adjustable base to 45 degrees for bevel cutting
- Ergonomic rubberized grip
- Constant speed control and three adjustable speed settings
- Excellent dust control facility
The Makita 4329/2 Orbital Action Jigsaw is fitted with an adjustable aluminium base plate, and features a rubberized grip for great comfort even when working across longer periods. If the features of the Makita 4329/2 Orbital Action Jigsaw sound appealing to you, but you’d like to buy it in a cordless design, the Makita DJV180Z 18 V Cordless Body Only Li-Ion Jigsaw is a great investment.
Jigsaws are highly versatile tools, and allow you to do much more than straight cuts such as rips, curved cuts, plunge cuts and bevels. Just like buying any power tool, you should always opt for the best available in order to enjoy its performance for many years to come. Now that you’ve read our jigsaw tool buying guide, you should be in a better position to select the best one for your needs from our top 5 options.