Best Jigsaw – All You Need To Know
If you find yourself on a quest for a power tool that’s ideal for most materials, you’ve probably thought about getting a jigsaw. Noted for its versatility and ability to cut through most construction materials, a jigsaw provides accuracy and precision at its finest using a small, docile blade. The jigsaw comes with several features and options which make it perfect for any cutting project. It also comes with different types of blades to cater to different types of materials–all of this for less money than a typical industrial cutting machine.
Why You Need a Jigsaw
Jigsaws are not only great for carving precious curves into metallic and wooden surfaces. In fact, there are several reasons why it is a must-have in a handyman’s toolbox. If you don’t have one yet, maybe these reasons will make you get one for yourself.
Jigsaws are flexible
Flexibility adds a lot of value to the jigsaw. The fact that it can cut through most anything is enough to showcase its bearing. Most manufacturers even offer their own variety of jigsaw blades, which are marked for their designated purposes. With the right blade, a jigsaw can cut a wide array of soft and hard materials:
- Other metals
Jigsaws can be battery-powered
A treat to people who want to save energy and money for electric, jigsaws can come in cordless, battery-powered units which are slim and lightweight. There’s nothing more comforting in a cutting project than creating elaborate and detailed curves without a dangling wire or cord. With a cordless jigsaw, you no longer have to worry about accidentally cutting the cord. It also saves time and effort.
Jigsaws are safer
If you want to get your kids into the world of power tools, a jigsaw is a great tool to start. Of course, you must never let them use it without your supervision and proper instruction. What makes a jigsaw very easy to use, even for kids, is that it’s very lightweight. It’s also very easy to keep one’s hands and fingers away from the blade, making safety precautions hard to avoid.
Jigsaws are handy
Another reason why professionals prefer using a jigsaw compared to other cutting power tools is that these pack as much features as an industrial cutter with a fraction of the size and the cost. Assembling and operating this power tool also don’t take as much manual labor.
Things to Consider in Choosing a Jigsaw
While a jigsaw does provide a lot of features that cater to almost every cutting project, there is, buying one is not without considerations.
Before you make any decision, you must first identify what types of projects you’re going to use the jigsaw for the most. When you’ve established this information, it’s time to move on to the other factors.
There are some important factors you have to think about. Let’s take a closer look at these factors and understand why these are so important in purchasing a jigsaw.
Power and Performance
When it comes to power, there are two major jigsaw options that you can choose from voltage or amps. In terms of performance, on the other hand, you could choose from a corded unit and a cordless one. For light to medium DIY cutting projects, you’ll find 3-4 amp corded models ideal. For the heavier ones, use high-end corded jigsaws that operate on at least five amps. Noted for their extensive power, these models are what professionals use. If you want to use a cordless jigsaw for basic DIY cutting projects, you’ll find units that run on 18 to volts ideal. There are also cordless models that run on 36 volts.
Jigsaws are known for their versatility, but it takes a bit of background information to choose the best one for most of your cutting projects. Generally, a jigsaw can be used to cut a variety of curves and shapes on a wide variety of materials.
There are several jigsaw models that offer extra features for an improved performance. A 30-degree orbital jigsaw blade, for example, allows a user to carve beautiful, intricate details at a more fluid pace.
There’s always a jigsaw for every cutting project. With features and new technology being added to the latest models, cutting interesting shapes and angles of different materials has never been easier. For beginner cutters, you may lean towards guiding features such as illuminating lights that show you the cut pattern as you go along. For those who have shakier hands, anti-vibration technology would be best for you.
As in anything, you must always weigh your options. Choose a jigsaw that may not come cheap, but offers you the best possible price for every feature and technology it has. In general, a jigsaw can cost from $30-$300.
The speed of the jigsaw is measured by strokes per minute (SPM). Most jigsaws can move at 3,000 SPM, which is good enough to complete any kind of woodworking project. If the speed of the jigsaw is lower than that, then you might want to reconsider buying it. The higher the speed of the device is, the more tasks you can fulfill using it.
By orbital setting, we refer to the ability of the saw to move up, down, forward, backward, and sideway. The better the orbital setting of the jigsaw is, the more precise and fast it is. Those with more orbital settings can give you more control.
Does the jigsaw have a cord or not? If it is corded, then it’s more powerful. However, it can be less flexible and versatile as you will have to limit yourself in an area where you can find a power outlet.
Saws are described by teeth per inch (TPI). The higher the TPI, the faster it will be for the blade to cut through a material. The thickness of the blade can also affect the jigsaw’s performance. For wooden and light-material surfaces, you can easily use a bi-metallic blade. However, if you are working with the thicker material, you should go for cobalt steel blade.
Safety and Helpful Tips When Using a Jigsaw
Most modern jigsaws are rigged with built-in safety features and mechanisms to ensure harmless and non-disruptive cutting operations, but you can never have enough warnings and safety precautions. It’s best to practice these important safety tips to reduce chances of freak accidents at home or in the workplace.
Work in a dry environment
Most power tools–jigsaws included–are not designed for wet environments. These electrical tools can shock the user when they get in contact with water, so best not ignore this safety precaution.
Use a circuit breaker
Most jigsaw models require a circuit breaker to shut off power immediately when a power surge occurs. Excessive power may generate shock or spark a fire.
Wear the right protective gear
Wearing the right protective gear is considered as an essential precautionary measure when it comes to power tools. While this safety tip is faithfully observed in workplaces, it still needs to be implanted in everyone’s minds before picking up a power tool.
A large percentage of freak accidents caused by power tools occur in homes where this safety precaution is not strictly implemented, so be sure to get those protective gloves and impact-resistant goggles, and steel-toed boots on the ready.
Read the provided instruction manual
While all jigsaws are pretty much rigged with the same fundamental components, they don’t always work the same in terms of controls, and precision features, to name a few. So before powering up that jigsaw for any cutting project, big or small, be sure that you’ve read what’s written on the manual first.
How to choose the right blade
To make sure you get the most out of your jigsaw, it is essential that you get the right blade for the cutting project at hand.
No jigsaw blade can be ideal for all materials and thickness, so you want to make sure your jigsaw is equipped with the right blade. This section is to properly guide you in the process of selecting a jigsaw blade.
In the world of jigsaws, there are two common types of blades available:
- T-Shanks - This type is installed on most jigsaws, especially the ones with a quick-changing/keyless blade option, allowing its users to switch blades without the need for an external tool.
- U-Shanks - This other type of jigsaw blade requires an external fastening tool to attach it to the saw.
Blade teeth is another factor to consider when choosing the right blade for your jigsaw. There are two main types of blade teeth:
- Milled - The milled ones are duller and can last longer, perfect for cutting rough surfaces
- Grounded - The grounded ones, on the other hand, wear out more quickly but have a sharper point and edge
Additionally, there’s a variation of blade teeth design layouts to take into account.
- Taper - for fine, slow cutting projects
- Reverse - great for surfaces that tend to chip easily
- Wavy - for fine, straight cuts
- Side - for rough cuts
It’s also important to note the material of the blade you will be using your jigsaw. This is dependent on the material you’re going to cut.
Here are the three most common materials used for jigsaw blades.
- High Carbon Steel - softwoods, plastic
- High Speed Steel - hardwood, aluminum, steel, plastic
- Bi-metal (high carbon steel and high speed steel) - softwood, hardwood, aluminum, steel, plastic
- Tungsten carbide - stone, ceramic, masonry materials
How to maintain a jigsaw
Your jigsaw’s longevity is as good as how it’s being maintained. Here are the jigsaw maintenance tips you should faithfully observe for a long-lasting jigsaw. This also applies to most power tools, so do read on.
Before going to work with your jigsaw, always check the condition of its main components, especially the power cord. If you see that it’s nicked or frayed, don’t use it. Similarly, if the jigsaw has a bent baseplate or a misaligned shoe, there’s a good chance it may be unsafe to use, so don’t try to push your luck.
Minor solutions such as replacing or tweaking damaged components may be required to make the jigsaw safe again. If the damage is too much, you may have to get a new jigsaw.
To prevent your jigsaw from clogging up or jamming in the middle of the cutting project, it’s a good idea to apply about a drop of oil to the blade roller on a regular basis.
With a damp cloth, use a mild soap to clean the body of your jigsaw and remove any cutting debris. Clogged ventilation slots promote overheating.Use a toothbrush to clean the blade guide and keep it free from grime, and dust and debris build-up, as this may affect the precision and overall performance of the jigsaw.
Keep your jigsaw in the protective hard case it came with. If a case is unavailable, simply keep the jigsaw in a cool, dry place, away from moisture.
The frequency and amount of time you need to charge your cordless jigsaw’s battery vary from model to model, as well as with the application it’s being used for.
Top 5 Best Jigsaw - Our recommendations
To help you find the best jigsaw for your needs, we have gathered five of the best jigsaws in the market.
1. PORTER-CABLE PC600JS 6 Amp Orbital Jig Saw
Aside from being a product of a well-known power tool company, the Porter-Cable PC 600JS Orbital Jig Saw is packed with several features for a reasonable price. These features will certainly turn someone without prior power tool experience into an expert in an instant. Porter-Cable is the home of so many power tools loved by handymen and homeowners worldwide. This particular product of theirs is no different.
- Four-position orbital lever
- Seven-position speed dial
- Speed shift options
- Mode shift options
- LED cutting guide
- 6-Amp motor
- Keyless blade change
- Shoe cover
- Perfect for beginner cutters who have no prior experience with a power too.
- Has a LED cutting guide that allows you to see your desired direction or pattern lets you glide through the cutting project using a 0 SPM to 3200 SPM spectrum of variable speeds.
- The keyless blade change and shoe cover features protect the user from any freak accident that may occur.
- It’s meant to last for several years.
- Not the most perfect jigsaw because of one physical flaw– the flimsy trigger.
- The front part of its hold-and-release component is made of rubberized plastic, which is an inferior material.
2. Bosch JS470E 120-Volt 7.0-Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw
An excellent power tool for cutting curves on any hard surface, the Bosch JS470E Volt Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw boasts incomparable cutting precision, which makes it ideal for bath and kitchen installers, and finish carpenters. It runs on a 7.0 amp motor and offers variable speed control. The Bosch JS470E Volt Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw is constructed with an aluminum gearbox and a cover with proper insulation. Packed with a lot of other features, it’s no wonder why this particular product has made its way to our list of best jigsaws.
Get to know Bosch JS470E Volt Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw with its key features:
- Plunging low-vibration design
- Constant response circuitry
- Variable speed control
- 7.0 amp motor
- Accelerator trigger
- Multidirectional blade clamp
- Blade ejection lever
- Dust blower
- You can automatically get the optimum orbital setting for whatever task is at hand
- Running on a powerful 7 amp motor, this lets you do your cutting project with ease, precision, and speed
- Non-disruptive regardless of its material and thickness with minimal vibrations
- Lacks a snap or click indication for when the blade is already installed properly
- Unsafe for those with no prior experience in power tool cutting
- Doesn’t come with essential jigsaw accessories, such as a cutting fence extra blade
3. Black & Decker Smart Select 5.0A Orbital Jigsaw
If you want to be precise with your cuts, the Black & Decker Smart Select 5.0A Orbital Jigsaw is an excellent choice. What sets this apart from other power tools is the exceptional control it provides. It lets the user cut through every compatible material with intense precision and stability–a mark of a great and highly dependable jigsaw.
Black & Decker Smart Select 5.0A Orbital Jigsaw is known for its outstanding features, namely:
- Smart select technology
- Variable speed selection
- 5 amp motor
- Tool-free blade changes
- With an option to control it at varied speed, it gives you better control
- Can cut through most material without any problem
- Has a confusing smart select dial
- The base angle setting is quite crude
4. Makita 4350FCT Top Handle Jig Saw with L.E.D.Light
From a brand that’s known for its excellent power tools and accuracy, the Makita 4350FCT Top Handle Jig Saw with LED Light makes it into our list of best jigsaws. The brand has introduced us to several power tool features in the past, and it never ceases to amaze us with more advanced technology. This particular power tool works great with all kinds of cutting projects and materials, providing accurate straight and curved cuts without fail.
Makita has always churned out power tools that offer optimum performance, power, capacity and convenience, so you’re guaranteed that all its products are dependable in any cutting project. It comes with:
- Built-in LED guiding light
- 3 orbital settings
- 6.3 amp motor
- Low noise level and vibration
- Variable speed settings
- Tool-less blade change
- Soft start feature
- Dust blower
- Rubberized top handle grip
- Onboard hex wrench
- Comes with LED Light that makes any cutting project easy and manageable
- Minimum noise levels and vibration
- Equipped with easy variable speed and orbital settings to help you get the best control and precision
- Has a rubberized top handle grip that keeps your hand and fingers in place
- Comes with a flimsy case that doesn’t really provide enough protection to the product
5. DEWALT DCS331B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Jig Saw
Another jigsaw that’s designed to provide utmost performance, precision and convenience are the cordless DEWALT DCS331B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Jigsaw. This jigsaw is equipped with a dependable variable speed setting control that you can adjust to fit your cutting project requirements. With this excellent power tool, bevel cutting has never been easier.
DEWALT DCS331B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Jigsaw is one of the best out in the market, and for several reasons. One of these reasons are its features:
- Keyless blade change
- Keyless shoe bevel
- 4-position orbital action
- Adjustable dust blower
- Variable speed setting control
- Cordless, battery-operated
- Ideal for bevel cutting
- With its keyless show bevel, the jigsaw allows you make angled cuts at 0°, 15°, 30° and 45°
- Its precision and handiness are also excellent
- Has a dust blower that gets rid of chips and debris from the user’s line of sight
- Can be purchased with a pack of 14 assorted blades to suit each requirement
- Creates a loud noise it makes when activated
As a final thought, there is no clear winner in this roundup of jigsaws. All of these jigsaws pack in a lot of punch, which is ideal in a power tool. Moreover, each of them has its own specialties.
The Porter Cable model is designed to provide optimum precision and accuracy for users with no prior experience with power tools.
Bosch’s model is the power tool you need if you’re aiming for stability.
The Black and Decker model is for users who want more control, while the Makita provides the same amount of precision and accuracy for a variety of materials.
Lastly, we have the cordless Dewalt model with much attention to safety and convenience. There you have it–5 jigsaws that are great for every cutting project.