Jigsaws are versatile power tools that are commonly found in any pro contractor, woodworker, or DIYer’s garage or workshop. If you have to work with metals, plastic, or wood, then the jigsaw will come in handy and can help to make most jobs around the home or on the job much easier. However, in terms of power, this type of saw isn’t without its limitations. Most models of jigsaws have a short duty cycle, requiring the user to take frequent breaks in order to prevent the saw from overheating. But this is par for the course for most saws and power tools in general.
The jigsaw is also the only type of highly portable power tool that’s able to accurately cut curves, which is why they’re considered a must-have in any woodworker’s tool arsenal. When used with the right type of blade, the jigsaw can be used to cut drywall, fiberglass, wood, plastic, metal, and more. This type of versatility is what makes them so popular with contractors, and DIYers as well.
Versatile, Durable Saws
A jigsaw can be used to slice through ceramic tiles, hardwood, plastic, and even metal. Because many of the newer models are also highly adjustable, you can also enjoy a saw that provides pro-quality clean cuts, as opposed to older models of jigsaws that were known for their rough cuts.
But considering how many models of jigsaws are on the market these days, choosing the right one based on the intended application can be difficult, especially if you’re looking for a saw that can be used for work purposes or one that can handle cutting through different thickness levels of soft and hardwood.
We’ve spent countless hours reviewing the leading models of jigsaws on the market, looking for saws that were powerful, durable, and versatile. We finally narrowed down our choices to the top five models. Each of these saws has something special to offer, whether it’s built-in detents, impressive orbital action, or more power. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that details the differences between each of these five models, such as amps and voltage, cost, and rating.
Top Jigsaws Comparison Chart
|Hitachi CJ18DGLP4||18||1.5 amps||$|
|Dewalt DCS331BR||20v||6.5 amps||$|
|Makita XVJ02Z||18v||4 amps||$$|
|Festool Carvex||120v||7 amps||$$$|
Jigsaws that Pack Serious Power
Each of the top five models in our lineup scored well in a number of areas and come equipped with the popular tool-less blade change design that makes it easy to swap out one blade for another. However, if you’re new to jigsaw use and you’re not sure how to do so, then you should check out our article on how to change a jigsaw blade.
We’ve carefully chosen each model on our list, focusing on power, reliability, cutting efficiency, and overall quality. Below you’ll find brief summaries for each model.
Best Jigsaw-Bosch Power Tools Jig Saws – JS470E Corded Top-Handle Jigsaw
This jigsaw is one of the most powerful models ever produced by Bosch. Not only is this saw powerful, but it’s also durable and comes with the popular tool-less blade change feature that allows you to swap out one blade for another quickly and easily. It’s also known for its impressive cutting accuracy and it’s four orbital action settings. This is a seven amp jigsaw, so you know it’s packing some serious power and can handle a variety of materials at different thickness levels.
If you’re looking for an affordable, versatile jigsaw that you can use around the home or on the job, then this model by Bosch is your best bet.
Best Cordless Jigsaw-Hitachi CJ18DGLP4 18V Cordless Lithium-Ion Jigsaw
This popular model from Hitachi features an ergonomic, lightweight design that makes it easy to use this saw for several hours at a time, without causing user fatigue. However, this isn’t a model that can handle big jobs. Instead, it’s a better choice for smaller jobs around the home or in your workshop. Yet, its cutting precision can also be invaluable in a pro environment. This saw’s tilting bevel provides a forty-five degree cutting angle, for improved cutting accuracy, in addition to three orbital action options, for cleaner cuts and a smoother finish. Basically, if you’re looking for a compact jigsaw you can use when you don’t have access to an outlet, then this model definitely does not disappoint.
The Most Bang for Your Buck-Dewalt DCS331BR 20V MAX Cordless Lithium-Ion Jig Saw
This is a twenty-volt cordless jigsaw that’s packing plenty of power. Dewalt has impressed us again by producing a cordless model that offers a longer than average runtime, which will be a big selling point for most buyers, especially those in need of a cordless saw they can use when traveling from job site to job site. If you normally work with different types of materials and you’re tired of wasting time with manual blade changes, then you’ll be happy to learn that this model comes with the tool-less blade change feature that allows you to quickly swap out one blade for another. Additionally, it’s built-in blower will help to keep your workpiece and workspace free of dirt and debris, which will allow you to clearly see the cut line and your progress.
Beginner-Friendly-Makita XVJ02Z 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Jigsaw
This Makita cordless jigsaw has a reputation for cutting efficiency and an outstanding performance. It’s also reasonably priced, so you can enjoy a pro-quality saw that won’t hit your wallet too hard. Since it’s equipped with a brushless motor, you can also expect a longer than average battery life, in addition to a variety of orbital settings and variable speed options. This model also features a lightweight design that helps to prevent user fatigue.
Highly Adjustable-Festool 561593 Carvex PS 420 EBQ Jigsaw
The Festool Carvex jigsaw offers a lightweight, ergonomic design, improved cutting efficiency, and a brushless motor that promotes a longer runtime. While it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a jigsaw that offers better than average cutting precision, it’s not the most powerful saw on the market and should be used for small to medium-sized jobs only in order to prevent the motor from overheating. Overall, the saw offers a solid performance, which makes it a model you can really rely on for jobs around the home.
How the Jigsaw Works
Jigsaws are much more beginner-friendly than other types of saws, such as table saws or circular saws. Their lighter bodies also make them easier to handle and control.
In models that utilize vertical saw movement, the electric motor’s rotation is converted via a gear reducer into basic reciprocating movements, which is the standard for most jigsaws. Models with a pendulum stroke are equipped with a more complex mechanism. When moving downward, the blade is retracted and when using upward motions the saw will also move forward. This causes the saw to move in an oval instead of along a vertical line.
Pendulum stroke jigsaws are equipped with a special pin that swings the saw’s support roller. This roller is what will release the saw back and propel it forward.
Newer models will give users the option of precisely adjusting the motion rate of the pendulum. The saw blade’s swinging motion is what makes the cutting process significantly faster. However, poor accuracy is the biggest drawback you’ll run into when cutting with this type of saw. Because of this, the pendulum mode is mainly used when you need to make rougher cuts. If you need to make a clean cut, you can simply switch the pendulum mode off.
The pendulum mode should never be used for curved cuts. All this will do is cause an increased load on the jigsaw mechanism, which will lead to overheating. You should also avoid using the pendulum mode when you’re working with metal.
If you’re a beginner and would like to learn more about operating a jigsaw and how it’s used based on material type, click here to read our article on how to use a jigsaw.
Jigsaw Buyer’s Guide
Our jigsaw buyer’s guide is designed to give you an in-depth look at the best features newer models of jigsaws have to offer. Learning more about this powerful saw will give you a better idea of what types of features you need in your next model, based on the intended application, your cutting needs, and your budget.
Jigsaws are available for both home or pro use. Of course, models designed for professionals will offer more power. Jigsaws for home use will feature three hundred watts up to seven hundred watts, while pro-quality models can have a fifteen hundred watt rating. If you plan on primarily using your saw to work with metals, then we recommend sticking with a seven hundred watt model.
Depth of Cutting
When you’re shopping around for a new jigsaw, you need to pay attention to more than just a saw’s power rating. A saw’s max depth of cutting will also be important. A more powerful saw can cut through a board that’s two and a half inches thick. Saws designed for pro use can slice through boards that are over five and a half inches thick.
If you’re using your jigsaw for hours on end, then its weight will also be an important spec to pay attention to. Often, a saw with a higher power rating will equal more weight. Ask yourself if you really need a saw designed for pros for jobs around the home. Odds are you really don’t need much in terms of power. Additionally, heavy electric saws can be difficult to handle and aren’t exactly beginner friendly.
Most jigsaws are capable of three thousand, five hundred strokes per minute. A saw’s stroke rate can be fixed or adjustable. Fixed stroke rates are set by a switch that’s located somewhere on the saw’s casing and will remain unchanged while you saw. An adjustable stroke rate means it can be changed while you’re sawing.
In terms of sawing accuracy and speed, the stroke rate is crucial. Saw’s with a highly adjustable stroke rate can handle a wider variety of materials.
We recommend paying close attention to a saw’s base plate. First off, the base plate should be solid since it often experiences a large load when the saw is pressed against a work table when cutting thick materials. If the plate is skewed or defective, it will negatively impact the saw’s cutting accuracy. Because of this, we recommend choosing a saw that’s equipped with a cast metal base plate, no plastic.
You’ll commonly come across jigsaws with a top handle. This handle design allows the user to hold the saw using one hand.
Barrel grip handle designs require the user to hold the saw using both hands. This style of handle is not quite as comfortable as a top handle design, but it’s a much better option if you commonly find yourself sawing on an inclined surface. However, the fact that you have to use both hands to control the saw can make it difficult to slice through thicker materials if you don’t securely fasten your work material to a worktable or bench.
Obviously, a shorter cord can restrict the user’s movements when sawing. Most pros recommend a cord length of over one hundred and twenty inches. But a cord can also pose issues, especially for the beginner. During use, you must always be conscious of the cord in order to avoid slicing through it.
A battery powered jigsaw will work great for smaller jobs around the home or even overheard work. With this style of saw, you won’t have to worry about outlet access or damaging the cord. However, you will have to be mindful of battery life. Additionally, battery-powered models are not as powerful as corded jigsaws.
Cutting accuracy for the jigsaw will heavily depend on the size of the saw tooth. The wider the blade, the easier it’ll be to cut a straight line and the faster you can make a cut. The quality of a cut will depend on saw blade type.
Blade material will also have an impact on cutting speed, quality, and accuracy. Below you’ll find a list of the common material options for jigsaw blades:
HSS: This type of hard steel is designed for sawing through harder plastics, aluminum, copper, and steel.
HCS: A type of flexible carbon steel, blades that are made out of HCS are designed for sawing through chipboard or materials that have a similar hardness.
HM: This is a solid steel blade that’s used for sawing through fiberglass and ceramic tiles.
BIM: BIM is a combination of HSS and HCS.
Lights and Lasers
The ability to light a cut line can ensure accuracy and it’s a must for any type of curved cutting. A light mounted on a saw will light up the cutting material’s surface, in addition to the cut line. This will save your eyes from unnecessary strain as well as help to improve accuracy.
Models with a mounted laser pointer can also increase cutting accuracy as you can smoothly move the saw precisely along the laser’s beam line.
TPI, or teeth per inch refers to the number of teeth a blade per inch. Blades with a lower tooth per inch rating usually consist of thirty teeth and they’re a great choice if you’re working with softer materials that are fibrous, such as wood. For ceramic, steel, and other types of hard materials you’ll need around thirty-five TPI. Keep in mind, a higher teeth per inch rating will mean a slower cut, while a lower tooth per inch rating equals more precise cutting.
How much you spend on your next jigsaw should depend on many factors. If you’re looking for a saw you can rely on for remodeling, then you should consider investing in a higher priced model, one that’s designed for heavy-duty use. The same is true if you need a saw for use in the workplace. For small jobs around the home, a moderately priced saw should work well.
Ease of Use
Most models of jigsaws are fairly beginner-friendly, meaning the controls are often pretty basic. However, if you have a higher powered jigsaw, you may have trouble controlling it. Beginners should look for a model that comes equipped with important safety features, such as blade covers and overload protection. These extra features often increase the price of the saw, but they’re well worth it if they can protect you while also lengthening the lifespan of your saw.
Storing Your Saw
Higher end saws usually come with their own storage case to protect the saw from damage when stored or during transport.
If your saw doesn’t come with a carrying case, it should be kept somewhere dry, away from any type of moisture.
Maintenance and Care
If you want to get the most out of your jigsaw and ensure it lasts year after year, then it’s essential you properly maintain it. Doing so will also ensure cutting accuracy.
If you have a corded jigsaw, then before each use, carefully inspect the cord and look for any type of damage such as cuts or fraying. If the cord is frayed or nicked then the saw is not safe to use.
If you’ve recently dropped your saw and notice a dip in performance, this can be due to a misaligned base plate. If the base plate is not aligned correctly then the saw will no longer be able to make accurate cuts. If you notice the base plate is dented or damaged, then it must be replaced. You can also try to flatten the base plate using a pair of mole grips. However, in the event that it’s severely damaged, you entire saw or the base plate should be replaced.
If you use your saw daily, then you’ll need to stay on top of keeping the blade roller guide lubricated in order to prevent it from jamming during use. If you only use your saw once or twice a month, then add a drop or two of three in one oil once a month.
Keeping Your Saw Clean
A jigsaw doesn’t require much care if you normally use your saw once or twice a month. However, saws used in a professional environment will need more upkeep. Keeping a saw’s body and blade clean will help to improve cutting accuracy and ease of use.
The jigsaw’s vent slots should be kept free of dirt and debris in order to prevent the saw from overheating.
To clean your saw, use a wet cloth and wipe down every surface, removing grease, dirt, and debris before storing the saw.
You can use a toothbrush to clean the blade guide and remove any grime.
Most models of jigsaws have a couple of carbon brushes that work by providing the motor with electricity. Over time, these brushes are worn down by friction and should be replaced. The saw’s user’s manual should clearly state whether or not these brushes can be replaced by hand. In most cases, the carbon brushes should last the length of the saw’s lifespan. However, you may come across carbon brushes that wear down quickly if you purchased a lower priced jigsaw.
Like with other types of cordless power tools, you should always keep a close eye on the battery’s charge so you can determine whether or not the saw has enough juice to complete a task. How frequently a battery needs a charge will depend on the battery’s capacity and the type of material you’re sawing through. If a saw has to work hard to cut through thicker material, then this can drain the battery at a faster rate. You’ll also need to avoid overcharging a battery. Once a battery is fully charged it should be promptly removed from the charging dock.
Our site is dedicated to providing you with an in-depth look at the leading models of jigsaws on the market in order to help you narrow down your choices and find the best jigsaw that will work for your budget, cutting needs and the intended application. Since we’ve done all the hard work for you in terms of testing each model, we feel confident that you’ll find the right saw for you in our top five lineup.