Selecting the best jigsaw to add to your workshop can be tricky. Do you need an orbital jigsaw or something for finer work? Which speed settings and blades are best for the material you commonly work with? When it comes to deciding on a power tool, the process can sometimes be a little bit challenging. There are plenty of options out there and it can be very difficult to determine which is right for your needs. Our jigsaw buying guide covers various key points to make selecting the right jigsaw an easy task.
The jigsaw is an exceptionally useful power tool that can be used to enhance the shop of craftsmen of every variety. Whether you are a woodworker, a contractor or a do it yourselfer, the jigsaw can supply you with a wide variety of cuts that will be sure to enhance the way in which you approach your work.
That is exactly why we are here to help! Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to select the perfect jigsaw.
Is It Right For Me?Good question. After all, you don’t want to pick up a tool that you won’t even get much use out of, do you? Of course, not. The good news is that in the shops of most woodworkers, the jigsaw isn’t going to collect much dust. It really is a versatile tool that will allow you to make more cuts without straining yourself.
The real question is, who won’t get use out a jigsaw? My guess is that if you have enough interest in the tool to be reading this article in the first place, it is probably right for you.
Types of JigsawsThis is where things get a little bit complicated. There are lots of different kinds of jigsaws out there which can make it hard to determine which type is right for your needs.
The good news is that once you educate yourself, the variety will only help to better serve your needs. There perfect jigsaw for you certainly exists and we are about to discover it as we now take a look at what sort of options are out there.
Corded & Cordless
The first thing that you will need to consider when you look to purchase a jigsaw (or most power tools, actually) is what sort of power source you would like use. The corded saw is the traditional option, and it also tends to be more powerful (though you will find that that is not always the case).
They also have the benefit of constant access to power meaning you can work for hours on end without ever encountering the need to recharge your tool. And since the power is coming from a wall outlet and not a battery, the saw itself also tends to be lighter than the cordless alternatives.
For these reasons contractors generally prefer corded models despite the fact that the cordless alternative is more portable.
Conversely, the cordless model is going to be easier to store and transport but it will also require frequent charges, and it may be lacking in power.
Which is best for you depends largely on what you will be needing your jigsaw for. If you plan to use it extensively you will probably benefit more from the corded model, while the cordless saw may be more useful for people that don’t plan to use it as much.
Best Cordless Jigsaw
We find that the DeWALT DCS331M1 is the best cordless jigsaw money can buy. You can expect plenty of power thanks to the included 20V XR Premium Li-Ion battery.
- Adjustable Dust Blower
The adjustable blower keeps your cutting line clean and dust-free.
- 4-Position Orbital Action Level
Adjustability to match your material allowing for clean, precise cuts or speedy ripping.
- High SPM
Featuring one of the highest Strokes Per Minutes that we’ve seen on a jigsaw at 3,000 strokes.
Straight Reciprocating Saw
The reciprocating jigsaw could very well be the king of demolition. The calling card of the reciprocating saw are its quick, butter-like cuts through pretty much whatever you throw at it. Not only will it easily cut through wood studs, but also nails, metal piping, wood trim, and even wiring if you aren’t too careful!
Another great benefit of the reciprocating saw is how easy it makes day-to-day yardwork. It’ll make quick work of any overgrown branches or bushes on your property. You can handle cutting through just about anything with the reciprocating saw as long as you choose the correct blade.
Best Reciprocating Saw
Milwaukee 2625-21 M18
We found that the one-handed design of the Milwaukee 2625-21 gave us superior control and versatility with cutting, especially in tight spaces. The light weight reduces fatigue and makes it easy to yield for extended periods of time.
- Compact Design
Truly useable with only one hand, the compact design makes it fun to use, even in tight spaces.
- QUIK-LOK Blade Clamp
Fast, easy tool free blade changes for SAWZALL & HACKZALL blades.
- Built-in LED
The built-in LED lights your cutting area making it easy to see even in dark conditions.
What does orbital mean? An orbital saw uses a forward, slightly circular motion as it performs a cut. This motion allows for faster cuts, especially in softer woods. An orbital jigsaw is in most cases, a standard jigsaw. An orbital jigsaw is best to use for demolition work or for rough, quick cuts through lumber.
Best Orbital Jigsaw
If you are looking for an affordable, powerful orbital jigsaw, look no further than the PORTER-CABLE PCE345. The 6 amp motor offers adequate power for any material.
- 7-position Speed Dial
Featuring a 7-posiiton speed dial built right into the trigger, speed adjustments are quick and easy.
- 4 Orbital Settings
Four orbital settings add versatility for various wood stock.
- Lock-on Button
A function we don’t commonly see, the lock-on button reduces fatigue during extended periods of use.
Buying ConsiderationsNow that we have taken a close look at what types of saws you can expect to encounter during your search let’s now examine a few of the buying considerations that you should apply to your hunt for the best possible jigsaw.
Let’s put the shallow part of the process out on front street, shall we? There is no reason to be a brand name snob but there is also something to shopping from established manufacturers.
A reputable brand name will help to ensure that you are getting a quality tool. After all, they collected their reputation for a reason. Sure, you can still get duds when you buy from established brands, but it is less likely than when you buy a tool from a company that you have never heard of.
Of course, if you want to go bargain hunting and look for an off-brand model just be sure to utilize user reviews. If people are pleased with their purchase then you are probably safe. If not, keep looking.
Price is another obvious consideration but it also matters a lot to most shoppers. Keep in mind that if you are on a tight budget you can save some money by forgoing features that you wouldn’t be using anyway. Take an honest inventory of your needs before you start the shopping process so that you know what you are looking for going in and don’t end up getting taken in by features that you have no use for.
We talked a little bit ago about how different types of jigsaws are capable of different outputs of power. Corded saws are usually more powerful than their cordless equivalents, orbital saws are typically more capable of working through hardwoods than reciprocating alternatives.
Ultimately, however, the amount of power that your unit is capable of will be entirely dependent on the capabilities of the motor. Needless to say, the more powerful the motor the easier time you will have working through hardwoods.
For a tool of this nature, not every woodworker is going to need loads of power, though it is nice to have when you can get it. That said if you are looking to scale back on cost forgoing a little bit of motor power might be a decent way to do it. Really, it is all about understating your needs and planning for them accordingly.
The jigsaw is one of the only tools that’s speed is measured in strokes per minute rather than rotations per minute. Most of the time you aren’t going to encounter a saw that is capable of more than 3000 SPM.
What is more important than the strokes per minute capacity is the ability to set your settings. Adjustable speed settings are available on most jigsaws. The more settings that your jigsaw is capable of the more finesse you will be able to apply to your work.
Of course, if you are performing repetitive motions you won’t need to worry as much about your ability to adjust the speed. Once again, your need for speed settings is entirely contingent on what you plan to use the saw for.
My suspicion is that most people reading this are woodworkers but if you are a do it yourselfer or contractor that is looking to get the most possible use out of your jigsaw, you may appreciate the ability to work through a variety of materials.
Some saws will perform as well on plastics and metals as they do on woods. If that is a feature that interests you then just keep your eye out as there are definitely saws out there that will suit your needs.
Accessories are not usually necessary but they can certainly enhance the function of a tool. Accessories like an LED light (for increased visibility) or dust collection systems can make a big difference in how your tool works.
A good dust collection system is particularly pertinent in that it will help keep your workspace clean, and, more importantly, your lungs healthy. Dust is a known cancer causing agent so it is extremely important that you keep your space as clean as possible so that you aren’t exposed to more of it than you need to be.
ConclusionAs you can see there is a lot to consider when you set out to buy a jigsaw. There are plenty of unique settings and features but the good news is that once you fully assess your needs you will have no trouble finding a saw that is perfect for your shop. A good jigsaw is truly invaluable and getting the right one is an excellent way to enhance your shop. Use the information provided in this guide to select a saw that will change the way that you do your woodwork!
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