A jigsaw is a versatile tool. No pro or do-it-yourselfer should be without one. They can make straight cuts, curved cuts, cross cuts, and plunge cuts. This can cut down on the number of saws you need for your next project. But there are a lot of different options to choose from when you’re buying a jigsaw.
Jigsaws range in price from $30 all the way up to $200. That should give you an idea of how much variety there is among them, and variety can make it hard to make a buying decision. But fear not; Blain’s Farm & Fleet is here to help you find the jigsaw that fits you and your needs best.
Jigsaws can either be corded or cordless. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.
A corded jigsaw plugs into the wall and is usually between 3 and 8 amps. These are best suited for medium and heavy duty jobs. If you’re a construction or carpentry pro, you should have a good corded jigsaw in your arsenal.
- Plenty of power for heavy duty use.
- No need to change or recharge batteries.
- Needs an outlet nearby or a very long extension cord to work.
- Cords can get in the way and limit you to a confined area around an outlet.
Corded Jigsaw Features to Look For
Metal Gear Housing – You want to get as sturdy a saw as possible for heavy duty use. A metal gear housing will protect the gears from whatever abuse you throw at your saw.
Rubber Cord – A rubber cord is much more flexible and easy to work with than a plastic one.
Cord Storage – You’ll want to make sure that your corded saw has something or somewhere to wrap or coil the cord up to make it easier to transport.
Lighted Plug – This will let you know at a glance if there is power to your jigsaw. This comes in really handy on the job site, and also allows you to identify your saw’s plug from a distance when you’re looking at an outlet or power strip with multiple tools plugged into it.
Cordless jigsaws run on power from a 12-, 18-, or 20-volt battery. They are extremely portable, which is handy on larger job sites. They also eliminate the chance of tripping over or cutting through the power cord. Cordless Jigsaws are best suited for light and medium duty use.
- No need for an outlet.
- Very mobile – allows you to cut anywhere.
- No cord to get in your way.
- You may need to stop cutting to change or charge batteries.
Cordless Jigsaw Features to Look For
Convertible Grip – This will allow you to switch the handle back and forth between a barrel style, and the D-style. Gives you a little bit more versatility and control when you’re cutting in a tight space or at an awkward angle.
Auto-Stop Brushes – These will keep the saw from running when the brushes are worn out, which can protect your motor from damage.
Brushless Motor – This will give your tool more power and a longer life by cutting down on friction. For more on Brushed vs. Brushless Power Tools, check out our blog.
Other Jigsaw Features to Look For
Laser Line – If you do a lot of straight cuts and ripping, invest in a jigsaw that has a built-in laser line to guide you. This will help you get a perfectly straight cut or rip every time.
Dust Port – If you want to reduce the amount of post-job cleanup you’ll have to do, get a jigsaw that can connect to an external dust collector or wet-dry vac. This will allow you to collect the sawdust while you saw.
Regulated Speed – This keeps the saw from slowing down when you cut harder materials. By maintaining a constant speed, the saw will cut better and more cleanly.
Variable Speed Settings – This will allow you to control how fast and aggressive your cut is. This will allow you to handle cuts on a wider variety of materials and adjust to them. Deep cuts through hardwoods need higher speeds, while cutting metals usually takes a lower speed setting.
Orbital Action – Makes for more aggressive, efficient cutting. The orbital action allows the jigsaw to cut through harder materials. It will also keep it from binding. Higher end saws have adjustable orbital action, which gives them better precision and versatility, allowing them to cut through a wider range of materials. This will also allow them to make better curved cuts. Curved cuts need less orbital action.
LED Light – It’s hard to make a good cut if you can’t see. A light on the saw will help you see better and make cleaner, straighter cuts.
Is the Motor Powerful Enough?
This will be an amp rating for corded jigsaws, and a voltage for cordless ones. You can never have too much power. Buy the saw with the most power that still fits within your price range. 5 amps or 18 volts should be enough for DIY use. For heavy duty work, go with a 7 or 8 amp corded model, or a 20-volt cordless.
What’s the Max Speed?
Jigsaw speed is measured in strokes per minute (SPM). Look for a saw with at least 2,500 SPM. This will be enough for almost any job.