One of the most powerful and versatile power tools on the market is the jigsaw. This tool is essential in many different industries and has the versatility to offer curved cuts, straight cuts, plunge cuts, bevels, and rips. The versatility is one of the reasons that choosing a premium jigsaw is extremely important. When you select a quality jigsaw, you can do nearly any sort of cutting you want while you build the rest of your power tool collection.
Whether you are in a shop or your home garage, there are numerous cutting applications that a jigsaw can help with. On the other hand, a circular saw is best for simple straight cuts. It’s also heavy and bulky to use. A jigsaw is light and simple to use and offers all the cuts you could want, no matter what projects you decide to pick up. For a massive project, you can choose a hacksaw or handsaw, but both make a lot of effort and time. A jigsaw gets it done in a sliver of the time and does it well.
While having an assortment of saws including a circular saw, scroll saw, band saw, and router is something that many woodworkers desire, the jigsaw is a great place to start with much of the functionality of the other tools. This sort of saw is also optimal for contractors who need a portable saw to lug in and out of work areas. In this article, we’ll look at the best of the best jigsaws available in 2018 and explain what sets each apart.
|Dewalt DCS331B Max Jigsaw||20-Volt||5.86 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|Porter Cable PCE345 6-Amp Orbital Jigsaw||6.0-Amp||6 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|Black & Decker BDEJS600S Smart Select Jigsaw||5.0-Amp||5.2 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|Makita 4350FCT Top-Handle Jigsaw||6.3-Amp||4.07 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|Bosch JS470E Variable Speed Top-Handle Jigsaw||7.0-Amp||10.1 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|DEWALT DW331K Top Handle Jigsaw||6.5-Amp||9.85 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|Makita 4329K Variable-Speed Top-Handle Jig Saw||3.9-Amp||4.19 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|SKIL 4495-02 Orbital Action Laser Jigsaw||6.0-Amp||5 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|Bosch JS470ED Variable Speed Barrel-Grip Jigsaw||7.0-Amp||10 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
|Black & Decker Smart Select Orbital Jigsaw||5.0-Amp||5.75 Pounds||Check on Amazon!|
Table of Contents
- 1 Dewalt DCS331B Max Jigsaw
- 2 Porter Cable PCE345 Orbital Jigsaw
- 3 Black & Decker BDEJS600C Smart Select Jigsaw
- 4 Makita 4350FCT Top-Handle Jigsaw
- 5 Bosch JS470E Variable Speed Top-Handle Jigsaw
- 6 Dewalt DW331K Top-Handle Jigsaw
- 7 Makita 4329K Variable Speed Top-Handle Jigsaw
- 8 Skil 4495-02 Orbital Action Laser Jigsaw
- 9 Bosch JS470EB Variable Speed Barrel-Grip Jigsaw
- 10 Black & Decker Smart Select Orbital Jigsaw
- 11 What to Know When Purchasing a Jigsaw
- 12 Other Considerations
- 13 The Wrap-Up
Dewalt DCS331B Max Jigsaw
If you aren’t familiar with Dewalt, the company is well-known for making high-quality tools. The DCS331B Max is just another example of that excellence. This jigsaw is battery operated and runs on a 20V lithium-ion battery, which offers robust power for home or professional use. If you are looking for a saw for use around your home, you’ll find that this one can handle pretty much anything that you throw at it.
Due to being cordless, there’s no need to search for an extension cord whenever you need to use it. However, you do need to consider that the battery will only have a certain amount of charge. The weight of the battery will add a little heft to the tool, but it still is only in the mid-range as far as weight among the average jigsaw. The jigsaw is still well-balanced and easy to use for all potential applications.
This jigsaw has variable speed that maxes out at 3,000 SPM along with four orbital-action settings. It also offers a dust blower, so you can modify the amount of air being pushed out and incorporates toolless blade changes.
Buying this Dewalt won’t set you back too much considering the quality and brand recognition. However, if you buy the model without a battery, that will be another needed investment. Those who already own a charger and battery can drop the price a fair amount, though. In addition, the DCS331B comes with a three-year warranty.
- Extremely high-quality tool
- Simple blade changes
- Batteries integrate with other Dewalt 20V range
- Instant blade brake for safety
- Easy to control
- Offered as bare bones jigsaw
- Expensive with battery and charger purchase
- Requires awareness of battery charge
This tool is available either as a bare bones tool without accessories or as a kit that includes the charger, battery, and case that you may need. It’s a fantastic option for those who need to carry around their power tools from site to site.
Porter Cable PCE345 Orbital Jigsaw
The first thing to note about the PCE345 by Porter Cable is that it is quite inexpensive. It has a clear focus on performance, rather than being kitted out with dozens of features. The motor is a 6.0-amp and it can reach a max of 3,200 SPM. While there are jigsaws out there which break that level, it’s fairly uncommon. It’s also likely only to be available for high-end jigsaws that require a substantial investment. For the budget conscious, this is a tool that will blow you away.
This is a corded model and it includes four orbital action settings. It does include variable speed settings, but it is a little touchier than other jigsaws might be. Changing between the seven speeds is done by manipulating a dial that is on the bottom of the tool instead of being driven only by trigger pressure, like other jigsaws tend to be. However, it has extreme cutting performance no matter what you need to hack through, so you can use it on whatever tasks you have available.
The PCE345 allows for toolless blade changes and can accommodate both T-Shank and U-Shank blades. It is also fantastic for long work periods as it includes protracted grips on the handles for comfort. It also includes an LED light which can be used to guide your operation while working on projects.
• Seven speed dial for various materials
• Lock-on button for easy operation during long projects
• Simple blade changes
• Comfortable rubber grip
• Has few extra features
• Comes without a case
• Is not equipped with a dust blower
• Potential alignment issues
All in all, this offering from Porter Cable is capable of extreme performance and is priced for those on a budget. It’s a reliable power tool that is durable and capable of most home and professional projects. If you don’t care about all the extras, it’s likely to be the optimal purchase option.
Black & Decker BDEJS600C Smart Select Jigsaw
Our next jigsaw on the list is the BDESJS600C from Black & Decker. This power tool is extremely inexpensive despite being from a top-quality brand. You might think that a jigsaw with this sort of price tag you’d have to give up both features and power, but that, fortunately, is not the case. The price is nearly half that of the Porter Cable above and only a fraction of the Dewalt. On top of that, it comes with a two-year warranty.
Due to being less expensive, you can’t expect the exact quality of the two jigsaws above. This is a corded model that is fairly lightweight and offers easy use. The motor is only 4.5-amps, which may make it better tasked for home use than professional level work. However, light woodworking and home projects will be well-suited to this Black & Decker.
As far as extra features go, this little jigsaw has plenty to offer. It includes variable speeds that can reach 3,000 SPM and a 45-degree bevel. It also has an adjustable shoe for stability, toolless blade changes, and a wire guard sightline channel for the best possible accuracy. Considering the price of the jigsaw, it offers a large amount of features you would usually find on higher priced models.
There aren’t many complaints about this power tool, but it does seem that some people find the trigger to be in an awkward position. This means being cautious when picking the jigsaw up by the handle is a requirement. However, once you get used to the tool, it isn’t anything to worry about.
• Extremely inexpensive
• Lightweight and compact
• Improved visibility via wire guard sightline channel
• Simple to maneuver
• Not made for professional use
• Not as good at straight cuts as curves
• Comes without a case
• Length of stroke is short
This is an extremely budget-friendly model that will fit the needs of a homeowner. However, it is not capable of professional quality work. For someone looking to buy a first jigsaw, this is a great choice when on a budget. It’s likely to last a reasonable amount of time and do well with small and medium sized projects.
Makita 4350FCT Top-Handle Jigsaw
With the Makita 4350FCT, you can expect a dependable jigsaw, but the price is a bit higher than the three jigsaws we have already talked about above. One of the nicest features of the jigsaw is the LED guide to prevent going out of alignment while cutting, which is especially useful when doing contoured cuts. It also has astounding straight cutting ability, which is something most jigsaws cannot promise. It also has speed control offering anywhere from 800 to 2,800 SPM.
This tool is known for offering consistent speed no matter what applications you use it for. It offers largely smooth contour cuts and accurate straight cuts. This is partially due to the tool having a lower level of vibration than other jigsaws. It also is less shaky and tends to be less noisy than the competing jigsaws. It also offers the maximum stroke length at one inch.
When it comes to steel cutting, the jigsaw has a capacity of 3/8 inches at 90 degrees, while wood cutting capacity is 5.3125 inches at 90 degrees. These are high marks that promise precise cuts whether contoured or straight. For those who are new to jigsaws, this Makita is a great option since it’s straightforward to use. It’s fairly lightweight, includes a dust blower, and has the LED guide to help.
• LED light for extreme accuracy
• High performance for all applications
• Precision contoured cuts possible
• Versatility through straight cutting and three orbital settings
• Accuracy lower than some other models
• May be wobbly which leads to need for adjustments
• More expensive than some jigsaws available
There are plenty of features to appreciate with this jigsaw and it has the power for nearly anything you need. It also offers toolless blade changing for additional convenience. While it runs a bit more expensive than some of the other jigsaws on the list, it has the quality to warrant that.
Bosch JS470E Variable Speed Top-Handle Jigsaw
Bosch is well-known in the world of power tools and consistently offers high-quality products that you can trust. With the JS470E, you can expect those same qualities for a decent price. This is a durable jigsaw with a footplate arm that can handle nearly 550 pounds of load. It also has tons of power and an SPM that tops out at 3,100. Beyond that, the jigsaw can make cuts through wood that is up to 5 7/8 inches thick. It also bevels up to 45 degrees.
Many people cite this Bosch jigsaw as the best made by the company and there are plenty of reasons for that. It has a powerful motor that can get through light steel, aluminum, and wood. It also features a constant speed for exceptional precision control. That means you’ll get an event cut no matter what you are working on. It also features a toolless blade change system so there’s no reason to worry about waiting for the motor to cool down to swap out blades.
One of the perks of the JS470E is that it comes with a handful of great accessories. It comes with a hard carrying case, along with a blade, plastic overshoe, bevel wrench, and anti-splinter insert. For someone who is picking up their first jigsaw, the extras here will get you going right out of the box. While the price is higher than some other jigsaws, you get the accessories along with a tool that is precise and powerful.
• Comes with various accessories
• Toolless blade change system
• Safety lock is ambidextrous
• Include ergonomic handle
• Includes hard carrying case
• Has no laser cutting guide or LED light
• Heavier than other jigsaws
• Has slight undercut
Whether you are just starting to purchase power tools for woodworking or you are a professional, this jigsaw is a tool that will give you exactly what you need. You could do a lot worse than picking up this jigsaw if you don’t mind paying a little extra for all that it offers.
Dewalt DW331K Top-Handle Jigsaw
As price goes, the DW331K is in the middle, making it a smart buy for many. It’s a reasonable choice for someone with a budget who prefers to stay away from the entry level models. This Dewalt jigsaw offers durability, power, and speed, so it is bound to appeal to newcomers to woodworking and experts as well. It features a 6.5-amp motor, a top SPM of 3,100, and three position orbital action. This leads to a powerful and quick jigsaw, no matter where you use it.
The durability with this jigsaw is evident in the large amounts of metal that make up its design. Even the plastic components are made of high-quality materials and don’t rattle or have give when being operated. This jigsaw has a variable speed trigger that is quite precise but can take some time to get used to. There is also a lock-on button that is quickly reached by the right thumb when you want to operate the jigsaw as constantly on.
While a lot of jigsaws offer quick changing blades, the operation on the DW331K does it better than most. The blade isn’t going to come loose while cutting as it moves laterally. There is also a lever on the back of the saw for bevel, allowing the saw to rotate 45 degrees in each direction. However, some individuals have experienced this cut being less than precise. This Dewalt also comes with a dust blower, but a vacuum port and dust shroud must be purchased separately.
• Quick and easy cutting with orbital motion
• Includes a plastic carry case
• Simple blade change options
• Comes with configurable dust blower
• Requires adjustment for dust management
• Angle presets may be inaccurate
• Insert for tear out not the best quality
If you are looking for a robust jigsaw that can be used on a serious job site, this tool will fit your needs. It’s powerful and quick, but not the most accurate saw on the market. That said, it’s a fantastic jigsaw for those whose work doesn’t rely on complete accuracy.
Makita 4329K Variable Speed Top-Handle Jigsaw
The Makita 4329K is a corded jigsaw that boasts 3.9-amps of power. As with all Makita products, this one is high-quality and has a purchase guarantee. This jigsaw is powerful but also quick and well-made, meaning that it will last you a good long while. It weighs in at only 4.2 pounds and is a fairly compact size. The size and weight ensure that it can take the abuse it has thrown at it but isn’t heavy enough to give arm fatigue when used on a regular basis.
The jigsaw offers three orbital settlings along with straight cutting for plenty of versatility. If you are buying a jigsaw for the option of cutting various shapes, it will excel in that environment. It does bevel cuts of up to 45 degrees on either side, which will make doing edges a breeze. The adjustment for bevel cuts is located on the base of the saw for simple use. As far as speed goes, the Makita 4329K can offer between 500 and 3,100 SPM.
This jigsaw is one of the best top handle tools out there and offers a large trigger that is comfortable and straightforward to use. It has some vibration, as any jigsaw does, but it is less than average. It also has a lock button so it can be kept on for continuous work.
• Comes with blade, case, and wrench
• 30-day guarantee and one-year warranty
• High performance and three orbital settings
• Variable speed for great control and options
• Requires a wrench for blade change
• Does not offer an LED light
• Best for small and medium sized projects
Other than not offering quick blade change, this jigsaw has all the features that matter. It has a 30-day guarantee which allows users to give it a shot and decide it fits their needs. It also has a year long warranty after purchase. It’s powerful and capable of most work, professional or hobbyist.
Skil 4495-02 Orbital Action Laser Jigsaw
This orbital laser jigsaw from Skil is simple to control and use without fatigue due to the special ergonomic handle. It also offers convenience through toolless blade changes, so you can switch things up on the fly. In addition to that, it features a foot stabilizing system which allows the footplate to shift and makes the start more controlled. It is a lightweight five pounds and features a bevel of up to 45 degrees.
The price for this jigsaw is reasonable, especially considering how reliable and effective it is in use. It even offers a few extra features that make it more of a bargain, such as blade storage on-board and a laser guide. It’s a durable, sturdy tool that can be maneuvered easily with the guide to get the most precise cuts possible. However, it does feature lighter blades and is best used at home or for other DIY jobs.
This jigsaw has 6-amps of power in the motor and speeds from 800 to 3,200 SPM. The orbital control options allow for the precise setting for each project, whether you want something smooth and precise or quick and aggressive. The foot is created with a custom molded rest feature which can help avoid damaging whatever material you are working on. On top of that, it accepts both T-Shank and U-Shank blades for the utmost versatility.
• Built-in laser guide
• Toolless blade changes
• Four position orbital cut options
• Comfort via ergonomic handles
• Does not come with dust blower
• Not great for professional use
• Laser can become off-centered
This is an inexpensive jigsaw with an impressive motor and high speed. It outpowers some of the most expensive jigsaws available on the market. It is exceptional for small or medium projects with clean, smooth cuts. This is a great power tool for someone who is stocking a home shop or garage who wants great features for a cheap cost.
Bosch JS470EB Variable Speed Barrel-Grip Jigsaw
If you are looking for a powerful jigsaw, this Bosch model is sure to please. It’s rated at 7-oamps, which is likely to cut through anything you need, including thin sheets of steel. The cutting capacity is also quite large at 5 7/8 inches for softwood, 0.875 inches for aluminum, and .375 inches for steel. This is more than enough for those who use commercial materials. It also allows you to stack materials and cut all at once for the highest productivity and speed.
The electric circuitry used in this Bosch is known as Constant Response and ensures that the blades receive a steady amount of torque from the motor. This helps prevent the jigsaw from stalling during work. This is a feature that is usually seen only on the most expensive jigsaws on the market. So, there’s no need to spend tons of money to get these enticing features and the high performance that comes with it.
This Bosch jigsaw also comes with a dust blower to remove sawdust and other debris away from your cut line for precise cutting. It isn’t overwhelming, but it gets the job done. The saw itself only accepts T-Shank blades, which are known for a high degree of accuracy and a better grip. It’s also highly popular and you can find blades at any hardware store.
• Heavy-duty motor for various materials
• Four orbital settings offer aggressiveness adjustments
• Torque adjusts automatically
• Variable speed controller adapts to material
• Does not have LED light
• Features only 45-degree bevel cuts
This is a great jigsaw for anyone from the beginner to professional. It has fantastic performance and the highest number of amps on the list, tying with the other Bosch on the list. It also comes with a set of accessories, so you can get started right away.
Black & Decker Smart Select Orbital Jigsaw
If you need a reliable and versatile jigsaw that can cut through metal, plastic, and wood, the Smart Select is a fantastic option for the home woodworker. It comes with on-board blade storage for convenience, as well as a toolless blade change system so you don’t need to stop what you’re doing to change things up.
What makes this unique from other jigsaws is the presence of a Smart Select dial. It has seven distinct orbital settings that are easy to adjust to and choose from. Also included for convenience sake is an Accu-bevel lever. This allows you to change the bevel quickly and accurately select the right setting. While this jigsaw has a lot of great features you might expect on expensive tools, it has a price tag that is hard to beat.
This isn’t a professional model jigsaw, but it is powerful and accurate for home use. For the beginner, it has all the bells and whistles needed to complete a project without a lot of trouble. It also has a reasonable 5-amp motor that can hit up to 3,000 SPM. This makes it a great option for multiple cutting situations. However, it does sometimes need plate adjustment and the trigger can be quick to engage in certain situations.
• Quick adjustments through Accu-Bevel lever
• Toolless blade change and blade storage on the saw
• Smart Select dial with seven orbital settings
• Not appropriate for professional work
• Occasional adjustment needed
• Trigger easy to accidently engage
For a beginner, this jigsaw is an inexpensive and powerful power tool with features that make operation a dream. It has precise curved cuts, accurate adjustment options, and more orbital settings that most other jigsaws available on the market today.
What to Know When Purchasing a Jigsaw
There are a few things that are important than choosing a jigsaw for purchase. The power of the motor is a huge part of it, as is the stroke rate. However, things like the handle type and extra features offered are also important to think about. We’ll take a look at some of the things you should keep in mind while you peruse your options, so you can make the best choice for your specific needs.
The power of the motor on a jigsaw is essential because it affects speed of sawing, as well as what thickness the saw can get through adequately. As with other power tools, jigsaws come in professional and domestic types. However, power isn’t the only thing important. While looking at power is important, you should also consider what the maximum depth of cutting is. The most powerful household options can cut a board that is 2.7 inches while a professional model might go up to 5.5 inches. In addition, if you choose the most powerful model, be aware that it will often be heavier than the alternative.
Strokes Per Minute
Any good jigsaw will have the option for switching the stroke rate (SPM). While those who rarely use a jigsaw might be okay choosing a single stroke rate, it isn’t optimal when doing projects of different size and scale. When looking at the jigsaws on the market today, you’ll see stroke rates that can all the way up to 3,500 SPM. When using a jigsaw at such speeds, saws with protective covers are recommended for safety reasons.
Depending on the saw, you may find that the stroke rate can be changed smoothly of fixed. With a fixed rate, you set it by using a switch on the casing and the speed stays at that rate the entire time. With smooth rate, adjustments can be made while the saw is in use. The best jigsaw will have a large adjustment rate, so different projects can use different speeds.
Orbital Setting Number
This is yet another crucial aspect of a jigsaw. With a normal jigsaw sans orbital setting, it moves only up and down. However, orbital settings allow you to move the saw backward, forward, or sideways using a circular movement. This is needed for extra speed and precision but can also help remove chips. While you don’t need the maximum number of settings for basic use, the more available on a jigsaw, the better. This allows you to saw distinct types of materials depending on your current needs.
Need for Bevel Cuts
Most of the time, the blade of your jigsaw is going to be square to the base. However, many of the best jigsaws allow you to tilt the blade for a bevel cut. In most cases, this is done by loosening a screw which provides a 45-degree angle in whichever direction you prefer. With some jigsaws, there is a lever that does this loosening to add convenience to this type of cutting. This can also allow someone to lock the base and saw a vertical surface, such as a closet. Many saws have one bevel setting, but others might have multiple for different uses.
There are two types of jigsaw handles, top handle and barrel grip. The most common is the top handle, which means you can hold the jigsaw with a single hand. This type of saw can be used either on a workbench or in the field without one. With a barrel grip handle, the saw has to be held with both hands. One is on the top and one is at the body. It is best used for sawing items on an incline. It also is recommended for beginners in some cases since it prevents placing a hand near the blade of the saw. However, it also means the material being sawed needs to be secured to a table or workbench as there is no spare hand to hold it steady.
Sole Plate Concerns
The jigsaw base plate (also called a platform or sole plate) is something else that should be considered. You want one that is solid, since it is going to be pressed against when cutting thick materials. If the plate is skewed or deformed, it will affect the accuracy of the saw. In most cases, a metal material is the best option rather than plastic. You should also look for a plate that is smooth, so it will not scratch the project you are working on. There are also casings that can be used to cover the plate and make it smoother. If an anti-slip liner is included, this is even better, especially when cutting laminated materials.
Some jigsaws are battery operated and require no cord at all, while others have short and long cord length. The shorter options are generally considered less appealing, since you aren’t able to move around with the saw while doing your work unless you attach an extension cord. The best length is considered around 120 to 160 inches. If you choose a cordless option, you have no need to stress about length of the cord, but you do need to consider the battery life. In many cases, these jigsaws are also less powerful, and the charging time is long. However, it can be useful for home projects, especially in tight spaces.
Saw Blade Materials
The first thing to know is that the accuracy of your cuts with a jigsaw depend on the size of the tooth. The larger tooth is going to be associated with a rougher cut than a small tooth. However, looking at width, the wider blade is going to be better at straight cuts. It’s also important to consider the material the blade is made of. The most common are described below:
- BIM – This is a mix of flexible carbon steel and harder steel, which results in a blade that has a longer life and better elasticity.
- DIA – This is a steel blade with diamond spraying that is used for sawing ceramics and porcelain.
- HCS – This is a flexible carbon steel which is commonly used for sawing softwood, chipboard, and other soft items. Reverse tooth versions may be used for laminated chipboard.
- HM – This is a solid steel blade that can be used for cutting fiberglass, ceramic tiles, and aerated concrete.
- HSS – This is a harder steel blade that cuts through copper, hard plastics, steel, and aluminum.
There are a few other things that may be worth considering when all other things are even. One of those is how easy it is to switch out blades. Most of the above jigsaws are capable of fast and easy swapping, but that isn’t true for all of them. That said, it’s much easier to pull a lever or press a button than to use tools to switch out blades.
Another consideration is whether the saw comes with an LED light. This can make finding the cutting line a lot less stressful. Along with that is the option of being a dust blower. This can also help see where you are cutting at all times. Not all jigsaws have both of these things, and some don’t have either. You may not care about either if you don’t plan to use the power tool on a regular basis, but having the option is often worth a small markup in price.
These ten jigsaws are a high-quality selection of available power tools in 2018. Any of them will likely meet the needs of a home hobbyist or beginner to power tools. Those who are looking for something more powerful will also find fantastic options here by homing in on the speed and power needed, as well as what materials are most commonly used. By browsing the important features to consider, you can easily find the right jigsaw for your specific needs.
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