Jigsaws are powerful tools used predominantly for woodworking, although their capabilities do not end there. These machines have the ability to effortlessly cut through a range of different materials, including metal, plastic, laminate flooring, plywood, and more.
Loved for their ability to make the most accurate cuts, professionals and DIYers everywhere simply cannot work without this handy tool. Trying to decide between the best jigsaws on the market is not easy. There are so many features on these power tools and various design differences.
To narrow down the search for the best jigsaw, read through this detailed buying guide to learn more about what to expect when purchasing a jigsaw, the differences between the models, brands you can trust, and our jigsaw tool top picks.
Best Jigsaw: Buying Guide
There are so many jigsaws to choose from, all of which work slightly differently. Deciding what one is best for your needs is no mean feat, especially if you are not entirely sure what the differences are.
This buying guide aims to provide a brief insight into what makes a jig saw worth buying and what features work best for what job.
Helpful Features to Look For
The features offered in a machine tell you a lot about the performance you can expect. Most of the frequently asked questions relating to finding the best jigsaw are to do with functionality and features, so here are some of the most important things to look for.
Built-in Dust Blower
A dust blower has a pretty self-explanatory name. Its sole purpose is to blow away unwanted excess dust coming from the jigsaw, clearing your space as you work. Using a jigsaw with a dust blower built into the machine is beneficial if you are doing a big job with lots of cutting as they help to keep your workstation clean.
Some professionals would consider a dust blower an essential addition to this tool, but not all brands use them. Having too much dust around the space where you are cutting line in is not only distracting but also potentially dangerous.
If you decide on a jigsaw that does not have a dust-clearing feature, make sure you have an alternative method to keep the cut line clear in your workspace.
Variable Speed Settings
Most of the best jigsaws come with adjustable speed settings, although there are some excellent models that do not. Variable speed control is a helpful feature because it makes your jig saw more versatile and able to work with different materials.
As well as looking for a model with adjustable speed, you should also consider the different types of control:
Variable speed trigger
One of the most convenient types of speed control is the variable speed trigger. By increasing or decreasing the finger pressure on the trigger, you can adjust the cutting speed to go faster or slower.
Variable speed dial
Although it does not offer quite as much convenience as the trigger, a variable speed dial still lets you change between speeds quickly. You need to stop what you are doing change the speed, but only momentarily.
Pre-set speed control
Some jigsaws require you to set the cutting speed before you start working. There may be various speeds available, but you can only use one each time the motor is active.
The pre-set speed is the most time-consuming and can be annoying if you have a lot of work to do. However, it is a very safe way of ensuring your cutting speed is always exactly as you want it.
Low Vibration Motor
Some level of vibration is unavoidable when using a jig saw, but the lower the better. If you are working for long hours, the vibration is bound to cause fatigue and possibly arm strain. A lower vibration motor helps keep this to a minimum, making your life easier and the work better.
You are likely to find it easier to cut with this feature. Most new models are featuring a low vibration motor, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Adjustable Base Plate / Shoe Plate
Bevel cuts are far easier on a machine with an adjustable base, also referred to as an adjustable shoe. Some come with a specific bevel adjustment where others offer customizable settings. If you often used beveled cuts in your work, look for an adjustable base plate.
The adjustable shoe feature makes things easier, but a keyless shoe bevel is even more efficient. Tool-free features are big time savers. They are a better choice for not only bevel cuts but also for busy workers.
Tool-less Blade Changes
Blade changes can be the make or break for some people. Depending on the quality of the blades you use, they could get blunt regularly and need to be swapped out. Keyless blade changes are popular with people who enjoy time efficiency. Without this feature, you need to remove and replace the blade with an Allen wrench.
The thing to be careful with when using tool-less blade change is making sure the new blade is secure to avoid any accidents. As long as you double-check the fit is secure, tool-less blade changes are a big time saver. Bear in mind that keyless blade change is only possible with T-shank blades.
Adjustable Angled Cuts
If you need precise cuts, chose a jigsaw that allows you to set specific angles. Adjustable angle cutting ensures accuracy and gives you a nice clean cut at any angle. Setting your angles can also save you time. If you are not worried about that, you can make faster cuts without compromising on precision.
Premium quality jigsaws are starting to introduce LED lights into the build. Only the latest models have this feature, but wow, does it make a difference! The LED light feature provides maximum visibility for even the most intricate work and poorly-lit workspaces.
It is highly desirable for professional customers and enthusiastic DIY fans alike.
A futuristic answer to the traditional carpenter’s pencil, a laser guide helps you make perfectly accurate cuts every time. If you have been using jigsaws for a long time, this could take a bit of getting used to. Once you do make the change, however, the results are excellent.
By increasing accuracy and reducing the margin for error, the integrated laser produces impressive work every time.
This or That?
On top of these recommendable features, there are a few key design elements to chose between. Before you can look into the specifics, it is worth considering the following fundamental choices.
Blade Style: T-shank Blades VS U-Shank Blades
U-shank blades were once the main player, but T-shank blades are now far more common. Tool-less blade change is only possible with T-shank blades, hence their popularity. U-shank blades are more prone to retention issues, so most of the best brands do not use them anymore.
It is generally advisable to opt for T-shank blades whenever possible.
Grip: Barrel Grip VS Top Handle
There are two main types of grips on modern jig saws: barrel grip and top handle. Jig saws with a top handle grip are certainly the most common, but both have their fair share of pros and cons.
- Time-tested with plenty of choices to choose from
- The D-handle shape is more comfortable to hold
- Easier access for a variable speed trigger
- Less control and more likely to make the saw tip forward
- Tend to be chunkier and take up more space
- Better control, especially for cutting curves
- Increased visibility when working, letting you make more accurate cuts
- Thumb switch instead of a trigger, which some people find more comfortable
- A larger grip is not ideal for people with small hands or arthritis
- The grip can get hot if the motor run time is long
- Not as many options to choose from
Overall, there is not a huge difference in performance between a top handle and a barrel grip jigsaw. They are both ergonomic handle designs, and it mainly comes down to personal preference and what feels better to you.
Blade Motion: Straight-Reciprocating VS Orbital Action
The two main differences between a straight and orbital reciprocating jigsaw blade are speed and accuracy.
With a straight-reciprocating saw, you cannot cut as fast, but you have more precision as you do so. You can easily achieve precise cuts, and they are better to create curves with. Orbital action saws cut much faster but not as clean. Maintaining control is more difficult with an orbital action blade movement.
Older models may only operate using straight-reciprocating jigsaw blades, but newer ones often give you the option of both. They usually have four orbital settings you can switch between depending on the work and your position.
Orbital settings are best for cutting down wood quickly but not for straight cuts or curves. From a standing position, orbital action blades give more tear-out. Because of this, it is best to use them mainly for the rough work and switch to straight-reciprocation for precise detail work.
Power Source: Corded VS Battery Powered
Just like most power tools, one of the biggest choices you face is corded or cordless. There has always been debate over which is best. The truth is, there is no correct answer. Deciding between a corded jigsaw and one that runs on batteries comes down to the type of work you usually do.
A battery-operated tool is handy for moving around easily and cuts down on electricity costs. If you are working on a large piece of wood, it helps not to be restricted by a cord.
That being said, you then become dependant on the battery life. Heavy-duty work on thick, hard wood is likely to drain batteries quickly and end up costing you time.
Functionality: Cutting Wood VS Cutting Metal
The teeth on a saw blade are what make it suitable for cutting different materials. It does not matter so much what jigsaw you have, so long as you have suitable blades. Woodwork tasks do not require any special jigsaw blades.
To cut metal, you need blades with a minimum of 18 TPI (teeth per inch), even more depending on the specific type.
It is essential to use the correct blade for the right material. If you do not, it could lead to you damaging the jigsaw, the work, and potentially yourself.
Additionally, the more powerful your jigsaw is, the easier it is going to be to cut tougher materials. Actually, any job is easier with a powerful machine.
Anything below a 6.0 amp motor is not good for heavy work or hard material. A 7.0 amp motor can tackle just about any job you throw at it and is great for cutting metal.
Top Five Trusted Brands
Before looking at specific jigsaws for various purposes, let’s talk about the brand. The manufacturer you buy your jigsaw from plays an important role. Different companies are known for varying skills, and the products they make could be suited to varying requirements.
Here are five of the best manufacturers to buy jigsaws from and the reasons why they are brands we trust.
Bosch is an international giant of the industry and instantly one of the most recognizable names in engineering, technology, and power tools. The high-quality products they make are amongst the best jigsaws on the market and are surprisingly affordable.
On top of everything else, the Bosch brand has stood strong for more than 100 years. It remains one of the most trusted companies to shop for tools with after well over a century in business. If that is not impressive, we don’t know what it is.
Black & Decker
Another company that has withstood the test of time is Black & Decker. Established in Baltimore back in 1910, the brand has specialized in all-things home improvement ever since. Customers rave about the quality, service, and reliability they receive from the brand.
Stanley Black & Decker is a parent company, so several recognizable names in the power tool business, but this is their flagship brand. The jigsaws they make are a popular choice for homeowners and DIY fans.
One of the biggest names that fall under the Stanley Black & Decker umbrella is DeWalt. It is known for manufacturing power tools for use in woodworking and other manufacturing and is considered by some to have the most versatile range of jigsaws and many other tools.
Although known to have slightly higher prices than some other leading brands, DeWalt models are reliable, capable, and are truly the full ticket. Whatever job you have coming up, this brand has the power tool you need.
One of the customers’ favorite things about this brand is the accessories. You can usually use the same charger for various tools from the brand, meaning you do not have to buy a charger separately every time you buy a product.
Yet another manufacturer leading this industry is Makita. Known to produce tools with long-lasting battery life and comfortable grips, Makita is a fan favorite.
The durability of the products sold by this brand is another thing that makes it stand out from the crowd. If you are looking for a jigsaw that can last you many years without losing its performance, Matika is a frontrunner in this field.
Also falling under the Stanley Black & Decker umbrella is Porter-Cable. Most famous for the work it did pioneering the development of the circular saw and portable table saws, the Porter-Cable name is synonymous with innovative power tools. The circular saw was just the beginning for this power tool powerhouse.
PC Cordless is one of the main projects under this brand, meaning it produces high-quality battery-powered tools- including cordless jigsaws. All the products sold under this name are intended for user convenience and are considered amongst the best in the industry.
Best Jigsaws by Category
Last, but not least, let’s talk specifics. The saw you end up buying needs to be compatible with you and your needs. Although a certain jigsaw may be the highest-rated model out there, if it doesn’t feel comfortable or have the settings you want then it is no good!
Based on comments from existing customers, user reviews, and features, here are our top picks of jigsaw tools for different categories.
Best Corded Jigsaw
It is a popular opinion that this Bosch model is the best jigsaw of them all. Not only is it a long-standing best-seller, but it also combines all the best features into one complete package. It has a top grip D-handle and a 10-foot extension cord.
Operating this jigsaw could not be easier, thanks to the vibration control, variable speed trigger, adjustable base, tool-free blade change, and ambidextrous lock-on button. The orbital saw has four settings, and the 7.0 amp motor can reach a maximum speed of 3100 strokes per minute, meaning it can handle whatever job you throw at it.
The downsides of this jigsaw are minimal, but still worth noting. There is no option to attach a shop vac for cleaning, and it does not have a LED light display. These are minor issues provided you don’t work in a low-lit area.
All in all, the JS470E is a class act. It comes with a carrying case with a power cord and blade included and, although not the cheapest corded model, is great value for money.
Best Cordless Jigsaw
DeWalt DCS335B 20V Max Jig Saw
A DeWalt model takes the top spot for the best cordless jigsaw. The DCS335B 20V Max Jig Saw is a battery-powered barrel grip saw with endless capability and versatile movement. At 3200 strokes per minute, this is one powerful jigsaw- but it never compromises on control!
The speed dial on the handle makes it easy to make quick adjustments, and the cutting accuracy is second to none. Because of the built-in dust blower and LED lighting, you always have visibility covered. It is capable of cutting any material at various angles thanks to the adjustable plate, blade, and saw motion.
DeWalt’s only downside is the price of the batteries. This particular line is likely to cost more, in the long run, to replace the battery, although it is compatible with all tools in the 20V line. Higher prices are to be expected when working with excellence- something this cordless jigsaw certainly has!
Best Compact Jigsaw
Bosch 18 Volt JSH180B
This compact cordless jigsaw is perfect for someone who wants big power in a small package. More famous for its corded jigsaw line, Bosch had a lot to prove with its cordless options. The JSH180B does not disappoint.
Lightweight and portable, this jigsaw is perfect for DIY or to take with you to another site. Don’t worry, for such a small thing it can still pack a punch! The strokes per minute reach up to 2700. offering power and depth in every cut. It is easy to control with just one hand, leaving the other hand free to clear dust and keep things steady.
Unfortunately, it only runs at a one-speed setting. Although it is possible to tackle most simple jobs using only one speed, some users prefer to have the option. The other downside to the JSH180B is that the charger and batteries must be bought separately.
Best Powerful Jigsaw
This corded jigsaw combines power and precision, earning it a place on our list. Although not the most powerful option out there, it does make the best use of the motor it has. The 6.3 amp motor reaches up to around 3000 strokes per minute and can easily cut through any material, including metal.
Our favorite thing about this power tool is the automatic speed control. The motor speed and power auto-adjust and fine-tune themselves to match the challenge at hand. The d-handle also has a finger trigger, which further controls the speed of the blade.
All the bells and whistles are along for the ride with the 4350FCT. LED, dust control, tool-free blade change, and an included bevel wrench help make this jigsaw compatible with any project. The only thing missing is a lock button to set the speed.
With smooth cuts, excellent battery, and durability for prolonged use, this Matika jigsaw is a great option for anyone.
Best Budget Jigsaw
DEWALT DW317 Variable-Speed Orbital Jigsaw
Another DeWalt jigsaw making the cut is the DW317- in the most unlikely category! Budget jigsaw is not a term often associated with DeWalt, but in this case, it is. Despite the lower price tag, there is not much compromising on power and features.
With enough power to cut through metal (max 3100 strokes PM) and effortless control, the DW317 offers a lot for such an affordable price. Variable speeds, adjustable bevel angles, and excellent motion control lines are other highlights of this jigsaw.
On the downside, the speed dial is in a slightly awkward place, and there is no lighting. Additionally, dust can build up quickly because there is no blower attached.
Best High-End Jigsaw
Festool 561608 Jigsaw
Straight of the bat let us say that this jigsaw does not come with a friendly price tag. Festool makes premium products with premium prices to match, but this is one impressive tool.
Although there are other best jigsaws that cost a lot less, professional woodworkers or someone who is a big fan of brand names may want to splash out on the 561608.
What makes it cost so much? Well, it pretty much does it all. It has many applications, with versatility in spades. The quality of the cutting, line mapping, and curve control technology is certainly worth the money. It is also deceptively light, weighing the same as some of the most compact jigsaws- but far more sturdy.
Reaching a stroke speed of up to 3800 per minute with versatile stroke length, this jigsaw can even cut through steel. Customers love the LED, lock-on button, and interchangeable base plates.
Most jigsaws only come with one, but Festool provides several. If you want maximum control, versatility, and features, this is the way to go.
Of course, the money Festool is asking for this jigsaw is a lot for the everyday DIY fan, but if you want a professional-grade tool and don’t mind the price, they don’t come much better than this.
Best for Beginners
Black & Decker 5.0-Amp Smart Select Jigsaw
If this is your first jigsaw purchase, you want something with enough features to work effectively that adheres to a low budget. A low budget is not because beginners can’t buy expensive jigsaws, but you may not fully know what suits you best yet. Until you are certain you know what features and fits you like, look for a good quality budget option.
There is no better jigsaw to fit that bill than the Black and Decker Smart Select. Not only is it lightweight and easy to manage, but it also has enough juice to cut through many materials.
Although the 5.0 amp motor is not as strong as the best jigsaws overall, the 3000 SPM and optimal stroke length make tough materials no trouble for this saw.
Cutting curved lines has never been easier thanks to the control technology, which allows for a fine, accurate finish every time.
Learning to cut precise lines during your first few projects is a tricky process, but becomes easier with continuous use. This model speeds up that process by using a range of state-of-the-art features and settings.
Sadly, there is no trigger lock-on button, which can be inconvenient when you are learning, but it is not enough to knock this excellent jigsaw off the top spot. Vibration levels are not quite as smooth as some other options, but it is still a top pick for a first-timer.
Best for Professionals
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Kit
Moving away from the predominant manufacturers that make most jigsaws on this list, Milwaukee also has a lot to offer in the jigsaw game. The M19 Fuel Kit is a professional-level jigsaw with all the trimmings.
Wrapped up in a handy storage bag, it is reasonably lightweight for a professional power tool- even with the battery included. This is useful for carrying around a large site.
Despite the weight, this is one tough, sturdy jigsaw. The brushless high-amp motor reaches around 3500 RPM with variable speed control and a footplate that is easy to adjust. The M18 is capable of cutting through almost any material, including thick metal or plastic.
Professional projects require versatility. They also need a jigsaw that can produce an excellent end result every time. Almost every feature you could ever generally need is included with this saw. The only notable downside is that it has no trigger lock.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Kit has no power cord, running on a powerful battery. A single charge packs a lot of punch and can last a while. This model is a pro tool with high-quality all-around ability that users are sure to have a lot of fun with.
In the world of woodworking and power tools, a jigsaw is an absolute must. The versatile capabilities, reasonable price, and accurate cutting make these tools stand out from other saws.
A jigsaw is a great choice of machinery to have in your tool kit, no matter what style you go for.
Finding the best jigsaw for you may take a couple of tries. Most people manage to figure out what works best for them after they use two or three different models.
Think about the type of workpiece to usually do and the requirements you have before running out and picking up the first brand name you see.
What material are you planning to work with? Wood and plastic react differently to jigsaws, so think about what saw is going to be best. What angle are you going to be cutting? Do the jigsaws you are considering have the setting you need?
Consider reading what previous customers have to say. Positive or negative reviews from other users of a particular jigsaw model are sure to have some insight to offer you before you buy. Don’t just look on the official site of a jigsaw manufacturer- look to blogs and reviews for a more solid user review. Negative reviews are a great tool to understand how jigsaws work in practice.
The combination of power, performance, and price is what you need to look for. Whatever your next project may be, a jigsaw tool is sure to be an excellent addition.