A jigsaw is basically a saw with a reciprocating blade used to cut irregular curves. This working tool is essentially utilized for cutting materials, such as stenciled designs, wood, and metal, among others. However, today’s modern tools are electrically powered and are made portable, which can be more convenient and efficient for users.
When investing in and choosing a jigsaw, you have to consider a handful of features. On top of these essential features are the orbital action and variable speed. Other less critical features include motor power and depth of cut, among others. However, these features can prove to be beneficial for you and your cutting task, so you have to decide critically.
That said, here’s our practical guide to choosing a jigsaw. Keep on reading to learn more about what these features entail.
As mentioned above, the orbital action and variable speed are the most critical features of a jigsaw.
- Orbital action: There’s a difference between a standard-action jigsaw and an orbital-action jigsaw. The first tool moves the jigsaw blade solely up and down, while the latter moves slightly forward and into the workpiece on the upswing, then slightly backward on the downstroke. The orbital action makes the jigsaw less prone to wear and tear, as well as chattering action. Also, an orbital-action jigsaw is almost always smoother than a standard-action saw.
- Variable speed: It’s best to opt for a high-end jigsaw featuring variable speed. This gives you flexibility in adjusting the tool’s speed. This proves to be beneficial in cutting certain materials such as metals where slow speed is required, or woods with very intricate curved cuts. Ultimately, variable speed is a feature that’s worth considering.
There are other features of a jigsaw that you shouldn’t neglect. Below are some of these:
- Motor power: As with any tools, a jigsaw has more cutting power with a higher amperage rating. That said, opt for jigsaws with motor ratings of six or seven amps.
- Cut depth: Know that jigsaws usually cut up to two inches of depth in wood and approximately one-half inch on metal. Go for a slightly moderate cut as jigsaws with deeper cut may result in blade bending and breaking.
A few more considerations
Let’s take a look at a few other considerations as far as jigsaw features are concerned. Read below:
- Corded vs. cordless: Some jigsaws are now cordless. In the past, cordless tools weren’t as powerful as their corded counterparts. Today, they have great improvements brought by their battery technology. However, a corded model is still a better option.
- Scrolling saw: This is another type of jigsaw. It has a blade-steering knob on top of the body, directly in line with the blade. It enables the blade to be rotated during the cutting process. You might want to consider this option as well.
- Laser guideline: Some jigsaw models come with laser guideline. The laser casts a thin red cutting line out from the front of the saw, similar to the laser lines often found on modern circular saws. This is another jigsaw option you might want to invest in.
As far as features are concerned, make sure to prioritize the orbital action and variable speed as the most critical features of a jigsaw. That is not to say, however, that you should ignore the other elements outlined above, such as motor power and cut depth, among others.
Ultimately, purchasing a jigsaw can be a great investment tool for your cutting work. For more guidelines on buying the best jigsaw for your needs, check out The Tool Square’s in-depth reviews and buyer guides.