Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray
Every time you shop for a new power tool, you’re always confronted by a handful of features to consider. If you’re not familiar with a power tool, you’ll become overwhelmed by features you don’t comprehend.
A jigsaw is a very important tool for a woodworker. Therefore, instead of having to buy three or four mediocre jigsaws, it’s best that you only buy one good jigsaw. The kind of features a jigsaw has can prove very beneficial for you and your projects. Therefore, it’s important that you find one that matches your needs.
If you’re having a difficult time deciding what features to consider, don’t fret. I’ve created this guide to help you choose the best jigsaw for you. In the next section, I reveal key features of an ideal jigsaw.
Before I get into the features, I’d like to let you know that these are all features that I’ve independently reviewed. Even so, these features are not going to help you if you don’t have an idea of your project requirements.
Additionally, these features are not essential. But, their presence (or absence) can determine how fast or how perfect your project turns out. With that said, here are the key features to keep in mind when choosing an ideal jigsaw.
Unknown to many, grip is a critical factor when it comes to choosing a jigsaw. Why? It determines how you’ll use the tool. You can either choose between the barrel-handle jigsaw or the top-handle jigsaw.
The barrel grip jigsaw’s handle is at the back. Thus, it forces you to use both your hands while operating it. To use this tool, you’ll have to fasten materials to a workbench. Therefore, it necessitates having an equipped workshop.
The top-handle (or D-handle) model, allows you to work with one hand. The handle is at the top with a solid grip. This design has a lower center of gravity that improves the balance of the saw. It’s easy to maneuver.
Both choices are comfortable. However, you can try them both to see what’s best for you.
2. Variable Speed
Out of all the other features, variable speed is a very critical factor to consider. Some jigsaws have a fixed speed, which is around 2,500 strokes per minute. Such kind of jigsaws are only ideal if you are dealing with wood.
Low speed is perfect for cutting through denser materials like metal or plastic. You can use higher speeds to cut through wood, especially thick wood.
Therefore, it’s important to look for a jigsaw that has variable speed settings. It will enable you to adjust the speed from 0 all the way to 3,000 strokes per minute. That way, you can get the best use out of both.
3. Blade Change
One of the greatest features of a jigsaw is how fast you can replace the blade. Some models simply release the blade at the push of a button.
However, with some jigsaws, you’ll need to be extra careful, using tools and PPE to maintain safety. Additionally, having to loosen a few screws to loosen a blade seems like a lot of work. Nobody wants to spend half the time changing a blade.
If time is a big factor to you, then you definitely want to go with a jigsaw that allows for easy blade change. With that said, always make sure that your blade fits securely into place to avoid any accidents.
4. Adjustable Angle Cuts
The jigsaw is a very versatile tool as it also helps you make adjustable angle cuts. Majority of jigsaws allow for angled cuts ranging from 22.5 degrees to 55 degrees. 45 degrees is the most common angle cut and most jigsaws are compatible with it.
Some models have screws in the shoe or the base of the jigsaw that can allow you to increase the reach of the angle. Others have a locking mechanism. Such are perfect if you hate loosening and tightening screws every time. You’ll notice an extra hex key or Allen wrench when you first buy it.
5. LED Light
Although it might seem trivial, LED lights are crucial in a jigsaw, especially if you are working in a dim area.
The LED light shines around the workbench/area and helps you avoid errors as you cut. It also helps you avoid accidents as well.
6. Laser Guide
Some jigsaws come fitted with laser guides that cast a thin red line on the material you are cutting. The laser is often at the front of the saw.
This laser guide is actually an upgrade from the traditional pencil or chalk. With a laser guide, you don’t have to make guide lines with chalk or pencil. The laser guide can guide your cut, ensuring that you make straight, accurate cuts.
7. Vibration Reduction
Unfortunately, most power tools will vibrate as they cut through various materials.
As you know, prolonged vibration is a health hazard as it exposes your body to pulsing and shaking. Prolonged shaking and pulsing can affect blood circulation. Over time, it can lead to permanent damage to nerves, muscles, and blood vessels.
Therefore, you want to choose a jigsaw that has as little vibration as possible during cutting. Look for one with a vibration reduction feature. It’ll help you work long hours and comfortably too.
8. Orbital Action
There’s a great difference between a standard action jigsaw and an orbital action jigsaw. The standard action jigsaw only moves its blade up and down. The orbital action jigsaw moves the blade in an elliptical cycle.
What this means is that it moves the blade slightly forward during the upswing. Then it slightly backwards during the down-stroke. This elliptical movement protects the edges of the blade from cutting. Thus, reducing its susceptibility to wear and tear.
Do keep in mind that some models of jigsaws don’t have an orbital action mechanism. Those that do, have varying orbital action settings. You can choose the amount of “orbit” you need every time.
9. Motor Power
You will notice that box packaging of your jigsaw displays a thing or two about the jigsaw motor. The motor is what powers up the entire tool, causing the blade to work. Every single jigsaw has its own motor power output.
The power output of corded jigsaws is in Amps (A), while that of cordless jigsaws is in volt (V). The power output of most corded jigsaws ranges from 3.2A to 7A. Cordless models have a power output of between 14V and 36V.
If you need a jigsaw that can handle heavy-duty tasks, go for one with a power rating of between 6 A and 7 A.
The higher the power rating, the faster and cleaner the cut, for both cordless and corded models.
10. Cut Depth
Jigsaws often cut up to 2 inches of depth in wood. They also cut up to one-half of an inch in metal. You want to go for a jigsaw with a moderate cut. A jigsaw with a deeper cut can result in a blade bending or breaking.
11. Corded Vs Cordless
The decision between a corded and a cordless jigsaw boils down to what you are going to use the jigsaw for.
A cordless jigsaw is perfect for a beginner who wants to dabble in a few DIY projects. The corded jigsaw is perfect for a professional who wants to get more use out of the jigsaw.
Nowadays, cordless jigsaws are as powerful as their corded counterparts. But, a corded jigsaw is a much better option to your tool inventory.
12. Scrolling Action
Certain jigsaws are categorized as scroll saws. Because of this, they have a blade steering dial at the top. This steering dial lies perfectly in line with the blade. It enables you to rotate the blade as you cut into your material.
As far as features go, the two most important to focus on include the orbital action and the variable speed. As much as possible, you want a jigsaw that’s efficient and versatile in its use and application.
Do not ignore the other elements outlined above. They are all still important features that you need to put into consideration. With that said, if you are looking for the best-rated rated jigsaw in the US, get in touch with us and we will help.