DEWALT DCS334B 20V MAX XR Jig Saw (Tool Only)
Best cordless jigsaw
The brushless motor enhances the overall lifespan, as well as performance.
1 DEWALT DCS334B Review
Looking for the best jigsaw for heavy-duty, professional use? Then check out the DEWALT DCS334B. Powered by an interchangeable, 20V Max battery, it’s powerful enough to help you cut intricate designs in a variety of materials.
Its brushless motor enhances performance, so you can benefit from quicker cuts and longer runtime.
Another highlight is the variable speed trigger that allows you to match the strokes with the material you’re cutting.
Solid yet compact, this jigsaw is very easy to hold and control. A bright LED light near the blade also illuminates the work surface, so you’ll never have to worry about not seeing the line and making mistakes. The only downside is that it doesn’t come with a battery and charger, but considering its value, this jigsaw is really worth the money. An excellent tool for professionals.
Bosch JS470E 7.0-Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw
Best corded electric jigsaw
Four orbital action settings make it perfect to use, even for the toughest cutting tasks.
2 Bosch JS470E Review
If you couldn’t care less about cordless mobility but would rather save a buck, the Bosch JS470E brings true value for money. The 7-amp motor delivers sufficient power for cutting through all types of materials, and we also like the 4-in-1 orbital action settings that make it perfect for anything, from smooth to aggressive cuts.
Well balanced and convenient to use, it also features a tool-less blade change system and variable speed controls.
Furthermore, we like the low vibration design that enhances both cutting accuracy and comfort.
Withstanding anything, from light-duty crafts cutting to heavy-duty professional use, and coming at an affordable price point, this jigsaw is an excellent choice both for home use and a workshop.
Makita XVJ03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Jig Saw (Tool Only)
A cordless alternative
This reliable jigsaw is ideal for standard woodworking as well as DIY use.
3 Makita XVJ03Z Review
If you like cordless mobility but have a tighter budget, the Makita XVJ03Z could be a great alternative to our best in class.
It’s slightly less powerful but boasts three orbital settings as well as variable speed control. The 18V battery also provides sufficient power for tackling most woodworking projects, although it might not be ideal if you plan to cut metal or tiles.
That said, this jigsaw packs a punch. It’s balanced and very easy to handle, delivers accurate cuts, and features a tool-less blade change system, like our best value. Affordable for what it is, it’s an excellent choice for light professional use and amateurs.
BLACK+DECKER BDCJS20C 20V MAX JigSaw
Best cheap jigsaw
It might not be the most powerful, but this cordless jigsaw delivers everything a home user might need.
4 BLACK+DECKER BDCJS20C Review
The BLACK+DECKER BDCJS20C is perhaps the best jigsaw for home users who have no fancy demands but need a reliable tool for occasional cuts in soft materials. Like our best in class, it’s powered by a 20V battery – which is included in the pack.
Not only it provides similar power, but it also features a variable speed trigger for increased control while cutting.
The main difference between the two is the built quality. While powerful, the BLACK+DECKER won’t withstand heavy use. This is reflected by the price, but in the end, this is a great choice if you need a cheap jigsaw for home use.
Best Jigsaw 2021 Buying Guide
1. Why to buy a jigsaw
Your handy circular saw can do many things, but cutting curved lines isn’t one of them. The design isn’t conducive to crafty projects or those requiring more custom cuts. Jigsaws, on the other hand, are handheld saws with a compact blade capable of:
- Both straight and curved cuts
- Beveling (changing the shape of an edge so it’s not perfectly square)
- Plunge cuts (varying depth)
- Any other custom shape you can come up with
Jigsaws can also cut a variety of materials, including:
- Wood (their original purpose)
In essence, jigsaws can complete the work of a variety of more specialized saws, all in one compact, versatile package.
Jigsaws are typically constructed with similar speeds and basic capabilities; the best jigsaw for your needs will depend more upon how you plan to use it and your budget than on speed and size (unlike many power tools).
2. So how do jigsaws work?
A jigsaw is powered by a motor connected to gears that move a small blade in an up-and-down pattern to cut materials such as wood. The base (called the shoe) of the jigsaw is pressed against your workpiece, and the blade cuts as it moves up.
The mechanics may be simple, but there are many factors to consider when choosing the best jigsaw for your needs. Things like SPM (Strokes Per Minute), orbital settings, material accommodations (wood, plastic, and so on), and level of vibration will all determine the best jigsaw choice.
3. Jigsaw power matters
Jigsaw power is measured in either amps or volts depending on the type of jigsaw. Corded jigsaws are measured in amps, while cordless models are measured in volts.
Predictably, power correlates directly to how hard of a material you can cut. Less power means you’re restricted to soft woods, while the most powerful motors allow for clean cuts on metal and tile.
Available maximum power typically ranges from 4-7 amps or 18-20 volts. The small ranges here tell you something: power isn’t the most important factor in a good jigsaw.
At least four amps or 18 volts will get the job done on wood and plastic projects. Heavy-duty users or pros should err on the side of greater power when it’s available.
4. Jigsaw speed & speed settings
Power and speed come into play for any power tool purchase. But jigsaws, mercifully, are pretty uniform in the speed department. Most jigsaws have a maximum speed of 3,000 SPMs, or Strokes Per Minute.
Variable speed settings
What’s more important here is the number of speed settings (variable speed settings) available on the jigsaw. Some lower-end jigsaw models don’t come with a variable speed dial, but these are only sufficient for woodworking rookies or those who need a jigsaw for a very specific application.
Higher-end jigsaw models come with 4-7 variable speeds. Why is this important? The less dense the material, the faster speed you can use (and visa versa); so, if you’re cutting metal, you need the slowest available speed, but wood can be cut on the higher end of the spectrum. The more versatile you want your jigsaw use to be, the more speeds you’ll need.
5. Look at jigsaw stroke length
Speaking of strokes, there’s one other performance-related factor to consider: stroke length. That’s the distance the blade can move (vertically) to cut your workpiece. That length can range from about ¾’’ (18mm) to 1’’ (26 mm).
Generally, the longer the jigsaw’s stroke length, the larger the workpiece you’ll be able to work with (comfortably). That’s because, the longer the stroke length, the faster the jigsaw can cut. 5/8’’ or greater is a good stroke length to aim for.
The speed you can work at isn’t the only factor affected by stroke length
- Shorter strokes tend to produce a smoother cut. They also (tend to) produce less vibration.
- Longer strokes, on the other hand, are the ideal choice for thicker or denser materials.
6. Corded vs. cordless jigsaws
While the range of features, like speed, power, and accessories, doesn’t change much between corded and cordless jigsaws, they do have some fundamental differences that will appeal to (and repel) some people.
- Corded jigsaws tend to be more powerful. They’re also better for extended use (since they can’t run out of juice) and are far more light-weight than their corded counterparts.
- Cordless jigsaws are, predictably, more portable and easily maneuvered. But they’re also clunkier (batteries add weight) and aren’t ideal for large projects due to the possibility of them running out of battery power unexpectedly.
7. Orbital action settings
Jigsaw blades typically move up and down to cut. But orbital action causes the blade to move in an orbital (read: circular) motion to make its cuts. This is helpful because it allows the user more versatility, precision, and control. The blade still moves up and down, but will also move forward and backward slightly as it cuts.
Different materials & cut styles
Different orbital levels are necessary for different materials and cut styles. So, for the mid-level DIY-er or professional woodworker, a variety of jigsaw orbit speeds is essential. You want more orbit for straight cuts and porous materials, but less for curved cuts, dense materials, and precision (design) work.
If you just want to complete simple cuts or don’t anticipate much variety in your projects, you can save a few dollars by skipping orbital action altogether (or cutting down on the amount of settings).
8. Jigsaw vibration can ruin projects
It’s harder to steer a bike with a flat tire because it’s vibrating, or bumping, against the cement. The same is true of power tools and especially of jigsaws. Vibration can ruin your accuracy and create uneven lines; too much can even become a safety hazard.
The best jigsaws usually boast a vibration reduction mechanism to avoid this, but some are naturally low-vibration tools. For precision-sensitive work, look for a jigsaw will low to no vibration.
9. T-shank vs. u-shank jigsaw blades
Another factor that plays a big part in your jigsaw experience—although, admittedly, not the quality of your results—is whether the jigsaw uses t-shank or u-shank blades. Shanks are the shafts that holds your blade in your jigsaw. Both options get the job done, but there are some differences.
These are becoming less and less common, but are attached to the jigsaw via a screw. That means you need a special tool to remove the blade, which can be time-consuming and cumbersome.
T-shank blades are the most common jigsaw blade. You can put away your Allen wrench for t-shank blades: these jigsaws usually have a quick-release feature that allows you to slip the blade out in seconds instead of minutes.
T-shanks can also be a little stronger, although it’s unlikely that you’ll notice a significant difference.
The bottom line?
The only difference is time and convenience, so if you’re looking at two comparable products and the shank type is the only difference, you can probably save a few dollars by choosing the u-shank jigsaw if you don’t mind a little extra finagling.
10. Bonus jigsaw accessories and features
The basics are great, but sometimes you want (or need) a little something extra in a jigsaw to earn it the title of “best jigsaw” in your shop. There are a range of impressive, interesting, and helpful bonus features that can take your woodworking experience to the next level.
- Laser lines help you cut unerringly precise lines when perfection is key.
- Dual bevel: This feature lets you make angled cuts without actually moving your wood.
- A dust-collection port cleans up dust and chips as you go (although you’ll need to purchase a hose or connect your shop vac).
- Dust blowers are kind of like the leaf blower of the shop: they blow away the same debris that a port would collect to keep your table clean.
- LED lights illuminate your cut line, which is helpful in low-light situations.
- Quick-swap blades, as previously mentioned, allow you to remove blades without tools.
- Anti-vibration: This feature reduces vibration for more precise results and increased safety, as well as longer blade life.
- Comfortable handles: These are crucial for large-scale projects. Look for barrel grip or comfort (ergonomic) grip handles.
- Variable speed control: This comes in the form of either a gradual trigger or a dial. It allows for more versatility in cut quality, material, and project range.
- Lock-on button: Some jigsaws require you to compress a button to keep your jigsaw running. For extended cuts, lock-on buttons free up your fingers so you can focus on the task at hand.
11. Jigsaw buying tips
The great thing about jigsaws is that (most) aren’t inherently “good” or “bad”. Use your intended application, level of versatility required, and this checklist of basic must-haves to determine the best jigsaw for you, whether it’s a simple budget jigsaw or the best tricked-out professional tool on the market today.
Must-have features in a budget jigsaw
- Look for a jigsaw with at least 4-5 amps or 18 volts for simple wood projects.
- Prioritize getting a stroke length of 5/8’’ or greater.
- Either a low-vibration jigsaw or one with vibration reduction features is a must-have for a functional cutting experience.
Good-to-have features for a stepped-up jigsaw
- A variable speed dial with at least two speeds will allow for greater versatility.
- Orbital action settings further broaden your woodworking range.
- T-shank blades save time over their complex u-shank counterparts.
Great-to-have features in a high-end jigsaw
- Go all-out with 4-7 variable speeds to cut everything from wood to tile.
- Don’t skimp on some kind of dust collection system, whether it’s a port or a blower.
- Quick-swap T-shank blades will make your jigsaw prep experience nearly effortless.
- LEDs will make the cutting experience stress-free for your eyes.