The Best Jigsaw for 2017 – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews
Don't Feel Like Reading? Here's Our Top Choice:
If we were buying a jigsaw ourselves, we'd spend a little more and get the Bosch JS470E. The blade changing is stupid-simple, it has 4 different settings for blade speed meaning it can make smooth cuts on both rugged and more delicate surfaces. Rave reviews everywhere you look speak to the fact that you'll enjoy this jigsaw for years to come.
Out of all the specialty saws available, one flirts with the definition of both “specialty” and “everyday” saw…the jigsaw. The jigsaw, or sabre saw for those who prefer it, is a versatile tool that fulfills the contoured needs of the do-it-yourselfer when straight lines no longer make the cut.
If you’ve ever tried to navigate curves, circles, or inside openings with a circular saw (the essential power saw everyone should own) you quickly realized why it isn’t intended for anything other than straight cuts.
Quick Summary: Top Jigsaws For Your Dollar
The circular saw will bind and splinter the wood, creating more mess, hassle, and potential risk than it’s worth. If you have a project that calls for curves, circles, inside openings, or a long list of other unique cuts, the jigsaw is the preferred tool. Which jigsaw is the best jigsaw for you?
Let The Saw Guy lead you through the basics.
The ¼” to ½” blade width, along with the narrow blade thickness, make these saws ideal for cutting curves. A jigsaw works by an oscillating up and down movement, cutting on the upstroke.
With the right sorts of blades, jigsaws can also be used for cutting metal sheeting and straps. While they are not the most efficient way of cutting through metal, they suffice for those who only have to cut metal occasionally.
Most manufacturers have both styles in each model. This provides the user with their choice. While the D handle is the more traditional style, users of barrel style jigsaws rave that they are easier to control.
Since maintaining control over the blade and the cut is a major consideration when using a jigsaw, these models are well worth your consideration.
If you can afford it, the better quality jigsaws are worth buying.
The amount of adjustment the saw offers for blade speed, stroke length, and oscillation style, more than make's up for the cost of the saw. The payback will come in increased efficiency, both in faster cuts and in less damage caused by the saw.
Some of these units come with LED “headlights” or laser guides. These are great options to have, making it easier to cut straight and follow the line you’ve laid out.
While I am strongly in favor of these features, I wouldn’t make them the top priority when choosing a jigsaw. Even the best jigsaws on the market will have their flaws. However, when cost isn’t a factor, if it comes down to a saw with all the features and one without, the features are certainly justifiable.
- Motor size – Although the motor sizes don’t vary widely in jigsaws, the more powerful the motor the more ability the user has to cut faster and through harder materials. These units are typically rated by the motor amperage.
- Stroke length – The longer the stroke, the bigger the material you can cut. Generally, 5/8 is a nice length.
- The foot – A metal casted foot is preferred, but even some of the best jigsaws have a stamped sheet-metal foot.
- Variable speed – Although not found on the majority of jigsaws, the best jigsaws give the user the option to vary speeds. The option to cut carefully at lower speeds is a nice feature.
- LED Headlight – You probably don’t cut in the dark very often, but illuminating the shadows cast by your jigsaw is a great advantage.
The best jigsaw for each individual depends on a number of factors.
- What kind of projects are you anticipating?
- How often will you use the jigsaw?
- What is your budget?
It is important to answer these questions before making a decision. Entering the world of “jigsawing” without doing a bit of research can leave you paying too much by purchasing a jigsaw with features you will never need.
Why should You educate yourself about features?
It would be like buying a truck and paying for a 4×4 model, when chances are, you will never use it. It just doesn’t make sense.
Jigsaws have greatly evolved away from the primitive and inaccurate tool of their origin. Where originally used exclusively for rough-cutting curves, jigsaws are now used in many intricate applications requiring accuracy and splinter-free finishes.
This difference comes from a combination of small steps made to improve both the saws and the blades used in them. The cutting blade has always been a weak point for jigsaws.
Traditional blades are about 1/4” deep by 1/32” thick, not a very strong piece of steel especially when you’re pushing sideways on it trying to cut a curve.
Adding to this inherent weakness is the fact jigsaws only hold the blade on one end with the other being free-floating.
Check out our top jigsaw blades from the most popular brands.
Modern blades come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are designed to reduce friction. Additionally, all the saws we review are designed to use the T-shaped blade mounting which adds strength while blades are backed up with roller guides.
For the inevitable breaks which still happen, the Allen set screws have been replaced with a quick-release blade clamp.
It is essential to know which type of “shank” (blade) your jigsaw requires. Although, some jig saws are compatible with more than one shank. The shank type denotes how the blade will be fastened to the jig saw.
T-shanks and U-shanks are the most common; however, some brands may only use shanks specific to their jig saw models.
SAFETY FEATURES & CONSIDERATIONS
Being safe when using a jigsaw is very important. When you think about the function and type of projects jigsaws are used for (cutting curves, intricate designs that require a lot of changing direction, etc.) a heightened sense of awareness is required.
Here are a few general tips…
- Always plug power tools into a circuit breaker as a safety measure against electrical faults.
- Wear goggles to protect your eyes and a dust mask to prevent breathing in dust particles.
- Always read the manufacturers instructions very carefully and follow them.
- Watch a video or contact an experienced contractor for instruction.
- Don’t trip on your own electrical cord.
- Clamp your material to a firm workbench before starting.
- Use the guard at all times.
Cordless jigsaws have struggled to become as widely used as other cordless power tools. It makes sense when you think about it.
Jigsaws aren’t typically used like most power tools, where you cut your piece of wood or drill a hole and you’re done. Often times, the application of the jigsaw is for cut’s that will take time and expend more energy, thus decreasing the battery life much quicker.
However, with the recent surge of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, the cordless option is much more viable than ever before. Li-ion batteries have a much longer battery life and charge very quickly, allowing the jigsaw to be used for prolonged periods of time.
Some people don’t like Li-ion because they lose charge without warning, unlike the traditional Nickel-Cadnium (Ni-cad) batteries that will gradually lose charge.
In case you were wondering...
Ken from Home Depot describes the difference between a jigsaw and a scroll saw.
“One of the differences is a jig saw is hand held and a scroll saw is attached to a table. A scroll saw is a stationary or bench tool. Scroll saw can cut real small integral parts and can start in the middle of a piece of wood, as you can detach the blade and reattach through a hole that you cut or drill.
This allows you to start anywhere on your project piece. Typically a jig saw is designed more for heavier pieces of material. If you drill or cut a hole in your material a jig saw can also start in the middle of a project. However typical use, you start from an edge.”
THE JIGSAWS WE RECOMMEND
First things first, if you haven’t read our “best jigsaw buying guide”, scroll back up there and read it. It is full of information for the DIY’er, and can help educate you a little more before reading the best jigsaw reviews.
BEST JIGSAW – OVERALL
BOSCH JS470E 120-VOLT 7.0-AMP TOP-HANDLE JIGSAW
We have to give the best jigsaw overall to the Bosch JS470E 7.0 Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw. This jigsaw stands out among the rest for it’s durability, and the power to tackle just about any job you might have.
Bosch has really become a powerhouse in the power tool world, and the JS470E Jigsaw is certainly no exception.
- Tool-less blade-change system, fast insertion, blade ejection lever eliminates need to touch hot blade
- Four orbital-action settings provide different blade strokes for smooth to aggressive cuts
- Dial sets maximum speed and accelerator trigger controls operating speed
- Large, sturdy die-cast foot with steel insert and on-board bevel wrench, secure clamping system
- Precision-machined plunging system and low-vibration design enhances accuracy
|Product Dimensions||15.7 x 14.3 x 4.6 inches|
|Item model number||JS470E|
|Item Package Quantity||1|
|Warranty Description||30-Day money back guarantee- 1 year warranty|
You get exactly what you would expect from the Bosch JS470E 7.0 Amp Jigsaw.
The Bosch JS470E jigsaw has even had the ability to convert those faithful to other tool brands. Self proclaimed “MakitaGuy” sings the praises of this jigsaw after having to borrow from family/friends when his Makita jigsaw bit the dust.
Owned a cheap Ryobi previously and the comparison is so far apart they are like different tools.
The Bosch JS470E has plenty of features such as, tool-less bevel, a blower to clear dust away from your cut, and one-touch blade change.
What about the features?
“Out of the box it took 5 seconds to mount the blade and plug in. Quiet tool, sounds more like a sewing machine than a saw. I bought blades for wood, it cut through the wood like butter with no tare out due to the tear out guard it comes with. The blower is tied into blade speed, so don't expect the chips to fly away very well at low speeds.
-Matt S. - Rockler.com Review
I agree and do not quite understand why an LED light wasn’t included.
The older model Bosch 1590 Jigsaw was around for a long time and has years of reviews behind it. So, it is nice to know the newer Bosch JS470E Jigsaw lives up to the legacy of its forefathers.
Sometimes the amateur DIY’er will graduate to DIY professional, and with that graduation, comes the obligatory need to upgrade their power tools. Here is what one Amazon reviewer has to say about his upgrade experience.
“I have put about 150 hours on your excellent jig saw. I do very fancy patterns. I build customs railings out of cedar. people think that I used a scroll saw. I had a DeWalt before and there is no comparison.
Anotherer reviewer frequently mentioned how he disliked the jigsaw and it “was the last tool that I would reach for and tried to avoid using“.
After using the Bosch JS470E Jigsaw he changed his tone, and proudly proclaimed, “The jig saw is no longer my most hated tool. I now bestow that honor upon my crappy sander”.
Now that’s a powerful jigsaw, and I am not referring to its 7.0 amps…
BOSCH JS470E 120-VOLT 7.0-AMP TOP-HANDLE JIGSAW
BEST JIGSAW – BUDGET
BLACK & DECKER JS660 JIGSAW WITH SMART SELECT DIAL
Talk about a jigsaw on a budget… With the Black & Decker JS660 Jigsaw you are getting a tool on a budget, but without sacrificing too many features and quality.
Literally, this jigsaw is about 1/3 of the price of most other models, and admittedly, you are not going to have the same quality, durability, and features that higher priced have, but you aren’t getting a saw that falls apart in a day either.
- Smart Select technology automatically sets the jigsaw to optimize any cutting application
- Variable speed dial provides seven speed settings (800 to 3,000 rpm)
- Cuts wood, metal, and plastic, makes straight and curved cuts
- Powerful 5 amp motor, tool-free blade changes
- 2-year limited warranty, includes one blade
|Item Weight||5.8 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||13.1 x 4.9 x 9.7 inches|
|Item model number||JS660|
|Item Package Quantity||1|
|Warranty Description||2 Year Warranty|
The Black & Decker JS660 is the perfect saw for the occasional DIY’er on a budget.
I bought this to finish building my outdoor patio. I am not a contractor just a semi-serious DIY'er. Has plenty of power. Feels great in my hand. Love the variable speed and a very easy to use quick release system which makes changing blades a breeze. Cuts fairly straight.
Not Top of the Line - But Worth The Price
“This tool has an improved loading system for blades. Very easy and it also has on board blade storage. But it is an economy tool and lacks the versatility of a higher priced saw with a swivel head to get in to tight spaces. This is worth the modest cost.
"Suds - HomeDepot.com Review
The Black & Decker accepts both T-Shank and U-Shank style blades. Based on the feedback of customers who have tried both, the consensus is that using T-Shank blades is the way to go with this saw.
The Black & Decker JS660 Jigsaw is definitely worth a close look if your looking for a cheap saw with a nice track record.
BLACK & DECKER JS660 JIG SAW WITH SMART SELECT DIAL
Best Cordless Jigsaw
DEWALT DCS331M1 20V MAX LITHIUM ION JIGSAW KIT
The DeWalt jigsaw is super versatile and reliable. Take a look at this short video by the Workshop Addict at some of the features and see what it can do in action before we get into talking features:
As discussed earlier, cordless jigsaws can be either a great advantage or hindrance depending on the application and battery type. The Dewalt dCS331M1 20V Jigsaw comes with a Max Lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery and charger.
The lithium battery will charge quickly and last for much longer than the older Nickel Cadnium (Ni-cad) batteries.
The Dewalt DCS331M1 also comes as a “bare-tool” option for those who already own Dewalt power tools and only need the tool itself. The bare-tool option is less than half the price, and is the obvious choice if you own the Li-ion batteries.
- All-metal lever-action keyless blade change
- All-metal keyless shoe bevel with detents at 0Degree, 15Degree, 30Degree and 45Degree
- 4-position orbital action
- Adjustable dust blower keeps line of cut clear
- Variable speed 0-3,000 rpm for versatility
|Item Weight||6 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||16 x 14.2 x 5.2 inches|
|Item model number||DCS331M1|
|Batteries:||1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)|
|Item Package Quantity||1|
|Number of Handles||1|
|Warranty Description||3 year limited manufacturers warranty|
Anyone who has purchased cordless power tools in the past is well aware that the batteries are the majority of the cost.
I don’t really get it either...
One reviewer on HomeDepot.com describes his experience with the 20V battery:
“Very happy with the purchase! Battery life is excellent. I'm cutting 1/8 inch acrylic all day. I purchased an extra battery and go thru about 1 and a half batteries a day.”
I don’t disagree with that, although Li-ion batteries are much more expensive. Still, they are worth the upgrade.
The Dewalt DCS331M1 Jigsaw performs as well as any other high-end corded jigsaw. The majority of the differences are associated with the fact that it is cordless, and because of this, you are going to have similar issues as with any cordless power tool.
DEWALT DCS331M1 20V MAX LITHIUM ION JIGSAW KIT
THE BEST JIGSAW SUMMARY
- Determine whether your project actually requires a jigsaw. If you’re simply cutting 2×4’s in half, you’re working much harder than you should. Most simple cutting projects can be accomplished, and are much better served, using a circular saw.
- The brand and price range does matter. For example, if you’re starting a new hobby that requires constant use of a jigsaw, you better do your research (which hello…here you are) and purchase a quality product. If you just need to cut a few holes on occasion, a less expensive model should suffice. The best jigsaw for you doesn’t always mean the best jigsaw you can buy.
- Make sure you know what type of blade or “shank” your jigsaw requires. T-shank and U-shank are the most common.
- Be safe! Watch tutorials. Read the manufacturers instructions. Introduce yourself to your handy neighbor and let him show you his best practices…