Jigsaws are very popular and often used electric tools. But beware, in this area, buy cheap, it is often buying twice.
Well, if you only need to make straight cuts like the legendary Route 66 in the USA, no problem with an entry-level, otherwise, aim higher. This is what explains this buying guide concocted for you.
Before you buy your jigsaw, ask yourself what kind of job (s) you want to use. Overall, there are 3 broad categories of users.
First of all, those who use jigsaw from time to time for punctual work, even large jobs like a wall panel, but not regularly. Entry-level can then be enough.
Then there are the regular handymen, those who do anything and everything (does not see anything derogatory, do not get angry!). These people need a good machine robust and easy to use that will follow them in all their work and desiderata.
Finally, there are semi-professional handymen, for more demanding use. This category of buyers is looking for quality, durability, robustness and the ability to adapt to different styles of cuts. These users are not looking for gadgets, they have understood for a long time that they do not serve much, if not to raise the purchase price.
Jigsaws are as popular and popular as vacuum cleaners. Women who have made a great success at DIY are far from the last to use them. A lightweight, portable jigsaw is the best choice. As soon as you talk about DIY of course, whether you are a simple amateur, a good handyman or a professional, you can not work without a good jigsaw.
We need a tool that is precise, fast and powerful enough, but also quite fine in its cutting so that we can do a good job. There are cuts that neither a circular saw nor a band saw can achieve. The jigsaw must today be able to make angles of curved cuts or even bevel cuts.
Invented in the 1940s, the jigsaw has become extremely popular. Who does not have his own jigsaw at home? So there is a huge market and well stabilized since then with obviously all kinds of new innovations every year, some useful and effective for DIY, others useful to raise the price of the manufacturer.
To choose a jigsaw, there is of course the price factor, the concepts of motor, power, weight, but also the aesthetics, comfort and some ergonomic design elements.
If we just take the price factor, do not believe that entry-level are completely shabby. They have at least 50% of the features that everyone else has, even the most expensive ones. And they do the job.
So why such a difference in price? Well, it’s 50% more features that drive up the price. I would not be complete if I did not talk about robustness, it counts in the price, that’s for sure.
One of the points to study is that of power. When we consider the engine, we must not only consider the power, but also how the engine is stabilized and consistent with the entire aircraft. How is the general chassis designed and balanced? It is the good or the bad management of the vibrations which depend on it.
It must also be considered how and with what sensitivity the trigger of the device operates the engine. How does the device vibrate? We must also consider noise. It’s difficult to do in a big DIY store that’s why this buying guide and this comparison come in reinforcement.
Of course, the more powerful a jigsaw is, the better it will be in cutting certain materials. Sawing plywood or sawing oak is not the same thing. With a jigsaw we do not talk about revolutions per minute (RPM) in terms of power, but beats per minute.
In English, the term is SPM (strokes per minute). This describes the number of translations that will be performed in one minute. We do not use the same speed for metal (for which we will be less fast) than for oak which will require a great speed of the blade.
Small note that is important: you will find the expression AMP which is not related to the amperage as one might think, but to the amplification. Generally, the costing is from 4 to 7 and position 5 is really sufficient in most cases, whatever the material that will be cut.
This expression refers rather to the overall power of the device, its ability to amplify and accompany the stroke and the translation of the blade.
The power of the engine will play on the quality and smoothness of the cut, that’s for sure. The blade – I talk about it later – also plays an important role.
But if your machine vibrates too much, if it has some elements (screws, outgoing elements, wire placement) that hinder the sliding of the tray all along the object to be cut, you will have trouble to have a precise cut.
Sometimes it’s inevitable, but nothing is worse than having to twist in all directions to get to the end of his cut. Hence the next criterion.
Ease Of Use And Versatility
The general aesthetic is important, but also the elements that facilitate or hinder the grip. Over time, you can adapt to all jigsaws, but some are really much more enjoyable to use than others.
Jigsaws a little more expensive have so-called “orbiting and pendular” functions that are to say that the blade can be turned at a more or less important angle with often several positions, and the pendulum because it has a forward movement /back. Hence the ease of cutting roundings or angles.
But beware, these so-called orbital functions are not suitable for all materials, such as steel for example. Sometimes, too, precision can suffer a little.
For ease of use, we also think of the change of blade. This is an important point because sometimes, especially in the old days, it was the cross and the banner to change a blade. Today, it’s normally much easier for all models.
On the other hand with a wireless jigsaw, it will be necessary to consider the amperage and the voltage. A power of 18 volts will be enough in most of the applications that are being asked today for a wireless jigsaw. Moreover it is a question that must be asked: do I take a “with wire” or a “wireless”?
In the past, all “wireless” hardware was unable to do a long and difficult task. They were running out of breath very quickly. Today is not the same thing at all.
Thanks to the extremely powerful and durable batteries, you can saw for a long time with a wireless jigsaw. The few operations that are not open to them are not routine operations and practiced very regularly. But some specific applications will impose a jigsaw wire because they will rotate the saw for a very long time.
It’s up to you to see what use you make of your jigsaw. In addition, today the battery packs are powerful and much lighter. The choice will therefore be based on price, weight (because the wireless jigsaw is a little heavier) or the freedom you will not be bothered by a wire.
A small thing to know also about wireless jigsaws is that manufacturers often impose their own battery packs. The more DIY materials you have, the more batteries you will have in your garage or workshop.
So sometimes it’s a good thing to stay on the same brand for DIY electrical equipment (drill-driver, jigsaw, sander, etc.)
Other Small Features
If you want to pay more for your jigsaw, you can always add LED lights, dust blowers and other gadgets that are pretty, but are not always necessary.
It is true that today we love LED lamps so do not hesitate if you have the means, indulge yourself. Just know that it will not make it easy for you to cut, I like to say it right now …
As for the dust, there is always when you tinker and especially when you saw. Some devices offer fairly efficient recuperators, although it is sometimes more gadget than anything else. Finally, the bevel cut is sometimes proposed. This can be useful if it is well thought out and well integrated with the whole.