The best jig saws are power tools that can perform both curved and straight cuts, quickly and efficiently. They can also perform other custom shapes including plunge cuts, beveling, ripping, and crosscuts. These saws can be used to cut up a wide variety of materials including plastic, wood, ceramic tiles, metals, and more. Jig saws can perform the duties of several other types of power tools including router saws, scroll saws, circular saws, and even band saws.
We’ve reviewed the four best jig saws on the market to give you an in-depth look at what they have to offer in terms of speed settings, power, versatility, and ease of you. We’re confident that you’ll find the right model for you based on intended use, cutting needs, power, and of course, your budget.
Festool 561608 Carvex PSB 420 EBQ Jig Saw:
This is a jig saw that’s feature-packed. The kit comes with a variety of shoes, variable speed settings, and four orbital settings, however, if you prefer a hassle-free tool-less blade change design then this saw is not for you.
DEWALT DCS331M1 20V Max Lithium Ion Jigsaw Kit:
A cordless saw that’s packing some serious power, the variable speed settings, orbital settings, and the unexpected powerful motor will give you every reason to buy.
Bosch JS470E Top-Handle Jig Saw:
This is a feature-packed jig saw designed for both DIYers and professionals. It comes with an innovative tool-less blade system and a powerful seven-amp motor that allows you to effortlessly cut through almost anything.
PORTER-CABLE PC600JS Jig Saw:
A jig saw that offers the most bang for your buck, this budget-friendly model is versatile, powerful, and equipped with a ton of features that will make your job easier. You’ll love all the little extras such as the four orbital positions, shoe cover, and ergonomic design, and the ability to make smoother, more accurate cuts, easily, every time.
BLACK and DECKER BDEJS600C Jig Saw:
This jig saw may seem like a good deal at first but this is definitely a model you want to steer clear of. From the blade falling out during use to frequent stalling, this saw is a total waste of your hard-earned cash.
The Festool Carvex jig saw offers variable blade speed with an impressively fast 3,800 strokes per minute. It also offers triple blade guidance, built-in LED lighting for improved visibility, and brushless motor technology that provides more power in a lightweight saw that can handle any type of material you throw at it.
The included LED light setup consists of four lights that are located just above the blade under the housing. These lights are synchronized with the blade and will light up with each cut. The lights can also be switched off or set to continuous use.
Blade changes are made simple. The saw’s plastic arm slides forward in order to eject the blade, making blade changes fast and efficient. Reinserting the blade is easy, just push the blade in and twist. The blade then locks into place.
The saw also features four orbital settings. The zero setting allows the blade to go straight up and down, while settings one to three will get more aggressive in regards to how far the blade can be moved forward on the cut stroke.
The saw sports a curved dust shield which isolates the blade area and makes dust collection more efficient. The dust collection tube snaps into place, however, it’s not compatible with the bevel base.
The kit includes several specialized shoes. If you’re looking for a jig saw that can do more than just basic cuts, then your search stops here. The dimpled shoe is designed for rough surfaces, while the hard resin shoe features a smooth base with minimal friction and it’s used mainly on hard wood. The metal shoe is designed for cutting metal, while the stick fix shoe is great for cutting pre-finished materials.
The bevel base lets you make some crazy cuts that would be a real challenge with a lower priced jig saw.
You’ll need to use an Allen wrench for blade guide adjustment, which can be time-consuming. This means every time you want to make adjustments you’ll have to dig out an Allen wrench. We would’ve loved this model more if it featured a tool-less blade adjustment system.
The Carvex jig saw is durable, versatile and comes packed with a ton of features that allow you to easily handle even the most challenging cutting jobs. It’s a little on the pricey side, but the cost is an even trade for the saw’s versatility, ease of use, and smooth handling.
This Dewalt jig saw is a twenty-volt cordless model that comes equipped with a lithium-ion battery for a longer run time. It also features an all-metal action lever keyless blade change system, adjustable dust blower, four position orbital action, variable speed control for increased versatility, an ergonomic design complete with a rubberized comfort grip, and an all-metal keyless shoe bevel with detents found at forty-five degrees, thirty-degrees, fifteen-degrees, and zero-degrees. The saw weighs in at a little over six and a half pounds.
This is a jig saw with all the power you’ll need to handle tougher jobs. The battery platform is designed for long lasting use and charges in as little as twenty minutes. This saw will have no problem cutting nice straight forty-five-degree bevel cuts, quickly and efficiently.
The keyless blade change system works well and makes blade changes simple and fast.
Most users found the adjustable orbital action lever easy to use. The wide range of positions is a big selling point for consumers and one that allows the saw to handle jobs big and small. The surface blower is another great feature that helps to improve visibility, allowing you to effortlessly guide the blade.
The saw comes with a couple of shoe blades. The larger blade works to keep the saw blade perpendicular to the surface and also improves the user’s ability to cut straight lines. The other blade is the T shank precision wood blade which is the standard type that comes with most models of jig saws.
The twenty-volt max battery provides a longer run time and more power. The LED power gauge allows you to keep a close eye on the saw’s battery life.
Some consumers reported that the saw can struggle with sawing through thicker steel.
This Dewalt jig saw is surprisingly powerful considering it’s a cordless model. This is actually a cordless saw that can even measure up to some models of corded jig saws in this price range. For ultimate portability and freedom of movement, precise cuts, easy beveling and a wide range of other features that will make you glad you chose a cordless, we highly recommend this model to anyone who wants a cordless saw that’s packing serious power.
The Bosch JS470E top-handle jig saw is loaded with unique features that require no tools to use, such as the anti-splinter insert, ambidextrous lock-on button, die-cast foot with steel insert, and the non-marring shoe. It also comes with some Bosch standard features such variable speed settings and an ergonomic grip. This model also comes with a bevel wrench, carry case, adjustable dust blower, constant response circuitry, four orbital settings, multi-directional blade clamp, internal precision control, and a seven-amp motor.
This powerful and precise saw is able to maintain power and accuracy, making it a more powerful motor than what you’ll find on other saws in this price range. Additionally, you won’t have to deal with load SMP ranges, plus it can go up to sixty hertz. On wood, it offers a cutting range ability up to 7/8 of an inch.
For the max bevel cut the saw can go up to forty-five degrees.
The internal precision control clamps the blade at the foot, providing much-needed stabilization for the entire setup. Aside from accuracy and power, you’ll also enjoy more versatility thanks to the four orbital settings that will allow you to shift from mode to mode based on the type of material you’re cutting. You can achieve the smoothest cuts possible by shifting to different settings seamlessly. You can also quickly change speeds based on what you’re cutting.
Making these quick changes won’t require screwdrivers or wrenches. This tool-less system is a huge selling point for most consumers.
The durable cast aluminum footplate improves accuracy and handling.
While on aluminum the saw can handle up to 7/8 of an inch, on steel it can only handle around 3/8 of an inch.
This Bosch jig saw is packed with features designed for improved accuracy and ease of use. This is a great saw for DIYers and pros. We highly recommend this model for any DIYer or contractor on a budget looking for an easy to use model that can handle a wide range of materials.
The Porter-Cable jig saw is a true performer, featuring a heavy-duty six-amp motor that can handle even the toughest applications. This model offers variable speed settings that will improve your cutting experience, providing plenty of flexibility when you’re dealing with bigger sizes. This saw comes with four bevel adjustment options including zero degrees, fifteen degrees, thirty degrees, and forty-five degrees. The orbital settings allow you to customize the saw’s cutting performance from aggressive to smooth in order to fit the material and the type of results you want to achieve.
The saw features a shoe cover that will protect the shoe bevel when it’s not in use and also protects softer surfaces as you’re sawing. Without it, you simply wouldn’t be able to get a smooth cut.
Additionally, the soft ergonomic grip prevents user fatigue, allowing you to work for longer periods of time to get the job done.
The saw’s lock-on button allows you to switch on the saw for extended use so you don’t have to struggle with holding the trigger down and can instead focus on cutting. The built-in LED lights will improve cutting surface visibility, while the keyless blade changing system ensures safe blade removal and retrieval.
The heavy-duty six-amp motor can handle the most challenging applications. The saw is well-balanced and comfortable to use. You won’t struggle when wielding it because it’s not top heavy.
The biggest issue we found with this saw is the blade hold and release mechanism, which is made of a cheap plastic that seems pretty flimsy. This poorly made component can lead to a bent blade if you aren’t careful.
Despite its one small flaw, this Porter-Cable jig saw is still one of the best models on the market. A budget-friendly saw that still packs a punch in terms of power and versatility, this saw will work well for professional or home use.
The Black and Decker jig saw is powered by a five-amp motor and comes with a dust blower system, curve control technology for easy orbital adjustment and a keyless blade clamp for tool-free blade changes. All of these features make this Black and Decker model look good on paper, but when it came to putting this saw to the test, it failed in so many areas that we felt we had to warn consumers about this poorly made jig saw that will make more work for you in the end.
To start, the blade rests angled in the saw, forcing the saw out of alignment. There were also reports from several consumers that the saw sparks during operation.
The blade holder moves a lot during use, which causes the blade to come out of the guide. Not only does this issue make the saw totally useless, but it makes it dangerous as well. If you manage to avoid being injured you’ll just be left with a bent blade and plenty of regret over buying this saw in the first place.
Other consumers complained that the motor repeatedly quit on them, only moments after starting up.
The so-called ergonomic handle is very hard and awkward, making it difficult to grip when you’re slicing through tougher materials.
As you can see, this Black and Decker jig saw is a model you’ll want to steer clear of at all costs. Made from cheap plastic components, a weak unreliable motor, and topped off with a handle that’s uncomfortable to hold and use for longer periods of time, this saw is nothing more than a waste of your hard-earned cash. Take our word for it and choose a brand you can trust and a saw that won’t up and die on you moments after plugging it in.
Jig Saw Buying Guide
If you plan on buying a jig saw you should consider a few factors before you make your final choice. We recommend taking a closer look at power, max speed, grip type, variable speed setting options, and orbital settings.
There are also corded and cordless models available. Corded and cordless jig saws will feature different motor speeds that range from four to seven amps or eighteen to twenty volts. Volts describes motor power for cordless saws, while amps are for corded. Saws with more powerful motors are easier to use and can cut a wider range of materials.
Unlike most types of power tools, the speed settings for a jig saw are expressed in SPM instead of RPM. SPM stands for strokes per minute. Most saws on the market feature a make speed of three thousand SPMs, which should be more than enough for most home projects.
The number of variable speeds is very important and another spec you’ll want to pay careful attention to. Higher priced models feature anywhere from four to seven speed settings. A variety of speed settings equates to a more flexible saw that can make cuts that are more precise.
Cutting up hard steel requires slower blade reciprocation while cutting dense hardwoods requires a higher speed. While a variety of variable speed settings are important they’re not always essential, especially if the user mainly engages in repetitive and simple projects around the house. Saws that have fewer variable speed settings will work just fine in those cases.
While the average jig saw moves up and down, saws that feature orbital settings will allow the user to easily control a saw’s sideways, forward and back movements using a circular motion. Saws that are equipped with orbital action utilize an oscillating mechanism which moves the blade in a tight circular motion while it reciprocates. The blade moves back on the return stroke and forwards on the upstroke. This helps the saw to cut more aggressively. Working with a variety of materials will require different degrees of orbit, so a good jig saw will come equipped with a lever that will allow you to select the amount of orbit needed. The more orbital settings the better. If you often work with the same types of materials routinely, then you won’t need many orbital settings.
What About Bevel Cuts?
Most models will feature a blade that spends the majority of its time placed square at its base, however, many saws have a blade that can be tilted for bevel cuts. Generally, just loosening a screw will allow the base to tilt up to a forty-five-degree angle in either direction.
Many jig saws feature an onboard Allen wrench for easier base adjustments, while others come with a lever that will tighten or loosen the base for tilting. On these saws, the base can slide back and forth, locking at forty-five degrees or ninety degrees. This eliminates the need for a protractor or square to set the angles. When you slide the base back and lock it, you can saw right up a vertical surface, which can come in handy when you’re working inside a closet or tight cabinet space. The more bevel settings a saw has, the more flexible the saw will be. Some provide smaller increments of fifteen or thirty degrees, offering a higher level of precision.
Many higher priced saws also feature a smooth plastic insert or cover on the baseplate so the saw won’t scratch such delicate surfaces as plastic laminate or veneer.
The more orbital and speed settings a jig saw has, the better it will be for cutting through different types of materials. If the saw only has a couple of orbital or speed settings it might be too fast or slow for certain types of materials.
If you have a hard time finding information on a particular model’s cutting performance, just look at the variable speed and orbital settings to make an estimation regarding performance and versatility.
Curved and Straight Cuts
Most jig saws can perform flawless straight cuts; however, lower priced models may struggle with curved cuts. Whether or not a jig saw can handle curved cuts will mostly depend on the orbital settings. A straight cut requires more orbit. So, if the jig saw comes with several orbital settings you can expect it to perform reasonably well when it comes to curved or straight cuts.
To make the blade swapping process easier, a good jig saw will incorporate a quick release blade device, which won’t require the use of tools to operate. With this feature, all you’ll have to do is pull a lever or press a button.
In many cases, especially if you’re working in a tight space, seeing the cutting line can be a big problem. Some jig saws come with LED lighting systems which will solve this issue.
Getting dust and debris out of the way will not only make sawing easier, it can also be essential if you’re trying to see where you’re cutting. Some saws will come with a dust collector or blower which will improve visibility. Dust blowers apply streams of air to get rid of dust, while dust collection systems will suck the dust up. Dust collectors are considered the best option because they minimize the risk of debris flying into the user’s eyes. However, the downside is that they’re usually sold separately or only found on higher priced models.
A jig saw that vibrates too much can have a negative impact on precision and accuracy. Advanced jig saws offer vibration reducing features that will make the saw more comfortable to hold and easier to control.
Cordless Charge Time
High-quality cordless jig saws won’t take much time to charge and offer a decent operating time. Most users recommend purchasing extra battery packs so you won’t have to wait around for the battery to charge before continuing your work. Charge time can take anywhere from twenty minutes to a couple of hours. The run times will vary. Of course, higher priced cordless jig saws will offer longer run times.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to find a jig saw that’s powerful and dependable. We’ve found that even higher priced saws will come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. What matters is that you find the best jig saw that will work for your cutting needs, job size, and your budget.
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