Power jigsaws buyer's guide
A must for any toolbox, jigsaws can make straight, curved and internal cuts through a variety of materials including wood and ceramic tiles. Unlike heavier circular saws that cut just straight lines, jigsaws offer the combination of cutting agility while remaining compact, portable and lightweight.
Corded or cordless jigsaw?
Battery operated jigsaws are convenient - they can be used in places you can't get to with a corded jigsaw. Although cordless models can cut tough materials, it drains the battery quicker so they're best for softer materials such as wood. They also have a limited run time. Mains operated, corded, jigsaws are better suited to tougher cutting jobs, such as thick boards, light metals and hard woods, or continuous use.
The higher your jigsaw’s power rating, the quicker and better performance it will give. A jigsaw's power is indicated by volts for cordless jigsaws and watts for corded. Generally, the more powerful the jigsaw, the more expensive it's likely to be.
A jigsaw's speed is measured in RPM. For occasional use, or for less demanding jobs, a single jigsaw speed may be sufficient. However, a variable jigsaw speed that can be adjusted for different materials is a good all round option.
Some materials such as wood benefit from a fast saw speed which reduces vibration, whereas other materials may get too hot and require a slower speed which also allows more control. When used with the right blades, variable speed provides cleaner, faster cuts through different materials.
As with any saw, the key to getting the best cutting result from a jigsaw is to choose the right blade for the job. Jigsaw blades are classified by the number of teeth they have per inch (TPI). The higher the blade's TPI, the smoother the finished cut, and the lower it is, the quicker the cut.
High-speed steel and bi-metal blades are used for wood and light metal. Cobalt steel blades are also good for wood and metal but are harder and more durable. Tungsten Carbide grit blades are used to cut ceramic and slate tiles.
Adjustable base plate
A jigsaw's adjustable base plate allows the operator to make bevel cuts up to 45° - essential for mitre cuts.
A dust bag collects sawdust and prevents it from obscuring the cut line, as well as maintaining a cleaner, more pleasant working environment. Some offer a vacuum cleaner attachment.
This creates a laser line from the jigsaw along the material to provide a guide for cutting a straight line.
Keep an eye out for a safety switch or lock-off button. Some saws have a soft start feature that starts the saw at a slower speed. Blade guard that shields you during use.
Power jigsaws features & videos
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