When you think of cutting wood, you will undoubtedly think of a table saw first, and rightly so. This will certainly be the fastest way to cut wood.
But what if you want to saw curved lines?
Or when you don’t have space in your workshop or the budget for a table saw?
Then a jigsaw is certainly a good alternative for your woodworking workshop.
In this blog, you will discover what types of jigsaws exist and how to make the best choice when purchasing, so you have exactly the right cutting tool for your woodworking projects.
What is a jigsaw?
A jigsaw is a portable saw and consists out of an electric motor that drives a reciprocating saw blade.
The sole plate of this power tool glides over the wood while the reciprocating blade cuts through the wood.
In some cases, this sole plate can be placed at an angle so that angles can be cut that usually amount to 45 degrees.
This makes it possible to make miter joints with the jigsaw.
With the jigsaw, you can cut irregular curves in wood, plastic, metal, or even ceramic tiles, which is not possible with a traditional straight saw or miter, or circular saw.
This makes the jigsaw an excellent and versatile tool that is ideal for the novice DIYer or newbie to woodworking but is just as well used by professionals.
Why do you need a jigsaw?
The jigsaw is also the most accessible in terms of machines because the purchase price is much lower than, for example, the table saw.
But not only the lower purchase price can play a role in why you would choose a jigsaw, but also because it is safer and easy to use.
That is why a jigsaw is a power tool that is more easily bought by the new DIYer or woodworker.
What type of jigsaw do you need?
To know what type of jigsaw you need, you have to ask yourself a few questions.
- Will you buy a classic jig saw with a cord or do you opt for a cordless one?
- What material should you especially cut with your new jig saw?
- How often do you use this power tool?
Asking yourself these questions will automatically lead you to the jig saw that best suits your workshop and your woodworking projects.
Below I will go into all these questions in more detail so that you can easily find the jigsaw that is best for you.
Corded or cordless?
I will start with this question because I believe this is the first thing you should think about when buying a jigsaw.
Will you always use this tool in your workshop or rather in places where there is not a power source nearby?
Or are you someone who is annoyed by the fact that the cord is always in the way?
For a long time now, you can purchase jig saws that are powered by a battery.
In the past, cordless power tools weren’t as powerful as classic corded ones, but nowadays, that difference has been completely offset by the improvements made to the batteries.
So when it comes to power, don’t hesitate between cord or cordless jigsaws.
The big difference between corded or cordless is in the price. A cordless one will always be more expensive than a corded jigsaw.
So think carefully about these two options and decide what has a priority for you.
Below, I will post a comparison of the two jigsaws, one corded model and one cordless model.
What materials are you going to cut
The next step in deciding which is the best jigsaw for your woodworking workshop is to think about which material you will be cutting the most.
When you know the answer to that question, you can adjust your choice accordingly by choosing the power tool based on the following features.
- Motor power
- Orbital action
- Variable speed
- Depth of cut
The harder the material you will be cutting, the higher the amperage power should be.
Look for jig saws with a motor power of 7 amps.
Cheaper models will have a motor with fewer amperes and are more suitable for sawing soft materials such as plastic or softwood.
The difference between a standard action jigsaw and an orbital action one is the movement the blade makes.
On the jigsaw with a standard action, the blade only moves in an up-and-down motion.
On a jig saw with orbital action, the blade tilts slightly forward during the upward movement and slightly backward on the downward movement.
When you look at the blade on the side while cutting, it will make an elliptical movement.
The advantage of this is that the wear of the blade is minimized and the cuts will usually also be more aggressive. That makes this cutting tool more efficient when you have to cut thicker material.
However, in some cases, it is advisable to turn off the orbital action when you want to make precision cuts.
If you also want to cut hard materials like metal, a variable speed is recommended.
That way you can decrease the speed of the blade, so you can cut hard materials or curved lines in the most efficient way.
However, if you are always going to saw straight lines in wood, a variable speed is not something you have to worry about.
Depth of cut
The cutting depth of these power tools will vary from model to model.
With most jigsaws, you can cut soft materials with a thickness of up to 5 cm.
When you start cutting hard materials, such as metal, you will be able to cut a maximum of 1.5 cm thick material.
So before you buy, check which thicknesses of materials you will usually cut.
Note: beware if you want to cut thick material!
The blades can have a tendency to bend resulting in angled cuts or even breakage of the blade.
How often will you use the jigsaw
DIYers will of course use this power tool less often than professionals.
Before you buy, check how often you will use the jig saw in your woodworking workshop.
By purchasing a more robust model, the price will be higher, but it will eventually last longer.
However, if you use the jigsaw every now and then, the high price is too much of your budget, and you can look for a cheaper model.
Best buy for DIY
Another tip before you buy
Any cutting tool is a potential hazard, including the jigsaw.
It is therefore good to take a moment to consider the safety features of this power tool. Compare different models and check whether there is, for example, a safety switch or a soft start function.
If you want to know more about how to determine the right blade for your jig saw, be sure to check out my blog: Choosing the perfect jigsaw blade in 3 steps.
On that blog there is also a handy downloadable guide available
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I hope this information on how to find the best jigsaw was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration