Jigsaws are an essential tool for anyone cutting wood and other thin materials. From simple DIY jobs to kitchen joinery and bespoke carpentry, jig saws are the best hand-held power tool for making precision cuts of wood and other thin materials. The best jigsaw for you depends on a variety of factors. These include your budget, the amount of expected use, and whether or not you require a cordless jigsaw. Discover what is the best cordless jigsaw, the best corded jigsaw, the best budget jigsaw, and the best professional jigsaw.
- What is a Jigsaw?
- Should I Buy a Jig saw or Circular Saw?
- Is a Corded or Cordless Jigsaw Better?
- What is SPM?
- Best cordless jigsaw
- Best corded jigsaw
- Best budget jigsaw
- Best professional jigsaw
What is a Jigsaw?
A jig saw is a hand-held power tool with a vertical cutting blade.
As opposed to a circular saw, jigsaws are not usually used for making perfectly straight cuts. Rather, they are useful for making precision cuts of various shapes and angles. In this case, it’s helpful to think of a jigsaw puzzle. Do you know those curvy cuts? Well, they were originally made by a jigsaw- hence the name!
Should I Buy a Jig saw or Circular Saw?
Well, both! While some jobs can be done with either a jigsaw or circular saw, the fact is that they are very different tools, designed for very different jobs. But if your budget only allows buying one tool, then you need to consider what sort of cut you require
If you are making mostly straight cuts, then a circular saw is your best option. Due to the blade shape, size, and the need to use both hands, circular saws are designed for straight cuts. But of course, you can make some different angled cuts too. It is much easier to make straight cuts with a circular saw than with a jig saw.
If, however, you require some variation in the shape and angle of your cuts, and you are working with thinner materials, then a jigsaw is a way to go. The vertical cutting blade and lightweight nature of the tool mean that you can cut with much tighter angles, and with greater precision than with a circular saw.
Is a Corded or Cordless Jigsaw Better?
Is the best jigsaw corded, or battery-powered? When considering whether to buy a corded or cordless jigsaw, you should consider where you will be making your cuts, and how long you will be cutting for.
I love battery-operated power tools. But as a general rule, corded cutting tools are better than battery-operated ones. This is because the cutting motion of these tools drains batteries so quickly. Cutting tools all require regular changing of batteries if you are using them for a longer period of time. So, if you think you’ll be using your jigsaw for extended periods of time, you should consider purchasing a corded jigsaw. On the other hand, battery-powered jigsaws are a fantastic option for those not using them for lengthy periods of time.
The location is also important. If you’ll be doing your cuts in a workshop or other set location, then a corded jigsaw is a fantastic option. You won’t have to search for charged batteries, and you can cut without worrying about running out of power. If, however, you require your jigsaw to be used in different locations, then the best jigsaw for you will be battery-powered.
What is SPM?
Strokes Per Minute: SPM is the number of times the jigsaw blade moves in 60 seconds.
Simply put, the greater the SPM, the faster your jigsaw will cut. Anything over 2,000 SPM is considered fast and will mostly just be used for cutting wood. If you want to cut plastic and non-ferrous metals, you will want to be sitting between 1,500 to 2,000 SPM. In order to cut fragile materials such as ceramic, tiles, and glass, you’ll need to slow it right down to around 500-1,000 SPM.
Most jig saws are designed for cutting wood and will boast very high SPM capabilities. If, however, you want to cut a broad range of materials, make sure you buy a jig saw that has a variable speed.
Best cordless jigsaw
The best cordless jigsaw, or battery-powered jigsaw, depends on what brand of battery-powered tools you already have. Batteries for power tools are very expensive. So, when you start your tool-buying journey, it is a good idea to choose a reputable brand that has a wide selection of tools, and then keep buying tools from that same brand.
One way of keeping cordless tools affordable is by buying them ‘skin only’. This means you are buying just the tool itself, without any battery. This is a major reason to choose your brand early in your tool-buying career, as you can get your other tools a bit cheaper. So, while we have selected a Dewalt as the best cordless jigsaw, we fully understand that you might not be running Dewalt batteries. That’s why we have included a Makita jigsaw and Ryobi jigsaw as honorable mentions because it’s more cost-efficient to stay with the same brand of battery tools that you already have.
When selecting the best cordless jigsaws, we decided on just a few factors. These factors are value for money, quality of product, and quality of the cut. The Dewalt and Makita jigsaws are more heavily biased to the quality side of the equation, while the Ryobi jigsaw gets in because it’s a great price.
|Barrel handle makes for easy maneuvering|
Long battery run-time
LED work light
Built-in dust blower
Lever action blade clamp
No dust-extraction port.
No lock-on switch
The best cordless jigsaw on the market at the moment is the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Jig Saw. This beautiful jigsaw has a super-efficient motor which busts the usual rule of buying corded cutting tools. The motor is efficient and the Dewalt batteries last for a very long time, even when using the blade with speeds up to 3,200 spm. Despite the long run-time, this jigsaw still packs plenty of punch, with many purchasers finding it more powerful than their corded jigsaws.
The DEWALT 20V MAX XR Jig Saw is a nice, compact size that allows for an easy grip, which lets you take greater control over the jigsaw and improves the shape and quality of your cut. It is powered by a variable speed trigger and dial and has 4-position orbital action in case you want to eat through the wood even faster.
It also has a metal, lever-action blade clamp which allows for easy blade changes. The shoe bevel adjusts very easily with detents at 0, 15, and 30 degrees, with a positive stop at 45 degrees to allow for easy adjustments. Also, there is a removable shoe cover that protects your materials from scratches. Additionally, our best cordless jigsaw has a built-in dust blower that removes dust and other debris from the cutting area and a built-in LED to improve the vision of your cut.
This jigsaw ticks a lot of boxes for us and is still quite affordable despite being a trade-quality jigsaw. The DEWALT 20V MAX XR Jig Saw is, however, missing a couple of features that we like to see in top-end tools. Firstly, there is no dust extraction port, which is a desired feature for many professional woodworkers. It is also missing a lock-on switch, which means you must keep holding down the trigger through the entire cut. Honestly, these omissions are fairly minor, and the tool is still an absolute ripper without them.
If, however, you are a serious woodworker in need of even greater control, you should consider looking at the Dewalt 20v Max Jig Saw with Barrel Grip.
The DEWALT 20V MAX XR Jig Saw is a premium cordless jigsaw that will leave you smiling as you work! Just remember, this jigsaw comes skin only, so make sure you have some Dewalt 20v batteries at home. Or, you can pick some up here!
For those who are already running Makita batteries, then the Makita LXT Lithium-Ion jigsaw is the best cordless jigsaw for you. This is a standard-looking jigsaw, but make no mistake, it is one hell of a great jig saw. It has a wide range of features that allow for premium cutting and comfort, due to reduced vibration and noise.
It has a variable speed motor that delivers from 0-2,600 strokes per minute, allowing for fast and efficient cutting, powered by a large 2-finger variable speed trigger. As well as straight cutting, the jig saw also offers 3 orbital settings and it has a toolless blade change lever.
Some users find this jigsaw heavier than others on the market, and it doesn’t have a brushless motor. However, if you can get past these small drawbacks, what you have left is a powerful, professional jigsaw at an excellent price. Makita is one of the world’s most trusted makers of quality power tools, and this jig saw is no exception. The Makita 18V Lithium-Ion series is one of the world’s largest 18v cordless line-ups and you won’t be disappointed if you pull the trigger on this one jigsaw. (See what I did there?)
Honourable Mention: Ryobi One+ P5231 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Orbital T-Shaped 3,000 SPM
When talking about battery-powered tools, I couldn’t resist throwing a Ryobi product in there somewhere. I am an unabashed fan of the affordable quality and massive range that Ryobi brings to the table. The Ryobi One+ Series has over 260 product solutions, which you can view here. These are great quality tools for someone interested in DIY and the vast number of products you can run from the same battery is quite astounding.
In terms of quality, the Ryobi One + Jigsaw continues the proud Ryobi tradition of well-priced, quality DIY tools. This jigsaw features four orbital settings so that you can adjust the speed for use with different materials; that is, faster for straight cuts in timber, and slower for curvy or thin metal cuts. There is also a helpful guide on the saw itself, indicating which is the best speed to use. The jigsaw also comes with a dust blower and LED light, both of which improve visibility when cutting. Also, there is a blade-saving base and a trigger lock system, which allows you to focus on controlling your cut, rather than holding in a button.
Ryobi One+ 18v Jigsaw Reviews
Purchasers of this tool have been almost universally pleased with the quality of the Ryobi One + jigsaw. They have found that the power has been surprisingly good for a battery-powered cutting tool, and the blades that come with the jigsaw are of high quality as well. The variable speed control with a guide is a great feature to allow DIYers to create higher quality cuts, and more experienced users have found this jigsaw to be on par with their saws from other brands, like Milwaukee and Bosh.
The trigger itself is not a variable speed trigger though, which means the tool is either on or off. While this was disappointing for a small selection of people, it has no impact on the tool’s ability to create quality cuts in timber. Obviously, this tool is on the cheaper end of the power tool spectrum and is therefore not going to last as long as the previously mentioned Dewalt or Makita tools. However, for the regular Ryobi user who needs a jigsaw on a semi-regular basis, the Ryobi One + Jigsaw is the best cordless jigsaw.
Best corded jigsaw
As we have mentioned earlier, it is generally a good idea to buy corded cutting tools because of the amount of power they draw. Another benefit of purchasing a corded jigsaw is that you are not bound to a certain brand of tool. Your power outlet doesn’t care if you are using Makita or Milwaukee! And in our experience, the best-corded jigsaw currently on the market is the Bosch 7.2 Amp Barrel-Grip Jig Saw
|Barrel handle makes for easy maneuvering|
Powerful 7.2 Amp motor
LED work light
Built-in dust blower
Fast lever changes
Double roller for precision cuts
|Dust blow could be more efficient|
Disappointing carry-case design.
The Bosch Barrel Grip Jigsaw is a professional, corded jigsaw that has superior handling due to its barrel grip. It has a unique double roller system, which minimizes blade deflection and results in amazing cut accuracy. In addition, this jigsaw has an aluminum gearbox and counter-balance mechanism, resulting in lower vibrations, and greater accuracy. It has a powerful 7.2amp motor which a variable speed trigger control, which is an unfortunate omission in many of today’s jigsaws.
Like many of the other tools we have reviewed already, the Bosch Jigsaw has a built-in LED light and dust blower, both of which result in improved cut visibility. The grip is nice and soft, which is rare in a powerful jigsaw, and the blades can be changed without the need for any extra tools. While on the topic of blades, the Bosch Jigsaw comes with an assortment of three extra T-shank jig saw blades. Keep in mind, however, that Bosch jig saws don’t accept U-shank blades.
Cabinet makers, kitchen and bathroom installers, and professional woodworkers are among those who have bought this premium tool and have enjoyed its benefits. Many users appreciate the barrel grip and low vibrations for improved precision, unlike many common jigsaws that have lots of movement due to excessive vibrations. The fast blade changes and tool-less adjustments are welcome innovations for heavy users.
BOSCH 7.2 Amp Barrel-Grip Jig Saw Reviews
In terms of negative experiences among the many purchasers of this product, some have found their jigsaw runs hot after long periods of use. In our experience, this is not a problem as you should be wearing gloves when cutting! Additionally, there have been some complaints about the quality of the storage box. To be honest, these both seem like very minor concerns, and the vast majority of owners love their Bosch Jigsaw!
Best budget jigsaw
If you’re looking to save some cash, you need to be quite discerning when looking for the best budget jigsaw. Sometimes, it’s not a terrible option to buy the cheapest tool you can find. For instance, if you’ve got a couple of rogue nails at home that need pounding in, then buy yourself the cheapest hammer you can. Similarly, if you just have one or two holes that need to be made, then a super-cheap drill will do you just find.
Jigsaws, however, are different because the quality of the tool directly impacts the quality of the finish. Cheap and nasty jigsaws are difficult (or impossible) to cut straight, and poor blade quality will lead to imperfections in your cut that will make you wish you spent a little more.
But fear not! Because it is possible to find a decent quality jigsaw on a tight budget.
Up to 3,000 SPM
Quick grip design
Accepts both U and T-shank blades
|Lots of vibration|
Cheap blades come standard.
The Black+Decker 5 Amp Jig saw is the best budget-friendly jigsaw on the market. In fact, it is the number one selling jigsaw on the Amazon marketplace, for good reason! It is simply a no-nonsense, easy-to-use jig saw that will give you quality cuts.
The 5 amp motor allows you to use variable speeds up to 3,000 strokes per minute and has non-marring pads which prevent marking your all-important materials. Surprisingly, this jig saw allows you to adjust the saw’s orbit, which means you can chew through those fast cuts quicker if you desire. Note: It’s best to turn the orbital setting to 0 when you require clean-looking cuts or working with metal. This jigsaw also accepts both U and T-shank blades; while this is a novel feature, we recommend sticking with the T-shank blades if possible.
The Black+Decker jigsaw can make up to 45-degree bevel cuts, has a quick grip design for easy release of the clamps, and is made out of sturdy materials. It is a corded jigsaw, which is almost always the best option for cutting tools, and it is powered by one of the world’s largest and most trusted power tool brands, Black+ Decker.
Amazingly, the Black+Decker also comes with a 4-pack of Irwin Quick-Grip clamps! The clamps have a soft surface to protect your materials, are easy to use, and are small, yet incredibly strong. I regularly use Irwin Quick-Grip clamps in my woodworking projects, and when using a jigsaw, are simply a must-have!
Black + Decker Jigsaw Reviews
Tens of thousands of people have bought the Black+Decker jigsaw and have left mostly rave reviews of the product. The majority have been very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the product, considering the price they have paid. Many purchasers were new to using jig saws and appreciated the simplicity of the tool, its power, and the ability to make nice, straight cuts.
Obviously, however, this is a budget tool and is by no means perfect. Some users have found that the vibrations made it difficult to cut straight, while the blades that come with the tool are of cheap quality. Cheap blades often have a hard time cutting through thicker materials, so we would recommend buying some new T-shank blades while you’re at it.
If you’re looking for a corded jigsaw on a budget, then the Black+Decker Jigsaw with Irwin Quick-Grip clamps is the best budget jigsaw for you!
Best professional jigsaw
The best-corded jigsaw and best cordless jigsaw sections considered value for money, quality of product, and the quality of cut as the most important factors. However, if you are looking for the best professional jigsaw, you won’t be looking too closely at the price. When considering the best professional jigsaw, only one-factor matters. Getting the best cut possible!
|Barrel handle makes for easy manoeuvring|
Long battery run-time
Powerful brushless motor
Twin LED work lights
Built-in dust blower
Lever action blade clamp
Variable speed dial
3 orbital settings
Tool-less blade change
Lock off switch
On/off switch rather than trigger
The Makita DJV181Z Brushless Barrel Grip Jigsaw is hands-down the best jigsaw I have ever used. It is smooth, powerful, and extremely accurate, making straight, clean cuts right away. The barrel grip on this jigsaw allows superior precision cutting, and the hand position means that you can cut for a long time without any feelings of discomfort.
The list of features in the Makita DJV181Z is enormous. It has a brushless motor, which means more power and durability. Also, it has a variable speed control dial between 800 and 3,500 SPM, ensuring that you can cut a wide range of materials. When the jig saw is not under any load, the no-load function automatically reduces motor speed to reduce the vibrations even further. When working, you can use the change lever to choose between 3 orbital settings if you want to chew through those cuts even quicker.
Additionally, the Makita DJV181Z has an improved connection for dust extraction, aluminum base bevels allowing for cuts from 0-45 degrees, both left and right, tool-less blade changing, lock-off switch, blower function, and two LED work lights built in. Seriously, when it comes to features, this tool has it all and is an absolute dream to cut with.
Makita Djv181Z Reviews
As with many new jigsaws, the Makita DJV181Z uses a button to start and stop the blade. This seems to be a cause for disappointment among other users of the jigsaw, presumably as they are not used to a different format. This is not surprising, as traditional-looking jigsaws have been around for decades without much change to the design or layout. To be sure, using a button to start and stop took me a bit of getting used to as well. I automatically kept feeling for some trigger to control the speed of the blade. But after using it for a while, I actually love the button-start setup.
At the risk of repeating myself, this jigsaw is an absolute dream to cut with and is easy to use for extended periods of time. If money is no object, then the Makita Djv181Z is the best professional jigsaw to buy right now.
Jigsaws are a fantastic tool that is a great addition to any tool collection. If none of our best jigsaw recommendations tickle your fancy, that’s totally fine! There are thousands of different models to choose from. If you already use reputable brand of battery-powered tools, such as Makita, Milwaukee, Metabo, Bosch, Dewalt, or even Ryobi, then you can’t really go wrong with just buying a jigsaw that fits with the batteries that you own
But don’t forget, we also offer free, personalized tool-buying advice! So, if you’re looking to buy a specific tool and want our opinion, get in touch here!