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Choosing The Best Option
What goes into being the best, you may ask. The criteria we've looked at include:
Let’s face it, we’re all a little jealous of Tim “The Toolman” Taylor and his scope of hardware knowledge in Home Improvement. He’s got all the right tools at his fingertips, and he even has strong fashion sense, as seen with his nifty tool belt.
Well, with a new jigsaw, you can be your own Tim “The Toolman” Taylor.
You might be a first-time jigsaw user, or you’re a craftsman professional looking to add to your jigsaw collection. Either way, there are guidelines to jigsaw shopping that every buyer should keep in mind during their search.
Where do I Start?
When the price range for a new jigsaw can range from $30 to over $300, it’s important to know what you’re getting and why.
For beginners learning about jigsaws, you can easily find the power and versatility you need for under $100. These models might come without more advanced settings, but they’ll also be easier to handle, more compact, lighter in weight, and less overwhelming.
Of course, these same standards will not apply to professional carpenters who are looking for adjustability and precision.
Price is a good place to start, and it will also narrow down the features that may be available to your wallet.
What are the Different Parts of a Jigsaw?
These are some of the noteworthy features of a jigsaw that are less intuitive than the simple “on/off button.” These parts of the tool make each tool different.
Shoe: One feature that will be noted on all models is its beveling ability. Cuts made at an angle can be preset by some jigsaws, and the number of angle settings differs per tool. For instance, when cutting baseboards for a corner wall, you’ll need to cut each piece at a 45-degree angle. A jigsaw’s shoe makes this possible.
This shoe, or baseplate, rests securely on the material so that you are not “free-handing” an angled cut. A strong shoe and adjustable beveling settings can help you make those tricky cuts that are nearly impossible to be done without guidance. Adjust the angle of the blade, and the shoe will help the tool fulfill that promise.
The more preset angles a blade has, the more intricate, unique jobs you can accomplish.
Blade Clamp: Some jigsaws have a keyless blade replacement system while others require a key or tool to switch out the blades. This depends on the blade clamp that’s used in each model.
Keyless blades mean a more rapid blade replacement if you have a project that will require more than one blade. Locked blade systems might hold the blade more securely since it is depending on a key-and-lock system rather than a spring-loaded one.
Orbital Settings: Every jigsaw in our top 10 picks has 3 or more orbital settings to complete the job. The more orbital settings a jigsaw has, the more options you have on how the cut behaves.
Orbital action moves the blade forward as it simultaneously shoots back up to the surface, which means it is more aggressive and cuts more material in one stroke. Compare this to a shovel that digs up dirt: After you hit the dirt with the spade, you’d angle the shovel to pick up more dirt.
This can lead to a more efficient cut, but it does not equate to a smoother cut. The higher the orbital setting, the more aggressive and jagged the edge. When a jigsaw has more than 1 orbital setting, it gives the user the ability to choose efficiency over line smoothness, or vice versa.
Speed Settings: We’ve noted the speed variations of each jigsaw, because, once again, the higher range of speed means more options are available to the user. When you’re moving from project to project, the level of intricacy and strength of the materials will change.
Smaller DIY projects won’t require a huge range of speed settings. Heavier duty projects with changing variables would be made easier with more speed settings.
Motor Power: Higher motor power means that your jigsaw can make it through the tough stuff without needing to take a break.
Corded jigsaws will provide more power overall with a continuous power supply, but cordless jigsaws provide portability and convenience (you won’t have the fear of cutting your power cord in half while working). With heavy-duty projects, you may want to look for a corded jigsaw, whereas a cordless jigsaw would be great to use where power cords are limited.
The more power (amps for corded models, watts for cordless) your jigsaw has, the easier it will be to cut through more difficult materials.
The Wrap Up
Your new jigsaw depends entirely on what you plan to use it for. Use this guide as a reference to what you should look for, and then see how it fits into your DIY goals. For beginners, there’s no need to get overwhelmed with the wide range of settings that more advanced jigsaws offer. And for master craftsman, you should give yourself the versatility to turn that crown molding into a work of art.
This guide should give you the cheat sheet you’ll need to make the best decision. Compare our top 10 jigsaws, and start getting stuff done.
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