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A guide to buying the Best JigSaw For The Money in America

A jigsaw is an interesting tool. I first encountered it in 1986 during my woodwork apprenticeship. Basics of the jigsaw haven’t changed that much from 1946 when Albert Kauffmann an engineer from Switzerland replaced the needle of his wife’s sawing machine with a blade. Commercial grade jigsaws were made by Scintilla as “Lesto jigsaws” in 1947. By 1954 Bosch acquired “Lesto” and begin to make the jigsaw under their brand.

best jigsaw

best jigsaw

If you are in a hurry, our top pick for the best jigsaw for the money is the Skil 4495-02 6.0Amp while the Dewalt DCS331Bs is our choice for the top cordless jigsaw.


Here are the Top 3 Best Corded Jigsaws with Reviews

1. Skil 4495-02  6.0Amp – Top Pick for the best jigsaw for the money

This is the top quality jigsaw in the market. I bought one for my woodwork classes. It works well for the good price. The laser guide is very useful for beginners. This feature gives confidence to the novices.

Type: Corded

Specifications

  • 6Amp Motor
  • Built-in laser guide
  • 4 position orbital cut
  • Variable speed trigger
  • Custom tool rest
  • 120 volts.
  • BOTH U shank and T shank

Why it stands out.

The price is really good. Secondly, the Skil 4485-02 is user-friendly. Making it suitable for professionals and novices.

The reason this tool stands out for me is the 6 AMP motor. For its price, this tool is good value for money. Such a motor gives it extra versatility. Variable speed is also there. This is an important feature when high precision is required.

Thirdly, the Skil 4495-02 has 4 settings orbital action. Another good feature is the stable foot design. Which brings more control during use and prevents jagged edges.

Moreover, the tool is well designed with a custom-molded rest. This prevents one from accidentally damaging your work material.

Furthermore, it makes bevel cuts of 22.5 and 45 degrees. Blade change is tool-less. So it reduces downtime ( very important in a commercial setting). As if that’s not enough convenience there is onboard blade storage.

Lastly, it can accept both U Shank and T Shank blades. So one is not limited by blade type. With such flexibility you and power you can tackle wood, tile, metal or laminate flooring.

Things I did not like

The blade guide-wheel is not stable. It wobbles from time to time. This is an area of concern because it negatively affects accuracy. Especially if you do high precision work like furniture making.

Overall score 9/10

This is the best tool for both professional and novices, truly a top-rated jigsaw for the money.

2. Bosch 7.0 Amp Corded JS470EB

I see this as the second-best jigsaw. My business partner Frank owns one in his workshop. It is a very robust tool. However, I am of the opinion that the price tag is too high. The Skil 4495-02 can do the job for almost 1/4 of the price.

Type: Corded, Top handle

Specifications

  • Motor:7AMP
  • Voltage 120 V
  • Tool-less blade change
  • 4 orbital-action
  • Variable speed dial
  • Constant Response circuitry -maintains desired speed for consistent performance and precision.
  • Adjustable dust blower keeps cutting line clear.

Why it stands out.

Frank is a furniture maker. He always speaks highly of the Bosch’s heavy-duty capabilities. It delivers the highest precision. This is due to its counter-balancing mechanisms which reduce vibrations. The Bosch JS470EB has rugged durability. Its footplate arm will withstand up to 546lbs of load. During work, it delivers raw power of up to 3100 SPM. This makes it able to cut wood up to 5 7/8 inches thick. The Bosch JS470EB also has a dust blower, variable speed and orbital action with 4 settings. It’s comfortable to use over prolonged periods because of a trigger lock.

Things I did not like.

I personally do not like that its heavy. Given that it’s a handheld tool. When one needs to work for long hours (eg when working on a tight delivery deadline) weight becomes an issue. Secondly, it has no LED guide light. I found that disappointing for the price tag. I also noticed that the dust blower is underpowered. It does not do adequate dust removal.

Scored 8/10 (Because of price tag, weight and absence of LED light.) It’s ideal for experienced furniture woodworkers.

3. Makita 4329k 3.9 – the best budget jigsaw

This is the third popular jigsaw in the US at the moment. I recently received it as a Christmas gift from my niece. I have only owned it for a few days. For the sake of this review, I put it through a few tests.

Type: Corded

Specifications

  • Variable speed
  • 3.9 Amp motor
  • 3 Orbital settings
  • Large trigger switch
  • T Shank blade type.

Why it stands out

It comes with a very nice storage case. During use, it performs very well. The Variable speed control ranges from 500 up to 3100SPM. Its orbital setting has three stages. Moreover, its adequately powered by a 3.9 Amp motor. Another good feature is a trigger lock mechanism. This makes it ideal for continuous use.

I also liked the rubberized grip handle which makes it comfortable to hold.

It is the best budget jigsaw. The price is very reasonable. In the hands of an experienced craftsman, the Makita can perform many tasks done by the high-end ones.

Things I did not like

Blade change is not tool-free. Things can be problematic for novices. The absence of a work light is also another problem. One has to have in mind the fact that it’s a lightweight jigsaw. The 3.9 Amp motor struggles with thicker wood.

Score 7/10 (lack of LED light and small capacity.) However its ideal for DIY’s and professionals alike.


And here are the top 3 best cordless jigsaws for the money

1. Dewalt DCS331B Cordless Jigsaw – The Best Cordless Jigsaw for the money

This is the best portable cordless Jigsaw in the market. I encountered it at a woodwork fair. I was impressed by the power it has. It is as powerful as some corded ones.

Type: Cordless, Top Handle

Specifications

  • 4 position Orbital action
  • Battery-powered
  • 20 volts
  • Dust blowing

Why it stands out.

DeWalt did a good job on this jigsaw. As I mentioned earlier it is adequately powered. The 20Volts lithium-ion battery delivers plenty of power for most professional tasks.

Its Speed control is very impressive reaching up to 3000 SPM. It has 4 setting orbital action. The DCS3311B also has tool-less blade change. It also has an adjustable dust blower. Moreover, it is cordless. This brings extra versatility.

I am considering buying it at the moment of writing this article, the price is amazing for its functionality.

Things I did not like

I have questions pertaining to the durability of this tool. Given its price tag. Secondly, some users have complained that it struggles to cut metal. I personally wouldn’t hold that against DeWalt because it’s a battery-powered machine.

Score 8/10

2. Makita XVJO3Z 18 volt LXT Lithium-ion JigSaw

This is the second-best portable jigsaw. It is also adequately powered. It’s a very convenient tool. I encountered it while subcontracting. Makita has always made exceptional tools and you will not be disappointed by the XVJ03Z.

Type: Cordless

Specifications

  • 3 orbital settings
  • Tool-less blade change system
  • Variable speed
  • Lithium battery 18 V
  • T shank blade
  • NO variable speed control

Why it stands out.

The XVJ03Z has the best specs in the portable subcategory. Its Makita 18 V lithium-ion batteries have the fastest charge time in their category. This translates to less charging time and more working time. Another outstanding feature is the Makita Start Protection Computer controls. This technology enables the tool and the battery to exchange real-time data. As a result, the XVJ03Z is protected against overloading, overheating and over-discharging.

In terms of performance, it delivers up to 2600 SPM. This is enough power to achieve many tasks in the workshop. It has 4 settings orbital action.

For handling. I noticed that it has a two-finger variable speed trigger switch. This is easy to handle even with gloves. The handle itself is a Rubberized soft grip handle for comfort.

Lastly, it has a good LED light for illumination.

Things I did not like

The installed battery has a short lifespan. I recommend buying 5 AH batteries from other Makita tools. Its lack of variable speed control is concerning. As a result, it’s not ideal for inexperienced users.

Score 7/10(Battery issues)

3. Ryobi One+ P523 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless Orbital T Shank.

I have been a fan of Ryobi for a very long time. The One+ P523 is a robust tool. I bought one. I use it for jobsite work.

Type: Cordless

Specifications

  • 4 Orbital Settings
  • Built-in dust blower
  • LED lighting
  • Blade saving
  • Trigger lock system
  • 18 volts

Why it stands out.

It’s very compact. This makes it ideal for working in tight spaces. The 4 setting Orbital action adds more functionality to this jigsaw. Another impressive feature is the trigger lock system. This makes the Ryobi One + P523.ideal for sustained long cuts. This is a feature which can be appreciated when working on a high tempo commercial workshop. Its dust blower is very effective so one is guaranteed a safe working environment. Effective dust collection means a clearly visible cutting line. Which contributes to better quality cuts. The blade saver innovation features a drop base design that allows users to adjust the base to utilize unused teeth.  Its variable speed ranges between 1100 and 3000 SPM. Another cool feature is Speed Match. This allows you to adjust the amount of orbiting action in your cut. Bevel cuts can be accomplished up to 45 degrees both left and right. Lastly, LED light guide makes. This feature brings increased accuracy.

Things I did not like

You have to replace the shop blade. The biggest shortcoming of this jigsaw is the sight line blower. It has a few technical issues. However, for a $59 saw this is something not very major. I also feel let down by the absence of any onboard blade storage for this model.

Score 6/10. (Blade, blower issues and lack of onboard storage)  This is a good tool for hobbyists. Professionals can use it as a jobsite jigsaw. The fact that its battery-powered  limits its ability to work continuously.


Functions of Jigsaws

Jigsaws are great at cutting curves in wood. With the right blade, they can cut steel, fibreglass and even drywall. They are the best portable tool for effectively cutting curves. All this makes a jigsaw the best handheld power tool. A jigsaw cuts faster than a hacksaw or handsaw. This saves time and energy.

Though jigsaws are small in size, they can still cut pine and plywood. The biggest benefit of a jigsaw is that one can start cutting in the middle of a board.

Given that it is relatively affordable and small. Some refer to it as a poor man’s bandsaw. In capable hands, a jigsaw can do all the cuts of the more expensive and heavier bandsaw. Besides working as an alternative to the bandsaw. A jigsaw is meant for cuts like pocket cuts, inside circular cutouts, and all manner of trimming inside built-in cabinets and furniture

Below, I am going to give a review of the most important key features of a jigsaw. Secondly, we give a run through of key performance characteristics.

Jigsaw Features and Accessories

  • Handles. Given that a jigsaw is a handheld tool. The handle needs to be comfortable. It also needs to allow solid grip is essential to control the movement of the tool during cutting. Most jigsaws have rubber-like overmold covering their handles. These overmolds provide a softer to the touch feel than plastic. These features also dampen vibration slightly.
  • Triggers and Tigger lock. Preferably a good jigsaw must have a wide trigger. Wider triggers offer better grip and control. Narrower triggers can be clumsy and hard to hold while cutting. The trigger lock is another handy feature. If one is working on a prolonged cut. Trigger lock “locks’ the trigger into position. This means one no longer needs to manually hold down the trigger.
  • Motor size. This determines the cutting power.  7.0AMP is the highest for corded versions. More power means increased versatility. For cordless versions, 18 Volt versions are the highest powered.
  • LED guide light. I cannot emphasize it enough, especially for inexperienced craftsmen. A guiding light makes cutting easier. It reduces the chances of errors. In woodworking business, errors mean wasted wood and money.
  • Adjustable Orbital action. This feature makes the blade follow a circular movement which enables one to saw faster in a straight line. More orbital action gives faster sewing. Note that the less orbital action you use, the more accurate your cut. A good jigsaw needs to have adjustable orbital action. Most saws have four orbit settings: 0(no orbit) or 1(for cutting metals and plastic) or 2 for fine and curved cuts and 3 (maximum orbit) for faster rougher cuts.
  • Variable speed. This feature lets one adjust the sawing speed for different materials. A slower speed is recommended for hard harder materials like hardwood. For practical purposes. The variable speed lets you start cutting slowly and precisely at first. Then move up to full speed when the saw is on the right track. I have also observed that saws with the highest maximum speed don’t necessarily cut faster than slower ones.
  • Soft start. Soft start is essential. It can prevent the saw from suddenly jerking if you start cutting with the blade in contact with the material. Some might find it irritating though. This is because one has to wait for the saw to come up to speed each time you start a cut.
  • Easy Blade change. This is self-explanatory. Difficult blade change can be frustrating and time-wasting. Ideally, tool-less blade change is the best.
  • Dust Blower. Sawdust is a menace for woodworkers. Firstly, it a health hazard. Secondly, sawdust can cover the cut-line making it difficult to see. This has a negative effect on the quality of cuts. Therefore, a good table saw should have good dust blower. In a jigsaw, the dust blower is linked to the motor. This makes its blowing capacity linked to motor speed.
  • Blade. For many years, the cutting blade has been a weak point for jigsaws. This is because of very thin blades  (1/4inch to 1/32 inch). It’s done so that they can easily warp sideways when trying to cut out a curve. However, this flexibility makes it difficult to keep the edges square. On top of that, a jigsaw blade is secured on one hand with the other being free-floating. The blades come in a variety of sizes and shapes. A standard blade is designed with the teeth facing in such a way that the blade cuts in an upstroke. This means any tear-out will be on top of your material. Whereas a reverse tooth blade has the teeth facing the opposite direction and cuts on the downstroke.
  • Blade shanks. Shank type describes how the blade will be fastened to the jigsaw. They are two types T shank and U shank. Though most modern jigsaws are compatible with both. One still needs to check shank type when buying. You might be curious of what difference does shank type make. T shanks are the commonest because they have a “tool-less” blade change.  Whereas U shank blades require an Allen wrench to change blades.

Getting a good Jigsaw in the market for low budget

When buying a jigsaw there are basically two types of barrel and D-handle or top handle. Most manufacturers make have each type for every model. Top handle jigsaw is the more traditional one. Most craftsmen say that barrel handle one is easier to control. I personally think it’s just a matter of preference.

The second subcategory for jigsaws is cordless and corded. This is a significant difference. Cordless versions are battery-powered while corded ones need to be connected to a power source. These differences also affect performance. Cordless versions are usually underpowered compared to the corded ones. However, some manufacturers are bucking the trend. We will see on the product review that some cordless jigsaws are adequately powered. The cordless one has the advantage of increased versatility. I carry mine when I have job-site work. Let us do a review of 6 of the top Jigsaws in the US.

Notable jigsaw brands

  • Makita. Founded In 1915. Makita has been a go-to brand for power tools. Most of its product offerings are of very good quality.
  • Bosch. As I mentioned earlier Bosch was the pioneer brand for commercial jigsaws. The German firm has a reputation for high-quality products. One won’t go wrong with their power tools.
  • Skil
  • DeWalt. It was founded in 1924. By that time it created a Universal woodworking machine. Since then it has become a major player in tools.
  • Black & Decker. It was founded in 1910 making machines for milk bottle caps. They made their first power tool in 1916. It was the world’s first electric drill with a pistol grip and power switch. They still make a wide range of good quality consumer-grade tools.
  • Porter-cable. The brand needs no introduction to American craftsmen. Founded in 1914. Porter-cable has been making great tools for America since then.

Partying words – Our final pick for the best jigsaw for the money

We choose the Skil 4495-02 6.0Amp for the great value it brings while having a competitive price point as the best jigsaw. As an owner of Skil 4495-02 6.0Amp, I am very happy to have it in my workshop.

I hope you found the article insightful. The 6 jigsaws on reviewed above are the ones I have encountered personally. Check out this article and this video to learn how to use jigsaws for your work.

Lastly, the jigsaw is a very safe power tool. This makes it best suited for someone wanting to introduce power tools to children.