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The Six Best Budget Jigsaws for the Money in America- the Artisan’s Guide

I first encountered the jigsaw in 1986 during my woodwork apprenticeship. Basics of the jigsaw have not changed that much from 1946 when Albert Kauffmann, an engineer from Switzerland, replaced the needle of the sewing machine of his wife with a blade. This tool is perfect for making curves in metal and wood, among other applications. If this is the first time you are considering buying a jigsaw in America, you are looking at a wide array of benefits including being able to cut many types of materials, going cordless, carving the best pumpkins and above all, enjoying your projects. A jigsaw power tool like the SKIL 4495-02 6.0Amp is one of the best budget jigsaws for the money, as you will discover from all its awesome features. The Dewalt DCS331Bs is also one of my top choices, but there are other wonderful products from my list.

Check out my list of the top 6 cheap jigsaws below!

Contents

Quick Comparison Table of the Best Cheap Jigsaws for the Money

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Here is my list for the best budget Jigsaws for the money in America

First Category: Corded Jigsaw

1.    SKIL 4495-02 6.0 Amp Orbital Action Laser Jigsaw – Best Budget Corded Jigsaw

When you are looking for performance and quality with much concern about the price of a power tool, SKIL is one of the best budget jigsaws for the money in America to consider if you ask me. It is a top-quality jigsaw in the market, as I discovered when I bought one for my woodwork classes. Its cheap and fair price seems an absolute bargain considering the fine features offered, especially the beginner-centric laser guide. The user-friendliness is equally good for professional users.

I consider the 6-AMP motor a standout feature for this jigsaw. For its price, this jigsaw power tool is good value for money. Such a motor gives it extra versatility. Adding variable capability to the motor makes the tool extremely versatile, thus suiting high precision jobs.

When it comes to controlling, the Skil 4485-02 boasts of 4-settings orbital action and stable foot design. This 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. Therefore, 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.

Overall, I consider this jigsaw ideal for both professional and novices, truly a top-rated jigsaw for the money.

Pros

At an inexpensive price, this tool presents amazing value for flexibility, stability, user-friendliness, and convenience.

Cons

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.

2.    Bosch 7.0 Amp Corded Variable Speed Barrel-Grip Jig Saw JS470EB with Carrying Case

My business partner Frank owns a Bosch 7.0 Amp Corded JS470EB in his workshop, and from its robustness, I consider it at least the second-best on this list. Frank has always spoken highly of the Bosch’s heavy-duty capabilities. He says that it delivers the highest precision to crown it all.

The motor capability for this tool is slightly higher than for the SKIL at 7.0 Amp, and the variable speed variable adds the much-acclaimed flexibility and precision cutting. Performance is excellent, with the footplate arm capable of withstanding 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. Thanks to the Constant Response Circuitry, this tool maintains desired speed for consistent performance and precision.

User control is also on a high level, enhanced by the counter-balancing mechanisms that reduce mechanical vibrations. The Bosch JS470EB also has a dust blower, variable speed and orbital action with 4 settings. It is comfortable to use over prolonged periods because of a trigger lock.

Because of price tag, weight and absence of LED light, I consider this product ideal for experienced furniture woodworkers.

Pros

This tool scores highly in terms of precision, durability and user convenience.

Cons

I personally do not like the fact that it’s heavy, given that it’s a handheld tool. When one needs to work for long hours (e.g. 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.

3.    Makita 4329K 3.9 Amp Variable-Speed Top-Handle Jig Saw

This is the third popular jigsaw in the US currently. I recently received this Makita jigsaw as a Christmas gift from my niece, and have only owned it for a few days. For the sake of this review, I put it through a few tests. It came out impressive in many areas, but the best scores came from its reliable performance.

A 3.9 Amp variable-speed motor that ranges from 500 up to 3100SPM adequately powers the Makita 4329 K. The performance of the jigsaw is therefore reliable and flexible.

When on the job, the tool applies the variable speed feature with the 3-Orbital settings to make user experience great. 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.

Despite the lack of LED light and the small capacity, this Makita Jigsaw is ideal for DIY’s and professionals alike.

Pros

It comes at a reasonably cheap price and can perform like a high-end product if in skilled hands. It is user-friendly and versatile.

Cons

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 is a lightweight jigsaw. The 3.9-Amp motor struggles with thicker wood.

Second Category: Cordless

4.    DEWALT 20V MAX Jig Saw, Tool Only (DCS331B) – Best budget cordless jigsaw

Powerful and portable, this item is also one of the value best value jigsaws in American saw market today. I encountered it at woodwork fair and was impressed by its power. It is as powerful as some corded ones.

The DCS3311B is adequately powered by a 20Volts lithium-ion battery that delivers plenty of power for most professional tasks. The Battery and charger are sold separately.

I like the versatility of the product, specifically as offered by the cordless design. An impressive speed control of up to 3000 SPM, 4-setting orbital action, and the tool-less blade change feature make the tool flawless for the user.

The price of the tool compared to the functionality offered mean that this is one of the best budget jigsaws for the money.

Pros

Inexpensive price: The product has plenty of power and several good features and is affordable.

Cons

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.

5.    Makita XVJ03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Jig Saw, Tool Only

On convenience created by portability and power, this item is among the best. In our analysis, it came second only to the DEWALT 20V MAX Jig Saw, Tool Only (DCS331B). When I was handling a subcontract, I used the tool and confirmed the popular claim that Makita has always made exceptional tools. Like the previous tool, the Makita XVJ03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Jig Saw is highly portable and full of handy features.

I consider it a standout in the portable sub-category because its 18 V lithium-ion batteries have the fastest charge time in their category. This translates to less charging time and more working time. 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.

Concerning handling. I noticed that this product 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.

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. Lastly, it has a good LED light for illumination.

Pros

This jigsaw is safe to use, versatile and has a fast-charging battery.

Cons

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.

6.    Ryobi One+ P523 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Orbital T Shank 3,000 SPM Jigsaw (Battery Not Included, Power Tool and T Shank Wood Cutting Blade Only)

One of my longtime favorite brands is Ryobi, and my experience with the robust Ryobi One+ P523 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless Orbital T Shank was wonderful. To add to the robust construction, the tool is compact, thus ideal for working in tight spaces.

Since the P523 is part of the Ryobi One+ lineup, it will work with Ryobi 18V batteries, including the P100, P102, P103, P104, P105, P107, and P108. These batteries are both lithium ion and NiCad.

I like the reliable performance of this jigsaw as enhanced by a number of features, including the 4 setting Orbital action adds more functionality. Another impressive feature is the trigger lock system. This makes the Ryobi One + P523.ideal for sustained long cuts. The 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.

In terms of user experience, the dust blower is very effective so one is guaranteed a safe working environment. Effective dust collection means a clearly visible cutting line. This 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.

Lastly, LED light guide makes. This feature brings increased accuracy.

Overall, the product is ideal for hobbyists. Professionals can use it as a jobsite jigsaw. The fact that its battery-powered limits its ability to work continuously.

Pros

Some of the exciting characteristics are accuracy, robust construction, and versatility.

Cons

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 such a good price, this is something minor. I also feel let down by the absence of any onboard blade storage for this model.

Choosing the Best Cheap Jigsaw- The Go-To Buying Guide

I often hear people say how they do not need a jigsaw- the argument is that this is a poor man’s tool. They think that having a circular saw is enough. What they do not realize is that a jigsaw is much more effective in performing unique jobs, such as making holes and curves in a wide range of materials. If you ask me, only the drill is more important than the jigsaw in the workshop. Let us look at some of the functions of the best jigsaw more keenly, as well as Features & Accessories, and categories. First, here is a breakdown of the most popular brands today.

Some Top Brands for Jigsaws

Makita: Founded In 1915, Makita has been a go-to brand for power tools. Most of its jigsaw power tools offerings are of superb 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 can never go wrong with their power tools.

SKIL: If there is one unique thing about SKIL, it is their ability to come up with innovative features and products. Their patented battery technology is just an example. The company produces some of the best jigsaws in the world, among other power tools. Skil usually offers good range of products with very competitive prices as one of their top products, the Skil 4485-02 is the best budget jigsaw in our list.

DeWalt: This brand was founded in 1924. By that time, it created a Universal woodworking machine. Since then it has become a major player in power tool industry.

Black & Decker: It was founded in 1910, the aim being creation of 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 artisans. Founded in 1914, Porter-cable has been making great tools for America since then, including jigsaw power tools.

Categorizations of the Jigsaws

When buying a jigsaw there are basically two types of barrel:  D-handle or Top Handle. Most manufacturers make have each type for every model. Top handle jigsaw is the more traditional one. Most artisans 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 connect to a power source. These differences also affect performance. Cordless versions are usually underpowered compared to the corded ones, but corded jigsaws are usually cheaper. Yet, I think the best budget jigsaw should be cordless due to how easy and comfortable it is to handle. However, some manufacturers are bucking the trend. We will see in the product reviews 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.

The Versatility of the Jigsaw

The simple working principle of the jigsaw means that even the most inexperienced DIYer can get going within a few minutes. Versatile of the tool makes matters even more exciting. As long as you choose the most appropriate blade, you can cut virtually any type of material.

Don’t worry if you have never touched the tool in your life. You just need simple instructions to get excellent results. With time, you will master the device and be able to handle any type of project.

Working Principle of the Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a handheld product that makes fast up and down strokes to cut material. In most cases, mains power or a battery powers it. However, the jigsaw may draw power from an air compressor, in this instance being referred to as a pneumatic jigsaw.

For a clearer understanding of its operation, visualize how a sewing needle in a sewing machine works. An electric motor is the epicenter of operation.  The reciprocating motion on the tool is achieved via an interaction between a set of eccentric gears and the motor. The back and forth movement of the blade cuts the material. The upstroke does the actual cutting.

Materials the Jigsaw Cuts

Although the primary application for a jigsaw is cutting wood, a good jigsaw can help cut wood, metal, tile work and other materials. Some of the wood varieties it can handle are veneer, plywood, hardwood, and softwood.

Jigsaws also cut tiles when you use those tiny flexible cutting blades. I am yet to come across a standard tile cutter that can do a curve, yet a good quality jigsaw can perform this operation effortlessly.

Get a good jigsaw and you will be able to cut through a wide range of metals, whether ferrous or nonferrous. I have used the tool to do projects involving stainless steel, aluminum, and iron and I cannot complain. If you want to cut thicker metal pieces of about 1 inch, make sure you get a powerful jigsaw- you have many options.

Choosing the blade well will also enable you to cut other materials such as plasterboard, laminate, and plastic. The bottom line regarding cutting different materials is that you need to choose the blade carefully. Check out this site for tips on how to choose the best jigsaw blade.

Jigsaw vs. Other Types of Saws

Jigsaws are great at cutting curves in wood. With the right blade, they can cut steel, fiberglass and even drywall. Jigsaws 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, thus saving time and energy.

Though these tools are small, 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 the jigsaw is relatively affordable and small, some refer to it as a poor man’s band saw. Yet, in capable hands, a cheap jigsaw can do all the cuts of the more expensive and heavier band saw. Besides working as an alternative to the band saw, a jigsaw is meant for a wide array of cuts like pocket cuts, inside circular cutouts, and all manner of trimming inside built-in cabinets and furniture.

It is important to know the things you are going to focus on when buying the right jigsaw for your needs. Below, I am going to discuss the most important features of the best jigsaw. I will also give a run-through of key performance characteristics.

Jigsaw Features and Accessories to Consider When Buying a Good Value Jigsaw

Handles: Given that a jigsaw is a handheld tool, the handle needs to be comfortable. It also needs to allow solid grip, as it is essential to control the movement of the jigsaw power 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.

I talked about the two handle designs namely Top handle and D-handle. Any of these should give the necessary control to make the desired cuts.

Triggers and Trigger lock: Preferably, a good jigsaw should 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, meaning that one no longer needs to hold down the trigger manually.

Motor Size: For any power tool, the motor size is an important performance determiner. The most reliable motor size range for the best jigsaw is between 4 and 7 amps. More power means increased versatility – you can cut a wider range of materials faster. Unless yours are heavy-duty cutting projects, a 5-amp jigsaw is just OK. For cordless versions, 18 Volt versions are the highest-powered.

LED Guide Light: I cannot emphasize the importance of this feature enough, especially for inexperienced artisans. A guiding light makes cutting easier and 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 path, which enables one to saw faster in a straight line. More orbital action gives faster sawing. Note that the less orbital action you use, the more accurate your cut. A good jigsaw needs to have adjustable orbital action. A good orbital action is all about the saw being capable of moving forward, backward or sideways following a circular path. Apart from enhancing cut accuracy, orbital setting enhances user control and helps remove chips from the work piece.

Fast and straight cuts require higher orbit while curved cuts are better done using a lower orbit.

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 do not necessarily cut faster than slower ones.

When looking to buy the best budget jigsaw for professional applications, insist on one generating at least 3,000 SPM so that you can have all your cutting needs covered. However, it is better to settle for a tool with a lower SPM but with a variable speed feature than vice versa. For me, 5 speed controls are good enough, although some of the best have up to 7 speed settings.

It is important to know which speed cuts which material for the best results. For instance, cutting most metals requires lower speed setting. I found this site resourceful on matters regarding the jigsaw speed and much more.

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 because one has to wait for the saw to come up to speed each time you start a cut.

Easy Blade change: I guess 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. Apart from being a health hazard, it can cover the cut-line making it difficult to see. This has a negative effect on the quality of cuts. Therefore, the best table saw should have good dust blower. In a jigsaw, the dust blower is connected 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). The blade needs to be narrow so that it 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 down stroke.

Blade shanks: Shank type describes how the blade will be fastened to the jigsaw. They are two types; T shank and U shank. Although 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.

NB: For the professional user, variable speed, power, and orbital action are crucial considerations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: I keep seeing SPM in discussions about the best jigsaws.  What does it stand for?

A: The full name for SPM is strokes per minute, a description of the number of cuts that the jigsaw can generate within a minute. The SPM requirement for different materials can vary a lot. For instance, while dense wood needs a higher SPM, most metals require a slower rate. At higher SPM, the vibration generated by the tool is higher, hence dampening technologies or heavier jigsaw may be necessary.

Q2: Do I need to use different blades for some cuts?

A: Yes you do. Blades come in different designs, toughness, and sizes for this purpose. When creating curved lines, you need to use a thinner blade because it is more flexible hence, less susceptible to breakage.

Q3: I have a circular saw already. Should I go ahead and buy a jigsaw?

A: It is true; the circular saw is superior to the jigsaw in particular circumstances. For instance, you would want to pick a circular saw for those long accurate cuts. However, the jigsaw provides unmatched versatility overall.  Contractors want to have both tools for these reasons. If you are starting out as a DIY, I think that you only need a good jigsaw.

Q4: Which one is better between a corded and cordless jigsaw?

A: I remember those years when the cordless tools were extremely weak that they would perform only a handful of operations. Thanks to technology, these tools have made massive strides. They are now more powerful and applicable for even professional jobs. Notably, the cordless tools are becoming lighter by the day, and look to continue on that path in the future. Of course, even the best cordless jigsaw is still less powerful than the corded one. It is important to note that the overall costs for the cordless jigsaw tend to be higher. Brands are also promoting proprietary technology, whereby you can only a certain battery with a certain tool. For me, a good corded jigsaw is still better because of such factors, but I am keeping an eye on the developments on the cordless arena.

Q5: Is there any difference between a sabre saw and a jigsaw?

A: To avoid a lot of confusion, it is safe to say that the jigsaw and saber saw are the same thing. Why I say that is because trying to differentiate the two will take you back hundreds of years ago when a certain German invented the first tiny saw blade. Later, a French artisan, aiming to make woodworking a little bit finer, put the blade into a better setting. You can read this part of the saw history here. Arguments over the name of this device first emerged when some people opted to call it jigsaw and others scroll saw, just after Great Britain had patented the tool. During the 1900s, a jigsaw and a scroll saw were considered as one tool, the same case with sabre saw and jigsaw. Interestingly, sabre saw and scroll saw appear to have never been used interchangeably. At the turn of the 20th century, scroll saws started standing and developing on their own as tabletop designs. Jigsaws were no longer referred to as sabre saws. That’s why if you search for a sabre saw on the internet today, you will most likely get jigsaw suggestions.

Closing Remarks – My Final Pick for the Best Budget Jigsaw

I hope the corded and cordless jigsaw reviews of the top cheap jigsaws and the accompanying buying tips have been helpful to you. Getting the a good budget jigsaw in America is not that complicated if you make a measured analysis of your requirements coupled with extensive research. There is no need of buying the most expensive jigsaw power tool in the market if your aim is to make a few simple cuts in a year. Similarly, it does not make sense to buy a miniature product if you are going commercial.

I choose the Skil 4495-02 6.0Amp for the great value it brings while having a competitive price point as the best quality jigsaw, it offers the most value as well as having a very affordable retail price As an owner of Skil 4495-02 6.0Amp, I am very happy to have it in my workshop. The six jigsaws 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.