Ever since the human species discovered the use of tools for everyday tasks, all manner of tools; mostly rudimentary, have been witnessed across different cultures and civilizations. The earliest documented evidence of saws points toward the use of serrated materials. The said materials included shark teeth, flint, obsidian, copper, and seashells. Modern saws are mostly made of iron, steel or several other durable materials. As far as mechanization and power are concerned, the 21st century has seen the advent of the powered saw. The market awash in a variety of power jigsaws each resembles the next yet different in some aspects. The search for the best jigsaw is on.
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A saw is a cutting implement consisting most often a stiff blade used to cut through material such as wood, ceramics, plastic, sheet metal or stone among others. Jigsaws are versatile power tools capable of making straight cuts and various shapes as desired. Jigsaws are irreplaceable tools in carpentry, woodwork and the likes.
The jigsaw came about when an Australian, Scintilla, replaces the sewing needles on his wife’s sewing machine with a saw blade. This enabled him to make delicate and detailed cuts on wood he was working on. This article is meant to help you identify the best jigsaw models available on the market and what to look out for when buying or renting one.
How Jigsaw Work
A jigsaw is a type of power tool comprising a motor that is used to drive a sawing blade in a repeated up and down motion. The mode of operation in jigsaws can be compared to the up and down motion of a sewing machine’s needle. The sawing blade is connected to the motor via a set of gears with off-center axes. Mounted gears convert the motor’s rotary motion into quickly alternating up and down motions.
Jigsaw blades cut material via upstroke and down-stroke motions. In specific, jigsaw blades cut on the upstroke position. This is attributed to the saw’s teeth pointing upwards. Some blade variations are modified to cut in the down stroke position. In the latter case, the blade’s teeth point downward.
Turning over the workpiece in most cases reduces or eliminates splintering. How fast the blade cuts will depend on how fast the motor rotates. The speed in most jigsaws is altered through the use of a variable speed dial.
Different materials require different cutting speeds. Wood requires the fastest blade speeds while materials such as plastic and sheet metal require slower speed settings. The average blade speed is 3000 strokes per minute. At this rate, jigsaws are precise and easy to maneuver.
Type Of Jigsaw Blades
The type of jigsaw blade will be determined by several factors that include;
- The type of shank: The shank is the part of the cutting blade that locks into the clamping end of the saw. There are two types of shanks; U-shaped shanks and T shanks. T shanks are the most widely used as they are compatible with most jigsaws. U-shank blades are characterized by a U-shaped cut atop the blade on the mounting end. U-shank blades aren’t as popular as they once were.
- The material used to make the blade: Jigsaw blades are primarily made of four types of metal; tungsten carbide, high-speed steel, bi-metal and high carbon steel. Tungsten carbide blades have immense heat resistance and are used to cut fiberglass, ceramics, and steel. Bi-metal blades are made of carbon steel and high-speed steel. High-speed steel is mostly used to cut hardwood, metal and reinforced plastics. High carbon steel is mostly used to cut wood as they are cheap to buy.
- The number of teeth per inch (TPI): The number of teeth on a jigsaw blade determines the quality of the cut. The more the teeth the slower the cut but the result is a smooth cut. Fewer teeth blades cut faster but a rough cut.
- Specialist jigsaw blades: These include reverse teeth blades that cut on the down stroke motion as opposed to upstroke.The size of the jigsaw blade cut on a specific piece of material depends on the size of the blade. A typical 4-inch blade can easily make a 3-inch cut.
Another important point to note is the teeth alignment. Jigsaw blades may have teeth set in the following alignments;
1. Milled side set teeth.
Blade for medium rough cuts and quick work progress in hard- and softwood, aluminium, synthetic materials and non-ferrous heavy metal.
2. Milled wavy teeth.
Blade for fine, straight cuts in plywood, low carbon (soft) steel, aluminium, non-ferrous heavy metal and synthetic materials.
3. Ground side set teeth.
Blade for clean, quick cuts in wood or plastic.
4. Ground reverse set teeth.
Blade with tapered backing; for precise, fine and neat cuts in wood and plastic.
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Choosing The Right Jigsaw
The choice of power jigsaw should provide a blend of power and efficiency. For inexperienced carpenters and beginners, consulting power equipment dealers may offer some valuable insight into the best jigsaws available. It is advisable to take into consideration power tool reviews prior to making a purchase. Generally, the factors to consider should include;
1. Motor Power Of Jigsaws
The current power tools market offers two types of jigsaws; corded jigsaws and portable battery operated jigsaws. Both models offer different speeds which in turn dictate the materials the jigsaw will optimally work with. Power in corded models is measured in amperes while in portable models the units for power are Volts. The higher the power rating, the easier it will be to cut harder materials. Other factors such as orbital settings and variable speed will also come into play alongside the power of the jigsaws motor.
2. Maximun Speed
The speed of jigsaw tools is expressed in terms of strokes per minute as opposed to rotations per minute. Most jigsaw models will have an upper-speed limit of 3000 strokes per minute which is more than enough for most projects; professional or basic DIY. The most important factor to consider as far as speed is concerned is the availability of variable speed settings.
3. Orbital Settings
This important feature determines the quality of the saw on the material being used. Orbital settings allow increased speed and precision while at the same time aiding removal of material chips.
4. Ease Of Blade Changing And Removal
How easy it is to remove or change a saw blade is a top factor to be considered when buying or renting a jigsaw. Advanced models offer some sort of blade release mechanism that greatly enhances how fast or efficient swapping blades is.
Which Is The Best Jigsaws Available On The Market That You Should Buy
In the following segment, I have sampled some of the top selling jigsaw brands available on the market. Let's take a look.
This product is a one of a kind jigsaw that is capable of delivering up to 3000 SPM worth of cutting power. This means that the Black and Decker BDEJS600C use covers both professional and basic home DIY uses. This jig saw’s use is spread across a variety of materials such as wood, metal, ceramic and stone amongst others.
Things We Liked
- This product features a 5 Ampere variable speed motor that generates up to 3000 strokes per minute worth of cutting power and efficiency.
- This model is capable of making 45-degree bevel cuts. The bottom adjustable shoe enhances operating stability.
- The BDEJS600C incorporates a curve control feature that allows the adjusting of the jigsaws’ orbital settings.
- This product features an illuminating light that lights up the working surface.
- Ergonomic design featuring a comfortable grip. This particular feature allows efficient handling and exemplary results.
Things We Didn't Like
- The bevel angle adjustment feature is a little too complicated for ones’ liking.
The DeWalt brand is renowned for uncompromising quality and pace-setting standards in power tools. This trend is witnessed in the DCS331B, a jigsaw that is the standard choice for most contractors and DIY enthusiasts. This particular model features a beautiful finish that is most appealing to look at. Besides the physical aesthetics and beauty, the DCS331B packs it worth in power and efficiency.
Things We Liked
- This model features a handy dust blower that keeps the sewing line clear of dust and material specs.
- The 20 Volt motor on this model produces up to 3000 strokes per minute covering a vast majority of materials with ease and efficiency.
- Quick and easy blade changing. As mentioned earlier, how easy it is to change the cutting blades greatly influences the efficiency of a power jig saw. This model scores heavily in this regard.
- This model weighs a meager 6.8 pounds. As far as portability and comfort are concerned, the weight of this specific product means easy handling and operation.
- The DCS331B is specially designed to accept T-Shank saw blades. This allows efficient bevel cutting.
Things We Didn't Like
- The standard Lithium Ion battery on this model doesn’t last that long in storage. You might need to charge up before use after extended periods in storage.
This model features a beautiful finish that has been described as matching industrial grades. The triggers and dials are firm with an ergonomic and comfortable grip. The specs on this product place it well within the professional category. The Porter Cable PCC650B delivers magnificent results with the precision necessary for delicate cuts.
Things We Liked
- The dust clearance feature built into this product allows for seamless operation without the need for cleaning stoppages. This feature clears the dust and material specs from the area of operation.
- Vibration dampening: This model incorporates rubber in its design. This ensures the comfort of the jig saw’s operator regardless of the arm size and proficiency level.
- The 20-volt motor delivers an impressive 2500 SPM. This easily covers a majority of materials handled ranging from wood, ceramics, plastic and everything else in between.
- The orbital settings on this model allow the user to optimize the jigsaw depending the specific material being cut.
- The blade release mechanism is a handy tool-less feature that is operated with the simple flick of a switch.
Things We Didn't Like
- By simple definition, the Porter Cable PCC650B isn’t built to handle professional uses. The fact that the highest speed achievable on this model is 2500 SPM means that the number of materials that this jigsaw can handle is limited.
- Lithium ion batteries have a short shelf life. Extended periods in storage have a profound effect on the said Lithium Ion batteries used in most portable jigsaws.
This jigsaw is of the corded variety. It runs on a 4.5-ampere motor that produces up to 3000 SPM. Despite its small compact size, the BDEJS300C delivers outstanding performance that is well above average. It also features a beautiful body finish incorporating an ergonomic handle offering loads of comfort and practicality. This model falls well within reasonable price ranges which are a defining factor considering its abilities.
Things We Liked
- The 4.5-ampere motor delivers up to 3000 strokes per minutes. This little jigsaw can therefore comfortably handle all manner of materials synonymous with carpentry and allied disciplines.
- This model weighs in at 4.5 pounds. This is a relatively light jigsaw that is comfortable to operate. It is popular with home DIY enthusiasts out to give simple home tasks that professional edge.
- This product incorporates a dust blower that cleans away the material dust preventing build-up and allowing cleans cuts.
- LED light featured on this model illuminates the working surface enhancing efficiency and degree of the results.
Thing We Didn't Like
- This model being corded means its operation is limited to power outlets. The BDEJS300C requires proximity to a power source and this may hinder outdoor operation.
Another of DeWalt’s jigsaws, this model has been termed as a masterpiece of design and ingenuity. This particular jig saw operates at a maximum speed of 3000 strokes per minute. This falls well above the market definition of a professional power jig saw.
Things We Liked
- The DeWalt DW331K incorporates rubber on its ergonomic handle design. The significance of this is vibration dampening. The net effect is a comfortable operating experience.
- This product runs on a 6.5 ampere rated motor that produces speeds ranging from 500 to 3000 strokes per minute. Depending on the materials being used, the operator can conveniently toggle up or down the speed of the jigsaw.
- The metal design and finish ensure that this model has a long lifespan.
- This model is easy to operate and is a popular choice for both DIY enthusiasts and professionals as well.
Thing We Didn't Like
- The handle of this model is light and has been noted to break after extended periods of use.
Jigsaws, corded or portable come in varied brands and designs. The perfect jigsaw combines the aspects of power rating, responsiveness to the specific materials’ needs and output.
The DeWalt DCS331B achieves all the above in one solid package. It is a convenient jigsaw that effectively gets the job done.
Compared to its competitors, TheDeWalt DCS331B scores the most points in design, delivery, and power. For a Jig Saw of its specifications, The DeWalt DCS331B is the best value for your money.
A jigsaw is a basic requirement of every homeowner's toolbox. This is one of those must-have power tools that come in quite handy during home DIY assignments and professional purposes. At this day and age, it is not surprising to find the market flooded with all manner of brands and types of jigsaws. It is only right, keeping in mind the ever evolving technology and construction scene. It is recommended to at least seek the opinion of experienced power tool dealers before making that important decision to settle for a particular brand.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading through this article. It was a fun and learning experience for me as. I researched on the very best the market has to offer in terms of jigsaws. Feel free to share your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section provided below. I wish you good luck choosing the best jigsaw for your home or professional use.