Best jigsaw brands
How to buy a jigsaw
Article 2 of 2
How to buy a jigsaw
Jigsaws are versatile power tools ranging from £20-£400. Our guide explores the wide range of features to help you choose the right type for you.
From slicing through wood to ceramic tiles and a whole range of other materials, Jigsaws are versatile power tools and are a must-have for DIY enthusiasts. They can cut both straight and curved lines, and also make holes for things like sinks, hobs and electrical sockets.
They are more portable, lightweight and agile than circular saws, using a small vertical blade moving up and down at up to 3,000 strokes per minute.
Different jigsaws have a wide variety of features, so it's worth thinking about how you'll use it when choosing a particular model. Prices vary from about £20 to £400. Read on for our guide to key jigsaw features and specifications. Once you've decided what type to buy, go to our best and worst jigsaw brands page to find out which brands score top and bottom for factors such as reliability and value for money.
Key jigsaw features
Corded or cordless?
As with other DIY tools, mains-operated jigsaws are generally more powerful. So if you're going to be using your jigsaw a lot, or work on particularly tough materials, then pick one with a cord.
But cordless jigsaws have the advantage of being more portable and easier to use in hard-to-access places. The battery will run out more quickly on tougher materials, so battery-powered jigsaws are better with softer materials.
Power and speed
The more powerful the jigsaw, the faster you can work. To check the power, look for wattage on corded jigsaws and voltage on battery-operated ones.
Some jigsaws come with more than one speed setting. A single speed is sufficient for fairly basic use, but you may want to look at a model with variable speed if you'll be using your jigsaw a lot. The choice of speed gives you more control, particularly if you will be using it to cut different types of material.
Some models have a lock-on switch to set a single speed, which is handy for continuous cutting.
A pendulum action moves the blade away from the material on the down stroke and returns it on the upward stroke. This both increases cutting speed and stops the blade wearing down so fast. It also reduces the chance of jamming.
Orbital action blades move from side to side as well as back and forth, helping them to cut even faster. They make a slightly rougher cut, though, so are not so good for detailed work.
Choosing the right blade for the job is key. Jigsaw blades are classified by the number of teeth they have per inch (TPI). The higher the TPI, the faster and smoother it will cut.
- High-speed steel and bi-metallic blades are used for wood and light metals.
- Cobalt steel blades are also good for use with wood and metal, but are much stronger.
- Carbide grit blades are primarily used to cut masonry board.
Some models come with a quick blade-release system, which allows you to change blades quickly and easily - handy if you are working with a number of different materials.
A scrolling jigsaw lets you to steer the blade directly along curves, rather than turning the entire jigsaw.
Adjustable base plate
Make angled cuts up to 45 degrees by tilting the base plate left or right.
Dust blower and extraction
You don't want dust covering your house or stopping you seeing where you are cutting. Some jigsaws come with a blower to push the dust away, while others attach to a vacuum cleaner.
Laser or red-eye generator
This shoots a laser beam that you can follow for precision cutting. These don't work well in bright light or with lots of dust, though, and can be a bit of a gimmick.
Jigsaws can be dangerous tools. Look for a safety switch or lock-off button, a soft-start feature that starts the saw at a slower speed, and a blade guard for peace of mind.
Brands to consider
Key brands of jigsaw include Black & Decker, Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, Performance Power, Ryobi and Wickes. See our table of best and worst jigsaw brands to find out which are rated most highly by Which? members.