5 Best Jigsaws of 2018! Perfect for Woodworking

Aug 23, 2018 | Reviews

DIY enthusiasts on the hunt for the best jigsaw are in for a tough time. The market is teeming with cheaply-made products that putter-out after a few months of laborious work. You need something reliable, tested and precise when you are talking about a jigsaw.

After all, it must be able to deliver precise crosscuts, inside openings, plunge cuts, socket holes, straight lines and what not without splintering the wood, metal or even ceramic for that matter.

We put some of the biggest brands to the test to discover the best jigsaw and what we found might just surprise you.

Top 5 Jigsaws

NameMaximum SPMPower 

Bosch

3100

7 amp

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Makita

3100

3.9 amp

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Skil

3200

6 amp

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Porter-Cable

3200

6 amp

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Black & Decker

3000

6 amp

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Bosch

Maximum SPM

3100

Power

7 Amps

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Makita

Maximum SPM

3100

Power

3.9 Amps

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Skil

Maximum SPM

3200

Power

6 Amps

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Porter-Cable

Maximum SPM

3200

Power

6 Amps

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Black & Decker

Maximum SPM

3000

Power

6 Amps

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1. Best Overall

Bosch Top-Handle Jigsaw

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The JS470E is one of Bosch’s bestselling Jigsaws for the past few years and for good reason. It is fast, cuts clean, is easy to use and maintain.

Most importantly, there is minimal vibration when it is operational, allowing you to use it for fine woodworking or other tasks that demand immaculate precision in the cuts.

This is a top-handled jigsaw with a very compact and ergonomic design. The handle has a soft molded grip that gives you a firm, but comfortable grip. There are four orbital-action settings ranging from mild to aggressive which are well within your finger reach.

The adjustable dust blower allows you to keep the cutting line clean at all times. If you are making a long and continuous cut, you can activate the lock-on button which prevents the need for the trigger to be pressed. You can use both hands for better control.

Operating speeds can be changed at the rotation of a dial that’s rightly positioned on the rear of the housing.

We love the tool-less blade change mechanism that allows you to replace the T-shank blade without coming into contact with it or without using tools. That’s so convenient when you have a red-hot blade to handle and are looking for a quick change.

Effortless cuts

Powered by a 7.0-amp motor, there’s no dearth of power with the JS470E. You can easily work with both general stock as well as thicker ones with ease. It can cut up to 5 7/8 inches of wood, 7/8-inch aluminum and 3/8-inch of mild steel.

One of the best parts is that you can start with slow and then increase the speed with the accelerating speed trigger. The Constant Response Circuitry ensures that there are no discrepancies in the speed of the cuts.

A long 12.5-foot cord allows you to work freely without hindering movement.

Pros and cons

  • Variable speed trigger
  • 4 orbital action settings
  • Ambidextrous lock-on button for long cuts
  • There is a very small amount of undercutting especially during curves. That’s not a deal breaker though. Just need to work around it.

2. Best Value

Makita Variable-Speed Jig Saw

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From one of the most reputed brands in the woodworking business comes the 4329K, a medium-power, compact jigsaw that offers a very reliable and smooth cutting performance.

It is built like a brick but at 4.2 lbs., is effortless to handle and maneuver.

Variable speed controls allow you to alter the blade velocity on-the-fly depending on the application. Also, it features three orbital settings that let you adjust the stroke with ease.

The Makita 4329K features a counterweight balancing system which significantly reduces vibration. You’ll fully appreciate this feature when you work all day on denser stock. Hand fatigue is minimal.

The intuitively placed controls also allow you to control the cuts better. For example, you can engage the lock-on button with your thumb. Sadly, the button is not ambidextrous and can be engaged this way only if you hold the saw with your right hand.

Also, the 4329K is a lot quieter than some of the other jigsaws that we have tested.

Changing the bevel or swapping the blade is accomplished with a hex wrench that comes with its own dedicated onboard storage slot.

Dust management is a breeze, literally. There’s an onboard dust port that you can plug your vacuum into making it extremely easy to clean.

Clean and smooth cuts

Powered by a 3.9 Amp motor, the Makita 4329K delivers plenty of power and speed to your cuts. The stroke is 11/16-inches and the blade does not bend as you near the end of a cut, something that’s commonly seen with cheaper jigsaws.

We love the stability that the die-cast aluminum base brings to your projects. You can adjust this to 45 degrees right or left or use the positive stop at 90 degrees. Any potential chance of a wobble is eliminated with this. Not to mention that it further reduces noise.

The cuts are as precise as it can get with a tool at this price point.

Pros and cons

  • Budget-priced jigsaw from a reputed brand
  • Three orbital speed settings
  • Die-cast aluminum base plate
  • If we could change anything, it’d be the slightly wider handle which can get a tad uncomfortable to grip, especially if you have been working long hours.

3. Best on a Budget

Skil Orbital Action Laser Jigsaw

Our Rating

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The SKIL 4495-02 is a pocket-sized corded jigsaw that packs a very impressive performance behind its unassuming design. It can handle both straight as well as curved cuts smoothly and comes with an integrated laser guide for finer cuts.

It has four position orbital cut controls that lets you pick from slow to aggressive strokes depending on the density of the materials. Also, there’s a variable speed trigger to work up the speed. The package includes two blades which is excellent value considering the shoestring price tag.

On the table, the SKIL 4495-02 really shines with its ability to make short work of a variety of materials. After all, the heavy lifting is done by a powerful 6.0 Amp motor.

That’s a lot of juice for a jigsaw this size. So, when you are new to it, handling does seem a little intimidating.

However, the intuitive layout, the custom molded tool rest design and the adjustable bevel settings make it a breeze to use no matter what the application.

Swap over your U-Shank blade for a T-Shank one and the SKIL 4495-02 goes from a woodworking tool to an efficient all-purpose cutting tool that can work through a variety of materials like ceramic, metal and plastic. Blade replacement is tool-less and you can swap the blades in minutes.

Vibration is almost absent irrespective of what material you are working with. Despite the minuscule form factor, it surprisingly weighs 5 pounds. But the well-rounded design, the easy grip handle, and the stable performance make it easy to use.

Pros and cons

  • Pocket-sized corded jigsaw
  • Accepts both U and T-shank blades
  • Little Vibration
  • It does tend to stray slightly off especially when you are handling denser materials.

4. Best for All Materials

Porter-Cable Orbital Jig Saw

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The Porter Cable PCE345 has been around for four years and undergone numerous iterations and upgrades during this time. The upgrades have mainly been aimed at ironing out some of the minor problems that users faced with handling the jigsaw.

The latest iteration is pretty close to what most users expect from a jigsaw at this price point. It is fast, accurate and can handle both straight cuts and curves with equal élan.

It features four orbital settings which allow you to increase the oscillation for denser materials or a smoother cut and go full steam ahead for thinner materials.

The speed dial that’s positioned close to the trigger allows you to scale the speed up to 7 levels with a gentle, but responsive twist. There is some amount of feedback which prevents the speed setting from being changed accidentally.

A lot of manufacturers these days add a little extra bulk to the handle of their saws. The Porter-Cable PCE345 is no different. This oversize allows a firmer grip on the jigsaw allowing better control while performing intricate cuts.

Powering the PCE345 is a powerful 6-amp motor which keeps it going even during demanding applications. Irrespective of whether its steel, aluminum or wood stock, the performance is consistent.

Pros and cons

  • Budget-priced
  • 7-speed dial with lock-on button
  • Keyless blade change
  • No onboard storage for the blade

5. Best for Beginners

Black+Decker Orbital Jigsaw

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The Black & Decker JS670V is a beginner-friendly jigsaw that takes the guesswork out of tasks like selecting the right orbital setting and speed for different materials and cuts.

It features a Smart Select Dial that allows the user to select the type of cut they seek and the material and it automatically adjusts the speed and orbital action.

Behind the rugged PE casing is a beautifully engineered product that will cut clean and smoothly for all types of cuts. Rectangular, curved, straight, no matter what you throw at it, the blade stays steady, the motor doesn’t cringe and the wood does not chip.

Precision seeking woodworkers might also be interested in the linefinder feature. A black marker is included in the pack which is used to create a reference line on the stock. You then need to power on a black light on the JS670E. The marker line gets highlighted. Now, this does help a little especially if you are making really intricate curves that are difficult to see as you rotate the saw.

You get a stable base to work on thanks to the all-metal shoe that comes covered with a plastic plate that protects your stock from being accidentally marred. At 5 lbs., the saw feels solid in your hands and gives you great control.

Adjusting the angle for bevel cuts just got easier thanks to the flip lever with pre-calibrated incremental angles. The Black and Decker JS670E features four orbital-action settings and a variable finger controlled speed dial.

Pros and cons

  • Smart select dial for automatically selecting the right orbital setting and speed
  • Linefinder for using an integrated black light for precision-based cuts
  • Accepts both T and U shank blades
  • A little louder than some of the others on this list.

Conclusion

Jigsaws are all fairly similar, but when looking you need to decide if you want a corded or cordless option. All the options listed above feature cords so if cordless is more your speed then consider paying extra for one or use an extension cord. The next thing to consider is power (measured in amperes); a range of 3 – 7 amps is fairly standard in order to cut through nearly all materials. The next thing to consider is “accessories.” Items like LED/guide lights, large grips for vibration reduction (barrel, Top, and D-handle grips), and blade types (U and T shanks). If you aren’t sure of any of these and you are looking for a solid option, our overall or value picks are great choices and solid brands.

John McDonald

Chainsaw Expert for Electricchainsawexpert.com

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