When we decide to buy a jigsaw, we find a wide variety of brands, models, features and prices from which we must make a correct choice. The task is not easy, by the way, since from that multitude of options we must evaluate the benefit of each one according to our intended applications, both in the short and long term.
Beyond the novel and ingenious attachments with which a certain model can tempt us, possibly leading us to a hasty decision, we must prioritize a series of fundamental factors on which we should mainly base our decision, because they are directly related to the magnitude of the work. and the frequency of use to which we will submit the Jig Saw.
Therefore, in a first approximation, let’s see briefly what are these factors that we have to consider in the first place to select the jigsaw suitable for us.
1) Type of power supply
Like virtually all power tools today, jig saws They come in two versions:
- Jig saws With cable
- Jig saws wireless (battery powered)
In Of Machines and Tools We have already addressed both options on many occasions, for example when choosing drills, angle grinders, screwdrivers / drivers, lawn mowers, multipurpose tools, edgers, etc.
As in all these cases, the concepts applicable to jig saws they are the same. That is to say:
Whether we use the saw as tool work (because we are carpenters, construction workers, tile installers, or craftsmen, for example) or to make home repairs (because we are avid DIY enthusiasts), the power of tool it is a main factor. Therefore:
- If the use of the jigsaw will be intense, for prolonged periods and we do not want to lose power at any time, the corded jig saws they are the best choice for reliable and consistent performance. In addition, since they do not require a battery, these saws tend to be lighter, reducing fatigue on tasks that take several hours a day.
- If the use of the Jig Saw it will be in long and demanding tasks, but we need more freedom of movement than a corded machine offers, we must consider a cordless jig saw voltage supply or purchase backup batteries separately. Are jigsaws They offer greater portability and eliminate the danger of accidentally cutting the cable during the cutting action, for this it is also very important to take into account safety in what it means to use this type of tool.
2) Performance and versatility
All jig saws They are capable of handling a variety of materials and cuts, but can offer characteristics that make them more suitable for certain applications. Thus:
- If we are going to use the Jig Saw Primarily for marquetry or craft cuts, let’s look for features like a knob-type auxiliary handle for precise blade control, or a saw blade capable of 360-degree rotation for cutting complex details.
- If we are going to use the Jig Saw Mainly for straight cuts, both parallel and transverse to the grain of the wood, it is preferable to look for features such as a built-in laser line, which maximizes the efficiency in this type of cuts.
Let us also bear in mind that:
- Dual-bevel capability allows angle cuts in any direction without moving the workpiece.
- When the job does not allow for error, the guide rollers facilitate precise cuts.
- Variable speeds and orbital action settings allow you to choose the speed and aggressiveness of the cut, so we can tackle a wide variety of materials and applications.
Some of the comfort options that we can choose from are:
- Anti-vibration features to reduce fatigue and improve precision.
- A dust collection port (blower) to clean up sawdust as we work and make it easy to see the cut line.
- Integrated lights to improve visibility.
- Front upper handle or “D” handle, as well as auxiliary handles and a variety of ergonomic handles.
- Quick blade change system, often without the use of tools.
- Built-in compartment to hold replacement blades and keep them close at hand.
For most home improvement and DIY projects, a Jig Saw Low to mid-range (both wireless and wired) provides good power and convenience. However, professional-grade applications require different considerations. Let’s make sure we know what kinds of tasks we plan to do before making the final selection. The following graphic provides some rough guidelines:
Many of the features outlined so far, as well as special considerations for choosing blades or blades for jig saws, were duly explained in a previous article, so it is convenient that we review said article to get inside them.
Now we are going to expand a little more some of these characteristics relating them to specific needs and / or questions to ask ourselves when we go to a store to acquire the tool that we really seek.
1) The jigsaw motor that I like, is it powerful enough?
In this case we must separate the jig saws wired and wireless on the other. In the former, power is measured in amps or watts; in the latter, it is measured by the voltage delivered by the battery. Therefore, depending on whether we are going to use the saw for the home or for heavy work, it is recommended:
- For DIY: a 5 amp corded model, or an 18 volt cordless model.
- For professional work: a 7 or 8 amp corded model, or a 20 volt cordless model.
However, we must also think about the type of material to be cut and the desired depth of cut. A simple formula tells us that the thicker and harder the material, the more power is required to cut. Therefore, it is always advisable to acquire the jigsaw with the highest power that our budget can afford, remembering that in wireless models we must also look at the battery capacity, indicated in amp-hours (Ah).
2) What maximum speed is suitable?
Unlike most electric tools, the speed of a Jig Saw It is not measured in revolutions per minute (rpm), but in strokes per minute (cpm). As we have already seen, there are models that have a fixed speed and others that incorporate a variable speed control. In principle and as a general rule of thumb, a maximum speed of at least 2500-3000 cpm will be sufficient for almost any job.
If the Jig Saw it will have an occasional use, or a simple and repetitive use, a model with fixed speed or with just a couple of speed settings will be able to satisfy our needs. However, controlling the blade speed is important for several reasons:
- Some materials (for example, plastic) can scorch or burn if the cutting blade goes too fast.
- A high cutting speed, on the other hand, is ideal in materials such as wood because it reduces vibration.
- If we carry out movement operations along the part without rotating the saw (Scrolling) lower speeds are required.
Therefore, depending on the use that we will give to our jigsaw, the ability to control speed by means of a dial or wheel is a potentially important feature. Most advanced models provide 4-7 speed settings for great flexibility and precision.
On the other hand, power and speed are essential factors for cutting thicker and / or deeper materials, since the greater the stroke length of the blade, the deeper or thicker the cut will be. This means that thick, deep cuts require a more powerful motor and a higher number of strokes per minute.
3) Is it important to look for a jigsaw with various orbital action settings?
Orbital settings are an important part of a Jig Saw mid / high range. Low-end saws shift up and down, while orbital adjustments allow you to effectively control forward, backward, and sideways movements of the blade. jigsaw in a circular motion. Not only does this action allow for increased precision and speed, it also greatly aids in chip removal.
Since different types of cuts in different types of materials require different degrees of orbit, mid / high-end saws have a selector lever that allows us to choose the magnitude of the orbital movement: greater for straight cuts, very fast or forceful in porous materials; less for curved cuts, intricate offset work, or slower cuts in dense materials such as metals.
In the following graph we present a comparative table of the recommended settings for speed and orbital action.
Therefore, if our work frequently involves these situations or materials, it is important to look for a Jig Saw with various orbital action settings.
4) What are the beveling capabilities of the saw that I have in mind?
Most of the jig saws they allow their inclination to make bevel cuts. Typically loosening a single screw allows the base to be tilted up to 45 degrees in either direction. Although many saws provide an Allen wrench to adjust the base, some incorporate a lever that loosen and tighten the base to allow it to tilt. Therefore, the base of these models is known as a pivot base, which slides back and forth and locks at 45 ° or 90 ° (or even at intermediate measurements, for example, in 15 or 30 degree increments. ) eliminating the need for a square or protractor to establish these angles. Many manufacturers also incorporate into the keyhole saw a smooth plastic cover, or protective insert, on the metal base plate to avoid scratching delicate surfaces, such as sheet metal or plastic laminates. All these features are worth evaluating if bevel cuts in a variety of different materials are part of our regular business.
5) What specific useful details should I look for in a corded saw model? And in a wireless one?
To find answers to these questions, let’s look closely at the following graphic.
Based on what we have just explained, in the following table we present a synthesis of the recommendations of Of Machines and Tools for the smart purchase of a Jig Saw able to satisfy our needs in the best possible way.