|Review by sry||posted 10-20-2008 02:35 AM||5646 views||1 time favorited||14 comments|
I only wanted to buy a jigsaw once, so I bought the best I could afford the first time. This was it. $160 at the CPO Bosch website when I bought it a few months ago. I think it’s down to $145 at amazon now. I’ve been using the saw for a few months now, and have to say that I’m very glad I bought this rather than some of the others I’ve looked at. This saw seems to have power to spare in every task I’ve thrown at it, up to and including 2” thick oak. It feels like a beast in your hand, but it surprisingly easy to control. The “precision control system” supposedly provides 50% more accuracy when making curved cuts. I can’t really back up the 50%, but it does seem to limit blade deflection, so I use it whenever I make curved or angled cuts. The base tips to +- 45 degrees, which I think is pretty much standard. It also slides back 1/4” or so, enabling you to get farther into corners (I honestly haven’t used that feature though). There are multiple orbital settings to control how aggressive the saw is. I usually use one of the lowest settings, but then again I’m not using the saw for rough cutting stock to length/width. The cord is 10’ long and made of a nice rubberized material. The grip area is also a nice rubberized material, and is easy to hang onto during operation.
I can’t imagine going back to other blade changing mechanisms after using this saw. This is hands down the best system I’ve ever used. You slide the blade change lever (bladk thing on the front of the saw) to the right and the blade pops out. To put a new blade in, you just push it in. That’s it.
Barrel grip vs. top handle
This one’s a toss-up. I think I like features of both. I feel like the barrel grip gives me fantastic control over the saw, as it almost becomes an extension of my arm. With a top handle saw I feel like I’m turning the saw with my wrist, while with this saw it’s like I’m steering with my whole arm. I also like the switch that locks on, so I can concentrate on the cut and not holding down the trigger. Of course there are also situations where the top handle is nice, and the trigger switch is actually a benefit. Plus, the top handle saw is easier to hold onto when you lift the saw away from the workpiece. I think I’m probably leaning towards the barrel grip as my favorite, but if somebody wanted to give me the top handle version I’d welcome it with open arms. Maybe this is like the fixed-base vs D-handle router debate?
- Blade: the included wood blades are decent, but my favorite so far for cutting wood are the Bosch clean blades (I use T101B and T101BR). I hear that the new extra clean blades (T308B) are even better for leaving both sides of the piece clean, but I haven’t used them yet. There’s a nice review here.
- Anti-splinter insert: inserts behind the blade and provides support to the top of the workpiece to prevent splintering. I haven’t used this all that much yet, but the few times I have it seems to do its job.
- No mar footplate: slips over the metal base to provide protection for fragile surfaces. Haven’t used it yet, but I can’t imagine that it doesn’t work.
- Case (2nd picture): nice, rugged case holds the jigsaw, blades, included accessories, and has space for the optional dust collector (a nice bonus!).
The saw does include a blower which you can turn on or off to blow dust away from the blade. It works decently at high speed, but the blowing strength scales with motor speed which makes it next to worthless on low speeds. I decided to try out the dust collection accessory, which is shown in the 3rd picture above. The dust collection pipe slips through the base and emerges directly behind the blade, and a plastic shield clips onto a metal clip in front of the blade. It seems to suck up the dust quite well and leave the cutting line visible, although to be perfectly honest I don’t really need it that often, as I often use blades with downward pointing teeth that deposit most of their dust below the workpiece.
- It’s loud. I don’t know if it’s louder or quieter than most other saws.
- I wish there was better blade storage in the case. A place to store the blades where they won’t bump into each other.
- The system for tightening the base plate in place is a little clunky, and there’s some play in the stop for 0 degrees, making it a little difficult sometimes to reset the saw to “normal position”.
I’ve used other jigsaws, such as my dad’s old B&D, Ridgid, DeWalt, and Skil, and this beats the pants off all of them. This is probably also why it costs more :o) This saw really is a dream to use. I just need to get better at what I’m doing so I gain the confidence to attempt more curvy pieces. Highly recommended to anyone. Unless you like top handle, then get the 1590EVS top handle version reviewed here. They’re more or less the exact same saw.