Jigsaws: Regular vs Barrel Grip

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Forum topic by jstewart posted 03-28-2008 02:11 AM 11086 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 4117 days

03-28-2008 02:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jigsaw advice barrel grip question

Does anybody have any pros and cons of the two styles of jigsaws. I was planning on buying a barrel grip jigsaw because I liked the idea of having my hand a little closer to the wood, for a little extra control. I was warned that the barrel grip ones can feel rather hot since your hand is wrapped around the motor. Are there any other things I should be thinking about?

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

16 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4014 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 02:58 AM

With a top grip you use a lot more wrist action and you’re looking down on your cut.

With a barrel it’s more upper body movement to control it and you’re not really looking down
on your cut in a natural position. More of an off the the side look.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 3889 days

#2 posted 03-28-2008 03:00 AM

I owned a bosch barrel grip and didn’t like it due to the switch is on the side where my thumb was and I found it awkward to turn the unit off and on smoothly. I now have a dewalt regular grip with a trigger switch at your finger and I find it easier for me anyways to turn the unit on and off.

-- Kevin

View gunner's profile


11 posts in 3790 days

#3 posted 03-28-2008 03:01 AM

I’ve used a barrel grip Bosch for upwards of 20 years building boats with lots of cutting of thick fiberglass. I don’t think you could torture a saw any more. I think the barrel grip offers much better control, the top grip feels very awkward to me. I seem to remember some slight heat issues under very heavy load cutting fiberglass and steel a few times, but never in wood. I would never own anything else, barrel grip all the way.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3848 days

#4 posted 03-28-2008 04:17 AM

I tend to agree with Gary’s comment. I have only used top grip saws. I guess it is what you get used to. But to me the top grip is a more natural cut and less strenuous to operate.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 3906 days

#5 posted 03-28-2008 05:00 AM

im a barrel handle guy ! i use mine a lot to cope large crown moulding it takes a lot of control to do this and the d handle saws dont get it done for me . ive never had a heat issue . my 2 scents

View dlgWoodWork's profile


160 posts in 3780 days

#6 posted 03-28-2008 05:17 AM

I have only used a top grip so I can’t compare the two. My advice would be to go to Lowes or somewhere like that and put your hands on each type. Then maybe you will have a better idea of what you prefer.

-- Check out my projects and videos

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3900 days

#7 posted 03-28-2008 11:07 AM

I prefer the top grip. That is just because that is all I have used. I agree that the heat issue might be a problem, but probably not in a higher end model.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3825 days

#8 posted 03-28-2008 11:50 AM

barrel is my favorite. like most tool questions, it comes down to a question of personal preference

-- making sawdust....

View ToddO's profile


80 posts in 3849 days

#9 posted 03-28-2008 01:36 PM

I own the Craftsman jig saw that allows you to use it either as a barrel or top grip. I find that for scroll type work the top grip is better for me. But for straight cuts, cuts with a larger radius, or for cuts where you need to extend your reach, (i.e. cutting a pattern out of a sheet of ply) the barrel grip is more comfortable. I think it depends on the work you’re doing. BTW’s you might want to look at the Craftsman, it’s a nice saw.

-- Todd, Richfield MN

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4016 days

#10 posted 03-28-2008 01:50 PM

I fully agree with ToddO and own the same saw. Using the barrel grip does afford better control but sometimes the job calls for a handle. It’s a nice feature that Craftsman has incorporated into theirs, giving you the option of both.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Mat's profile


9 posts in 3760 days

#11 posted 03-28-2008 04:32 PM

I have the same jig saw as todd0 and daddo. The top grip goes on and off easily and allows you to choose what will work best for what you’re tring to do. I love mine! Craftsman Professional Laser Trac™ 2-in-1 Jig saw with LED

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3162 days

#12 posted 05-21-2010 06:00 AM

I don’t agree with it comes down to a question of personal preference, if you care about your work than no questions ask’d you’ll go with a barrel grip, you have alot more control making the job so much more easier, isn’t that what you expect from your tools… (With a d handle your pulling the tool, pushing with the barrel)

-- Rick

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 2955 days

#13 posted 05-21-2010 06:23 AM

I always prefer barrel grip. I like the line if sight it gives better

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View delicatetouch's profile


1 post in 1682 days

#14 posted 05-12-2014 08:00 PM

For sure hands down, no question, without a doubt, the barrel grip is the way to go!! You have more control, and I have used and owned both. I now own and use a festool barrel grip that is just awesome!!

-- DelicateTouch/Chicago

View jonah's profile


1727 posts in 3324 days

#15 posted 05-13-2014 03:19 AM

Barrel grip saws have a lower center of mass and are easier to keep from tipping. I have used both and would get a barrel grip every time. The ergonomics are just better.

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