What should I look for in a jigsaw?

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Forum topic by CanadaJeff posted 06-13-2009 04:08 AM 2289 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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207 posts in 3572 days

06-13-2009 04:08 AM

I think its time I pick up a jigsaw, there are a few on sale this weekend in Canada. I was wondering what people think between the barrel handle or ‘regular’ handle (sorry I can’t remember the correct term).

What else is important in considering a jigsaw


19 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3611 days

#1 posted 06-13-2009 04:24 AM

I think the barrel/top handle is a matter of preference – not necessarily a better design. I personally like the barrel grip as it helps me get closer to the wood surface, and have a more controlled movement with both hands. just a personal choice.

here are things to look for in a jigsaw:

1. sole 90 degree to blade – some soles are adjustable – make sure that it’s easy to adjust, locks firmly, and locks AT 90 degrees (some might lock not completely 90). also make sure there is no play in the sole when locked – some saws will have a sole that might wiggle a little bit -this can throw your cut off from being square to the surface

2. blade locks in place firmly – make sure you cannot pry the blade out by sheer force – or your blades will pop out during operation

other than those 2, there are some nice features out there – variable speed, orbital motion (will cut faster -but not as smooth), dust blower, blade quick release (a must have in my opinion – also tool less). some have dust collection attachment which is nice, but not sure how good that works.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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8534 posts in 3611 days

#2 posted 06-13-2009 04:28 AM

oops. double post – my bad.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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13600 posts in 3304 days

#3 posted 06-13-2009 04:41 AM

i use the barrel grip also ,
bosch came out with the new features that almost all jigsaws have now , many years ago .
i’m still with them .
i did buy a $ 40.00 black and decker for a friend recently and got to use it .
i was surprised at how well it cut , it too had all the bells and whistles .
as purp said it’s in the details and how you use it and on what .
don’t push it , or you can deflect the blade and have a beveled cut .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View sry's profile


147 posts in 3571 days

#4 posted 06-13-2009 07:39 AM

I also like the barrel grip (Bosch 1591). There’s more discussion on this in the jigsaw reviews in many of the comments (specifically here and here).

Some features that haven’t been previously mentioned:
-Cord length. I love the long rubberized cord on my Bosch. Many others have this as well, and some do not.
-How well it feels in your hand: make sure you can reach the power switch easily on a barrel grip saw, for example
-Type of blades. From what I’ve seen, there’s the most variety of blades (such the fabulous Bosch Extra Clean) for T shank rather than U shank. Although I’ve heard good things about the Starrett blades and I think they are compatible with both.
-Vibration. Does it shake your whole body or just glide smoothly where you want it to go? I can’t speak for most other saws, but the Bosch glides.

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Don K.

1075 posts in 3289 days

#5 posted 06-13-2009 08:18 AM

As far as name brand goes…..I have a Milwaukee with a T shank blade….tons of power, no vibration, plenty of bells and whistles and a power cord that is a mile long. I also have a Bosch that is just as nice, (I am just partial to the Milwaukee). I have a few others…both higher end and lower end. Most, like Purplev said do very well….from my B&D and up do just fine. Just check for what Prupluv said.

-- Don S.E. OK

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18244 posts in 3638 days

#6 posted 06-13-2009 08:21 AM

I had to get a new one after many years of service by my old B&D from the 70’s. I bought a Craftsman where America shops, @ Sears :-)) I was using it to cut straight cross grain in some 2x fir or hemlock. I got off the line a fuzz and corrected it. When I got the piece out, I was surprised to see the blade had wowed off at a 15 degree angle instead of being perpenducliar. I don’t know what the problem was. I didn’t think I was pushing it too hard. The blade was one of the new high tech combo tooth jobs. The sole was locked tight. Might have been operator error or plain old ID-ten-T error, not sure???

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Sandy's profile


216 posts in 3887 days

#7 posted 06-13-2009 02:53 PM

My son has the Festool. It’s fabulous.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3636 days

#8 posted 06-13-2009 04:08 PM

I have a Milwaukee and its nice but would be better if it had some sort of blower in the front to clear sawdust. I think some of the Bosch models have that.

I don’t think I’ve had it out since I bought a bandsaw however.

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John Gray

2370 posts in 3848 days

#9 posted 06-13-2009 04:29 PM


-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3488 days

#10 posted 06-13-2009 05:46 PM

Bosch hands down. It has all the bells and whistles that other brands just copy, and don’t always come through. Festool is just too damn expensive. I have two bosch jigsaws, a 10 yr old one, and a new one that’s only a year old. I love them both. The reason for two, is that I was tired of the other trim carpenters borrowing it on the job, so I bought a new one for myself and let others use the old one.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14171 posts in 3946 days

#11 posted 06-13-2009 11:14 PM

funny, but I have just about every woodworking tool I’ve ever wanted, but no jigsaw. Always use my band saw or if I want real precision or small cuts, my scroll saw. Guess I owned a jig saw when I started woodworking, but it wasn’t a very good one or I never got to like it… it was sold on ebay many years ago.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3448 days

#12 posted 06-14-2009 03:45 AM

The barrel grip lowers your center of gravity so the saw is easier to control. but it is still a matter of preference. I own a Bosch, after using an old Craftsman for 20 years. Night and day. Buy a saw with at least 5 amps. The lower amp machines are not as powerful. Power is good.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3448 days

#13 posted 06-15-2009 05:45 AM


Great price for a really nice Bosch jigsaw.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#14 posted 06-15-2009 06:55 AM

I like my bosch with the standard handle

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tomakazi's profile


686 posts in 3246 days

#15 posted 06-15-2009 07:36 AM

I use the Bosch. I have one of each that I use for different things. A lot of people like the barrel grip for better control, your hand is closer to the base and you have more leverage( for me this is better when cutting 2x) If I do a lot of cutting with it my hand cramps. the other one I use it mostly for coping interior trim. I also have a Bosch cordless, one of my favorite tools of alltime.

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

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