How to Choose a Jigsaw

Last Updated on September 3, 2020 by Daniel Cooper

Are you looking for How to choose a jigsaw? A jigsaw is a modern tool for making art and interior items from wood, metal, and other materials. Reliable design, high efficiency, and ease of use allow even a person with little experience to work with the jigsaw.

How to Choose a Jigsaw

How to Choose a Jigsaw

However, the choice of the tool must be approached responsibly. Otherwise, the work can turn into hard work. We will tell you about what to look for when buying a woodworking jigsaw in our article.

Types of jigsaws and types of bodies

Jigsaws are of two types: hand-held and bench-top. Hand-held ones are more popular. Hands do not get tired of them (weight is only 1.2–3 kg), and at the same time, it is possible to perform a large number of different works with them.

When choosing a hand jigsaw, you should pay attention to the type of body. The convenience and even the quality of the cut depend on it. In appearance, the cases are:

  • Staple: in the form of a letter D. You can work with them with one hand, the place of the cut is also clearly visible;
  • Mushroom: the name speaks for itself – the body looks like a mushroom with a cap. With such a tool, it is more convenient to make curly cuts.
  • Tabletop jigsaw: A tabletop jigsaw is a stationary tool that looks like a small machine. With its help, shaped cuts of high precision are performed, which is achieved due to stable fixation.

Working with a desktop jigsaw is more convenient and safer than using a manual one. The disadvantages include large dimensions and price, as well as the complexity of working with large workpieces.

Saw and Power

A jigsaw without a saw is like a car without wheels. It will take the road, but it will not go! Therefore, they approach the choice of a file as carefully as the jigsaw itself. When choosing a file, take into account the method of its attachment, the cutting depth, the size and setting of the teeth.

Cutting Depth

Cutting depth is a characteristic that indicates how thick a workpiece can be cut by a tool. As a rule, 3 values ​​of the cut are indicated in the instructions: for steel, wood and non-ferrous metals. This figure is in the range of 40–160 mm for wood, 5–10 mm for non-ferrous metals and up to 12 mm for steel for household electric jigsaws.

The depth directly depends on power. The more powerful the tool, the more rigid and thicker materials it allows you to work with. Household models are usually produced with a power of 350-700 watts. This indicator is higher for professional instruments.

The saw teeth are selected depending on the material’s density and the type of cut: straight or curved. The denser and harder the material, the finer the teeth should be. The smallest is for steel, and the largest is for softwood.

Tooth set is of the following types:

  • Milled classic (hacksaw): When the teeth are wide apart in different directions, suitable for a quick and rough-cut;
  • Milled wavy: When the teeth are set apart in groups and, as it were, in a wave. This layout provides a neat cut on wood, chipboard, metal and even plastic;
  • Ground classic (hacksaw): Ground teeth are set apart, which allows you to make a relatively clean-cut at high speed. Saws with this type of wiring are useful when working with wood, chipboard, fiberboard and other wood-based panels and materials;
  • Ground without setting: The teeth go in one line. Due to this, a thin and even cut is obtained. Such files are used to work with finishing materials: board, laminate, parquet.

The file attachment can be key or keyless. In the first case, a hex key is used. In the second, fastening occurs using a keyless chuck.

Tips: do not forget that the ponytail is the leading link; its thickness affects the strength of the entire canvas. There are various types of ponytails, mostly U- or T-shaped. Information on this can be found in the instructions.

Stroke: Amplitude, Frequency, Regulation, and Pendulum

The saw stroke also influences the cut quality and speed of work. The performance of the jigsaw depends on the amplitude of the stroke. This parameter shows which part of the file is in contact with the surface of the workpiece.

The amplitude ranges from 15 to 26 mm. In household models, the stroke amplitude is 15-17 mm, in professional jigsaws, where high performance is required, from 19 to 26 mm.

The stroke rate of the rod shows how many back and forth movements the file makes per minute. The higher the value of this characteristic, the faster the tool works. The most common models have a stroke rate of 3000 strokes per minute, while the more budgetary models have a stroke rate of 2500 strokes/min and higher. For better processing of workpieces in jigsaws, the stroke frequency is regulated. The softer the material, the higher the stroke rate should be.

This function is implemented in 2 ways:

  1. By pressing the button during the sawing process;
  2. And setting the speed before starting work.

The pendulum function of the jigsaw allows you to perform a large amount of work. This option helps to make straight cuts faster, slightly degrading the quality (small chips may appear). This reduces the heating of the file and the tool itself, which increases its service life.

Tips: to make a perfect cut, use masking tape in your work. It is glued along the cutting line, on the side where they want to achieve the perfect result – without chips and lint.

Power and Batteries

It depends on the power supply, how convenient and how long you can work with a jigsaw at a time. Power can be mains or battery.

Networked jigsaw

Networked jigsaw and lighter ones due to the lack of a battery, but you need constant access to a 220 W electrical network for operation.

Tips: For outdoor work, you will need an extension cord, for the convenience of using the tool and so that the cord does not twist – take the extension cord on the block.

Cordless jigsaws

Cordless jigsaws are powered by a 10.8-28 V battery. They are mobile and allow you to work in conditions where access to the mains is difficult.

Batteries can come with a jigsaw, but often you need to pick them yourself. Let’s briefly describe what they are to make your search easier.

By type, batteries are divided into:

  • 1. Nickel-cadmium, which are designated as Ni-Cd, and withstand up to 1000 cycles (1 cycle includes a full charge and discharge). Such batteries operate without interruption at low temperatures down to –20 ° C and quickly recharge. But it is worth remembering that cadmium is a heavy metal with increased toxicity. Also, such “batteries” have a “memory effect” – the ability to remember the last charge level. If the first charge is incorrect, the “battery” will be damaged, which will negatively affect the jigsaw duration.
  • 2. Nickel-metal hydride, or Ni-MH for short, is more environmentally friendly than cadmium. It also works well at low temperatures. The “memory effect” in batteries of this type is also present but to a lesser extent. Their capacity is greater, but it decreases after 200-300 cycles.
  • 3. Lithium-ion, or Li-Ion for short, albeit the most expensive, but preferable to those described earlier. They have a high capacity and almost no “memory effect.” Such batteries charge quickly, weigh little, but do not work for a long time at temperatures below 0° C.

Remember! The capacity of the battery determines how long the tool will work without recharging.

Additional “Chips”

Additional functions simplify the work and increase its quality. A good master knows that there are no extra lotions. It’s just that not everyone knows what they are for!

Laser marker – a beam that acts as a guideline. A useful feature when there are many straight cuts to be made or when the work is being done in low light. For the same needs, some models have a backlight function. The LED illuminates not only the marking line but also the area around it.

When working with difficult-to-machine materials, speed stabilization is useful. When cutting, the jigsaw motor will inevitably “slow down” under load. The speed stabilization function prevents engine overload and, at the same time, does not affect the operating speed.

Blowing off sawdust is important when making complex curved cuts when precision and accuracy are valued. To keep the entire workplace in order, it will be useful to connect the jigsaw to the vacuum cleaner.

Thanks to a smooth start-up of jigsaw gaining momentum gradually, allowing us to start sawing the workpiece more gently and not to damage the material.

If you need to cut at a certain angle, you should pay attention to jigsaws with sole adjustment. The tilt angle can be 15 °, 30 °, or 45 °. These are the most common angles in private construction and home furniture design.

For high-quality and accurate work, you need to try not to strain your hand. To do this, the jigsaw has a function for locking the power button, thanks to which the tool works in the desired mode all the time.

Complete Set – Full stuffing

The set with the jigsaw may include some additional devices useful in certain situations. They expand the possibilities and increase convenience when working with it.

When you need to make a straight cut parallel to the edge of the workpiece, a parallel stop is used, and in order to accurately cut around the circumference, a compass stop is needed. A guide rail is used for making perpendicular cuts.

When working with fragile material, protection against chip chipping is required. This is a special plate that attaches to the sole. It prevents the file from moving to the side and prevents unnecessary chips from forming.

Carbon brushes reduce sparks and protect the engine from wear. A safety guard keeps the craftsman safe when working. The jigsaw kit may include a special case, in which it is convenient to store and carry the tool.

Conclusions – 6 Keys to Remember

To choose a jigsaw, you need:

  • 1. Decide on the type: Hand tools are convenient when working with large workpieces, and for high-quality execution of small figured parts, it is better to use a desktop tool.
  • 2. Pay attention to the file: It is chosen based on the material to be processed and the type of cut.
  • 3. Pay attention to travel and power parameters: The jigsaw’s performance and the quality of work depend on this.
  • 4. Select the type of food: Electric jigsaws are powered from a 220 V network, rechargeable ones – from a battery. The latter are more mobile, and they are convenient to use for high-rise and street work. However, the battery requires constant charging, so you can’t do without a network anyway!
  • 5. Do not forget about the power of the jigsaw: The larger it is, the more productive the tool will be, and the more hard materials it will be able to process.
  • 6. Pay attention to additional functions and accessories: Working with them will become better and more convenient.

Now you know how to choose a convenient and versatile jigsaw. Happy shopping!


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