Jigsaw Cutting Guide: How to use a jigsaw safely. Jig saw meaning

How to use a jigsaw safely

If you have one power saw in your tool box, make sure it’s a jigsaw. As power tools go, it’ll be one you reach for most – next to your drill/driver. From cutting wooden boards in straight lines to creating intricate patterns in sheet metals, a good handheld jigsaw is more than able to deal with even the trickiest of cutting tasks. But are you currently getting the most out of yours?

We’ve put together the ultimate jigsaw how-to guide. Whether you want to brush up on the basic techniques or you’re looking for the real insider trade secrets – this guide is for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a curious DIY novice or seasoned pro. We’ve taken all the most useful information on jigsaw uses, features and benefits – and brought it here into one place.

If you use the tips and tricks in this guide, your projects will be a sight for saw eyes in no time!

What is a jigsaw?

An ever-popular power tool from the SGS product range, a jigsaw is a saw that can be used to cut irregular curves in wood, metal and other materials. When working with a jigsaw, its blade makes the cut in a ‘push-and-pull’ motion. This is otherwise known as “reciprocating” blade.

Curved or angled – the cuts you can achieve with a jigsaw tool make any projects quicker and easier to complete. And it’s important to know how to operate a jigsaw to maximum effect. In doing so, you can be sure of superb cutting results – and reflect on a job that’s truly well done.

It’s just one reason that we’ve produced this comprehensive jigsaw cutting guide.

How to choose your jigsaw

To start, let us help make sure you choose the right handheld jigsaw from our extensive range of products. With options from some of the most renowned power tool brands, it’s easy to find the one that’s right for you. See some of our most popular portable jigsaws below:

Ryobi ONE R18JS-0 18V Cordless Jigsaw with Flush Cut LED Light

This 18V Ryobi ONE jigsaw is a top-of-class cordless power tool – combining the performance, power and reliability you’d expect from a corded option. It offers up to 3,000 SPM and features a 4-stage pendulum stabilisation to achieve the perfect cut every time.

With the freedom and convenience this battery-powered jigsaw provides, it’s the ideal addition to any shed, workshop or garage. With long-lasting run time thanks to the Ryobi ONE battery, there’s no need for any trailing cables or nearby power sockets when you need to get the job done.

Makita DJV182Z 18V Brushless Jigsaw

energy, more power – Makita’s DJV182Z jigsaw machine comes with an innovative motor system that automatically slows the blade speed when no load is detected. It provides you with the benefit of being able to easily trace your cutting line for improved precision.

With its brushless motor, you can expect up to 50% more runtime and 3,500 strokes a minute at its highest, no-load speed. Just in case you can’t see clearly when working with your jigsaw, the DJV182Z has twin LED work lights and built-in blower to see where you’re cutting.

Milwaukee M18BJS-0 18V Compact Jigsaw

With a 3-year warranty as standard, we’re certain that you’ll find the Milwaukee M18BJS-0 will be everything you need in a portable jigsaw. The 5-position orbital setting gives you the choice of speed and cut – whether you’re using the jigsaw to cut metal, wood or something else.

This product is designed with your convenience in mind. Blade changing is quick and easy with the QUICK-LOK Blade Clamp. Other features include its tool free shoe bevel with positive stops and a non-marring shoe to protect against damage. No matter the job, this option is up to it.

Still not sure how to pick a jigsaw that’s right for you? Check out our jigsaw buying guide now.

Get to Know Your Jigsaw

Before we get started with any cutting or woodworking projects, it’s a good idea to take a look at your jigsaw tool. Explore what features yours actually has and how you can adjust them. As you’ll no doubt see when you come to pick your new jigsaw, they’re not all the same. You may find that yours doesn’t have advanced features such as orbital action or a bevel adjustment.

Here are some of the features that a jigsaw can include:

Variable speed dial. Many options have several speed settings for cutting different jigsaw materials. When using a jigsaw to cut metal, for example, use a lower blade speed to keep your blades in top shape. You might also choose a slower speed setting when working with plastics. This will reduce the risk of melting your workpiece.

Orbital action. Some jigsaw saws are capable of orbital action, which means it will provide thrust to the blade as it moves up and down. These tools have an impressive cutting speed when compared to a conventional saw. If yours has this feature, use its orbital action knob to increase or decrease the jigsaw’s “thrust”.

Bevel Adjustment. Some jigsaws will have a special pivoting baseplate and bevel adjustment setting, so you can cut wood or other materials at angles. Although you probably won’t use this feature day-to-day, a jigsaw with bevel function can be incredibly useful for sawing at an angle of up to around 45°.

Trigger Lock-on switch. Your trigger starts and stops your jigsaw power tool. It might take a moment for it to get up to speed after pressing the trigger, however. So, make sure you’re at capacity before your start any cut. If it has a lock-on switch, this will help you when working on a longer cut. As you hold your trigger, click this mode and you can lock a jigsaw while it continues to work.

Blade Blade clamp. A jigsaw can come with a range of locking mechanisms that secure or let you change out your blade. The simplest blade-changing systems will be toolless. But many will use a standard hex key for securing your blade in place.

How to stay safe when working with your jigsaw

Like all power tools, your safety is paramount. That’s why our jigsaw cutting guide offers some helpful tips on how to use a jigsaw in a way that keeps everyone safe:

  • Jigsaws make dust. There might be a lot of it too – depending on what you’re cutting. Use a mask and goggles to keep yourself protected if working with a jigsaw.
  • Using a corded jigsaw? Be sure where your power cord is. Keep it clear from your cut line. Make sure you use an extension lead that’s long enough to let you move around – but isn’t so long that you’ll get tangled up.
  • A jigsaw’s blade is fairly exposed. So, keep all your appendages away from the business end. Make sure the jigsaw power tool is completely unplugged (or the battery removed) before you try to adjust a blade.
  • Make sure your saw blade is sharp and fit for purpose. Old blades can go brittle and may snap during use of a jigsaw machine – causing danger to you and your workpiece.

How to Choose a Jigsaw Blade

The most common mistake when working with a jigsaw is choosing the wrong blade for the job at hand. Your jigsaw is likely to be capable of cutting anything from plywood board to sheet steel. If you pick the wrong blade, however, you’re not going to get the finish that your work deserves.

A good jigsaw blade is precision engineered for a specific task. So, to get the most out of your tool, it’s a good idea to have a range of different blades at hand. Our jigsaw guide should give you an extra edge when it comes to choosing the perfect blade:

  • Shank type. Remember, not every blade will fit a jigsaw! Double check the shank type before you buy a load of brand new blades. Ryobi jigsaw blade holders, for example, will take a “T-shank blade”. “U-shank” blades are very common too.
  • Amount and size of teeth. As with any cutting blade, larger teeth mean a quicker cut – but a rougher finish. Using smaller teeth, you’ll get through the jigsaw material slower. It does mean, however, that you’ll get a far finer finish. The number of teeth on a blade is measured in either “T” – meaning total teeth – or “TPI”, which is teeth per inch.(Use fewer, larger teeth for quicker, rougher cuts or use numerous, smaller teeth for a slower, finer finish)
  • Narrow blades vs Wide Blades. Wider blades are best for making longer, straighter cuts. The alternative options are narrow-bladed and used for cutting curves. You should have at least three or four teeth touching the workpiece at all times during your cuts.
  • Application-specific blades. Many blades are made specifically for harder or softer woods, as well as plastics or metals. The teeth shape and the blade material itself are just two factors to consider based on what you need it to cut through.

How to use a jigsaw to make a cut

We’ve seen where everything is on a jigsaw, how to stay safe when using your jigsaw and how to select the perfect blade for the project you have in mind. Now it’s time to actually use it! We have created this jigsaw how-to guide to be pretty universal. So, it should be helpful regardless of what material you’re cutting or how intricate your design is.

Like anything, practice makes perfect. If you don’t get it right on the first attempt, don’t worry! And don’t forget that you can always finish off an untidy edge with some sandpaper and a file if the end result is a little rougher than you hoped for. Let’s get started:

Mount the correct blade

After choosing an appropriate blade, mount it in your jigsaw while it’s unplugged (or the battery is removed). Release the blade clamp, holding your blade in place. Secure your blade and check that it doesn’t move in the clamp. Check your jigsaw instructions for more details if needs be.

Prepare your workpiece

Measure and mark out your cut line on the workpiece. If you’re cutting out a hole for a specific item like a sink or an electrical socket, you might want to draw round the object itself.

For other shapes, it might be an idea to make a template first and draw round that. The more accurate your cut line is, the better chance you have of making the perfect cut.

Secure your material to a worktable or sawhorse too – using a couple of clamps to reduce any possible movement while working with a jigsaw. This will leave you with two hands to navigate your jigsaw machine around the cut line.

Set your saw’s cutting settings

If you’re using a jigsaw that has orbital adjustments and speed settings, now’s the time to set them. Remember – an orbital action and speed setting will lead to a faster and easier cut.

Using jigsaw to cut metals or ceramics? You’ll want the lower the speed and orbital action settings. For wood, choose higher settings. You can always refine with sandpaper later.

Lining up and getting to speed

Rest the base plate in a secure position. Slowly pull down the trigger and wait a moment for the jigsaw to get up to full speed. The base plate should stay flat throughout the cut.

Follow the cut line

Now you’re up to speed, push your jigsaw firmly – but slowly – into your workpiece. Guide your jigsaw blade around its path by gradually twisting the back of your saw in the opposite direction to the one you want the blade to travel.

You’ll know if you’re pushing too hard because the saw will feel as if it’s straining. You may also feel a slight kickback. Slow your forward momentum down if this is the case. Moving too fast is a sure-fire way to damage your saw blade, miss your cut line and/or splinter the workpiece.

TOP TIP: If you’re cutting in a straight line, you might find it useful to clamp a guide piece of wood to your workpiece. This is normally a simple length of straight wood clamped parallel to your cut line. The base plate can rest against this as you cut. You can see an example of a jigsaw guide-piece in use above.

Complete your cut

Complete the cut by following your cut line to completion. Take care to make sure any excess jigsaw material can freely fall away from the workpiece without hitting you or the power cord.

Letting excess material drop off before you’ve completed a cut, however, causes the blade to bind – and possibly splinter the workpiece. With your finished piece, you can cap it off with a piece of sandpaper to get rid of some of any remaining rougher edges.

How to operate a jigsaw: Top tips and trade secrets

Now we have the basics covered in this jigsaw how-to guide. If you want some real trade-rated secrets, however, read on. The jigsaw is a power tool you can pick up and use almost instantly. And these more advanced tips will have you tackling bigger and more complicated DIY tasks in no time at all.

Starter holes

Not starting at the edge of a material? No problem. Drill yourself a starter hole roughly 5-8mm larger than your jigsaw blade. This means you can start in the centre of a workpiece, such as a countertop or a flooring board. There’s no need for difficult plunge cuts with this method!

Protect laminated or highly finished materials

By using masking tape on top of a laminated surface, you can reduce the risk of damaging the protective top layer. Special down-cutting laminate blades are available for added protection.

Know when to turn the speed down

A jigsaw’s variable speed settings aren’t just there for show. They have an important function. Slow the speed down when you’re using a jigsaw to cut metal. Your cut might take a little longer – but your blade will stay in better condition. It’s often worth bringing your cutting speed down for this sort of task. It’s slow work but it’s how you get the perfect finish.

Clamp metals between scrap wood

Clamp sheet metal between two pieces of plywood when you’re working on intricate designs or when the finish really counts. This reduces the risk of you shredding your workpiece as you cut.

Tight corners and curves

If you’re working on a corner or curve that’s too sharp to move the blade, keep backing up and restarting your cut at ever increasing angles. This will create a progressively larger kerf for your blade to turn into.

Super smooth cutting

A jigsaw cuts on the upward stroke. That’s why splintering is not unusual. If you really want to make sure you’re getting the best possible finish, use a slower blade with more teeth or buy a specialist downward cutting blade.

Choose the right blade!

We might be repeating ourselves – but we can’t say it enough. Use an appropriate blade for the material and task at hand. If you skipped our “How to choose a jigsaw blade” section, please go back and have a quick read. It’s so important to know how to use a jigsaw more effectively.

Still Need help?

Our in-house experts are always on hand to help you make the most of your new power tools – and how best to use a new jigsaw. If you have any questions or need any further advice about which corded or portable jigsaw is right for you, get in touch today.

Orbital Jigsaw Tips: How and When to Use Orbital Action

Many jigsaws today have orbital modes you can use to adjust the aggressiveness of the cut. But why do you need 3 or more modes? Even some of the best reciprocating saws are usually content to have an on and off. An orbital jigsaw isn’t a demolition tool, of course. However, knowing how and when to use orbital action on your jigsaw can help you get the best performance and finish in your work.

What is an Orbital Jigsaw?

An orbital jigsaw is simply a jigsaw that has at least one orbital setting, though most have three. You can find orbital modes on both corded and cordless models and it’s a feature that lets you make very fast cuts in wood.

What Does Jigsaw Orbital Action Do?

Jigsaw orbital action takes the blade’s straight sawing movement and adds increasing levels of elliptical motion to it. That motion creates a faster, more aggressive cut exactly the same way it does for a reciprocating saw.

With the elliptical motion, sawdust and material chips can clear the teeth more easily and cut through the material faster. The trade-off is that you experience more tear-out, higher vibration, and less control during the cut. Managing those trade-offs is how you decide when to use it and at what level.

How to Use Jigsaw Orbital Action

Using orbital action on a jigsaw is pretty straightforward. Most saws have a dial on the side of the saw marked 0 – 3 (0 – 2 or on/off if it has fewer modes). Just flip the dial to the setting you want and pull the trigger.

When to Use the Orbital Jigsaw Settings

The key to pulling all of this together is knowing when you use the orbital jigsaw settings. There are a few guidelines to go by depending on the material you’re cutting and the type of cut you’re making.

In general, orbital jigsaw modes are best in wood, while turning them off is best in metal. There’s a wide range of qualifiers, though.


Metal cutting is the easy one. Keep the orbital action off and pay attention to your speed. A slower blade speed often cuts faster in metal. Feel free to experiment on scrap material, though. Several of our Pros like a light orbital on thicker metal and aluminum.


When cutting wood, keep orbital action off when you need the cleanest finish or you’re making scroll cuts. The orbital action can really work against your control, especially when you’re trying to make tight curved cuts.

If you’re making a rough, straight cut, go ahead and kick it all the way to the most aggressive orbital action setting.

When you’re making sweeping, gentle curved cuts, that’s when you want to use one of the middle settings to balance your speed and control.

Pro Tip: For those relatively new to jigsawing, faster cutting speeds can quickly turn to a loss of control. Quality results trump fast cuts, especially if it means wasting material. Slow down and turn that orbital mode off if you feel like you’re not able to follow your cutline well.

The exception to using your jigsaw’s orbital action in wood is when you’re making a plunge cut. You need the tip of the blade to stay engaged against the material as you push down, and even light orbital action is tough.

Other Materials

When it comes to plastics, we usually leave the orbital action off. The same goes for fiberglass. Jigsaws are plenty fast enough to make those cuts quickly with a straight cutting action. There’s some disagreement in our ranks, and a few of our guys will use light or even medium orbital action in plastic.

Laminates such as countertops can handle a medium or high orbital setting.

jigsaw, cutting, guide, safely, meaning

You can use the most aggressive orbital action on drywall. Most of those cuts happen on hung drywall and cutting out a gang box with a plunge cut start is easiest without it.

Final Thoughts

Today’s orbital jigsaw options include models that are well within reach of a DIY budget. It’s an incredibly helpful feature to help speed up your cuts in the appropriate materials and types of cuts. We highly recommend you buy a jigsaw with orbital action and take some time working with scrap material to master how and when to use it.

Questions? Комментарии и мнения владельцев? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave them in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев section below.


Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a “home” group to specialize in one aspect of a topic (for example, one group studies habitats of rainforest animals, another group studies predators of rainforest animals). Students meet with members from other groups who are assigned the same aspect, and after mastering the material, return to the “home” group and teach the material to their group members. With this strategy, each student in the “home” group serves as a piece of the topic’s puzzle and when they work together as a whole, they create the complete jigsaw puzzle.

How to use jigsaw

  • Introduce the strategy and the topic to be studied.
  • Assign each student to a “home group” of 3-5 students who reflect a range of reading abilities.
  • Determine a set of reading selections and assign one selection to each student.
  • Create “expert groups” that consist of students across “home groups” who will read the same selection.
  • Give all students a framework for managing their time on the various parts of the jigsaw task.
  • Provide key questions to help the “expert groups” gather information in their particular area.
  • Provide materials and resources necessary for all students to learn about their topics and become “experts.”

Watch: Jigsaw

Go inside Cathy Doyle’s second grade classroom in Evanston, Illinois to observe her students use the jigsaw strategy to understand the topic of gardening more deeply and share what they have learned. Joanne Meier, our research director, introduces the strategy and talks about the importance of advanced planning and organization to make this strategy really effective.

Collect resources

Learn how to use the jigsaw strategy across different content areas, including author studies, writing, and math. See example

Learn how one teacher used jigsaw to help her students develop their own definition of a fairy tale, and how her students responded to the self-directed activity. See example

jigsaw, cutting, guide, safely, meaning

Visit the Jigsaw Classroom, a site dedicated to teaching teachers how to use jigsaw to “reduce racial conflict among school children, promote better learning, improve student motivation, and increase enjoyment of the learning experience.” It also covers how teachers can facilitate the strategy with several different types of learners. See example

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, students with learning disabilities, and younger learners

  • Give students experience with small group learning skills before participating in the jigsaw strategy.
  • Have students fill out a graphic organizer in the “home group” to gather all the information presented by each “expert.”
  • “Home groups” can present results to the entire class, or they may participate in some assessment activity.
  • Circulate to ensure that groups are on task and managing their work well; ask groups to stop and think about how they are checking for everyone’s understanding and ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard; and
  • Monitor the comprehension of the group members by asking questions and rephrasing information until it is clear that all group members understand the points.

See the research that supports this strategy

Aronson, E., Goode, E. (1980). Training teachers to implement jigsaw learning: A manual for teachers. In S. Sharan, P. Hare, C. Webb, and R. Hertz-Lazarowitz (Eds.), Cooperation in Education (pp. 47-81). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press.

Aronson, E., Patnoe, S. (1997). The jigsaw classroom: Building cooperation in the classroom (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Clarke, J. (1994). Pieces of the puzzle: The jigsaw method. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Handbook of cooperative learning methods. Westport CT: Greenwood Press.

Crone, T. S., Portillo, M. C. (2013). Jigsaw variations and attitudes about learning and the self in cognitive psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 40(3), 246–251. https://doi.org/10.1177/0098628313487451

Nobody knows you can do this with a jigsaw! Hidden Features of Jigsaw

Hattie, J. (2017). 256 influences related to achievement. Visible Learning.

Law, Y.-K. (2011). The effects of cooperative learning on enhancing Hong Kong fifth graders’ achievement goals, autonomous motivation and reading proficiency. Journal of Research in Reading, 34(4), 402–425. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9817.2010.01445.x

no, R. (2009). Constructing knowledge with an agent-based instructional program: A comparison of cooperative and individual meaning making. Learning and Instruction, 19(5), 433–444. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.02.018

Moskowitz, J. M., Malvin, J. H., Schaeffer, G. A., Schaps, E. (1985). Evaluation of jigsaw, a cooperative learning technique. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 10(2), 104–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/0361-476X(85)90011-6

Slavin, R. E. (1980). Cooperative learning in teams: State of the art. Educational Psychologist, 15, 93-111.

Slavin, R. E. (1995). Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn Bacon. Tierney, R. (1995) Reading Strategies and Practices. Boston: Allyn Bacon.

Stanczak, A., Darnon, C., Robert, A., Demolliens, M., Sanrey, C., Bressoux, P., Huguet, P., Buchs, C., Butera, F., PROFAN Consortium. (2022). Do jigsaw classrooms improve learning outcomes? Five experiments and an internal meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(6), 1461-1476.

Manage tight curves and other useful cuts with a versatile quality jigsaw that’s right for your projects, skills, and budget.

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As an electric saw with a vertically plunging blade, the jigsaw tends to be underappreciated. True, it’s not as powerful or fast as a circular saw, and it can be a little tricky to master. Still, savvy carpenters, woodworkers, metalworkers, and even DIYers know to reach for one of these capable tools to make various cutting tasks a breeze.

The jigsaw’s main purpose is to cut curves, but it can also cut lumber to length with ease and create holes and other shapes in materials such as plywood and plastic. Today’s models are lighter, more powerful, and more versatile than ever.

This guide will help in choosing the best jigsaw for your DIY or professional projects. We put some of the most popular brands to the test, evaluating both corded and cordless saws. Cutting through 1/2-inch thick plywood, we evaluated their features, how smoothly they cut, and how aggressively they could blitz through wood.

  • BEST OVERALL:Bosch Barrel-Grip Jigsaw Kit JS572EBK
  • BEST BUDGET:Ryobi PBLJS01B jigsaw
  • BEST FOR MAX POWER:Milwaukee 2737B-20 Jigsaw
  • BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SAW:Makita 4329K Top Handle Jig Saw

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Jigsaw

Today’s jigsaws tend to be far more feature-rich than the models of the past, offering varying cutting speeds, different levels when it comes to aggressive cutting, amperages, and power supply options. Some options make sense, while others might be an unnecessary bell or whistle a DIY likely doesn’t need.


Jigsaw puzzled? No surprise! Here’s the need-to-know info about how different models stack up.

  • Straight-reciprocating: Older models and newer low-end options are typically straight-reciprocating jigsaws. This means the blade simply travels up and down with no variance in its path. Though these jigsaws cut slowly, they’re able to make very tight turns and create curves, unlike a table or a circular saw. All modern jigsaws have a zero orbital option and all the versions we tested have selectable switches to increase the orbit — or aggressiveness — of the cut.
  • Orbital-reciprocating: These jigsaws have a slightly forward motion to their blade stroke. The blade tilts forward on the upstroke, clearing wood more quickly than a straight-reciprocating jigsaw. To activate orbital-reciprocation, the user typically flips a switch on the side of the saw into one of (usually) four positions. These saws cut faster but with less accuracy and maneuverability than straight-reciprocating models. There will also be more tear-out (splintered wood that chips up along the cutline) on the top of the wood.
  • Top handle: Traditional jigsaws have a tall, large handle shaped like the letter D with a basic finger trigger inside the hand loop to operate the saw. This grip is easy to wrap a hand around, but the height increases lateral leverage, which can tip the saw and lead to less accuracy. While handle type is a matter of preference, those with smaller hands will usually have an easier time controlling top-handle saws.
  • Barrel grip: A newer form, barrel-grip jigsaws allow users to keep their hand lower to the material they’re working on. This can increase control, minimizing the tendency to tip the saw and skew the blade’s path. These models usually have thumb switches instead of finger triggers. Often DIYers and pros who do a lot of “under the table” cutting, where the blade faces up while following a line, will find these tasks easier using a barrel grip.
  • Cordless vs corded: Most tool manufacturers offer both versions of this tool, and some even offer cordless versions of different voltages (i.e., 18- and 12-volt). Typically, a corded jigsaw costs quite a bit less than a cordless version. Most makers offer cordless saws both as kits, paired with a battery and a charger, and as a bare tool without a battery or charger. The latter makes it easier to weave the tool into your existing cordless tool kit, using the same batteries and charger you already own. Cutting extremely dense woods like oak or walnut can chew through battery life pretty quickly, so woodworkers should check into corded options. For site work like decks and pergolas, battery-powered models are the way to go.

Amperage and Cutting Speed

Amp ratings on power tools refer to the amount of power they can draw without compromising the motor or internal components. Generally, the higher the amperage, the more heavy-duty the tool. Most modern jigsaws range between 5.0 and 7.0 amps.

All jigsaws have varied cutting speeds, operated by either a pressure-sensitive trigger or an adjustable dial. These power tools also have adjustable speed ranges, starting at around 500 strokes per minute (SPM) and up to 3,000 to 4,000 strokes per minute at the top end.

Cabinetmakers, woodworkers, and metalworkers will most likely enjoy dialed speed control that provides consistent results. For the multipurpose DIY workshop, a do-it-all jigsaw with a pressure-sensitive trigger might be a better choice, as it can easily bounce from job to job without much fuss.

Blade Type Material

There are two types of jigsaw blade options: T-shank and U-shank. Many of the best jigsaws use T-shank blades, which lock in easily (usually without the use of tools) and stay secure during tight curves and decorative cuts. U-shank-style saws sometimes require tools for blade changes, making them far less popular since the invention of T-shank blades.

Also, there are three different materials used to make jigsaw blades:

  • High carbon steel blades are inexpensive and they’re fine for most construction work. These blades are flexible but dull easily.
  • Manufacturers make bi-metal blades from carbon steel with high-speed tool steel for the teeth. They’re flexible, but the blades stay sharper longer.
  • The most durable jigsaw blades utilize tungsten carbide. These blades are expensive but highly heat resistant.


In the grand scheme of power tools, jigsaws are relatively low risk for injury, but there are some built-in features that make them safer to handle. For instance, many jigsaws have onboard LED lights that illuminate the cutline and ensure the user can see where they’re cutting—one of the most critical aspects of power tool safety.

There are also safeties that the user must depress before squeezing the trigger, preventing accidental activation from occurring. These buttons are typically mounted on the handle where the user can reach them with a thumb, and a quick press allows the user to activate the saw.

Additional Features

Beyond amperage, speed, and safety features, there are additional features that can make a jigsaw more functional, convenient, and/or easier to use.

  • Dust management: Jigsaws don’t kick up nearly as much sawdust as a table saw, miter saw, circular saw, or other types of saws; instead of turning wood to dust, these jigsaws take chunks out of the material. Still, these chunks can land on the cutline, challenging visibility, so some models include dust blowers that fan small chunks off the cutline. Although jigsaws create minimal mess, for a sawdust-free work space, look for a model that attaches to a shop vac.
  • Blade change system: Quick-release blade retention systems make switching blades a breeze. These systems have spring-loaded chucks that clamp down on the blade shank, holding it firmly in place until the user changes the blade. This is a huge improvement over older systems, which required hex keys to remove the blade.
  • Size and weight: Wielding a jigsaw isn’t typically strenuous work, but size and weight might be a consideration. Most jigsaws weigh well under 10 pounds, but some lighter models weigh just 5 pounds or so. Also, some jigsaws feature barrel grips, which make them more compact than top-handle jigsaw models.
  • Ergonomics: Some jigsaws feature ergonomic designs, such as rubber overmolded handles to reduce vibration and improve grip. Also, thumb-activated speed adjustments and multiple trigger positions (such as one on each side of the saw) allow for comfortable hand positions regardless of handedness.

A jigsaw Hidden Features of Jigsaw

Our Top Picks

Having just absorbed a lot of information about the best jigsaws, shopping for one ought to be a snap. Still, to make the job of choosing the right model even easier, we tested popular jigsaws from leading tool makers, reflecting everything from pro-grade versions to entry-level priced saws that DIYers might use sparingly. How well you use a jigsaw to cut depends heavily on how the tool feels in your hand, so it’s a good idea to visit a home center for a hands-on experience with the tools to see what grips feel the best.

Bosch Barrel-Grip Jigsaw Kit JS572EBK

The Bosch Barrel-Grip jigsaw is the ultimate choice for accuracy and control. This jigsaw comfortably keeps the user’s hand close to the workpiece, helping avoid the tipping that tends to occur with taller top-handle jigsaws. Also, the grip is slimmer than most barrel-style grips, for better control and improved comfort.

The saw has the highest amperage in this lineup at 7.2 amps and a speed range of 800 to 3,000 SPM; speed is regulated by a dial at the rear of the barrel. While the speed could be higher, it’s likely plenty for most jobs. This Bosch came packed with three blades, more than any other jigsaw we tested. It has a three-position setting for orbital cutting, a very convenient thumb-activated on/off switch, and a bright LED light. T-shank blade changes are easy thanks to the toolless design with blade ejection.

Granted, there are a lot of buttons and switches on this tool, from the blower setting to the orbital action, that will become more familiar with use. During our tests, this model excelled at speed, maneuverability, and minimal chip out both at 90 and 45 degrees.

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  • Power: 7.2-amp corded
  • Speed: Up to 3,000 SPM
  • Stroke type: Straight with three orbital setting
  • Stroke length: 1 inch
  • Heavy-duty motor
  • Comfortable grip with one or both hands
  • Comes with three blades for a variety of materials
  • Blower exceptional at clearing sawdust from the cut line

Get the Bosch JS572EBK at The Home Depot, Amazon, or Lowe’s.

Ryobi PBLJS01B jigsaw

Some DIYers might consider a saw sold as a bare tool a negative, but with so many Ryobi 18 volt batteries available, many folks already have one in their toolbox. Buying a bare tool lowers the cost and prevents accumulating unnecessary chargers. The Ryobi PBLJS01B is just about the most budget-friendly brushless jigsaw on the market—meaning the digital motor inside is more efficient at pulling power from the battery—providing nearly 80 percent longer runtime from the same lithium-ion power pack

The handle is roomier than the other beginner saws we tested, so it should fit a range of users. The 1-inch stroke length matches the most expensive saws in our test group, and the top end speed of 3,400 strokes per minute is pretty close to the fastest tools tested. Plus, DIYers will likely appreciate that the tool sets straight up on its battery; it needn’t rest on its side, which might cause the blade to scratch surfaces.

During the cut tests, the Ryboi felt fast and agile, but it had quite a bit of chip out at 90 degrees when set to max orbital. The sawdust also seemed to gather right at the blade, making it more challenging to see the cut line.

  • Power: 18-volt cordless
  • Speed: Up to 3,400 SPM
  • Stroke type: Straight with three orbital setting
  • Stroke length: 1 inch
  • A solid brushless tool that will extend runtime with standard battery
  • Comfortable handle and body that sits upright between uses
  • 3,400 SPM is the fastest for saws in this price range

Get the Ryobi PBLJS01B at The Home Depot.