I must confess, this saw surprised me. While I have always liked Craftsman tools, it’s been a while since I was willing to call one the best-of-the-best. There’s just too much market competition out there and Craftsman has had trouble keeping up. However, I am truly impressed by this saw.
To start, Craftsman solved the age-old problem of whether you should get a barrel bodied saw or one with a D-handle. This saw can be used either way and has two triggers to accommodate it. The D-handle switch has a constant “on” button, as well as a two-finger trigger. Both handles are also made with a soft-grip for operator comfort.
The 6.0 Amp motor is an all ball-bearing construction and runs from 800-3,000 strokes per minute (SPM). It has a variable speed dial, allowing you to select the right speed for the material you’re cutting. There are four orbital settings to select from along with the option for straight cutting. Blade travel is a massive 15-16 inch. This saw also has a blade which rotates 360 degrees (What we used to call a “scrolling head.”) This is something you almost never see on a jigsaw these days but it makes cutting easier at odd angles and for following your line on complex cuts. You can simply just rotate the blade rather than the whole tool.
The features just keep coming with this tool. There is an on-demand laser cutting guide to help you cut straighter, an oversize shoe cast for flatness with a resin overshoe and a blade support roller keeps the blade straight and free from twisting. There is an integral dust port with a vacuum adapter built-in so all you have to do is connect your shop vac. Like the others, this tool features quick release, tool-free blade changing, and can take either T shank or U shank blades. A very impressive tool for the price you’re paying.
This saw gets high ratings for its power. Of all the saws on this list, the PC600JS is the most powerful, with a 6-amp motor provides variable speeds from 0-3200 strokes per minute. They’ve given us four orbital settings on this one along with a soft-grip handle and front end to make it more comfortable to use. Soft-grip handles are now very common, but the Porter-Cable takes it a step further by adding the soft nose where many users put their second hand. The shoe is cast, helping ensure its flatness and comes with an included shoe cover. They’ve also included a LED headlight for improved visibility of the cut line which is always a nice addition to have.
I’ve been a fan of Makita for years ever since I bought my first cordless drill from them. It was 7.2 volts giving you an idea how long I’ve been using their tools for. Makita couples a 3.9-amp motor with an 11/16” stroke, and three orbital settings providing plenty of cutting capacity. This is a variable-speed saw, running from 500-3,100 strokes per minute. A through-the-body dust port helps keep the cutting area clear and they’ve put a counterweight balancing system in it to reduce vibration. The overmolded handle, extra-large trigger and a trigger lock all combine to make this a comfortable tool to work with.
Black and Decker have made the problem of selecting the right orbital setting much easier with this saw. Simply select the visual icon for the type of cut you want to make from 7 available options and the saw adjusts automatically to provide you with cut appropriate to your job. The 6 amp motor provides plenty of power as well with a 13-16” stroke length. Like the Craftsman, this one will accept either type of blades (T-shank or U-shank). This saw provides excellent illumination for the cut line, helping you to make a more accurate cut. Blade changes are quick and easy and on-board blade storage is included.
Chicago Electric Power Tools Professional Orbital Jigsaw with Laser Cutting Guide
Considering the price, The Chicago Electric Orbital Jigsaw gives you a lot for the money. The 5-amp motor provides six speeds from 800-3000 strokes per minute. It’s also an orbital saw, providing three different orbital settings and also features a quick change blade clamp for tool-free blade changes. Like some of the other jigsaws, a laser cutting guide is included which aligns with your cutting line, providing convenient guidance. It also has a blower for removing the sawdust from your cut line, helping to make it easier to see where you are cutting. Finally, there’s a fence, for ripping narrow strips. If you’re looking for a bargain, this one’s the one for you.
Bosch has upgraded their previous jigsaw which was the most powerful model on the market. It now has a 7.2 amp motor to replace the 7.0 amp motor on the JS470E. The combination of all this power with a one inch stroke length and four orbital action settings ensures rapid cutting of a wide variety of materials (Bosch even claims this saw can cut through 3/8” thick mild steel!) They’ve also added a double roller system, which self-adjusts laterally to minimize blade deflection keeping your cuts precise.
Constant Response circuitry ensures consistent cutting speed thereby reducing vibration and maintaining accuracy. Speaking of vibration, the precision-machined plunging system is specially designed for low vibration and extremely smooth operation. Coupled with the overmolded handle, this combination makes for great operator comfort. There’s an anti-splinter insert used to protect the wood from the blade, the saw is variable speed (500 to 2,800 strokes per minute), and has a multi-directional, tool-less blade clamp. With an adjustable dust blower to keep the cut line clear as well as a switchable LED headlight, it’s no wonder the JS572EL is a favorite for many people.
Because they’re a German company, Festool isn’t as well known as other brands on our list but amongst professional woodworkers, they’re a respected name. Although the motor is a little bit smaller than the Bosch, they’ve made up for it in other ways. A carbon insert works together with the four oscillating stroke settings to reduce splintering and the saw has a variable one inch stroke offering 1,000-2,900 strokes per minute. The tool-free, quick change blade clamp is backed up by a triple support system, including carbide jaws and a backup bearing to keep the blade perpendicular to the shoe at all times. A built-in dust port allows connection to your shop-vac for convenient dust removal. This saw comes standard with a brushless motor, eliminating the biggest possible maintenance issue.
Festool has gone to great extremes to make sure your cuts are exactly where you want them. Four LED headlights are timed to strobe with the blade speed so the blade looks as if it isn’t moving, giving you a more accurate sight of the blade’s relationship to the cut line than any other system. The saws unique baseplate system features replaceable baseplates for cutting into different types of materials and even allows cutting a 45 degree angle right on the corner of a board (Something you really have to see to believe.) The only reason I didn’t give this jigsaw the first place is its hefty price.
Milwaukee has a great reputation for power tools and this 6.5 amp jigsaw is no exception. The variable-speed motor provides 0 – 3,000 one inch strokes per minute. To help maintain proper speed there’s a variable speed dial and a tachometer along with four separate orbital settings to help reduce the chance of splintering. Like the other jigsaws it has a tool-less blade clamp for quick blade changes and a precision roller blade guide. If your shop doesn’t have good lighting, this saw adds a LED headlight which is a nice option to have. The handle is rubber overmolded for greater comfort and a counter-balanced mechanism reduces vibration.
Makita’s entry comes in with a 6.3 amp motor, a little lighter than the other jigsaws we’ve looked at but also has the lowest noise level in its class and 40 percent less tool vibration. The motor is variable speed from 800-2,800 strokes per minute, providing a one inch stroke. An electronic speed control has also been included to maintain cutting speed even under load. To make it easier to see the cut line, Makita has also added an LED headlight and personally that’s a feature I really appreciate. The blade clamp is tool-less for quick and easy blade changes and the built-in blower works to keep the cutting path clear for accurate cuts. A rubber overmolded handle keeps the user comfortable during operation.
Another quality saw from DeWalt, the powerful 6.5 amp motor on the DW331 delivers plenty of cutting power through any material with a one inch stroke which helps make cuts go faster. This saw is variable speed from 500-3,100 strokes per minute and like the other jigsaws on this list, it incorporates a tool-less blade changing system for faster blade changes. There are four orbital cutting settings coupled with a counter-balanced mechanism for lower vibration during operation. With the overmolded handle, it’s a comfortable saw to work with and an integrated dust blower maintains the cut lines visibility.
While a bit expensive, Festool clearly wins the cordless jigsaw competition hands down. This jigsaw has so many features, they’re hard to list all at once. While not a very popular brand here in the United States, Festool have a tremendous reputation for quality products. All of their tools are designed to mate up with their dust collection systems, helping to keep both your cut line and workplace free of dust. Another great option included with this saw is the changeable shoe.
The tool-free blade clamp on this saw is backed up by a triple support system to keep the blade straight and perpendicular to the workpiece. While other manufacturers have tried to deal with this problem, Festool has taken the solution one step farther; the tool comes complete with four LED headlights synchronized to the blade speed. These lights literally make the blade look like its holding still, making it much easier to see exactly where the blade is in comparison to the cut line.
This saw has a 1 inch stroke length and has a variable speed up to 3,800 strokes per minute while utilizing T-shank blades for better blade retention. The saws battery is rated at being able to cut 120 feet in 1-9/16’ thick particle board with a brushless motor to reduce maintenance.
This saw from Bosch is designed for easy and comfortable use with probably the best blade changing system on any jigsaw around. You can actually change blades one-handed, leaving the other hand free to keep your workpiece from falling on the floor. Bosch has made this saw 10 percent smaller than competitor’s saws and 30 percent lighter at 5.3 pounds, pretty impressive for a cordless tool. The open nose design makes it easy to see the blade and cut line with an always-on blower to help to keep the way clear. Like most of today’s jigsaws, this model has four orbital settings with a cast footplate covered in plastic to prevent your workpiece from getting scratched. Stroke length is one inch and the motor powers the saw up to 2,700 strokes per minute. Like all of Bosch’s power tools, it comes with their L-Boxx stackable storage system.
I’ve liked DeWalt’s jigsaw design ever since they first came out with their tool-free blade changing system. This saw is extremely easy to operate, although it really isn’t a one-handed operation. The lever is conveniently located on the front of the tool for quick and easy T-shank blades changes. The cast shoe bevels tool-free as well, up to 45 degrees with stops at 15 and 30 degrees. Four positions of orbital action match whatever cutting you need to do, with adjustable speeds up to 3,000 strokes per minute with a one inch stroke length. A convenient adjustable blower is included as well.
It’s not often you find a name brand tool at this kind of price point. Porter Cable sells this model without the battery included but even if you add in the cost of the battery and charger, the overall cost is still pretty reasonable. The tool comes with three orbital settings and an open nose making it easy to see the cutting action. An on-board dust blower keeps the cut line clean, so you can see what you are doing. Like the other saws, this one offers tool-free blade changes as well while being very lightweight at only 4.2 pounds. The stroke length is a little shorter at 3/4’ and runs a maximum speed of 2,500 SPM.
It’s hard to talk about the best cordless saws without including Hitachi. All the great features included in their tools notwithstanding, their lifetime warranty on all their cordless Li-Ion tools puts them ahead of the game. This tool comes with a 3.0Ah battery, meaning it can cut a whole lot farther before recharging compared to the competitions cordless saws. It will work with Ni-Cad and NiMH Hitachi batteries, as well as the preferred Li-Ion ones. This compact saw is capable of getting into places where others might not perform so well and the 4 orbital patterns allow the saw to be used on a variety of materials without the risk of splintering. An included LED light makes it easier to see the cut line along with all the necessary connections to hook directly to a dust collection system. Stroke length is one inch and the variable speed runs up to 2,400 strokes per minute.