If you cut a lot of wood, metal, and plastic, you know that a cordless jigsaw can be a very useful tool. Many cordless jigsaws give you two different cutting actions and several speeds to choose from, plus it is designed to cut in an orbital motion as well as a straight cut.
There are a lot of different makes and models on the market, so it may be difficult to decide which cordless jigsaw is the best for you. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best cordless jigsaw and a few reviews to help you start your search.
Best Cordless Jigsaw
Before purchasing a cordless jigsaw, it is important to learn the difference between the makes and models and what the general functions of a jigsaw are. When you have a basic idea of what you can expect from a cordless jigsaw, it will allow you to better determine which one will suit your needs the best.
Cordless jigsaws have been struggling to become as widely used as many of the other cordless power tools on the market. Since a jigsaw is not like most other power tools, it makes sense that they may have to fight for more recognition.
The main purpose of a jigsaw isn’t as simple as drilling a piece of wood, the intention of a jigsaw is to work on projects that will take longer and use more energy which can use a lot of battery life. Recently though, Lithium-ion batteries have helped to make using cordless power tools a more viable option with a longer battery life that charges more quickly that allows you to work for longer periods of time.
Important Cordless JigSaw Fundamentals
Difference Between Corded and Cordless Jigsaws
- Running off electricity, corded jigsaws have limited mobility due to the cord. The cord is also a major safety concern as the cord can get in the way while you are working. However, a corded jigsaw is extremely powerful, and it can give you the ability to cut thick pieces of material. You also do not have to worry about losing power or your batteries dying, plus it is perfect for a project that is heavy-duty requiring the frequent and long-term use of the jigsaw.
- Cordless jigsaws are less powerful than the corded models since they run on battery power. Cordless jigsaw benefits include free range of motion and portability. There are fewer safety issues since there isn’t a cord that will get in the way, but there is a battery pack that will weight you down. Cordless jigsaws also tend to be smaller which is perfect for smaller projects.
Jigsaw Blade Options
The blade determines the jigsaw’s ability to cut. How the blade is designed will tell you what type of objects it can cut. So, basically if you have a thin blade it will be able to cut thin materials and a thick blade will cut thicker materials.
- Blade Teeth - The teeth are the jagged edges on each blade and they are measured in TPI which means teeth per inch. The amount of teeth plus the girth of the blade will determine what types of materials it will be able to cut and what speed you will require. This is an important rule to know since using the wrong blade can damage both the material and the blade.
- Intricate Cuts – Jigsaws were originally used only for rough-cutting curves, but they have evolved a lot over the years from this primitive tool. They are now used to cut different types of intricate cuts that require precision and finishes that are splinter-free. Over the years, there have been small steps to improve the blades and the saws themselves.
- Blade Weakness - The blade has always been a weak point of the jigsaw with traditional blades measuring 1/32” thick and 1/4” deep, so they are obviously not a very strong piece of steel. This is especially true when you are pushing sideways on the blade to cut a curve. Another added weakness is the fact that a jigsaw can only hold a blade on one end while the other end is free.
- Modern Blades - Modern blades are created to lessen friction and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Some of them are also designed to use the T-shaped blade mounting that can add more strength while the blade is backed up with roller guides.
- Blade Type - Remember, it is important to know what type of blade your particular jigsaw needs. Some are able to use more than one blade and the type of blade it can use tells you how it fastens to the jigsaw. You will find that U shanks and T shanks and U-shanks are the most common.
Features of Cordless Jigsaws
- Motor size – You will find that the motor size in a jigsaw doesn’t vary a whole lot. It does matter though how powerful the motor is as the faster you can cut, the wider variety of materials you will be able to cut through. Jigsaws are usually rated by either motor amperage or volts. Basically, an average jigsaw motor will have power of about 5 amps or 18 volts which is enough for most of your projects.
- Stroke length – When cutting wood, you will find the larger the piece of material you have, the longer the stroke you will need.
- The foot – The preference is a metal casted foot is preferred, but you will also find some really good jigsaws that come with a stamped sheet-metal foot.
- Performance - Once you have decided on the amount of power you want in your jigsaw, the next consideration is its expected performance. Unlike corded jigsaws that run on amps, cordless jigsaws run on voltage. For basic projects, you will find that between 18 to 20 volts are sufficient, although most cordless models also have a 36-volt battery.
- Variable speed – Another great feature is a jigsaw that lets you have the option to vary the speed. Having the ability to cut carefully at a lower speed is a nice feature. The speed of a jigsaw is shown in terms of Strokes per Minute (SPM) and your average model on will have a maximum speed of 3,000 SPM and that should be enough for most projects.
- Adjustable Angle Settings - Depending on the projects you have planned, you may want to decide if you need your jigsaw to cut different angles. It can definitely cut a straight line, but it is also well-known for cutting curves. It is perfect choice when you need to cut out a pattern or for circular cuts. For angles that are up to 45 degrees, a jigsaw can allow you to pivot and make bevel adjustments. Make sure you purchase a jigsaw that is easy to adjust or you may end up with a jigsaw that needs extra tools to set up.
- Handle Grip - There are two types of jigsaw handles – D style and barrel. A D-style handle looks very much like its name, as does the barrel handle. The D style allows you to place your hand around it while the barrel grip is not as comfortable, but it lets you grip the bottom of the tool for a better hold. If you can’t decide between the two, it is possible to buy a convertible handle that has a D-style handle that is detachable.
- Orbital Settings – If you want a quality saw, you will find that orbital settings are an important feature. Your average jigsaw moves up and down, but if you have orbital settings, you can then control the movement of the saw effectively forward, back and sideways movements in a circular motion. This gives you more accuracy and speed, plus it helps to remove chips.
- Bevel Cuts – If you want to make bevel cut, your saw need to be tilted to make these cuts. Most jigsaw’s blades will sit squarely on its base. To make the saw tilt, it usually requires loosening a single screw so that the base to tilt up to 45° in both directions.
- Blade Changes – One of the more important features of your new jigsaw is how easy it is to change out blades, especially while you are working. You want to buy a jigsaw that lets you easily change the blade and doesn’t need special tools to do it. Many advanced models just have a lever that you pull located on the saw itself to change out the blades.
- Materials - The more versatility you have in your jigsaw, the more projects you can complete. That is why speed and orbital settings are important in your jigsaw. If you don’t have sufficient orbital settings or speed, then it will be tough to cut different materials as you saw may be too slow for some material and too fast for others. If the product does not give you a lot of information on its cutting performance, you can estimate how well it will work with different materials by checking out the orbital and variable speed settings.
- LED Headlight – Not many people cut materials in the dark, but many of today’s jigsaws come with a built-in LED light to help light up the shadows that might fall on your workspace while you are cutting. When you can clearly see the cut line, you improve your own safety as well as increase your precision.
- Dust Blower – When you can remove the dust and chips out of the way of your cutting line, this also increases your accuracy and gives you a safer working environment. Many models offer some sort of dust collector or dust blower.
The more speed regulation you have, the better variety of materials you can power through. If you plan on doing a wide variety of project, you will probably want to buy a jigsaw that has several speed options.
You will find that many advanced models have between four and seven-speed settings which give you, even more, accuracy and flexibility. You need a high speed to make deep cuts in dense hardwoods and a slower speed for hard steel. However, if you are just doing simple projects, you don’t need multiple variable settings as less variable speed settings should be enough.
Some saws even provide a built-in lever that will tighten and loosen the base for tilting, while others will give you an onboard Allen wrench to make base adjustments. The base will have the ability to slide back and forth and then lock at 45° or 90°. This gets rid of the need for a protractor or square to set commonly used angles. The more bevel settings you have available to you, the more versatility you have.
When you can slide the bases backward and lock them, it allows you to saw right up to a wall or any other surface that is vertical. This is a handy feature when you are working inside a closet or a cabinet. Many higher priced jigsaw models will include a smooth plastic cover or have a metal baseplate inserted into it so won’t scratch any surfaces like plastic laminates and veneers.
The dust blower releases a stream of air to remove dust and a dust collector will suck it all in. Dust collectors are considered the better options as they reduce the chance of chips flying into your eyes, but they tend to be sold separately.
Tips on Buying a Cordless Jigsaw
Many of the features above are necessary, but there are always others that are just nice have and make the jigsaw more convenient. These features can include auto-stop for safety, a lighted power-on plug, a storage case, and built-in laser for cut accuracy.
1. Orbital action produces back and forth motion as well as adding up and down movements to make more aggressive and faster cuts.
2. When doing craft or scroll cuts, look for a knob-style auxiliary handle that will give you precise steering control or blades that rotate 360-degrees for detailed cuts.
3. When creating a straight cut like a crosscut or ripping, make sure to look for a saw with a built-in laser line.
4. If you need to make angled cuts in both directions without flipping the piece you are working on, choose a saw with a dual-bevel capacity.
5. To reduce the wear on your hands and increase your accuracy, choose a jigsaw with an anti-vibration feature.
6. Some jigsaw will have either a dust collection ports that will remove sawdust as you work or a dust blower that will keep your cut line clean as you work.
7. Built-in LED lights help to increase your visibility without using work lights.
8. D-style or barrel-grip handles with cushion-comfort grips give you more comfort.
9. For fast blade replacement, choose a jigsaw with quick-change blades that don’t require tools.
The Best Cordless Jigsaw Reviews
Here's a brief summary of the top cordless jigsaws on the market today. We'll follow up with detailed cordless jigsaw reviews to make your decision easier.
For an aggressive cut, check out the Porter Cable PCC650B Jigsaw that features three orbital settings adjusting easily to a wide variety of projects. The variable speed trigger gives you between 0 - 2,500 SPM allowing you the control you need for precise, clean cuts. It also lets you make fast and easy blade changes with a tool-free blade release and a beveling shoe that gives you the ability to make bevel cuts from 0 to 45 degrees.
Portability and versatility are featured in the Black & Decker BDCJS20B Jigsaw that gives you the convenience of a cordless tool while delivering 2500 SPM with its powerful motor. Eliminating project downtime with a tool-free blade change, it makes accurate cuts with a variety of materials, and the variable speed trigger lets you have even more control. The bevel shoe allows you to make 45 degree angled cuts in either direction and the Black & Decker BDCJS20B uses both T and U shank blades for more precise cuts.
The Milwaukee M18 Jigsaw is a durable and precise jigsaw that is Milwaukee's first to be powered by lithium-ion. Giving you versatility and precision along with ease of use, it has five orbital settings that give you more versatility with cutting options than its competitors allowing you to choose the speed and type of cut that you need for a specific project.
For its class, the Makita XVJ03Z has the lightest weight and gives you both accuracy and comfort with fewer vibrations and noise. Makita expanded the 18 Volt LXT series to include the quickest charge time in its category, plus, the variable speed motor will give you cutting that is quick and efficient, plus it also includes a convenient large two-finger variable speed trigger.
The Makita XVJ02Z Jigsaw has the unique feature of Star Protection computer controls that help to protect against over discharge, overheating, and overloading. The built-in brushless motor with three orbital settings that includes straight cutting that gives you quick and precise cuts with a wide range of materials. Makita also leads the category with better charge time than its competitors letting your work more and wait less.
If you don’t want to be weighed down, the compact and lightweight Bosch JSH180 jigsaw will let you keep working for extended periods of time without getting tired. It also includes a T-shank blade change system that lets you change the blade without needing tools, and the sophisticated electronics package of the Bosch JSH180 includes Electronic Motor Protection (EMP), that keeps the motor safe from overload to make sure it has a long life, and the Electronic Cell Protection (ECP) keeps the battery safe from deep discharge, overheating, and overload.
Value, power, and performance make the RYOBI® P523 Jigsaw a lot like a corded jigsaw, only with the portability and convenience of a cordless saw. It includes the patented BladeSaver™ innovation that gives you the most use out of a jigsaw blade and a drop base design that lets you adjust the base to make sure to use any unused teeth giving you optimal blade use.
Maneuverability, comfort, and convenience make the Hitachi CJ18DGLP4 a definite contender in the cordless jigsaw category. It is compatible with all Hitachi’s 18 Volt Lithium Ion batteries, and its lightweight design weighs only 4 pounds without the battery. It also features a D-shaped handle that ergonomically is designed with a soft grip that gives you complete comfort while you use it
For versatility and improved control, the DeWalt DCS331B Jigsaw has a variable speed that can be used in a variety of project. Plus, it provides easy and quick blade changes with a keyless all-metal lever-action and an all-metal shoe bevel that gives you lots of versatility. It also includes a four position orbital action for better control of your cut quality and speed and an adjustable dust blower that increases your safety and keeps your work area clear of chips and dust.
For a heavy-duty cordless jigsaw, the DeWalt DC330 not only uses 18 volts and features a keyless blade change system that uses both t-shank and universal blades, but it only weighs 5.1 pounds. It also features a shoe that has a tool free adjustment feature allowing you to slide backward and forward, and it can bevel at 45 degrees in either direction. The 3-position orbital action has a special counter-balance mechanism, plus it has a variable speed trigger with 0 – 3,000 SPM for faster cutting and better control.
Top Cordless Jigsaw Reviews
What is the Best Cordless Jigsaw to Buy?
Our favorite of the Best Cordless Jigsaw Roundup is the Makita XVJ03Z Jigsaw. Not only is it lightweight, accurate, and comfortable, it has fewer vibrations and noise than its competitors.
Due to improvements by Makita cordless drill, it now has the quickest charge time in its category, so you spend less time waiting on batteries to charge and more time to work. The variable speed motor gives you between 0 - 2,600 strokes per minute to make cutting quick and efficient, and it has a two finger variable sped trigger for added convenience.
A tool-less blade change makes blade removal and installation a breeze which also increases your efficiency. Three orbital settings let you work on a wide range of materials, and the durable, heavy-gauge base gives you precise and smooth cuts. We definitely prefer the Cordless Jigsaw the Makita XVJ03Z Jigsaw.