The Best Professional Jigsaw Guide

While power tools are manufactured by a dizzying number of brands, there are generally only a few that professionals trust to stand up to the rigors of the most demanding jobs.

These power tools need to have a trifecta of qualities to make them suited for the job. They need to be powerful, precise, and versatile.

However, even among the established professional grade of jigsaws, it can be difficult to figure out which one will suit your purposes best. That's why we have put together a professional jigsaw buying guide, so you understand what qualities are most important and the standards that matter within them.

Then we provide a list of the best 5 professional jigsaws to give you a good starting point for making an informed choice.

Best Professional Jigsaw

There are different types of jigsaw in all different sizes. When you need a versatile and handy saw, you can't beat having a jigsaw in your workshop. Especially if you work with wood a lot.

Here are a few tips on what to look for in a good woodworking jigsaw and a few reviews to help you start shopping.

Important JigSaw Fundamentals

Raw Power

This is the jigsaw’s bread an butter here, and will often determine some of the other aspects of the tool’s quality as well. For instance, while the raw power doesn't always translate into a higher maximum spm.

It'll definitely impact how effective the jigsaw’s cutting action at the highest spm performs.

Depending on whether the jigsaw is corded or cordless, this quality will be identified by one of two values.

If the jigsaw is corded, this value will come in amps. Obviously, the more amps the more powerful, but don't be fooled into buying a jigsaw with the highest amps possible and assume it'll have the best cutting action.

For professional work, your jigsaw should have at least 5 amps with 7 amps being ideal.

For cordless jigsaws, the power will be translated into volts. However, cordless jigsaws generally only come in two voltage categories: 10.7/12 volts or 18/20 volts.

It should go without saying that a professional jigsaw should have 18/20 volts. Keep in mind, a cordless jigsaw will rarely be able to keep up with a corded jigsaw, so if you opt for a cordless model, make sure the jigsaw is made to put out a consistent and high level of power.


Strokes Per Minute (SPM)

There are a couple factors relating to SPM that will impact your jigsaw’s quality. First, the maximum spm will determine how well the jigsaw cuts hard materials.

Conversely, the minimum spm will affect how the jigsaw handles softer materials. The ability to set the jigsaw’s spm between the maximum and minimum will impact how versatile the jigsaw is.

Generally, you are going to want to focus more on the jigsaw’s maximum spm. For most wood and other harder materials, this is the factor that will make life easier or intolerable on the jobsite.

For most standard lumber used on professional job sites, you should be looking for a maximum spm that is at least 3,000 with anything above that being gravy.

The minimum spm will have more relevance when you are cutting materials that are generally not wood. There are some softer woods that will require a slower spm.

Even those wood types will rarely require the minimum spm. Instead, this quality will be used for PVC piping and other softer material. This value should be at most 800 with 500 being ideal.

Finally, the spme range will affect how versatile your jigsaw is. For instance, if your jigsaw has a maximum spm of 3,500 and a minimum spm of 500, you can rest comfortably knowing that you can handle hardwoods and plastics--some of the more common materials. However, what if you need to cut a softer wood or aluminum?

In that instance, you will prefer an SPM range between 1,000 to 2,5000. As such, a jigsaw without at least 4 different speed settings, each rated for the different common materials, your power tool will be more specialized and not suited for every job a professional is liable to encounter.


Cutting Action

This quality is relatively straight-forward and can be broken down into two broad categories with one set of subcategory.

For broad categories, jigsaws use two different cutting actions: pendulum, or straight, and orbital. Each of these actions has a specific application, but orbital is by far the most common action found on a professional jigsaw.

The original jigsaw cutting action is the pendulum. Here, the blade is moved forward and backward as it reciprocates up and down. This action allows the jigsaw to make a more precise cut.

It's often more difficult to cut at a curve and may require you to make numerous holes to begin the plunge. Pendulum cutting actions are also notorious for snagging or bending the saw blade if you are not careful or using an inferior jigsaw.

An orbital cutting action means that as the saw blade reciprocates, it also spins in a slightly circular motion. This allows the jigsaw to more easily cut the material and is especially useful when cutting curves.

However, it is important to note that orbital cutting actions are far less precise than pendulum cutting actions. As such, professional woodworkers will need to get a jigsaw with a pendulum cutting action as at least one setting.

The orbital cutting action is also where you'll find the subcategory as numerous professional jigsaws will have a few orbital cutting actions. Each making it either easier to cut or more precise depending on the radius of the orbit.

what is the best professional jigsaw

The Best Professional Jigsaw Reviews

Here's a brief summary of the best professional jigsaws on the market today. We'll follow up with detailed professional jigsaw reviews to make your decision easier.

  • Motor Power: 7 amps
  • SPM: 500 - 3,100
  • Power Source: Corded
  • Cutting Depth: 1"
  • Bevel Capacity: 45 degrees
  • Foot: Die-cast aluminum with plastic overshoe
  • Settings: Variable speed knob
  • Cutting Action: 4 orbital stages
  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Motor Power: 6 amps
  • SPM: 1,000 - 9,000
  • Power Source: Corded
  • Cutting Depth: 1"
  • Bevel Capacity: 45 degrees
  • Foot: Metal with a plastic overshoe
  • Settings: Variable speed
  • Weight: 9.6 pounds
  • Motor Power: 4.5 amps or 10.8 - 18 volt Li or 12 - 15.6 volt NiCd/NiMH
  • SPM: 500 - 3,800
  • Power Source: Corded and Cordless
  • Cutting Depth: 1"
  • Bevel Capacity: 45 degrees
  • Foot: Metal with a plastic overshoe
  • Settings: Variable speed
  • Cutting Actions: 4 stages
  • Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Motor Power: 6.3 amps
  • SPM: 800 - 2,800
  • Power Source: Corded
  • Cutting Depth: 1"
  • Bevel Capacity: 45 degrees
  • Foot: Aluminum with plastic overshoe
  • Settings: Variable speed control dial
  • Cutting Action: 3 orbital stages and 1 straight stage
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Motor Power: 6.2 amps
  • SPM: 500 - 3,000
  • Power Source: Corded
  • Cutting Depth: 1"
  • Bevel Capacity: 45 degrees
  • Foot: Cast aluminum
  • Settings: 8 speed settings
  • Cutting Action: 4 orbital stages
  • Weight: 9.4 pounds

Top Professional Jigsaw Reviews

Bosch JS572EBK 7.2 Amp Barrel-Grip Jig Saw

bosch 1590 evsl jigsaw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Our first entry is Bosch, a brand known for producing professional grade tools that. While rarely the most powerful, are generally the most reliable.

Interestingly, this isn't the route that Bosch took when manufacturing its jigsaw. Instead, Bosch seems to have taken a page out of Makita’s book as it puts forth the most powerful motor on our list at 7 amps.

Uncharacteristically, Bosch seems to have skimped a bit in regards to the reliability. To point, the Bosch jigsaw doesn't feature a pendulum cutting action.

This jigsaw is not well-suited for precision cuts. Of course, the sheer bulk of the Bosch would make that difficult.

Still, this jigsaw does at least offer plenty of versatility as 4 orbital stages gives you some wiggle room when deciding whether you want more ease or precision with your cuts.

At 10 pounds, the Bosch is the heaviest jigsaw on our list, which is saying something considering that corded jigsaws are already noted for being heavier than cordless models.

The Bosch does at least handle its cutting duties admirably. With an SPM range of 500-3100, the Bosch is capable of cutting pretty much every material you would find on a professional job site. The maximum SPM of 3100 is just barely enough and may struggle with some exotic hardwoods.

Pros

  • 7 amp motor is the most powerful on our list
  • The SPM range of 500 - 3,100 allows you to cut numerous types of materials
  • With 4 orbital stages and a variable speed control, its versatility is impressive

Cons

  • Without a pendulum stage, this isn't the jigsaw for precise cutting
  • 10 pounds is exceedingly heavy for a modern jigsaw
  • A 3,100 maximum SPM will limit your ability to cut some of the thicker pieces of hardwood

bosch jigsaw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Though it may not have the same cache as a Bosch, Makita, or Milwaukee, Festool is well-known and well-respected among professionals in the industry.

In fact, Festool is generally seen as one of the premier brands, ranking higher than any of the “Big 3” in many power tool categories.

Of course, Festool is often a bit more expensive than the other professional grade brands as well, though in this instance, Festool manages to produce a jigsaw that can compete on all levels--including price.

In fact, if you need a professional jigsaw that will rarely cut anything softer than wood, there really is not another jigsaw on our list your should even look at.

While the motor is not impressive, it is at least 6 amps which is generally adequate. However, it is the SPM that makes this jigsaw special. With a maximum SPM of 9000, this jigsaw will tear through the hardest woods you can throw at it.

In fact, this jigsaw may be able to cut materials harder than wood. It's not rated for such, you will eat your saw blade, and the orbital action is likely to break more brittle materials.

Still, the point remains that there is no other jigsaw on the list that can even see the Festool’s dust as it speeds by--not even the other Festool

Unfortunately, if you want to cut softer materials, this is not a jigsaw that will cover many of your needs.

First, its minimum SPM is 1000 which is far too high for plastic and, considering this power tool’s preference for speed, may not even cut hard steel all that well. On top of that, the Festool is a lumbering beast at 9.6 pounds.

While this is not the heaviest jigsaw on our list, it definitely looks heavy when standing next to the Makita or the other Festool.

Pros

  • There is simply no way to compare the maximum SPM of 9,000 to its competitors
  • With a SPM range of 1,000 - 9,000, this is technically the largest, but limitations hamper it in real world scenarios
  • 4 cutting actions and variable speeds only add its versatility

Cons

  • We definitely would have like to see more than 6 amps for the motor
  • Softer materials will either be uncuttable or better avoided due to a 1,000 minimum SPM
  • While impressively powerful, this Festool professional jigsaw is also disparagingly heavy

professional jigsaw reviews

Quality

Price

Our Rating

While the second Festool on our list cannot boast the same impressive power as the previous model, this one can do something that is perhaps even more impressive.

This is the only jigsaw on our list, and only one of the few jigsaws at all, that's convertible. This means that you can use this jigsaw as either a corded or a cordless model. If you are at a job site without a power source, just strap on one of Festool’s interchangeable 18 volt batteries, and you are ready to go.

The Festool 420 EBQ jigsaw has a couple other features which provide excellent versatility.

First, while it cannot compete with the blistering maximum SPM of the previous model, an SPM range of 500-3800 is still amazing and easily the most versatile on our list.

The 4 cutting stages provides some solid wiggle room between precision and ease. To top it all off, this is easily the lightest jigsaw on our list at only 4.2 pounds which makes it easy to use for hours on end without worrying about fatigue.

However, what this jigsaw gets in versatility, it gives up in power. Specifically, the corded rating of this Festool only provides 4.5 amps which isn't at all what you want from a professional grade jigsaw.

While 18 volts is about as good as it gets, the cordless configuration will not provide any additional oomph in the power department. This can make cutting denser materials or thicker hardwoods more difficult.

On top of that, the lower SPM settings require a higher degree of skill to control for accurate cuts due to the slightly depowered motor.

Pros

  • The best usable SPM range on our list at 500 - 3,800
  • 4.2 pounds in the corded arrangement is incredibly light
  • Versatility is further reinforced with variable speed settings and 4 cutting stages

Cons

  • Though list, the corded arrangement also only offers 4.5 amps
  • The foot that comes with it is inadequate and the replacements are expensive
  • Softer materials will give this professional jigsaw trouble without a high degree of skill

reviews of professional jigsaws

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Makita is the second commonly used professional grade power tool manufacturer to enter our list. This is a bit of an odd position for the brand to find itself in.

As a company that got its start making electric motors, Makita has generally made its name by providing some of the most powerful power tools within its class for almost every category.

Unfortunately, that is not the case here as the Bosch actually provides the most powerful motor--not just compared to Makita, but on our entire list.

However, the Makita seems to have taken a page out of Bosch’s book and gone the route of precision. In this regard, it's almost as if the two brands switched focus for this one power tool category.

Regardless, the Makita is the only jigsaw on our list that features a pendulum cutting action. This means that if you want to make any precise straight cuts without eating 1/16” on your cut line, this is the only option on deck.

The lack of power can affect the Makita in its precision, acting as a bit of a double whammy. Specifically, the Makita features the most narrow spm range of 800-2800.

While 800 is generally adequate for a minimum SPM, 2800 isn't at all adequate for a maximum SPM when you're cutting hardwoods. The Makita may struggle to maintain its precision during the pendulum action when a thicker hardwood if being cut.

Pros

  • With a pendulum stage and 3 orbital stages, this can make any cut
  • While 6.3 amps could be improved, it still ranks as second on our list
  • 5.5 pounds may not be the lightest on our list, but it's still surprisingly light

Cons

  • A 2,800 maximum SPM is disappointing
  • The SPM range of 800 - 2,800 will somewhat limit its versatilty
  • The precision of the pendulum stage cutting action may wander with thicker material

best professional jigsaw on the market

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Milwaukee rounds out our “Big 3,” and does so in the manner you would expect. It's not the most powerful jigsaw, but neither is it the weakest.

It's fairly dependable, but there are areas of its construction that could stand to be improved. Most notably the body which is made out of a plastic that feels less solid than its competitors.

Still, there is a lot to like about this jigsaw.

First, the SPM range is exactly what you would expect for a professional jigsaw. With 500-3000 spms, this jigsaw can cut anything from plastic to hardwood and everything in between.

In fact, that last note is especially true of this Milwaukee's professional jigsaw features 8 different speed settings.

To give you some perspective, that is double the number of settings of the next closest competitor and is easily the most on our list. Essentially, you can fine tune the Milwaukee to be ideal for cutting any material, regardless the hardness or density.

Of course, there could be an issue depending on how well you actually handle the tool.

That is because the Milwaukee only features a 6.2 amp motor. While that isn't anywhere near the lowest on our list--that ignoble honor going to the Festool--it is still a bit lower than one would prefer.

Still, when multiple Makita and Bosch models provide more power, it's surprising Milwaukee doesn't offer a jigsaw with a stronger motor.

Pros

  • You can cut a wide variety of materials with a solid SPM range of 500 - 3,000
  • You won't find a a jigsaw on our list with more speed settings
  • 4 orbital stages are nice to have

Cons

  • The 6.2 amp motor isn't bad, but could be better
  • One of the heaviest on our list coming in at 9.4 pounds
  • It only has a maximum SPM range of 3,000

What is the Best Professional Jigsaw to Buy?

As we can see, the kind of job you expect to do will weigh heavily in your decision of what is the best professional jigsaw. If you're a low to mid-level carpenter, the Festool PS 300 will suit you well with its ability to rip almost any wood without hesitation.

However, if you're a smaller contractor who regularly finds their self on jobsites without access to electricity, the Festool PS 420’s ability to convert from a corded to a cordless model will be invaluable. However, the power source is not the only sign of versatility.

For precision cuts, the Makita is the only jigsaw on our list with a pendulum cutting action. Still, some jobs call for the extremes, and Bosch’s 7 amp motor will provide the power to cut through the hardest, densest materials.

Of course, maybe an all-around winner like the Milwaukee will work better for you.

Either way, you now have the information you need to make an educated choice. With the list provided, you should easily be able find the jigsaw that is right for you.


About the Author

Founder of Woodworking Fuel, proud father of two, happily married to a wonderful wife, and passionate about woodworking for a fulfilling hobby!

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