How to Choose an Electric Jigsaw for Home
One of the most popular tools, helpful whenever there is a need for accurate straight or curved cuts. As a fairly compact and nimble device in operation, the electric jigsaw is becoming more and more a part of the household of craftsmen around the globe. Manufacturers of eminent and “underground” brands, are constantly producing new, more perfect analogues of this unit, the variety of which is confusing to the eyes.
Most of the technically inexperienced people are simply lost in the abundance of proposals and can not determine exactly what electric jigsaw to choose. To give you a clear idea of the subject without unnecessary words and to help you choose the best tool for you, this article was created.
What to look out for when selecting a jigsaw
The capabilities of the jigsaw directly depend on the power of its electric motor. jigsaws available range from 350 W to 1000 W. The tool of average power of 500-600 W can, for example, saw the wooden workpiece thickness of 80-85 mm, and is quite able to cope with the 8-millimeter sheet steel.
Maximal stroke frequency
Sawing speed of the jigsaw is estimated by such parameter as frequency of a stroke of the rod. the more often the saw blade moves, the faster is the cut. The most popular models have the maximum stroke frequency of 2700-3100 strokes/min. Frequency adjustment is available for cutting materials of different hardnesses.
This parameter determines the maximum thickness of the workpiece that the jigsaw can cut. This parameter is interrelated with the power of the device. Jigsaws designed for domestic use have a cutting depth of 50 to 120 mm for wood and 5 to 10 mm for soft metal. Professional units can saw similar material up to 150-160 mm and 30-35 mm respectively.
From the auxiliary, but no less important functions of electric jigsaws, it is worth paying attention to:
- pendulum motion;
- angle of inclination of the base plate;
- smoothness of descent;
- the function of the RPM support at load;
- chip blowing;
- laser pointer.
Let’s conduct a review of jigsaws of each class and make a rating of the best, according to user reviews, models.
Budget models rating
List of inexpensive jigsaws for domestic use with a limited set of functions.
machine for slit, bevel, compound, combined, shape sawing. It is equipped with an electromagnetic switch to prevent accidental start, a transparent protective hood, and a venting nozzle for better visibility during use.
- Power consumption. 90 W;
- purpose. plastic, wood;
- size (LxWxH). 590x280x335 mm;
- saw speed. 1450 strokes / min;
- The dimensions of the working surface (DxW). 375×250 mm;
- table tilt angle. 45°;
- space between body and blade. 410 mm;
- weight 12 kg
- Power supply voltage. 220 V;
- number of speeds. 1;
- thickness of the workpiece. 50 mm;
- price. 7370 rubles.
Dremel Moto-Saw (MS20-1/5)
Jigsaw for shaping elements of plastic, metal and wood workpieces. Saws sheets up to 18mm thick effectively. Device operates in stationary and manual modes. Graduated scale on the soleplate increases the accuracy of the tasks performed.
- power used is 70 W;
- purpose. plastic, wood, metal;
- size (DxH). 330×315 mm;
- Saw speed. 2250 strokes / min;
- weight. 1,2 kg;
- housing to blade spacing 250mm;
- The power supply voltage is 220 V;
- saw’s stroke distance. 8 mm;
- number of speeds. 1;
- the thickness of the workpiece is 18 mm;
- price. 7999 r.
Availability of additional functionality, expands the capabilities of any device and the jigsaw is no exception to this rule. Special regulators and accessories, making the device more versatile, increasing its cost, but at the same time the efficiency of work. For the convenience of performing certain operations, stationary wood jigsaws are equipped with a pedal, lighting, dust collector, tilt mechanism of the working table and even an engraver. Let’s have a closer look at all the advantages of modern jigsaws.
One of the most common optional features, most often found in bench-mounted jigsaws. The RPM control allows you to adjust the frequency of the reciprocating motion made by the saw blade in one minute. This feature makes the device more versatile, allowing for quality cutting of materials of varying degrees of density. For example: working with wood and its material is possible at maximum speed, medium speed is better for PVC, and minimum speed for metal in order to prolong blade life.
There are two types of speed regulator: smooth and stepped. The first type allows you to set the most accurate frequency of movements, while the second allows you to switch between several speeds provided by the manufacturer. Both variants have the right to exist, but in the case of the second, it is worth paying attention to have at least 4 speeds. Sometimes you come across models of jigsaws with the speed regulator at only 2 speeds, which is not particularly extends the capabilities of the device.
Tilting the working surface
When the workpiece needs to be sawn at a certain angle, the tilting function of the work table is just right. This mechanism allows you to set the desired tilt angle of the work table, up to 45°. In most low-cost models of desktop jigsaws the inclination is only one way. On more professional machines this function works in both directions. Setting the sawing angle in modern machines is becoming more common, but there are also models where it is absent.
The cutting process is much more effective in a room with good lighting. If it is not possible to illuminate the whole room brightly enough, the built-in backlight comes to the rescue. This simple function available on several types of jigsaws facilitates the working process, saves your eyesight and saves time you might otherwise have wasted on lighting your own workstation. Of course, this function is not decisive in the choice of a stationary jigsaw, as if you want, you can make it yourself, but a neat, spotlight, will be a definite plus of any model.
During the sawing process, even of small amounts of material, a fair amount of sawdust is generated on its surface. This work waste not only covers the contour to be sawed, but from the vibration of the machine it enters parts of the air and the operator’s respiratory tract. In order to ensure a comfortable working process without dust and shavings, many models of stationary jigsaws are equipped with special dust extractors, to which a vacuum cleaner can be connected to suck up sawdust.
An additional option for removal of sawing waste, is a flexible rubber spigot. This element is connected to a small compressor and, unlike the dust collector, it does not suck up the dust, but blows it off in a fixed direction. It is better to wear a respirator when working with a jigsaw with this feature. Many bench-mounted jigsaws have both functions at the same time.
Flexible shaft (graver)
One of the most interesting and useful features, in most cases, inherent in professional models. Allows drilling, sanding and polishing products, without the use of other tools. The main advantage of the flexible shaft is almost no vibration. Among the disadvantages is the single drive that starts the saw blade and the engraver at the same time. For safety reasons, when working with a flexible shaft, it is necessary to remove the saw blade from the fixture. The average speed of the jigsaws is 2500 rpm, which can be increased or reduced with a frequency regulator.
Advantages of an electric jigsaw:
There are two types of jigsaws: manual and benchtop.
The first type is more common, the tool is used mainly for simple cuts. The workpiece is well supported and the jigsaw needs to be moved freely across the surface.
For “jewelry” works table jigsaws are used. with their help it is possible to make various patterns, to make cuts of any shape. They are installed in workshops, because the tool has an impressive size, but the cutting accuracy varies greatly. In this case it is the workpiece that is moving, but the tool is rigidly fixed.
Professional or Domestic?
If you need the tool only for rare home works, it is better to give preference to usual household units. Pay attention to the power of the device: it depends on its ability to saw thick sheets without overloading. Household jigsaws have a power of 250-500 watt, but the professional models have more than 700 watt. Of course, professional jigsaws will weigh more. On average, household jigsaws can cut wood up to 7 mm, steel. up to 5 mm. Professional. steel up to 10 mm, aluminum up to 20 mm, wood up to 15 mm.
Here is a professional jigsaw on the left and on the right. household
Sawsaw frequency and cutting depth
Such parameter as the stroke rate shows the speed of the saw blade per minute. It can be changed with a locking button: the higher the stroke frequency, the higher the output. The maximum index. up to 3400 movements per minute. The maximum possible depth of cut also indicates the power of the tool, for each material has its own value, it is indicated by the manufacturer on the packaging or on the machine itself.
Generally, the weight of the jigsaw ranges from 2 to 3.5 kilograms. Professional models will weigh more because of the extra battery. Lighter models (up to 2.2kg) have less power, but are much easier to work with in the air. Heavy electric jigsaws (over 2,2 kg) are battery-powered and harder to hold.
Electric jigsaw handle
There are three basic handle shapes: Bracket-shaped. allows you to hold the unit with one hand. Mushroom-shaped. used for shape cutting, hold the jigsaw with two hands. Hybrid. the rarest form, adapted both for ordinary and shape cutting.
The choice of the type of handle depends solely on personal preferences of the craftsman.
Can be stamped or molded. The pressed one is lighter and thinner, it is mainly used in inexpensive models. Cast soleplate is harder and less prone to deformation, the tool with such a soleplate is more expensive. Also desirable regulator of the sole inclination. with its help it is more convenient to perform oblique cuts. Angle clamps are adjustable to 15, 30, 45 degrees.
Picture shows saw blade clamping capability at different angles
Jigsaws for jigsaws
Jigsaws for jigsaws are selected according to the type and strength of material to be cut. As a rule, their purpose is indicated on the packaging.
First of all, pay attention to the marking of saws, they are universal:
The form of the saw blade can also be different, if you buy a machine with a rare nozzle, then you’ll be tortured to find spare parts for it. Dimensions of the saw blade also differ: length from 50 to 155 mm, with different width, shape of teeth. Diamond or carbide-tipped saws are used for cutting ceramic tiles or glass. Not everything is so rosy with the color coding: each manufacturer has an individual, there is no common standard.
The function is convenient and useful: the fan produces a jet of air, which simultaneously cools the motor and removes sawdust from the cutting line. Such units are convenient when working in closed rooms. However, in order not to carry an inconvenient hose, many manufacturers equip electric jigsaws with a special bag for collecting sawdust.
Criteria for choosing an electric jigsaw
To understand how to choose an electric jigsaw for the home, you need to consider a few technical points. These include the design, functionality, characteristics, the principle of operation of the tool. Also takes into account the level of convenience in operation: weight, noise, tool change, type of power.
What professional electric jigsaw to choose craftsmen know, as a rule. There are also samples for small woodworking production, but these are no longer compact tools, but small-sized machines. That’s why let’s focus on household models for active or occasional use.
The main element of the tool is the saw. It is fixed to the rod, which is driven through a reducer by means of an electric motor. Vertical reciprocating movements can be straight or ellipsoidal. The latter are not useful for shape cutting, metal cutting, cutting of fibrous materials, as the cut is obtained with jagged edges. The average speed is 53 strokes/sec.
Mechanism for fixing the cutting blade can be different, so its device can be to the criteria for choosing what electric jigsaw is best to take for a home workshop. There are only three types of clamps. The most common all-purpose or pad option. Saw head is inserted into the special slot and tightened by the front screws, as a rule, under the hexagonal key. Here it is important to tighten the fastener evenly to avoid warping and breaking the tooling during operation. The screw clamp is considered the most reliable, because the fastening of the shank is made by one side screw.
It is more convenient to work with a quick-clamping mechanism. There is no consensus among masters about its reliability. But no tools are needed to change the saw. Just press the right lever to pull out, wait for a click when the tooling is inserted. The disadvantage of such a clamp. suitable blades with a shank of a particular thickness and shape.
Tools are selected for the electric jigsaw according to the shank. As a rule, two types of saws are considered:
Also there are differences in nature (steel type: carbon HCS or high speed HSS), thickness of blade, size, pitch and shape of teeth, length and width of the working part. The listed moments are important to determine the purpose of the blade: for wood, metal, stone, fast or slow cutting (rough or neat, respectively).
Here is how to choose an electric jigsaw regarding ergonomics. The tool is made with two types of handles: in the form of a staple or mushroom. The second is in high demand among craftsmen because of the convenience of making a curvilinear cut. For home use, in any case, you should choose a model with an anti-slip handle. This can be achieved by a rubberized coating or embossed imprint.
The electric jigsaw’s footplate is made of metal, as it copes with vibration loads. The design can be molded or pressed. The first option is more common on professional equipment. The second is relevant for domestic models. If you don’t operate your tool properly, it can deform the platform.
This design element is designed for connection to the machine dust collector. It can be a bag or a vacuum cleaner. Most models today are equipped with a spigot. There are examples that are also equipped with a dust collector.
After the convenience aspect has been clarified, the following points must be taken into consideration regarding the technical data of the electric jigsaw. These include the efficiency of the tool, the power consumption and the power source.
The power consumption of the tool depends on the allowable thickness of a particular material that can be cut without overheating the built-in electric motor. Domestic and professional appliances have an indicator in the range of 350 to 1000 watts. Here are 2 examples of efficiency:
For the home workshop the optimum value is 0.5-0.6 kW. Less powerful models are suitable for small and simple tasks. Professionals choose the more efficient ones.
Frequency and depth of stroke
Depending on frequency of plunger movement, the cutting speed depends on the cutting speed. The limit value in most models is 2500-3200 units per minute. To choose a jigsaw, you need to know what material is to be sawn.
If it is soft wood, it is better to consider the maximum values. For hard workpieces the frequency should be low. Skilled craftsmen use tools with frequency control.
Depth of kerf defines the acceptable thickness limits of cut workpieces. In the documentation accompanying the tool, the manufacturer specifies several values. Each is relevant for a particular material: wood, aluminum sheet. So, for an average household jigsaw, the values may be as follows: up to 120 and up to 10 mm respectively. Professional models have higher limits: about 160 and 35 mm.
Manufacturers offer compact power tools with mains or battery power. Since the power consumption is limited to 1 kW, wireline models operate at 220 V only. Chargeable element is often characterized by 18 or 10.8 V, rarely 14.4, 12 or 24 and 28 V. Against the background of mobility, they have a tangible disadvantage. a limited period of working time on a single charge. It is also worth noting that the battery is not always included in the package of electric jigsaws.
Forming the final price of the tool determines in addition to the basic features additional functions. This is another point on how to choose a jigsaw for the best performance of certain tasks. So, pendulum stroke (pendulum) or forward movement of the rod on the progressive stroke and backward movement on the return stroke. This speeds up the process of cutting material. True, the quality of the edges can suffer. To avoid this, you can adjust the action with a 3 or 4 position switch.
The adjustment of the spindle speed is done in one of two ways. Some models are tuned to the pressure on the starter button: the more pressure, the higher the speed. Other tools have an integrated unit with a separate switch on the outside. This solution is considered to be more reliable and practical for the motor and its accessories. But shape cutters prefer the first option.
What is the best jigsaw to choose?
When working with high-quality materials that require accurate cutting, models with a powerful motor and a long stroke of the saw are selected. And for demanding tasks with higher outputs, professional models are the right choice.
Generally speaking, the following parameters are analyzed for the selection of a tool:
The heart of an electric jigsaw is the electric motor. Regardless of the type and construction of the electric motor, its main characteristic is the power. The more powerful the motor, the better the performance. The power range varies from 350 W to 900 W. They can be divided according to their power:
- Machines with a small power of 400-550 watts. Designed for amateur use in the home workshop. They are able to cut wood up to 65 mm thick and metal up to 6 mm thick.
- The power of 600 to 900 watts is designed for professional use in harsh conditions for long enough hours, 4-5 hours a day.
For home, do not buy the weakest models, it is better to take a semi-professional device with a power of 500 watts or more. If money is tight and you need to saw or reduce one cabinet, then take a look at our ranking of inexpensive models.
The working body of the jigsaw is the saw blade. Depending on the amplitude of the movement of the rod, on which the saw is mounted, you get the stroke of the saw on the body of the material. The greater the plunging depth and return height, the more efficiently the tool works, the thicker the material can be cut. For most models, the saw’s stroke is measured between 15 and 26 mm. At 0 to 3,000 RPM, it means:
- Short saw strokes of 15 to 17 mm are common with small motor models. These are the values achieved by models for home use.
- Models with amplitude from 19 to 26 mm are used for cutting materials of higher thickness. These tools have powerful motors and are designed for professional use.
Saw kerf in different materials
Sawing thicknesses are usually given for wood and metal. Cutting depths for wooden elements are usually specified in the range of 40 to 160 mm. For metal (usually soft or base metal) from 4-5 to 30mm.
- For amateur models, the thickness of the kerf on wood is usually specified in the range of 70-80 mm, metal at these figures is specified no more than 6 mm;
- Professional jigsaws are able to work with a board or bar of 100-120 mm, and the metal can cut up to 30 mm thick.
- Soft wood is handled at high sawing speeds of 3,000 and higher;
- For hard wood such as oak and cedar, plastic and chipboard, the optimal range is lower, from 2500 to 3000;
- For soft metal, e.g. aluminum or ceramic tiles 1500-2500 is sufficient.
Work in accelerated mode, when high quality of cut is not required, but it is necessary to cut the material quickly requires a jigsaw equipped with a pendulum mechanism. The essence of this device is that when working the saw movement is not only in the vertical plane, but also back and forth. This mechanism gives more output at normal swing speed, but the quality of the cut is poor.
The pendulum is installed in many jigsaws, but the ability to switch the amplitude of oscillation or completely disable it is characteristic only for branded product, aimed at professional use.
For a comfortable work it is necessary that the tool lies close to the material to be cut. On the other hand, it is not always convenient to work with a heavy tool. That is why weight plays an important role when choosing a jigsaw. Usually, the weight of the tool does not exceed 3 kg, these are tools with a solid metal sole of cast metal. In light domestic models, less casting is usually used. the body and gears here are made of plastic, and the sole of sheet molding.
Tools with a low weight of up to 1.5 kg are perfect for cutting sheet metal and shape cutting. Massive tools are used to work with hard wood and metal, the weight of 2,5-3 kg is normal for such jigsaws.
How to saw with an electric jigsaw?
Before starting to use the electric jigsaw, the user needs to learn that this tool saws workpieces vertically. And if it has a pendulum function, the saw simultaneously makes back and forth movements. But it is not recommended when cutting steel materials.
This machine can make cuts in a straight line or on the curve, cutting curved elements. To make a straight cut, you simply have to fix the guide on the workpiece to be machined and then drive it over the edge of the material.
The curved cut is more complex. To make a round hole, the operator must first drill a small hole in the blade, where the saw will then be inserted for further work. It is also important to make all the necessary marks in advance in order to cut the shapes correctly.