Jigsaws are handy tools that allow builders and crafters to make curved cuts in wood. This is likely to be your go-to tool for custom carvings, beveling, and everything in between.
Versatile as they may be, finding the right jigsaw is like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Every brand will tell you that theirs is the best, despite having the same features as the competition. By far, the most important consideration when choosing your first jigsaw is whether it should be cordless or corded.
Cordless or Corded – Which Way is Better?
Think about it this way: where do you work most of the time?
Most makers, especially enthusiastic beginners, often pick a single location for all their work. That allows them to work comfortably within the confines of a corded jigsaw.
However, there are some situations where using a corded jigsaw can be downright dangerous. For example, if you’re working on a ladder, a cord could seriously complicate matters and even threaten your safety.
Cordless jigsaws are the obvious choice for woodworkers that travel from site to site. When you’re not within reach of an outlet, having a battery-powered jigsaw can make all the difference.
It’s a relatively easy choice to make but one that can have a significant impact on the quality of your
Benefits of Going Cordless vs. Corded
The benefits of using a corded jigsaw include:
You always have a continuous energy supply and an unlimited run time
Reduced hand fatigue due to the lighter build
The main drawback is the limited portability working with a corded tool affords you. Again, this shouldn’t be a big problem unless most of your work occurs outside or on elevated surfaces.
As for cordless jigsaws, the key benefits are:
The ability to work in places without access to electricity
Unrestricted movement while working
Using a cordless jigsaw also has its disadvantages, the most critical of which is its limited power supply. Not many tradesmen rely on cordless jigsaws to perform long, continuous tasks due to their power constraints. Cordless jigsaws also have heavy battery packs, so they get pretty tiring to work with.
Why You Should Start With a Corded Jigsaw
The chances are good that you’re working from your garage or driveway or patio, or in other words, a location with access to the main electricity supply.
A corded jigsaw is lighter, which means it's easier to maneuver, and it can run continuously until the task is complete. From a workshop or benchtop, you will get a lot more done using a corded jigsaw.
As you get better and perhaps take on bigger projects, you might start to see the need for a cordless model. But when you’re working on projects exclusively from your hobby room, your money is better spent on a quality corded tool. There is always a need for power, but portability is only beneficial in certain situations.
The Best Corded Jigsaws for Beginners
The criteria for choosing these jigsaws are as follows:
Must have a rating of 4.4+
Must be under $100
BLACK + DECKER (BDEJS300C) 4.5-Amp Jigsaw''
One of the highest-rated corded jigsaws online is the BLACK + DECKER BDEJS300C. It is a 4.4-pound jigsaw with a variable speed motor that can deliver up to 3,000 strokes per minute (SPM).
Admittedly, 3,000 is not very high by today’s standards. However, it’s more than enough for woodworking. One of the perks of corded jigsaws is that even those with a lower SPM can still tackle heavy-duty tasks, albeit it may take longer to complete them.
This entry-level jigsaw packs a respectable amount of features, the most useful of which is the quick-clamp system. It lets you switch out blades quickly by hand, which is a huge reason to buy it if you’re tired of blade wrenches and whatnot.
The BDEJS300C is easy to work with, especially since it comes with a wire guard that improves your line of sight and an integrated dust-blower that clears away sawdust.
The 4.5-amp variable speed motor is something you’ll appreciate when working with different types of material. Slowing it down will allow you to work with softer materials with ease, just as speeding it up will enable you to tackle heavy jobs quickly.
BLACK + DECKER (BDEJ600C) 5.0-Amp Smart Select Jigsaw
If you want the BDEJ300C but with slightly more power, just get the BDEJ600C. This jigsaw packs a slightly upgraded 5.0-Amp motor, but at 4.6 pounds, it is barely heavier than its less powerful sibling. They match each other blow for blow when it comes to features like variable speed, the
the toolless blade-changing system, and the wire guard.
This model gives you more precision thanks to curve control technology. Selecting one of four available orbit settings allows the tool to take over when executing tricky curves.
It’s a tool that most beginners would get used to quickly, especially since its compact handle and lightweight build allow you to cut without hand fatigue. The 5.0-Amp motor still delivers 3,000 SPM, so if it’s more strokes per minute you’re after, maybe this isn’t the best solution.
PORTER-CABLE 6.0-Amp Corded Jigsaw
More power comes in the form of this 6.0-Amp PORTER-CABLE corded jigsaw. It features seven-speed settings for its variable motor, which can go from 0 – 3,200 SPM.
It also has a superpower: orbital settings. To be specific, it has four of them. Jigsaws with orbital rotation are more adept at cutting a different variety of materials. Orbital rotation means that the saw blade moves in an up and down motion, but it also moves back and forth to make deeper cuts.
It weighs about six pounds but is even easier to use than the first two options we’ve looked at. All credit goes to the lock-on button, which keeps the tool on track. It’s a lot less tiresome to work with a tool that naturally knows where to go, even when you might not have enough experience to guide it.
BOSCH (JS260) 120V 6.0-Amp Top-Handle Jigsaw
It is generally known that top-handle jigsaws are much better for simple applications. The difference between the cutting abilities of top and barrel-grips isn’t too huge, but it is noticeable to a first-time jigsaw user.
That’s why this BOSCH JS260 might be a more reasonable option if you’re just beginning. It has a heftier price tag that is justified by its beefy 6.0-Amp motor that’s capable of 3,100 SPM.
Variable speed controls and orbital action settings are much-needed precision boosters in unsteady hands, and the low-vibration design is as forgiving as every amateur deserves when building their first projects.
The multi-directional blade clamp may not accept U-Shank blades, but it is capable of fast blade changes, thanks to its toolless design. You start to understand where your money’s spent when you look at its sturdy heavy-gauge steel footplate, the useful always-on dust blower, and the plunging mechanism. It’s an investment any woodworker would be proud of.