Most woodworking shops have a few saws sitting around, and when I started in the hobby, I did not understand why. Fast-forward to today, and you will find several saws in my shop. One of the first power tools I purchased was the cordless jigsaw.
Long before I began woodworking, I had stumbled across several cordless jigsaw reviews. Battery-powered tools in these jigsaw reviews seemed to be more powerful and longer-lasting than models just a couple of years earlier. What I learned from reading these articles was that the battery packs themselves had improved tremendously.
Today’s cordless jigsaw tools run on Lithium-Ion batteries. These maintenance-free battery packs will not suffer from the memory effects experienced with the Nickel-Cadmium battery pack on my old cordless drill. Lithium-Ion batteries tend to have a higher capacity, often above 3.0 amp-hours, for a longer running cordless jigsaw.
Most cordless jigsaw designs come as “tool only,” which means you need to buy a battery and charger separately. Cordless jigsaw reviews will indicate which products sell as a bare tool or sell as a kit that includes one or more battery packs and a charger. Pay attention to jigsaw reviews that contain jigsaws with batteries; the battery packs tend to be lower-rated in amp-hours.
The reason I purchased my cordless jigsaw was its ability to make curved cuts. The cutting radius is not as tight as a scroll saw, but it cuts curves that a circular saw can not do. A reciprocating blade that moves up and down is why; it is thinner than a circular saw blade and can turn in the cut.
The attachment point used to connect the jigsaw blade to the tool was a requirement in old jigsaw reviews. Jigsaw blades came in several designs, including T-shank and U-shank blades. Today, most cordless jigsaw products accept T-shank (or both types) jigsaw blades.
Something that I did not consider when I purchased my jigsaw was stroke length. A jigsaw’s stroke length is how far the blade travels as it moves in one direction. The larger a rating is, the more cutting the jigsaw will do with every blade movement.
Motors on jigsaws tend to rate similarly. One design element worth considering, though, is brushless electric motors. Brushless motors are more efficient and last longer than traditional electric motors that use brushes.
A feature that should be standard on all jigsaw products is an adjustable shoe. The shoe, or pad, is what makes contact with your workpiece as you cut. You should be able to angle the shoe so that the jigsaw blade reciprocates through the wood at the desired angle (producing a beveled cut).
Look for a shoe that can extend and contract as you read cordless jigsaw reviews. This feature allows you to use longer blades safely. It also allows you to expose more of the jigsaw blade’s teeth during the cutting stroke.
Older jigsaw designs offered a top handle for gripping the tool as you worked. That design is still the most popular on the market, but a newer barrel grip is making inroads. The barrel grip extends behind the jigsaw motor, and cordless products usually insert the battery packs on the end of the barrel grip handle.
Variable-speed motors are worth considering. The ability to adjust the motor speed allows you to match Strokes Per Minute with the type of blade you installed. It also allows you to match the speed with the material you are cutting through.
A jigsaw is safer to use than circular saws, which is worth considering if you are new to power tools or are planning to introduce younger woodworkers to power tools.