I'm a homeowner who will give light to moderate use of a jigsaw. Which
would you suggest as the best one for such use? Can I get by with a
$49 Skil at HD, or should I go with something at $100+?
Unless you don;t mind it being a rubbish jigsaw while you are using
it, go up-market. The difference is a better balanced mechanism and
more accurate cutting.
I like the Bosch barrel-bodies (Swiss made by Scintilla)
I have the "Orbital" Skil. http://tinyurl.com/59nbe It works fine for me.
1. Take your time and remember to turn from the back, not from the front (am
I describing that well?) The aim is to keep sideways pressure off the blade.
It makes a big difference.
2. Keep blades fresh.
3. For this saw, the "Orbital is fairly useless unless you are hacking off
something. It WILL need to be cleaned up due to extreme splintering if in
4. The variable speed is minorly useful.
5. Blade changes are super-easy.
6. I have yet to find a use for the miter feature at the base.
I picked up a Delta Shopmaster scroll saw to play around with when it was on
sale at Lowes for $40 one day. Not the best tool, but it suppliments the
scroll saw and sure does come in handy since I don't have a bandsaw.
If you do not mind the vibration that may make it difficult to follow a
line, if you do not have to follow a line closely, if you do not need to
have a "square as possible to the surface" cut, and will use it for relative
short periods of times, get the cheap one. No need to buy better if it is
going to sit on the shelf 99% of it's life with you.
If you think it will come close to seeing moderate use or high on the lite
side save yourself some frustration and get a saw in the $100+ range.
Milwaukee makes a great saw and Bosch has a great saw. Look for the "NEW
lever operated" blade release model from Bosch.
I would warn against Skil, B&D, and DeWalt. The DeWalts are huge and there
are numerous complaints about it spitting out its blade during operation. I
have had this happen to me also so it is not an urban legend.
The "I'm a homeowner" part to me suggests that you might be getting this
for "construction" uses, such as cutting the odd hole for a junction
work, etc. If that is the case and you don't mind not-terribly-accurate
rough results (often the case if things are going to be covered up
anyway), a cheap one will do you fine for light usage. If you need to do
finer work, you will need to spend more to have any hope of not tearing
your hair out or doing a lot of post-sawing work.
You will get lots of "buy the best you can afford" advice here, but that
is silly; buy the one that suits your needs. If you need to do fine
work, pay up. Otherwise, cheap out.
The problem with cheap jigsaws is not their durability but their precision.
A Bosch with one of their "progressor" blades gives an amazingly smooth
cut--if you've not seen it you won't believe that a jigsaw can cut like
that. A cheap saw will give you a rough cut no matter what kind of blade
you use. I don't think that there is any other power tool for which the
difference in cut quality between "cheap" and "good" is so large.
Coastal Tool <http://www.coastaltool.com has Bosch for $139 and
shipping--you won't be sorry you paid the price.
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
You'll have to determine how much jigsawing you really want to do.
"Moderate" use means you might want to get a quality unit. Unlike a
circular saw, where the $29 cheapy would be OK for a homeowner
occasionally cutting a 2X4, a $29 jigsaw just will not cut a
curve with the same eas and accuracy that a $150 jigsaw will. I've
never tried the $49 Skil so can't comment on that unit. I have a
Milwaukee which works extremely well, and the Bosh jigsaws also are
rated at or close to the top. One thing I can advise on, unless your
needs are very undemanding, don't even bother with a saw that does not
have a roller guide behind the blade.
IMHO, it's not a question of usage, but of quality.
I rarely use mine, but when I need it, I want good results. I didn't think
it was a big deal until I tossed my $49 Craftsman away for the Milwaukee a
couple of years ago.
Wow, what a difference.
It wasn't me, in this rare case, it was the tool.
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