There aren’t many tools as handy as a jigsaw, as they allow makers and builders to perform curved cuts in both metal and wood. Jigsaws play a crucial role in the woodworking industry, as they’re extremely versatile, allowing woodworkers to perform carved cuts and beveling. They’re also considered as introductory tools for aspiring crafters. However, finding a quality jigsaw that’s right for your application can often be more complicated than solving a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Different brands offer innovative features that can make or break its performance.
For starters, there are two main things you need to consider when buying power jigsaws – whether you want a cordless or corded model. This means having to choose between portability and power, so you need to make sure you do your due diligence on the key differences between the two types.
Corded jigsaws are the more powerful out of the two, as they continuously receive a supply of energy, allowing workers to operate them for an unlimited amount of time. As a result, these jigsaws are capable of effectively cutting through strong materials like metal and hardwood without any interruption. Additionally, operating a corded jigsaw is less tiring, as they’re lighter than cordless units, which reduces hand fatigue even when working on something for a longer period of time. The main disadvantage of these models is that the power cord limits their portability.
These jigsaws are best suited for heavy-duty tasks and benchtop and workshop use. So if you’re a DIY-er who owns their own workshop or uses their garage as one, you probably want a corded jigsaw. However, make sure you have easy access to a power outlet. Even if you’re a professional who needs to cut through strong materials, such as ceramic, metal sheets, hardwood and concrete – these tools are reliable and provide outstanding performance for projects that require you to work on consistent, long cuts in one go.
Cordless jigsaws are designed with portability in mind. Since there’s no trailing power cord, you get a ton of flexibility, allowing you to craft projects anywhere, anytime without having access to a main electrical supply. This type of jigsaws is a favourite among tradesmen, as they can perform work wherever they need to. However, since these jigsaws rely on batteries, they have a limited power supply. Additionally, the weight of the battery pack and the motor makes them heavier to carry around and use for extended time periods.
These jigsaws are best suited for outdoor and worksite use. Builders can take them and use them anywhere, as they don’t require an extension cord when you’re building a deck outside your workshop or home. These jigsaws are also ideal for working on drywall and ceiling work, as there’s no risk of tripping on the cord when you’re up on a scaffold or ladder.
Power Ratings of Cordless and Corded Jigsaws
Corded jigsaws are compared to one another by their amperage. As you can probably guess, the more amps a jigsaw is rated, the more powerful it is. Corded jigsaws also come with specified voltages, and you will either have one meant to be used with 110/120V outlets, or one that’s safe to use with 220/240V.
Keep in mind that the voltage rating has nothing to do with the performance of corded jigsaws. Entry-level jigsaws that are meant for light-duty work start at about 400 watts, which is enough to cut through plywood, drywall, softwoods and plastic. Mid- and heavy-duty jigsaws come with a motor that’s rated about 700 watts or more, and they’re capable of handling heavy-duty cutting, and they’re equipped with longer blades.
Cordless jigsaws are compared based on their voltage. The higher the voltage, the more powerful the jigsaw, and the faster it drains the battery. Luckily, a cordless jigsaw uses batteries with a higher voltage which also means that it comes with greater capacity as well. Most cordless models on the market are rated at either 12, 18, 24 or 36V. For most light-duty applications, or cutting soft materials like plastic, a 12V cordless model will give you enough power. If you’re working with tougher materials, however, you’ll want a model rated for 18V or more. 24V and 36V jigsaws can now perform almost as well as corded models. So if you need a heavy-duty jigsaw in a portable package, a 24V or 36V model is completely viable.
Jigsaws are essential power tools for any woodworker, regardless if it’s a professional or beginner. That being said, whether you go for a cordless or corded model will largely depend on your needs. If portability is a concern, then a cordless model is the obvious choice. Conversely, if you’re working on larger projects that require more power and portability isn’t a concern, then a corded jigsaw is the best choice. You’ll find a wide range of both cordless and corded models online from various brands.