In Our Search for the Best Cordless Jigsaw, We Discover Several Great Options
While some folks think of jigsaws only as woodworking tools, they’re versatile tools that find their way onto almost every contractor’s jobsite at some point. Choosing the best cordless jigsaw is about more than just the convenience of no cord. They’re just as strong as corded models and some have incredibly rich feature sets.
Best Jigsaw Blades
Cut quality comes down to the blade—so we wanted to start there. You have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing the best jigsaw blades. We consistently turn to Bosch thanks to their deep history of both jigsaw and blade development. They have a full range of standard and specialty blades to cover just about anything you might ask your jigsaw to do. For an excellent general-purpose set, check out Bosch’s 10-piece wood and metal blade set (T5002).
- 11–14 TPI basic metal cutting blades (2)
- 17–24 TPI basic metal cutting blades (2)
- 12 TPI basic scrolling blades (2)
- 10 TPI clean wood cutting blades (2)
- 5–6 TPI fast wood cutting blades (2)
Best Cordless Jigsaw Overall
DeWalt 20V Max XR Jigsaw
Whether you want a top handle or barrel grip style, we picked the DeWalt 20V Max XR as the best cordless jigsaw overall. Its cutting speed wasn’t as fast as some of the others, but its vibration control was better, and it kept the blade deflection down to nothing on tough cuts. For the top handle model, the lower height gave us a feeling of better control.
With both versions, the controls seem well-placed and easy to reach without having to move your grip. This was especially noticeable on the barrel grip where many of our testing team’s hands couldn’t reach the on/off switch on other models. While there are a couple of trade-offs to consider, DeWalt gave us the best overall cutting experience.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Jigsaw
Not everyone needs to cut through 2x and other thick materials, so the fastest speed isn’t always a high priority. However, there are several that make quick cuts, and Milwaukee showed us the greatest cutting speed. Keep in mind you need to engage orbital action to get the fastest cuts, and that’s going to leave you with a rougher edge.
Best Accuracy and Control
Makita 18V LXT Jigsaw
To get the best accuracy and control, you need a combination of line of sight (a dust blower really helps), tracking, and deflection control. Good vibration control is also a big help to keep your hands from getting tired. No other saw did this as well as Makita in our testing, with both the top handle and barrel grip designs excelling.
Best Cordless Jigsaw Value
Kobalt 24V Brushless Jigsaw
There are a few really solid value picks, and we chose Kobalt as the best cordless jigsaw value. It has a really well-rounded feature set for its $129 price tag. Its impressive cutting performance sets it apart, however. Even though it tops out at just 3000 SPM, it cut with speeds much closer to the top saws than its specifications suggest.
Best Budget Cordless Jigsaw
At just $54 for the bare tool and $89 for the kit with a 1.5 Ah battery and a charger, there’s no better way to get started with cordless jigsawing on a budget than with Hart’s 20V jigsaw. With selectable orbital action, a variable speed slider, a lock-on button, and more, it has a surprisingly rich feature set for its price.
Best Cordless Jigsaw By Brand
Bosch’s cordless jigsaw is a little slower in cutting speed than the others, but this is a smooth operator. Its vibration control is excellent, and we like that it has a lower height for a top handle saw that gives us a better feeling of control. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles to this one. Overall, it feels well-built, and its $149 price tag is very reasonable for a Pro-level model.
Best DeWalt Cordless Jigsaw: 20V Max XR Brushless DCS334/DCS335
We pretty much said it all above—DeWalt’s cordless jigsaws gave us the most complete cutting experience from a group of truly excellent competitors. The fact that you can get that performance in either a top-handle or barrel-grip configuration makes it that much better.
As our pick for the best budget cordless jigsaw, Hart simply puts a lot of features together in an inexpensive package. A variable speed slider combines with a lock-on button and three orbital settings (plus off) to make sure you can control your cuts. While its design isn’t as refined as more expensive models, we were able to get quality results from this sub-$100 kit. This tool seems perfect for the DIY hobbyist or anyone wanting a jigsaw for light projects.
Best Flex Cordless Jigsaw: 24V Brushless FX2231-Z/FX2221-Z
Flex is one of the fastest cutting cordless jigsaws with a 3500 SPM stroke rate. It departs from traditional variable speed dials with 4 electronic speeds and an effective automatic mode. It also has a button to turn off the LED light if you’d rather not use it. About the only feature they left off was tool-free bevel changes.
The barrel grip version’s design is ergonomically better than most thanks to an on/off switch that’s easily reachable without taking your hand off of the tool.
This is part of the initial launch for Flex 24V cordless tools and if you register your tools, chargers, and batteries by 12/31/21, you’ll get a lifetime warranty on all of them.
Kobalt earned our best value pick with a design that competes with some of the best Pro models at a much lower price. It has a brushless motor, blade release lever, tool-free bevel adjustments, selectable cutline blower, and 3+1 orbital selection. You really only miss out on dust collection and a variable speed dial. At $129 for the bare tool and one of the more affordable battery programs available, it’s a compelling choice for value shoppers.
Best Makita Cordless Jigsaw: 18V LXT Brushless XVJ02/XVJ01
Of all the cordless jigsaws we tested, Makita has the most refined design and performance. This fast-cutting 3500 SPM jigsaw has surprisingly low vibration compared to others with a similar stroke rate. There are a couple of quirks that you’re going to either love or hate, though. It has an always-on automatic start. Even if you’re not a fan of that feature, try it first if you can. Makita’s seems to be more natural than others. The other feature to consider is Makita’s extra power button that you need to hit before you can operate the tool.
Best Metabo HPT Cordless Jigsaw: 36V MultiVolt CJ36DAQ4
When Metabo HPT developed their 18V jigsaw for the MultiVolt platform, it came with some upgrades. Most noticeably, it now sports a variable speed dial and lock-on button while jumping from 2500 to 3500 SPM. The tool sounds rougher than it really is—something we noticed on the 18V model, too. They manage to keep its vibration in check, and its cutting performance is solid. For those of you who are nervous about leaving the unlimited runtime of corded tools behind, this is the only jigsaw we tested that has an available AC adapter. Plus, it’s covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
Milwaukee finished our testing with the fastest cutting speed thanks to its 3500 SPM stroke rate and the brushless motor’s ability to maintain that speed in thicker material. The design team made a couple of interesting calls as well. On one hand, the tool-free bevel adjustment, dust port adapter, and cutline blower on/off switch are options not every jigsaw has. On the other, there’s no variable speed dial on the top handle model (the barrel grip has it along with an automatic mode).
The blade release is a little quirky, too. It slides around the front—an upgrade from a shaft-mounted release. However, it’s a little sticky out of the box and could stand to offer more gripping surface for your thumb.
Ridgid’s Octane Jigsaw is another high-value pick with the most complete feature set of all the saws we tested. It carries a svelt $129 price tag for the bare tool. The design team simply didn’t leave anything off of the saw. It has tool-free bevel adjustments, a selectable cutline blower, blade release lever, variable speed dial and trigger (including an off mode), lock-on button, 3+1 orbital selection, and shoe cover. It even offers dust collection and a separate button to kick the LED light on and off.
You need to cut a little slower to control deflection in thick or hard materials, and it’s not as fast or smooth as some of the others. It’s still capable of leaving you with Pro-quality results, though. Also—don’t forget that Lifetime Service Agreement if you register the tool.
When Ryobi gave its cordless jigsaw the 18V One+ HP Brushless upgrade, it improved the rest of the features along with it. In addition to a new brushless motor, it now has tool-free bevel adjustments, a blade release lever, and a shoe cover. All that comes with a price increase, however. You can still find the previous model for around $69 as an excellent choice for beginners. The 18V One+ HP Brushless model—our pick—is a better bet for more serious users at $129.
Best Skil Cordless Jigsaw: PWRCore 20 Brushless JS820202
There aren’t many jigsaw kits running around, making it a little more expensive to get into cordless jigsawing if you don’t already have the requisite battery and charger. That helps the Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless Jigsaw kit come across as a solid value at $169 since it includes a 2.0Ah battery and PWRJump fast charger.
It’s not a barebones kind of value, though. In addition to its brushless motor, it adds a tool-free bevel adjustment and unique push-up blade release that’s easier than other shaft-mounted designs. This is one of the saws you need to cut a little slower with to get the highest-quality results. That’s a pretty easy trade-off to make for the cost savings in our opinion.
What is a Jigsaw Used For?
A jigsaw uses an up-and-down reciprocating motion to saw through wood, metal, PVC, and other materials. Primarily a woodcutting tool, it uses a narrower blade that gives you the ability to cut curves better than other types of saws. It’s also useful for completing cuts into corners thanks to a straight-blade design.
Contractors often use them for cutting out countertops for sinks or cutting out drywall if they don’t have an oscillating multi-tool or drywall cutout tool. With those cutouts, you often drill a hole inside your waste area large enough for the jigsaw blade to fit, making the start of your cut easier.
There are plenty of other ways to cut with a jigsaw, and these are just the main ways we use them. Any other ideas? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Top Handle vs Barrel Grip Jigsaw
At the risk of starting an argument over top handle vs barrel grip jigsaw designs, here’s the skinny: it mainly boils down to personal preference. Shocking, we know!
We prefer top handle jigsaws when we’re cutting with one hand. If you’re in a situation where you can’t clamp your material securely, it’s a big help. When cutting with two hands, your second hand simply moves to the front pommel of the saw.
Some people feel they have better control with a barrel grip. It puts your hand in a lower position and your second hand can rest on the front or top of the saw.
Hand size can come into play as well. Guys and gals with smaller hands tend to prefer a top handle in our experience. However, 12V barrel grip jigsaws have a narrow enough grip area that even those folks can enjoy using them.
Regionally, the US tends to be in favor of top handle models, and that’s what every brand we tested makes. However, the following brands offer both:
- Skil (12V only)
Cordless Jigsaw Buying Guide | What We Look For
Any jigsaw worth buying has to be able to effectively cut what you work on. If you custom-build stair stringers, your saw better be able to cut 2x well. As a woodworker, you need to cut hardwoods without burning them. Having selectable speed or at least a variable-speed trigger can help quite a bit.
Brushless motors help with both cutting performance and runtime. It’s not as critical as it is in some power tools, but it’s a nice boost to have.
Also, look for a selectable orbital action. It increases the aggressiveness of the blade’s attack with an elliptical motion and cuts more quickly. The trade-off is a rougher cut.
One quick note about automatic speed control—this feature takes some time to get used to, and some of our team flat-out refuse to use it. However, those who do really like the consistency of its start and performance through the cut. Kicking in with a soft start, it ramps up the speed based on the pressure you put into the cut.
Accuracy, Control, and Deflection
Because a jigsaw’s primary job is cutting curves, control is important. A big part of that is the design of the saw and how it fits in your hand. Another part of it is using a quality blade that’s the correct size for the curves you’re cutting.
Keep an eye on the blade itself. The saw needs to keep it running straight up and down to control deflection and drifting. Most models have a guide behind the blade, but we’ve used some jigsaws that allow the blade to pop out of it easily and take your cut off-course.
All of the jigsaws we recommend are capable of cutting 2x material with no deflection. However, you need to slow down with some of them. DeWalt, Flex, Makita, and Milwaukee all handle faster cutting with no or minimal deflection better than the others.
Keep in mind how close the front of the shoe gets to the blade as well. When those edges creep in closer, you can get both sides of the shoe to stabilize on your material when you need to make thinner cuts.
You can have the best control possible, but it won’t mean diddly if you can’t see your blade contact your cutline. Most jigsaws do a great job of keeping the blade area clear enough to see. LED lights and a cutline blower drastically improve your visibility.
Once you have performance, control, and visibility down, you can narrow your choices by selecting ones that have lower vibration. Your hands will thank you and you’ll feel like you’re fighting the saw less when the operation is smoother.
Price and Value
Of course, the price has a huge bearing on your choice and we all want to stay on budget. What the tool offers for the money is a large chunk of the value. Keep in mind the warranty and if the line has all of the other tools you might want to add to your collection down the road. Take a look at the jigsaw that’s available on the battery platform you already have first. You may be able to save a chunk by getting the bare tool.
Features That Can Make Using a Jigsaw Easier
- Selectable orbital action
- Variable speed selection
- Automatic speed control
- Soft start
- Cutline blower
- LED lights
- Dust collection adapter
- Tool-free bevel adjustments (or onboard tool storage if it’s not tool-free)
- Housing-mounted blade release lever
- No-mar base plate cover
- Lock-on switch (standard on most barrel grip saws)
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