At this year’s 2010 Global Leadership Tour we were treated to a preview of a whole new lineup of jigsaws coming soon from Bosch. Bosch’s jigsaws have benefited from the same motor technology that has allowed them to reduce the girth and size of their other products, both cordless and corded. With the Bosch JS470EB (the ‘B’ designates ‘Barrel grip’ and is otherwise identical to the Bosch JS470E), the result is a thinner grip that is only slightly longer than the 6.4 amp 1591EVS that it replaces. While thinner, it is packing more power, raising the tool up to a full 7 amps. The higher power will ensure that this jig saw will be able to get through the toughest and hardest material.
Bosch JS470EB Build Quality & Use
The Bosch JS470EB has the expected Bosch blue and rubberized black overmold. The overmold provides a nice grip over the front half of the barrel. While that provides a certain level of comfort, it’s really the narrow diameter of the motor housing that gives this jigsaw a uniquely comfortable grip. It’s actually uncanny in that it’s easy to maneuver, even through very tight corners, and we found ourselves enjoying the barrel grip and wondering why we didn’t have it back home. The saw supports and comes with an anti-splinter insert and the cast aluminum shoe can be covered with the included non-marring footplate overshoe for more delicate work. The power to the tool is either on or off, due to the nature of the barrel grip, and speed is adjusted via a dial located on the very back of the barrel of the tool. This jigsaw offers oscillating motion to provide a more rapid cut and it can be adjusted easily through the familiar, and all-but-standard) dial on the left side of the tool.
You can pick up the tool in one hand and eject the blade with the other. Of course Bosch was a little overzealous with its ejection mechanism and we found we could quickly turn the JS470EB into a weapon by aiming the tool as we operated the ejection lever to toss the usually hot blade a good 3-4 feet through the air. What’s great about this system is that it eliminates one of the biggest pet peeves people have with jigsaws – having to use two hands and remove a hot blade with one of them. With the JS470EB that job is made much easier and you can spend more time worrying about where your next cut is.
We used the Bosch JS470EB barrel grip jigsaw to cut out various states and territories on an oversized jigsaw map of North America that was printed on a piece of cabinet grade 3/4″ plywood. It afforded us the opportunity to use the jigsaw alongside other competitors and also to ensure that the blades were equal across competitors. What we found was that the jigsaw rounded corners easily, the blade was consistently quick and nimble, and cuts were made easily and with plenty of power to spare. We were never able to bind the saw, though we tried several times with excessively tight cornering. This is a nicely-made, robust saw.
While at Bosch’s headquarters we were also able to learn about the other new jigsaw products Bosch was rolling out shortly. These include, of course, the JS470E ($159) and JS470EB ($169 barrel grip) which will replace the aging, but still excellent 1590EVSK and 1591EVSK models – and at a lower MSRP than when those models originally came to market. The list also includes two other models, the JS365 ($129, 6.5 amp version) and an entry level 6 amp JS260 which will go on the market in September as their entry-level product for just $99.
This entire new series of tools is very well-built and represents yet another round of “innovation trickle-down” where Bosch, not content to rest on its legacy-emitting laurels, has brought some of its newest technology to the jigsaw tools. We can heartily recommend them based on our use, though this is one category where Bosch doesn’t have as clear an advantage over other manufacturers. Still, the size to power ration of the new barrel-grip jigsaw is impressive to say the least, and we loved how well it cut and handled. This is a tool we can heartily recommend to any craftsman or woodworker looking to stay on a budget but still get some quality.