Electric jigsaws are one of the most versatile power tools available. Able to perform a plethora of intricate cuts on a number of materials, no professional, hobbyist, or DIY enthusiast would be without one.

Cromwell stocks a broad range of jigsaws from trusted brands used by professionals around the world - including Bosch®, DeWalt®, Makita®, Hikoki®, and more.

What are jigsaws?

Jigsaws are a necessary tool for making straight or curved cuts in a wide range of materials, including wood, PVC, plastic, parquet, and much more.

One can think of the jigsaw as a handheld bandsaw, exchanging power for mobility. Thankfully, jigsaws are a fraction of the price - making them perfect for performing a lot of workshop tasks, even when on a budget.
An electric jigsaw is powered by a motor that rotates a number of gears. These gears efficiently convert rotary motion into reciprocating motion, which then links to the blade and moves it up and down.

Why a jigsaw?

Jigsaws offer an unparalleled amount of freedom to the user. Not only can they cut straight, they can also cut curves effectively. They are a must-have in the workshop of any woodworker who wants to saw something quickly and effectively.

When fitted with the right blade, jigsaws cut more than wood. They're also great for cutting fibreglass, drywall, and even some metals, amongst other things. This adds to the versatility of the jigsaw, making them a great all-rounder for professionals and hobbyists alike.

Additionally, many jigsaws have the built-in functionality to perform bevel (angled) cuts. No longer do you need a fancy, expensive adjustable table saw - a jigsaw with a tilting baseplate can perform these cuts with ease.

When are jigsaws used?

As one of the most versatile and adaptable power tools available, jigsaws have a wide range of practical uses around the workshop. Here are a few of the most common cuts a jigsaw can perform:

• Curved cuts
• Straight cuts
• Plunge cuts
• Bevel (angled) cuts

Jigsaws can perform these cuts on all kinds of materials - but it's important to check the power output of your jigsaw, along with the jigsaw blade you use, is capable of cutting your desired material.

Jigsaw types

Whilst all jigsaws have the same basic design, there are a few different configurations - each with their own strengths and drawbacks. Here are the key decisions you'll have to make before buying:

• Corded vs. cordless - A key consideration when it comes to buying a jigsaw is whether you want a corded or cordless model. Cordless jigsaws provide greater manoeuverability, and more freedom on the job. Corded models provide consistent, reliable power - at the cost of mobility.

• Power output- Depending on how often you use your jigsaw, a different power rating may be required:

• 350W - Suitable for smaller DIY projects and casual use. Provides a low depth of cut.

• 500W - Mid-range, capable of cutting up to 70mm in wood, 10mm in aluminium, and 5mm in steel.

• 700W - Capable of cutting up to 100mm in wood, 30mm in aluminium and 10mm in steel.

• 850W+ - These heavy-duty models are favoured by professionals. They can cut to around the same depths as 700W models (due to the physical limitations of the tool's design) but can do it faster and more comfortably.

If you're looking for an expert opinion when buying the right jigsaw for your needs, feel free to ask our experts for personalised advice.

Considerations when choosing a jigsaw

When purchasing a jigsaw, there are a few other key considerations to keep in mind:

• Built in guide or laser guide- Many jigsaws come with a parallel cutting guide or a laser guide to keep the tool straight and reduce blade deviation. This is especially important if you plan on cutting straight lines regularly.

• Variable speed - Jigsaw speed is measured by SPM (strokes per minute), and different materials require different SPMs for efficient cutting. As a rule of thumb:

• 400-1000 SPM - For cutting glass, ceramics, or tiles.

• 1000-2000 SPM - For cutting non-ferrous metals and plastics.

• 2000+ SPM - for cutting wood and harder materials.

A jigsaw with variable speed allows users to easily cut different materials at the most effective SPM.

• Ergonomics- If you're a professional user looking to use your jigsaw regularly, an ergonomically designed jigsaw will make your job considerably easier. Ergonomic grips result in less user fatigue and a more accurate, controlled user experience.

• Blades - Take a look at Cromwell's wide range of jigsaw blades for help choosing the right blades for your jigsaw.

Jigsaw jargon buster

What is 'orbital action'?

Orbital action refers to the imitation of manual sawing by the jigsaw. It means the blade moves slightly forward on the upstroke, and backwards on the downstroke. It increases overall cutting accuracy and reduces wear on the blade, however it can cause splintering when cutting fragile materials. Some blades, such as down-cut blades, are not suitable for orbital action jigsaws.

What is a 'tilting baseplate'?

Tilting baseplates allow users to tilt the plate and create accurate cuts in angles up to 45°.


Will jigsaw cut metal?

With the correct jigsaw blade, jigsaws can cut through wood with nails in, non-ferrous metals, and sheet metal. They are not suitable for plunge cutting hard metals.

Why can't I cut a straight line with my jigsaw?

Users may not be able to cut a straight line with their jigsaw if the guide bearings are faulty, if the blade is overly worn, or if the jigsaw as a whole is outdated. If human error is to blame, laser guides and parallel cutting guides are available on modern jigsaws to help keep a straight cut.