Boost your DIY armoury with a jigsaw that can cut through wood, metal and more
Any time you want to cut into a sheet of something – be that plywood, acrylic, chipboard or anything flat – reach for a jigsaw. The best jigsaws are versatile pieces of cutting equipment that can go in straight lines, at angles and even manage curves.
No matter what DIY jobs you’re attempting around the home, you’ll probably find a use for a jigsaw somewhere. Being power tools, they can take over from a hand saw in plenty of jobs, making things easier and saving time.
What sets apart jigsaws from other types of motorised reciprocating saws is the flat plate, or shoe, at the bottom. This is what slides against the surface you want to cut and allows you to apply pressure to guide it in precisely the right direction.
If you want to add a jigsaw to your DIY kit, read our guide to choosing the right equipment and our reviews below.
Best jigsaw: At a glance
How to choose the best jigsaw for you
The first thing to consider when looking for a jigsaw is how much you’re going to use it. There’s little point slapping down over £100 on a really nice cordless model if it’s going to sit on the shelf for months at a time. While cordless models are more convenient in many ways, and modern battery technology means they’re no less powerful than their mains-powered brethren, a corded model is always going to be cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about flat batteries when you eventually need to use it again.
While having the cord trailing behind you, perhaps to an extension lead, is a slight annoyance, the payoff is that a corded jigsaw will work all day without having to be recharged. Alternatively, if it’s you who’s working all day, make sure your rechargeable jigsaw has removable batteries so you can keep a set on the charger for the inevitable moment when it loses power.
Other things to look for include the ease of changing the blade. Older models may require a screwdriver or Allen key to loosen nuts before the old blade can be slipped out and a new one put in. Quick release options are much faster and more convenient, and this should be a feature of most modern jigsaws.
The blades themselves are graded by the number of teeth they have per inch, and different tooth densities lend themselves to cutting different materials. To cut through chipboard, for example, you’ll use a blade with fewer, larger, more widely spaced teeth; to cut metal you’ll want a finer, more densely packed tooth arrangement. Either buy a pack that suits what you need to cut, or a variety pack with one or two of each kind that covers all eventualities.
More expensive models may include features such as dust removal systems and variable speed controls, which are useful if you need to slow it down to cut objects such as tiles or even glass without completely destroying them. LED lights are convenient for seeing what you’re doing more clearly, especially if working in tight spaces or shadows, and a tilting baseplate allows for cuts at up to 45 degrees.
Orbital action swings the blade rather than pulling it straight up and down, which can make cutting some materials easier, but also makes splintering more likely. And while a top-mounted handle is more comfortable to use, a barrel-grip handle that sticks out of the back means your cuts will be more accurate.
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The best jigsaws to buy in 2023
1. Black+Decker 500W Autoselect Scorpion-Powered Electric Saw: The best multipurpose jigsaw
Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon
The Black+Decker Scorpion combines a garden pruning saw, a jigsaw and a more general reciprocating saw in one package. You switch between modes by changing the blade, with the saw automatically switching its speed depending on which one is inserted.
Perfect for someone who would rather buy one tool than three separate devices, the Scorpion is perhaps not a complete master of any of its trades, but it makes up for it with sheer versatility. Blade-changing is achieved with a push-button rather than a screwdriver, but there are no fancy features such as dust extractors. It comes with a carry case, which helps prevent those different blades from going missing in the garage.
The generous three-metre cable gives you the freedom to move around, but it’s not ideal for carrying down the garden to tackle tree pruning without a long extension cord. It’s also heavier than many dedicated jigsaws, and can be slightly awkward to get started, as you need to hold down a button while pressing another.
Key specs – Cordless: No; Dimensions: 29.2 x 32.4 x 10.6cm; Power: 500W; Weight: 3.7kg; Strokes per minute: 0-2,700
2. Bosch PST 700 E Compact: The best jigsaw for clean work spaces
Price: £44 | Buy now from Amazon
This is a really well-put-together corded jigsaw that’s powerful yet lightweight. This Bosch model will cut through a variety of materials, venting the dust out of a tube at the rear that can be connected to a vacuum cleaner for efficient removal. It can also blow air out of the front to clear dust from the cutting line, making it easier to see what you’re doing.
Being compact and light, with a soft grip and low-vibration motor, it’s easy to control, and changing the blade is a simple matter of squeezing the sides of the mount until the old one pops out, before sliding a new one in.
There’s no orbital motion, but this is a great all-rounder for the DIY enthusiast who enjoys a clean work area.
Key specs – Cordless: No; Dimensions: 29 x 33.5 x 10cm; Power: 500W; Weight: 1.7kg; Strokes per minute: 500-3,100
3. Ryobi R18JS-0 One+ 18V Cordless Jigsaw: The best jigsaw for Ryobi kit owners
Price: £93 | Buy now from Amazon
This is an excellent choice if you need a cordless jigsaw, but beware: the R18JS-0 comes with neither the battery nor charger. This ruins any pretence it has of being a bargain, adding significantly to the price.
That is unless you’ve already got Ryobi 18V One+ products, because this jigsaw will take any batteries that conform to the One+ system, and you can swap them between devices.
Ryobi often incorporates top-end features in its mid-range products, and this jigsaw is no exception, with variable speed control, a lock to save you having to hold the trigger down for long cuts, LED lights, and an orbital action that exposes more of the blade’s cutting surface, meaning your blades will last longer if you don’t mistreat them.
Those blades are secured in place with a quick-release lever and the general build quality is quite high, with a feeling of sturdiness. Handling is excellent, and the only thing missing is any form of dust extraction.
Key specs – Cordless: Yes; Dimensions: 27.3 x 23.2 x 9.3cm; Power: 18V; Weight: 2.3kg; Strokes per minute: up to 3,000
4. VonHaus Jigsaw 800W: The best jigsaw for sheer power
Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon
A cheap little corded model, this VonHaus is notable for being more powerful than many thanks to its 800W motor. It doesn’t sacrifice accuracy either, thanks to the laser guide it projects ahead of it.
This combination means it slices through many different materials as if they weren’t there – as long as you’re using the appropriate blade, of course. Changing the blade is a tool-less process, and once the blade is clamped in place you can adjust its speed with ease, thanks to the four-position switch on the side of the casing.
For all its power, this jigsaw is particularly compact (though not particularly light), and while you have the cord dragging behind you like an anchor, it’s nice to be able to pack it up neatly and put it away after use. The body is shaped with a degree of ergonomic thought too, giving a comfortable grip and firm control, though watch out for the amount of vibration it can produce.
Key specs – Cordless: No; Dimensions: 30 x 23.8 x 11.6 cm; Power: 800W; Weight: 3.2kg; Strokes per minute: 800 – 3,000
5. Dewalt DCS331N-XJ XR: The best jigsaw for professionals
Price: £129 | Buy now from Amazon
A professional tool from a professional brand, this cordless jigsaw comes with neither battery nor charger, and without a case or anywhere to keep your blades. If you’re a pro, you’ll already have that sort of thing covered, of course.
The fan-cooled motor has replaceable brushes to increase its lifetime, and the keyless blade-change system is quick and easy to operate. The tough rubber grip helps stabilise the jigsaw, but it’s the anti-vibration counterbalance that’s the real star, smoothing out cuts whatever you’re chopping through.
There’s a dust blower to keep your cutting line free of clogs, a dust port at the back takes care of extraction, while the three-position pendulum action makes curves a distinct possibility. A unique feature is the variable speed trigger, which increases the blade speed the harder you squeeze rather than being a digital switch.
This is a smooth and powerful jigsaw designed to be used all day as part of a suite of tools, and as such may be overkill for someone who only needs to cut a few bits of wood every now and then.
Key specs – Cordless: yes; Dimensions: 9.53cm x 9.45cm x 6.06cm; Power: 18V; Weight: 2.4kg; Strokes per minute: up to 3,000