Jigsaw power tools are compact, lightweight power tools with an oscillating blade, and are primarily designed for curved cuts in materials such as wood, metal and plastic. They can make straight cuts too, both along (rip cuts) and across (cross cuts) the grain of the wood, as well as on an angle (bevel cuts), but other saws (such as circular saws) are much more suited to this task. Jigsaw power tools feature many different components, and having a sound understanding of these plays an important part in the purchasing process. Cordless jigsaws that are powered by a battery and a charger are also available and bear very similar features to those described below. Motors are the main component of all power tools, and are the component that converts the electricity into motion. Many manufacturers will state only the input power of the jigsaw, as this is the larger and more impressive number.
Also known as a gearbox, transmissions dictate the speed range (strokes per minute, or spm) that a jigsaw power tool oscillates, and the power it will produce.
The length of each stroke varies amongst different jigsaw models, and ranges from 18mm to 26mm. A jigsaw’s efficiency is predominantly determined by its blade stroke length and the stroke rate. Depending on the model, jigsaw power tools are capable of cutting up to 135mm in wood, 12mm in steel, and up to 30mm in aluminium (or other non-ferrous metals) at their default 90° angle.
The speed control dial is a small numbered wheel on the top of the jigsaw that allows users to preset a speed selection, and gain more control over the tool. Pendulum action (also known as orbital action) is a setting on some jigsaws that swings the blade forward and backward slightly as the blade travels up and down. On some jigsaws, the blade clamp is in the form of one or two hex drive screws, that must be loosened and tightened (with a supplied allen key) to clamp or lock the blade in place.
On more expensive models, the blade clamp is nearly always a keyless system, which enables a blade to be changed in seconds. A clamshell housing is where the housing is manufactured in two plastic halves, and where these halves are fixed together around the internal components. A jampot housing is where the internal components of the jigsaw are inserted into the housing and then a lid (usually an alloy casing) is screwed down to seal it. The housings of more powerful jigsaws are sometimes partially comprised of aluminium (usually as part of a jampot housing). Some jigsaw power tools can project a laser line along a pre-marked cutting line to increase the accuracy of cuts, and some feature onboard blade storage.
The handle is the component of the jigsaw that you hold with your dominant hand and is what you use to guide the tool along the cut. Some jigsaw handles also have built in shock absorbing capabilities, in order to quell excessive vibrations during prolonged use.
The base plate of a jigsaw is the plate that rests on the material and provides stability as cutting occurs.
Most base plates can be moved back and forth for cutting close to edges, and can be angled up to 45° for bevel cutting. Some jigsaws will have an optional plastic base plate cover that can be attached to the tool’s base plate. To further aid in the overall finish of cuts, some jigsaws come with an anti-splintering device. The dust extraction port allows the connection of a dust extraction system (or vacuum cleaner) to control the removal of waste material. A parallel guide is used to guide a jigsaw along the length of a desired material parallel with its edge (i.e. The blade that a jigsaw power tool uses is the key characteristic that defines its cutting capabilities, and is the tool’s primary accessory. Always ensure the tool is disconnected from the power source prior to changing accessories. There are many different types of jigsaw blades available, and each one has it’s own style and characteristics.
The most common style of blade shank and the one with the widest range of blades is the ‘T’ shank (or ‘tang’ shank). The older standard was the ‘U’ shank (also known as the ?” ‘universal’ shank), but these blades are now getting harder and harder to purchase.
Curved cutting blades can be recognised by how the teeth of the blade are set back from the front of the blade. Plunge cutting blades have a special tip on the end of the blade that allows them to slowly bite into the middle of a soft material (like wood or plasterboard) without any starting hole. Jigsaw blades are generally made of either high carbon steel or high speed steel (or a bit of both).
Each blade will have recommended thicknesses for specific materials that it is able to cut. Jigsaw blades can become extremely hot after use, and it is therefore recommended you wear gloves when removing them. Once the correct blade has been selected and fitted, it is important to remember to let the blade do the work.
When purchasing a jigsaw, decide what features are most important to you (from the specifications above) and make sure these are included in your final purchase.
A jigsaw power tool should be lightweight, comfortable to use, and able to take the current standard ‘T’ shank blades.
It is important to bear in mind that the entire cost of any power tool is not just it’s initial purchase cost. To browse manufacturers of jigsaws, please select a company from our list of power tool manufacturers.
The following tips will help to preserve the life of your jigsaw, increase your efficiency, and most importantly, keep you safe.
Cutting oil is recommended for metal cutting applications (with the exception of brass and iron).
About Tool CobberTool Cobber has been designed to offer you – the consumer – a chance to do your research before you buy. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a very important safety factor that you should utilise when operating power tools and machinery. Respiratory protection is a personal safeguard against harmful airborne particles not immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). The most common devices used for respiratory protection are disposable respirators and half-face respirators.
Disposable respirators (also known as dust masks) are paper-like masks that fit around your nose and mouth. P1 protection (usually yellow) will safeguard you against mechanically generated particles found in dusts and mists (i.e.
P2 protection (usually blue) will safeguard you against mechanically and thermally generated particles found in dust, mist, and fumes (i.e.
Half-face respirators are comprised of a soft plastic moulded face piece that seal around your mouth and nose (with the assistance of an elastic head strap).

Dust filters cover most applications and are used in environments where you need protection from mechanically generated dusts and mists produced by most power tools. All respiratory protection you purchase should be certified to AS (Australian Standard) 1716:2003. Auditory protection relates to hearing and is mandatory and recommended for all instances where power tools or machinery are in use. Earplugs (normally made of a soft polyurethane material) fit in your ear and in most cases will provide you with Class 3 hearing protection. All hearing protection you purchase should be certified to AS (Australian Standard) 1270:2002. Visual protection should always be used when operating any power tool, as there are many flying particles which are capable of entering and damaging your eye.
Safety goggles are not as sleek as safety glasses, but are great for people who wear prescription glasses, as they simply fit right over the top. Types of PPE that provide physical protection (with regards to power tools and machinery) mainly pertains to work gloves and safety boots. Work gloves are made from durable materials such as leather and cotton and come in a variety of sizes to ensure a tight and secure fit. Safety boots are generally characterised by their thick and heavy nature, and the inclusion of a hard plastic or steel toe. It is very important you do not expose your safety helmet to substances such as petrol, paint, adhesives, aerosol sprays or cleaning agents as they can cause severe weaknesses in the helmet. Orbital sanders, also known as ‘finishing sanders’, are any type of sander that has a fixed vibrating sanding plate.
Ryobi planers are built to the same stringent quality standards as all Ryobi products, and as well as their ergonomic and power features, Ryobi planers come with dust collection systems and are styled for maximum comfort and safety whilst using the tool. To make sure you get the best Ryobi for you at the best price available, we search the internet on a regular basis to bring you all the newest deals. For smaller jobs, Ryobi bring you the EPN-6082C hand planer, using an efficient 600W motor and 16,000 rpm spindle which power through even the toughest hardwoods. The design was derived from a sewing machine, after a Swiss engineer replaced the machine’s needle with a saw blade, and found it to be very effective. Plunge cuts are where a cut is commenced in the middle of a soft material (like wood or plasterboard) without any initial hole. They are generally not as powerful as their corded equivalents and require regular charging, but are usually considerably light in weight and have unmatched portability.
This button can be pushed while the trigger is depressed and the trigger will lock on to that set speed.
This value is actually just an indication of the demand a tool will place on a power outlet under normal operating conditions.
These ports give simple access (with a slotted screwdriver) to the most frequently wearing component of any tool – it’s brushes. For example, if a jigsaw has a stroke length of 26mm, the blade will travel 26mm up, and 26mm down. More than anything though, it is the fitted blade that dictate a jigsaw’s cutting capacities.
However, it is common for some jigsaws to have a switch that engages a slightly different motion, called pendulum action.
As most jigsaw blades cut on the upward stroke of a jigsaw’s oscillating action, the pendulum action ensures the blade is pressed firmly up against the material on this stroke, increasing cutting efficiency.
This durable style of housing is generally used on high quality power tools, and is much more effective at keeping the internal components aligned and the power toolstructurally sound.
Others may also have an LED light at the front of their housing that light up the material upon operation of the tool.
These adjustments are made by either pulling a quick release lever on the jigsaw’s side, or by loosening off two screws underneath the base plate. This is a small plastic blade guide that fits into the base plate of the jigsaw and stops the surface of the material from splintering.
It will allow the jigsaw to run along its edge, sawing through the material along the angle you have set.
This is a guide that allows you to set a specific radius and centre point, and gives a jigsaw the ability to cut a perfect circle. This style of shank offers superior retention and allows the use of keyless blade clamping systems.
They are characterised by a ‘U’ shaped cut-out at their end, and are normally locked into the blade clamp with a hex drive screw. Used exclusively on olderMakita jigsaws, they are clamped in place through one of the two fixing holes in their shank.
All jigsaw blades are capable of cutting straight lines, but those that have constant parallel edges are designed especially for repetitive straight cutting.
High carbon steel blades are very flexible, but wear the fastest and are easily damaged from excessive heat. This is usually relative to their application but generally speaking, the more teeth the finer and slower the cut. A shorter blade will have a smaller cutting capacity than a longer blade (as well as finer teeth). Forcing the saw along will only result in substandard work and shorter blade and tool life. The main considerations you should make include how much power you require, the size and weight of the tool, whether you need it to be cordless, and how often you will be using it.
DIY tools are designed for home use and generally include plenty of features for a very modest price. Bear in mind that at least one of these three elements is commonly sacrificed by manufacturers to reduce the tool’s price and increase its sales. Added costs can include accessories for the tool to function, maintenance, downtime, and replacement costs. There are a limited number of online resources available for detailed information on tools, especially in Australia.
Carbon and paper-based filters are used in a variety of different respirators to purify the air and ensure you are only breathing in clean, non-toxic air.
So they form the best possible seal against your face, they have an elastic head strap and a contoured nose bridge. They come in different sizes, and have either one or two filter housings, with the two filter design creating less breathing resistance. Gas vapour filters are more suited for use where organic gases, vapours and solvents are present, like painting and paint removal. They are far cheaper than new filters, and are used in dusty environments to filter out any coarse dust or overspray.
Filters for half-face respirators should be disposed of when breakthrough or clogging occurs or after 6 months of use. It is divided into different classes according to the equipment’s purpose – the higher number the class, the more noise it is capable of excluding.

This will protect your ears from noise generated by most lighter duty power tools, including electric drills.
Class 4 is satisfactory for general purpose power tools like electric and cordless drills, angle grinders, routers and circular saws, and Class 5 offers more effective noise protection for tools like demolition breakers, band saws, and concrete cutters. There are three main types of PPE for your eyes; safety glasses, safety goggles, and face shields.
They are sealed via an elastic head strap, generally have high impact resistance, and can also feature characteristics such as anti-fog lenses, anti-scratch lenses, anti-static lenses, and side vents. A brow-guard is a light duty safety helmet (or hard hat) to protect you against any small knocks and bumps.
Quality work gloves will allow good dexterity, decent breathability, and will be very strong and hardy. Effective safety boots fit snug and securely around your foot and ankle, and should protect them from knocks, bumps, and bruises.
They are only designed for protecting your head against light bumps, knocks and scrapes (as the name suggests), and they should not be used for protection against falling objects or heavy impacts.
It is an internal harness system that fits onto your head and cushions the impact of any glancing or direct blows.
On the other hand, it is ideal for ultrasmooth sanding and for knocking down dried coats of paint or varnish.
This tool is designed for sanding moldings, carvings and other small, intricately shaped surfaces. Offering both surface and hand-held planers for ultimate practicality and usability, all Ryobi planers are built to deal with the toughest and the most delicate woods.
This is done by starting the jigsaw when the blade is horizontal, and slowly easing it down into the material (only using blades specifically designed for this type of cut).
This means that the further you depress the trigger, the faster the jigsaw’s blade will oscillate, giving you added control over the work. Motors used in corded jigsaws are called AC motors (they are also known as universal or series motors). In wood, it can be used to speed up cutting, and in metal, it can be used to clear swarf (metal shavings). The settings are numbers, where ‘0’ is normal oscillation, and numbers ‘1’ to ‘4’ are varying degrees of pendulum action.
It runs through the base plate of the tool, is easily adjustable to the width required, and is found on nearly all jigsaws. It is also the best alternative if you are making a cut further away than the parallel guide will allow. The number of teeth on a jigsaw blade is usually measured by a ‘tooth-per-inch’ (TPI) measurement. They can all be categorised into either respiratory, auditory, visual, or physical protection.
The following types of PPE should always be used when you are potentially exposed to dust, mist and fumes, and should always be a prime consideration when operating power tools.
They sometimes have a valve at their centre to allow easier breathing, and are usually colour coded for easy identification of their type.
Each filter housing contains a specific size filter that is suited to that particular brand and model of respirator.
Also, it is important that twin filter respirator filters are not fitted to single filter respirators, and if replacing filters in a twin filter respirator, you should always ensure the filters are the same type.
They can either have a tapered or plug fitting to ensure the best possible fit for everyone, and are sometimes banded or corded together so they don’t get misplaced. Manufacturers also produce electronic earmuffs that cancel out loud noise but allow you to hear softer elements such as normal conversation. This rating tells you that in 80% of cases, users will experience the stated degree of noise reduction. You should also look out for characteristics like impact resistance, UV protection, anti-fog lenses, and anti-scratch lenses. Attached to this is the visor, a wide lense (usually polycarbonate, mesh, or chinaguard) that is resistant to impact, heat and a wide range of chemicals.
Bump caps and safety helmets are also available, but are not a necessity for power tool safety. Some work gloves will feature UV protection, will pull sweat off your skin, will decrease odour, and may even have shock absorption capabilities.
Some will feature waterproofing, insulated soles, slip resistance, chemical resistance, and anti-static characteristics. Safety helmets will have either a peak or a brim, may be vented for airflow, and may have a sweat band attached to the harness. An inbuilt dust collection chute keeps your work area clear, whilst large in-feed and out-feed foldable extension tables provide key support. This is due to the efficiency of the saw’s internal components, and how power is transferred through the machine. This is because a larger stroke length allows more teeth to come into contact with the material per stroke. The higher the number you select, the faster the cut will be, but the rougher the finish will be.
To achieve the best of both worlds and for more demanding applications, bi-metal blades were designed.
Professional tools are designed for commercial use and are built for durability, performance, and reliability. They are excellent for applications where visibility is paramount but physical face protection is also needed.
Orbital sanders are sometimes called quarter-sheet sanders because they accept one-quarter of a sheet of standard 9 x 11-in. Generally speaking, higher quality tools have greater efficiency and require less input power to produce the same power output.
They have high carbon steel bodies and high speed steel teeth, providing both flexibility and durability, and are essentially shatter-proof. Their warranty periods tend to be much shorter than DIY tools, and are exclusively repair warranties. Therefore, although it is uncommon for most manufacturers to include a power output value, it is a much better way of comparing tools. Some jigsaw blades also feature tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) teeth for use on specialised applications. The main advantage of these tools is that they should well outlive their warranty period, and if they require repair and maintenance spare parts are readily available.
With sawing power tools, the best indication of power is wattage, as speed is generally a constant.

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