One of the most versatile items that every craftsman or DIYer should have in their toolsets is a battery-powered cordless jigsaw. You can use Jigsaws can effectively for straight, curved, and even beveled cutting patterns.
By swapping out the blade types to match the material, jigsaws can also cut a wide range of material types, including wood, metal, ceramics, and plastic.
It is this ability to cut intricate shapes and a wide variety of material types that makes it such a mainstay in the toolbox.
There are both corded and cordless jigsaws from which to choose. Sometimes we need the power that comes with a corded model, and other times, we can appreciate the flexibility and mobility that comes with a cordless jigsaw. Our cordless jigsaw reviews are designed to help you get the right saw in 5 minutes or less.
(Note: we strive to be concise, but the full review ended up at over 4,800 words by the time we had been sufficiently thorough on each model. If you are in a hurry, check out our top pick, here at Amazon.com)
First on our list is the DeWALT DCS331B. DeWALT has a reputation for offering quality tools at a reasonable price, and this cordless jigsaw is no exception.
The 1” stroke length gives you the capability to cut thicker materials faster, and also makes it easier for sawdust to escape the jigsaw blade to keep it from loading up. The variable speed control ranges from 0 – 3,000 SPM (strokes per minute), giving you the capability to cleanly cut those materials (such as different types of sheet metal) that require a faster blade speed. Aiding in cutting capacity are the four separate orbital blade motion settings.
Setup for bevel cutting is a breeze with a handy shoe adjustment system that has detents for several standard angle settings (0°, 15°, 30°, and 45°) for frequent miter cuts. Blade changes are quick and easy with a lever-action T-shank system that requires no tools (note: this design will not accept traditional U-shank-style blades). These keyless blade changes let you swap out blades without slowing down.
DeWALT kept the power-user in mind with the inclusion of several unique features and benefits to make your cutting operations as efficient and safe as possible. A dust blower (adjustable) will keep cutting dust from covering your guideline (note: ALWAYS use proper eye protection when operating ANY power tool), and an ergonomic anti-slip grip is designed to increase comfort and reduce fatigue (especially when coupled with a reasonable weight of just over 6 lbs.).
A powerful lithium-ion battery will supply up to 20V (max) of power to provide smooth cutting of even the most hardened material, and the batteries themselves are designed to be interchangeable with other DeWALT products. Both the battery and the charger have to be purchased separately, but you can readily find them anywhere you can buy the full line of DeWALT cordless tools.
DeWALT believes in the quality of their products, as shown by backing the DCS331B with a robust three-year limited warranty and a one year service contract at no charge.
Add it all up – the benefits and features speak for themselves, making the DeWALT DCS331B what we think is the best jigsaw on our list.
- 1” stroke length for reduced cutting time
- Detented shoe bevel adjustment
- Keyless blade changes (no tools)
- Integrated dust blower
- Powerful 20V (max) capacity
- Battery and charger not included
- No guiding laser or LED light
Makita XVJ02Z 18V LXT Brushless Jigsaw
Boasting 18-volts of cutting power, the Makita XVJ02Z packages several unique and innovative features that may not be found in other models.
You can cut faster and cleaner with a 1” blade stroke coupled with a variable speed blade control that will go all the way up to 3,500 SPM (strokes per minute). It can be configured for either straight cut or orbital blade action operation with three orbital path options from which to select.
With a quick turn of a hex wrench, you can set the shoe to allow bevel cuts at any degree in a +/- 45° range – perfect for standard miter work or for those cases where you have to adjust the angle to be “just right.”
Makita has taken power tools to a new level with the integration of its’ Star Protection Computer Controls. This innovative system gives the jigsaw and the battery the ability to “talk” to each other so that if any overloading or overheating is detected (with either the tool or the battery), the unit will immediately stop and let you fix the problem. This can be done by allowing the unit briefly cool or by putting a fresh battery in.
Brushless technology gives peace of mind with up to 50% longer motor life, and the LXT lithium-ion battery (modular with other Makita LXT tools) will provide up to 50% more life over the previous nickel-cadmium technology. However, the battery does need to be purchased separately.
One operational function that needs consideration is the “soft start” for blade speed. When starting out the blade will start at a slow speed until the blade senses some resistance from pressing against the material to be cut, providing greater control and less wear on the motor.
This can be a bit disorienting as typical jigsaw operation (either corded or cordless) has the blade start at the full speed setting as soon as the trigger is pressed. Most other of the jigsaws we are reviewing do not have this feature, so keep this in mind when weighing in on all of the other great features of the XVJ02Z.
Additionally, the XVJ02Z comes with two LED’s and a dust blower to keep your cut line in sight, so your cuts are even and straight. T-shank jigsaw blades compatibility allows for simple blade changes with just a flick of a lever (no support for U-shank blades, however). Comfortable operation is designed in with a weight of only 5.8 pounds with the battery installed in addition to a rubberized soft-grip handle.
Long operation is guaranteed with a 3-year warranty for materials and workmanship on both the jigsaw and the battery.
Packing a robust feature set and many innovative features, the Makita XVJ02Z may be just the cordless jigsaw that belongs in your tool collection. If you want this saw with only 2,600 max speed and 3 orbital settings instead of 5, the Makita XVJ03Z can sometimes save you a little money.
- Powerful 18-volt LXT lithium-ion battery
- Star Protection system to monitor and protect jigsaw and battery
- Efficient brushless motor design
- Tool-less blade changes
- Three-year warranty on jigsaw and battery
- “Soft start” for blade speed not typical of regular jigsaw operation
- Battery and charger not included
Milwaukee M18 2645-20 18-Volt Jigsaw
Sporting a wide range of features that would typically be found on cordless jigsaws that are in a higher price range, the Milwaukee M18 2645-20 18V jigsaw is undoubtedly an option to consider if your budget is important (and let’s be honest…isn’t that always important?)
Clean cuts can be made quickly with a blade stroke of 1”, and variable blade speed ranging from 0 to 2,700 SPM will make it perfect for softer materials (i.e., wood) that do not need a higher SPM (such as metal).
Straight cut blade action in addition to five different orbital settings (yes – five – more than any other on our list) set this unit apart in this regard, making accurate cuts easier no matter which material you are working with.
Taking it up another notch is the completely tool-free shoe adjustment for efficient bevel cutting. Detents at the most typical degree settings (0°, 15°, 30°, and 45°) make changing settings quick and easy. The T-Shank blade design allows for fast, tool-free blade changes as well, using the Milwaukee Quik-Lok system.
A unique feature is the construction of the shoe itself. Other units have a shoe constructed from steel, which could potentially scratch or damage a softer surface. The shoe on the M18 is composed of a non-marring material that will keep the surface of your board clean and unmarked.
As with other manufacturers, the M18 battery pack is compatible with other cordless tools in the Milwaukee M18 line. You should note that the M18 typically is purchased as just the bare tool so the battery and charger will have to be purchased separately. One potential concern is the weight – coming in at over 7 pounds, the M18 weighs around a pound more than other units. With limited use, this may not be an issue for you, but in a contractor setting, it may add to fatigue when using it repeatedly during the course of the day.
Topping it all off is a five-year limited warranty to give you peace of mind for years of efficient operation.
The Milwaukee M18 2645-20 18V jigsaw may be your solution for a cordless jigsaw that with some of the best features at a nearly unbeatable price point.
- Quik-Lok tool-less blade change system
- Tool-less shoe adjustment up to 45°
- Five orbital settings for faster, cleaner cuts
- Five-year limited warranty
- Weighs a little more than competing jigsaws
- Battery and charger not included
Porter-Cable PCC650B 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Jigsaw
Are you looking for a cordless jigsaw that is great for smaller uses and still is easy on your tool budget? If so, the Porter-Cable PCC650B may be just the solution.
They are featuring a blade speed range that you can adjust from 0 – 2,500 SPM (along with a ¾” blade stroke), tackling those smaller jobs with ease. Bevel cuts for miter work are a piece of cake with an adjustable shoe that will adjust within a +/- 45° range.
Blade changes can be done with the flick of a lever thanks to a design based around T-Shank blades, and with three orbital blade action settings (in addition to the standard straight cut) you can get through your job with smooth and clean cuts.
A handy dust blower will keep sawdust off of your cut line, ensuring straight and accurate cuts, and a variable speed trigger gives you precise speed control which is particularly helpful when performing a curved cut.
The 20V max lithium-ion battery has enough power to keep you cutting, and it is designed to fit with the full complement of Porter-Cable 20V Max line of power hand tools. As with most of the items we are reviewing; however, the battery and charger are not included and have to be purchased separately. This little dynamo weighed in at under 5 pounds and was designed for comfort with an ergonomically designed handle.
A three-year limited manufacturer’s warranty will keep you cutting for years to come.
Don’t let the economical price fool you – the Porter-Cable PCC650B fits right in with any pro’s tool collection.
- Variable speed trigger for precision cutting control
- Integrated dust blower
- Blade changes at the flick of a lever
- The battery is compatible with all Porter-Cable 20V Max tools
- Compact and lightweight, but still durable
- Battery and charger sold separately
- No laser or LED for cut guidance
Bosch JSH180B 18 V Lithium-Ion Jig Saw
Continuing with its’ reputation for high-quality hand power tools, the Bosch JSH180B has its’ place right in line with even the most rugged cordless jigsaws in our review.
What do you get when you have a cordless jigsaw that has not only variable blade speed (speed range of 0 – 2,700 SPM), but also a 1” stroke length? You have a tool that not only gives you the benefits of being cordless but can handle every job. From the softest and thinnest materials up to 3/8” thick mild steel, the JSH180B can handle just about whatever material with which you need to work.
The shoe can easily be placed up to 45° from a typical straight cut for precise bevel cutting, but this model does require the use of an Allen wrench (included) to make the adjustments. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but there are other jigsaws on our list where tools aren’t needed for this type of flexibility.
Thanks to the integrated T-Shank blade design capability, blade changes are a snap. You can also cut with a high level of efficiency thanks to the three orbital blade action settings.
You can keep your cuts on the straight and narrow (and yes…even taking the curves) with the handy dust extraction feature (uses optional accessories to connect to an external vacuum source). Couple that with the integrated LED and you should never miss your cut.
Comfort and ease of use was a priority in design with a weight of just over 4 pounds, a compact design, and a smaller grip diameter handle provides an ergonomic design for greater control and reduced fatigue when using it over a more extended period.
The powerful 18V lithium-ion battery system (battery and charger not included) features EMP (Electronic Motor Protection) and ECP (Electronic Cell Protection) to protect against any overload or overheating conditions. Additionally, the batteries are designed with the Bosch CoolPack technology to increase heat dissipation and increase battery life by up to 100% over traditional lithium-ion batteries.
If you are in the market for an excellent general-purpose cordless jigsaw from a manufacturer with an excellent reputation for quality products, then the Bosch JSH180B may be the answer you are looking for.
- Compact and powerful
- CoolPack battery design to increase battery life
- Integrated LED and (optional) dust extraction to keep the cut line in sight.
- Lightweight to reduce fatigue
- The warranty period is relatively short (one year limited)
- Battery and charger not included
- Shoe adjustment for bevel cuts is not tool-less
Black & Decker BDCJS20C 20V MAX Jigsaw with Battery and Charger
Last – and certainly not least – of our choices to review for the best cordless jigsaws on the market is the Black & Decker BDCJS20C.
Fitting firmly into the marketplace for a smaller tool that can handle big jobs, the BDJS20C has a ¾” blade stroke coupled with a variable speed range from 0 – 2,500 SPM. The blade speed can be varied infinitely within that range thanks to the handy variable speed trigger.
A great feature that relatively unique among the cordless jigsaws on the market today is the ability to handle not only today’s T-Shank standard blade configuration but also the legacy U-Shank as well – letting you keep and still use all of your older blades that still have life left in them. Not only that, but the blade change system for both styles is tool-less.
While the BDCJS20C packs a lot of functionality into a compact package, cutting speed and efficiency may be reduced as compared to other jigsaws because due to a lack of any orbital blade action settings. There are other jigsaws in this price range that has that feature, so make sure to weigh the options to make the best choice.
Keeping your cut line insight is easy thanks to a wire guard and a dust blower to keep your work surface clean, and any miter work you need can be handled as well with a shoe adjustable up to 45°; That range of bevel capability is on par with other units, but keep in mind that the shoe does need a tool to make the adjustments.
One of the most prominent features if the BDCJS20C is that it is the only cordless jigsaw on our list where both the battery and the charger are included with the purchase of the jigsaw itself. On top of that, the battery is compatible with all of the other handy tools in the Black & Decker 20V MAX System line of cordless hand tools.
You can cut in comfort with a moderate weight of only 5.5 pounds, and the two-year limited manufacturer’s warranty covers defects in both materials and workmanship.
The Black & Decker BDCJS20C might be the right all-around package for getting you cutting cleanly and smoothly.
- Battery and charger included
- Accepts T-Shank and U-Shank blades with tool-less blade changes
- 20V MAX battery compatible with other Black & Decker hand tools
- Two-year limited warranty
- Shoe adjustment for bevel cuts requires a tool
- No LED or laser to aid with cut line sight
- No orbital blade action options
A battery-powered cordless jigsaw is undoubtedly one of the best tools you can have, and there are many tasks you’ll come upon where a jigsaw is the only tool that will properly – and safely – do the job and do it well.
Our review of the DeWALT DCS331B takes all of the points we have discussed into account, and it is our “most highly recommended” cordless jigsaw. Hopefully, we have helped you to make a better, more informed decision where you will end up with a unit that will keep you cutting for years to come.
Making the right buying decision for the best battery powered cordless jigsaw that fits your level and type of use may seem to be difficult – especially with all of the different aspects to consider.
Let’s review the major points that need to be on your checklist.
Differences Between Light-Duty and Professional-Level Jigsaws
Probably the most significant factor that makes the difference between the two is the robustness of the build quality. Light duty jigsaws, while still excellent products for general DIY use, may not be sturdy enough to stand up to the repeated, heavy use that, say, a contractor might put it through on a daily basis.
Heavy-duty jigsaws are designed and manufactured with components (such as motors, bearings, etc.) that are made to withstand repeated heavy use. Additionally, some parts that may be a form of plastic on lighter duty units may be constructed out of steel, and the power ratings tend to be higher in order to take on the tougher jobs cutting through thicker and harder materials.
Corded vs. Cordless
In decades past, there was some stigma around battery-powered equipment (such as jigsaws) where they were viewed as just not having enough power to complete a task as well as a traditional corded jigsaw would. With the advances made in battery technology (particularly lithium-ion batteries) it’s a fair statement to say that battery-powered cordless jigsaws operate at levels that meet -or in some cases, exceed – that of corded options.
Keeping the fact that capability is comparable, one of the most significant benefits you will realize when using a corded unit is the amount of portability it offers. You can literally use it anywhere without worrying about accidentally cutting the cord (trust us – it does happen, and it’s not a pretty sight) or having to make sure you are within eyeshot of a wall outlet.
We recommend having more than one battery with you at all times so one can be charged (or charging) while you’re using the other.
Voltage and Amperage
Out of the many factors you need to take into account when looking to buy a cordless jigsaw, without a doubt, one of the most important ones to consider is the amount of power it has. Power ratings are measured in terms of voltage and amperage.
Voltage is an electrical term for the amount of electrical force or electrical “pressure.” You’ll commonly hear cordless units described in terms of how many volts it operates under (18V, 20V, 36V, etc.) and, as with most things, more is better.
Amperage another electrical term, but this refers to the flow of electrical current. It is usually referred to as “amps” (short for “amperes”), and the higher the amps, the more power that a tool (such as a cordless jigsaw) has.
Three to four amps are typically enough to power through lighter tasks and softer materials (or thinner sections of stiffer materials, like steel).
Professional grade jigsaws are rated to at least five amps, or even more. That much power will cut through steel (up to ⅜” thick) like it’s butter!
A simple way to understand the difference between voltage and amperage is to look at it like water running through a garden hose. Voltage is the pressure of the water, and amperage is the rate at which the water is flowing.
(Didn’t think you’d be getting a science lesson, did you?)
Blade Shank Types
When shopping for jigsaws, you may see that some models are designed to accept U-shank blades and that others take only T-shank. The difference is essential as it getting increasingly uncommon to find a jigsaw that is compatible with both types. U-shank blades were the standard up until the development of the T-shank.
The primary difference between the two is that with U-shank blades a set screw or some other retaining method is necessary. With a T-shank design, the blade can be rapidly changed without having to use any tools. We would recommend placing a priority on the T-shank designs as the quick-change feature is easier to use, and it is much more common as older designs are getting phased out of the market.
Actions (Blade Movement)
There are two types of blade actions on a jigsaw. The first type is called a straight action where the blade moves in a straight up and down fashion. An orbital jigsaw has an additional motion where the blade moves slightly forward when on the upstroke to help give more “bite” into the material, and it moves backward on the downstroke to relieve pressure on the blade. Think of the blade traveling in an ellipse as compared to a straight line and you’ll easily visualize the difference.
Orbital action is much better than straight action as the cutting efficiency is increased while reducing the amount of stress and wear on the blade. We recommend going for the orbital option wherever possible.
There are several blade adjustments can be made on a cordless jigsaw (depending on the model), and they all are features that should be considered because they all are intended to make cutting operations easier.
The variable blade speed is critical to getting smooth cuts. Different materials cut accurately at different rates, and being able to adjust the speed – coupled with using the right blade type – will increase your efficiency. Speed is usually adjusted by either a slider switch or a dial, with a lower setting = a lower speed.
Orbital jigsaws that have adjustments for the amount that the blade moves in and out (that is, the size of the elliptical path) is an vital feature to look for. Softer materials (such as plywood) can handle a more aggressive forward motion than harder materials such as steel or aluminum.
There is one adjustment that typically cannot be changed – the depth of the cut, or how much the blade moves up and down. If you’re in a situation where the blade is extending too deep, you may have to use a few pieces of wood to raise the surface on which the shoe rests.
While many of the features and benefits of cordless jigsaws outweigh (no pun intended) their corded counterparts, cordless jigsaws will typically weigh more due to the added weight of the battery. For occasional use, this may not be a big deal, but it may become an issue if you use one repeatedly on a more frequent basis.
Look at the weight for the cordless models that you are comparing, and choose the one that weighs the least while giving the other specifications are important to your buying decision.
There are many other features available on today’s models that are worth looking at as well. Some may not be “must-haves,” but they can make using your jigsaw more comfortable and more flexible.
Guiding laser/LED light
Have you ever tried to make an extended cut? We have, and even if you have a good guiding line drawn on your material, it still can be hard to have the cut where you want it to be. A guiding laser is a great feature that will tell you exactly where the blade will be cutting.
An LED light helps to illuminate your guideline but may not be as helpful as a laser. It’s better than nothing at all, though.
Regardless of the material you are cutting, you will always create some dust or chips. Some materials such as drywall and some woods can produce a fine powder that can be hazardous to breathe. Having a dust collector will not only help to keep you safe, but it also will help to reduce the mess that you will inevitably make if you are cutting a large amount of material.
Bevel Adjustments are a standard feature that will most likely be on any model, but it’s worth mentioning because of the extra capability it adds to your use of a jigsaw.
Normally the shoe (the part of the jigsaw that rests on the material you are cutting) is set so that it keeps the blade perpendicular to the material, providing a straight cut.
With a bevel adjustment, the saw can be tipped at an angle relative to the shoe, giving you the option to have a beveled cut at up to 45 degrees. This a handy feature to use if you are doing cuts for miter joints, such as cutting trim for baseboards.
Armed with the right jigsaw specifications and blade types, you will have the ability to cut all different kinds of materials. Let’s take a look at them and review what you’ll need to make the cleanest, most efficient cuts.
It’s important to realize that, for the most part, any quality cordless jigsaw will have the capability to cut almost any material, given that the power specifications are adequate (higher power is better, remember?). What will make the most difference is the type of blade you use in addition to the feed rate (how fast you are cutting).
Blades are constructed from four general materials. In order of toughness, they are high carbon steel, high-speed steel, bi-metal, and tungsten carbide. Accordingly, more robust blades are designed for harder material, but in some cases can be used with softer ones as well. Other considerations are the number of teeth per inch (TPI) along with the size and shape of the teeth themselves.
Whether you are cutting softer woods like pine or hardwoods such as oak, wood usually can be cut at a reasonably fast blade speed and feed rate using a carbon steel blade with a low TPI.
No matter what material you are cutting, it will heat up if the blade is moving too fast or if you are feeding the saw too fast. Getting plastic too hot will make it tend to melt as you are cutting. Use the variable speed adjustment to slow the blade down, use a blade with a larger tooth design and a smaller TPI (to prevent loading), and pull your feed rate back to get the smoothest cut.
Whether you are cutting steel, brass, aluminum, or most any other type of metal, make sure that the jigsaw you are using has a high power rating. Blade speed should be relatively high with a higher TPI than either wood or plastic, and you may find that a slower feed rate will give you more control over the cut with less vibration.
Cutting ceramic tile with a jigsaw takes some special consideration as compared to most other materials. Use a hard (think tungsten carbide) blade with a grit configuration instead of the teeth you would see on a standard blade. You don’t want to “cut” ceramic tile because it is hard and prone to chipping. You really will be “grinding” the cut instead, and therefore your feed rate will have to be slow enough to let the grit do its’ job without breaking or cracking the tile.
You will find a good selection of units spanning a wide range of prices. Just because one model may be less expensive than others isn’t necessarily a reflection on how good it is. Some of the units at the lower end of the range may be the best for your particular use, while jigsaws at the higher end of the spectrum may be better for a wider range of applications.
As with most things, you need to consider what your usage will be to make the decision that is best for you. While having a vast range of power and other features is always a great thing to have in reserve, you don’t want to spend more money than you have to.