If you have never bought a jigsaw before, then my beginner's guide will really help you out. Many homeowners and those who do a lot of DIY  in the UK, will at some point, wonder if a jigsaw is a tool they really need to buy. In reality, not everyone will need to own one of these.

A jigsaw is a handy power tool that can be used on a range of jobs and bigger projects around the home. They are primarily designed for cutting curves and making cutouts, but they can also make straight cuts. Most homeowners will use a jigsaw to cut flooring, make holes in worktops to allow a sink to be fitted, and for cutting plywood, skirting boards and general purpose cutting.

My guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing a jigsaw and how to use it safely and effectively.

Here at the UK Tool Guide website, I like to keep my guides informative, helpful and easy to understand.

What is a jigsaw?

A jigsaw is a hand held power saw that uses a reciprocating blade (moves up and down) to cut through materials. The blade moves up and down in a rapid motion, which allows it to make both straight and curved cuts. They can be used for a variety of tasks, such as cutting wood, plastic, and metal. They are relatively easy to use, can be a great addition to anyone who does DIY, and beginners can quickly learn how to use this tool.

beginners guide to jigsaw tools

Important Brand and Pricing Information

1. Power Options - 2 Types

Jigsaws are powered by either electricity or batteries.

  • Corded Jigsaws - Corded jigsaws have more consistent power and are typically less expensive than cordless jigsaws. However, they are also less portable as they require an electrical socket outlet to operate.
  • Cordless jigsaws: Cordless jigsaws are more portable and convenient to use than corded jigsaws. However, they are also more expensive and have slightly less power. They use a battery, usually an 18V battery and that requires a charger. 

Beginner Considerations

  1. This is really your first most important decision to make. The best way to make this decision is to think about what jobs you will be doing, and where you will be doing them? If that is in the house, then a corded jigsaw will work well as you have electrical sockets in most rooms. Likewise if your shed or garage has power, then a corded one will also work well.
  2. The one thing to consider about a corded jigsaw is the length of the lead. The length of the leads (power cords) on corded jigsaws can vary depending on the manufacturer and model. Typically, these cords can range anywhere from 6 to 10 feet (around 1.8 to 3 meters) in length. You may also need to use these with an extension lead.
  3. If you want a cordless jigsaw, then you need at least one battery and a charger. That pushes the price up significantly. If you already own a compatible brand battery and charger that you have for another power tool, then you should by a "tool only jigsaw" made by the same brand as that will be cheaper. They are more portable and safer to use as there is no trailing electrical lead.

Corded Pros & Cons

  • Less expensive to buy with an average UK price of around £50-70
  • As long as you have power they deliver a constant cutting power
  • The electrical lead can accidentally get damaged or even cut by accident 
  • You will likely need to use an extension lead as power cables can be too short or for working outside or in the garden
woman using the Bosch PST 700 e Jigsaw

Cordless Pros & Cons

  • More expensive to buy with an average UK price of around £80-£150
  • Reduced power, and reduces more as the battery starts to be used. You have to recharge which can slow you up.
  • No trailing leads to worry about. 
  • Completely portable and can be used anywhere and best when no guaranteed electrical outlets are available.
man using a Ryobi cordless jigsaw

2. Brands & Pricing

The amount of money you can, or are willing to spend, is also really important. That will determine which brand of jigsaw you can buy. All of the big tool manufacturers make jigsaws. Just below I have made a list of those brands, so as you can understand which ones sell on the UK market.

Brands

Average Prices

Description

Suitable for

Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee & Bosch Professional

£150-£400

These brands make really high quality jigsaws. Their cordless models will have brushless motors, metal parts and feature packed. They have UK customer service

Professionals, trades and serious DIY

Bosch Home & Garden, Ryobi, Einhell, JCB, Dewinner, Evolution, Ingco

£50-£125

These brands make very good quality jigsaws. They have enough features for most homeowners. They have UK customer service

Home owners and DIY

Black & Decker, C P Chantpower, Silverline, Terratek, Katsu, Worx, etc

£30-£60

These brands make affordable basic jigsaws. These are mainly corded options and basic jigsaws. Some have UK customer service, but others don't.

Home owners, small projects, occasional use.

So, once you have decided, whether you want a corded model or a cordless one, you should then consider the brand that suits your budget best. Bosch Home and Garden are really good, and Ryobi for a cordless option is my recommended choice, based on my experience.

Key Features to Consider

Jigsaws have several component parts. Some are more important than others.

  • Stroke length: The stroke length is the distance the blade travels up and down in one stroke. A longer stroke length will allow you to cut thicker materials, such as thicker wood. This along with the blade length determines the thickness of the material you can cut.
  • Strokes per minute (SPM): The SPM is the number of times the blade moves up and down in one minute. A higher SPM will allow you to make faster cuts. This is more important if you have a lot of cutting to do.
  • Cutting depth: The cutting depth is the maximum thickness of material that the jigsaw can cut. Beginners often get this wrong and buy a basic one expecting to be able to make deeper cuts.
  • Variable speed control: Variable speed control allows you to adjust the speed of the blade to match the material you are cutting. This is really important, especially for beginners, as it just gives you a lot more control.
  • Blade change mechanism: The blade change mechanism should be quick and easy to use. Most modern jigsaws have a very simple blade change, and use the popular T-shaped jigsaw blades.
  • Dust collection system: A dust collection system helps to keep your workspace clean. Most of these come with a dust bag. They also come with a dust port which allows you to hook it up to a vacuum cleaner, which is a better solution.
  • Comfort: The jigsaw should be comfortable to use for extended periods of time. The shape of the handle and the level of vibration are what make the difference here.

Best jigsaws for beginners in the UK

Just below I have made 3 recommendations for beginners:

  1. Bosch PST 700 E: This corded jigsaw is a good all-around option for beginners. It has a powerful motor, a long stroke length, and a variable speed control.
  2. Ryobi R18JS-0 ONE+ 18 V Jigsaw with battery and charger. This cordless jigsaw is a good option for those who want a portable jigsaw. It is lightweight and has a long runtime.
  3. Black & Decker KS501-GB: This corded jigsaw is a good option for those who are on a budget. It is a basic jigsaw, but it is still a good value for the money.

Bosch PST 700 E

Bosch Jigsaw PST700E

For most homeowners and those who do DIY, it is hard to beat this jigsaw in terms of value for money, cutting ability and good all round use. On average this one will cost you around £60.

This is a corded jigsaw from a very well known brand. You can always get blades easily for this at most DIY stores in the UK, and it lasts a long time.

It's not heavy at just 1.7 kg and also low vibration so easier to use.

Check availability at Amazon UK

Cutting depth in wood: 70 mm, Cutting depth in aluminium: 10 mm, Cutting depth in steel: 4 mm

Ryobi R18JS-0 ONE+ 18 V Jigsaw with battery and charger

Ryobi R18JS-O ONE+ Jigsaw with a battery and charger

Ryobi make high quality tools, and although there are plenty of cordless options, I believe this one is the best choice for anyone starting out.

This one comes with the saw, a 2.5Ah battery and a charger. It also has a longer life brushless motor. Operates off an 18V battery. It does cost around £190 on average so not a cheap option.

Check availability at Amazon UK

Max. cutting capacity wood - 101mm,Max. cutting capacity steel - 6mm,  Blade Speed : 1100 - 3000 s/min, Stroke length: 25mm Blade: T-Shank, 

Black & Decker KS501-GB

man using the Black and Decker jigsaw

If you just want an affordable jigsaw for doing some basic cutting, then I would recommend this KS501 model from Black & Decker. I used this one myself for several years, and it always got the jobs done quickly enough.

This model costs around £35, is super easy to use, and cuts really quickly.

It is a corded jigsaw with a 400 watt motor and it can cut bevels if you need to do that.

Check availability at Amazon UK

Depth of cut - Wood: 65 mm, Depth of cut - Steel: 5 mm, Depth of cut - Aluminium: 10 mm, Cord length - 2 metres

Tips for Using a Jigsaw

Here are a few handy tips for using a jigsaw:

  1. Use the right blade for the material you are cutting. There are plenty of options. I have written a full article on the best jigsaw blades which you can read here.
  2. Where possible try and clamp the material securely before cutting.
  3. Start with a slow speed and then gradually increase the speed as you get comfortable using the jigsaw.
  4. Follow the line carefully, blowing away dust to keep it visible. Don't force the saw as this tends to bend the blade and you don't get a straight cut.
  5. Use a dust mask or respirator to protect your lungs from the sawdust, these saws can generate.
  6. I would highly recommend wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying chips or dust.

Using a  Jigsaw Safely

When using a jigsaw, it's important to follow safety precautions to avoid injury. Here are a few tips:

  1. Always wear safety glasses and ear protection.
  2. Make sure the saw is unplugged or the battery is removed before changing blades.
  3. Use a sharp blade for cleaner cuts and to reduce the risk of kickback.
  4. Clamp the workpiece in place before cutting.
  5. Hold the saw firmly with both hands and keep your fingers away from the blade.
  6. Be aware of the saw's cord or battery pack and make sure it doesn't get in the way of the blade.
  7. Make sure the saw is properly aligned before you start cutting.
  8. Be careful when cutting curves or circles.
  9. Clean the saw regularly to keep it in good condition

A jigsaw is a valuable tool for any beginner. By following the tips in this guide, you can choose the right saw for your needs and use it safely and effectively.

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