Please read part #1 of this article before you move on with this part.
I was talking about how to choose a jig saw in the last article. Here is the continuation:
The most expensive saws have heavier, more powerful motors for more demanding applications.. The current rating (amps) of the saw reflects its cutting power. Other features to look for in the more durable saws are pull ball bearing construction, hardened steel gears and a solid roller guide support behind the blade.
The overall size and weight of the saw is another thing to consider. If you will need to sneak the saw into tight places, you don’t want one of the larger models. A lighter, more maneuverable model would be more suitable. Still another consideration is the maximum capacity of the saw: its cutting depth in wood. Larger saws usually have a maximum cut of 2-1/4″ to 2-1/2″.
If rapid cutting is important to you, consider buying one of the higher speed saws and one with longer stroke length. The higher the blade speed, the faster the saw can cut. And the longer stroke makes maximum use of the upward, cutting portion of each stroke.
A final decision you need to make is between handle styles. A top handle is best suited to making long, straight cuts, such as when cutting paneling and plywood. The top handle helps control the saw during long reaches across the panels. The barrel style with a knob on the top is harder to control at arm’s length, but it’s easier to maneuver and turn. So for scrolling work and more intricate cuts, the barrel model offers greater precision.
Once you’ve made these basic decisions about your saw, you can look for special features and standard accessories. Special features available include clear chip guards on the front of the saw, dust blowers to keep your cutting line clear and tilting foot plates for miter cuts. The variable dust blower is a very handy feature, but be sure to turn it off when cutting metal. You don’t want to blow tiny particles of metal around your shop, trust me!
Finally, unique features like Milwaukee’s “either hand” switch might influence your decision. This switch is located underneath the barrel of the saw. The Milwaukee jig saw also features a wrench-less blade holder.
Option accessories are available for most of the jig saws available on the current market, though you might need to do a bit of searching to locate ones that are suitable for your particular model. (I recommend amazon and Lowes for this purpose). A straight line guide aids in making cuts near the edge of a board; otherwise, clamp a straight piece of wood next to the cut line, and rest the saw against the wood. A circle cutter guide is another option, especially handy if you do a lot of cutouts.
Please remember that a jig saw should go hand-in-hand with many other tools in your woodshop. For instance, you will probably need a solid miter saw as well to aid you in your projects. Make sure to check out our best miter saw reviews for some extra tips and information.