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6 Different Jigsaw Types & Their Uses

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 18, 2024

The jigsaw is often an underappreciated machine. Even though it is not as powerful as other saw models, this saw is one amazing tool for cutting curves and creating shapes in different materials.

There are different types of jigsaws and it is always a good idea to do some research before making your final choice. Today we are going to help you by giving you information on the jigsaw types.

JigSaw Types

As we already mentioned, there are several different jigsaw types that have to be considered before buying the machine. Here is the information you need to know about the different types.

1. Straight-reciprocating type

Straight-reciprocating types are usually the old models, or the new low-end ones. Their blade moves up and down without a variance during its path. The straight-reciprocating jigsaws are slow, but they make tight turns and can make very good curves.

2. Orbital-reciprocating type

Worx 20V AXIS 2-in-1 Cordless Reciprocating Saw & Jig Saw, Orbital Cutting Reciprocating Saw, Pivoting Head Jigsaw Tool with Tool-Free Blade Change, Power Share WX550L – Battery & Charger Included
  • 2 SAWS IN 1: Use the pivoting, push-button head to quickly switch between jig saw and reciprocating saw modes. The jig saw is ideal for curved cuts and intricate woodworking. The reciprocating saw delivers fast, straight cuts through many materials

The orbital-reciprocating type moves forward to their blade stroke. It is faster than the straight-reciprocating type, but they are not as accurate and maneuverable as the other type.

3. Top Handle type

The traditional top handle jigsaw has a large handle shaped as D including the basic finger trigger that is located inside the hand loop. This makes the top handle jigsaw easy to be operated, but not as accurate as we want it to be.

4. Barrel Grip type

The barrel grip jigsaws are kind of new to the market. While using them, the owner can keep his hand closer to the working material, which gives better control over the accuracy. It also minimizes the chance of tipping the saw and skewing the path of the blade.

Most of the time, the barrel grip type uses a thumb switch instead of finger trigger, which makes it one very good option for beginners.

5. Cordless jigsaw type

The name of this jigsaw gives enough information- this machine does not need a cord, which means it is battery-powered. This has pros and cons. The cordless jigsaws come with lithium batteries that can be recharged. These machines are not as powerful as the corded jigsaw type, but they are easier to carry around, since they do not need to be plugged-in in order to work.

Very good option for beginners or people that work in confined spaces. However, a lot of professionals use them too, because they are portable.

6. Corded jigsaw type

The corded jigsaw type needs electricity in order to work. This type is very powerful and it can accomplish many difficult tasks with ease. It does not need batteries, which makes it a very light jigsaw. They are ideal for cutting hard materials.
However, the wire can disturb the work, and if there is no electricity this jigsaw can not be used.

Which JigSaw is best for me?

There are many factors that should be considered before buying the best jigsaw for you. Most importantly, the tasks that are going to be performed have to be carefully taken into account. You should also take into consideration the jigsaw speed, jigsaw power and stroke length.

For example, if you are going to work in places where there will be no electric port nearby, you should buy a cordless jigsaw. If you need one very powerful machine, then the corded jigsaw is your best option. We can’t say which jigsaw is the best one for you, but we hope that we have given you enough information to make the right choice.

What size of JigSaw should I buy?

The size of the jigsaw is pretty important, especially if you are going to carry it around with you. If you are a beginner, or if you are going to work in different locations, we would advise you to take a smaller machine. A portable jigsaw is always a good idea for the DIYers too.

However, if you have a workplace and you do not carry your saw around, a bigger size will be your better option. Why? Because most of the time with bigger size comes bigger motors and more powerful tools that can accomplish many difficult tasks with ease. 

So, if you are going to stay in your workplace, you should not be worried about the size of your jigsaw. You should better consider the power and speed of the tool you are going to buy.

Every woodworker, metalworker and even DIYer should have a jigsaw in his collection. Why? Because this is a powerful, light model that can cut curves and shapes in different materials with ease. You should carefully consider the different types and make the best choice for you based on the tasks you need the jigsaw for. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which jigsaw is best?

There is no ‘best’ jigsaw. The best model for you depends on the work you are going to do. So, you should better consider your tasks and then make the final choice for your purchase.

What kind of jigsaw do I need?

Think about the tasks you are going to do- if you are a  beginner and you need a machine that is easy to operate, and you do not need very accurate cuts then you need a top handle jigsaw. On the other hand, if you are a professional and you need as accurate as possible cuts you will definitely need a barrel grip jigsaw.

What is the difference between a jigsaw and an orbital jigsaw?

The orbital jigsaw uses the orbital action, which means that with every stroke the blade is angled forward into the piece of work as it is pulled up. On the other side, the standard jigsaw uses the standard up and down movement.

Which is better: a jigsaw or reciprocating saw?

The reciprocating saw is a more powerful machine than the standard jigsaw, and they are better for difficult projects. However, it is harder and more dangerous to use a reciprocating jigsaw.

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