My dad’s jigsaw is a bulky, heavy, and short-corded antique tool that vibrates like crazy. He’s been needing a new jigsaw for a while, but didn’t want to spend a lot, nor did he want me to spend a lot. He doesn’t use his jigsaw often, which further argues against the case for a top-dollar model.
There are plenty of consumer models in the $30 to $75 price range, and a couple of pro-grade models in the $75-$100 range. I was interested in the Bosch JS470E, but it wasn’t eligible for Bosch’s holiday $20 off $100+ promo and is a bit too pricey at $144 via Amazon.
I couldn’t give my older jigsaw, a Bosch 1587, because it has a somewhat complex tool-free blade change mechanism.
I ended up getting my dad a Makita 4329K jigsaw. It’s priced at $69, and for Father’s Day there was an added $10 discount. I would have spent more, but figured $59 plus tax was low enough to comply with my father’s don’t spend a lot request.
This isn’t a very fancy or well-featured jigsaw, but what stood out to me – besides the low price – was its compact size. I tested it very briefly before giving it to my father, and it’s clear that this isn’t a powerful saw. It’s ideal for light work, which is what my father would use it for anyways.
The Makita 4329K jigsaw is built with a 3.9A motor, which isn’t very powerful, but is well matched for the saw’s size. It also has a variable speed dial, 3 orbital settings, an aluminum shoe that can be adjusted up to 45° in either direction, and a clear debris guard.
This saw weighs in at 4.2 pounds and measures just 8-7/8″ long.
Makita markets this as a compact saw for professional users, and while it might suit that purpose well, I also think it deserves distinction for being a decent saw for DIYers looking for pro-grade quality at the under-$75 price point.
There are a few downsides to the saw. It’s small, which means you can really only comfortably guide it with one hand and not two. Its small size also means a small motor. Although the saw can in theory cut through wood up to 2-9/16″ thick, its 3.9A motor means it won’t cut through thick workpieces in record speed. It might not be able to handle cutting thick pieces of denser woods at all, but I didn’t spend enough time with the saw to find out. Lastly, blade changes require a turn of a hex key, which is a minor annoyance to those of us accustomed to modern tool-free blade change mechanisms.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
I like to think that I made the right choice, and that there’s no better jigsaw under $75. While I could have instead opted to get my father a consumer branded saw, I thought sacrificing extra power in favor of pro-grade build quality was the way to go.
The Makita 4329k sounds great and maybe agree no better for less than $75, but would you spend another $10 and deal with 5#?? Check out the Bosch JS260, 6.0 amp, top handle like the Makita and with tool-less blade change, variable speed trigger and always-on dust blower. Price is $79 on Amazon. It is on my wish list.
Maybe do a round-up on low cost choices for DIYer’s?
It’s hard to say. I deliberately chose the Makita because it’s designed to be compact, while that Bosch is designed to be their entry-level model. I really like Bosch jig saws, but the Makita’s lower price helped make the decision for me.
I don’t really have plans to do a roundup on inexpensive jigsaws, but it’s something I’ll consider when my schedule frees up a little bit. There are plenty of good consumer models for under $75, but for these types of tools I like to spend more for better build quality. A Black & Decker saw would have suited my father just as well, but I see these types of corded tools as 5+ and 10+ year investments. His current jigsaw is at least 20 years old, and maybe 30-35 years old by the looks of it.
Skil makes (or made) some decent jigsaws at an even lower price point. I said made since they seem to have replaced their multiple models, which were quite decent, in the big box stores with a single, ultra-cheap base model that isn’t nearly as nice as either of those were.
That said, the Bosch or maybe even the Makita might be better, as a thick, solid alloy base is worth a lot on a jigsaw, with that and a straight, good blade, you can do some pretty professional work that just isn’t possible on cheap saws with flimsy bases and wobbly blades.
I heartily agree about the need for a good base and wobble-free blade.
I’ve used jigsaws over many years, having started using an old Black & Decker homeowner quality one in the early 1960’s to cut outlet holes in paneling. That saw used so-called universal blades held in place with a slot-head screw clamp so blade changes were none-too convenient. The screw head soon got buggered up as you tried to tighten it down to hold the wobbly blade in place. The saw was very limited in application.
I progressed to using old Rockwell Porter Cable 548 jigsaws that used an odd bayonet mount blade system. The build quality was way above the old Black & Decker – but the cut quality was still impaired by the blades tendency to drift in the cut, especially on thicker stock.
For me, what made jigsaws more useful was when Bosch came out (I think the innovator of this) with a bade that was secondarily supported by a roller to keep the blade steadier in the cut. My first Bosch 1584VS barrel grip saw – seemed a game changer for me in the 1990’s. Newer high-end saw blade support systems have improved on this.
All this said, if all you want is something to occasionally cut rough holes in thin sheet goods – then maybe even one of a lower-end saws would beat that old Black & Decker that I started with.
I have considered one of these for myself as the full size Makita body grip I have, whilst great for working on a bench gets too heavy when used vertically and is a bit bulky for inside cupboards, but its always hard to spend money on doubling up on a tool. Its also more in £ here in the UK the $ for you. The 10.8v cordless jigsaw seems to be based on this one as well.
I’ve had my craftsman jig saw since the seventies. My second power tool. My first was a craftman’s drill corded of course. After over forty years It still works. I use it rarely, but all you Tool people Remember the real CRAFTSMAN!!!!!!!…………And those ads in the sunday paper!