Puttin’ On a Show: Our Cordless Jigsaw Test

Puttin’ On a Show: Our Cordless Jigsaw Test

In his opening letter in the last eZine, Rob told you all about the Minnesota Woodworking Show held at the end of May. And what a show it was. If you were in town — St. Paul, Minnesota, specifically — and you stopped by the Woodworker’s Journal booth, you had a chance to be part of our Cordless Jigsaw Test.

We had a bench set up with four cordless jigsaws — the only four on the market — and asked people who came by our booth to put them through their paces and give us their feedback on how the saws cut, how easy it was to change the blades, what the saws felt like in their hands and just their overall opinion of them. You hear our thoughts on tools all the time in both the Woodworker’s Journal eZine and the Woodworker’s Journal print magazine; it was great to get a chance to hear from you directly.

Appearing in the test were the Bosch 52318, the DeWalt DC330K, RIDGID R843 and Ryobi OJ1802K. Most of the 78 people who tried them out picked just one to play with (they had a lot of other booths to hit, after all), but a few tried ’em all. For whatever reason, the most-picked saw to play with was the Bosch — whether due to the company’s reputation in jigsaws, or its pretty blue color, we just don’t know.

The Bosch jigsaw was also the winner in our booth visitors’ reviews. Larry Fraser of New Brighton, Minnesota liked its versatility of cutting and “that it blew the sawdust away and made it easier to see the cut.’ Shawn Menning of Princeton, Minnesota thought the Bosch “cut like butter.” And Dan Thompson of Plymouth, Minnesota thought it had “excellent power for a battery saw,” while Rich Gotz of the same town praised its “tight corners.”

That’s not to say that everyone was completely satisfied with the Bosch. (Is a woodworker ever completely satisfied with a tool?) Ben Cloever of Golden Valley, Minnesota thought the handle was too thick and didn’t like needing to take the plastic base plate guard off to change the angle of cut. Another piece of plastic came in for some criticism from Tom Gale of Robbinsdale, who thought the clear splinter guard near the blade made it hard to watch his cut.

Jigsaw users come in all shapes and sizes.
Jigsaw users come in all shapes and sizes.

Viewing the cutting area was also a problem on the DeWalt DC330K for Bill Tietema of Plymouth. The DeWalt’s cutting capacity was found to be fine — “very smooth on the ‘0’ orbit setting; excellent cutting power” noted Ron Debban of Glenwood City, Minnesota, while David Nelson of Siren, Wisconsin, noted that it had “little vibration.” The features on the DeWalt were also popular, with Rodney Schmidt of Richfield, Minnesota citing the blower and William Travis of Minnetonka, Minnesota starting out his comments with, “Plastic sole plate is easy to replace, controls easy to use, nicely designed” and concluding “I like the safety switch: very user-friendly!”

What brought the DeWalt down, for many people, was its weight. Ron Ton of Otsego, Minnesota said it was “too heavy” while Ginger Swol of Lindstrom in the same state elaborated, “DeWalt is way too heavy.”

Weight was also a concern for testers who reviewed the RIDGID jigsaw, including Jim Murphy of Apple Valley, Minnesota, although Jim did also note that the saw had “not much vibration at all.” Scott Johnson of Lake Nebagamon in Wisconsin thought he would have liked RIDGID’s test tool better if the handle had been a barrel grip instead of D-handle. And he wanted the “blower” to remove dust.

And, although it’s sometimes hard to make great distinctions between tools in a category — in many ways, a jigsaw is a jigsaw — not as many of our testers chose to test the Ryobi. Among those who did, Kevin Wickstrom of Burnsville, Minnesota thought it “could be easier to press [the] safety [switch].” Greg Tschumper of Hudson, Wisconsin did try it out and pronounce the Ryobi “[adequate] for occasional use.”

As I said at the beginning, the most tested — and most-favored — jigsaw was the Bosch. Among those testing it was the winner of our random drawing to win a corded jigsaw from the tool review article which appears in the June 2005 issue of the print Woodworker’s Journal currently on newsstands. Coincidentally, the tool we gave away from that tool test was the Bosch 1590EVSK D-handle.

It went to Peggy Schneider of Rochester, Minnesota, who said of the cordless saw, “It felt good; heavy enough to feel secure, but not so heavy as to be awkward. I don’t anticipate needing a jigsaw yet, but I would definitely consider the Bosch based on this trial and the Bosch reputation.”

Well, Peggy, now you’ve got one! Thanks to Peggy, and to everybody who participated.

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