I Think I like Jigsaws Now? – DeWalt 20-Volt MAX Brushless Cordless Jigsaw Review
I used to hate jigsaws…I am not sure that I still don’t but recently a couple of jigsaws have come out that made me re-evaluate my position. I am not big on curved shapes in my designs (I basically just build hundreds of different variations on a box) and I hate sanding. I also don’t have a ton of work surfaces in my shop that aren’t already spoken for. But it is not just inconvenient to use a jigsaw in my shop, I have hated using jigsaws from the beginning. I hate the rough cuts they leave behind, I don’t like the way it vibrates everything, I don’t like burnt and bent blades, I don’t like when the sole suddenly decides its doing a mitered cut, I hate the lack of dust collection, and I hate the lack of precision from blade drift.
I haven’t tried every jig saw on the market, but I have tried several and just didn’t love them. I thought there was something wrong with me, or I was using the tool wrong. I bought different saws, different blades, I tried different work holding methods I just could find a tool I liked. That is, until VERY recently.
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Recently the 6 ot maybe 7th generation of cordless jigsaws hit the market, and they are GOOD, like REALLY good. I think they may be even better than some of the best corded models on the market at this point, and not just because you don’t have that pesky cord chasing you around. They have made huge strides in the smoothness of the reciprocating movement, I have had cuts off of these new saws that are as smooth if not smoother than band saw cuts. I am not speaking for all of the jigsaws I have tried but certainly at least the new Dewalt 20-Volt MAX brushless jigsaw, and the new Octane 18-volt brushless jigsaw from Ridgid.
Let’s focus on the DeWalt for now
The DeWalt features all of things you would want in a jigsaw, save one or two important ones. My favorite feature on the Dewalt 20-volt max is the adjustable reciprocating speed and 4 position orbital setting. This allow you near infinite options based on the materials you are working with. I have used this to cut everything from 13-ply void-free plywood, to 8/4 white oak and have always found a good setting that was easy to control, with no burn, and no vibrations.
Another nice feature, that you will see on almost any jigsaw worth its weight in sawdust is a dust blower, to keep your line clean. The one on the dewalt isn’t the best I have ever used, but it works fine, gets the job done.
Another big things with jigsaws is changing out the blades, this is one place where the new DeWalt looks to be a big step up from older models. They revamped the entire mechanism to be all metal. From the t-shank blade remove to the locking detents for the shoe angle, everything is all metal and tool free. I rarely cut any miters with a jigsaw (due to the drift of the blade) but it is nice to know that I could if I needed to.
A big feature the DeWalt is missing, is a dust collection system. Not that many of the dust collection systems on any jigsaws work great, but they help a little. With a strong shop vac you could certainly simplify maintaining a dust free shop. Seems like an unnecessary oversight.
Whelp, I guess I like jigsaws now. So be prepared for more curvy details in my designs (dammit does that mean I need a spindle sander now…it just never ends.) I am looking forward to seeing what this unlocks in future designs. I will also be using this thing to start breaking down rough stock for milling, so that will be nice.
I really like the DeWalt 20-Volt MAX Brushless Cordless jigsaw, and I would highly recommend it, even as an upgrade. Especially if you are already committed into the DeWalt battery system. Personally, I will probably use the 20-Volt Max but I think my go to will be the Ridgid Octane jigsaw, because of the dust collection. We will see if my mind is changed over time because there are alot of things the DeWalt does very well.
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Keep your tools sharp, and your mind sharper
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