When Nothing is Straight Forward. Enter The Jigsaw.
When it comes to electric saws, there are so many types; circular, mitre, plunge…..the list goes on and on. All of the various saws are, in the grand sheme each type of saw is pretty limited in what it can do, except one: The humble jigsaw.
The power tool jigsaw first appeared in 1947, and was an immediate success. When it became cordless the jigsaw really did come into its own.
Without a doubt the cordless jigsaw is the most versatlie saw that anyone can ever own. It will saw straight lines, and as this jigsaw review ‘s title suggests, it can saw “not so straight” lines too, as well as doing other things.
This review has taken just three of the most highly regarded jigsaws from other leading jigsaws reviews, tested them, compared them, and assessed them with no other aim but to find out which one is the best.
Those 3 cordless wonders are:
☆ The Bosch PST18 Li
☆ The DeWalt DCS331 N
☆ The Worx WX550 Axis Sierra.
So, let’s get on and solve this jigsaw puzzle.
No Bish, No Bash, But Bosch. The Bosch PST18 Li Cordless Jigsaw.
Bosch has a direct lineage going right back to the first ever power jigsaw, and have been in the forefront of cordless jigsaw development ever since.
The Bosch PST 18 Li is the latest addition to the bosch blood line, and it carries with it Bosch’s widely recognised expertise and reputation in this particular area.
The PST18 Li on review is the “baretool” package currently offered by Bosch, and is to be found on various reputable online retail sites such as Amazon for example. “Baretool” means that it is the jigsaw and blade only, without battery and charger or any other accessories.
Ideal for small to medium projects such as cutting decking planking, or thin sheet metal for roofing, the PST18 Li cordless jigsaw, is very light weight ( it weighs just 1.6kg) and completely portable, making it possible to take anywhere.
An 18V battery powers a brushless motor which drives the blade at a maximum speed of 2400 strokes per minute with a stroke length of 20mm, enough to cut through most woods, plastics, composites, non ferous metals and even alloy steel with relative ease.
The battery is part of Bosch’s “Power 4 All” range of batteries, so there is complete compatibility with other Bosch tools.
The battery life is optimized by Bosch’s “Syneon Chip” power management system actually installed in the body of the PST18 Li itself. Developed by Bosch the “Syneon Chip” is designed to provide optimum usage of battery power by “intelligent” use of both gearbox and motor. It does seem to work quite well.
When using the correct type of blade, the Bosch PST18 Li has an impressive cutting depth across a wide range of materials.
At the top of the list is wood with a cutting depth of 80mm, impressively in second place is aluminium with a cut depth 12mm, and this unassuming little Bosch cordless jigsaw can even cut its way through 5mm of alloy steel.
In the days of yore before the dawn of the cordless jigsaw, variable speed was achieved by adjusting a dial on the top of the tool. Not so any more. Nowadays, in the era of cordless jigsaws, continuous variable speed is adjusted by simply squeezing or relaxing the trigger, and the PST18 Li is prime example of its success as a system.
With its continuous variable speed trigger, the Bosch PTS18 Li has a soft start capability which ensures precise cuts.
The PTS18 Li jigsaw has a 2 step safety catch to avoid accidental operation, as well as an immediate electric brake to stop the jigsaw’s blade in an instant
With this Bosch cordless jigsaw weighing only 1.6 kg, handling and responsiveness is exceptional, guiding for curved cuts was simple and smooth.
Vibration fatigue to the arms and hands is greatly reduced, thanks to Bosch’s innovative “counter balance” technology, and emphasis on ergonomic soft grip design.
The Bosch PTS18 Li cordless jigsaw is able to produce bevel cuts, and has a bevel capacity from 0 to 45 degrees. With the bevel tilt guage notched at 22.5° and at 45° setting the most commonly used angles is absolute child’s play.
As touched on earlier PTS18 Li’s maximum cutting depth at 90° is 80mm for wood, which is more than some corded saws. Its bevelled depth of cut is as equally impressive with it being 56mm at 45°.
Generally speaking, cutting has also been developed steadily over the years. Bosch has played a leading part in that development and the Bosch PTS18 Li is now the beneficiary of Bosch’s cordless jigsaw cutting technology.
Such as, Bosch’s novel 4 step orbital settings which can be controlled by the user for quick cuts and sawing progress.
Making sure that the blade area is free from dust is vital, not just to see the cutting line, but also to keep moving parts free of dust, and stop any apertures becoming clogged.
The PTS18 Li is fitted with a dust blower to disperse dust and debris away from the front of the shoe (base plate) and the cutting blade area. There is also a vacuum cleaner adapter option available as an optional extra which can be fitted to the rear of the saw to maximise dust clearance.
To maximize complete visiblity of the blade and cutting area the PTS18 Li has been fitted with a small LED light which lights up the blade and line of cut.
Blade change with the Bosch PTS18 Li is “tool-less”. All that needs to be done is rotate the blade housing 90° gently pull the old blade out, insert the replacement in and twist back. Very quick and very easily done.
Modern “T shank” blades and tool-less blade changing was invented by Bosch, and it is probably fair to say that they are still at the head of the field in jigsaw blades and power cell technology.
With close and flush cutting, the shoe or base plate of the PTS18 Li jigsaw can be off set.
The Bosch PTS18 Li comes with the standard Bosch 2 year warranty, which can be extended to 3 years free of charge, provided the new jigsaw is registered with Bosch UK within 28 days of purchase. Just for complete peace of mind it is worth making that effort.
Despite the PTS18 Li being one of the best cordless jigsaws currently available on the market, there are some little negative points about it, and about its performance which must be raised.
It’s unfortunate Bosch decided that in this “baretool” offer that the necessary battery and its charger were to be excluded from the deal, making the seperate purchase of battery and charger, a significant additional expense to a new buyer.
Despite the impressive cutting depth and ability to bevel, to actually adjust the PTS18 Li ‘s tilt guage was tedious and fiddley, with the removal of the rear dust extractor(if fitted) being necessary.
The cut control feature although necessary for an accurate cut , was deemed to be an extra by Bosch.
In summary, the PTS18 Li handles well, and does what it says it can do, and does it very well.
🔲 The Price. Despite this Bosch PTS18 Li package being a baretool offer, it still represents a great deal. However the cheapest jigsaw doesn’t mean it’s the best.
🔲 Extremely lightweight. Thus the PTS18 Li is extremely easy to handle.
🔲 Maximum bevel cutting depth of 56mm at 45°.
🔲 Bosch’s use of “counter balance” technology and further develop soft grip to minimize vibration fatigue.
🔲 4 step orbital action to make quick precise cuts.
🔲 Dust blower and an LED light for clear line of cut visibility, plus the option of vacuum extraction fitted at the rear.
🔲 Tool-less Blade change is very quick and easy.
🔲 2 year warranty. For peace of mind.
🔲 No battery or charger included in this deal
🔲 Tilt adjustments for bevel cuts is extremely fiddley and time consuming.
🔲 The essential cut control feature is considered as an extra by Bosch.
The Power in Your Hands. The DeWalt DCS331 N Cordless Jigsaw.
The DeWalt DCS331 N is a “nude” or “baretool” offer ( the N stands for nude), and as such only the barest minimum is offered in the ensemble.
The DCS331 N jigsaw is aimed mainly at the DIY enthusiast and tradesman, and designed to be able deal with small to medium sized projects.
The power house of the DeWalt DCS331 N is a brushless, fan cooled 400W motor, which in turn is powered by the 5Ah, 18V DeWalt xr lithium ion battery, which is included in this particular cordless jigsaw package.
While the battery is included, for reasons best known to DeWalt, the charger is not part of the deal and has to be purchased seperately.
The one consolation is that the single 5Ah xr lithium-ion battery that is included in this deal, just so happens to be the largest in the DeWalt range.
The Dewalt DCS331 N’s 400W motor drives a typical “T shank” jigsaw blade to a maximum of 3000 strokes per minute. This is a very high speed for any cordless jigsaw, and in practical terms, it gives the DCS331 N the speed and power, with the correct blade, to make cutting through most types of wood, composites and non ferrous metals a very easy task indeed.
With its “intelligent” variable speed trigger the DCS 331 N has in effect, a soft start facility ensuring precise clean cutting.
Staying with the DCS331 N’s trigger mechanism, not only does it have a stop lock to prevent unintentional starting, but an almost instant acting electric brake, stopping the sawblade dead in its tracks as soon as the trigger is released.
With its 3 stage orbital action and stroke length of 26mm the DeWalt DC331 N cordless jigsawhas the cutting depth of 135mm at 90° for wood and composites, and a very impressive 10mm for non-ferrous metals ( such as aluminium and copper).
The DCS331 N cordless jigsaw has a bevel capacity of 0° to 45°, which by itself, is nothing unique or surprising amongst jigsaws, but what is quite unique is the bevel cutting depth, which at 45 degrees is 95mm. Excellent news for anyone who needs to cut skirting joints or is making furniture.
The Dewalt DCS331 N ‘s bevelling feature is, unlike the vast majority of cordless jigsaws, since the shoe or base plate of the DCS331 N is able to be tilted either to the left OR the right. Ideal for any left handed users and this is possibly one of the best features of the DeWalt DCS331 N.
DeWalt have also made any adjustment (tilt or off-setting) to the jigsaw ‘s shoe or baseplate tool-less, thereby hex wrenches, and fiddling about are taken out of the mix, something that many would welcome.
There will be times when the material to be cut will scratch or mark easily. The DC331 N has an anti scratch cover for its shoe ( base plate), but unfortunately with this particular package this item would have to be bought seperately.
For good precise cuts, it is vital that the cutting line of any saw is visible and the DCS331 N has a variable strength dust blower to clear any dust or debris away from the cutting area to make just sure that happens.
There is also an additional option of a saw dust vacuum extraction adapter, which is fitted to the rear to clear even more dust away.
Blade change on the DeWalt DCS331 N is, like nearly every current generation jigsaw, tool-less, and very simple to do, with absolutely no squeezing or turning involved.
DeWalt simply use a flip catch mechanism which is at the very front of the jigsaw body, and when it is flipped, the old blade literally drops straight out. The replacement is then inserted, before the catch is flipped back, holding the new blade very firmly in place. No fuss, and absolutely no bother.
Every blade used by the DeWalt DCS331 N jigsaw is a “T shank” type and is widely available.
For that added peace of mind the DeWalt DCS331 N cordlessjigsaw comes with a 1 year warranty. An extended 2 year warranty can be provided but a application must be made.
Even the best jigsaws have their faults and the DeWalt DCS331 N is certainly no exception to that.
The DCS331 N, for cordless jigsaws, is a heavy machine. Weighing in at 2.4 kg, this is the heaviest jigsaw in this jigsaw review.
While being cordless makes the DCS331 N highly portable, its ease of handling suffers, and user fatigue sets in when handling a power tool that weighs 2.4kg for a long period.
Although this “baretool” package offers the largest xr lithium-ion battery in the DeWalt range, the necessary charger has to purchased seperately.
With such a high strokes per minute rate provided by the 400W motor comes vibration ( measured at 10m/m); even with the fitted soft grip, vibration fatigue in the arms and hands quickly sets in.
DeWalt seems have put emphasis into brute strength and power, with very little thought to its impact on the user.
The DeWalt DCS331 N cordless jigsaw is the most expensive of all the cordless jigsaws on test in this jigsaw review.
Admittedly this cordless jigsaw is aimed at the professional and experienced DIY enthusiast, but the price of this “baretool” package can not really be seen as value for money.
The DeWalt DCS331 N is very loud, and at 100dB, some form of ear protection is certainly needed.
Dewalt is well known for its quality tools but the brutishness of the DCS331 Nl does not warrant such a price tag.
🔲 1x 5Ah xr lithium-ion power cell included.
🔲 Extremely fast stroke rate of 3000 per minute.
🔲 Impressive cutting depth of 135mm at 90 degrees, and bevel depth of 95mm at 45°.
🔲 Bevelling and tilt can be either to the left or right and to 45 degrees in both cases.
🔲 Adjustable dust blowing feature making cutting area visible at all times.
🔲 Blade changing is tool-less, making it extremely quick and very quick to do.
🔲 A variable speed trigger allows soft start and more control.
🔲 Orbital settings clear marked and easy to use.
🔲 2 step safety catch and electric brake for safety.
🔲 As far as cordless jigsaws are concerned the DCS331 N is an extremely heavy machine.
🔲 No charger included despite one power cell provided.
🔲 The price. Although being a “baretool” offer. This can not represent value for money.
🔲 A lot of vibration, causing vibration fatigue to arms and hands.
🔲 At 100dB, the DeWalt DCS331 N is very loud, and ear protection is needed.
🔲 The Dewalt DCS331 N comes with just a 1 year warranty, a formal application and discussion is necessary to upgrade to 2 years.
Worx WX550 Axis -Sierra 2-in-1 Saw.
This can only be seen as a highly imaginative marriage of a reciprocating saw and a cordless jigsaw.
Worx have aimed the WX550 at two very different markets. The gardener and the DIY enthusiast. Markets with very, very different needs.
The Worx WX550 hybrid jigsaw has a novel swivel head design which allows a cordless jigsaw to transform in no time into a reciprocating saw suitable for both DIY and Gardening.
The WX550 hybrid cordless jigsaw comes with 1x 20V lithium-ion battery and charger with a battery life of 1 hour. Charging takes 5 hours for the battery to be at full power.
The brushless motor provides an impressive maximum 3000 strokes per minute both for the jigsaw as well as the reciprocating saw.
When the swivel head of the Worx WX550 is turned through 90° it becomes a fully functioning cordless jigsaw with a stroke length of 20mm, which can cut most woods, plastics and non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, adequately.
While there is a blower for removing dust from the shoe (base plate) and the sawblade area, the Worx WX550 has no additional dust collection option available.
Worx has included 2 jigsaw blades (for wood and plastic) and 1 longer blade for the reciprocating saw function.
An LED light is mounted to illuminate the cutting area and cut line so that it is visible.
However, it must be said that it is noticeable that with some of the more dense composites and harder woods, the WX550 hybrid jigsaw did seem to have a fight on its hands.
The reason for the Worx WX550 having difficulties in cutting different materials that as part of the combining of jigsaw with reciprocating saw the orbital action and orbital settings had to dispensed with.
The Worx WX550 has a cutting depth at 90° of 78mm. Unfortunately the WX550 does not have a bevel capacity due in part to it having to be sacrificed so jigsaw could be combined with reciprocating saw.
As is the norm with all modern cordless jigsaws, the Worx WX550 does feature tool-less blade change, and with the other jigsaws in this review blade change was extremely quick and extraordinarily easy to do.
The reciprocating saw was found to be adequate in its DIY role of cutting through wood and composite materials with relative ease.
However, notwithstanding it weighing 2kg, and its complete portabilty its cutting performance in the garden, was at best disappointing.
With any amalgamation of one power tool with another, some of the vital properties of one or even from both, are lost.
On a brighter note though, the Worx WX550 comes with a 3 year warranty for real peace of mind.
While the idea of combining two existing tools together is by any means new, more often than not some of the best features from both are lost.
When it comes to the Worx WX550 this has certainly been the case. The resulting hybrid is a mediocre mixture of both reciprocating saw and jigsaw, and being neither one nor the other.
At best the Worx WX550 is a part time jigsaw.
As the old saying goes ” not all marriages are made in heaven” and that really does sum up the Worx WX550.
🔲 20V lithiumi ion battery and charger included.
🔲 Tool-less blade changing. Changing sawblades is now extremely easy and quick to do.
🔲 Inclusion of 3 blades. 2 blades for the jigsaw and one larger blade for the reciprocating saw.
🔲 LED lighting to illuminate the cut line and cutting area for greater visibility. This probably the best feature of the Worx WX550.
🔲 The Worx WX550 comes with a 3 year warranty.
🔲 No orbital settings included in the jigsaw design
🔲 No orbital action to facilitate cutting.
🔲 No bevel capacity.
🔲 The shoe on the Worx WX50 can not be off set.
🔲 Disappointing jigsawing performance despite 3000 spm
🔲 Disappointing recipricating saw performance in the garden. The Worx WX550 Saw is not well balanced and cumbersome to handle.
So Which is the Best Cordless Jigsaw?
The best cordless jigsaws do not necessarily have to be the most expensive ones on the market. Nor do they have to have all the latest gimmicks.
Just as importantly, they don’t have to be the cheapest either.
They just have to be the best at what they’re supposed to do; and with that very much in mind:
The best cordless jigsaw according to this review is the Bosch PTS18 Li
Each candidate under test is an excellent product in its own right, but what each had to prove in this review was that they did all the things they claimed they did, as well as possess certain basic qualities, and have them in equal measure to,or even more so than their competitors.
Some of the jigsaw packages were more “baretool” in this review than others, but what had to be considered was more than just the hardware.
The quality of the instruction manuals, what was their customer service like, the availability of spares
People may disagree with the review.
These are the questions that matter.