There are two kinds of product tests that I carry out for Skill Builder, explains Roger Bisby.
The first is to take a brand new tool out of the box and give my immediate impressions by taking it out on site and hopefully letting a few of my fellow workers give it a go to get their opinions. This has obvious limitations because some problems take a while to surface.The second kind of product test is to use to use a tool for several months and then report back. This is the test I prefer but most manufacturers are understandably keen to get their new products out into the market place and some are also very keen to get them back. Often they are on the phone asking for them back before I have had a chance to run them around the block. What are they afraid of? Do they think their shiny power tool will fall apart?
Refreshingly some give you a little longer to get acquainted. I first took delivery of this tool over six months ago so it has had some good use and whereas a few years ago I would have said a cordless jig saw is a tool to get you out of trouble rather than replace a corded one battery technology is now so advanced that you could use this as your only jig saw and I don’t think you would find as job that it would not do as well as the corded version.
Coupled with the 18 Volt 4amp hour battery this tool has loads of capacity and grunt to complete the average kitchen…
Having said that you will notice that a cordless jig saw is considerably more expensive that a corded version so if you work in easy reach of a power supply there may be no reason to go unplugged.
If you are already a committed DeWalt cordless user running on an 18 Volt XR platform then you can buy the naked body for the same kind of money as a mains power model.
What you want from a cordless version is enough runtime to cut through worktop and the like without running out of power part way through. Coupled with the 18 Volt 4amp hour battery this tool has loads of capacity and grunt to complete the average kitchen fit and still have something left in the bank. If you are cutting laminate worktop you are more likely to stop for a blade change than a battery charge. I just couldn’t believe how many metres it had in it. One day perhaps over the Christmas break I will do a proper measurement of how many linear metres it will cut on a single 4AmHr battery.
When you do need to change the blade the large lever on the front is easy to flick out even with gloves on and the T pattern blades lock in easily and stay put. Similarly there is a lever at the back to adjust the base plate angle for bevel cuts.
The other features of pendulum action, variable speed and fan blower to clear the cutting line are standard on all good jig saws but if you use this saw you may wonder why it feels a cut above many of the also ran’s out there. The difference is the counterweight on the action which dampens vibration and gives the saw a lovely controlled balanced feel even on the full pendulum settiing. Until you have used it you don’t know what you are missing.
In fact the other day I saw a PVCu cladding guy making a dog’s breakfast of a bit of fascia and I could see it was almost entirely due to the grabbing action of the piece of tat he was using. I thought about how much better he would do the job with a decent variable speed machine that gave a nice soft start. I thought about it but I didn’t say a word. If it was you then I am sorry but you know now. There is a better tool out there and it will make you a craftsman rather than a butcher.
2 x 4Ah Li-Ion Batteries
3-Stage Pendulum Action
Tool-Free Blade Change
Dust Extraction Facility
Aluminium Base & Chip Cover
I would not buy it again – have dewalt cordless tools including drill and jigsaw – the jigsaw’s fault is that when the angle of cut adjuster becomes loose it cannot be tightened and so the cutter falls out of vertical alignment and the blade jumps/bites as it moves forward. This problem seems quite widespread based upon internet comments. The drill chuck became locked in the open position and would not move – disassembly failed to correct the problem. (These were both 18v lithium machines with only moderate use.) The problem is compounded by the fact that battery packs are not interchangeable with other makes.
That is a shame. I still have this tool and use it regularly.
Roger – I make furniture, small scale, and so a quality jigsaw is valuable – this was v good for several years but now it’s unusable. If only dewalt had made the “bolt” holding the tilt mechanism in place adjustable it could have been tightened. I’m now faced with either buying again or going for something like a metabo or festool jigsaw and with it a new power system. (I did buy the drill again but I begin to think once bitten …… )