The best puzzles for DIY jobs in 2021
Anytime you want to cut out a sheet of something – whether it’s plywood, acrylic, chipboard, or something flat – use a jigsaw. The best jigsaws are versatile cutting equipment that can go straight, at an angle, and even handle curves.
Whatever DIY jobs you try around the house, you will likely find a use for a jigsaw puzzle somewhere. Being power tools, they can replace a hand saw in many jobs, which makes things easier and saves time.
What sets jigsaws apart from other types of motorized reciprocating saws is the flat plate, or shoe, at the bottom. This is what slides against the surface you want to cut and allows you to apply pressure to guide it precisely in the right direction.
If you’re looking to add a jigsaw to your DIY kit, read our guide to choosing the right equipment and our reviews below.
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How to choose the best puzzle for you
The first thing to consider when finding a jigsaw is how much you are going to use it. There’s no point spending more than Â£ 100 on a really nice cordless model if it has to sit on the shelf for months at a time. While cordless models are more convenient in many ways and modern battery technology means they are no less powerful than their mains-powered brethren, a corded model will always be cheaper and you don’t have to. to worry about dead batteries when you may need to use it again.
While the cord will drag behind you, perhaps to an extension cord, being a slight annoyance, the payoff is that a corded jigsaw will run all day without having to be recharged. Alternatively, if you’re the one who’s working all day, make sure your rechargeable jigsaw has removable batteries so you can keep a slack on the charger for the inevitable moment when it loses power.
Other things to look for include the ease of changing the blade. Older models may require a screwdriver or Allen wrench to loosen the nuts before the old blade can be removed and a new seat. The quick release options are much faster and more convenient, and that should be a feature of most modern jigsaws.
The blades themselves are graded based on the number of teeth they have per inch, and different tooth densities lend themselves to cutting different materials. To cut chipboard, for example, you would use a blade with fewer, larger, and more widely spaced teeth; to cut metal you will need finer and denser dentition. Buy either a pack that suits what you need to cut, or a varied pack with one or two of each type that covers all eventualities.
More expensive models can include features like dust collection systems and variable speed controls, which are useful if you need to slow it down to cut things like tiles or even glass without destroying them completely. LED lights are handy for seeing what you’re doing more clearly, especially if you’re working in tight spaces or in shadows, and a tilting baseplate allows for cuts up to 45 degrees.
The orbital action rotates the blade rather than pulling it up and down, which can make cutting some materials easier, but also makes shattering more likely. And while a top-mounted handle is more comfortable to use, a cylindrical-grip handle that protrudes from the back means your cuts will be more precise.
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The best puzzles to buy in 2021
1. Black + Decker 500W Autoselect Scorpion Powered Electric Saw: The Best All-round Jigsaw
Price: Â£ 70 | Buy now on Amazon
The Black + Decker Scorpion combines a garden pruning saw, a jigsaw and a more general reciprocating saw in one package. You switch between modes by changing the blade, with the saw automatically changing its speed depending on which one is inserted.
Perfect for someone who would rather buy one tool rather than three separate devices, the Scorpio may not be a complete master of one of their trades, but they make up for it with their versatility. Blade change is done with a push button rather than a screwdriver, but there are no fancy features like dust extractors. It comes with a carrying case, which helps prevent these different blades from disappearing in the garage.
The generous three-meter cable gives you the freedom to move around, but it’s not ideal for walking down the garden to tackle tree pruning without a long extension cord. It’s also heavier than many dedicated puzzles and can be slightly difficult to start because you have to hold down one button while pressing another.
Key Specs – Wireless: No; Dimensions: 29.2 x 32.4 x 10.6 cm; To be able to: 500W; Weight: 3.7 kg; Strokes per minute: 0-2 700
2. Bosch PST 700 E Compact: the best jigsaw for clean workspaces
Price: Â£ 44 | Buy now on Amazon
This is a very well assembled wire jigsaw that is both powerful and light. This Bosch model will cut through a variety of materials, removing dust from a tube in the back that can be connected to a vacuum cleaner for efficient removal. It can also blow air from the front to remove dust from the cut line, making it easier to see what you are doing.
Being compact and lightweight, with a soft grip and low vibration motor, it is easy to control, and to change the blade, just squeeze the sides of the holder until the old one pops out, before removing it. drag a new one.
There’s no orbital motion, but it’s a great all-rounder for DIYers who like a clean workspace.
Key Specs – Wireless: No; Dimensions: 29×33.5x10cm; To be able to: 500W; Weight: 1.7 kg; Strokes per minute: 500-3,100
3. Ryobi R18JS-0 One + 18V Cordless Jig Saw: The Best Jigsaw for Ryobi Kit Owners
Price: Â£ 93 | Buy now on Amazon
It’s a great choice if you need a cordless jigsaw, but beware: the R18JS-0 does not come with the battery or charger. This ruins any pretense of being a good deal, which drastically increases the price.
This is unless you already have Ryobi 18V One + products, as this puzzle accepts all One + system compliant batteries, and you can swap them between devices.
Ryobi often incorporates high-end features into its mid-range products, and this puzzle is no exception, with variable speed control, a lock to save you having to hold the trigger down for long cuts, LED lights and orbital action that exposes more of the blade’s cutting surface, meaning your blades will last longer if you don’t abuse them.
These blades are secured in place with a quick release lever and the overall build quality is quite high, with a sturdy feel. Handling is excellent, and the only thing missing is some form of dust extraction.
Key Specs – Wireless: Yes; Dimensions: 27.3 x 23.2 x 9.3 cm; To be able to: 18V; Weight: 2.3 kg; Strokes per minute: up to 3000
4. VonHaus Jigsaw 800W: The best jigsaw for pure power
Price: Â£ 40 | Buy now on Amazon
A small inexpensive wired model, this VonHaus stands out for being more powerful than many thanks to its 800W motor. It doesn’t sacrifice precision either, thanks to the laser guide it projects in front of it.
This combination means it slices through a lot of different materials like they’re not there – as long as you use the correct blade, of course. Changing the blade is a tool-less process, and once the blade is clamped in place, you can easily adjust its speed, using the four-position switch on the side of the housing.
Despite all its power, this jigsaw is particularly compact (but not particularly light), and although the cord drags behind you like an anchor, it’s nice that you can pack it neatly and put it away after use. The body is also shaped with a degree of ergonomic thought, providing a comfortable grip and firm control, but be careful about how much vibration it can produce.
Key Specs – Wireless: No; Dimensions: 30 x 23.8 x 11.6 cm; To be able to: 800W; Weight: 3.2 kg; Strokes per minute: 800 – 3000