Everybody loves a new power tool, especially if you’re an avid woodworker or DIYer like I am. However, because of how expensive power tools tend to be, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Otherwise, you’ll have a shed full of tools you never use!
While this holds true for a wide range of tools, it’s especially true when it comes to jigsaws. Jigsaws are one of the most popular tools that people use in woodworking thanks to their ability to make intricate, detailed cuts.
In this guide, I’ll compare corded vs cordless jigsaws so you can determine which is best for your workshop. Let’s dig in!
- Corded jigsaws tend to offer more power than cordless models but the cords can get in your way while cutting which can be frustrating.
- Cordless jigsaws are more expensive and less powerful than corded models but they offer the convenience of having no cords to get in your way and the ability to use them wherever no electrical outlets are present.
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Corded vs Cordless Jigsaw: 10 Crucial Differences
While corded and cordless jigsaws serve the same purpose and work similarly, there are several major differences to consider when choosing between them.
One of the first things you’ll notice when comparing corded and cordless jigsaws is the price difference. Both types of jigsaws have a very broad price range and can cost anywhere from $30 to $300+.
However, when you compare a cordless jigsaw with a corded version of the same brand and model, you’ll notice that the cordless version usually costs more. On top of that, you’ll also have to purchase a battery pack or packs, not to mention a charger to go along with it.
Ultimately, you could end up paying $250 for a cordless jigsaw, battery pack, and charger, while the same jigsaw with a power cord might only cost $150.
The advantage of purchasing cordless jigsaws is that you can purchase them as a standalone tool or as part of a package deal. Therefore, if you need additional tools on top of your jigsaw, going the cordless route might be a good option if you can find the right package for the right price.
Ready to buy a corded jigsaw? Check out these top rated corded jigsaws!
Even though cordless jigsaws tend to be more expensive than corded jigsaws, they are typically less powerful. This is because corded jigsaws generally have a larger motor and a higher operating capacity than cordless jigsaws.
As such, they’re better suited for projects where you’re cutting thick wood or making many cuts over a prolonged period. Having said that, it’s worth noting that cordless jigsaws have come a long way from when they were originally invented.
You can now purchase a cordless jigsaw with battery packs with a voltage rating of up to 36 volts, making them comparable to corded jigsaws. However, the higher the voltage rating on your battery pack, the more expensive it will be.
Regarding durability, corded jigsaws are far superior to their cordless counterparts. Because of their internal brush workings, how they’re designed, and the fact that they’re battery-operated, cordless jigsaws have an average life expectancy of three to six years.
On the other hand, corded jigsaws can last for ten to fifteen years if you don’t use them too aggressively and properly maintain them. You also need to consider that the battery packs for a cordless jigsaw will only last for three to five years before you need to replace them.
Therefore, if longevity and maximum performance daily is your goal, corded jigsaws take the cake.
Most of the advantages thus far have gone to corded jigsaws. However, when it comes to portability, corded jigsaws can’t compete with cordless ones.
With a corded jigsaw, you can only use it while it’s plugged in and likely connected to an extension cord. Therefore, if you’re in a situation where there’s no electricity or your cord isn’t long enough, you’re up a creek without a paddle if you have a corded jigsaw.
With cordless jigsaws, however, as long as you have a charged battery pack, you can use your tool anytime, anywhere. This makes them a good option if you work on new construction sites where electricity isn’t readily available.
Ready to buy a cordless jigsaw? Check out these top rated cordless jigsaws!
In addition to the restrictions on when and where you can use a corded jigsaw, the fact that it’s attached to a power cord limits its maneuverability. You must keep the cord constantly out of the cutting path and move it around accordingly.
As such, it can slow you down, not to mention you have the risk of accidentally cutting into the cord, which is more common than you might think.
A cordless jigsaw, conversely, doesn’t have this problem. You can freely move and maneuver your jigsaw wherever necessary without worrying about a power cord.
While it’s possible to use a corded jigsaw and cut with the same speed and maneuverability as a cordless one, acquiring this skill takes time and practice.
Usage and Run Time
The advantage goes to corded tools in terms of how long you can use a jigsaw and how aggressive you can be with it. As long as your corded jigsaw is plugged in, you can use it freely and with abandon.
Because they’re battery-powered, cordless jigsaws will only work as long as they have a charged battery. On average, a battery only has about 20 to 60 minutes of run time, so if you’re constantly using it, you’ll need to recharge your batteries quite often.
Additionally, as the battery drains, your jigsaw will operate with less power and efficiency. This could lead to an accident where you injure yourself or make a mistake with the wood you’re cutting.
Blade Speed and Strength
Because they have a more powerful motor and a constant supply of steady power, corded jigsaws cut with more speed and strength than cordless ones. If you have a full schedule of work projects and you need to keep moving, the ability to make fast and precise cuts is important.
Additionally, strength is important because it maximizes the projects you can perform with your jigsaw. If you have a cordless jigsaw, you may be limited to cutting plywood, particle board, and other thin pieces of wood or making touch-ups.
With a corded jigsaw, however, the added strength and power allow you to cut through thicker pieces of wood and tougher materials than with cordless jigsaws.
Precision and Accuracy
In the same way that additional power makes for extra speed and strength, it also increases your precision and accuracy when cutting with corded jigsaws. Because the blade reciprocates and moves up and down faster than cordless jigsaws, corded jigsaw blades make more precise and accurate cuts.
There’s also less potential of accidentally making a rough cut because the blade catches on the wood. In most cases, this happens with cordless jigsaws when the battery is running out of juice and it’s starting to lose steam.
Finally, extra power and speed mean you don’t have to apply as much pressure to the jigsaw to make your cuts. This results in fewer mistakes because you only need to guide the jigsaw blade and let the motor do the work rather than push it, as is often the case with a cordless jigsaw.
However, a corded jigsaw’s additional strength and power does come with one significant downside – they’re loud! This is especially true as you’re making a cut, and the blade is sawing through wood.
Additionally, a corded jigsaw will be loud as long as it’s plugged in and the power switch is engaged. Cordless jigsaws, conversely, only make noise while you’re pulling the trigger and operating the tool.
Availability and Manufacturers
While the limited availability of cordless jigsaws and the necessary batteries used to deter some people from purchasing them, this has largely gone by the wayside. Additionally, both corded and cordless jigsaws are readily available in top brands, including Dewalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, Black and Decker, and more.
Overall User Experience
Finally, it’s important to consider the overall user experience when debating between corded vs cordless jigsaws. In general, cordless jigsaws are more lightweight, easier to maneuver, and quieter, which makes for a more pleasant user experience.
However, just because cordless jigsaws are more enjoyable to use doesn’t mean they’re the better option, because corded jigsaws are more powerful, accurate, and durable. It’s important to consider each of the key differences between corded and cordless jigsaws to know which option is right for you.
Here’s a great video showing corded and cordless jigsaws in action!
Best Uses For a Corded Jigsaw
Now that you understand the strengths and weaknesses of a corded jigsaw, let’s look at the best places to use them over cordless jigsaw models.
- Prolonged and repetitive use where you use your jigsaw daily throughout the day.
- Cutting through tough materials and thicker woods.
- If you’re a construction worker who operates in outdoor or poor working conditions.
- Best for benchtop and workshop use
- Anywhere that you have ready access to an electrical outlet
Best Uses For a Cordless Jigsaw
While cordless jigsaws have less power and speed than that of corded jigsaws, they’re ideal for certain tasks, including the following:
- Most light-duty tasks and operations, such as crafts and carvings,
- If you need to use your jigsaw in areas without access to electricity
- Situations where you are moving around a lot
- In elevated areas where you are working in a mezzanine or overhead
- If you only use a jigsaw occasionally and not daily
Are cordless jigsaws better than corded ones?
Cordless jigsaws have significant advantages over corded ones, such as more power, durability, strength, and cutting speed. However, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better than cordless jigsaws, which have their own unique advantages.
What is a good wattage for a jigsaw?
Most corded jigsaws average between 350 and 700 watts, but some are as high as 1500 watts.
Are corded tools more powerful than cordless?
In general, corded power tools are more powerful than cordless ones unless you have a large, expensive battery for your cordless tool.
Ultimately, whether you choose a corded or cordless jigsaw, you will surely benefit from its use. However, it’s still important to consider each of the comparisons in this article if you hope to choose the right jigsaw for your needs.
If you plan to use your jigsaw on a daily basis or at a professional level and require speed, power, and durability, corded jigsaws are right for you. However, cordless jigsaws are the way to go if you only require a jigsaw for occasional, light-duty work and unlimited portability is essential.
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