Porter-Cable Orbital Jigsaw
Last updated date: September 2, 2019
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We looked at the top 1 Jigsaws and dug through the reviews from 20 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Best of Machinery, Top Best 10 Reviews, HQ Text, Sawing Pros, Cozy Down Home, Beasts Live, Woodwork Boss, Wiki EZ Vid, Tools First, Garage Tool Advisor, Top 15 Products, Goat One Cent, Jigsaw Judge, Woodworking Finest, Jigsaw Tools, Saw Crafts, Fat Cat Tools, Best Chainsaw Expert and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Jigsaw you should buy.
The Porter-Cable Orbital Jigsaw offers seven speed settings that allow you to adjust to the right speed for your desired cut and avoid getting ragged edges. The base plate bevels to one of four preset options, which allows you to make simple angled cuts. The guide-light and powerful 6.0 Amp motor combine to make this jigsaw both easy to use and capable of tackling a variety of tasks. In our analysis of 190 expert reviews, the Porter-Cable Porter-Cable Orbital Jigsaw placed 3rd when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note September 4, 2019:
Checkout The Best Jigsaw for a detailed review of all the top jigsaws.
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From The Manufacturer
This product features a 7-position speed dial, a powerful motor, and a lock-on button as well. It is convenient and works effectively. It is definitely a great quality product.
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An Overview On Jigsaws
If you were to take note of the most standard equipment to be found in the workshop of a handyman or woodworker, one tool that would show up quite frequently is a jigsaw. Jigsaws are generally operated by one hand and have thin blades that stroke up and down while allowing the user to make precise cuts around curves or areas that are tricky to reach.
When setting up a project to use a jigsaw, you have a few things to consider before turning the saw on to make a cut. Imagine you are building your own cornhole board, and you need to cut a large circle out of a piece of plywood without cutting in from the edge. You will want to mark your circle to be cut and then drill a hole in the center that is larger than your jigsaw blade. The jigsaw blade will then fit into the drilled hole, and you can start working the blade around the circle that you’ve drawn.
Not only do you want to go nice and slow during your cut to ensure you stay on the line neatly, but you will need to make sure the board you are cutting is not laying directly on top of your work table. The jigsaw blade will stroke down below the bottom surface of the board that faces the floor. So, take this into account and prop the board up in a secure fashion with something like a pair of sawhorses.
When making a cut with the jigsaw, you will be producing a noticeable amount of sawdust. You will quickly find out that the sawdust can impede your ability to see the line you’re attempting to cut, and you will be wondering how to best get rid of this sawdust. Some models of jigsaws like the Bosch Power Tools Jig Saws take this into account and have a built-in blower that will constantly blow the working area clean, allowing you to work with better vision and make your cuts more accurately.
To further enhance your ability to see well when you’re using your jigsaw, models like the Skil 6.0 Amp Orbital Action Laser Jigsaw have a built-in light that illuminates the path in front of your blade. This addition is a great perk due to the fact that the body position you use when operating a jigsaw is generally standing over top of it and blocking most of the ambient light with your body.
Like most handheld power tools, a jigsaw will send vibrations through the handle of the tool and into the hand and arm of the user. Thankfully,the vibrations in this specific tool aren’t overly aggressive. However, they can be enough to tire out the hands of the user if they’re making a lot of cuts in a short period of time. Products such as Porter-Cable Orbital Jigsaw take this into account by offering protracted grips that allow the user to make cuts for hours on end without wearing themselves down.
A common consideration in choosing any handheld power tool is whether or not to purchase one with a cord or to opt for the battery-powered option. As you would imagine, the cordless options give you the freedom to grab your jigsaw and go outside — all without the need for supplying power from a nearby outlet and some combination of extension cords.
The caveat is that the battery will die after some amount of use, and you’ll need to either wait for it to charge or have another pre-charged battery handy to swap in when you need it. The DeWalt 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Jig Saw is a good example of a saw that has a big enough 3Ah battery to last almost an hour when cutting standard lumber. It can go closer to an hour and a half when cutting thinner materials like wood paneling.
Jigsaw blades vary greatly depending on the brand and their intended use. Like most saw blades, the type of metal used and the geometry of the teeth will determine which blade best suits your needs. It’s ideal as a beginner to purchase a multi-pack of jigsaw blades that have options to choose from to suit the material you’re cutting into.
The best thing you can do is to purchase a jigsaw that takes T-shank blades. T-shank blades have taken over as a nearly standard jigsaw blade style across almost every brand that makes the power tool. The T-shank blade allows for most saws to have a tool-less option for changing saw blades. This is a wonderful option since saw blades will become extremely hot during use and have the potential to seriously burn the skin of your fingers if you attempt to touch the blade right after use. Instead of maiming your hand, you can use a lever-action, like on the Bosch Power Tools Jig Saws, to remove the hot blade and insert a new one without having to wait for it to cool down.
Another useful function that you can find in a lot of modern jigsaws is the ability of the base to bevel, allowing the user to cut at a specific angle like 45 degrees. Having this option suddenly gives this tool a significant boost in versatility. With your saw blade angled to your desired angle, the base plate still sits flush on the board or other material that you’re cutting. As the user, you still just follow the line that you have marked, the blower still blows away the sawdust and the LED light still illuminates your cutting path. However, the final cut can be a nicely angled edge that both looks nice and softens the hard 90 degree edges that the board would have otherwise. This is highly advantageous to those using the saw for arts and crafts.
DYWM Fun Fact
The jigsaw is a very common tool in most workshops today. But if it wasn’t for another entirely unrelated gadget, the sewing machine, the jigsaw might never even exist. In 1946, Albert Kauffman worked for Scintilla AG, a Swiss power tool manufacturer. As he observed his wife using their sewing machine, he took great notice of the up-and-down movements and how fast they were.
This type of action, he thought, would make for a fantastic way to power a small saw blade for light-duty applications. His prototype, the Letso Jigsaw, was both safer and easier to handle than the standard circular saw. It soon became the preferred style of saw for finer cuts that the circular saw could not handle well.
The Jigsaw Buying Guide
Knowing how you intend to use your new jigsaw is a key factor in choosing which model is right for you. If you will be using this as a woodshop workhorse that will saw its way through various materials and thicknesses, here are some factors that might be good to prioritize:
- Power is a key component of power tools, and you will want something strong enough that you can have confidence in no matter what the job is. Power ratings for these types of tools are found in Amps and can range from 3-7 Amps, where the higher amperage is the more powerful tool. Topping our list of jigsaws for the most power is the Bosch 120V Low-Vibration, 7.0-Amp Variable Speed Jigsaw. This saw is powerful enough to cut up to 5-7/8″ wood sections or 3/8″ steel plates, which is an impressive task for a tool of its size.
- Built-in blowers might well be the next highest priority for a jigsaw that is going to be used frequently. Without a good automatic blower to remove sawdust, the user will be stopping their blade every few seconds to use their own breath as a means of removing the debris. It is simply impossible to see your cut-line when the line is covered in sawdust. Do not overlook this feature, or you will be huffing and puffing your way through much slower cuts.
- On the topic of seeing your cut-line well, a built-in light is a feature that will make your life much easier when using the jigsaw. As you hunch over your jigsaw to see the cut-line clearly, you block most of the ambient light coming from above or behind you. Without this light, you can’t see your lines very well, and you can’t effectively use your tool. The spotlight feature on your jigsaw removes this problem with ease, so be sure to find a model that has one. Some go further, like the Skil 6.0 Amp Orbital Action Laser Jigsaw, which not only has a guide-light but also a laser that projects a straight line directly in front of your saw. This helps keep your really long cuts straighter.
If you plan to use jigsaw for more light-duty tasks, you could consider a few different features as your higher priorities, such as these:
- The portability and cordless nature of battery-powered jigsaws are perfect for smaller or one-off tasks. To be smart about purchasing a battery-powered jigsaw, such as the DeWalt 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Jig Saw, look at the other tools in their lineup. The 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion lineup of tools that DeWalt offers is extensive enough to allow you to use the same batteries to operate multiple power tools. This helps justify the additional cost of needing batteries and chargers, instead of the standard 120V cord that plugs into your outlet. The benefits of not having the cord are \ easy to visualize. You’re going to be relieved to not be fighting with that cord as it drags behind you at all times. Instead, you’ll be able to pick up your jigsaw and simply walk across your shop to make a cut without having to find the nearest power outlet first.
- Blade speed variability is a useful function for light-duty jigsaw cuts. If you’re hoping to make a very clean cut on a thin or brittle piece of wood, you might not want to rev the power all the way up. Having the option to slow your blade down really allows you to make precise cuts at a steady pace, ensuring the final cut looks as smooth as you need it to be. Look for variable-speed options in your jigsaw to find the product that will best allow you to control this power as you choose.