How to choose the best jigsaw blades for your project and what to look for when buying the blade?
When you choose the correct blade for your jigsaw, the project you have will benefit from improved cut quality and performance.
Best T-Shank Blades
Best U-Shank Blades
Best Value Set
|Dewalt DW3742C||SKIL 94913||Contractor Blade set|
|For wood, metal, and laminate||Wood, hardwood, metal and plastic||Wood, plastic and metal|
|HCS and Bi-metal Blades (14pcs)||13pcs including multi-pupose blades||60pcs HCS and HSS Blades|
|TPI: 6, 10, 12, 18, 32||Includes 2 ugly blades for heavy duty cutting||Assorted blade set|
Jigsaw Blades for Different Materials
The type of material to be cut is the primary factor that determines the type of jigsaw blade you need. Generally, you need a coarse blade with low TPI to cut soft materials like wood and a fine blade with high TPI for hard materials like steel, aluminum, and other metals.
Wood Jigsaw Blades
The most important factor to look for when selecting the type of jigsaw blades for cutting wood is the TPI (tooth per inch).
- Construction Lumber: 6 TPI Blade made out of HSC (High Carbon Steel) or HSS (High Speeed Steel)
- Fine Woodworking: 10 – 12 TPI clean-cut blade (HSC or HSS). Use 20 TPI blade for sharp curve cutting
- Hardwood, Plywood, MDF: 12 -20 TPI clean-cut blade (HSS or bi-metal)
The above set from Bosch has all your woodworking needs covered. You can also cut other soft materials like plastic sheets and PVC pipes with these blades.
Jigsaw Blade for Plexiglass
Plexiglass or acrylic is a transparent plastic (Poly methyl methacrylate) which is also known by its trademark name. Plexiglass is harder than wood and you need a fine blade to cut it. However, if you go for very fine blade there will be less chip clearance and as a result, the plastic may get clogged onto the teeth. Hence I recommend you go for metal cutting blades with 11-17 TPI.
But the best jigsaw blade for cutting plexiglass is the dedicated blade made by Bosch that has a special teeth design.
Should you decide to go for a metal cutting blade, use the one without painting as the heat generated during cutting can be a problem.
Jigsaw Blade Shank Types
The first step to choosing the most appropriate jigsaw blade is to consider its mounting requirements.
Generally, there are two types of mounts;
You’ll need a set-screw for the older U-shank blades, while the newer models use a T-shaped shank that locks into place without needing an additional tool. Some jigsaws accept both blade types.
There are two other shank designs that are less popular; the Makita shank and Bayonet-Shank.
Makita Shank: This is a mount type developed by major power tool brand Makita. The Makita shank has two holes and offers better stability. However, when it comes to blade replacement the T-shank is much easier to work with. Besides the Makita shank blades work only with certain jigsaw models.
Bayonet-Shank This type of shank has a hole and a hook design. The jigsaws that accept this mount are discontinued although you can still buy the blades in case you happen to have one of these jigsaws.
As with most power tools, the tool-less operation is gaining popularity among jigsaws as well. As a result, the majority of the new jigsaw models (including Makita) have tool-less T-shank mounts.
What Does TPI Mean on a Jigsaw Blade?
TPI refers to “Teeth per Inch” when shopping for a new jigsaw blade. This rating influences the performance factors for the product.
The TPI rating affects how fast and rough your cuts happen when using a jigsaw. It can also dictate what materials you can use with your tool while working on a project.
If you have a lower TPI, your jigsaw will cut rougher and move faster through the materials, making it a better option for soft material. This is because, with less teeth per inch (TPI), the teeth have deeper gullet and more clearance for the cutting dust to escape. A higher rating will move more slowly, creating a more nuanced cutting experience that requires less finishing work afterward.
When you need a jigsaw to cut through wood, a blade with a TPI between 6-20 is typically appropriate. This rating is sufficient for other soft materials, including foam board, plywood, engineered surfaces, and similar items.
If you must cut metal or tough materials, a TPI rating of 14-36 will provide a better solution. You would choose this option for plexiglass, plastic, and similar items.
Any jigsaw blades with a TPI rating above 36 are typically reserved for a specialty project, such as cutting through glass or tile.
Jigsaw Blades Material
Jigsaw blades are available for numerous materials today. The composition of each one determines what it can do or how you can use it.
Although nearly all blades are made from metal, you’ll find several composition options are in the marketplace today. They can be made from high-speed steel, high-carbon steel, bi-metal, tungsten carbide tipped, and diamond grit blades.
HCS: When you see cheap jigsaw blades at the store, most of them are high-carbon steel in composition. That makes them flexible enough to use for most wood-cutting requirements.
HSS: If you need to cut plastic or metal, a high-speed steel blade provides the heat-resistance required to have a successful experience. This choice also works well with dense wood products, including MDF, hardwood, and treated lumber.
Bi-Metal: Bi-metal jigsaw blades get forged with two steel types, making them exceptionally durable for numerous applications. You’d use them for heavy-duty applications.
Carbide and Diamond Grit: When you want the best jigsaw blades hardened steel or other tough materials, tungsten carbide choices are your best option. They provide the best durability and heat resistance of any other product in the marketplace today. You’d want to use this choice for cutting through steel, ceramics, or tile.
How to Cut a Cement Board with a Jigsaw
If you plan to lay some tile, a cement backing board may be part of that project. It’s helpful because you don’t need a thick mortar bed to have a successful installation. You can use a thin-set instead, simplifying the process.
When the cement board gets installed correctly, you receive a more rigid substrate than plywood offers.
The challenge of using this product is its hardness when trying to cut it. Not only is the material unfriendly to the standard jigsaw blade, but it also produces silica dust that irritates your lungs and eyes. Before working on this product, please wear personal protective equipment and make your cuts outdoors.
A standard metal-cutting blade will typically push through the cement board with relative ease. You can also look for options that include diamond-tipped or carbide teeth to give you the extra cutting power needed for the hard surface.
What Are the Different Jigsaw Blade Types?
Most jigsaws use a standard design for the blade to create a cutting opportunity. These items are readily available at almost any store or online shop.
When you need to make several different cuts in unique materials, it may be necessary to swap out the standard blade with a specialist one. Each has some particular advantages and disadvantages to consider before deciding to use them.
Reverse Tooth Blades
Instead of pointing upward, the teeth on this blade point downward. That means your jigsaw starts cutting on the downstroke instead of the upstroke.
You’d use this option when you want to cut through something that could splinter while working. Things like a laminate floorboard or countertop would match well with this blade so that damage doesn’t occur.
Plunge Cut Blades
Blades with this design come equipped with a sharp tip at the end of them. This option enables it to pierce through the materials you’re working with at the beginning of the plunge. It works better with softer items, such as plasterboard, although it may be appropriate for some softwood selections.
This jigsaw blade is designed for narrower cutting needs than what a standard choice offers. You have more flexibility with curved cuts when using this option without worrying about where it bends, bends, or breaks.
Anything that requires a clean, controlled cut with accuracy benefits from using this approach. It works better when working with a delicate piece, but the design is suitable for virtually all materials. Please remember to get a metal-compatible blade for that material.
The jigsaw’s shoe often extends beyond the blade. That means cutting a flush surface is impossible with a standard design. You’d use this specialty option to advance your reach, enabling a vertical surface cut with relative ease. When you need an ultra-clean slice through the materials, it produces a satisfactory result with a superior finish.
A jigsaw can seem surprisingly complex when picking up the tool for the first time. Before you start considering what blades to use or projects to complete, these frequently asked questions and their answers can provide you with the crucial information you need to know for a successful experience.
Are Jigsaw Blades Universal?
Only the U-shank jigsaw blade design is considered a universal option for this tool. It’s an older style that you can still find on some discounted products, but this choice is generally falling out of favor today.
It takes a lot more time to switch the blade with the addition of a screw to the process for most models. With the T-shaped shank, you can quickly unlock the old one, put the new cutter into place, and get back to work right away.
Can I Use a U-Shank Jigsaw Blade in a T-Shank Tool?
Although U-shank and T-shank jigsaw blades are not interchangeable, some tools allow you to use both of them. The manufacturer will let you know what design works for the product you purchase.
If a jigsaw accepts T-shank blades only, you cannot use the universal U-shank design with your tool. The item won’t fit in the receptacle, and you’ll have an unsafe tool to use if you try to force it in there.
The opposite outcome is also true. When your jigsaw accepts the U-shank design only for the blades, you cannot use the T-shank style in that product.
You must be careful when shopping for brand-specific jigsaw blades because many companies produce both models, especially if they offer a hybrid system. If your tool doesn’t have that choice, you must focus on the particular designs needed for your product.
What Is a Flush Cut with a Jigsaw Blade?
When jigsaws get fitted with a standard blade, it cannot create a flush cut to a vertical surface. The logistics of doing so are impossible because the base plate extends beyond the cutting surface.
You must use a flush-cut blade to achieve this result, which will cut right up to whatever vertical surface you’re attempting to manage.
What Are Bayonette Jigsaw Blades?
This jigsaw blade design was exclusive to Porter-Cable tools. It is no longer manufactured, although you can still find some of them on the secondary market if you still have one at home.
It was not made available to other jigsaw manufacturers.
Are You Ready to Start Making Some Sawdust?
A jigsaw is one of the most versatile power saws in your collection. Although many people use it to create curved cuts and artistic pieces, jigsaws can also serve as a construction or demolition tool.
Each cut’s quality from your jigsaw gets based on the blade TPI and the style you choose. Some blades are meant for metal, others are for wood, and some general-purpose designs are out there to help you conquer whatever project is coming your way.
When you want to take your productivity or creativity to new heights, consider adding a jigsaw to your collection. Once you do, keep this guide in mind to ensure the blades you get are the ones needed to get the job done.
- Jigsaw Blades for Different Materials
- Jigsaw Blade Shank Types
- What Does TPI Mean on a Jigsaw Blade?
- Jigsaw Blades Material
- What Are the Different Jigsaw Blade Types?