Most jigsaw tools can best be described as “motorised reciprocating saws”. That means their blades moves up and down, powered by an electric motor. The user guides the jigsaw using its handle and the flat, metal “shoe” at the bottom of the tool, to cut materials including wood, chipboard, plastic, and in some cases, light metals and ceramic tile.

Jigsaws can make curved cuts, straight cuts, plunge cuts that don’t have to start at the edge of a material, and angled bevel cuts used to make bevelled edges.

While a jigsaw tool’s strongest suit will invariably be cutting curves and complex shapes, their versatility makes them an ideal choice for DIY beginners looking to get a lot done with a single power saw.

The first point to consider when choosing a jigsaw is how much you will be using it. With solid options available at reasonable prices, it doesn’t make much sense for very occasional users to buy a high-end tool.

Then again, if you love woodworking or expect to be doing a lot of DIY over the years, a high-quality jigsaw could be a great investment.

Another key question is whether to use a corded or a cordless tool. Corded jigsaws have the benefit of limitless runtime – but the drawback is the power cable trailing behind them, which can limit your movement to a certain radius of your power sockets or adaptor.

Cordless models can be used anywhere, without a trailing wire. However, they will run out of power when their battery is drained. How long it takes for this to happen can vary greatly depending on the battery and jigsaw used.

When cutting with a jigsaw, it is important to use a blade that suits the task. Jigsaw blades come in lots of shapes and sizes, with important variations in length, thickness and the density of jagged teeth on the blade, which is measured in teeth-per-inch (TPI).

Different blade properties produce different results: for instance, long blades tend to be better at cutting thicker materials, while short blades tend to cut more accurately. Always check the blade packaging for guidance before you buy.

We tested the jigsaws featured by using them to cut shapes out of wooden boards of varying thickness. We were looking for ease of set up, user friendliness, manoeuvrability and cutting capability.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Erbauer 710W 220-240V pendulum jigsaw EJS710: £50, DIY at B&Q

We found this jigsaw to be not only one of the simplest to use, but also one of the most effective. Considering its low-to-mid-market price, that’s saying something.

A particularly strong suit of the EJS710 is its manoeuvrability, which makes changing direction to cut out complex shapes relatively easy. We used it to make a wooden snake, which didn’t look half bad considering our tester’s limited artistic capabilities.

Another benefit to the EJS710 is its tool-free bevel adjustment mechanism, which makes it easy to set the tool up to cut bevelled edges up to 45 degrees. Some competitors use a hex key mechanism for the same purpose, which takes more time and effort.

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Ryobi R18JS-0 ONE+ cordless jigsaw with LED: £61.99, Amazon

Ryobi’s eye-catching R18JS-0 is comfortably the best cordless jigsaw we’ve tested. We found it made light work even of relatively thick, hard wood (our tester’s poor old kitchen door), cutting faster and easier than any other tool we tested.

For a mid-sized jigsaw, this is impressively nimble. If you’re new to using this type of tool, just remember to use its high cutting speed carefully. Zip along straight lines using a straight piece of material as a guide, then slow down to cut curves as accurately as you can. We recommend leaving a bit of excess material around the edge of the shape – this can be filed and sanded down after sawing, whereas there’s nothing you can do if you’ve cut inside the lines.

To use this tool, you’ll need to purchase a Ryobi ONE+ battery (£40) and charger (£35). These can also be used with over 100 other appliances from the Ryobi ONE+ range, which encompasses home, garden, automotive and crafting activities, and is in our opinion the best cordless system of its type.

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Stanley Fatmax cordless 3-stage pendulum action jigsaw FMC650B-XJ: £75, DIY at B&Q

Big, slow, and equipped with a pendulum action that helps cut through tough materials, the FMC650B-XJ is basically the Lennox Lewis of jigsaws.

This tool’s leisurely cutting speeds will frustrate users who need to get lots done in a short space of time – but for less experienced users, working a little slower may bring the benefit of easier control.

The aperture at the front of the shoe gives a good view of where the blade is cutting, which we found very helpful when tackling tricky shapes.

Make sure your material is properly clamped before use – otherwise, this heavy saw will rattle it like mad. This requires a Stanley Fatmax 18V lithium-ion 4Ah power tool battery, sold separately for £50.

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DeWalt 18V XR lithium-ion jigsaw: £130.81, Amazon

A sturdy, stable appliance of clearly high build quality, the DeWalt 18V XR is an ideal choice for keen crafters willing to pay a higher price for an appliance that will last. Thanks to its serenely smooth action, we found this jigsaw easier to work with than most of the competition.

One feature of the 18V VR that stood out was the variable speed trigger, which gives a fine degree of manual control as you cut. When using other tools without this functionality, we often found ourselves changing the amount of pressure on the trigger anyway – but obviously, with no effect on the speed. This jigsaw requires a DeWalt 18V lithium-ion battery (£45.29) and charger (£23.95).

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SKIL 600W 220-240V 4-stage pendulum action jigsaw SW1E4511AA: £50, DIY at B&Q

Here’s a decent affordable option from SKIL, the brand that brought us some of the world’s first electric circular saws back in the 1930s.

The SW1E4511AA is fairly heavy, which may prove to be a benefit for light users, as the tool’s own weight helps keep the shoe flat on the surface being cut. The 35mm dust extraction port, which you can see at the rear of the shoe, gets rid of some of the dust created by sawing when used with a compatible vacuum. This is a blessing when working indoors in an environment that needs to be kept relatively dust-free. One negative is that the jigsaw’s handle is far from the comfiest – but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue unless you are using it for long periods.

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VonHaus 400W jigsaw with laser guide: £26.99, Amazon

One of the lowest-priced jigsaws in our roundup, but far from the least effective, VonHaus’ 400W jigsaw packs plenty of sophisticated features into an approachable appliance.

Highlights include its tool-free blade change, four-stage pendulum action accommodating multiple material types, and its laser guide, which will help you avoid cutting off course. The laser guide is a particularly important feature, as this jigsaw does have a tendency to wander slightly when your concentration lapses – much like the other reasonably priced jigsaws reviewed here, as well as some of the more expensive ones.

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Black & Decker 500W 230V 3-stage pendulum action jigsaw KFBES500K-GB: £40, DIY at B&Q

This neat little jigsaw gets top marks for ergonomics, on the basis that it has one of the comfiest handles we’ve used. When cutting light materials such as soft wood, it is impressively user-friendly. An important factor in this is the inclusion of notches on the aperture at the front of the shoe, as these give a good visual guide as you work. Although this tool is approachable and good-value-for-money, it is undeniably less powerful in terms of wattage and cutting capacity than most of the other jigsaws we’ve tried. Bear this in mind if you have tough tasks ahead.

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VonHaus 20V MAX cordless jigsaw with battery and charger: £64.99, Amazon

Easy-to-use and with relatively low cutting power, we rate the VonHaus 20V MAX as highly suitable for less experienced users, especially those working on craft projects predominantly involving light materials. It is far worse-suited to heavier tasks, such as cutting through hard materials. If you need a jigsaw for light work and decide to try the 20V MAX, you’ll find the tool has a host of nifty features that make it a pleasure to use.

The blade-change mechanism is particularly simple, the battery charges in under an hour, and the dust extraction function can be reversed, so it directs the air to the blade, clearing the area ahead of the tool. Unlike the other cordless jigsaws reviewed here, the VonHaus 20V MAX comes complete with a charger and battery. In other words, it comes at a relatively low cost for a tool of its type.

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Mac Allister 600W 220-240V 3 stage pendulum action jigsaw MSJS600: £25, DIY at B&Q

Mac Allister’s 3-stage pendulum jigsaw is a steal at £25, and with a 600W power rating, it packs as much electrical punch as some costlier competitors. You can’t have it all for such a reasonable price, and there’s no doubt the MSJS600 is a bit heavy and cumbersome compared to the jigsaws we tested from the likes of Ryobi and Erbauer. Nonetheless, this tool is well suited to tackling relatively simple tasks on an occasional basis. If that’s all you really need a jigsaw for, you might do well to make the thrifty choice and buy one of these.

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Hyper Tough 500W jigsaw: £15, Asda

“Alexa, show me the cheapest jigsaw tool money can buy.” We’re staggered a company can produce a jigsaw as affordably priced as this while still turning a profit. The Hyper Tough 500W jigsaw does the job – just not quite so pleasingly. With a decent 500W power rating, a hex key system for changing the bevel, and a vacuum adaptor attached at the rear, it has all the basic features you need to achieve straight and curved cuts, at your chosen angle from 0-45 degrees, with minimal mess. If you only need a jigsaw for very occasional chores, this one is the most wallet-friendly pick we’ve come across.

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The verdict: Jigsaws

Offering great power and easy operability at a cut price, the Erbauer EJS710 is our favourite jigsaw on the market. If you are willing to spend more for the added convenience of cordless operation, Ryobi’s excellent R18JS-0 would be our recommendation.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.