Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast tackling home renovations or a professional carpenter on the job site, having the right tools can make all the difference in the quality and efficiency of your work. For intricate curved cuts and detailed scrollwork, one of the handiest power tools is the jigsaw with a laser guide. The precision of a laser beam to follow while cutting can help you achieve complex designs with ease.
But with numerous jigsaw models on the market boasting laser guide capabilities, it can get overwhelming trying to determine the best one for your needs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll shine a light on the top jigsaw tools with laser guides available and provide key factors to consider for choosing the right one. Read on for pro tips to upgrade your jigsaw game with laser-cutting accuracy.
An Introduction to Jigsaws with Laser Guides
A jigsaw with laser guide is a specialized type of jigsaw that projects a laser beam in front of the saw blade as a visual cut line guide. The laser beam remains steady and aligned even as the blade moves up and down, providing a consistent reference point to follow. This allows for greater control and precision when executing detailed or curved cuts in wood, laminates, plastics, and various building materials.
Laser guide jigsaws differentiate themselves from traditional jigsaw models in a few key ways:
- The laser beam enhances cutting accuracy by showing exactly where the blade will go. This helps prevent wandering or crooked cuts.
- They provide an extra element of guidance and control for following lines and templates with intricate shapes.
- The laser acts as a safety feature by indicating the path of the live blade.
- Cuts can be lined up and started more efficiently without having to preset markings.
For hobbyists and professionals who work with customized cuts and shapes often, a laser guide can be an invaluable upgrade over a standard jigsaw alone. But you’ll want to choose the right laser jigsaw for your particular needs.
In the sections below, we cover the top models on the market and factors to weigh when selecting the best laser-equipped jigsaw for woodworking, carpentry, DIY projects, and more. Let’s get started illuminating which tools stand out from the pack.
The Top 5 Jigsaw Tools with Laser Guides
1. DEWALT 20V MAX Jig Saw with Laser (DCS334B)
- 20V lithium ion battery for portability
- Variable speed adjustment up to 3,000 SPM
- Integrated dust blower keeps cutline visible
- Adjustable shoe for bevel cuts up to 45 degrees
- Tool-free blade release for quick changes
This cordless DEWALT model combines ample power and versatility with the precision of an adjustable line-of-cut laser. Convenient features like the dust blower, bevel capacity, and tool-free blade changes make it easy to use for diverse cutting tasks. It’s a rugged, compact choice for professional job site use.
2. Bosch 18V Barrel-Grip Jigsaw with Laser (T318B)
- 18V battery operation for cordless convenience
- Barrel grip design enhances comfort and control
- Precision Control Technology helps maintain speed under load
- Integrated LED work light illuminates cut lines
- Tool-free blade change system
With patented technologies to optimize cutting performance, this Bosch jigsaw delivers precise tracking and smooth operation. The unique barrel grip offers excellent handling, while the laser etch line and LED light give clear visual guidance. It’s built to power through tough jobs with enhanced runtime.
3. Makita Cordless Jigsaw with Laser Guide (4329X1)
- 18V LXT lithium ion battery for longer run time
- Variable speed control dial (800-2,600 SPM)
- Orbital cutting action for faster, cleaner cuts
- Large trigger switch for easy operation
- Tool-less blade change for quick swaps
Makita’s cordless laser jigsaw provides best-in-class speed and performance. The combination of variable speed settings, orbital action, and laser precision makes intricate cutting tasks easy. It runs cooler and more efficiently than similar models. Overall, it’s designed for professional demands.
4. PORTER-CABLE Orbital Jigsaw with Laser Guide (PCE345)
- Powerful 6.5 amp motor
- Variable speed dial up to 3,200 SPM
- Orbital mode reduces friction and overheating
- 45° bevel capacity for angled cuts
- Lock-on button for continuous operation
This top-performing corded model by PORTER-CABLE delivers robust cutting power and control at a very affordable price point. The adjustable laser line matches the blade movement to achieve accurate curved, scroll, and detail work in wood. It’s a great choice for the budget-conscious.
5. SKIL Orbital Laser Jigsaw (4395-02)
- Powerful 6.0 amp motor
- Precision-guided laser cutline
- 3 orbital settings for optimized cutting
- 45° bevel system for angled cuts
- Dust blower keeps line of sight clear
For those looking for an entry-level laser-equipped jigsaw that still packs a punch, this SKIL model is a leading option. The combination of orbital cutting and built-in dust blower allows smooth, splinter-free performance across various materials. It’s easy to control and won’t break the bank.
How to Choose the Best Jigsaw with Laser Guide
With so many brands and models available from professional grade to budget-friendly, choosing the right laser jigsaw involves weighing several factors to match your cutting needs and preferences. Here are key considerations when buying:
Blade Type and TPI
- Jigsaw blades come in a range of materials (high carbon steel, cobalt steel, carbide grit) and teeth per inch (TPI) configurations suited for different cutting tasks and materials. Select the right TPI for your intended cutting applications.
- Look at motor power measured in amps for corded models, or battery voltage for cordless. More power allows faster cutting through thick or dense materials.
- The strokes per minute (SPM) determines maximum cutting speed. Models with variable speed dials allow matching the speed to the material.
Laser Brightness and Accuracy
- Brighter lasers show up better in bright work conditions. Check laser diode power in milliwatts. Lasers that maintain accuracy across materials perform best.
- Built-in dust blowers or dust ports help keep cut lines visible when connected to vacuums. This also reduces airborne dust.
- A rubberized grip, barrel handle, or anti-vibration protection can reduce fatigue from long-term handheld use.
- Many jigsaws include blades, edge guides, chip deflectors, or storage cases. This adds value for the price.
Brand Reputation & Warranty
- Stick with jigsaw brands known for reliability and durability. Also check warranty coverage provided.
Once you’ve analyzed factors like these, you can zero in on the best laser-equipped jigsaw that matches your cutting application needs, power requirements, budget, and comfort preferences. Doing some upfront homework pays off in the long run with a jigsaw you’ll enjoy using for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jigsaws with Laser Guides
Considering upgrading to a laser-equipped jigsaw but still have some questions? Here we answer some of the most common queries about these tools:
Do laser guides make accurate cuts?
Yes, the laser beam matches the blade movement and provides a consistent cutting path reference, preventing wandering and increasing accuracy, especially for intricate curves and shapes. It acts as an enhanced visual guide.
Do I need special blades for laser guide jigsaws?
You can use standard T-shank jigsaw blades. Many brands now optimize blade geometries to work in sync with laser guides. The best performance comes from blades designed specifically for laser jigsaws.
Can the laser get knocked out of alignment?
It’s possible but unlikely with most quality models which have the laser diode firmly set into the housing. Maintaining calibration is key for lasers to stay accurate.
Is a laser guide necessary or just an accessory?
It depends on your cutting needs. For simple straight cuts, a laser isn’t essential. But it can be indispensable for detailed curved, scroll, or template work in woodworking and other jobs requiring enhanced precision.
What safety precautions should I take when using a laser jigsaw?
As with any power tool, wear eye protection to avoid potential laser radiation exposure. Avoid direct eye contact with the beam, and don’t point it at people. Lasers can damage eyes.
What materials can laser guide jigsaws cut?
Laser jigsaws work on wood, laminates, veneers, acrylics, plastics, light metals, tile, and more. Their fine cutting capabilities excel on detailed jobs in woodworking. Blades and settings need to match the material.
How do I change jigsaw blades with a laser guide?
Most models have tool-free blade release levers for quick changes without touching the hot blade. Be careful not to touch or smudge the laser lens when changing blades.
Should I buy a corded or cordless laser jigsaw?
Each has pros and cons. Corded models offer continuous power for extended cutting sessions. Cordless provides unlimited portability but with limited runtime per battery charge. Consider your usage scenarios.
What maintenance does a laser jigsaw require?
Keep the laser lens clean, blow out dust, and wipe down after use. Lubricate the blade guide bars periodically. Other than replacing worn brushes or gears, laser jigsaws require minimal maintenance.
What are the best uses for a jigsaw with laser guide?
Lasers excel at cutting curves, interior cut-outs, scrollwork, trim work, and other tasks requiring enhanced precision guidance. The laser beam keeps you cutting “inside the lines” with intricate shapes.
Guiding You to Jigsaw Success
Upgrading your jigsaw game with a laser-equipped model can help take your woodworking and DIY cutting accuracy to the next level. By considering factors like power, features, brand reputation, and cost, you can select the right laser-guided jigsaw for tackling precise curves, interior cut-outs, scrolling, inlay work, and more.
Whichever laser jigsaw you choose, be sure to adopt safe practices when operating it. Follow the beam path carefully, avoid direct eye exposure, and wear protective gear. With the right laser jigsaw ready to work, you’ll be able to power through intricate cutting tasks with enhanced precision, efficiency, and creativity.