Reviews recommend two jigsaws far more than any others. Tests show that both the top-handled Bosch 1590EVSK (*Est. $145) and the Festool Trion PSB300 EQ (*Est. $295) perform very well. Both make smooth cuts powered by soft-start motors with electronic speed control. (This keeps speed steady as the load varies.) The price difference is huge, but for those who use a jigsaw regularly for precise cuts, reviews say, the Festool jigsaw is the better tool.
The Festool Trion jigsaw is light (5.1 pounds), carries a three-year warranty and provides superb precision even on tight curves in thick hardwood. It's designed to work with an optional circle-cutting guide (*est. $25) and with the main Festool guide rail system. When equipped with the quiet Festool Cleantec CT 33 HEPA Dust Extractor (*est. $560), the Festool jigsaw captures sawdust better than any other jigsaw. The Festool jigsaw comes in both handle types, and Festool lets you try one for 30 days to make sure it's the handle you prefer.
Owners surveyed by Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding prefer the Festool jigsaw over the less-expensive Bosch 1590EVSK (*Est. $145). The 6-pound Bosch jigsaw is heavier and lacks dust collection. Tests show that it also vibrates more. (Vibration is the enemy of precise jigsaw cuts.) Editors at Fine Homebuilding prefer the Bosch jigsaw, however, praising its tool-free bevel changes. (The Festool jigsaw requires a wrench for this.) The Bosch jigsaw's baseplate moves back for flush cuts, and while changing blades on both jigsaws is easy, the Bosch conveniently pops out the hot blade.
Tests at Fine Homebuilding rank the top-handled 6.5-pound Milwaukee 6268-21 (*Est. $155) second to the Bosch, because blade changing on the Milwaukee isn't quite as convenient and because it's bigger and heavier. Editors say it's a close choice, however, because the Milwaukee jigsaw builds in an LED "headlight" to illuminate the cutting line. It also carries a five-year warranty, much better than the one-year warranty on Bosch tools. Owners give this jigsaw rave reviews at Amazon.com.
The barrel-grip Makita 4341FCT (*Est. $185) also comes with an LED light, and reviews say it's especially comfortable for people with small hands. Popular Woodworking ranks this jigsaw on a par with the Festool for smooth vibration-free cutting. The Makita can cut wood more than 5 inches thick (even more than the Festool), and the baseplate slides back for flush cuts.
The Hilti WSJ 850-ET (*Est. $280) is worth considering if portable dust control is a priority. The jigsaw connects to an ordinary tool-triggered shop vac, or to an optional dust-catching attachment, the Hilti WSJ DRS (*Est. $105). The 8.4-amp motor is soft starting and provides extra power. Readers of Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding rank this jigsaw even above the Festool saw, but it may be hard to find. The main drawbacks are its 6.9-pound weight and its poor visibility of the cutting line.