In Tools

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Tool: JS120BN Jigsaw

Manufacturer: Bosch

MSRP: $119 (Without battery)

Because of its lower profile, I prefer a barrel-grip jigsaw to a top-handle. I feel as if having my hand closer to the work gives me better control, not only because the tool feels less tippy, but because I find it slightly easier to guide.

And I quite like this new 12-volt, lithium-ion powered one from Bosch (JS120BN) – it is lightweight (3.3 pounds) with six speed settings (and a no-load speed of 1,500 to 2,800 strokes per minute), a 34” stroke capable of cutting up to 234“-thick material, three orbital settings and an LED light (that can be turned off). The aluminum footplate adjusts with an on-board Allen wrench for bevel cuts up to 45°, and it locks down tight.

I’m also enamored of the small grip diameter (Bosch says it’s the smallest on the market), which is comfortable both in my hands and in the larger hands of some male friends. Plus, this tool runs smooth – the vibration is minimal, and a brake stops the blade almost immediately when you turn off the switch – a little safety feature that’s nice. I also appreciate the one-hand toolless blade-change mechanism; you eject the blade (T-shank only) without touching it, and can pop another in its place. (This might not sound like a big deal, but I’ve grabbed a lot of hot blades.)

One thing I don’t like is that the speed setting is a dial at the back of the body; you can’t change it in use.

But how does it perform? I ran it on and off for about 45 minutes (on one charge) through various wood species and thicknesses. It handled everything with aplomb, except for a piece of 6/4 oak – it still cut, but slowly.

I like the JS120BN enough to buy one for use at home (it helps that I already own the battery and charger).  PWM

— MF

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