What are the different types of jigsaw blades?

By  Enda McLarnon

Electric and cordless jigsaws remain one of the most popular saws for cutting wood and other materials such as plastic and thinner metals. Irrespective of which brand of jigsaw you own, or planning on buying, the jigsaw will need to have a good quality jigsaw blade. Below we explain the different types of jigsaw blades that are currently available on the UK market.

There are 2 main types of jigsaw blade known as t-shank and u-shank. These two types then come in versions suitable for cutting woods and laminates, cutting metals and cutting plastics.

Jigsaw Blade Buying Guide

There is quite a lot of information to understand but to make things just a little bit easier we will start with the basics. Let's start with the way that the blade gets attached to the jigsaw.

Blade Shank Type

T shank blades are the most common and in most cases if you have bought a jigsaw in the last 3-4 years these are what you will need to buy. Older jigsaws may use U shank blades so these are still available.

jigsaw blades t-shank
jigsaw blades u shank

Older type of jigsaws used a clamping system that was tightened by a screw or by an Allen key and these took U-shaped blades. 

More modern jigsaws have a simple click into place system which uses a quick release chuck so the t-shaped blades simply click in and out making for really easy blade changing.

Makita Fitting Jigsaw Blades

There are also Makita fitting jigsaw blades which are of course designed to fit into Makita branded jigsaws. Other brands are considering doing something similar as it helps differentiate them in the market.

Just in case you thought that was all cleared up Makita also make universal fitting blades.

Best Jigsaw Blade Set

Bosch Professional 2607010903 30-Piece Basic for Wood and Metal Jigsaw Blade Set (for Wood and Metal, Accessories for Jigsaws) , Black/Silver

The Bosch professional jigsaw blade set is the best seller on the UK market and also has the highest buyer satisfaction rating.

It has 30 t-fit blades suitable for straight cuts and curved cuts in wood and also has blades for cutting thin metal sheets

There are 10 x T119BO (83mm) jigsaw blades for fine curved cuts in wood, 10 x T111C (100mm) jigsaw blades for straight cuts in wood, and 10 x T118A (92mm) jigsaw blades for cutting metal

These are very high quality blades and come in a very handy plastic storage box. They are colour coded for ease of identification and use.

Check Amazon UK

Best Jigsaw Blade for Straight Fast Cuts in Wood

15 x TopsTools T144D Straight and Fast Cuts Carbon Steel Jigsaw Blades Compatible with Bosch, Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee and many more, Engineered Wood

These blades are designed for straight and very fast cuts in wood, such as OSB and plywood 1/4 In. to 2-3/8 In. thick.

They have a 6 TPI tooth profile and a high carbon steel blade body for exceptionally fast cutting in wood and they are made to last

They are t-shank blades so will fit most modern jigsaws

These are 4" long (100mm) so a working length of around 3" (76mm).

Check Amazon UK

Best Jigsaw Blade for Laminate Floors

Bosch Professional 3 pc. Jigsaw blade set Special for Laminate (T191AOF, T101BIF, Straight Cut, Accessories for Jigsaw)

This is a set of 3 quality jigsaw blades designed specifically for cutting laminate floorboards

They are excellent for making fine precise cuts

They are also very good for cutting skirting boards

As you may know most laminate floors are made from high density fibre board, and that type of board needs to be cut with a downward stroke, so the teeth have to point in the right direction

Two of the blades cut fine and one of the blades is even finer for detailed cuts.

Check Amazon UK

Best Jigsaw Blade for Cutting Plastic

Trend Professional Jigsaw Blades, Pack of 5, 75mm x 2mm, CV Cut, Perfect for Plastics and Acrylics

For the general cutting of plastic you can use any jigsaw blade.

Certain plastics and acrylics will need a blade designed for cutting those

The Trend blade shown to the right is designed for those tougher acrylics

It is made from chrome vanadium steel with 12 TPI and have u-shanks.

Check Amazon UK

Best Jigsaw Blade for Cutting Thin Metal

Bosch Accessories 5x Jigsaw Blade T 118 A Basic for Metal

When it comes to cutting metal, there are of course different type of metal. The most common metals that jigsaws can cut are steel sheets, stainless steel sheets, aluminium sheets, tubes and profiles and metal pipes and profiles

Bosch have a range of different metal cutting blades depending on which type of metal you want to cut

The ones we have shown on the right are for cutting metal sheets. The blades also slightly change depending on what thickness of metal (Gauge) you want to cut.

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Best Jigsaw Blade for Down Cuts

Bosch Professional 3 pc. Jigsaw blade set Special for Laminate (T191AOF, T101BIF, Straight Cut, Accessories for Jigsaw)

These are the same blades as we have shown for cutting laminate flooring

These cut on the down cut and for finer cuts in any type of wood that is exactly what you want

These Bosch professional blades are a little more expensive than other blades, but not that much and we think they are worth paying that little bit extra for.

For neat and fine cuts with a great finish these are hard to beat.

Check Amazon UK

Key Features of a Jigsaw Blade

Once you get the type of blade that you need to attach it to the jigsaw, then when it comes to buying blades there are the really important features that you should consider. We have explained those below.

Types of Jigsaw Blade Cut

When people buy jigsaw blades it is usually for a particular task. These can include cutting wood, cutting metal or cutting plastic. These are considered to be general cuts.

Jigsaws were made primarily to do curved cuts though they can also be used for straight cuts. Some people also want a really fine cut when they are cutting something such as laminate flooring as they want a very neat edge.

So as you can see, not every blade type is going to be the exact same.

What Material is the blade made from?

Jigsaw blades can be made from one of five  materials:

  1. High Carbon Steel (HCS) - suitable for cutting soft wood, plywood and fiberboard - these are the most popular choice
  2. High Speed Steel (HSS) - are suitable for cutting thin metal.
  3. Chrome Vanadium - good for long straight cuts in wood
  4. Tungsten - used mainly for cutting tiles and plastic and can take a lot of abuse
  5. Bi-metallic (an alloy of high carbon steel and high speed steel) - mainly used for hard woods and cut very fast without deflection

Teeth per Inch (TPI) and why that is important

Now that we know about what the jigsaw blades are made from, we will take a quick look at the teeth on a jigsaw blade.

The teeth on most jigsaw blades have upward facing teeth. This pulls the sawdust to the top of the material and can then be easier removed by some form of dust extraction.

There are some down cut and double tooth blades but these are used in specialised industries, so we will not discuss those in detail here.

A more important consideration for most users in the number of teeth per inch. TPI) As a general rule of thumb, the more TPI, the finer and neater your cut will be.

Typical TPI ranges are 8TPI to 12 TPI

Length of the blade

Jigsaw blades come in different lengths such as 75mm, 92mm and 100mm. Just be aware of that as you will have different depths of wood to go through.

Kitchen worktops for example come in 22, 28 and 38mm depths so most jigsaw blades will be long enough to handle those.

Thicker wood such as fence posts which are usually 76mm x 76mm (3" x 3") or 100mm x 100mm (4"x4") will need the longer blades.

Working length vs usable length

This is something that is never very clear when manufacturers talk about the length of a blade. It will be shown as something like 4". However, when fitted to the jigsaw, you use some of that length as it is inside the saw chuck.

Typically this is usually about an inch (25mm) So for example if you buy a blade that is 100mm long, the actual cutting length of the blade is going to be 76mm.

The right blade for the right material

This is really just common sense but a few people can get this wrong. In the vast majority of cases a jigsaw is used to cut wood. Depending on how fine you want that cut to be you can use different blades. You can also buy fast blades to do quicker cuts in wood.

You would not use a blade for cutting wood to cut metal because it would struggle to do that, and you would also ruin your blade. There are jigsaw blades made specifically for cutting thin metal.

There are also specialist blades for cutting certain type of plastics as we have explained above. For most plastic though a jigsaw blade that cuts either wood or metal can be used to cut plastic such as conduit or plumbing pipes.

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