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Jigsaws - top handle or barrel grip?

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  • Jigsaws - top handle or barrel grip?

    Do you have/prefer top grip or barrel grip jigsaws and why?

    I'm thinking of picking up one of the new Bosch's but not sure of pros/cons of each style.

  • #2
    Re: Jigsaws - top handle or barrel grip?

    I don't think there really is a pro or con for either style. Mostly a personal preference thing, i.e., which style feel good in your hand. Either style will do everything the other style can. FWIW, I hand the top grip style.
    Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian."
    ------- Henry Ford


    • #3
      Re: Jigsaws - top handle or barrel grip?

      I prefer a top handle, one which is preferrably well designed with ergonomics in mind.

      I have two jig saws, one being a 1970's Craftsman made by Ryobi Industries, at that time. Top handle, that is parallel to the base and a simple thumb-operated slide switch just forward of the handle. Real simple, real cheap ($18 in 1972) and too short of a single-speed stroke for my liking. But I haven't been able to kill it.

      My second is the current Ryobi JS550LK. Variable speed, variable orbital stroke, scrolling head, non-tool adjustments, and much better ergonomics. It cuts well, has minimal vibration (passes the vibration test), and fits well in the hand. But I don't like the plastic blade lock/release and the laser sucks! But the handle fits well in the hand and it cuts quite well.

      (This is my second '550', the first one had the plastic blade release flyoff within the first couple of hours of operation and the laser was way off and couldn't be adjusted back to center. The replacement has fared much better, and though the laser is okay, I simply don't like the light and therefore keep tape over it.)

      I've used a "barrel grip" a couple of times (can't remember the brand, as it was long ago). I didn't like it, as it simply didn't feel well and I didn't feel like I had good control. Also, the motor got hot and that's what you're gripping... so, give me a handle any day.

      I should note that the "sabre" or "jig saw", as they are now called, is not a big use tool for me... hence my choice for minimal investment. The kind of work one does and perhaps the style of one's work is going to pretty much regulate the tools of choice. I'm not big on curves and scallops, hence the minimal need for a jig saw. For cutting holes a wall or panel, there are other tools that serve my purposes better, and of course are depending on the amount of "finesse" I need (like there's no "finesse" at all with a recip saw.. but damn it does get the job done!)

      I hope this helps,



      • #4
        Re: Jigsaws - top handle or barrel grip?

        I'd say top handle. I have both a 6.0amp RIDGID jigsaw and a 6.0amp Porter Cable and they are both comfortable for me. I've used the barrel style before and its not my cup of tea.


        • #5
          Re: Jigsaws - top handle or barrel grip?


          I began my woodworking with a top handle, and have owned 3 different brands. A Craftsman from the late 50's/early 60's, a corded Ryobi, and a Dewalt which I bought in the late 90's that has variable speed, stroke, and a scrolling head like CW's JS550LK.

          I have tried both types of configurations over the years and prefer the top handle, but we tend to go with what we know. For the record the Dewalt has become the one I use the most. I agree that it is simply a matter of preference.


          • #6
            Re: Jigsaws - top handle or barrel grip?

            I actually prefer barrel grip. It gives more control for doing things like curves and such. Also, because you're holding the tool lower on the body the balance is better. All just IMHO of course.