What are the different types of jigsaw handle?

     
     
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 Barrel grip jigsaw and top handle jigsaw 

One of the most noticeable ways in which jigsaws can differ from one another is the type of handle they have. There are two types of jigsaw handle: barrel grip and top handle.

 

Whilst top handle jigsaws tend to be more widely available, both types of handle have their own strengths and weaknesses.

 
     
   

Top handle

 
 Corded jigsaw with top handle 

Most jigsaws have a top handle, sometimes known as a bow handle or D-handle, upon which the trigger switch and speed control dial are found.

 

The slimmer grip of these tools makes them easier and more comfortable to hold than barrel grip jigsaws. This is one of the key reasons why jigsaws with this handle design are more popular with DIYers or new users.

 
     
 Cutting through thick workpiece with top handle jigsaw 

However, because the handle is further away from the workpiece and the cutting line may not be as visible, jigsaws with a top handle can be difficult to manoeuvre, particularly when cutting tight curves.

 

On the other hand, when using a top handle jigsaw, your hand will be positioned above rather than behind the motor, which is beneficial when cutting workpieces made out of thick or dense material. 

 
     
 Using top handle jigsaw with two hands 

Although top handle jigsaws are usually held with one hand, some models are designed with a knob at the front of the tool which acts as an auxiliary handle to enable two-handed operation.

 

This feature helps to provide the user with more control and stability.

 
     
   

Barrel grip

 
 Jigsaw with barrel grip handle 

Instead of having a handle above the motor, on barrel grip jigsaws, the motor housing functions as the handle of the tool. 

 

The lower centre of gravity of this type of jigsaw provides them with greater accuracy. As they are guided from behind rather than from above, it is easier to follow the cutting line and to keep the shoe flat and stable on the workpiece.

 
     
 Barrel grip jigsaw being used to cut wood with two hands 

Like some top handle models, most barrel grip jigsaws have a knob at the front of the tool which allows the user to hold the tool with both hands.

 

However, as the barrel grip tends to have a slightly larger circumference compared with the top handle, it can be difficult for users with smaller hands to comfortably hold the tool.

 
     Wonkee Donkee says: 'As the motor housing is also the handle of the tool, the barrel grip may get quite hot during use. This is something to bear in mind if you will be using your tool extensively.'
     
   

Which type of handle should you choose?

 
 Confused man, making a decision, which to choose? 

When deciding whether a barrel grip or top handle jigsaw is best for you, the main thing to consider is the task you intend to use it for. 

 

For more precise, intricate applications, a barrel grip jigsaw is likely to give you better control. However, for simple cutting tasks, a top handle model will be sufficient.

 
     
 Hand 

The size of your hands will also be a factor.

 

Users with larger hands will be better able to hold a jigsaw with a wider barrel grip handle than those with smaller hands. 

 
     
 Holding both types of jigsaw handle: holding a barrel grip jigsaw and holding a top handle jigsaw 

Whilst both types of handle have their benefits and drawbacks, the type that is best for you will depend on your personal preference. Ideally, before purchasing a jigsaw, you should hold each type and see which feels most comfortable.

 

Some people will prefer the feel of a barrel grip saw, whilst others will find top handle jigsaws easier to handle and control. 

 
     
 Convertible handle jigsaw 

Convertible grip jigsaws

If you cannot decide between the two types of handle, there are some jigsaws that have a 'convertible grip'.

 

On these saws, the top handle can be removed to convert the tool into a barrel grip jigsaw. Having a convertible grip jigsaw enables you to adapt the tool depending on the level of control you require.

 
     
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