What is the stroke length of a jigsaw?

     
     
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 Jigsaw stroke length 

The cutting capacity of a jigsaw is determined by two factors: stroke length and stroke rate (measured in strokes per minute, or spm).

 

A jigsaw's stroke length is the distance the blade travels up and down while cutting. It can range from 18mm (¾") to 26mm (1").

 
     
 Jigsaw cutting through wood close-up 

The longer the stroke length of a jigsaw, the faster it is able to cut.

 

This is because a greater number of the blade's teeth come into contact with the workpiece per stroke.

 
     
 Cutting through thick wood with jigsaw 

Jigsaws with a longer stroke are more capable of cutting thicker materials. A longer stroke allows any sawdust or swarf produced to more effectively escape from the cut. As a result, less stress is put on the blade so it is likely to last longer before it needs to be replaced. 

 

The most efficient jigsaws have a stroke length of 25-26mm (1").

 
     
 Using short stroke jigsaw 

On the other hand, jigsaws with a shorter stroke (of around 18mm or ¾") produce a slightly smoother but slower cut.

 

Because they are less efficient than saws with a longer stroke, these jigsaws are more likely to be forced by the user which may overwork the tool's motor. 

 
     
 Metal cutting jigsaw 

However, saws with a slightly shorter stroke length offer the user more control because, as it travels a shorter distance, the blade produces less vibration.

 

This makes these jigsaws able to more effectively cut sheet metal which can be tricky to cut accurately if the blade is vibrating a great deal. 

 
     
 Jigsaw with longer stroke length; rapid sawdust removal 

Although jigsaws with a shorter stroke length are adequate for one-off DIY tasks, if you will be using your power tool regularly, a jigsaw with a longer stroke will be better able to meet your cutting needs.

 
    Wonkee Donkee says: 'Look for a jigsaw with a stroke length of at least 25mm (1”).' 
     
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