Bosch JS5 Jigsaw - Review
To us, Bosch Jigsaws are some of the best out there. We've used a lot of different models and have always been impressed with their accuracy and quality. So when we heard that they were releasing a compact model, we were curious how it would turn out. Would they be able to pack all the goodness into a smaller package, or would the quality be somewhat sacrificed?
The JS5 has many of the features that are found on quality jigsaws these days. It's got a great tool-free blade change system, which is a real plus to anyone who used to carry around an 8 inch screwdriver for blade changing. Now, all you have to do is press the blade up into the slot and it clicks into place. To release the blade, just twist the collet, using a thumb tab, and the blade falls right out. It's similar to the system that is on some reciprocating saws.
Also on the JS5 is a four-position switch that controls the orbital action of the blade. If you're looking for a rougher, faster cut, then click it to full orbital, but if you're getting into the detail work, a few clicks the other way and you've got a blade with little or no horizontal motion. Next to the orbital switch is a slider that controls a little dust blower that is directed at the cut line. We played around with this for a while and it works nicely. We're not really sure why the control is even there, shouldn't it always be on? Is there some woodworker out there who insists on having sawdust pile up on his cut line? If sawdust is a real issue for you, there is also a little vacuum port on the back of the tool.
The JS5 comes with a bevel-adjust metal footplate, If you've ever used a Bosch jigsaw before, it's the same set-up that it always was. If you're new to the line of tools, it's really easy; just loosen a little nut with the Allen wrench (stored at the base of the cord) and move the plate to where you want it, then tighten. The footplate is compatible with other Bosch footplates, so if you don't want to use the metal one, it should be easy enough to find one made of plastic.
We used the JS5 for a few weeks and it consistently delivered accurate cuts and proved to be as durable as every other Bosch jigsaw that we've ever used (which means, "virtually indestructible"). At just a hair over five pounds, it's one of the lightest as well. When compared to our old Bosch jigsaw, the JS5 is just as tall, but a few inches stubbier, making it a bit easier to fit into tight spots.
The tool has 5.7 amps, which we found was plenty of power to cut anything we threw at it. Bosch also has a 6.4 amp jigsaw for some really heavy-duty work, but if you're not planning on getting too extreme, the JS5 should be plenty powerful. The variable speed on the JS5 ranges from 500 to 3100 spm (strokes per minute). For comparison, the 6.4 amp saw has an spm of 500 to 2800. So what you lose in power, you gain (at least partly) in speed.
The JS5 comes with a carrying bag and one blade. It retails for about $100 and, from our experience, is the nicest jigsaw available in that price range.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at February 25, 2008 5:50 PM