What a fantastic saw

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Review by sry posted 10-20-2008 02:35 AM 7036 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
What a fantastic saw What a fantastic saw What a fantastic saw Click the pictures to enlarge them

Overall impressions
I only wanted to buy a jigsaw once, so I bought the best I could afford the first time. This was it. $160 at the CPO Bosch website when I bought it a few months ago. I think it’s down to $145 at amazon now. I’ve been using the saw for a few months now, and have to say that I’m very glad I bought this rather than some of the others I’ve looked at. This saw seems to have power to spare in every task I’ve thrown at it, up to and including 2” thick oak. It feels like a beast in your hand, but it surprisingly easy to control. The “precision control system” supposedly provides 50% more accuracy when making curved cuts. I can’t really back up the 50%, but it does seem to limit blade deflection, so I use it whenever I make curved or angled cuts. The base tips to +- 45 degrees, which I think is pretty much standard. It also slides back 1/4” or so, enabling you to get farther into corners (I honestly haven’t used that feature though). There are multiple orbital settings to control how aggressive the saw is. I usually use one of the lowest settings, but then again I’m not using the saw for rough cutting stock to length/width. The cord is 10’ long and made of a nice rubberized material. The grip area is also a nice rubberized material, and is easy to hang onto during operation.

Blade changing
I can’t imagine going back to other blade changing mechanisms after using this saw. This is hands down the best system I’ve ever used. You slide the blade change lever (bladk thing on the front of the saw) to the right and the blade pops out. To put a new blade in, you just push it in. That’s it.

Barrel grip vs. top handle
This one’s a toss-up. I think I like features of both. I feel like the barrel grip gives me fantastic control over the saw, as it almost becomes an extension of my arm. With a top handle saw I feel like I’m turning the saw with my wrist, while with this saw it’s like I’m steering with my whole arm. I also like the switch that locks on, so I can concentrate on the cut and not holding down the trigger. Of course there are also situations where the top handle is nice, and the trigger switch is actually a benefit. Plus, the top handle saw is easier to hold onto when you lift the saw away from the workpiece. I think I’m probably leaning towards the barrel grip as my favorite, but if somebody wanted to give me the top handle version I’d welcome it with open arms. Maybe this is like the fixed-base vs D-handle router debate?

Included accessories
  • Blade: the included wood blades are decent, but my favorite so far for cutting wood are the Bosch clean blades (I use T101B and T101BR). I hear that the new extra clean blades (T308B) are even better for leaving both sides of the piece clean, but I haven’t used them yet. There’s a nice review here.
  • Anti-splinter insert: inserts behind the blade and provides support to the top of the workpiece to prevent splintering. I haven’t used this all that much yet, but the few times I have it seems to do its job.
  • No mar footplate: slips over the metal base to provide protection for fragile surfaces. Haven’t used it yet, but I can’t imagine that it doesn’t work.
  • Case (2nd picture): nice, rugged case holds the jigsaw, blades, included accessories, and has space for the optional dust collector (a nice bonus!).

Dust collection
The saw does include a blower which you can turn on or off to blow dust away from the blade. It works decently at high speed, but the blowing strength scales with motor speed which makes it next to worthless on low speeds. I decided to try out the dust collection accessory, which is shown in the 3rd picture above. The dust collection pipe slips through the base and emerges directly behind the blade, and a plastic shield clips onto a metal clip in front of the blade. It seems to suck up the dust quite well and leave the cutting line visible, although to be perfectly honest I don’t really need it that often, as I often use blades with downward pointing teeth that deposit most of their dust below the workpiece.

  • It’s loud. I don’t know if it’s louder or quieter than most other saws.
  • I wish there was better blade storage in the case. A place to store the blades where they won’t bump into each other.
  • The system for tightening the base plate in place is a little clunky, and there’s some play in the stop for 0 degrees, making it a little difficult sometimes to reset the saw to “normal position”.

I’ve used other jigsaws, such as my dad’s old B&D, Ridgid, DeWalt, and Skil, and this beats the pants off all of them. This is probably also why it costs more :o) This saw really is a dream to use. I just need to get better at what I’m doing so I gain the confidence to attempt more curvy pieces. Highly recommended to anyone. Unless you like top handle, then get the 1590EVS top handle version reviewed here. They’re more or less the exact same saw.

View sry's profile


147 posts in 4377 days

14 comments so far

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4568 days

#1 posted 10-20-2008 02:54 AM

I love mine too. Bosch does a great job these days. Nice detailed review

-- making sawdust....

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4514 days

#2 posted 10-20-2008 03:30 AM

I’ve been waiting for a review of this saw. I’ve had my eye on it for awhile. I’m a big fan of the Bosch line of portable power tools. I’ve had several brands of jig saws and haven’t been happy with any, including the craftsman that I have now. This may make up my mind. Thanks for the post.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4523 days

#3 posted 10-20-2008 03:59 AM

I too have bought one of these reciently and have come to love it. If you want to kick your cuts up a notch, get the Festool jig saw blades they leave extremely smooth cuts. They cost a bit more but they are worth it.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 4490 days

#4 posted 10-20-2008 06:48 AM

Thanks for the review. I’ve been thinking of upgrading from an old Craftsman, and this might be the one.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View OttawaP's profile


89 posts in 4496 days

#5 posted 10-20-2008 01:54 PM

I’ve owned one for a while now. It’s a good saw, power to spare with simple blade changes. I cross cut all my hardwood to length with it before the lumber hits the jointer. It doesn’t bog down at all.

-- Paul

View woodchips's profile


238 posts in 4734 days

#6 posted 10-20-2008 06:21 PM

I have the cordless version 18v top handle bosch jig saw and I do love it. Seems every bit as powerful as the corded version but the batteries are starting to wear down after two years of hard useage, not bad all in all but I’m ready for a smaller more compact li-on drill and I’ll prob get this barrel grip to replace my cordless version. Based on your review it seems like a standard high quality bosch jigsaw. Obviously just my opinion but bosch has seemed to lead the way when it comes to quality in jigsaws, they really have a great saw!

thanks for the review, well put together and very informative.


-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View Dwain's profile


614 posts in 4629 days

#7 posted 10-23-2008 04:10 AM

I have the exact saw you have. I love it. You won’t find too many woodworkers out there that don’t love it.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4442 days

#8 posted 10-23-2008 11:18 PM

That will make a great jigsaw.

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 4533 days

#9 posted 12-05-2008 04:54 AM

I just bought this same jigsaw ( barrell grip ) recently after haveing the old Craftsman with the scroll knob feature for probably close to 20 years. Believe it or not I haven’t tried it out yet, even after buying the Bosch TC21HC 21-Piece T-Shank Contractor Jig Saw Blade Set and blade case. From all that I’ve seen written about this saw I’m glad I bought it, it seems to get great reviews everywhere, and the blades are supose to be great too.

View sry's profile


147 posts in 4377 days

#10 posted 10-25-2009 10:35 PM

I thought I should post a quick update here. I’ve used this saw for a little over a year now and agree wholeheartedly with my initial review. I’ve used this saw to cut a lot of wood (thick and thin, hard and soft) and even some metal, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

A few new/updated thoughts:
-It can get hot with extended use. Only happened to me once when cutting triple-thick mdf for about a half hour straight, but I still had to put a glove on one hand.
-The extra clean blades from Bosch really are amazing.
-I really like the barrel grip and the control I have over the saw and haven’t regretted that decision for a second in the shop. However, I’ve used this in a few situations outside the workshop where the top grip would be better simply due to the weird angles I’d be working in.
-The no-mar footplate does exactly what it says it does. Shocking, I know :)

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4347 days

#11 posted 10-26-2009 12:42 AM

I didn’t buy a barrell grip but the bosch jig saw are the best I’ve ever owned I have two.


View Royalwoodworker's profile


31 posts in 3748 days

#12 posted 04-20-2010 03:28 AM

The best jigsaw I have ever used and the barrel grip is the best for accuracy. I cant stand top grip models anymore. Dont even mess with other jigs. BTW, this saw has withstood my HS students use for 2 years now, so, that is like us using it for 10-15 years. haha!

View Ralphie9's profile


12 posts in 3694 days

#13 posted 06-04-2010 05:12 PM

Anyone buy fro Coastal Tool online? They have these for $145

View Toolfool's profile


7 posts in 3611 days

#14 posted 11-21-2010 07:40 AM

Amen to all above, this is my jig saw too! The only saw I liked better was an earlier model of Bosch barrel grip saw they did not make when I lost it that had the round black knob with the red lever thingy in it, but maybe it was really just my memory decieving me as to how I loved that saws “feel” and control over this one. This blade change system though on this baby can’t be beat!

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