Back in March my predecessor, David Frane, reported on the unveiling of a new jigsaw from Bosch, the JS120. Shown for the first time at the World of Concrete tradeshow, the JS120 turned some heads. And it just hit the market this week.
If I weren’t already familiar with Bosch’s 12V saws I admit that I’d be skeptical of this new cordless jigsaw’s power. But I used their cordless multi-tool for several years to do everything from plunge-cutting floor boards to notching framing, so I know that the new jigsaw is sure to produce real power.
An Interview with Bosch
I spent some time on the phone recently with Bosch’s brand manager and product manager. Here are some things I found out:
the tool was designed to expand their 12V tool line in order to give users a compact yet powerful enough jigsaw option.
- they wanted to make a tool that was compact and small enough to be useful in overhead situations. The most commonly used example by Bosch is cutting canned lights out in a beadboard ceiling. While I can think of better and more accurate ways of going about that job (holesaw anyone?), it’s still a useful scenario to imagine when illustrating the tool’s size and weight.
- they wanted to give users a barrel-grip option because they’ve had good success with the barrel grip corded versions.
- the design allows the user to grip the tool close to the cutting point safely, providing more control over the cut (we’ll see how that plays out; see below).
Jigsaw Blade Compatibility
The JS120 accepts all T-Shank style blades, though the Bosch folks I spoke to were quick to point out that some of the larger blades aren’t probably well-suited for this tool. Which makes sense – you’re more likely to use this cordless version to cope crown molding than you are rough-cutting a radius in a 4-in. thick beam (you’re only going to get through 2 ½-in. of wood with the JS120, anyway, which is probably fine).
Battery and Power
I learned something interesting I’d never known before. I asked Bosch about their 10.8V technology, and if the new 12V jigsaw is compatible with those batteries. The answer is, thankfully, yes. What’s interesting is that Bosch named their earlier versions 10.8V even though the battery produced 12V directly off the charger, with no workload. Once the tool is put to use, the power drops down to a more steady 10.8V. Well a competitor came out with the same 10.8V technology, but called it a 12V. So in an effort to remain competitive, without steering the end users wrong, they named their series “12V Max”. It’s important note that this is a common practice with all tool companies now. A recent press release from DeWalt about their battery adapter read “*maximum initial battery voltage (measured without workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18V".
One important point to note: don’t expect this jigsaw to be the workhorse of any of its corded cousin. It’s not meant to replace a corded jigsaw, but to supplement it, say the folks at Bosch. Convenient point when you’re in the market of selling corded jigsaws. But a good point nonetheless.
Cost: $119; that’ll only get you the tool. You’ll need to buy battery and charger separately if you don’t already own them.
How will it Fare?
Everything I’m seeing and reading so far about the JS120 is positive. And I’m very intrigued by the reported weight of the tool (3.3 lbs), which is about 35 percent lighter than their corded versions. I’m awaiting a test version, which I plan to put to use on a remodeling project that I’m currently working on, and I’ll hand off to some carpenters in my area to use. And I’ve ordered the Collins Coping Foot as well, to see if it is compatible. So stay tuned.