A jigsaw is a highly versatile and useful cutting tool which can cut through just about anything, from ceramics to wood and metal.  If that is, you have the right blade for your jigsaw and the right tooth arrangement for the job you're trying to complete.

Let's look at your options in jigsaw blades and how to pick the right one.  

Finding the Right Shank

The easiest way to categorize jigsaw blade is by the shank. The options are T-shank jigsaw blades and U-shank jigsaw blades. The shank is the part that fits into your powered jigsaw, and you simply have to pick the right shank type to fit the blade clamp.

U-shank blades are the older standard and require the use of tools such as an Allen wrench to lock the blade into place.  T-shank jigsaw blades are the newer standard and work with machines with a quick-change blade option.  Even better, in many situations, T-shank jigsaw blades can be used in a machine intended for U-shanks, although not always.

Basically, you probably want T-shank jigsaw blades unless you know your machine requires U-shanks.

Deciding on the Proper Tooth Set

There are five common tooth profiles on jigsaw blades, and each is best at different kinds of cutting.  These are:

  • Milled Wavy Set: The blade's tooth set look like waves, with minimal outward pointing. And are best for thin straight cuts in particle board, aluminum, mild steel, plastics, and plywood.

  • Milled Side Set: This style blade is for fast, straight, rough cuts. Works best on non-ferrous metals, aluminum, wood, and plastics.

  • Ground Taper Set:  A common blade type, with straight rows of spikes pointing towards the shank. These are typically used for slow cutting of harder materials.

  • Ground Reverse Set:  Like the ground taper set, except with the teeth angled downward, away from the shank.  This blade cuts on the down stroke and lessens chipping in brittle materials such as melamine and some hardwoods.

  • Ground Side Set:  The blades have a large level of side-to-side offsetting, allowing for rapid but coarse cutting through less dense materials.

Blade Composition

Finally, there are four types of metal used.  

  • High Carbon Steel (HCS):  Inexpensive, but durability is lacking with this blade.  Soft when compared to the other types of blades, edge retention is not the best, and generally only suitable for wood.

  • High-Speed Steel (HSS):  Stronger than HCS, but vulnerable to heat, HSS blades can also work on metals and plastic.

  • Bi-Metal:  Made of two kinds of steel, these combine the best aspects of HCS and HSS.

  • Tungsten Carbide:  Both the hardest and most expensive blades, these can chew through almost anything, can be a carbide grit or have a carbide insert for the tooth, and are generally only used for specialty applications.


Have more questions about jigsaw blades? At Saw Blade Express, we carry a wide variety of power tool accessories and blades. Want to know more?  Contact us and ask!