If you have been following us for a while, you know we have had the chance to take a look at a bunch of new Makita 12V tools. So far we have reviewed the following Makita 12V tools:
- Makita FD07R1 12V MAX Brushless Cordless Driver-Drill
- Makita DT03 12V Impact Driver
- Makita 12V Reciprocating Saw – Model RJ03R1
Now before I jump into the Makita Jig Saw Review, I want to touch on 12V tools. As we know, everyone has their own opinion on 12V tools. With that said, here is my opinion and feeling about 12V tools which may help you understand the following review of the Makita Jig Saw. To make our lives easier, it would be great to only have one battery platform. How great would it be to have the power of an 18V or 36V tool in the weight and size of a 12V tool? Unfortunately the technology just isn't there yet. So with that said, I want a separation of my 18V and 12V tools. I want my 18V tools to be powerful and my 12V tools to be light and compact. For me, it's plain and simple. There is a good majority of power tool manufacturers that have both the 18V and 12V tool line up. However some approach each line a little different. While most use the 18V for their power line, there are some manufacturers who are trying to get the same power out of their 12V tools, which means they tend to be bigger and heavier. The one thing I am really digging about the Makita 12V line is they seem like they understand the difference between the two. Their 12V tools are very compact and lightweight, however they still pack a powerful punch. So with that insight, hopefully you understand where I am coming from for the Makita Jig Saw Review.
Makita Jig Saw Review – Overview
Makita is offering this 12V Jig Saw in two configurations. You can either buy the VJ04R1 or the VJ04Z. The only difference between the two is what comes in the kit. With the VJ04R1, this kit comes with two 12V batteries, a charger and a case. While the VJ04Z is bare tool only. The VJ04R1 is priced at $169 at the time this article was written, while the bare tool model is $82.99. So if you already have some of these Makita tools and batteries, you can save yourself about $87.
Makita Jig Saw Review – Features & Benefits
When I think of a 12V jig saw, I really don't think of a saw that has a ton of features. However for this 12V, Makita did a great job packing in some useful features. On the side of the saw, you will notice a black dial switch. This switch allows the user to select orbital modes and has four different settings, with one of the settings being a straight cut with no orbital action. The switch isn't just for looks. When you make a setting change, you can really notice the difference between each setting, so there is a nice wide span of orbital settings with this saw.
Follow the tool around the back and you will notice a single hole. This hole is for your dust collection. All you need to do is provide a hose and a vacuum and you will be able to keep your work area pretty clean. A nice added feature for all those anal, neat freaks, like myself.
As I said before a 12V should be lightweight and compact, which this saw meets both criteria. The saw is only 9-1/8” long and weighs 3.8 lbs. with 12V max CXT™ 2.0Ah battery. I know I said power means more in an 18V tool for me, but as you know, you do have to have plenty of power to make a 12V even worth the purchase. In regards to speed and power, this saw has 0-2,900 strokes per minute.
It's great to have a 12V jig saw, but what makes this saw even better is the ability to make bevel cuts. While I wish it had a tool-less way to change the angles, I am happy they designed it into the saw. A user can make changes using the on board hex key from any angle from 0°-45° right to left.
Next on the list is safety. When Makita designed this saw, they implemented an electric brake. This means that when your finger comes off the trigger, the brake stops and not only protects you, but protects your work from unwanted cuts.
Makita Jig Saw Review – Stats
- Length of Stroke : 11/16″
- Max. Cutting Capacity (wood at 90°) : 2-9/16″
- Max. Cutting Capacity at 90° (aluminum) : 5/32″
- Max. Cutting Capacity at 90° (mild steel) : 1/16″
- Strokes Per Minute : 2,900 SPM
- Blade Shank : “T” Tang
- Battery : 12V max CXT™ Lithium-Ion
- Overall Length : 9-1/8″
- Net Weight (with battery) : 3.8 lbs.
- Variable speed control dial : No
- Orbital settings : Yes
- Tool-less blade change : No
- 3-year limited warranty
Makita Jig Saw Review – Likes & Dislikes
There is a lot to like about this Jig Saw. First, I really like the weight and feel combination. Now I know some people criticize us because we talk about weight and feel of a tool, but for people who use these tools everyday, well it's important. If you have a tool that is unbalanced, then your fighting it and you end up being fatigued. If you have a tool that doesn't feel comfortable, well that is just a pain in the A** and very annoying. Makita did a great job packing a powerful punch in such a small tool. For me, I really like how easy it is to keep a constant speed with the trigger. Depending on what angle you are cutting or what material, having a constant speed is important. Finally if you put this all together, you get what is most important in a jig saw and that is control. With the Makita jig saw, this tool is extremely easy to control and maneuver around. So looking at this tool as a basic, hard working, easy to control jig saw, Makita nailed it right on the head.
Now while I love this saw, I wish some things would have been included. Now I am not an engineer, so not sure if they left some of these features out because it would increase the size or just increase the cost. Some of the things I would like to see is how the blade locks into the saw. In order to insert a blade, you need to use the on board hex key. A quick system would have been a big deal for me. A small LED I think would have been a nice touch to this saw. Sometimes you get a shadow and that little extra light would be nice to have. The jig saw does have a dust blower that really works well and helps you stay in line with your cut. The last item would have been a no mar shoe cover. Sometimes you don't want to mess up your finished work and it's always nice to be able to make the cut in confidence that your finished product would look just as good after the cut as it does before the cut.
None of the dislikes are deal breakers as I still love this saw, it just would have been nice to see. But again, I am not an engineer. In fact, I had to look up how to spell engineer.
Makita Jig Saw Review – Performance
We had the chance to cut through a variety of materials with this saw. Overall it performs great. The saw is smooth and easy to maneuver around. The saw has plenty of speed and power to cut through some pretty thick material. Cutting tight turns with this saw is a snap. We didn't feel a ton of vibration or experience much bouncing with this saw. Overall this saw may be small in size, but it packs a powerful punch. The variable speed trigger is easy to dial in a speed and the orbital setting makes it smooth for almost any material.
Makita Jig Saw Review – Final Thoughts
While there are a couple of items I would like to see improved in the next generation, overall I really like this Jig Saw. The saw is lightweight and compact, which makes it easy to maneuver around. While the Jig Saw is lightweight, it's heavy enough so you don't get bouncing and some of the other problems with lightweight jig saws. If you are investing in the Makita 12V line, this would make a great addition to an already powerful line up of tools. I can't wait to see what else they will bring out for their 12V line.