When it comes to woodworking, especially if you are cutting irregular shapes and curves, then the jigsaw is absolutely one of the best tools to use. With that being said, there is more than one type of jigsaw out there, and here we are actually talking about the type of handles that they come with.
Today we want to do a side-by-side comparison of the D-handle jigsaw and the barrel grip jigsaw. Let’s find out which one of these is better for you.
Jigsaw Handle Types: The Basics
Before we start talking about the similarities and differences between these two types of jigsaws, let’s first figure out what both of them actually are.
What Is a D-Handle Jigsaw?
Alright, so a jigsaw is of course a type of saw, one that features a blade that moves up and down in a reciprocating manner, at many thousands of strokes per minute. This is a type of saw that excels at cutting irregular shapes and curves into relatively thin pieces of wood, as well as other materials, depending on the blade that is being used. However, we really aren’t here to talk about jigsaws, but rather about the type of handles that they can come with.
One of these types of handles is the D-handle. Now, this is the regular jigsaw handle that you are probably accustomed to, one that features a handle on top of the saw, one that obviously looks like the letter D. These might look a bit bulky, but they are generally very easy and comfortable to hold onto.
In all reality, this is your standard jigsaw.
What Is a Barrel Grip Jigsaw?
In terms of jigsaw handle designs, the barrel grip is actually very new and modern. Instead of a handle that extends above the housing of the jigsaw, such as the D-handle jigsaw, with a barrel grip jigsaw, the handle is right on the motor housing. In other words, you literally hold onto the housing of the motor.
Sure, this housing is obviously covered in some materials that allow you to have a good grip, and to allow for a good deal of comfort, but with that being said, there is of course a lot less material on a barrel grip jigsaw, because there is not an additional handle that extends up from the housing.
A lot of people do like barrel grip jigsaws because they are compact, ergonomic, and they also have your hand close to the workpiece, thus allowing for a good deal of control.
Similarities of D-Handle and Barrel Grip Jigsaws
Let’s first take a look at the similarities between two types of jigsaws. Keep in mind that they are essentially the same saw, just with different handles, so we are going to keep this section short because we really do want to focus more on the differences that these two handle types bring to the table.
1. They’re Both Comfortable to Hold
Of course, comfort is subjective, so which one you find more comfortable is up to you, but that said, both handle types are designed to be ergonomic in nature.
2. The Same Functions
Sure, the barrel grip jigsaw is more compact than the other type, but with that being said, they are still more or less the same saw, and they have more or less the same functionality. They both used to cut curves and irregular shapes into relatively thin pieces of wood, as well as other materials.
They use the same kinds of blades, the blades move in the same way, and they often have more or less the same horsepower as well. In essence, this is the same saw, with the difference being in the handle. Therefore, let’s move on and take a closer look at the differences that these two handles bring to the table.
Differences Between D-Handle and Barrel Grip Jigsaws
This is the main part of our comparison today. Let’s take a look at the main differences that you are faced with due to these varying handle types.
One of the big differences between these two types of jigsaws is that a barrel grip jigsaw does offer you much better control. With a barrel grip jigsaw, your hand is much closer to the workpiece, and the closer your hand is to the workpiece, the more control you have. Therefore, if you need to make very precise cuts, a barrel grip jigsaw is probably the better option to go with.
2. Line of Sight
Another big advantage that you get with the barrel grip jigsaw, is that when you are making straight cuts, you actually have a really good view of both the cut line and the jigsaw blade. When using a D-handle jigsaw, the handle and your hand are often in the way of your line of sight, and this can make things a bit harder.
3. A Lower Profile
Another huge difference between these two types of jigsaws is that the barrel grip jigsaw is more compact and has a much lower profile. This means that it is the better option to go with if you are working in very tight spaces. A D-handle jigsaw might not be able to fit in the tightest spaces.
4. Overall Ergonomics
Now, a barrel grip jigsaw is fairly comfortable to hold for a while, but it may get uncomfortable with prolonged use. Although the D-handle jigsaw is a bit bigger and heavier, the handle is generally more ergonomically friendly, or in other words, it’s just a bit more comfortable to hold the D-handle. So, if you are using a jigsaw for a long period of time, the D-handle is going to be more comfortable.
5. Heat Buildup
The other difference here is that a barrel grip jigsaw, because you are literally holding the housing of the motor, doesn’t dissipate heat as well as a D-handle jigsaw. This can lead to issues with the motor, especially in terms of longevity, not to mention that your hands can get pretty hot too.
D-Handle vs. Barrel Grip Jigsaw: Which of the Two Should You Use?
The bottom line is that if you need something super compact that allows for good control and precision, then the barrel grip jigsaw is the better option to go with. However, for basic use, especially when it comes to long-term comfort, the D-handle jigsaw is the better option.
Now that you know what the main differences between D-handle jigsaws and barrel grip jigsaws are, you can make an informed decision between the two.