A Good Jigsaw with One Standout Feature No Other Company Has
Extremely well built and with power to spare, the 36V Metabo HPT cordless jigsaw (CJ36DAQ4) has plenty to like about it. It has all the usual features you would expect from a top-quality saw and very few downsides. As of August 2021, Metabo HPT is still the only company that has a universal AC/DC adaptor for its 36V cordless tools. Should your battery run out of juice, you can plug this jigsaw into the wall.
- Tooless blade change
- Orbital action
- Auto soft start mode
- Variable speed
- Lock on button to mount the saw in a table
- Plenty of power
- Brushless motor
- Runs on either 36V Multivolt battery or Multivolt 36V AC/DC Adapter
- Angling the shoe/blade is not a good experience
- Does not include non-marring shoe cover
I’m a woodworker and know any saw will cut through pine 2x4s. I prefer to do my testing with wood that a cabinetmaker or furniture maker will use. So I chose red oak because it is very hard. If a saw can handle that, it can handle most tasks. The Metabo HPT CJ36DAQ4 jigsaw is 36V so I wanted to see just how powerful that made it. I stacked three red oak boards on top of each other and sawed through all of them together. That’s a 2 1/4-inch thick stack of oak! On full orbital action, it cut through the wood at the same speed as my old 18V NiCad saw would cut a single board. I was pleased.
Of course, we also ask our jigsaws to cut through metal. The Metabo HPT cordless jigsaw easily made its way through 1/4-inch mild steel. In theory, you are supposed to turn off orbital action when cutting metal. I found this jigsaw cuts through steel best with the orbital action on the lowest setting. In my experience, I have found that to be the case on other jigsaws as well. I cut it dry because I didn’t want the cutting oil staining my wood later and I did not have an issue. The variable speed dial lets me slow the saw down enough so that the blade didn’t get too hot.
Most people buy a cordless jigsaw to cut arcs and curves. With a thin blade, theMetabo HPT CJ36DAQ4 made it easy to cut very tight curves with small radiuses. I always felt I had good control and could follow my line. Some prefer a barrel grip saw for curve cutting, but Metabo HPT doesn’t give us that option in the US market.
There are two things we all worry about when buying cordless tools. The first is, “will my cordless tool be as powerful as a corded tool?” I quit worrying about that years ago. The answer is a resounding Yes. When you buy from top-tier manufactures, cordless tools will often be more powerful than the corded model.
The other question on everyone’s mind is “will I run out of battery power?” Metabo HPT users don’t have to worry about that with their 36V Multivolt line of tools. The 36V Metabo HPT AC/DC Adapter is an optional accessory that works on any Metabo HPT 36V Multivolt tools. Snap the “battery” end on the tool and plug the other end into the wall. With a 21-foot cable, you probably won’t even need an extension cord.
Controls and Functions
The Metabo HPT CJ36DAQ4 Cordless Jigsaw has an easy-to-use one-handed blade change mechanism. The orbital action has four settings—from Off to very aggressive for the fastest cutting. There is a lock-on button that locks the tool on while running. I found this perfect for mounting it under a table and using it as a portable bandsaw/scrollsaw.
Auto Start Mode
The Auto Start mode has been controversial on some other brands of saw that were not as well implemented as the Metabo HPT jigsaw. In Auto Start mode, the blade does not produce as much vibration before the saw makes contact with the wood. This really helps you line up your cut more accurately. Once the cut starts, the motor ramps up to full power, and the saw takes off.
If you don’t like this feature, you can disable it by changing the speed dial from A to your preferred speed. I thought this feature worked well for Metabo HPT, but I hated it in saws from most other companies.
Missing Shoe Covering
I was disappointed that a non-marring shoe cover was not included. When cutting on plexiglass or painted surfaces like siding, it is a hassle to have to cover the shoe with tape each time. As of the date of this review, Metabo HPT doesn’t make one. As a more permanent solution, I plan on covering the shoe with ultra-high molecular polyethylene tape. This will cut down the friction and protect the work from the steel shoe. This is what woodworkers used to do before most saws came with shoe coverings.
Angling the Blade
Besides the lack of a non-marring shoe, the only other real issue I have this saw is angling the blade…er shoe. However, you want to think about it. Many manufacturers have made toolless shoe releases which are incredibly convenient. Metabo HPT has instead chosen to stick with using a socket head cap screw and hex wrench. This would be annoying enough if there were detents at major degree markings, but there are none—not even at 45 degrees. There is only a positive stop at 90 degrees.
If you never angle your jigsaw, then this is the perfect jigsaw for you. If you do, it is still a great jigsaw, but it’s going to make you mad every time you have to change the angle.
Metabo HPT Cordless Jigsaw Price
The Metabo HPT CJ36DAQ4 jigsaw should retail around $199 for the bare tool. That makes it very comparable to models from DeWalt, Flex, Milwaukee Tool, and others.
Metabo HPT (also known as HiKoki in other countries) makes a fantastic jigsaw. This saw would be ideal in any professional cabinet shop or production woodworking facility. It would be a great saw for any serious woodworker. Its only Achilles heel is the time it takes to angle the blade. A couple of jigs could make setting the angle easier and faster, though you will still need a hex wrench. Even with that annoyance (and remember, it is an annoyance, not a dealbreaker), everything else about this jigsaw is top-notch.
Metabo HPT Cordless Jigsaw Specifications
- Model CJ36DAQ4
- 45 degrees max cut left and right
- 26 mm stroke
- Orbital action
- 800-3,500 strokes per min
- Brushless motor
- 36V Multivolt battery
- 36V MultiVolt AC adapter compatible
- 5.5 lbs bare tool (2.49 kg)
- Lifetime Lithium-ion tool warranty