Ryobi's latest jigsaw puzzle is part of its HP line, focusing on pros.
The Ryobi PBLJS01 HP Brushless Jigsaw does everything I need a jigsaw to do. Its competitive price and Pro features make it worth a look.
- Sufficient power and cutting speed
- Simple blade release lever
- Lock buttons and track adjustments
- Tool-free bevel change
- Access 175+ tools with the One+ system
- No dust collection (for those who care about it)
- Variable speed adjustment dial instead of the trigger itself
The Ryobi HP Brushless Jigsaw marks a noticeable but subtle update from the Ryobi P524 we reviewed a few years ago. Inclusion in the Ryobi HP line of power tools doesn't seem to change the tools themselves much. In fact, according to the website, the maximum SPM has been reduced by 100 from the previous model (from 3500 to 3400). That's still plenty of speed for top performance.
The most obvious update — and a good one — is the addition of a simple release lever above the main blade clamp. This allows for quick blade changes without having to awkwardly place my fingers on the blade mechanism itself.
But be careful. When you open the clamp on the Ryobi PBLJS01 Brushless Jigsaw all the way, the spring lock releases. This causes the blade to jump out of the clamp. If you're working in an awkward spot or in dirt or grass where something can fall and get lost, make sure you have your hand on the blade to pull it out before it jumps out and hits the ground.
When you pull the release lever all the way back, the clip rotates and the blade pocket moves slightly over 90 degrees. It does not interfere with loading the blade. However, it does make me hesitate if the blade will sit right on the guide wheel. The T-shaped handle holds securely and the blade locks into place when the lever is released.
Cleaner look and variable speed dial
The only other noticeable change from the Ryobi PBLJS01 jigsaw from the previous model is the color change from metallic gray to black for the various buttons and levers. It keeps the saw looking nice, clean and strong.
The saw blade speed is still not controlled by the variable trigger. Instead, Ryobi gives you a dial at the very top of the saw. It's not my favorite "on-the-fly" adjustment setting. I prefer to have my thumbs pointing down to help balance my grip, rather than balancing on top for speed adjustments. Moving my thumb in the middle of a cut also risks moving the saw.
A lock button located on the upper left corner of the handle helps with long runs. It also makes those speed adjustments easier since you don't have to keep pressing the trigger. Therefore, your hands have more degrees of freedom. The button is only on one side of the saw so if you're left handed your thumb won't be able to reach it!
Ryobi HP Brushless Jigsaw Orbital Cutting Action
The orbital dial on the Ryobi HP brushless puzzle has 4 positions (0-3). This gives you the option to cut faster, but with a rougher finish. The manual has a diagram with recommendations for use based on your application. Set to 0, the blade moves up and down in a straight line. Using a fine-toothed blade, it smoothly cuts through 3/4-inch layers and leaves a nice clean finish on top with minimal tearing. With a setting of 3, the saw zipped through the same piece of plywood, but left a wave of splinters and tears in its wake.
I also tried the plunge cut a few times without incident and got a clean line down the middle of the board.
Like previous models, the Ryobi PBLJS01 has a quick release lever for bevel adjustment, but only 45 (or so) have detents. Top models tend to have more. Beveled cuts work well. The saw was steady and went through the plywood again leaving a nice clean finish on top and a 30 degree angle below. That said, I'm not inclined to use a jigsaw for sharp bevel cuts due to the small, flexible blade.
A sturdy die-cast metal base is covered with a beautiful non-marring shoe. It helps you avoid scratching and scratching the surface of your material while sawing. This is fine as I tend to draw cut lines on the finished side of the wood.
The saw moves quickly and has a lot of power for my taste. I needed a more precise jigsaw in my arsenal. For me, power and performance are all about clean, consistent cuts for long periods of time. In that department, this saw has everything I need.
Ryobi PBLJS01 Performance
The first few workouts I did with the saw were a lot of fun. It has a fine-toothed, narrow blade that easily navigates tight turns with little vibration threatening the delicate components I'm working on. It feels great in my hands, makes the job look easy, and I'm really excited about the results. This is my favorite use for a saw. Full size, full sole, and weight for added stability for complex cuts, and a non-damaging shoe that won't scuff surfaces.
While I tend to use a small barrel handle saw for quick cuts, the Ryobi handles the task effortlessly. The saw doesn't start immediately when you press the trigger, so be careful to make sure you're in the correct position for the cut. I like to have the blade right up against the board. The board extends beyond the blade enough so it's easy to keep level and straight even when I'm hanging off the end of the board.
The locking button is great for long cuts. I can keep my eyes on the wires, the wires are free of dust, and the LEDs are well lit.
Room for improvement?
One glaring feature that the saw seems to be missing (besides the extra bevel stop) is some sort of dust collection system. However, in my opinion, this is a smart choice for Ryobi. The jigsaw needs to be able to move freely back and forth over the workpiece.
My first cordless phone was a dream come true as I no longer had to keep track of cords when dealing with angles. I often come across clips or stands because I want the piece to be nice and stable for curved cuts. Having a saw with a bag or pipe sticking out of the back sounds annoying to say the least, and impossible for many cuts. I work outside, so I'm not too worried about dust buildup. However, from my point of view we are not missing anything without this feature.
the bottom line
Ryobi is going well. They're majors, and while the saws lack some of the features of top-of-the-line products (more brakes and dust collection), those omissions are NBD in my book. The bare tool is priced at a very competitive $129.
- Brushless motor cuts 36% faster and runs 78% longer than the P5231 when cutting 1/4″ plywood
- Easy-release blade bar for quick blade changes
- 4 track settings for increased cutting versatility
- Variable speed dial for final cut control ranging from 800–3,400 SPM
- Tool-less bevel adjustment for easy bevel changes with locking detents at 45° left and right
- Die-cast metal base, included non-marring shoe for added durability
- Onboard LED work light illuminates the work area and clearly sees the cutting line
Ryobi 18V HP Jigsaw Specifications
- Model: Limei PBLJS01B
- Motor: Brushless
- Stroke Length: 1″
- Strokes per minute: 800 – 3,400 SPM
- Bevel: left and right 0-45º
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $129