PORTER CABLE PC600JS: The best Orbital Jigsaw for Beginners?

Knowing where to start with all the tools is actually one of the hardest parts of getting started with woodwork or DIY. There’s just such a wide range of different tools to learn and to get to grips with and then there are all the different settings and features that they all boast. Which tools do you start with? Do you get a router? A miter saw? A jigsaw? Or do you just start out with some basic hand tools to begin with? And which features do you need? Do you need to spend a lot of money for your jigsaw to be worthwhile? Do you need orbital settings? Bevel settings? Should you go for corded or cordless? How much power do you need?

These are tough questions but the answer will ultimately come down to the kind of work you’re going to do and how you feel comfortable working. Suffice to say that tools like a jigsaw can be incredible useful but you don’t need to break the bank.

In fact, a jigsaw is a particularly good choice because it can perform the role of many other tools – making angled cuts or bevel cuts like a miter saw and plunge cuts like a router. And as you will see with the PORTER-CABLE PC600JS, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on one of these to get some decent performance – especially as a beginner.
You’ll upgrade in time but read our review for now to see why we think most beginners should be very happy with the PORTER-CABLE PC600JS.

Small, yet Powerful

The PORTER-CABLE PC600JS is a relatively small jigsaw that is powered by a cord. That means it needs to be plugged in, so you can’t work away from your power outlet and so you are going to need to make sure you think about where that cord is draped as you work. But what you get in exchange for having it plugged in is a little more power without spending a fortune. This is a 6 amp tool for the price of something much less powerful and it is capable of producing up to 3,200 SPM. That’s quite a lot of power and certainly enough for most beginners.

The tool also does not scrimp when it comes to the basic features you’ll be looking for. This is an orbital jigsaw and that means it has orbital settings (no duh!). That means the saw will use a more elliptical motion to really tear through tougher woods. Likewise, you also have variable speed settings, which means that you can change between very fast operation and slower operation with no loss in power. The latter is useful for cutting through metals in particular.

Blade exchange is keyless, meaning you can easily swap it out for another one, while the handle is very ergonomic and pleasant to grip onto even for longer jobs.

The tool looks nice too. It’s pretty basic in grey and lighter grey but it is small while still being chunky and well but together. It feels solid and you won’t be worried that it’s going to break or come apart. Vibration is kept nicely minimal too.

Pros and Cons

Those are the pros and it’s hard to really criticize the tool in any big ways in terms of doing what it sets out to do. It’s well made, it has all the basic features and it’s affordable. Materials are a little cheap in places but again, that’s what you expect for the price.

The cons then simply revolve around what is missing and it will be a personal decision as to whether this is a problem for you. Most notably, there is no option for bevel cuts here. For those that don’t know, bevel cuts mean that you can change the angle of the blade slightly in order to cut edges at a slight angle. This creates a bevel finish which is a nice way to elevate the appearance of your work and to give it a less boxy appearance. It’s something you likely won’t be worrying about until you’re a little more advanced though, so this might not be an issue for beginners.


To conclude then, this is a great budget tool and any beginner unsure of where to start out would do well to consider the PORTER-CABLE PC600JS!