At some point, you'll need to change the blade on your jigsaw. Although this process isn't terribly difficult, it's important to understand how to swap out saw blades safely and effectively to avoid injury or damage to your saw.

Piece laminate and Jigsaw on a workbench.
credit: GeorgiNutsov/iStock/GettyImages
How to Change the Blade on a Jigsaw

When to Change Your Jigsaw Blade

If you're wondering whether it's time to change your jigsaw blade, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you noticed that you have to use effort to push the blade through the substance you're cutting?
  • Do the teeth of your current blade appear dull or rounded, as opposed to pointed and sharp?
  • Are you finding it more difficult to use or control your saw?
  • Are your cuts less precise than they used to be?

If your answer to any of these questions is "yes," it's probably a good idea to swap out the blades. You can always visually compare the old blade to a brand new one to be sure.

Safety Precautions

Before you change the blade on your jigsaw it's important to review some basic safety guidelines. Make sure you have the protective equipment you need.

Always make sure your jigsaw is unplugged before beginning to work on it. Additionally, it's a good idea to use safety gloves when handling any sharp implements, including the blades you'll be swapping and installing.

Types of Jigsaws

Jigsaws come in two basic configurations. Before you change your jigsaw blade, it's important to know which kind of jigsaw you're working with, as there are two different approaches to blade-changing depending on type.

Most jigsaws include an automatic release mechanism for your blade. If this is true for your model, then you'll only need your new blade.

However, if your model does not include this automatic release mechanism, you'll also require an Allen key (or "Hex key") to loosen the old blade before removal. Remember that Allen keys come in various sizes, so you'll need to make sure that you have the correctly-sized key for your saw.

If you're not certain what size you need, your best bet is probably to purchase an Allen key set with several different sizes included. They're relatively inexpensive and it's a good idea to have an assortment on hand.

How to Change the Blade on Your Jigsaw With an Allen Key

If your jigsaw does not come equipped with an automatic release for your blade, you'll need an Allen key of the correct size for the screws on your saw. Follow these steps, and always take care when handling both the old and new saw blades:

  1. Make certain the saw is disconnected from its power source before proceeding.
  2. Use the Allen key to loosen the screw attaching the shank of the blade to the body of the saw.
  3. Examine the way the blade is connected and positioned in the clamp. You'll want to use this as a reference when you replace it with the new blade.
  4. Remove the dull blade from your saw's clamp. Dispose of this carefully to avoid future injury or damage.
  5. Next, carefully place the new blade into the clamp, positioning it like the old blade.
  6. With the Allen key, replace the screw and tighten it to secure the new blade in the clamp.

How to Change the Blade on Your Jigsaw Without an Allen Key

If your jigsaw does include an automatic release mechanism, your blade replacement procedure is similar to the above. In fact, the only difference is in how you remove the old blade and attach the new one.

As always, ensure the jigsaw is disconnected from its power source and put on work gloves to protect your hands and fingers. Then follow these steps:

  1. Note that some saws will automatically eject the blade, while others will not. If you're not sure which you have, take extra precautions to keep the blade pointing away from you before disengaging the lever.
  2. Disengage the lever for the locking mechanism holding the old blade in place. If you're not sure where that is or how to do it, check your jigsaw's user manual for instructions.
  3. Carefully remove the old blade and dispose of it properly.
  4. Keeping the lever depressed, insert the new blade, with the teeth pointing away from the frame of the saw. When the blade is positioned correctly, release the lever. The blade should now be locked firmly in place.