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I can choose between a combo including either a jigsaw or a handheld trim router. I like to do various DIY projects at home so I enjoy using different tools. I have a few tools including drill, impact driver, miter saw, circular saw, and dremel.

So I wanted to get a reciprocating saw, and I can get a combo pack which includes other tools. The 2 combo packs comes with either a handheld trim router, or the other combo pack includes a jigsaw.

There is another set that includes a wet/dry shop vac instead but I already have a really great handheld vac and don't really need a wet vac.

The trim router included in one set is not a plunge router, it's this one Ryobi P601 Palm router.

Ryobi P601 Palm router

The jigsaw included in the other set is the Ryobi P524 Brushless Jig Saw.

Ryobi P524 Brushless Jig Saw

So basically I have to make a choice between either the jigsaw or the palm router. I'm not sure which to get. I'm sure that at some point or another I would get full use out of each, so the question is which is more versatile, that does things that I can't do with other tools?

For example, routing is definitely cool, and it would be impractical to do the same with my dremel. But, the one included is not a plunge router so it's not as versatile as a plunge router. I could do certain things easier like cutting out the dip for a door hinge, but first, I can do this with a chisel or the dremel as well, and second, how often will I be cutting the dip for a door hinge? Not often for sure. Still, there might be other things I'd want to do with it.

The jigsaw on the other hand can do some things like cut wood that other things like the reciprocating saw can do, but a unique feature is it's great if you need to make circular or round cuts which can't be really done with the other tools.

One last factor comes to the value of the items. The P601 Palm Router costs $75 new. But the P524 brushless jigsaw costs $120 new - nearly double the cost. And both bundles are the same price.

Value of the individual item matters because if I ever wanted the other item, it would cost twice as much to get the jigsaw individually, so that could be an important factor unless I never wanted a jigsaw.

I'm leaning toward the jigsaw but would like to hear your thoughts on this from more experienced toolworkers like you guys.

  • With the right blade you can also cut metal, I agree with coAstroGeek +. I have quite a few battery tools drills, impact drivers, skill saw, saws all and grinders, but both my routers are corded and my jigsaw is also corded, I know my cordless skill saw and saws all don't last very long but are handy on the farm for quick repairs. – Ed Beal Jan 18 at 17:20
  • I'm not on a farm but if it was a farm I could see a cordless version coming extremely handy versus trying a 2-mile-long extension cord to repair a fence or something lol. By the way battery power has come a long way, I think your guys' comments on battery-powered tools not being as powerful or not lasting long is outdated information. – diy user Jan 18 at 21:23
  • I have 6ah batteries for my dewalt tools as far as I know these are the largest ones available and the sawall and skill saw wipe the batteries out fairly quickly, the drills and impact drivers do last quite a long time try to rip a couple sheets of 3/4 plywood and your swapping batteries or getting the corded saw. Although that palm router is small it is still a high draw, high draw devices heat up the batteries and that kills them quickerm – Ed Beal Jan 18 at 22:49
  • Also keep in mind the latest generation, of the Ryobi tools anyway, are all brushless which from anecdotal evidence outside of the manufacturer claims which says the same, it does show to last up to nearly twice as long as brushed motors, meaning up to double the battery life for the same battery. This is a big difference and means switching batteries will be less frequent, but it's so easy to swap the battery anyway. – diy user Jan 19 at 15:14
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It's hard to say depending on the kind of projects you have planned. If you do lots of furniture work needing precision cuts, I would go w/ the router. The jigsaw is one of the most versatile saw but I think routers offer endless possibilities.

That said, with the router, be prepared to spend quite a bit of money on the bits. They will cost you far more than the tool and they are what makes the router limitless. Good bits are rather expensive. On the other hand jigsaw blades are the least expensive blades and you only need few types (metal, wood, fine cut, rough cut).

As others said, corded version is more usable. Battery don't last long enough as saws demand lots of power.

  • But you can swap batteries in seconds. By the time that dies or the third battery dies your first is charged, so really not any interruption in work. Also, the new jigsaw model is brushless so the battery lasts as much as twice as long now. – diy user Jan 18 at 21:21
  • Agree on swapping batteries. I am however concerned about the cost of buying spare batteries. They are rather expensive and that is how the tools manufacturers make the most profit. I usually don't buy the battery as they cost almost the same as the tool+battery combo. For example, I got a dewalt drill for $90 which include a battery and charger, while the battery alone is $70. – Quoc Vu Jan 18 at 22:26
  • Each tool or bundle comes with a couple of batteries so if you have a few of the Ryobi tools then you've got plenty of them since the batteries are all interchangeable. – diy user Jan 18 at 22:27
  • If you go with the same brand, buying several tools+battery combo is the most economical way to acquire batteries. I tend to buy tools that are on sale thus end up w/ several brands. And for the tools I use frequently, I go w/ the professional line such as dewalt and buy cheaper brands for the remaining. – Quoc Vu Jan 18 at 22:36
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My $0.02

Cordless is nice for some things - cordless drills & drivers are great, and sometimes you need to work where there's no power. But I don't really see the appeal of a cordless jigsaw or router. They aren't the kind of tools you just carry around with you doing different things. If I'm using one of those, it's usually in the shop, on a piece clamped to a work bench, etc. where a cordless tool doesn't have much advantage over a corded one. I'm trying to think of a situation where a cordless version of a tool other then a drill would have been a big advantage for me. Maybe an angle grinder.

Another thing to consider is power & quality. I love my cordless drill, but it has it's limitations. If I'm turning big tools - hole saws, big auger bits, mixing thinset/grout/etc. I reach for my 1/2" corded drill. Even if the cordless could turn it, it wouldn't for long. I recently used a cordless circular saw - wasn't impressed at all with the power or build quality. Honestly, it felt like a toy - I was afraid I'd break it.

The other part is batteries. When your batteries die in a few years, you'll be stuck with a bunch of tools that all take an outdated battery type that you'll pay an arm and a leg for. Maybe nearly as much as a whole new kit.

Unless you have a specific need for a cordless version of these tools, I'd advise to spend your money on a good quality corded versions. At DIY use levels, they'll last forever and are probably better tools then the cordless versions that come in the kits. For $120-$160 you can get a really nice jig saw.

  • Great point, cordless tools are usually more expensive and shorter-lived, so unless the convenience factor really makes up for that, it's not worth it. I wouldn't want a corded leaf blower, for example, as I'd be dragging hundreds of feet of extension cord around the yard, but it's probably not worth it for tools that are always within a few feet of an outlet. – Nuclear Wang Jan 18 at 16:52
  • Maybe so but these batteries last a long time and are not getting daily use. My 10+ year old OLD batteries from the old version of the ryobi drill still work great. Plus, without the wire it's much safer for small DIY projects, only main downside is that you have to recharge the batteries, but after I get the combo pack I'll have 7 total batteries :P Oh yeah and the old batteries work on the newer models too and the newer batteries work on the older models. Also,. in my experience the cordless works fine for my usage. Also all the Ryobi tools are cordless. There aren't any corded versions. – diy user Jan 18 at 17:05
  • As for price for the bundle is half off and way cheaper than each item individually so price is no object here. Much cheaper than even the cheapest corded models. And the extras I get to upgrade from my older models. For the same price as a quality corded reciprocating saw I get several other tools as well. – diy user Jan 18 at 17:06
  • @NuclearWang How about a corded lawn mower lolol – diy user Jan 18 at 19:24
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Don't get sucked into combos with tools you don't really want or need!

As mentioned in another answer, for the jigsaw, I'll take the corded any day - it will last forever. Most people don't use their jigsaw very frequently.

Double so for the router. I'd take a corded plunge router any day over a cordless palm router, you want the full power of the corded router.

As for which tool is more versatile - a router is hands down more versatile. Most of the cuts you can make with a jigsaw, you can make with a router. You can use circle cutting jigs and cut perfect circles with a router. And of course you can run router bits. A lot of the things you'd use a jigsaw for, you could do with a coping saw; most of the things you can do with a router, you can't do with a hand tool (or at least, not without a really special set of hand tools.) You can attach a router to a router table and do some really impressive things.

  • But how about the palm router vs the jigsaw? Maybe the plunge router is more versatile than the jigsaw, bit this is a palm router not a plunge router. What's your opinion on palm router vs jigsaw? – diy user Jan 18 at 17:00
  • I've been doing woodworking for a long time. I've never needed and don't own a palm router. There have been a few times where a smaller router might have been nice, but I got by without it. I've used jigsaws for sheet metal sometimes - something you can't do with a router. – CoAstroGeek Jan 18 at 17:04
  • I'd take the cordless palm router over the cordless jigsaw if they were both free, but I'd purchase NEITHER. – batsplatsterson Jan 18 at 17:04
  • And there is no such thing as "tools you don't want or need" IMO :P – diy user Jan 18 at 17:08
  • @CoAstroGeek That was kinda what I was thinking that I could get by without the router for most things, although there are some things it would be convenient or cool to have. The jigsaw however seems more essential. – diy user Jan 18 at 17:10

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