What You Will Get Here
- What Is a Reciprocating Saw & Why Use It?
- Things to Consider to Find the Best Reciprocating Saw
- How Did We Pick the Best?
- Our Top 12 Reciprocating Saw List
- Best Overall: DEWALT DCS387B 20-volt MAX Compact Reciprocating Saw
- Best Corded Reciprocating saw: DEWALT DWE305 12 Amp Corded Reciprocating Saw
- Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw: PORTER CABLE PCC670B 20-volt MAX Lithium Bare Tigersaw
- Best Reciprocating Saw for the Money: BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20V Max Lithium Bare Saw
- Compact Choice: DEWALT DCS367B 20V Max XR Brushless Compact Reciprocating Saw
- Best Rated Reciprocating Saw: Ingersoll Rand 429 Heavy Duty Air Reciprocating Saw
- A List of 6 Other Reciprocating Saws We Reviewed
- List of Other Products We Tested
- Tips on How to Use a Reciprocating Saw
What Is a Reciprocating Saw & Why Use It?
The reciprocating saw is a handheld power tool with a long blade that operates on a push-and-pull motion. Usually, this type of saws is versatile and available in different sizes. Also, a reciprocating saw may come with carbide-tipped, bi-metal steel, diamond, carbide grit, or combination blades.
Unlike the jigsaw's short and narrow blades, reciprocating saws have extended and wide blades. Any powerful reciprocating saw can cut tree limbs, screws, PVC pipes, and nails quite easily. Woodworkers use them as carpentry tools to carve holes on drywall and make cutouts in plywood. They are also used during building constructions, and for hacking through walls. So, there are versatile reciprocating saws that might be suitable for metal, fiberglass, wood, or concrete materials.
Some of the unique features of a reciprocating saw are its high-speed blade, stylish exterior casing, and powerful motor. If you have never used a good reciprocating saw, then you must find the features that match your needs before purchasing one. You should also be familiar with how reciprocating saws work.
A top-rated reciprocating saw must have a high degree of precision, anti-slip comfort grip, and an impressive stroke length. Your safety and convenience should be considered before choosing any product. So, while looking for a reciprocating saw that cuts quickly, take advantage of the features it offers.
Things to Consider to Find the Best Reciprocating Saw
You might want to prune your garden, and need a lightweight cordless reciprocating saw. However, rugged, small reciprocating saws are ideal for craftsmen that are working within closed indoor spaces. Whatever becomes your preference, always remember there are important factors to consider before buying saws.
Check the amp ratings of electric saws if you are in doubt about their power outputs. The power output of an electric saw is a salient feature that determines its performance.
Usually, the average power rating of a corded saw has an output of between 5 to 15 amps. It's ideal to choose corded saws with outputs of between 7.5 to 10 amps for medium-duty tasks, and between 11 amps to 15 amps for tougher tasks. Saws with smaller amperage of between 5 to 6 amp are for light-duty tasks.
However, you might find battery-powered cordless saws with voltage ratings of between 18 to 20 Volts. When the battery of a 20-volt cordless tool is full, it will begin to drop during work. So, it's nominal voltage will become 18 volts as the battery discharges its juice.
2. Corded vs. Cordless
Portability is a factor of consideration when you are in doubt about the pros and cons of corded and cordless reciprocating saws. There's a limit of distance while using corded power tools. The distance between the point of use and an electrical outlet is equal to the length of the power cord. Usually, corded reciprocating saws are not battery-operated. So, corded types are ideal if your project involves the use of electric saws for a longer duration.
Control buttons and variable speed settings are two common features with cordless reciprocating saws. Normally, they are battery-operated, portable and can be used vertically or horizontally. Unlike corded tools, cordless reciprocating saws offer much ease of use. However, workmen can experience downtime when the battery of cordless saws fail to charge or runs out of juice. Comparatively, cordless reciprocating saws are more convenient, and they make a better choice.
3. Orbital or Straight
Unlike straight or single plane settings, the orbital functionality of a reciprocating saw cuts in an oval (elliptical) pattern. When they cut objects into shapes, saws with orbital blade settings are more aggressive.
However, the movement of a standard reciprocating saw blade when it cuts is up and down. Of the different types of saws, this type doesn't make faster cuts like the orbital version. So, it's the purpose of your work that determines the type of saw blade.
4. Multiple Speed Settings
Usually, the speed control knob of a reciprocating saw is adjustable. Its variable (different) speed setting allows the user to choose the efficiency of the blade's movement. However, the best speed setting will improve your saw's longevity.
5. Weight and size
It's dangerous to use power tools like reciprocating saws that you can't control. Weight and size are important because a workman needs stability to handle a moving saw blade. More so, saws for prolonged use are better for overhead tasks if they are lightweight.
More so, heavy duty saws might give vibrations that if they are large power tools. You should know your weight limit if you plan to wield your saw for long periods while working. The size of a saw is an important consideration you will be working within a small space.
6. Stroke Speed and Stroke Length
Usually, the average stroke length value of the reciprocating saw is between 1 to 1.25 inches. Your saw will cut faster with more stroke length value. The stroke length also determines how far a reciprocating saw cuts through the material.
However, the average speed of a reciprocating saw is between 2700 to 3000 strokes per minute (SPM). When a reciprocating saw comes with higher amperage, its cut is swifter and deeper. So, it's easier to control fast-moving blades.
Though there are differences between jigsaws and reciprocating saws, the jagged edges of jigsaws and reciprocating saws are almost similar. However, the former has narrow and short blades unlike the extended blades of reciprocating saws. Usually, the length of reciprocating saw blades varies between 3 to 12 inches. You stand the risk of buying the wrong power tool when you choose the wrong blade.
Instead, a material-specific blade can slice through any object of your choice. Highly improved saws use side knobs to operate their tool-less blade change mechanism. Blades of reciprocating saws are never too dull to slice your fingers. So, safety is a concern when changing or using saw blades.
- High-speed steel (HSS) blades are harder than regular metals; they are suitable for hardwoods and have a longer lifespan than carbon steel.
- Carbon steel blades often go dull quickly after cutting hardwoods and are inexpensive because they are easy to find in the market.
- Diamond blades can cut through fiberglass, ceramic, and concrete. They have original diamond crusts in the tips of their blades
- Combination blades are versatile because they can be used as general-purpose reciprocating saws.
- Bi-metal blades are harder than carbon steel blades and have a longer life span too. An example of this blade type is the carbide-tipped blade.
- Carbide-grit blades are for heavy-duty and medium tasks because they have abrasive on the edges of their blades. You can use these types to cut through fiberglass, brick, ceramic, and marble.
8. Battery life (For cordless)
The battery of a cordless reciprocating saw might come with an option of between 18V to 20V (voltage ratings). A 20-volt cordless saw can deliver 3,000 strokes per min, and they have longer run time. When the battery life is great, and it takes between one to two hours for a full charge. Additionally, the life of a battery depends on the amount of time, and work done by the saw's motor.
9. Vibration control
The to and fro motion of a saw blade can cause vibrations. Some reciprocating saws come with vibration control mechanisms and knobs to control the feature. This anti-vibe control feature removes the vibration from a reciprocating saw. It's more comfortable to use saws with vibration stabilizers.
The exterior casing and handle grip of reciprocating saws may vary according to their quality and brand. Their exterior design might be aesthetically improved to make it appealing or easy to use. Usually, non-slip grips and rubberized handles will ensure steady handling when the reciprocating saw vibrates during work. For safety reasons, you should consider a saw that's comfortable in your hands.
11. Shoe Adjustment
The adjustability of a saw's shoe adjustment is controlled by the extension lock button. It allows for customization of the blades' length and helps you utilize the power tool in different positions. Also, this feature controls blade visibility.
12. Warranty and Accessories
Check for reciprocating saws with available accessories before buying them. Also, a warranty document will help you replace the product at no cost when there's a fault. However, an electric saw with no warranty might not offer much value for money.
Price is a foremost determinant for low and high-end products. Usually, low-budget reciprocating saws don't come with sufficient features. Even when they perform flush cuts around materials, they might lack durability. Efficient, rugged and durable reciprocating saw brands will cost extra bucks than simple brands.
How Did We Pick the Best?
In order to make this top reciprocating saw list, our team of experts did 20 hours of research online to locate the most popular and effective saws available today. Though there are different types of electric saws, they have some basic features. Our team of saw experts analyzed these features and compared them with the results from field tests. Also, a group of volunteers joined our team to see how well these models of reciprocating saws were in terms of offering deeper and swifter cuts. Also, many reciprocating saw owners shared with us their first-hand experience of using saws of different brands.
After sampling opinions from every category of users, our team compared these updates with the specifications and features of the respective models. Usually, every manufacturer claims to have a superior product. However, our team of experts didn't find a perfect reciprocating saw while testing them. We had to keep in mind that each saw has its own pros and cons and different category of users have different woodcutting needs. That’s why we categorized them based on their features, ratings, popularity, durability, and so on. With so much effort given here, we believe this is one of the best reciprocating saw reviews you will ever come across.
Our Top 12 Reciprocating Saw List
Novice users and first-time buyers of reciprocating saws might not know what makes a high-quality product. However, they might desire reciprocating saws that offer the best value for money. Our review unveils the best reciprocating saw that efficient, durable and fits your purpose.
To guide you wisely, a team of experts has put a comprehensive review of the twelve best reciprocating saws. This buying guide is for expert and new reciprocating saw buyers that have a different budget for these products.