If you want to cut through wood quickly without needing a top-quality accuracy and precision, you do need the best reciprocating saw. With such a tool, the whole process is about making a cut as quickly as you can through the material, whatever that is.
In the past, people used hand saws to make such types of cut, pulling and pushing the handsaw backwards and forwards by hand. This was extremely labor-intensive as well as being time-consuming. Milwaukee then introduced reciprocating saws that changed everything. Their first was called the Sawzall (‘saws all’!) and is rather like a handsaw or hacksaw that’s motorized.
These saws make cuts quickly with a reciprocating action (hence the name), cutting through the wood or other material effortless thanks to a motor. This means that craftspeople can save their strength and energy for other tasks.
Reciprocating saws are versatile too, especially if you fit them with different sorts of blades. With the right blade, it can cut through wood, metal and plastic, to mention a few materials. However, it is worth remembering the saw is only as good as its blade. Use the wrong blade and it could all go wrong.
With all of that said, this versatile tool makes a great addition to anyone’s tool shed or workshop. In our reviews, we are going to present you with a list of the top-notch reciprocating saws available today.
In a hurry?
The DeWalt DWE305 is one of the highest rated saws on the market today. The fact it’s cordless means it is one of the most powerful saws that we tested. It has a whopping 4.8/5 stars on Amazon and is not a bad price too!
The DeWalt Bare-Tool DC385B might be a cordless machine but its output goes in parallel with that of its most powerful peers. It houses a powerful motor reaching up to 3,000 strokes per minute, and an extended three-year warranty with one year’s servicing included.
For $40, you can pick up the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B. This is a fantastic price for what you get. The saw is compatible with other Black & Decker products meaning you can share chargers and batteries too.
It may be more expensive, but the Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel Sawzall really has it all. It has a longer battery life and a longer tool-life than its rivals too. Milwaukee designed the original Sawzall and it’s true, it saws all kinds of things. As far as reciprocating saws go, this is a great Sawzall option out there for advanced use today.
Our Testing and Selection Process
For each of the products we tested, we looked at all of their features before deciding which features we deemed of utmost important. We considered the design of the best reciprocating saw, its usability, how much it weighs, how portable it is, how easy it was to set up as well as how it performed on various tasks.
Each product was tested systematically and practically, with all of the important features examined and recorded. We came to the conclusion that there are certain top features to look for.
So, Should We Be Trusted?
Looking at all of our selection and testing processes, we can assure you that we know what we’re talking about. We have reviewed all of our recommended products and looked at community-based usage too.
We’ve spent over 44 hours carrying out online web research, with customers’ verified reviews taken into consideration, looking at the different available models and their features including their power, durability, motor power and size, weight and versatility. We’ve also consulted experts for their views before making our definitive top 10 reciprocating saws list.
We maintain our effective protocol with a view to finding top quality products coming at a logical price point, as such, we do not focus on any particular brand. Rather, our research is based on facts so that the readers find our review reliable while making a buying decision.
Our 10 Best Reciprocating Saw – Detailed Reviews
01 DEWALT DWE305 (Our Corded Pick)
Why This Is Our Top Corded Choice
The DeWalt DWE305 is certainly one of the highest rated corded reciprocating saws on the market today. With its bright DeWalt yellow and black colors, it is designed for handling a huge range of demolition, construction, plumbing and DIY tasks. It can cut through masonry, wood, PVC pipes, tree branches and metals too. We simply found its performance to be second to none!
Measuring 17.5”, this sawing machine has a powerful 12-amp motor and achieves up to 2,900 strokes per minute. This means it can undertake even the most heavy-duty of applications. Furthermore, it has a stroke length of 1-1/8”, which is pleasing.
The variable speed trigger is fantastic at responding to touch in order to control your sawing speed. The blade also has a four-position clamp that means you can carry out any tasks that require flush cutting. The blade clamp is also operated by a keyless lever, meaning that changing the blade is an effortless task.
It weighs 8.1 pounds and measures 19.2 x 9.4 x 4 inches with a 120-volt electric cord. It comes with an impressive three-year limited warranty.
- Reasonably priced for a very good quality saw
- Has a very powerful motor, enabling it to handle a variety of tasks with ease
- A durable build and construction
- Variable speed controls make it easy to carry out different tasks
- Long-term comfort thanks to its ergonomic design
- Blades that are easy to change
- Fantastic Stroke length
- It does not come with its own tool storage bag
If you are wanting a durable, long-lasting and easy-to-use reciprocating saw, then you could not go far wrong with the DeWalt DWE305. Its reviews are astounding and in choosing this model will connect you with a mass of very satisfied DeWalt customers.
02 DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B (Our Cordless Choice)
Why We Recommend This Product?
Out of all the cordless tools we tested, this DeWalt bare-tool is the pick of the bunch! It has a 0-3,000 rpm meaning it has a quicker cutting speed than other models of reciprocating saw.
It also has a blade clamp which can be put in four different positions for increased versatility and flush cutting options. The blades can be changed quickly without the need for a key. It really can cut through just about anything! And the fact it is cordless means you can take it pretty much anywhere too!
This cordless reciprocating saw has 18-volts of power meaning it will get through pretty much anything you want! It will let you use it confidently in different fields like in demolition work i.e. cutting openings in roofs and walls, chopping through metal work or pipework, through kitchen counters and hardwood flooring. You can also use it in remodeling buildings and in construction work as well as simple DIT tasks in the home.
This tool comes as a bare tool without the 18-volt battery and charger. However, should you already have a collection of DeWalt tools, your batteries and chargers and most likely compatible, saving you a few bucks. It is compatible with the DW9117 15-minute charger and DC9096 18-volt XRP battery pack. It weighs 4.98 pounds and measures 6.2” x 18.6” x 3.9”.
It features a powerful motor that is variable in its speed. It spins the blade to cut at 0-3,000 strokes per minute and with its stroke length of 1-1/8”, you will be able to cut faster through your materials. The four-position clamp for the blades means that just about any material can be cut through. The blades can be changed effortlessly too thanks to a keyless, lever-action clamp.
The shoe of the tool is adjustable and pivoting too, giving the user maximum visibly and ease of use. Furthermore, it’s comfortable to use too, thanks to its non-slip rubberized handles for convenient handling.
Lastly, the tool comes with an extended three-year warranty as well as one-year service contract that’s included! This means that DeWalt will maintain the tool during this period and replace any parts that need replacing due to wear and tear through normal use.
- Powerful motor with 3,000 rpm
- Extended three-year warranty with one year’s servicing.
- Four-position blade clamp, as with our top pick
- Comfortable thanks to rubberized grip
- Compatible with other DeWalt products for the battery and chargers
- Battery and charger are not included in the price
- No storage bag included
If it is a cordless reciprocating saw that you are wanting, then this one certainly ticks a lot of boxes! It’s fast but variable speed and its power mean that you can soon plough through any type of material whether metal, wood or a combination. The drawback is that it doesn’t come with a charger or batteries, but it’s compatible with other DeWalt cordless products, so you may find that you already have a compatible battery.
03 BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B (The Budget King)
Why We Recommend This Product
This model from BLACK+DECKER is a real bargain. If money is tight and you are looking to buy a reciprocating saw, then you could not go far wrong with this little piece of kit for your tool box. Retailing at around $40, it is a heck of a lot cheaper than many others top rated reciprocating saws here. But, it doesn’t compromise on features either. Let’s take a closer look.
Black & Decker is a very well-known tool maker. It is lightweight (weighing in at around 4 pounds), versatile and easy to use. It is a cordless model with a 3000 stroke-per-minute powerful motor and stroke length of 7/8”. It has a variable speed trigger, which makes it all the more adaptable to different materials and jobs, as well as an electric brake to provide more control. The battery voltage is set at 20 Volts without a workload but operates at 18 volts in typical usage. There’s also a switch to lock the tool when not in use.
To make it even easier to use, the blade changes are swift thanks to its tool-free method. This tool also has a pivoting adjustable shoe which helps to make it even easier to use. The battery and electric charger come separately though, so this is something that you will need to factor in as an additional cost if you were to buy this as a cheaper alternative reciprocating saw.
However, the battery is compatible with other Black & Decker tools so, if you already have some in your arsenal, you may not need to purchase an additional charger or battery.
- Reasonable price
- Compatible with other Black & Decker tools
- Pivoting shoe
- Tool-Free blade changes
- Does not come with a battery or charging cable, which is at an additional cost.
If you’re looking for a cheap Sawzall that doesn’t cost the earth, then this would be a very good bet. It has excellent features and would make a great addition to any tool shed, but particularly a Black & Decker owner!
04 Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 (Advanced Pick)
Why Is It Our Advanced Choice?
Why is Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 our advanced pick? Well, it is the fastest 18-Volt cordless recip saw on the market in terms of its cutting speed. It actually offers up to 30% more speed and twice as much battery run time as its competitors. Furthermore, it boasts five times more tool life too.
This reciprocating saw comes as a 1 battery kit. It has a Powerstate Brushless motor to provide the power it needs which keeps it in line with the powerful corded models for sale. The battery back is a Redlithium XC 4.0 with extended capacity. This means it has two times the operating time than other 18-Volt tools. There’s more work for every charge and more work throughout the battery’s life too than its battery competitors.
The tool includes a redlink plus intelligence system which ensures that performance is optimized and protected from the three ‘overs’: overheating, overloading and over-discharging.
It features a shoe that is adjustable and an integrated LED as well as a hook for storage whilst working. With the saw you get the bare tool, the battery pack, the charger and a carrying case too.
The product is a little heavy, weighing in at 11.42 points and it measures 15 x 21 x 20 inches. But as with most advanced tools, it does come with a bigger price tag.
- High-spec tool with intelligent systems
- Comes with battery, charger and carrying case
- Heavier than other models.
If it’s performance that’s important to you then this is the pick for you. If money is not a concern then you should totally get it. It works efficiently and with power for every kind of job and it comes with everything that you need to get started.
05 PORTER CABLE PCC670B (Easiest to Use)
Why We Recommend This Product
To put it simply, as the subheading suggests, this tool is the easiest of all the tools that we tried to use. There’s a tool-free blade release so you can change blades as quickly as possible. The variable-speed trigger is also a pleasing and easy-to-use feature. Additionally, this product only weighs 4 pounds, making it one of the lightest reciprocating models out there.
This tool is by Porter Cable and is a bare tool so does not come with chargers or batteries. However, if you have other Porter Cable tools, you will find that the batteries and chargers are compatible between tools, saving you from having to buy additional parts to get your saw working. It is a part of their 20V Max System, their cordless high-performance range.
It has a pleasing 1” stroke length and a range of 0-3,000 strokes per minute, thanks to its variable speed trigger. This allows for aggressive cutting despite the compact design. Due to its smaller size, it can get into even the tightest of spots. It measures just 14.5” long. The blade changes easily with its quick release that needs no tools.
The saw can cut through a variety of materials easily with the over molded handle which is great for added comfort. This is one of the reasons we placed it on our reciprocating saw reviews.
- Extremely comfortable and easy to use
- Bare tool only
For a cheaper yet comfortable working experience, this would be the ideal choice. It is ergonomic and lightweight with a pleasing price.
06 DEWALT DCS387B (Compact Pick)
Why We Recommend This Product
As far as compact tools go, we’ve chosen this as our number one compact pick. It weighs 5lbs and measures 14.5” in length, meaning that it can squeeze into even the smallest of spaces. It also has a LED light which is bright so that it illuminates the working area, perfect if you’re in a dark, tight corner. It’s also made by DeWalt, the famous tool manufacturer, so you know it’s going to be a reliable tool.
This is marketed as a compact tool, and that isn’t wrong. It is lightweight and compact with a stroke length of 1-1/8” as well as a variable speed trigger giving up to 2,900 strokes each minute. It’s therefore perfect to get between studs or in other confined spaces.
It’s as fast as it is efficient, cutting through a variety of materials easily. It has a 4-position blade clamp, operated by a lever, for easy and quick changes of blades. You can change it in four different ways for a range of different uses such as flush cutting.
It also has a pivoting shoe for added flexibility when cutting. The charger and battery are sold separately.
- Compact and lightweight design
- Fast and powerful
- Compatible battery and charger with other DeWalt tools
- Charger and battery sold separately
Coming in at a little over $100, this isn’t the cheapest of bare tools on the market. However, it definitely wins in the compact competition. It is fast and powerful and can squeeze into all those tight spots.
07 WORX WX550L 20V AXIS (Top 2 in 1 Tool)
Why We Recommend This Product
This tool is not just a reciprocating saw. Oh no, it’s also a jigsaw, meaning it’s an all-rounder. It can make the clean and fast cut that you need in one fell swoop. It is easy to use and as it weighs a little over 4 pounds, it’s lightweight too. Despite this, it is more than capable of your tasks and you won’t need to spend money buying two separate tools.
The motor of the Axis tool is on the side of the body, which allows the gearing and motor to rotate at the same time. This means you won’t slip or have your lines misaligned, which means you’ll have a constant and smooth power transfer for better cuts.
The blades can be any brand too, which is really pleasing. So, you can cut wood, plastic, piping, ceramic tile, fiberglass, copper, aluminum, steel and even trees with ease! There’s a built-in dust-blower to help you see your cutting lines, making it quicker to use than other models.
The power for the 20V battery is excellent and it can be used in other Worx tools as well, saving you money and time.
- A cross-over tool, able to complete jigsawing tasks too
- Dust blower
- Great cutting versatility
- Compatible batteries and chargers with other Worx tools
- Comes with a battery and charger that many recip saws don’t!
- Cross-over tools are not everyone’s cup of tea
With so many features, this device really is ticking a lot of boxes. Don’t want to buy a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw? Well, this model means that you only have to buy the one!
08 DEWALT DCS367B
This DeWalt tool is a compact tool which is lightweight to make your cutting easier. It comes as a bare tool with a Brushless compact 20V motor. It features a variable speed trigger with a range of 0-2,900 strokes per minute with a 1-1/8” stroke length.
The pivoting shoe is great for stability as you are cutting and there’s an LED light to illuminate your work surface. It can be used on both metal and wood, depending on your blade choice. The blades are fitted with a key-less clamp and can be moved to four positions.
The grip is comfortable and anti-slip and the whole thing weighs only 5lb too. It is certainly a more compact design than many. Lastly, it has a 3-year limited warranty, which is very pleasing.
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy blade changing
- 3-year limited warranty
- Bare tool only, no battery or charger included
- A little costlier than some other models
This bare tool is great for any DeWalt owner as it uses compatible batteries with other DeWalt products. It is a compact and lightweight design with useful features like an LED to make the job easier.
09 BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C
The famous Black & Decker have another reciprocating saw in their collection. This one comes with a charger and the battery and is extremely versatile. Being a lightweight model means it’s easy and comfortable to use in a variety of applications.
It has a 3,000 SPM motor and a variable speed trigger too. There’s even an electric brake for added control. The keyless blade changes and the pivoting shoe make it even more convenient to use. There’s a two-year limited warranty too.
- This tool comes with everything you need: charger, battery and tool.
- Versatile and lightweight
- Good pricing
- 2-year warranty
- Batteries not long lasting
For a good value reciprocating saw, Black & Decker have really come up trumps with this one. It’s review score is excellent and it comes with a 2-year warranty too. Not a bad shout for around $60 at the time of writing.
10 Milwaukee 2720-20 M18 SAWZALL
This cordless model boasts that it cuts quicker than its corded competitors with twice the running time and five times the life of the tool. It has a Powerstate brushless motor, which is what gives it its edge and competition with the corded variety. The battery pack isn’t included but rates better than more other competitor batteries.
Additionally, the Sawzall “Redlink Plus” intelligence system means that your performance is optimized and the tool is protected from over-discharging, overheating and overloading. There’s also an adjustable shoe, hang hook, and integrated LED light.
- Milwaukee is a reputable brand
- Excellent power for a cordless tool
- LED light, adjustable shoe and hang hook
- Relatively expensive
This tool certainly packs some power for a cordless one. It has a ton of great features but the price is a little higher than others in our list.
Why You Need Reciprocating Saws
If you’re wondering if a reciprocating saw is your thing, then read on! This type of sawing tool is useful for all fields of manual labor and craftsmanship. But whether or not you need one depends on what type of work you are intending to carry out. If you’re looking for precision and accuracy, the recip saw isn’t for you – you would be better to choose a circular model and a jigsaw, for example.
However, if you need to cut quickly and through different materials, a reciprocating saw is ideal. They are particularly useful for demolition work if you are working on a house, for example, and need to rip out some old door or window frames.
In essence, it is your “gateway tool” to carry you through heavy duty tasks. With the right blades, it can cut through metal piping, nails, and virtually any type of material you might need to rip through. It’s the tough guy in your tool box, that’s for sure.
Reciprocating Saw – Essential Features
- Corded or Cordless – this will depend on how you want to use your saw.
- Power – the higher the amp, the more powerful the tool is, meaning it can do tougher jobs.
- Variable speed settings – this is important if you want versatility in your tool to cut through different materials.
- Blade changing – if you are likely to use your saw on many different materials in the same sitting, being able to change your blade easily is greatly important.
- Size/length of the tool – smaller and more compact models will be able to fit into spaces that other tools can’t, such as into cupboards or corners.
- Vibration reduction – some tools have vibration control, which means they are much more comfortable to use over long periods of time.
- Stroke speed and length – these factors determine how quickly the saw can cut through your material. The faster the speed and longer the stroke length, the quicker you will be able to cut through materials.
- Battery (for cordless models) – the battery run time is vitally important if you choose to buy a cordless model.
- Ergonomics – it is important to think about how comfortable the saw will be after long-term use.
About Reciprocating Saw
What is a Reciprocating Saw?
A reciprocating saw is one of the best types of saws is an electric-powered saw that performs the cutting action in a reciprocating or a push-pull, movement of the blade. It basically takes the place of a regular saw that performs manual push-pull movements. It features a large blade which looks like that on a jigsaw with a handle that is at the foot of the blade’s base. This means that it can be used on vertical surfaces as well.
What Are Reciprocating Saws Used For?
A reciprocating saw is also known as Sawzall. That’s quite literally because it can work on all kinds of things. They can be a lot of fun to use, especially if you carry out demolition work. They can cut through pretty much anything including plastic, metal, wood and ceramic tiles. The purpose of this type of saw is to get the job done quickly. It’s not about precision, so don’t expect neat lines from this beast of a saw. It’s about power and speed, not accuracy. A reciprocating saw is known as the “gateway” tool, taking you from a regular DIYer to a serious craftsman.
How Reciprocating Saws are Different from Other Types
Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw
The difference between a recip saw and a jigsaw is relatively straightforward. Jigsaws are designed for accurate, neat cuts regardless of the material. They can even make circular cuts. They can also do bevel and compound cuts. The blade is small, so they are suited to fine and tight cuts.
Recip saws also cut a variety of material, but their purpose is one of brute force to cut through the material. It’s a good choice for cutting pipes or framing windows due to the blade position.
- reciprocating saw vs Chainsaw
Reciprocating saws and chainsaws are useful tools, but they do have distinct capabilities. The former is usually much more versatile and portable with an easy to use system. They’re lightweight and have variable speed controls.
On the other hand, chainsaws are more powerful and suitable for bigger jobs such as chopping down a tree. But, they are more cumbersome to operate and are heavier too. If it’s heavy duty tree-felling you’re wanting, find the best chainsaw.
- reciprocating saw vs circular saw
Circular saws are handheld power saws that use circular blades that rotate. They plunge easily into wood and other materials. They are usually electric powered but there are gas-powered models too. Circular saws are popular in carpentry and furniture making.
They even have beveling blades for intricate tasks. It produces straight cuts, unlike a recip saw. Reciprocating saws aren’t ideal for carpentry because of their brute force method of chopping materials.
Best Reciprocating Saw Buying Guide
i) Power of Saw
This is an essential point to consider before buying. Recip saws are either corded or cordless electric tools. Their power capacity is usually 18-20Volts, but the corded variety are usually more powerful than the uncorded, battery-powered tools.
ii) Weight and Size
The size and weight are important factors. This handheld tool is used to get into the smallest of spaces. As a result, having a saw that you can easily hold one-handed for longer periods of time is ideal. Some of the models that we reviewed weighed as little as 4 pounds whereas others can be in access of 11 pounds.
Most recip saw blades are changed easily without keys, depending on the tool. They often can sit in more than one position too. The blade of this saw should be changed to suit the material it is cutting.
The TPI is important. This stands for ‘teeth per inch’. The width, depth, gullet size and teeth size is what determines the materials suitable to be cut with the blade. The number of TPI usually varies between 3 and 24. To reduce snagging, a minimum of three teeth should be in contact with the material at all times.
Blades with lower TPI cut faster but with rougher edges. They are great for cutting wood.
High TPI produces slower, smooth cuts which are perfect when cutting metal.
There are three different dimensions that you need to be aware of when looking at reciprocating saw blades— the length, thickness and width. The blades usually range in length from 3 to 12 inches. The longer the blade is, the deeper it cuts through the material. If a blade is wider, it reduces wobbling and bending.
The heaviest duty blades are usually 7/8” wide with 0.062” thickness. Standard cuts are better done by blades that are 0.035” thick and there’s enhanced stability with blades that are 0.05” thick. If you’re doing a plunge-cut, get blades that are short with tapered backs.
Blades can be made from high-speed steel, carbon steel, carbide grit or bi-metal. The carbon steel blades are the most flexible and allow you to bend the blade without breaking it. This is why they’re suited to wood or plastic.
Blades made from high-speed steel are more durable but can break. They last five times longer than carbon steel blades (if you don’t break them!). Bi-metal ones combine high-speed with heat-resistance and longevity. These last a really long time. Carbide grit blades are suitable for fiberglass, cement board and ceramic tiles like a tile saw.
iv) Power Source (Corded vs Cordless)
We’ve mentioned corded vs. cordless before. This really is a personal preference. Most of our picks were cordless models with interchangeable batteries and chargers. Corded models do offer more power but they’re not as flexible given that you always need to be near a power supply. Let’s face it, if you’re doing demolition work (as many people with recip saws do!), you’re not necessarily going to be anywhere near a power outlet.
v) Orbital or Straight
Some recip saws have an orbital action. The orbital action means that the blade moves in a circular fashion, allowing for faster cuts in materials that are softer. It also means that the chips from the blade’s path are removed more quickly. It is mainly recommended for wood and should not be used when cutting metal.
vi) Multiple Speed Settings
Our reviewed products show that the vast majority of reciprocating saws have a variable speed trigger. This is important because it allows the user much more control over the saw when going through different materials.
vii) Stroke Speed and Stroke Length
The stroke speed is also known as the SPM (strokes per minute). The bigger the number, the more strokes in a minute which means that the saw is faster at cutting. The stroke length also has an impact on how quickly it can cut through materials. The longer the stroke, the more cutting that’s happening and therefore the quicker it will do your job.
viii) Battery life (For cordless)
Battery lives vary per model and make of reciprocating saw. Some last an hour, others just half an hour of use. However, if you have got other tools in the same family then the batteries are usually compatible. This means that if you own more than one battery, you can be charging one while using the other.
ix) Vibration Control
Vibration control is there to help you have a steadier hand when carrying out your work. It also reduces fatigue and over-use of your hand when operating it. It is especially important to have an anti-vibration model if you use your reciprocating saw a lot.
Ergonomics are all to do with comfort with use. The more ergonomic the design of your saw is, the more comfortable it will be to use over long periods. This is especially important if you are using your reciprocating saw for long-term use such as with your job.
xi) Shoe Adjustment
The shoe adjustment feature on a reciprocating saw is there to allow access to different parts of the blade or to get it into different positions when cutting. You can get more control when cutting and extend the life of the blade if you use the adjustment feature.
xii) Warranty and Accessories
As with any big purchase, especially electronics, it’s essential to ensure that you have a manufacturer’s warranty. Some of our featured products have warranties of up to three years limited with the first year’s maintenance included. Accessories are available for most recip saw models. Aside from the battery and charger options, many companies make storage bags for reciprocating saws. Of course, the blades are essential, and they should be carefully chosen, depending on the material you are wanting to cut.
xiii) Value for the Money
Of course, everyone wants a bargain. But are those inexpensive models really the good value for money? You need to think of what you need your saw for and what you want to be able to do with it. In that case our reviews can help you out.
Use, Maintenance & Safety Guide
How to Use a Reciprocating Saw?
Reciprocating saws are not difficult tools to use if you follow some simple steps.
1. Blade Choice
You really need to opt for the right blade. The saw won’t be up to all that much if you’ve chosen the wrong kind of blade. It effectively makes it the wrong tool for the job. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s guidelines on types of blade and get the one that matches your job.
2. Put the blade into the chuck
Before you unplug the tool or put the battery in, you insert the blade into the tool’s chuck. Most reciprocating saws today have key-free insertion and a simple turn of the blade can release it. You need to make sure that the chuck is returned to the right position to secure the blade. Give it a little tug to ensure it’s loaded properly. Remember to use gloves if you’re removing a blade that you’ve just been using – it will be hot.
3. Know what you’re cutting
You need to take care with your cut and what material you are cutting. Always check behind anything fixed as to what lays behind to ensure you don’t cut through anything unexpected such as wires in a dry wall.
4. Variable Controls
Having the right speed will soon become natural to you. Initial cuts are often made slowly followed by more rapid cuts once you’ve gained control. You should also slow your blade down as you approach the end of the cut you’re making.
5. Use the shoe
Using the shoe is really important. The flat surface means that it is stable to use. It also limits vibrations.
6. See-sawing in thicker materials
When sawing in a thicker material, you should see-saw the blade. The load on the blade is then reduced and you can cut through it quicker.
Reciprocating saws can be dangerous tools if they’re not used correctly. You need to follow some guidelines to keep yourself (and those around you) safe.
1. Buy a tool that’s right for you
Before you buy any saw, you should make sure it is up to the jobs that you want it to do. Make sure you are comfortable using it and operating it. You should also read the manual before you begin.
2. Keep your working area tidy
Make sure that you are working in as safe an environment as possible. It needs to be well lit and you need to be aware of any hazards close by, including the locations of pets and children. You should also only work on surfaces that are stable.
3. Wear safety gear
Make sure that you have a dust mask, gloves, goggles, ear defenders and slip-resistant shoes. Any jewelry, clothing or hair should be kept out of the way.
4. Keep your balance
You should make sure that you have a steady stance when using the tool. Keep it clean and free from dirt so that it doesn’t slip from your fingers and make sure that the blades are as sharp as possible. If the blades are dulled, it will cause you to put extra pressure on the saw which may make you slip. Always check what is behind where you are sawing.
5. Take care with electricity
If it’s wet outside, it’s not safe to use your reciprocating saw. You should also make sure that you don’t plug it in to a socket that is switched on or yank on the cord to unplug it. Make sure you carry it in a safe way. If you’re going to use an extension cable or an outdoor socket, it needs to go through a GFCI (a ground fault circuit interrupter) in case there’s a surge in power.
6. Turn it off
If you’re going to perform any maintenance on the saw or change the blades, turn it off first. Never leave it where you can’t see it or where others could touch it or pick it up.
7. Save your work for another day if unwell
If you’re feeling under the weather, you should not be using your saw. It requires your utmost attention.
If you care for your reciprocating saw well, it could last you for years. I know people that are using their dad’s 20-year-old one! Different recip saws will require different care and maintenance but, essentially, there are a lot of similarities to bear in mind.
Firstly, always follow the care and maintenance tips that are specified in your model’s manufacturer’s handbook. They will be specific for your tool and are best followed to the letter.
In terms of blades, you should change your blades for different tasks but also change them regularly. Sharper blades mean better cutting and fewer problems. Most chucks these days are tool-less. You should make sure that the mechanisms in the chuck are well lubricated so that they work properly.
Because reciprocating saws are often used for demolition work, there will no doubt be a lot of dust around. If using it outside, it may get a little wet. Make sure that the conditions are suitable for using the saw outside (check our safety tips above) but if it does get a little wet it needs to be dried and the power needs to be off when you do it. If you do need to clean the tool itself, avoid strong chemical cleaners as these could degrade the components such as the rubber and plastic.
You could also try a blower or vacuum cleaner to clean out the vents. Make sure you are wearing your eye protection as there will be dust in the air. This is especially important if you have been cutting metal or ceramic as there may be sand or sharp shards flying around.
Please remember, before you carry out any maintenance work, it should be switched off with the battery removed or unplugged from the wall socket.
A Word from Drillly
There we have it. Nine of the best reciprocating saws out there on the market today to suit every budget, skill level and need. If you’re still not sure which one to go for, you need to weigh up the reasons why you’re wanting one in the first place.
Do you carry out a lot of professional demolition work? Is it to take out your old kitchen? General DIY? A reciprocating saw is certainly a step-up in comparison to regular DIY tools and so careful consideration should be taken before you buy yours. Work out what you want it for and then follow our advice.
If you have budget constraints, our budget Black & Decker pick is certainly a good buy. If it’s an advanced model you need, then you won’t go far wrong with the Milwaukee M18 Sawzall.
Overall, our handy guide should have given you all the information you need about which saw might suit you, your needs and your budget. Once you’ve decided on these factors, hunting out the right saw should be a little easier. If you’re still weighing up your options, then our top picks for corded or cordless are both excellent DeWalt tools. Happy sawing!